RacingThePlanet Blogs 2022

View All Posts 2022 From : Wendy Bryden

Wendy Bryden
Levi

21 August 2022 08:59 am (GMT-09:00) Alaska

Race complete!  We finished the last stage yesterday. 7.4 miles through beautiful forest. The end of it on wide sandy tracks which I'm sure must be beautifully groomed for cross country skiing in the winter. We ended at the Yllas fell. I started with the middle group but was not fast enough to catch the others who started an hour ahead. It was fun to watch the leaders (who started after me today, run by.). We were treated to beer and pizza at the finish. Then a short bus ride to a huge buffet lunch and awards to all the winners. We rode the bus to Levi and spent last night at a wonderful hotel with saunas in each room. We met last night and watched all the photos and videos taken during the week. Fun to relive all the beauty, and pain and suffering while sitting in a chair and drinking a glass of red wine!  This morning a tasty buffet breakfast and lots of hugs and emotional good bys as buses take us to the airport to return home. It has been an amazing emotional and physical journey. Looking forward to some rest but also a chance to do it again!  See you all on the trail again soon!

Comments: Total (7) comments

Nancy A

Posted On: 22 Aug 2022 12:31 am

Awesome, and congratulations on finishing. Sounds like you had fun too and lots of great people.

Lori Landstrom

Posted On: 21 Aug 2022 08:36 pm

Amazing Wendy. Great job too. and good blog posts!

Lori Landstrom

Posted On: 21 Aug 2022 08:36 pm

Amazing Wendy. Great job too. and good blog posts!

Lori Landstrom

Posted On: 21 Aug 2022 08:36 pm

Amazing Wendy. Great job too. and good blog posts!

Lori Landstrom

Posted On: 21 Aug 2022 08:36 pm

Amazing Wendy. Great job too. and good blog posts!

Lori Landstrom

Posted On: 21 Aug 2022 08:36 pm

Amazing Wendy. Great job too. and good blog posts!

Lori Landstrom

Posted On: 21 Aug 2022 08:36 pm

Amazing Wendy. Great job too. and good blog posts!
Wendy Bryden
Stage 4 and 5 Complete!

19 August 2022 08:42 pm (GMT+02:00) Helsinki, Kyiv, Riga, Sofia, Tallinn, Vilnius

Leg 4 was 25 miles, the first half along gravel road.  A thunderstorm threatened mid-day,  I am not fond of lightening having spent 3 weeks on John Muir Trail last year, where a hiker about 10 miles away from me was killed by lightening in a storm I also witnessed.  Fortunately this storm was very mild and we only felt the effects of the edge of it.  Very different compared to the thunderstorms  I witnessed in the Sierra Nevada’s.  I was also on low ground while it rolled through so it was advantageously providing a wonderful cooling breeze and  just enough rain to cool one off rather than be a menace.  I did play rain gear indecision a few times!  The last part of the stage climbed a fell (hill)  and as I rested at the checkpoint before it, I watched the weather go into threatening mode again.  One of the volunteers at the checkpoint assured me that people getting killed by lightening was very rare and that if the weather turned poorly we would be rerouted on the road. I’d had enough road for the day so quickly headed out to climb the fell.  It was beautiful.  Some rain visible and falling to one direction but mostly just wind and clouds in the immediate vicinity.  I celebration planked at the top and headed across it  and down to Camp 4.   About an hour after arriving, I went to soak my feet in the small bit of creek  right at the end of the trail coming into camp.  Just as I arrive there my two tent mates from Guatemala and their two friends and a couple they had been traveling with arrived singing a traditional song.  I was so excited to see them and they were happy to see me too and their song was beautiful!  We had been singing when I passed them along the trail, Billy Joel, Les Mis, and Little Mermaid!  Camp 4 was very beautiful, the old lumberjack’s place.  A cabin/dining area near a beautiful wet marsh!  They surprised us and served us reindeer stew and bread for dinner.  (Vegetarian was an option for those who did not want to eat a reindeer. – I had no problem taking the variety with meat!)  The blue tarps came out!  Which means it might rain. We did have some short heavy rain in passing spurts but it waited till most were done dinner. I heard one tent had a river through it but ours stayed relatively dry.

