OK! Wow! It feels like forever that I have written a race report. That's because it has been forever. Between my back injury and getting my finances under control, I have not done any racing for a while. I have done a few half marathon pacing gigs that a love and some training for the Yeti 100, but that's it. I was a little scared and happy to get to run the Elephant Rock Trail Run again.
Last year I got my butt handed to me in the marathon (finishing last) and as soon as the amnesia wore off, I signed up for the marathon again this year. I needed to redeem my dismal finish.
On Friday night, I got home from work and the weatherman on the news said that the temperature would be 100 degrees by 12:00PM. The wildfires in California and Utah have also made the air quality really bad. I KNOW how hot it was last year and my 5-mile runs have been tough with the bad air, so I contacted the RD and switched down to the half. So much for my redemption!
I woke up at 3:30AM, got dressed and headed to Bountiful! This race gave you the option of picking up your race bib at 5:00AM instead of the night before. I live about 45 minutes away, so that was a better option. I saw some friends in the parking lot and we headed off in the dark to the race start about 1/4 mile away.
I headed straight for the bathroom and stood in line chatting with friends. We took some photos and before we knew it the marathon had started. The half started 10 minutes later with the 7 miler 10 minutes after that.
Look at the fun people you meet in the bathroom line! LOL! (Photo Credit: Mike-Truk Meister Schouten)
This race starts on a pretty runnable trail, but from the first step, you are going uphill. The grade is gentle, but when you are barely awake and not warmed up, it feels hard right from the beginning.
About 1.5 miles in we start climbing "Elephant Ridge", a very steep hill that, while it is less than a mile feels like a lot longer! Trekking poles were definitely helpful on this.
Halfway up "Elephant Ridge"!
You can see how smokey the air is.
Almost to the top!
We made it! I ran most of the race with Lula!
There were a couple of false summits on this climb, but it felt good to be at the top, that is until we had to go down the other side. Going down "The Chute" is pretty scary as it is steep and full of loose dirt and rocks. Even with poles, it was hard not to fall. We ran in the bushes just to get a better grip and not kill ourselves going down.
Once we got to the bottom we were able to run again. We ran to the first aid station and I grabbed some gummy bears and Lula and I took off. These trails were runnable, but the next 4 miles were all uphill. My legs were still tired from Elephant Ridge so there was a mix of running and power hiking until we got the next aid station at Rudy's Flat at around mile 7. Our lungs were already burning with the bad air.
I grabbed a little peanut butter and jelly sandwich and some chips and was ready to run! I love this part of the course. It's shady and you can fly down the gentle downhill to make up some time. There are some rocks and roots that can grab you without warning though. I was lucky this year and only tripped once with no falls.
Lula and I hit the last aid station (Photo Credit: Katie@ElephantRock)
Photo Credit: Katie@ElephantRock
I spent the next 6.8 miles cruising down the trail cussing a people who let their dogs off leash on the busy trail (2 dogs ran at us and growled) and avoiding bushes full of bees! The two miles we could feel the sun and the heat was zapping my energy fast. It was so great to run down that last bit of winding trail and hear the finish line before hitting the bridge to cross it.
Running to the finish! (Photo Credit: Matt Jensen)
I finished this half in 4:15:10. I run full road marathons faster than that, but it was really fun!
Lula and I at the finish! It was fun to run with her!
Sitting at the finish with friends including the RD, Wanderly Reis. He is a gem and a great ultra runner himself and he does a great job with this fun and challenging race! (Photo Credit: Josher Hansen)
My sweet friend Joshua and I grabbed an entire bottle of Diet Coke and will be forever known as the "Diet Coke Winos". LOL! 😂 (Photo Credit: Matt Jensen)
No photo shoot would be complete without a back to back photo! (Photo Credit: Matt Jensen)
I love handcrafted medals! This is great!
So, I wanted time on my feet and a got it. Next year they will have a 50K. I am trying to get the nerve to do the marathon again, but the 50K would be awesome. This race kicks my butt, but I will be back! I just can't help myself!
HUGE THANK YOU to Wanderly Reis and all the Elephant Rock crew and volunteers! You guys are AMAZING! 💖