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Thursday, March 29, 2018

#135 (or #132)- The Buffalo Run 50 Mile Trail Race.

Eight years ago, less than a year after I landed in Salt Lake City, a few friends and I signed up to run the Buffalo Run 25K. We had such a great time we signed up the next year. Again, it was a blast. After that I was running A LOT of races all over the country and every year since, I was out of town on the weekend the Buffalo Run was being held. 

As you know from my previous posts, I am attempting the 2018 Yeti Distance Challenge this year. This means running a 50k, 50 miler, 100k and 100 miler in 2018, so I got on UltraSignup and started looking for races that I could drive to or get there really inexpensively. To my surprise, Race Director, Jim Skaggs split the race into two different weeks this year, the 25k on one week and the 50k, 50 miler and 100 miler the next week. For the first time in ages, I was in town! I signed up for the 50 miler immediately.

Never running the 50 miler out there and having not run out on Antelope Island since the last time I ran the 25k, I had no idea about the course, except that the first few miles were up hill and that I was afraid of the buffalo (long story). I didn't want to get lost, so I tried to study the course as best I could before going out there. 

The 50 miler started at 6:00am on Saturday and I live about 1 1/2 hour drive from Antelope Island State Park . I decided to get a cheap hotel room closer to the island so I wouldn't have to drive too far before and after the race. I found a Days Inn in Clearfield on Priceline for $49 a night and booked it. The great thing about this motel is that is was really close to the island (like 20 minutes), the bad thing about this motel was that it was a total shit hole with strange people sitting in their cars in the parking lot. A little creepy, but for what I needed it for it was OK and I must admit, it was nice to drive such a short distance after running 50 miles. I did feel a little bad that I recommended this place to Jason Green (founder of the Yeti Trail Runners and RD of my favorite race, the Yeti 100) before I saw it. We had a good laugh over what a dive it was.

I got an OK night's sleep and was up at 4:00AM. This gave me enough time to get dressed, make a cup of tea and drive to Antelope Island in time for the pre-race briefing and check in.

On one side of the huge tent at the start/finish was where we were able to drop our drop bags. In the 50 miler, there were four spots you could have a drop bag. In a 50, I generally will only have one, but the weather forecast all week was cold temperatures, rain and snow. Being cold is my Achilles heel and since I had no idea when the rain and snow would come, I packed a drop bag with warm clothes for all four aid stations that allowed them. I knew I wouldn't touch most of them, but I prepared for the worst.  

The race started right on time at 6:00AM. It was cool and dry, but still dark. I was so glad I had my awesome rechargeable headlamp that Sean Blanton (East Coast Trail Runners) sold me. It was so inexpensive and is as bright as the sun. I love it!

The course map.

The first 3 miles of the course went up hill. This is always hard as I like taking hills after a little warm up. After about 1/4 mile of running I wanted to save my legs and I power hiked to the top. Once it leveled out my legs were warm, but not tired and I was able to run at  a really comfortable pace. One of the biggest mistakes people make in running ultras is going out to fast. A friend told me this before my very first 50 miler.."If you think you're going slow, go slower". This can be a difficult transition when going from road marathons (where you want to go fast) to trail ultras (where you have to be patient).  

Heading up the hill.

You could see the city as the sun came up.

The sunrise over the Great Salt Lake is breathtaking.

I really tried to watch my pace. It felt really easy, but I knew in a few hours it would get hard and I wanted legs left for the hard part.

As we hit the first aid station at Elephant Head, I felt great. I was running with two great ladies, Shelbie and Julianna. We hit the turnaround and found the sticker book to put a sticker on our bibs (this is how the RD knows you didn't turn around early), but there were almost none left. We found part of a big Batman sticker and tore it in thirds and stuck it on our bibs, hoping that runners behind us would do the same thing. It would stink to get out there and have no sticker to put on your bib.

The view on our way back to the Elephant Head aid station.

