12 Glory Laps in 12 Hours

12 Glory Laps in 12 Hours
Last February 20th, I hiked and skied 12 laps on Mt. Glory. 19,638 feet climbed with skis on my back and 19,638 feet skied to raise money for Camp To Belong. It's snowing again and I'm ready for the 2nd edition! Click the logo for more info and ways to support camp!

Camp To Belong - Elk Mountain Grand Traverse

Camp To Belong - Elk Mountain Grand Traverse
We're racing the Elk Mtn Grand Traverse this March, a 40 mile ski race across the roof of Colorado in the middle of the night! Click for updates on our training and fundraising progress!

Peaked Sports

Peaked Sports
Driggs, ID

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Pocatello 50

A few days have passed and I'm still reliving Saturday's beautiful run. There couldn't have possibly been a better day for a run and combined with some of the most scenic and enjoyable trails I've been on, it all added up to one thing: perfect.

I left Victor Friday night and stayed at my buddy Mike's place in Blackfoot, ID about 20 miles north of Pocatello. He would be running the 50 miler as well and this way, I would only have about a 40 minute drive in the morning to get to the start from his place instead of a 2hr, 15 min drive from my place in Victor. We got up around 4:15am, ate some oatmeal with blueberries, left the house at 4:45 and arrived at the start at the Mink Creek Group Camp Area at 5:30, a half hour before the start. A quick race prep and drop bags dropped off in what I thought was the appropriate areas (my first drop bag would not make it to me at the first aid station and I guess I should have taken more care in making sure I set it in the right spot before the start of the race, but a race volunteer told me where to put them and that's what I did, but I seemed to understand what she was saying backwards and instead of drop bags arranged in piles for Aid Stations 1-2-3, they were arranged in piles for Aid Stations 3-2-1) and right on time at 6:00am, we were off and running.

The first mile we headed down canyon on the paved Mink Creek Canyon Rd before veering left (north) up a singletrack climb that took about 20 minutes. The early morning temperature was perfect. Maybe 50 degrees? And the sun was rising, but struggling to penetrate the thin layer of clouds spread out to the east. At the top of the ridge, we began traversing an east-facing slope through open hillsides of sage and scrubby vegetation, rolling along over the contours of the wavy terrain and dropping frequently into groves of aspens and other small alpine trees with the early morning sunlight filtering through before popping back out into the open again. We were running the Gibson Jack Trail and I must say, it was one of the most pleasurable trail experiences I've ever had. And I had Mark to keep me company.

Mark and I introduced ourselves on the first climb 2-3 miles into the race and proceeded to run together all the way to the first aid station at mile 8. Talking the entire way. Mark was a storyteller and an entertaining one at that. He had a think southern accent which only made the stories that much more entertaining. Thanks Mark, for passing the time! It was a pleasure to be out there sharing the morning trail with you.

We cruised into the 8 mile aid station around 1:20, I think, and I refilled on water and was quickly off up the trail a nice, runnable uphill stretch. Mark took off up ahead, but Chris from Jackson soon caught up to me and suddenly I had another pal to chat with. Chris and I caught up on things a bit. I had seen him at the Moab Red Hot 50k back in February and then the Buffalo Run in SLC in March and I hadn't seen him since so we talked about our spring adventures and then, there it was: The brute of a climb completely off trail up a steep, rocky, vegetated southern slope for 1,000+ ft. It felt good to give me legs a break from the almost non-stop running shuffle I had been applying for the first 10 miles, but hot diggity this thing was steep! And rough! But fun and adventurous!

Chris and I had passed Mark on the way up and when we reached the top, he quickly zoomed away down the double-track descent. I had no hurry to beat up my legs this early on in the race. Mark caught back up to me and passed me just before coming into the first major aid station at the City Creek TH at mile 15.6 which I arrived at after 2 hrs, 56 minutes. My drop bag hadn't made it there and I briefly pictured it sitting at the other aid station wondering where it was and why I had sent it off in another direction other than what I had planned. I remember it seemed sad to me. Back to reality, I filled up with water, drank a yummy cup of Nuun, grabbed 5 Hammer Gels from the aid station table and headed back out onto the next stretch.

