So I knew I would do a 100k this weekend, in training for Wasatch. I haven't raced since May so was looking forward to it. It was just a matter of which one to do. Do I go to Tushars 93k and possibly deal with elevation issues (we just spent 3.5 weeks on a family road trip back east where I kept my miles up, but without any vert or elevation) or do I do Katcina and deal with potential heat issues (our trip weather was humid, but never super hot). As if life couldn't get any more exciting we packed our house up in the 2 weeks before our trip and now had to move into our new house the day after we got back and days before the race. Feeling overwhelmed with unpacking our new house we decided o stay local and do Katcina. I think this was the race I was leaning toward the whole time really. More Wasatch like and I wanted to see my progress from 2 years previous. In 2013 I ran a 15:47 and suffered pretty good those last 30 miles. I set a goal this year to run a 14 something. After looking at my previous splits and subtracting time where I figured I could, I was at 14:40 so those were the splits I had to go off of.
Katcina has a 3am start. Woah. Was concerned about how and when to eat and settled on eating about half my usual pre-race breakfast a little less than 2 hours before race start vs the 3 I usually do. Scrambled getting everything else ready and out the door for the 40 min drive but not without having to turn around to get gas. Ugh. Rolled into the park 10 minutes before the start, threw my drop bags into place, said hi quickly to a few people, pinned my number on and ran to the bathroom. And heard the race start while I was in there. For the second time at this race I started very last watching people well up the road running ahead of me. Oh well :)
Caught up with friend and lovely lady Carol Manwaring and shared a few miles together while commenting about the chatty brood of fellas just in front of us. And they say women gab a lot ;)
As the field spread out Chris Pope and I now ran together discussing life and all things gory and medical as he is a angio tech and I in nursing school. Rolled into the first aid station 13 minutes ahead of last time and was happy with that. Chris and I were moving well but smart enough to back off and hike if needed.
The next section to aid station 2 I remember being very rocky and hard to run but didn't think much of it this time. That was nice. Met new friend Eric. 25 minutes ahead of 2013. Perfect. I trotted the next downhill not wanting to toast my quads even a little and was taken care of so kindly at aid station 3.
The hike up to lightning ridge was not shorter than I remember ;) and I felt it in places. I stopped several times on this section and would throughout the day to stretch my hips, glutes, sometimes calves, and to massage the topical pain creme on my lower back that complained during hiking. The views up on Lightning ridge are so great and I took them in briefly.
Ran into friend Amy briefly, got a hug, and continued on. Didn't improve my hike up time much also don't think I hustled as much as 2013 so I'll take it. I recall the first of several quick hip, glute, and calf stretch sessions of the day here.
The descent to Big Springs was one area I wanted to improve on from 2013. I recall holding back a lot, braking, and being scared of parts of it. There were still a couple sections I went slower than I'd like, but I did my best to let gravity rule and dance over the sometimes sliding and sometimes stubbornly stuck rocks. Passed a lady much like I was last time, frozen, not sure how to go down the loose stuff. I just encouraged her to try to ski/surf down them. Dropped 5-7 minutes over 3 miles so I'm fairly happy with it. Full expected Brian Beckstead to pass me on the way down but mope. No one did actually which made me happy. Pushed a little more than I'd like, well used my quads more than I'd like rather, but wanted to improve time on this section. Anyway, back down to the Big Springs aid station and greeted again by friendly faces and lots of help.
I recall not feeling well the hour after this aid station last time and was hoping for better here. I kept the breathing quiet and the steps short and easy and felt descent. New friend Patrick caught up with me and we'd spend the next couple hours doing what you do with people you just met in ultras - discuss all manner of life and families and sport. It's a good mind occupier and time passer and I enjoy hearing people's stories. The hike up to Windy Pass was steep and slow in places but good to see.
I moved out quickly after getting my new Way2Cool towel wet and wearing it like a shawl for a while. Wasn't ice cold or anything but was pretty nice and I enjoyed covering my shoulders for a while.
|Patrick behind me just after Windy Pass. |
Forgive the blurry pictures, leaving the phone in a ziplock bag wasn't the smartest move.