When we got back to the Elephant Head aid station, I saw Jason Green. We started the race together, but a nagging injury had him dropping earlier than he expected. It was great to get a high five from a fellow Yeti as I hit the aid station, grabbed a cookie and kept rolling.

The next part of the course was very runnable. In fact, I had to really watch my pace as it was really easy to go fast there. I was glad I did. At the end of that nice runnable section was a pretty long climb with a lot of switchbacks. 

Me at the bottom of Split Rock (Photo credit- Brian Passey)

I got about half way up and started losing steam fast. It made no sense as I wasn't pushing the pace at all. I realized that I had only had two little cookies since the start and I needed to eat something. I reached into my vest an pulled out a little bag of Good & Plenty and ate them (they are my favorite go to energy source). Within a few minutes, the sugar kicked in and I was back on track.

The snow capped mountains against the lake was beautiful!

By this time the weather was warming up quite nicely, so when I made it back to the start/finish aid station, I dropped my sweatshirt off into my drop bag and used the restroom. I took more time at that aid station than I wanted, but it was OK.

The next part of the course was pretty easy to run. We had a little bushwhacking and a short bit of climbing to the next aid station, but from there I could make up some time lost on all the rocks and hills of the first 20 miles.

There were only two hard cut offs in this this race. The Ranch aid station (around mile 33.83) and the second pass of the Lower Frary aid station (around mile 38.7). I had got separated from Shelbie and Julianna at one of the aid stations, but caught up to them on this part of the course. We started talking about the cut offs and where we were. We were moving pretty good, so I wasn't worried about missing the cut off especially when Shelbie told me we had until 3:00PM to get to the Ranch and 4:00PM to get to Lower Frary (the second pass). 

Now during the race briefing I swore I heard Jim say we had to be at Lower Frary by 3:00PM. When I mentioned that, Shelbie got nervous as she was pacing herself with 4:00PM in mind. She pulled up the website and sure enough she was right and everyone relaxed.

When we got to the Lower Frary aid station on the first pass (around mile 27.4), I decided to change into my new Altrs Timp Trail shoes. I didn't have a chance to wear them before so I thought If they didn't feel good, I could always change back on my second pass. As I was changing my shoes I heard one of the volunteers tell someone that they had about 2 hours and 45 minutes to get back to the aid station before the cut off. I started doing the math, 2:45 to go about 11 miles. Now on the road, this would be easy, but after running 27.4 miles and running on trials, I started getting nervous and for the first time thought I might not make the cutoff and this was shocking as I was running at a pretty good mid pack pace. How could I be so close to the cut off?

Published cut off times

Starting to feel a little panicked, I tied my shoes and took off towards the Ranch. I was running 9:30-10:00 miles on parts of that stretch. Every runner I asked about the cut off, told me something different. I just had to get to the Ranch and they would know what was going on.

I got to the Ranch aid station tired AF from pushing the pace and asked the volunteer what the correct cut off was. He said 3:00PM at the Ranch (where we were). I breathed a sigh of relief grabbed some food and started back to Lower Frary.

On the way back I met up with this young girl from Vietnam named Dieu. We battled a heavy head wind which was so frustrating as we just wanted to get back to Lower Frary by 3:00PM (just in case), but the wind made it so hard to run without zapping the energy we had left. We made it back at 2:45PM. Whew!

One of the volunteers mentioned that we made the cutoff with 15 minutes to spare. 15 minutes? The Ranch said 3:00pm cut off there that matches what the website says. With that we beat the cutoff by 1 hour and 15 minutes. There was some major miscommunication which had runners and volunteers confused. I just hoped that it got worked out for the runners behind us. I saw Jason Green again helping out and cheering runners into the aid station and with some encouraging words, we were out of there!

Dieu and I on the course!

Dieu and I left the aid station relieved. The wind was still blowing so hard that we power hiked when it was strong and ran through the small breaks when it would die down. 

They don't call it the buffalo run for nothing!