This stretch began up a gentle gravel road for a mile or so before turning into the trees and switching onto the City Creek trail which, as its namesake suggests, follows right next to City Creek. And I mean RIGHT next to it. There were places where there was the trail two feet wide and the next foot over was creek. And it was b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l! If the first stretch along the Gibson Jack Trail was near perfect, then maybe this stretch WAS perfect. If only I had more pep. Chris was somewhere ahead of me. So was Mark. Krissy had passed me along this stretch. This would turn out to be one of my low spots of the day. Not horrible. Just dragging a bit. I realized I hadn't peed in a while. Uh-oh. Drink drink drink. Keep drinking. Don't get into a deficit. Drink til you pee. The climb began to get steep. Then steeper. Then we began to hit patchy snow. And then, the trail ended and we were face to face with a narrow, 45 degree, rocky, muddy chute filled with giant patches of melting snow with creeklike runoff pouring down it. Que es esto?!?! This is a true adventure! This is gnarly! I like it!

I soon spotted Mark up above me in the chute and caught up to him and passed him. He was breathing awfully hard and said the altitude was getting to him. Up on the ridge, we were at roughly 7,000ft. At the top of the ridge, I spotted Chris and Krissy. Good, they weren't too far ahead. A couple minutes maybe. Get to the top, then cruise up and latch onto them on the long downhill stretch back to Mink Creek. The downhill was fun. Rolling doubletrack. I focused on having both my bottles finished off by the time I hit the aid station at mile 25. I timed it perfectly and Chris was there as I shwooshed in, filled my bottles, nabbed 3 orange slices and took off again. He left with me, but said he had puked at the top of the last climb and wasn't feeling too chipper. Yikes. I told him I had just experienced that a month ago at Zane Grey, but was able to bounce back and finish feeling good. I told him to keep drinking and keep going and he'll get to feeling better again and we separated again. I caught up to another guy who said he wasn't feeling to good either. Yuk. I hate that feeling. My goal was to finish off my two bottles by the time I reached the next aid station. By my calculations, it would take me about an hour.

The next 6 miles were more blissful trail winding gently downhill through the trees back into Mink Creek. I hit the Mink Creek aid station at mile 33 in exactly 6 hours with two empty bottles. I refilled the bottles with water, grabbed my drop bag which I was REALLY glad to see, slotted my next group of gels into my pockets, easily downed a 20 oz Gatorade (which I was extremely watchful of as it entered my stomach. I didn't want a repeat of that full-belly feeling like I had a t Zane Grey and the full scale vomiting that ensued), rubbed off my face, arms, and legs with a wet towel (which felt SO refreshing, let me tell you!), lathered on some sunscreen, and I was off again. Still feeling good. It was getting hot now and I knew this next stretch was completely without shade.

I had ran this next loop a week before the race and I'm glad I did. The lower part was very runnable if one had conserved energy. The upper part would be steeper, muddier, and then turn to snowpack so I didn't expect hardly anyone to be running that part. My plan was to maintain pace and run the first 25 minutes up the dirt road until it got steep and would become unrunnable to just about everyone. I wanted to catch someone. Maybe I could make up a little time by running this lower stretch while some of the others walked. The hunt was on.

I got passed by 3 or 4 relay runners on the early part of that climb, but I was still running and felt exactly how I wanted to feel. Tired, but not exhausted. The climb went up. And up. And up. And then finally I reached the next aid station below the western slopes of Scout Mountain where I would be headed next. I wasn't feeling to hot at this point and I'm really not sure why. I'd been drinking a ton. Around 40oz per hour. But now I just didn't feel up to running. My legs were beginning to slow. 'Sigh.......' I took a nature break, tried to regroup, and forced myself to keep running for as long as possible until I reached the unrunnable snow and then I could walk as much as I wanted because I knew pretty much everyone would be doing the same.

The route up to the summit of Scout Mountain was a circuitous one as we continued our gradual climb heading south far below its summit to the east before wrapping around its southern flank to reach a saddle between Scout and its neighboring peak further to the south. We then curved north up a gravel road half covered in snow looking north along Scout's eastern slopes. Before getting too far north, we curved west again, crossed back over to Scout's west side, and began up a series of short switchbacks before finally setting off north again along the western slope towards the summit a mile or two away.

I finally saw the carrots I was looking for. One single runner up ahead by maybe 10-12 minutes and two other runners within 7-8 minutes. Giddyup! That boosted my energy and I picked up the pace knowing this was the last stretch of the last big climb of the day to make up some time before tha loooooooooooooooong descent back to Mink Creek. We still had 10 miles to go. Easy does it.

