Bighorn 100M – Preview

I am so nervous about this race.  Just doing this write up makes me feel sick to my stomach.

My lead up to Bighorn has not been ideal, but I’m feeling optimistic because it seems like my mountain fitness has taken a big step up in the last week or two.  Every run since my ankle sprain has felt better than the last one, and on yesterday’s run I felt like I finally had my full stride back.  2016 has been a good year for me (so far), with my body responding well to every challenge I throw at it.  From a fast (for me) half marathon in the spring, to my race at Diez Vista, to my 7x Prairie Mountain repeats and the FKT on the Glasgow to Banded Traverse.  My legs are strong and I feel like my head is in the right place.

Still … my track record at Bighorn is not good and 100 milers are incredibly unpredictable.  There are so many factors beyond my control, and I know that ultimately this race is less about fitness and more about how I respond to unexpected challenges when they come up.  This is likely the fittest I have been going into a race, and it makes me nervous because I know it could all just blow up in my face..


I’m trying to keep a healthy perspective.

More than anything I need a finish.  With two DNFs on this course I feel like I’m overdue for a good race, but maybe I’m just overdue to put my ego aside and shuffle to the finish line.  Honestly, I would be okay with a shuffle – I just need to get this monkey off my back.  Also, I need a Hardrock qualifier.

In addition to finishing I also have more ambitious goals. I’d love to join the prestigious “Rusty Spurs Club“, a special designation reserved for those individuals who run sub-24hrs at Bighorn.  I have broken 24hrs in my last two 100 mile races so I know it’s possible, but running sub-24 at Bighorn is relatively rare for female competitors.  3 ladies managed it last year. No ladies broke the barrier in 2014 or 2015.

My “A” goal is to win Bighorn.  Yes, I  know that sounds pretentious, but I’m putting it out there anyway.  It’s a race, and I want to race as hard as I possibly can.  I want to run as fast as possible, and collapse in exhaustion at the finish line.  There is a very quality women’s field this year, and I am choosing to count myself among them.

My “A+” goal is 21:14.  This would be a new 100 mile personal best for me.  It would also be a course record, so I should probably forget about this goal all together. But, I can’t help but think that 21:14 might be possible.  When I work out the splits that seem reasonable (assuming no puking and decent weather) they come out to 20:59 …  Unfortunately, I’ve never run 100 miles with good weather and no puking so this is probably a goal to aspire to, but not necessarily achieve.

If you want to follow along and watch the carnage unfold, I think you can do so here.

In the meantime, here are a few photos from yesterday’s mountain adventure up Head Mountain!  You know it’s a good mountain adventure when it takes 7hrs to cover 22km 🙂

 

Glasgow to Banded Peak – FKT

Before we go off the deep end with the Spray Valley 10, Arielle and I want to test ourselves on some shorter adventures.  Last Saturday we went out to set a new Fastest Known Time on the Glasgow to Banded Peak traverse.  Although many parties have completed this route before, we couldn’t find much information on speed attempts. Most hikers will do the route in 12-14hrs, and the fastest time we could find by a trail runner/scrambler was set by our friend Jamie Junker in just over 8hrs.  We thought that we could do the route in 7hrs if things went smoothly.

We had a few objectives for this adventure:

  • Work out partner logistics.  Arielle and I are going to be working together, pushing ourselves HARD for over 30 hrs during the Spray Valley 10.  How will we get along?  Will we be able to effectively communicate with each other?  The Glasgow to Banded traverse was a perfect testing ground for this.
  • Pace ourselves effectively.  Our goal was to use an eating/hydration strategy which would keep our energy levels steady throughout the day so that we would be able to move at a consistent effort throughout the entire route.
  • Test gear.  We are using some new-to-us gear for the Spray Valley 10.  Would this gear be effective and durable?