The last 5 miles I started getting a little cold. I lost my gloves somewhere. The must have fallen out of my vest without me seeing them. We bushwhacked down to the last aid station and ran into a few 100 milers still out there. 

With 4 miles to go I used the camp bathroom (were I lost Dieu), grabbed some peanut M&M's and hit a really rocky section of trail that reminded me of being in the Flintstones. 

With about one mile to go I could see the big tent. I started running/walking between the picnic sites until I hit the last hill. I walked that little hill and when I got to the top, put the pedal to the metal and ran as fast as I had steam to run. Just like that, I was done!

When I crossed the finish line, I was handed this beautiful handmade mug. I love unique finisher awards! These are great!

The finisher's cup!

I sat down in a chair and thought about Shelbie and Jilianna. It was their first 50 miler and I was really hoping they didn't get pulled. Not a minute after thinking that I see Shelbie running in! It was a great moment for her!

I was so excited for Shelbie!! She finished her first 50 mile race! WAY TO GO!!

I went into the tent, took my mug and had it filled with veggie chili, grabbed a beer and sat down. I chatted with other runners and shared our experiences out there. It was awesome!

When I got up to grab my drop bags and leave, Julianna came walking in. She finished too. I was super happy for her.

I got up and went to the back of the tent to collect my drop bags and there I saw a drop bag with my sweet friend Robert Merriman's photo on it. Robert did his first 100 miler at this race last year. He LOVED this race. Who new that only a couple months after his amazing achievement, he would be diagnosed with brain cancer and not live to see the race this year. I cried when I saw this. I thought of Robert many times out there. He was truly missed.

Robert was on our minds and truly missed.

After the race I headed back to the horror hotel (LOL) got a shower and a little snack, then met up with Jason for a beer and got the lowdown on all things Yeti! I can't wait to do the Yeti 100 again!

Overall this race was great! It is a beautiful course, the weather worked out, I loved the finisher mug, and people were really nice. My only complaint would be more "real" food at the aid stations (I ate so much candy) and better communication with the cut offs (this was the first year having a hard cut off, so I am sure it will get worked out for next year).

I really liked this race and hope to be in town to run it again next year. I would do the 100 if I didn't have to train through a Utah winter to be ready! LOL!

The shirts were simple, but cute.

Ended up 3rd in my age group! Cool!

Thank you to Jim Skaggs and all the volunteers for a wonderful event.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

#134 (or #131)- The Yeti 7/11 Hour Endurance Run!

When registration for the Yeti 7/11 Hour Endurance Run opened, I jumped on and registered immediately. After running the Yeti 100, I wanted to run as many races put on by the Yeti Trail Runners as I could. Race Director Jason Green has a way of making every race fun and unique.

The Yeti 7/11 was a timed race, 7 hours and 11 hours. For those not familiar with timed races, this means runners run as many miles as they can in 7 or 11 hours. The person with the most miles wins. I opted for the 11 hour run.

As I said Jason Green makes his races unique. This race had a 7/11 theme. All the food at the aid station were things you would find at 7/11. Hot dogs, candy and slushies (some with a little something extra added)! LOL! 😏

I got to the race a little late as I got lost. I had to call Jason to help me find Sweetwater State Park (not Sweetwater Park). By the time I got there, got parking, picked up my wristband (no bibs), and dragged my stuff (chair, drop bag, etc.) down there, the race had already started. 

The course consisted single track trails, double track trails, long steep climbs and some quad busting downhill all packed into one beautiful 4 mile loop.

The food at the aid station was loaded with food from 7/11!

I felt great for the first 2 loops. On the 3rd loop I started feeling a little low on energy. It was cold at the start and I realized that I had not took a drink of water in 8 miles! After I started taking in some water and food, I felt much better.

Race Director, Jason Green and I on one of my loops.

Always great to see Kaci from Memphis!

The course was so beautiful!

Now, I know that when running any ultra marathon, one should not spend too much time at the aid station, but I loved talking to the volunteers and other runners, so I probably could have saved some time if I was in and out, but I was having fun!