The glissade down the north side of Scout was treacherously soft. My feet would sink into the snow with every bounding step and I would quickly have to yank them out and take another giant step lest my forward momentum would carry my upper body down the slope whilst my lower leg remained gripped by the snow in its post hole from the knee down. Dangerous. But still pretty fun! Ha Hah!

I was able to look further down the trail along a stretch I could see and I saw nobody. Nobody ahead, nobody behind. Geez, I haven't ran with a single soul the entire time out here on this last 19 mile loop! A stark contrast to the chatty first 20 miles. Oh well. I'm still feeling good and having fun. WOAH! Is that an iPod?!?! Sho'nuff, there was someone's iPod Shuffle resting on top of a pile of snow as the trail rounded a corner. Hmmmmm... Good luch finding the owner, but I'm sure someone will realize they've lost it and maybe I can get it back to them. I picked it up and put it in a velcro pocket and continued on my way blazing down the trail with a speed I was certain would catch me back up to somebody.

Nope. I got to the final aid station at mile 47 with 5 miles to go (This 50 miler was really 51.8 miles), didn't see signs of any other runners, refilled my two empty bottles (which had been empty for the past 20 minutes or so), took in some Gatorade, packed another couple gels, and set off down the road. Just before the final 500 ft climb through the Nordic Ski Area, I spotted my carrots again. But it was too late. They were 10 or so minutes in front of me and Iwasn't feeling like I had an extra 10 minutes to make up. I slogged up that last climb and glided down the other side knowing the end was within 15 minutes. And then, there I was. At the finish. A happy, dirty, smelly, tired runner who felt thrilled to finally finish a race feeling good. Ahhhhhh...

This race took us on some of the best trails I've ever been on and overall, it was just as well planned and organized in its first year as most other races are in their years and years of experience. It was truly, a first-class event and the race organizers and all the wonderful volunteers deserve all the thanks we runners can give them for taking care of us and allowing us to participate in the first running of what very well could turn out to be one of the country's best 50 mile events.

So if 52 miles and 13,680ft of elevation gain sounds like a super-duper way to spend your saturday, then put this event on your list for next year. It'll be worth it.

Results are here

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Yes, that's right. A brand new 50 miler on the mountain trails stretching south from Pocatello, ID. This is the inaugural year for this event and I'd say, from the looks of things at this point, 2 days before the race, that it's gonna be a big one. And that's not just considering the 80+ solo runners and 100ish relay runners, but also taking into account the number of experienced professional level ultrarunners from all over the west that have committed to racing here.

And when you look back at the yearly race calendar over the past years, there really has been no big race in this region in May. The idea to hold a 50 miler on this particular weekend works wonderfully for those runners looking for a worthy last tune-up before the 100 milers start up with Bighorn and Western States a month from now. Maybe that's the big draw. Or maybe it's more of a convenience being so centrally located to so many. Maybe everyone just wants to get out and have a jolly good time skipping and prancing in the mountains together. I mean running. We'll be running. We're runners, not alpine fairies.

I will be using this race as a tune up for the Bighorn 100 where I have been plotting my sweet succulant revenge against the wild Bighorn Mountains in Northern Wyoming through which I battled my way to a rough finish in my first 100 miler last summer.

Another year older. Another year wiser.

And I'm coming into this race in Pocatello this weekend fitter than I've ever been. And healthy too! The patella tendonitis that has plagued me over the past two years has dissipated to the point where I now have completely pain-free downhill running. And I credit this to the change in training habits I've made this past winter and spring when I began taking long periods of rest where I would do no running other than a short one hour run once a week for six or eight weeks between events. I noticed it most at last month's Zane Grey where I felt better than I had in years despite running a total of maybe 12 hours in the preceeding four weeks. Rest good. Good for muscles. Good for lungs. Good for knees. Good for mind.

Let's go!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Join Me for a Trip Across the Grand Canyon and Back!

Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this page and pause the music player before clicking the following movie link.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

R2R2R - April 28th, 2009

I snapped this first photo at 5:45am when I first reached the rim. There were about thirty people that I could see widely spread out and strategically placed in their own private world as they watched the sunrise over the canyon. It was eerily still. I snapped this photo, took another of my watch to mark the time and elevation and then it was only the sound of my fading pattering feet as I dropped into the Bright Angel Trail.