I let Patrick by as I made a bush stop, turned the music on and focused on moving well but easy as the temps we're hearing up and I was on a long part of the course. The trail was so overgrown and rooty it was hard to see what you were stepping on and was really slow going for several miles. Had a neat moment of seeing a blue bird flying in front of me on this pretty wooded section that made me think of my Grandma Ann who loved to go on mountain drives and watching me race. It was sweet to think of her watching this race now too, only from above.
I eventually ran back into Patrick who was low on water and more concerned about it than I realized and like a good new friend, I told him to come with me and I took off. And he didn't. I feel really bad about that. I rolled into Little Valley feeling good. Dropped my pack off to be taken care of by volunteers and good friend Carol's good husband Jeff and returned from the 1.5 mile out and back ready to go and got out quick. Saw Brian come in as I was leaving but didn't see any ladies. I wasn't worried about placement very much so far, but liked knowing I was at least 20 minutes up on the next woman.
Now was to come what I remember as the longest and most boring sections of the course. I recall a lot of walking. It was a goal to not experience these sections that way this time though, which would be tough as I would not see another racer for 20 miles.
About a mile after Little Valley you come to this 4 way stop and as I recall last year, it wasn't clear where to go. I had a feeling it was right but didn't see any ribbons. I figured it was this way so I'd go this way till I saw a ribbon or it had been 10 minutes. I did see an old orange ribbon on the ground near the bushes not far from the turnoff, so put it in the middle of the dirt road under a rock in hopes it would help others and figured I'd move it if I ended up coming back. So off I went looking for footprints and eventually asking some ATVers if they'd seen runners this way and thankfully yes. I think this was the section I had a little bit of a mental low. It had been a long day, I remember this being a long part of last year and frankly it was just kind of boring. Thankfully I pulled out of it after a couple miles though and arrived at the Bathtub aid station 15 minutes faster than last time.
Leaving Bathtub I greeted all the cows I saw and was thankful to be doing the last long stretch between aid stations. This next aid station would be before we descended back to the road and it just feels like an almost done landmark to me. I recall last year thinking I was almost there so many times, so knew what to look for as actually almost there and knew not to question if I was almost there till I really was. I was moving well and feeling warm but kept it under control. Looked to the east to a beautiful view and got a little emotional at It and at God's great creations. I love moments like that.
About a mile out of the aid station I did some math and realized I was ahead of 14:40 schedule. If I could arrive at the aid station by 12:15 chrono race time, I could break 14 hours. I picked the pace up a little but still not pushing. Seeing the aid station was exciting and rolling in at 12:12 was really exciting and got me amped up and into "it's on" mode.
Left the aid station at 12:15 and felt a pretty quick endorphin low actually. It was steep and rough downhill initially with logs and ruts to go over and I felt my sore body. But I would spend the next 3.8 miles hustling now, not like I had all day. Now I was pushing. And while yes I still had 9-10 miles to go I was confident I could push that long (thank you Ogden Marathon). This short 3.8 didn't really feel short and I got frustrated a few times wanting and needing to get into the last aid station by 13:00 to give myself an hour to run the last 6 miles.
Last year there were reports of a mom and baby bear down here so I kept on alert and only got startled once when I smelled something game-y for sure and then heard some good rustling in the bush beside me. Looked back and saw the bush look pretty dark but I doubt it was a bear. Regardless it kept me moving. I found me telling myself I was doing great as it was and I could totally just keep trotting the rest of the race and finish low 14 something which was still my original goal and a great PR. The other side of me also knew if I was close and had a chance, why not give it a little more time and energy and get to cap the day off breaking into a new standard for me.
Eventually eventually (yes I mean to type it twice) after some emotional moments I got into the last aid station at 13:02, took the time very quickly to change into the Intuition 3.5 not because my feet were hurting me, but just because it sounded good for these last 6 paved road miles, and it was. Gave me the chance to finally tromp into some streams in my Lone Peak 2.5's before arriving at this aid station knowing I had dry shoes waiting. Jeff helped me again and off I went.