The Route

The Glasgow to Banded Peak traverse is a loop which starts and finishes at the Harold Chapman Bridge in the Little Elbow Day Use Area.  You complete the route by summiting Glasgow, Cornwall, Outlaw and Banded Peak and then returning to the bridge.  Depending on the route you take, the traverse will cover up to 35km, with about 2300m of climbing.  Most of the terrain is off-trail and there is very little actual running until you reach the last 10km.

Arielle and I decided to take the shortest route possible, which also meant the most technical route.  This shortened the route to 32km, added some scrambling, and eliminated some bush-whacking.

We began at 7:17am on the west side of the Harold Chapman Bridge. After crossing the bridge we immediately turned right onto a horse trail.  We followed the trail for a couple of kilometres before veering off and angling towards the base of Glasgow.  There is a way to do this almost entirely on trail, but I was a little inaccurate with my navigating so we lost 5-10 minutes bush-whacking through the forest.

20170603_071807 1

Early start, blinded by the sun.

Once you reach the base of Glasgow the entire route is off-trail until you descend from Banded Peak.  We power-hiked up through the brush and within an hour of our start we had gained the ridge on Glasgow.

20170603_082136 1

One hour in. We are above treeline but have a long way to go.

The next 4 hours were spent above treeline.  We power-hiked and scrambled our way up Glasgow.  Our friend Andrew met us on the shoulder of the ridge, where he was filming our progress with a drone. Hopefully the footage turns out 🙂

20170603_084652 1

The climb up Glasgow seems to go on, and on, and on…

I made a second navigation error near the summit of Glasgow, which resulted in some difficult scrambling and maybe 5 minutes of lost time.  Still, the trip was going smoothly and we made it to the top in 2hrs, 20 minutes.  It is certainly possible to make it up there in less than 2hrs if you don’t make any mistakes.

We stopped for a few minutes on Glasgow to put on our gators.  There was still some remnant snow and lots of scree to run on, and we were determined not to waste our time emptying our shoes.  The gators worked great and we didn’t have any wasted shoe time.

We refilled out bladders with snow at the col between Glasgow and Cornwall.  I had nearly finished my 2 litres of water at this time, so the snow which I added to my Camelbak did not melt quickly.  I really should have refilled earlier, but I didn’t realize I was drinking so much.  Both of us were fueling and drinking regularly; which is probably why we felt so good.

There was still a significant amount of snow on Cornwall.  This meant we had to post-hole for about 5-10 minutes, and we also had to take a steeper line than I would have preferred up the scree to avoid further post-holing.  The ascent was an ass-kicker for sure.

From there we flew down the descent towards Outlaw and scrambled up the other side without issue.  The descent from Outlaw was cautious as I babied my recently sprained ankle, but we still made good time and soon we were on to the ascent up our 4th and final mountain.  We were moving steadily and neither of us had any significant energy lulls.  We reached the summit of Banded Peak in 4:35 and briefly wondered if it was possible to go under 6hrs.

The way down Banded Peak is on very rough scree and is not particularly enjoyable.  At one point Arielle dislodged a rock and yelled to warn me. I slipped as I attempted to get out of the way and it nailed me in the lower back/hip.  The rock was a decent size and I yelled in pain.  This was a good learning experience for us.  For future rocks we will just say “left” or “right” to tell our partner where to go to avoid impact.

We descended via the east drainage – glissading most of the way, but accidentally getting cliffed out at one point, forcing us to back track for a few minutes.  The east drainage is probably the toughest descent route for route-finding, but it’s nice because you have very minimal bush-whacking afterwards before you hit the horse-trail which brings you down to the Big Elbow Trail.

We refilled our water, stowed our poles and removed our gators at the base of the drainage.  Now it was Arielle’s turn to lead, as the trail was 100% runnable and she is a much faster runner than I am. I maintained the fastest pace I could without feeling like I was putting my ankle at risk and tried to keep her in sight.  She did an awesome job of pacing.

Once we got onto the flat Elbow Valley Trail I couldn’t match Arielle’s speed, but thankfully she waited for me at the bridge so that we could finish together.  My watch said 2:02pm, 6hrs and 45 minutes.