The river was raging!

The course markers

Each loop was different. Some times I felt good, sometimes it was hard, but after 5 loops, I had a good system going. Power hike the hills and run the flats and downhills and the time started to go by pretty fast.

When the 7 hour race ended, it felt like I was the only person left. I was running alone a lot and wondered where everybody went. As the day went on, the trail was crowded with hikers and people out for a Saturday walk, but I didn't see many runners. 

Then at about  32 miles in, got to the aid station and hit the bathroom. When I came out, I saw the cutest little boy who I thought looked like my nephew Dylan. Then I saw my brother Mike and his fiance Erika (who I haven't seen in 2 years)! I needed to keep moving, so instead of seeing them for 5 minutes, I asked them if they wanted to do a loop with me. They are not runners so I opted to walk one loop so I could get 4 miles of quality time with them. They were good sports to walk 4 miles of trails with me.

Dylan had a blast running. He wanted to race, so we did. He won!

My sweet nephew Dylan. I love him so much!

When we finished the loop, we took some pics and said goodbye. I had time for one one more loop and since I walked the last one, I was rested up and I took off feeling great.

My family! 💖

I ran onto a couple of guys who told me that we didn't have much time left. I of course go scared (even though I had plenty of time). These guys were hauling, so I did my best to stay with them. The three of us were rocking that last loop and came in with about 15 minutes to spare!

In the end, I ended up with 40 miles and some great memories. I have the feeling I will be spending more time in Atlanta next year. Not only to see my sister and brother, but I need to do this race again as well as the Yeti Snakebite (that is if I can get in)! These races are getting more popular because they are AWESOME!

Great swag! Love the shirt, but the dry bag is the coolest piece of swag I have received from a race!

Friday, March 2, 2018

#133 (or #130)- The Sprouts Mesa-Phx Marathon!

A couple months ago, I signed up to run the Sprouts Mesa-Phx Marathon. If you read this blog, you will remember that I was lucky enough to run a Boston Qualifier at the Tucson marathon back in December. Unfortunately, my 14 second cushion will not be enough to actually get into the Boston Marathon, unless they decide to take all who qualify, which his highly unlikely.  So, I decided to get out of the cold weather and try my luck at the Mesa-Phx marathon in hopes of knocking off a couple minutes to give me a little more cushion. I have always heard it was a fast course, so I had nothing to lose. Then the plan took a turn.

I decided decided to run a 100K at the Jackpot Running Festival the weekend before as a part of the Yeti Distance Challenge. While it wasn't ideal timing, I got the 100K of the challenge done and I didn't have to fly anywhere. I rested up the whole week in hopes that I could still kill it in Phoenix, but from the get go things were not going the way I wanted them to go.

It was snowing pretty hard in Salt Lake City when I got to the airport Friday morning, so our plane was delayed. I finally landed in Phoenix 4 hours later than I was supposed to. I grabbed a Lyft and headed straight over to the expo.

The first thing I noticed when I got there is that it was freaking cold! I left the snow and was so excited to get to the warm weather, but I was freezing, so I was not that happy to see that the expo was in an outdoor mall. I grabbed my packet and got out of there. I was cold, tired and hungry.

It was getting dark and I was informed that the last bus to the start was leaving at 4:45AM. That meant I would need to be up at 3:00AM to allow time to get to the bus pick up. If I was going to eat something, I had better do it quick. There was a Mexican restaurant called Matta's Grill and Cantina about 10 feet from the expo, so I slipped in there with my bags and sat at the bar. I didn't want anything too spicy so I just ordered a beer and a quesadilla.

I met a nice couple at the bar and we chatted before I made my leave. By the time I got to the hotel, it was 10:00PM. I quickly got my stuff out for the race and went straight to bed. I usually sleep OK the night before a race, but that night I tossed and turned and never felt like I was fully asleep before the alarm rang at 3:00AM.

