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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Squaw Peak 50 Miler And My 2nd DNF!

OK. After my DNF at Ogden two weeks before, I really needed to have a good race. Race Director and fellow Maniac, John Bozung invited me to run the Squaw Peak 50 Mile Trail Run. I have been promising John that I would come run his race, but the timing was always off when trying to BQ early in the year, but since the 2017 BQ was already secured, I took the bait and registered.

I had heard nothing but good things about this this race except that it was one of the hardest 50 mile races in the country, but with a pretty lenient cutoff and knowing other runners that have run it before me, I thought I could handle it and I think I could have on another day.

Friday night, I went to the packet pick up and complementary pasta dinner where I picked up by bib and chatted with friends and had a nice dinner of spaghetti, salad and pie and ice cream. I even told my friend Susette Fisher that I had to finish since I was having pie and ice cream! 50 miles on the trail should have burned all those calories off.

I didn't stay long as the 2:15am wake up call would come soon, so I headed back to my apartment and went to bed at 7:30pm! I usually have a hard time sleeping that early, but for some reason, I was really tired and I went right to sleep. By the time the alarm went off, I felt really well rested.

I jumped up got dressed, made a cup of tea, took Zoe out and looked at the clock. OH NO! It was 3:15am! I had one hour to drive to Orem, park, walk to the start area (10 minutes away) check in, drop my drop bags, use the bathroom and fill my water bottles before the early start at 4:00am. I HATE feeling rushed. If I am rushing, I WILL forget something. From that time forward, everything went downhill.

Being my first time at this race, coming off a DNF at Ogden after having dizzy spells and needing to get done ASAP so I could pick up Bart Yasso from the airport that evening, I signed up for the early 4:00 am start, which I was late for.

What else could go wrong you may ask? Here is a short list:

  • In my haste to get to the start I had left my breakfast in the car and started the 50 trek on an empty stomach. 
  • One of my new contacts fell out a mile into the race, so I was having trouble seeing the trail.
  • The dizzy spells started again around mile 5. I thought they were due to no food, but a saint of a runner shared one of her peanut butter sandwiches with me and I felt a bit better, but had to sit 3 more times on the trail to avoid fainting. 
I caught my friend Robert about 3 miles in and he was feeling ill as well. We stuck together for the first 5 miles and I went ahead.

The sun starting to peek out.

The course is challenging, but breathtaking. I was having waves of hot flashes and dizziness for the first 14 miles and I wasted a lot time needing to walk and sit down. The miles were going by like flowing molasses!  

I wanted to drop at the 2nd aid station, but tried to tell myself to suck it up and get moving and I would pull myself slowly to the next aid station.  

Around mile 10, my friend Robert found me sitting on the trail. I was not in good shape, but I thought if I could stay with him, I might have a chance of getting through the rest of the race. I actually started feeling a lot better.

The sun was out, but we were running in the shade keeping cool and we had hit this down hill section that was fairly OK to run on.

One of the many times I was sitting on the trail not doing so well. (Photo credit: Robert Merriman)

Robert Merriman kicking butt!

Before we got to the 14 mile aid station, we started doing the math. We had 10 hours to get 33 miles. In most cases, this would not be a big deal. I finished my last 50 miler in a little over 10 hours, getting to 33 miles in 10 hours would be a piece of cake... or so I thought.

I knew that with all the wasted time I spent trying to get my head to stop spinning, I would barley make the cutoff at the pace I was going and the hardest, hottest part of the day was yet to come. Between miles 14 and 20, I made the decision to drop. 

Even the downhill sections were difficult to run on due to all the loose rocks!

Just before the 21ish mile aid station I saw a truck coming down the mountain. It was my friend Enrique, who had packed up the 14 mile aid station and was heading to the finish picking up dropped runners on the way down. 

To my surprise, my friend and badass runner Becca was in the front seat! She had twisted her ankle and since she was training for the Wasatch 100, she decided not to make things worse and drop too. We picked up 2 more runners at the aid station (one with a broken arm and one with a twisted ankle), both really experienced ultra runners. This made me feel a little better about my decision to drop.

Becca is HARDCORE!

My WRC pal Becca and I!

When we got to the finish, Becca and her dad drove me to my car and I headed home disappointed that I had another DNF, yet glad I was safe and got to enjoy a beautiful 20 miles in a really beautiful place. I also got to enjoy the rest of my weekend hanging out with Bart!

The next morning we went running in Corner Canyon and the rest of the weekend was spent running in Draper and hiking Bell Canyon! I had a blast!

Bart and I in Bell Canyon!

I would like to say THANK YOU to John Bozung for inviting me to run this race. I will be back next year for revenge! Also, THANK YOU Becca for picking up my drop bags!

This is a wonderful and beautiful race! I can't wait to try again next year!

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