The HUMR Crew (Post-race)- Photo: Lori Burlison
Post-Race- taking it in...Photo by: Lori Burlison
I only decided to run the race a day or 2 before. Even though I have been registered for months I have been battling a sore hip/buttocks and wasn't sure if I really wanted to test it out on this monster of a course. I knew with Wasatch a little over a month away that this would be a solid run to have under my belt to maybe add a little confidence. In ultra running you need to become intimate with pain and today felt like a good day to be a little frisky with her.
When I arrived at the check in it was a who's who in ultra running.....boy was I ever out of place. As I waited in line for my bib I saw some familiar faces and played catch up with people I don't see too often which is always a high light. We got our last minute instructions and meandered over to the start area for the beginning of a very long day. I have run this race 2 other times but once again there were some changes with the course. Knowing Karl I knew this year would be the toughest yet.
The race was one and I watched the leader take off- pretty impressive! I filed into my usual area- about mid pack- and started up the mountain. I woke up extra early for the race to work on some stretching and foam rolling to see if I could get nice and loose for the initial climb. After a few hundred yards I was a little disappointed to still be so tight. I dropped even farther back and was not thrilled about how my butt and calves felt. We climbed for a bit then descended some and I was hoping this little section of downhill would knock some things loose and allow me to pick up the pace to the top. When we started to climb more I was still pretty tight but I just kept my head down and tried to push through it. We hit mile 4 and I filled a bottle and kept on going. I knew I needed to nail my nutrition and hydration today if I wanted to survive this SOB. My goal was to hit the top of the first climb in 2 hours and the closer I got the more I realized it wasn't going to happen. I started to feel pretty good before we hit the cirque and I fond another gear. I hit the top about 2:20. Not thrilled but hey- I made it to the top. There was a crew of HUMR supporters (best people on the planet) up there that really lifter my frown and when I looked up I also saw Bryce, Cory and Bryce (from UltrAspire). Cory and Bryce quickly came over and offered a hand. I felt like royalty. I look up to both these guys not only because how amazing they run around the trails but because they are amazing people to boot. They had me in and out in no time. Next up was a long descent though some wild flowers and boy was it purdy! I can usually move pretty quick going down so I was ready to make up some time.
Heading down from Hidden- Photo by: Lori Burlison
Made it through the flowers and came across Curtis and Joel, hit a little climb then it was time to navigate a pretty tough and technical section on the way to Pacific Mine. Here is where things got worse.....it hurt to run. Crap- I am in a trail race/run and running downhill hurt. Problem- there are only 2 types of sections in this race- up and down. I hobbled ever so slowly into Pacific Mines and my mental state was fading. There is a mile or so section that is an out and back and you have to opportunity to see some runner a head of you and lucky for me there were some familiar faces that help quickly change my mood..(so a special thanks to Jared, Steve, Shawn, Jill, Jim, Breein).
Love the flowers- Photo by: Lori Burlison
I hit Pacific Mines, filled the bottles and was off. It was now time for big climb #2. On the way up to Larry's Hole I just wanted to stay consistent. No stopping and no slowing down- one foot after the other. Over half way up I came across Ryan who was having a tough time but still managed to shoot me a smile and a "go get em" attitude- thanks Ryan! I came through the next AS and Mike was there with some very encouraging words. There was s tough climb back up and I still just kept my head down and grinded it out. I was on top of my nutrition for sure! My climbing legs were holding together nicely and I got a pep in my giddy up. I made the top of the climb and began a small downhill on the service road before the climb to baldy. As I slowly trotted down the service road I tried to look ahead to see where we were going next. I saw runners high on the ridge heading to Baldy but couldn't figure out how they got there. There in the middle of the road was a volunteer and he was looking up. As I arrived he said "turn here and follow the flags." ARE YOU KIDDING ME!- I thought. It was straight up and no trail to speak of. This section almost crushed me.
Once I finished the climb and was on top of Baldy it was time to descend back down to the Tunnel. As I hit the service road there was Britta and Bryce (UltrAspire) with some atta boys and smiles. WOW- did I ever need that!
After Baldy- heading towards the tunnel- Photo by: Britta Trepp
Picked me right up and I shifted gears and cruised into Tunnel. I passed Lindsay on the road and she was smiling and taking pictures (they turned out amazing). At the Tunnel I was once again taken care of this time by Shane. He had me in and out on no time and on my way through the Peruvian Tunnel and down the service road en route to the last climb...."the ridge".
The past two times I have run this race the ridge broke me. This year I was determined not to let it get to me. It isn't the toughest climb but it sucks! When I finally started up the ridge I was hell bent on not slowing or stopping. I popped a Pre-Race cap, took some big swigs of EFS LS and set my mind to attack mode. I didn't waiver and though I was getting worked I really wanted to get to Hidden quickly as possible. I hit Hidden and I was pumped. I did what i set out to do on this section and though its short and not the whole race I felt like the other two times it took something from me and I wanted it back. Well, thank you very much "Ridge"- I got "IT" back.
On top of Hidden I was greeted by Larry, his wife and daughter. They more than took care of me. I quickly took off my pack and grabbed a handheld I stashed in my drop bag. I wanted to hit this last 5 miles quick. PROBLEM: running down hill hurt too damn bad. I set out to go sub 8 which quickly changed to sub 9 but once on Hidden I knew that would be a stretch. The next 5 miles were uneventful and slow and go. My hip and butt wouldn't allow me to push but in my mind I was just happy to be finishing.
I came across in 9:07 (almost 12,000' of gain!). Not a time I was looking for but got the finish and gained a little confidence heading towards Wasatch. I nailed my nutrition which was a HUGE positive.....Hopefully I am getting the hang of this a bit more.
Overall, the day was a success. I got to trudge around some beautiful mountains and share it with a awesome group of people. Congrats to all my friends who took on SpeedGoat - well done!
A special thanks to all those out there that shot me a smile, words of encouragement and lent a hand. You all played a HUGE role for me and for that I am grateful.
Next up El Vaquero Loco 50k- August 11th.....
Oh- see you next year SpeedGoat......you SOB.
Post- Race pain- Photo by: Lori Burlison