 

Yesterday morning  we began stage 5. The Long March (50 miles)  The rain seemed to have moved on, some passing clouds but beautiful cool weather – perfect for going the longest distance I have ever traveled on foot in my life.  My feet had been doing relatively well – hot spots which seemed to not become full blown blisters.  I moved out of camp at a fast clip for the first 13 miles.  The terrain was trails and logging roads, a bit technical but beautiful Finnish forest.  My fast clip allowed me to visit with other participants I hadn’t met yet and the conversation made the miles fly by.  Checkpoint 2 was idyllic.  A bridge with a beautiful stream and waterfall.  It would have been the perfect place to spend the rest of the day but alas I had miles to go before I slept and cut off times to stay ahead of.  More beautiful forested trail between checkpoint 2 and 3 as well as a chance to use a vene (a small row boat with a line and pulley used to cross a wider slow flowing river. The volunteers and staff lined us across as we enjoyed 30 seconds of bliss while sitting down yet still moving closer to our final destination!  We wanted to go back across and do I again!  Checkpoint 3 to checkpoint 4 started as a beautiful forested road, the blueberry leaves are just stating to have a tint of red and some of the birch a tint of yellow – just a hint of fall.  After a bit of a climb we came to a section of trail following powerline – brushy – powerline trails are typically never my favorite, having spent time traveling on them at home for work, and this one seemed to continue that trend!  We transitioned to a windy, rocky forest road which seemed to climb more than descend.  The bugs appeared.  It was mid afternoon – heat of the day.  My pace slowed and the trail was empty of other racers to talk to.  I slogged onward.  Finally came upon “the bicycle guy” as I call him.  He is volunteer from Finland and he patrols certain sections of course on fat tire  mountain bike and this was where he was stationed today.  He told me the checkpoint was 5 K away.  I had thought it was closer.  I finally arrived at checkpoint 4. I had just completed a marathon – a distance I have accomplished many times. Physically and mentally I was spent. I should be done now.  IT should be time to put my feet up and recover,  but alas I had to go do it again!  I spent about a half an hour here and  put my feet up and the got the hot spots on my feet retaped. The heat of the day cooled off and so did I;  I began to shiver. I quickly put on a different pair of socks (not clean but different than the pair I had worn for the first half of the day) and headed on ward.  Some of the individuals who had been behind me caught me as I rested at the checkpoint were now along the trail ahead of me.  I socialized with each of them making the  10 K to checkpoint 5 seemed to go more quickly.  The  terrain was much smoother - logging roads through forest.  A group of frisky reindeer were along the road and gave me a bit of a show as they ran along beside me and one crossed the road in front of me.  Rumor had it they had been a bit aggressive earlier in the evening but they never came close enough to me to feel threatening.

Checkpoint 5 was the dinner party!  There was hot water and the anticipation of a hot meal and the cooler temperatures also helped me to pick up my pace.  Once I arrived I took Jazz’s idea and pulled out my sleeping bag to eat my food prone on the ground and give my legs and feet a short break.  My feet pounded when I elevated them!  After some hot food and a reasonable break it was time to move on.  I could have spent the night here but I had 18 more miles to camp.  The sun was sinking on the horizon.  I started out slowly letting my body readjust to moving again and catching, chatting with and passing those who had taken a shorter meal break than I.  The evening was beautiful with the sun setting, some whispy clouds In the sky and the comfortable evening temperatures.  The clouds beyond the sunset reflected the evening colors.  The half moon also was above the horizon and became visible.   The sun dropped below the horizon and I arrived at checkpoint 6 – getting my flashing red light and head lamp going.  Half a marathon to go to camp.  It was twilight now, almost dark and the road was empty.  I powered along.  At one point a gargantuan, extremely well lit, logging truck rumbled past me.  I could see and hear it well before it went by.  I had scramled into the forest  beyond the ditch when it appeared.  Quite a few race volunteer vehicles passed me, the checkpoints further out were closing and they were setting and rechecking glow sticks, Each vehicle which came by slowed to check on me, I was grateful but also wishing there were a few less vehicles so I could keep my stride in the middle of the road rather than scrambling in to the ditch every time another vehicle approached.  I spotted another light ahead – it was Jazz and we arrived at checkpoint 7 together. A little more than 10 K to go.  Paved road the whole way. We turned off onto a lesser used paved road and were surrounded by dark trees.  There had been rumors of possible northern lights, but there was just enough cloud cover and not much view of the horizon so they did not materialize for me.  My pace was a bit faster then Jazz so I powered on by myself for the next two hours. .  It seemed like a month.  Forward relentless motion.  Finally just before 3 AM the glow stick flags turned off the road.  My watch said it was time.  I spotted the banner and was so happy to be at camp.  50 miles complete in 19 hours.  I was so happy to see my tent, and climb into my sleeping bag for the night.  Today, we have the entire day here to rest.  Stage 6 tomorrow – a bit longer than 10 K and then back to civilization. 