I got up, got dressed and made it out the door by 4:00AM. I caught a ride with some other runners who were going to the bus pick up, but as we got close, we could see that the traffic was horrible. Everyone was going to the same place and we were all moving at a snail's pace.

By the time the car dropped us off, we ran to the bus only to see what we thought was the last bus pull out. It was already 5:10 and the race started at 6:00AM! Then another bus came and I jumped on that one. Thank goodness because the volunteer said "Guys this IS the last bus!" I felt bad for all the people who were still in traffic as I don't know if they made it to the start or not.

By the time our bus got to the start, the race had just started. I didn't get to do a Maniac photo or see any of my friends. That was a bummer, but on the bright side, it is chip timing and there was no lines at the port-a-potties! I checked my drop bag and crossed the timing mat about 11 minutes after the race started.

It was dark at the start, but it was beautiful to see the sunrise come up with the silhouette of some giant cacti in the foreground. It was like something you would see in a painting. I took off feeling pretty good, but when my one mile split popped up at a 7:48, I knew I had to slow that roll!

You can see the lights of the city as the sun just came up.

For the next 14 miles I stayed well under my BQ pace and it the half at 1:55:32 (that was with a bathroom break). I felt good. Then around mile 15, I could feel my right calf start to twinge. I walked through the next aid station and grabbed some electrolyte drink, but when I started up again, the cramp set in good.

I rarely get cramps, but when I do, they are doosies! I had no choice but to walk it out. When the cramping finally stopped, my calf was really sore. It was there that I knew that I wasn't fully recovered enough from the 100K to try to run fast, so I opted for a finish that would ensure I wasn't going to be injured. That meant slowing way down and doing a run/walk to the finish.

The volunteers were AWESOME!

My last half was slow, but because my calf was sore, it did not feel easy. Around mile 17 or 18 we came across the Brookdale Senior Living Center. I almost cried when I saw all these sweet seniors out there cheering for us! I just had to stop and hug all of them!

When I saw these sweet seniors out there, they made me think of my mom, who used to love to sit an cheer on the runners at any race she was at. I almost cried!

I continued to plug away and finally crossed the finish line in 4:22:15. Not what I wanted, but not too bad for running on tired legs. The best part was that I crossed the line healthy and smiling!

Notice the long sleeved shirt and gloves? I was cold the whole race!

One of many FREE photos this race gives you!

I am usually not hungry right after a race, but when I smelled that Kneader's french toast, I got in line! I live right across the street from a Kneader's and their french toast is my guilty pleasure. It is soooooo good!

It wasn't pretty, but I got it done!

As I sat on the curb eating my french toast, I saw my awesome New York friend, JC Santa Teresa! He and his lovely wife were both running.

JC and I chillin' after the race.

After I left the runner's area I walked around to see if I could see any of my friends that were there. I was excited to see Marco and Alice Pontes! My friend Rob and I were lucky enough to meet them when we all did a trip to the Grand Canyon.

Image may contain: 3 people, including Angie Whitworth Pace and Marco Pontes, people smiling, people standing and outdoor
My Arizona Track 'n' Trail friends, Marco and Alice!

Great to see fellow Maniac Lisa Keller at the finish!

When I didn't see anyone else, I picked up my drop bag and started to call a Lyft to take me back to the hotel, but then I saw a bar called The Brass Tap and thought that SOMEONE I know should be in there! I was correct. I walked in and saw my cool friend Brian Wright. I was so happy to see him and I pulled up a seat next to him at the bar and we had a couple beers and some food. The JC and his wife came in too.

Brian is a total ROCKSTAR!! He ran his first sub 3:00 marathon at the race!

After I finished my lunch I headed back to the hotel, took a shower and a nap and just hung out at the hotel.

Now when I booked my flight for this trip, I thought the race was on Sunday. It was too late to change it when I realized it was on Saturday, so I had all Sunday to hang out. My flight was at 7:00AM Monday, so I moved to a Holiday Inn close to the airport. I thought with an extra day, I would want to go do something, but I was pretty tired. I just went for  little run, and relaxed at the hotel and ended the evening having dinner and watching the Olympic closing ceremony at the hotel bar with a few other guests which was really fun and a good way to end my weekend.