20170603_140314

2:02pm, 6hr45min.  Two very happy trail runners 🙂

You can see our Strava file here.

We also filmed a bunch of videos!

Glasgow Summit

Cornwall Summit

Cornwall to Outlaw Col

Banded Peak Summit

Want to see what we brought?  Here we break it all down.  The UltrAspire Astral pack holds a lot of stuff!  (sorry about the videography, I promise we will get better!)


A look inside Arielle’s Head:

It was a day of surprises out there. Between happy legs and happy views, I don’t think we could have asked for a better day. Going into this we definitely had some doubts (as explained in our previous post), however when we got out there all doubts left our head. We felt strong, consistent and happy the entire way. Initially uncertain with how we would work together,  it was clear that our differences were put aside and our “strengths” combined forces as the day progressed! Joanna took charge with navigation and led us up the ups.  Then when it came time for the downhills and flats, I took over. With both Joanna and I recovering, playing it smart and finishing strong  was the goal. Keeping each other accountable to our plan, and fuelling  we finished  having some juice left in our legs and look forward to seeing how much time we can knock off in the fall!

A look inside Joanna’s Head:

I’m just so happy that my ankle cooperated 🙂


What’s next?

We will take a look at the route up Rimwall, and I get ready to run Bighorn 100!

Happy Trails!

The Timing is Never Perfect

We did our first ever vlog, and it’s on a mountain top!  Watch it on YouTube to find out what we are up to this weekend, or read the story below.


This Saturday, Arielle and I will be attempting to set a new FKT for the Glasgow to Banded Peak Traverse, aka the Elbow Four.  The fastest time we could find for this trip was about 8hrs.  We hope to complete the loop in 7hrs.  This FKT attempt will be a good way for us to test out some of the gear we will be using for the Spray Valley 10, and enable us to see how we work as a team when we are under time pressure. 


The Route: 

We will be taking an unconventional route.  Instead of the normal route up the drainage, we will be scrambling along the entire length of Glasgow Ridge.  This route cuts off a few kilometres from the standard route, and it is far more interesting.  Arielle and I scouted out this alternate ascent in the fall and we loved it!  I really don’t understand why anyone trudges up that drainage. 


 

A look inside Arielle’s head:

How do I feel about this? My mind feels great, but my body…well it is still recovering. Shifting gears from racing 50K nationals last weekend, to now trying to regain my mountain legs isn’t going to be easy.  But it is no excuse. Both Joanna and I are not feeling 100%. My legs may be fast on flats but are no where near mountain ready. Joanna on the other hand has been dealing with a sprained ankle, leaving her sideline for the last few weeks. This makes running flats very difficult for her.

So what is our plan ?  Well there is no plan B, which means it comes down to  trusting the process. Joanna and I are going to continue along our plan of kicking of our spray 10 with this FKT attempt. Knowing that our biggest barrier will be physical, but will use our mental strength to get it done! I will use her strength to pull me up the mountains, and she will use my speed to carry her through the long flats.

~Never give yourself permission to have a plan B ~


 

A look inside Joanna’s head:

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t second guessing the timing of this trip.  Arielle and I are not at our best, and there is still enough snow on the route that we may have troubles with the descent off Banded.  But … I LOVE adventures.  I have grown to enjoy uncertainty, and I relish the chance to solve problems when things don’t go as expected.  When everything goes according to plan it makes for very boring stories.

I am excited to go out there and see how fast we can move.  I’m pumped up to inspire other people to get out there, push themselves, smash our time, or to set their own personal best.  Whether we succeed or fail, we can use this attempt as a learning experience and a stepping stone to bigger goals.


Search #sv10 on Instagram and Facebook to follow our story.  Here are a few photos from yesterday’s mountain adventure on Opal Ridge.

 

Peak #2 – The Orphan

FB_IMG_1495666290865

Summit views from the Orphan, looking down on Wind Ridge.