Man, I bet I ran almost 3 miles at around 7-7:30 pace. I felt good and felt fast and enjoyed feeling that fast road form happening. I didn't bring as much water on this last 6 as I would have liked as I changed out of the pack and into my minimal Quantum belt and it was warm, so I did venture down to the river to fill my bottle once. While my feet weren't hurting badly like last time, and I wasn't making excuses to make a bush stop or endlessly complaining we were never going to get there, those last 3-4 miles were tough. Mostly mentally. I walked very briefly a few times before my will took over and pushed me back into a trot. I wasn't running 7's anymore, but I had to at least just keep running. I was so close to this ultimate goal for the day, and I could do it, I just had to keep moving. Knowing I started late I knew I needed to get in by 13:57 or so on my watch. And it was getting close. Finally saw my husband and kids drive up (coming to watch at the last aid station, oops) and cheer for me which was nice. I asked him how far it was and he said 1/4-1/2 mile. I saw the white fence and could finally feel the finish. They were out waiting to run in with me and I feel bad not really waiting for them, but I ran that last 50 yards in fast from fear. To my delight my watch said 13:49 and their clock said 13:51. Wow!
My endorphins fell pretty quick and some real soreness set in quickly upon finishing, but it didn't overwhelm how proud I was of this race. Of course I'm happy I won! Super happy to have run a 13, 2 hour PR and 3rd fastest women's time on that course ever (none of the men broke the top 10 all time times, pretty proud of mine). But what I was most pleased and proud of was earning those things on such controlled and sometimes easy effort. Such a confidence boost for me to my fitness level. I executed well. I kept the breathing quiet and the running and hiking easy until the last 10 when I chose to push. I stayed right on top of my nutrition and hydration and the heat. I was quick in aid stations but got what I needed. I did experience lows, but not badly, and I pulled out of them. Just super happy with how this went.
|USATF Utah 2015 100k champion|
And yet I leave humbled for Wasatch. Confident yes, looking forward to putting in a few more weeks of strong training yes, but also a bit fearful of going to the pain cave, but for longer. I can do it though with good prep, a good taper, smart racing and a good crew and pacer.
Altra Lone Peak 2.5 shoes. Loved them, no complaints at all. Never had to retie them and thanks to the Altra gaiters I wore I never got any rocks in them either. Feet were protected from this rocky course but not being a maximal shoe I felt more connected to the ground and never had any good "ankle stretches". This version reminds me a lot of the original Lone Peaks if you've been with Altra that long.
Wool Injinji socks. Love the toe protection.
Vfuel gel the whole way. Sometimes in packets and sometimes pre squeezed into a 5-6 serving flask. Love the steady energy and digestion. Consumed a little bit of food on course but Vfuel was by far my calorie staple. 1 serving/pack every 30 min.
Had Elete Electrolyte add in in my water in my initial 30oz and then from Big Springs to Little Valley. Love not having to take pills or think about getting my electrolytes in and I really do like the slight mineral taste.
Started with my Ultraspire Spry pack. Love that little thing and if it hadn't been for needing to carry more water as the sections got longer and the day heated up I would have kept it on the whole time.
I switched at Big Springs to my Nathan VaporAiress I've been testing. I filled the bladder full of ice cubes and maybe 10oz of water and a dose of Elete before I left for the house and put it in my drop bag. Was pleased to have no leaks and a bladder full of ice I had to add water too 5 hours into the race. I wish I'd carried my small Elete flask with me the whole time to redose my water as I had to fill up. The Gu Electrolyte pills I've been using which I like, got stuck in my throat a lot.
Finished the day with my Ultraspire Quantum waist belt which I've always been a fan of if you only need 10 oz of water at a time. The original holds 10oz, the update only has 1 flask holder although you could fit one in the front.
Took 2 Hammer Tissue Rejuvinator pills every 3 hours which I think help some keep inflammation down, naturally.
As my something new for this race I brought a Way2Cool (not to be confused with the race) cooling towel with me and started soaking it with water around 5 hours in. I wore it around my shoulders tucked into my bra straps, sometimes on my head, sometimes filled with ice and tied around my neck. It's definitely bigger than a bandana and I worried it would be too bulky but it worked pretty well and I'll have it or something like it at Wasatch.