Ladies got a nice singlet, the men got a t-shirt.

Nice Medal!

This race is a great course and has the potential to be really fast. I learned a couple of lessons. 1) Don't run a 100K the weekend before you want to run a fast marathon; and 2) Give yourself more time than you think you need to get to the bus pickup. Other than that, I would totally do this race again. It was pretty well organized and the volunteers were amazing. Do this race if you get a chance!

Monday, February 26, 2018

#132 (or #129)- The Jackpot Running Festival!

Well as you can see, I am still missing three races as I just have not had time to count up all my bibs and either find the races I didn't post about or try to find out how in the world I would miscount something like running three marathons. I will get it sorted out someday, but for know I will tell you about a really great ultra marathon I ran last weekend.

Jason Green of the Yeti Trail Runners decided to create the Yeti Distance Challenge in which you have one calendar year to run a 50K, 50 Miler, 100K, and 100 Miler. If you do so, you will receive a bad ass jacket. When I saw that it had a cat holding a knife on the back of it, I was all in!

The back of the coveted Yeti Distance Challenge Jacket!

I had to rethink my whole year of racing. I had a 50 Miler and a 100 miler already on the calendar, but to find a 100K close to home would be tough unless I wanted to do it in the summer heat. No thanks! That's when I looked at the Jackpot Running Festival in Las Vegas, NV.

This race was perfect. It had everything! It had a 6, 12, 24 and 48 hour race as well as a marathon, 50 miler and a 100 miler all around a 2.5 mile loop. It did not have a 100K, but according to the rules of the challenge, I could do a 24 hour race as long as I stopped at 100K, so I signed up to run!

I really could not afford to fly to Las Vegas, and rent a car for the whole weekend, I got on the Jackpot Running Festival Facebook page and asked if anyone was driving to Las Vegas from Salt Lake City that I could potentially catch a ride with. Now, I could have driven my car, but I was going alone and I didn't think it would be safe to drive home 7 hours after running 100K.

Beiyi, a friend that I met and ran with during the Capitol Reef 50 Miler replied that she and her husband Dan were running and if I took the St. George Shuttle to St. George, they could pick me up and I could stay with them Friday night. So I gratefully accepted their invitation and Friday morning, I grabbed the shuttle and was on my way.

When we got to Las Vegas, we got to the apartment, dropped off our bags, hit the grocery store for some food and headed to the race to pick up our race numbers. After we got our packets we headed back to the room, ate some food and got ready for race day!

Our race started at 8:00AM, so we made sure we left the condo by 6:30AM as to have time for me to set up my tent area. I knew I was going to have to stop at 100K, but Dan was running the 100 miler and Beiyi was doing the 24 hour. I wanted to have a place to change into warm clothes and sleep while they finished their races.

Beiyi, Dan and I at the start.

My dear friends Elizabeth and Andrew at the start.

This is Las Vegas!! No race is complete without Elvis and some showgirls at the start!

Group pic of the Saturday runners!

The wonderful Gabicas moved to Idaho, so it was so great to see their sweet family!! Jill was running the 12 hour!

The race got started and ran with my friend Elizabeth Gray (the founder of Marathons Against Domestic Violence) for the first couple of loops. It is never a dull moment when she and I got together! We ALWAYS have a blast and this was no exception. We talked, ran, walked and laughed. I love this lady!

This pretty much sums up mine and Elizabeth's friendship! LOL! (Photo Credit Run Aficionado Santos)

The best thing about running a 2.5 mile loop course, is that you get to see people all the time. It was so great to see so many friends I haven't seen in ages!

So happy to see Yolanda Holder "The Walking Diva" out there!

 (Photo Credit Run Aficionado Santos)

I haven't seen Tony in ages!! So happy to see him get his buckle he had been working to get after injuries took him out for a while! Congratulations Tony!