  • Round trip distance 8.6km, 860m ascent

The Orphan is arguably the most obscure peak in the Spray Valley 10.  I explored the route on a solo trip last fall (Strava route), and other than a few cairns there is little evidence that anyone had ever been there before.

The peak is tucked in behind Big Sister, and the ascent route follows a drainage which was heavily impacted by the 2013 flood – all evidence of a trail has been washed away.  As a result, it feels a little more remote than the other peaks on our route.  The Orphan is a fitting name.

After hiking up through the drainage, the route turns left and climbs steeply up 500 vertical metres of slab.  I thought this would be a fun place to take a crazy carpet.

FB_IMG_1495666310329

Wheeeee!!!

The summit views on the Orphan are dominated by the Three Sisters to the north, and Rimwall to the South.  Behind you, are glimpses of the Spray Lakes gleaming in the sun, and to the front is the Bow Valley with Wind Ridge and Grotto Mountain.

 

Next up – Rimwall!

Introducing the Peaks – Big Sister

IMG_5707

Looking over at the 3 Sisters and planning the SV10 route

Our first featured peak is Big Sister, the finish line on our 10 peak trek.  Big Sister is the tallest of the 3 sisters and one of the most photographed peaks in the Canadian Rockies.  Even if you’ve never climbed a mountain in your life, if you’ve driven past Canmore you will recognize Big Sister.

I first climbed this peak back in September of 2015 (Strava route here). Jamie lead the way and Philippe came along for the ride. This was Philippe’s first ever scramble!  You can check out his Go Pro video of the summit and descent here.  We spent a lot of time emptying rocks out of our shoes.  Next time we will be wearing gaiters 🙂

The ascent route climbs roughly 1300m in 3.3km.  It is very steep!  To put that in perspective for some of the local trail runners, it is nearly twice as steep Prairie Mountain.

FB_IMG_1495118454715

Very, very steep.

The Big Sister Trail is fairly well defined, with cairns marking important junctions.  You gain height quickly and views of the Spray Valley open up right away.  The crux of the route is a small downclimb just before the final push to the summit.  The downclimb is not as scary as it looks, and you just have to slow down and take your time. (In Philippe’s video you see us climbing up the downclimb).

FB_IMG_1495118545683

Climbing back up the crux of the route

Immediately after the crux there is a shaded area next to a cliff which holds onto snow almost year round.  Last year, during a June ascent, I was forced to turn around at this point since the snow was frozen hard as ice and I had not brought any traction aids with me.  A fall on this section would be deadly.  During our SV10 attempt we will be carrying Veriga crampons so that we won’t get caught off guard by any icy sections.

FB_IMG_1495118519825

That snow may not look like much, but it can be tricky!

Coming up next week, The Orphan!

The Spray Valley 10

FB_IMG_1494949552409

I’ve got a problem.  I love moving quickly through the mountains.  The more time I spend in the mountains, the more I want to explore, the more I want to see what my body is capable of, the more I want to test my limits.  The more I test my limits, the crazier the adventures get.

I’ve got a friend named Arielle.  She is crazy.  She is an enabler of the best kind.  She pushes me to take my thoughts and dreams, and put them into action.  We do a lot of mountain adventuring together and last summer she mentioned that we should do some FKTs (Fastest Known Times)  on some of the local routes.  Arielle is a fast runner, whereas I am a fast scrambler, so we tried to think of some routes which would highlight both of our strengths.   Both of us know how to suffer, and both of us seem to excel at longer endurance events (as compared to short sprints).

We came up with some ideas for routes:

  • The Glasgow to Banded Peak Traverse
    • 35km, 2200m of climb
  • Cinderella’s Bitchslap (Midnight Peak to Porcupine Ridge via Tiara Peak)
    • 25km, 2300m of climb
  • The Canmore Quad
    • 53km, 4900m of climb
  • And my own invention, the Spray Valley 10 (SV10)
    • 95km, 10 000m of climb, 10 peaks in the Spray Valley.
    • Engadine, Buller, Red Ridge, Bogart, Sparrowhawk, Lougheed, Windtower, Rimwall, The Orphan and Big Sister
    • The goal is to complete the route as quickly (and safely) as possible.  Hopefully in 36hrs or less.