Comments: Total (3) comments

Nancy A

Posted On: 22 Aug 2022 12:29 am

Great job and loved your detailed write up. I felt like I was there. Congrats.

Iris Derke

Posted On: 20 Aug 2022 11:28 am

You did it Wendy!!! Love your words and perspective and truly enjoyed connecting with you on the course. So proud of you and everyone who pulled thru this magnificent course. Thank you for your kind words and company along the way. I missed you all as well! Now party well and enjoy the incredible feeling of accomplishment. Well done!

jeff bryden

Posted On: 20 Aug 2022 06:00 am

Nice write up! Cody drove thru Whitehorse today. All is well, Clients are taking the honda to the airport for you tomorrow. Casey is officially a junior with the first week done. Raining every day here. Continue to run fast and keep moving! love YA jeffrey
Wendy Bryden
Day 3

16 August 2022 10:07 pm (GMT+02:00) Helsinki, Kyiv, Riga, Sofia, Tallinn, Vilnius

Day 3 complete.  25 miles today.  A bit too much sun for me as I did not do a good job with my sunscreen. There was a nice breeze most of the day. Feet holding out well.  The first half of the stage was up and over a beautiful fell.  (hill) Amazing views from the top.  Checkpoint 2 to 3 was along the old postal road.  They truly did use it to deliver the mail in the 1800”s.  Last 7 miles on the logging roads.  Got out the ipod for the first time and jammed out!

Tiny little gnats (midges) eating me up.  Off to tent 4 for rest and another 25 miles tomorrow.

Comments: Total (2) comments

Nancy A

Posted On: 17 Aug 2022 01:56 am

Go Wendy, great job.

Jenny Hadfield

Posted On: 16 Aug 2022 11:10 pm

Yeah!!! Way to go Wendy!
Wendy Bryden
Stage 2

15 August 2022 09:30 pm (GMT+02:00) Helsinki, Kyiv, Riga, Sofia, Tallinn, Vilnius

Started the race yesterday, Less then one K out of camp and we came to a”buck bean bog,”  Essentially a swampy area with “duck boards” across it.  Duck boards are wooden boards across a wet area.  In this spot there was so much water there that you could not see that the boards were actually there.  We watched as others ahead of us attempted to cross and a few fell in and got wet!  I was almost at the end of the line and it was almost half an hour later when I got my turn.  Martha who was in the line behind me was nice enough to lend me one of her walking sticks and I made it across without falling in.  I had my toe socks and seal skinz.  The water was up to my mid thigh when I was in the middle of the duck board.  I made it across with out falling in.  I still had very wet feet after but I changed to dry socks at the next checkpoint (and hiked up and over the beautiful Pallas fell without blisters the rest of the day.

 

Day 2 (completed) Made it another 24 miles today.  Feet still doing ok.  A few hot spots –  have some protective tape on one foot.  Pretty tired tonight but looking forward to a night’s sleep – amazing how you can feel so much better in the morning.  All for now. Thanks for your support!

Comments: Total (1) comments

Jane Baker

Posted On: 16 Aug 2022 02:26 am

Way to go Woo! Keep up the hard work. You got this.
Wendy Bryden
Camp 1

14 August 2022 08:00 pm (GMT+02:00) Helsinki, Kyiv, Riga, Sofia, Tallinn, Vilnius

We left Roveaniemi this morning and boarded the buses to camp one.  After about 3 hours on the coach the bus backed into a small dirt road and we unloaded our gear and walked about a kilometer to camp.  I am in tent 4.  My tent mates currently have the most beautiful feet in camp!  They have spent several hours with pink, yellow and white tape, meticulously getting their feet ready for the next 250 kilometers.  I have chosen a different strategy and plan to rely on my calluses instead.  The weather is beautiful.  Sitting in the sunshine writing this blog with the Pallas (the big hill we are going to climb tomorrow) right in front of me.  Super excited to get started tomorrow!