Since the last time I ran the R2R2R back in November 2008, I'd been wanting to do a solo crossing with a bit of a push just to see how fast I could do it. Trevor and I were supposed to run this route together after Zane Grey, but as you know, that didn't pan out, so here I found myself... on the Bright Angel Trail... on a Tuesday... to see what I could do. I know the record for this route is something stupid like7 1/2 hours or something ridiculous like that. I had no intentions of coming anywhere near that. It's would be physiologically impossible for me. I'm just not made like that. But I was entertaining the thought of going across and back in under 10 hours. I thought that would be feasible for me to accomplish. I still wanted the photo and video documentary so I stopped alot to take pictures and enjoy myself and all, but I also made sure to keep my stops minimal and only dally for a moment or two. And due to my ever growing fascination with this route, I also kept track of my splits.

Indian Garden in 40 minutes.

Phantom Ranch in 1 hr 40 minutes.

The base of the North Rim Climb at Roaring Springs Pumphouse in 3 hrs, 35 minutes.

North Rim in 5 hrs, 15 minutes.

Roaring Springs Pumphouse in 6 hrs, 20 minutes.

Phantom Ranch in 7 hrs, 45 minutes.

Indian Garden in 8 hrs, 55 minutes.

South Rim in 11 hrs, 15 minutes.

I felt good the entire way. No knee pain. So stomach issues. No soreness. No nothin. Nothin but the magnificent environment surrounding me and the simplicity and beauty of travelling light and travelling fast with my senses feeling exceptionally alive.
As you can see, I missed 10 hours by quite alot. But you know, even if I hadn't stopped to take pics and all that, I think that would've saved me only about 15-30 minutes. Which got me wondering... Where could another 45-60 minutes be made up?

I've concluded that the answer to this question has a very simple answer: The climbs.
There are two gigantic climbs with a combined elevation gain of over 8,000 ft. He/she who is capable of running hundreds if not thousands of tall, steep, slanted, and unevenly spaced stairs over the course of 50 miles is thus capable of completing this route in under 10 hours. He/she who is not capable of running up these haphazard steps (like myself), then I'm not sure how 10 hours is possible.
There may be loophole in this equation...

Friday, May 1, 2009

And Then What Happened???

The original plan included a R2R2R the following day, but due to time constraints, we made the decision to bag it. We were initially counting on running a 10 hour race on Saturday. That would put us at the finish at 3pm. Plenty of time to recover, get clean, get fed, then make the 4 hour drive northwest to the South Rim to be in our sleeping bags by 10pm. But that's not how it happened. Trevor finished around 11 1/2 hours. I came in around an hour after that. So it was already 5:30pm when I finished and that was putting us in our sleeping bags past midnight. And with an early departure set for the R2R2R, we decided it was a better idea to drive south to the Phoenix area and spend Sunday with my Grandmother at Leisure World, a retirement community where she lives. It would be warmer there. And there was a pool. And my Grandma would love to see us. So that's where we went.

Jen and Trevor and I hung out there on Sunday, then Trevor had an early flight back to Portland on Monday so he was up and off before any of us were awake. Jen and I visited the pool that morning, had a nice lunch with Grandma, then we decided to head up to the Grand Canyon after all since we missed it the day before. We would have liked to have made it to the North Rim, but it wasn't set to be open to vehicles until My 15th, so we settled on the South Rim instead.

The original plan was to hike down to the river and back together from the North Side. After we found out it wasn't open, we figured we'd just hike down to the river and back from the south side. But then a funny thing happened to me on the road to Tusayan...

I felt the call. The call of the canyon. And I wanted to do another R2R2R. I'd felt good after Zane Grey. My body had come through the race in good shape (other than the hundreds of scratches). My joints and muscles were fine. It wasn't my fitness level that got in the way during the race. It was my failure to let my stomach digest that threw me up, so to speak. So I felt ready to run. And seeing as this would be my fifth time running it in 2 1/2 years, it was fairly routine to prepare for. No big deal. Just gonna run 24 miles across the grandest canyon in the world and turn around to run the same 24 miles back.

Jen trusted I knew what I was doing. And even though I don't think she really wanted to do the hike to the river and back alone, she accepted my idea and after another night spent at Mather Campground, I set off from camp in the early morning light at 5:30am to cruise the 2 miles over to the Bright Angel TH on the South Rim.