We plan to use the shorter FKTs as training for the penultimate event, the SV10.  The ridiculously high spring snow pack has delayed our training a bit, but with a couple more weeks of nice weather we should be free to run our legs off on all of the front range peaks.  Arielle and I will be posting on my blog and on Instagram (#sv10) throughout our training and FKT attempts.  We have also had some generous sponsors step up to help us out with gear:

Lastly, we would like to make this adventure about something that is bigger than ourselves.  For myself, this is partially a selfish motivation because it will help keep me going when I’m tired and I want to quit.  But also, we want to do this because we have been blessed with the incredible good fortune to have fit, healthy bodies and an amazing mountain playground in our backyard.  We are grateful to have this opportunity to explore our limits and would like to use this opportunity to give back to those who are not so lucky.  Please show your support by donating to MitoCanada, running for those who can’t.

Learn more about MitoCanada by watching this heart-warming video.  You can learn more about MitoCanada by visiting their website here.

Running Scared – Diez Vista 100km (2017)

Preamble:

As is my usual M.O., I took a good look at the entrants list before going into this race. There were a few stand out names I recognized, and I was sure there would also be some strong local runners who I didn’t recognize.  I made a list of the women who I was certain would be miles ahead of me:

  • Samantha Drove
  • Tracy Garneau
  • Amy Sproston
  • Darla Askew

If you don’t know who these ladies are, just Google them.

I decided to let those women battle it out for the podium positions, and then maybe I could sneak in for 5th place.  I’ve heard that in some sports they have extended podiums that include the top-5 🙂

I didn’t want to have a goal which was strictly placement-oriented, so I came up with a time-oriented goal as well.  Two years ago I ran the 50km version of DV in 5:50, so I figured I should be able to complete the 100km version in sub-12hrs, roughly double that amount of time.  Sure, I would slow down over 100km, but I am also fitter now than I was two years ago.

I spent the days leading up to the race hanging out at my sister’s place in Vancouver.  We ate copious amounts of sushi and my brother-in-law cooked up a mountain of crepes. There was also plenty of beer.  I was carb-loading like a boss.

 

The Race:

The race began in the pouring rain, but the forecast was calling for the rain to lighten up as the day went on.  I decided to wear shorts (I hate wet pants), a t-shirt (so that if the weather improved I wouldn’t be too hot), and a water-proof jacket.

The race started in the dark at 6am and I found myself running next to Amy Sproston (I recognized her from Google).  Running near her was disconcerting, but I wasn’t breathing hard and my legs felt good so I decided to just go with it.  We took turns sharing the lead for the first 15km and I wasn’t sure where the other All Star ladies were.  My Icebug Animas were gripping extremely well on the rocky/muddy trail, so I was able to run down the hills with ease, outrunning all of the nearby runners only to be passed again once we got back onto smoother trail.

At the 15km junction we turned onto the steep and technical Diez Vista trail.  Amy was about a minute ahead of me, but I soon caught up and she motioned for me to pass.  Nowhere in my pre-race planning had I ever envisioned leading this race.  I felt like an imposter, but I decided that if the other ladies were going to pass me then I was going to make them work for it.

For the rest of the DV trail I was entirely on my own – no one to see in front of me and no one visible behind me.  I focused on staying smooth and relaxed. The rain was pouring down in buckets now, and at one point it even started to hail.  I had flashbacks of running Fat Dog 120, when the rain came down and runners began to drop like flies with hypothermia.  I told myself to keep on eating and to avoid puking at all costs.  “Keep the furnace burning” became my mantra.  In hindsight, the terrible weather may have been a blessing-in-disguise, as it kept me very process-oriented.