Comments: Total (3) comments

jeff bryden

Posted On: 14 Aug 2022 05:06 am

Your ruff feet will scare away any blisters! Run fast!

Cristan McLain

Posted On: 13 Aug 2022 09:04 pm

I have faith in your feet! And your toe socks. 😀. Enjoy the rest today!

Cristan McLain

Posted On: 13 Aug 2022 09:04 pm

I have faith in your feet! And your toe socks. 😀. Enjoy the rest today!
Wendy Bryden
Global

13 August 2022 09:21 am (GMT-09:00) Alaska

Imagine my surprise last night as I went through the required gear list again and realized I needed three pair of gloves not two, that I had brought from Alaska. I ran off to the outdoor store to purchase some but it was closed at 8 in the evening and not scheduled to reopen until 10AM. We are boarding passes at 9:45. Found a fishing store which was open. Thank goodness fisherman get up early everything else in town seemed closed until at least 10 AM. They found me a pair of wool insulate finger mittens. They will work perfectly. Saved by the fisherman.

Comments: Total (3) comments

Jenny Hadfield

Posted On: 16 Aug 2022 11:12 pm

Now you understand "three is two, two is one, one is none." :)

Cristan McLain

Posted On: 13 Aug 2022 02:45 pm

Last minute stress! Now you can enjoy the race. Have fun (and warm hands!).

Marco Grobbelaar

Posted On: 13 Aug 2022 09:36 am

Don't worry, I heard from at least x3 people this morning that they only got x2 pairs of gloves, but glad you found some. Almost adventure time, enjoy!
Wendy Bryden
Almost like home

11 August 2022 08:22 pm (GMT-09:00) Alaska

Feeling at home! Spent the last two days acclimatizing after 24 hours travel time to get here. Similar temperatures to Alaska, same plants and mushrooms (blueberries and boletes and aminita's). Enjoying seeing the reindeer (although at home we call them caribou and they live further north then I do.). Meet my fellow racers in Rovoniemi tomorrow. It's beautiful here!  

Comments: Total (0) comments

Wendy Bryden
Details

07 August 2022 08:28 pm (GMT-09:00) Alaska

I picked up my logo gear from the printers yesterday.

logo gear

Spent today going through the gear checklist one last time, making sure I’ve got every little detail and that I’ve selected the right pairs of socks, rain gear, clothes, food etc. Some of the gear was easy to pick - tried and true, (including my pack, sleeping bag, and shoes).   Some of it required a little more thought (rain gear, socks, warm layers, food). I’m trying extremely hard not to overpack. I suspect some of the items in the suitcase will not make it to the race course.

Coach Jenny‘s advice was “More is less.”  “Three is two, two is one and one is none.” I suppose if I have the correct critical piece of gear, it will be perfect and I won’t need a second one.  (Unless I’m required to carry more than one of that gear, for example socks.) 

We received our tent assignments today and biographies of all the competitors. I haven’t had time to read them yet, something to do on the airplane. Next stop Rovaniemi, Finland.

Comments: Total (3) comments

Wendy Bryden

Posted On: 10 Aug 2022 04:48 pm

I didn’t see Santa yet but I saw a few of his reindeer along the highway today!

Wendy Bryden

Posted On: 10 Aug 2022 04:48 pm

I didn’t see Santa yet but I saw a few of his reindeer along the highway today!

Candy FitzPatrick

Posted On: 08 Aug 2022 01:04 pm

Say hi to Santa and Mrs. Santa for us in Rovaniemi! I’m looking forward to watching your progress. Go Wendy Go!
Wendy Bryden
Almost time!

31 July 2022 10:01 pm (GMT-09:00) Alaska

I completed my last two long training efforts this weekend.  13 days to go!  I can't believe it is almost time!   Too much packing to do!  So excited!  See everyone in Lapland soon!