Kit is seriously the sweetest person EVER!! Love her!

 Running on the grass felt so good as after 20 miles, my legs were toast on the concrete and asphalt. (Photo Credit Run Aficionado Santos)

Because I wasn't chasing any cutoffs, I took my time. The course is 45% groomed crushed gravel, 50% wide asphalt paths, and 5% bridge and concrete. I loved running on the trail parts, but the asphalt and concrete started hurting  my legs fast. I was wearing my Altra Lone Peak trail shoes and I probably should have just worn my road shoes. They have more cushion for those hard surfaces, but nevertheless I persisted!

Susan out there going for her buckle!

Jill was doing great!

Hey! It Robert Manon and Kit!! (Photo by Robert Manon)

I was probably about 30 miles in when I got close to my tent (which was pitched along the grassy part of the course) and saw Marc Gabica. He reached into a bag and pulled out an In-N-Out burger and handed it to me! This was just what I needed! The burger was big so I ate a few bites, stuck it in my tent and for the next 2 loops I ate that burger.

I was losing energy until Mark brought me this beauty! Later he brought me a Diet Coke! Thanks Mark!!

I was running with Ryan Launder (another friend I haven't seen in ages) and stopped at my tent to do some foot maintenance. The 1st rule of ultra running is: Take care of your feet! 

These guys were in the tent next to mine. They cheered for me every time I ran by! Nice dudes!!

As the sun went down, it got colder. My feet were really sore too. Every time I hit the pavement, it was like the energy was sucked out of me. I came up with a solution. I changed into an old pair of Hokas I had and instead of pounding the pavement, I would power walk all the asphalt and concrete and run all the trail and grass. This seemed to be the perfect thing as I started feeling better and was running faster on the run parts and was giving my feet an legs a break.

When I got to the last 10 miles, I called my BFF Rob and told him to give me a pep talk. In total Rob form he told me to just get to it. When I told him that I had 24 hours to finish and that I might sit by the fire for a bit to get warm, he said no and told me to dig deep, get it done and sit by the fire later. I thanked him and continued on.

With 3 loops to go, I passed the aid station and saw one of the volunteers making a big cup of hot chocolate! I asked him if I could get one and he handed me this steaming warm cup of chocolaty goodness. I walked while I enjoyed the warmth of it and by the time I got done with that loop and was back at the aid station, I wanted another one. 

I never listen to music when I run, but I had my wireless headphones with me (for the shuttle ride to SLC) and remembered that Jason Green of the Yeti Trail Runners  had been interviewed for the podcast Ten Junk Miles. This was so much fun to listen to and really took my mind off of the pain. I crossed the finish line around 1:00AM. 

Could I have gone faster, of course, but there was no reason too. I got my 100K (62.5 miles to be exact) and I still had legs for my marathon in Arizona the following weekend and still finished 2nd in my age group and 10th overall. 

100K Finished!

After I finished I was going back to the tent to change my clothes and sleep, but it was cold and without a shower there was no way I could warm up. So I changed into dry warm clothes and took my sleeping bag to the aid station where I stepped into it and sat in a chair next to the fire with a few other runners, like the hilarious Ann Trason (14 time winner of the Western States 100)! I ate grilled cheese sandwiches, drank some hot tea and fell asleep in the chair next to the fire. 

 When the sun came up, Dan and Beiyi finished their races, we packed up our camp and headed to Mesquite where we went to Dan's sister's condo for showers and a nap (but not before stuffing our faces at Del Taco) and they drove me to St. George to catch the shuttle home.

This is a really fun event and if you are new to ultra running and want to dip your toe in, this is a great first time ultra of any distance. It's flat, it's well organized and most important, it's fun!

I would like to say a HUGE THANK YOU to Beiyi and Dan for their hospitality. Without their generosity, I would not have been able to run this one this year. It's people like them that remind me how AWESOME the running community is!!