Eventually I got off the DV trail and onto more runnable terrain.  The trail was super cruisey and I found myself running all the uphills and flying on the downs.  I did quite a bit of downhill-focused training in the weeks leading up to Diez Vista, so I was confident I was not going to blow my quads out with the speedy downhill pace. The fun trail eventually intersected with a flat, gravel road.  I sighed and kept on running.

 

Side note:

I am not a road runner.  Occasionally I have fits of delirium where I think I want to learn how to run properly on the roads, but it only takes me one or two road workouts to come back to my senses.  My road running skill (or lack of skill) is a serious liability for me if I want to be a competitive ultra-runner.  Thankfully the weather really sucked this winter so I was forced to embrace the treadmill for several runs while my asthma went into full revolt from the cold air.  The extra treadmill running has resulted in moderately better flat running speed.

 

Back to the race:

My improved road running skills came in handy during the several out-and-back road sections on the DV course.  With each out-and-back I could see my competitors gaining on me, but I was able to move fast enough that I could get back to the safety of the trails without getting caught.  I felt like a hunted animal, searching for the safety of a burrow or thicket.  (We’ve been reading Watership Down).

The course turned onto a trail which ran up under a power line.  The rain was falling harder now, and a bit of a cold breeze picked up.  My t-shirt wasn’t cutting it and I could feel the cold begin to seep into my bones.

I ran down a series of switchbacks into the next aid station where Matt was waiting for me with a merino wool long-sleeve, water-proof cap, fresh buff and some mitts.  Having Matt there with warm clothes probably saved my race. I knew that taking the time to change into warmer clothing was going to cost me the lead, but I also knew that if I didn’t take the time to take care of myself I was going to end up hypothermic.

It seemed to take forever to towel off and change my clothes, but surprisingly none of the other ladies caught me.  I wondered if they were toying with me.

The next section of the course was fun, uphill trail.  I settled into a good rhythm and found myself at the top of the climb way too soon.  I had been enjoying the climb so much I didn’t want it to end 🙂  Now we were running on wide double-track trail underneath a power line for several kilometres.  The trail crossed over raging streams and waterfalls, I wondered if they would burst their banks.  A slight, cold wind had picked up and the rain continued to pour down.  It was so cold, and I was so thankful for my wool shirt.

This section was, once again, an out-and-back.  And, once again, nobody caught me but several ladies were very close.  I was well over 40km into the race and I just wanted to relax. I told myself that I was never going to take the lead in the first half of a race ever again.  It is much more fun to chase than to be chased.

I got off the power line trail and enjoyed several kilometres of super fun trail.  I bombed down the switchbacks as fast as I could without colliding into any of the runners who were on their way up, and then embraced the power-hike back up the appropriately named “FU” Hill.  Near the top of the hill I ran into Katie who graciously volunteered to tackle the other girls for me if they got to close.  Thanks for helping me out Katie 🙂

From the top of FU Hill it was mostly downhill to the Start/Finish area, which was at the 59km mark of the race (it’s a convoluted course).  This was the lowest point of my race.  From the very beginning of the run, there had not been a single moment of relaxation.  There were so many times when I just wanted to slow down and take a walk break, but I couldn’t find a good excuse!  My legs felt fine, my stomach was fine, my HR wasn’t too high, my feet weren’t blistered.  I just wanted someone to pass me so that I could stop running so hard. I wanted a nap.

I came into the aid station determined to sit down and have a break, but nobody offered me a seat.  Instead, they all told me how good I looked, gave me a cup of hot soup and sent me out of there (after taking a quick photo with Gary).

I found myself running back towards FU Hill, when all I wanted to do was walk.  I needed an attitude check and I pulled out all of my mental tricks:

  • I reminded myself to be grateful.  There were over 100 volunteers who had given up their day to hang out in the rain and make sure I got to the finish line!
  •  I reasoned with myself; there’s less than a marathon left!
  • I tried to find some body parts to gripe about, but everything felt fine.
  • I smiled at the runners who were coming down the hill as I made my way up.  Fake it ’til you make it.