Comments: Total (1) comments

Sam Fanshawe

Posted On: 02 Aug 2022 06:12 am

Whoop whoop. See you in Lapland soon! P.S. let us know how many times you pack and re-pack your bag before the race starts :)
Wendy Bryden
Socks!

08 May 2022 09:46 pm (GMT-09:00) Alaska

Saturday was an absolutely perfect Alaska spring day. Blue sky with only a few small wispy clouds. I chose to take my pack (and my new socks!) for a hike on Johnson Pass trail which runs along the side of Upper Trail Lake. It is part of the Iditarod National historic trail.  This section along the lake, is mostly flat with lots of small undulations.  The north part of the lake was ice free with several pairs of merganser ducks  slowly swimming along, the males in their showy bright breeding plumage, black and white with orange bills.  Trail conditions included some dry trail, some cold icy snow melt puddles, and patches of snow; some hard enough to walk on top of, with other spots melted enough that you fell through to your knees! At mile one, I detoured into a creek to make sure my feet were properly wet. Today was dedicated to sock testing.  I could feel that the water temperature was cold through the socks but my feet still seemed to stay reasonably warm and dry.Along Trail Lake

I was super excited that the size small, bright yellow, multipurpose sealskin socks had arrived in the mail the day before. I put them on; along with my compression sleeves, bag balm, and toe socks.

 I had already purchased an order of the sealskin socks in medium which should have been the correct size according to the size chart.  They were too big.  I returned them and waited for the new ones.  I also ordered some other varieties of the sealskin sock which only were available in the small size.  On the way to my hike I stopped by the post office and low and behold some of the new small varieties had arrived.  I changed my footwear one more time before beginning my hike.  I left the right foot in the original bright yellow multi-purpose sock and changed the left foot into the red white and blue thin hiking sock. 

 On toe socks.  I had ordered a unisex pair of liners toe socks several years ago, after purposely avoiding them for a long time. I was disappointed because the cut was totally wrong for my thick but longish women’s toes. I returned them, as I was not even able to get my toes into the narrow toe sleeves. The stitching was too tight to allow that to happen. In my gear testing for Lapland I have decided to give them another try. I discovered toe socks specifically for women and now have a thinish pair which I think will work as liner socks.

 At my turn around spot on my hike, I decided the red white and blue socks fit better and changed my right foot into that! (Then both feet matched!)

 I happily walked through every puddle I could find (instead of avoiding them as I normally do) and my feet were a bit damp but certainly not soaked through like last weekend when I borrowed my friends older version of a similar waterproof sock!  Too many socks!  I think I am closer to finding the right ones for August!  Happy sock testing everyone!

Comments: Total (1) comments

Riitta Hanninen

Posted On: 09 May 2022 02:41 pm

Hi Wendy, Really great that you are testing socks - so important! With Sealskinz is a good idea to have an thin underlayer sock as they can otherwise feel quite rough. It can be a toe sock or a normal thin sock. Enjoy your training in Alaska - the conditions are quite similar as in Lapland. See you soon! Riitta
Wendy Bryden
Testing!

01 May 2022 03:19 pm (GMT-09:00) Alaska

Getting excited and nervous!

I did my first training session with my pack yesterday.  It weighed 14 pounds! Yikes!  All I really had packed was gear for an Alaskan spring day hike - lots of warm clothes, water, a snack and an electrolyte mix which I am testing.  (Not a sleeping bag and pad, not 7 days worth of food, not even one headlamp!) I have never been one to travel light though that is definitely one of my goals for this race!  I did over 6 miles up Primrose Trail.  It is still covered in ice and snow, so I strapped my Kahtoolas over my running shoes. I am experimenting with lots of different types of socks and letting my feet get wet.  The icy puddles were cold!   Most of the way I stayed on top of the hard packed snow but sank through in a few places!  It will be another month until most of our trails will be snow free!  I have been training on the local roads too but it’s not quite the same! Looking forward to joining everyone in August in Lapland!  

Comments: Total (1) comments

Zeana Haroun

Posted On: 06 May 2022 06:35 am

What a great blog about how you are starting to get training. Thank you for sharing. First of all, it is really good you are testing out the pack with weight now - you will learn to be a light packer ! Also, great idea to get your feet wet in training and see what works best to avoid blisters. Good luck with the training and we are looking forward to seeing you in Finland.