By the time I made it to the next aid station my attitude had begun to come around.  I’d made it this far, I may as well finish this thing up. I enjoyed a cup of hot soup and then slowly made my way out and back up the hill to run the power-line trail for the final time.  I was dreading that power-line trail, it was going to be so freaking cold!

Then something wonderful happened, I got caught!  It was the first person, man or woman, to catch up with me all day.  I can’t remember this guy’s name, but he was the most positive person I have ever met on the trails.  He talked about how much he was looking forward to getting back on that power-line trail and seeing those BEAUTIFUL waterfalls. That conversation changed the rest of my race and I found myself completely re-energized.  I picked up the pace and left my new friend behind as I gained a sudden burst of motivation.

During my trip back on the power-line trail I noticed that my lead had grown by a few minutes, and that the chase pack had shrunk from 4 ladies to just one. I assumed the other women had dropped out.  The weather was so bad, I couldn’t really blame them.

Back down the hill I went, feeling smooth and looking forward to more hot soup at the 80km aid station.  I drank a lot of soup at this race, and each aid station had a different delicious flavour! Strava tells me I had over 1.5hrs of stoppage time, I’m sure most of that was spent drinking soup.

At the 80km aid station I learned that I was not only 1st lady, but 3rd overall!  How exciting!  I left the aid station in good spirits, bound for the final aid station of the race before reversing the technical DV trail and running back to the finish line.

I spent too much time drinking soup at the final stop (87km) and one of the guys caught up and passed me.  He was the only person to pass me all day.  I had hoped to catch back up to him on the technical trail, but Mother Nature had other plans.

The narrow DV trail had transformed into a river with freezing cold water.  My frostbitten feet complained loudly as I forced them to keep moving forward in the bitter cold.  Whenever I could, I would detour widely around the water. I was moving very slowly.

Eventually the trail climbed high enough that the rivers reduced to mere streams.  I was able to move more smoothly, but I still didn’t feel particularly quick.  Whenever I needed to eat or drink I would stop and stand in place.  I didn’t trust myself to simultaneously walk, eat and not trip on a root or rock.

I got back onto less technical trail and was happy to discover that I still had the energy to run. I ran down the hills, and shuffled on the flats and ups. The kilometres ticked by and when I reached the stairs which led up to the finish line I knew I had finally made it.  I confess that I did not run up the stairs (I walked them), but I did manage to run to the finish line where Gary Robbins was waiting with a big hug.  I tried my best not to ugly cry.

1st lady, 4th overall, 13:15.

Epilogue:

  • Most exhausted muscles: forearms, biceps and shoulders from holding onto my heavy, wet mitts!
  • Blisters: None!
  • Chaffing: Everywhere!!!  Body Glide did not last.  Also, I am not used to prolonged rain running.
  • Fuel:
    • Gu and Hammer gels (various flavours)
    • Mini Starburst (although these tasted amazing, I wouldn’t recommend it in the future.  My mouth turned into a giant canker sore)
    • Soup (vegetable broth, tomato, carrot, squash)
    • 3 caffeine pills (100mg, every 4 hrs)
    • 3 salt pills (whenever I felt nauseous)
    • Water whenever I felt like it.
  • Gear:
    • Icebug Animas
    • Swiftwick 7″ socks
    • Ultraspire Spry 2.0 pack
    • Asics shorts.
    • Costco merino wool long-sleeve shirt
    • Mountain Hardwear jacket (men’s small so that I could fit it over my pack instead of under it)
    • Running Room mitts
    • Icebug buff (x2)
    • Nike waterproof golf cap
    • Petzl Tikka headlamp
  • Thank you:
    • To my wonderfully, unbelievably, supportive husband
    • To Susannah and Bernard for hosting us for the week
    • To Gary Robbins and Ridgeline Athletics for putting on this event and dreaming up the 100km course
    • To Ian and the team at Rockgear Distribution for helping me out with gear to train and race in
    • To my training partners who help me believe in myself and enable me to dare to dream bigger

 

Next up, Bighorn 100 Miler in June!

 

Happy Trails!