Zane Grey 50 Mile

If I could do one race over again, this would be the one. Even if I could just have mile 34 and 35 back, the outcome would have been much different. Much better. For whatever reason, on this day, I was meant to run and I felt it early on in the race. I felt strong; had a spring in my step; a feather in my cap; a whistle on my lips. And then it all fell apart shortly after the mile 33 aid station. And not just fall apart as in a wheel coming off. No, I'm talkin the kind of super-blow-chunks-til-all-energy-is-gone-dead-man-walking-in-a-daze-waiting-for-the-roof-to-cave-in-huddled-in-the-fetal-position-waiting-for-Mr. Grim-to-show-up-and-begin-his-reaping sort of fall apart. Pure misery for the 9 miles before reaching the last aid station at mile 44 and another hour spent there lost in a stupor with my stomach tied in a knot. But then, I came to, made a quick systems assessment, and crawled out of my pain cave to run the final 6-7 miles to the finish. Why did this happen? Well...

Thursday, April 23rd, 2:30pm

Jen and I blasted out of Teton Valley in the Plastic Planetoid heading south as fast as four tiny cylinders would take us. We made it as far as the Coral Pink Sand Dunes just north of Kanab, UT where we pulled over about a mile off Hwy 89 and slept for the night under the big sparkly southern Utah desert sky.

Friday, April 24th, 5:00am

The coyotes started their morning yipping. We got up around 7:00 or 7:30, had a cooler breakfast of cereal, fruit, and yogurt, and carried on our southerly way. We pulled into Payson, AZ around 2:00pm and met Trevor who was napping in the parking lot where we were to pick up our race packets. We found our pre-race pizza fix at the Pizza Factory, got our race packets, and found a campsite at the Houston Mesa Campground just north of town. Asleep under the stars by 8:00pm.

Saturday, April 25th, 3:00am

Up and dressed and a quick bowl of Grape Nuts with blueberries and a 20oz Fierce Grape Gatorade. We pulled out of the campground at 3:30 and arrived at the Pine TH (the race start) around 3:50. I crawled into my sleeping bag in the front seat of the car and dozed off for 20 minutes or so until it was time for the final prep: Drop bags dropped off, water bottles filled, race food loaded into my shorts, race clothing decided upon, Bodyglide applied, shoes double-knotted, and over to the race start with 5 minutes to go. A quick hello to Olga and we were off into the dark morning woods.

I hate bottlenecks in the early parts of these trail races. Thankfully, Trevor and I cruised and shuffled our way through and around just a few runner-globules until we reached some breathing room. And then, there he was... Mr. Stoy. Damien has become a good racing friend of mine over the past 9 months or so. He used to live in Jackson, WY before moving to Estes Park, CO, and then Sedona, AZ last fall. He's moving to northern CA this week, but I see him often at these trail races (Big Horn, Grand Teton, Moab Red Hot, Zane Grey...etc) and we inevitably end up running at least some parts of the race together. Great guy. And I always enjoy the company. We caught up on life over the first few miles and soon we arrived at the first aid station at the 8 mile mark.

We had been running in a long train of about 8 runners. I was running completely comfortably just about in the middle of the pack chatting away while watching the sunrise over the desert hills. To be understated, it was beautiful. It's been a long long time since I've been on a trail that breathtaking and that enjoyable to run. We were cruisin. And numerous times, I remember thinking, 'This is what it's all about right here.' Pure, utter bliss. It couldn't get any better than this. I was in a perfectly perfect state. But then I began running up on the heels of the runner in front of me. And he was running up on the heels of the runner in front of him. Aid station in less than a mile. Better make a move now and lead the train into the station so I won't have to wait for water.

8 miles. 1 hour, 30 minutes. Jen was there at the aid station. I topped off my bottles from a guy wearing the bright red hoodie from last year's Leadville 100. He had his name and finishing time ironed onto his left sleeve: Brent somebody: 23:38:23. Or something like that. He's the guy who finished just in front of me in that race. I ditched the headlamp (waistlamp) and arm warmers and floated off back into the woods up the trail. The next 9 miles were more blssful running. Happy cruising. Pleasant bounding. We ended up with a group of 4 to 6 coming into the aid station at mile 17. Damien was in the group. Trevor was there. And a few other guys we'd been running with for the past however many miles. I had decided to forgo my more typical mix of Perpetuem, CarboPro, and Powerbar Endurance, in favor of good 'ol pure water and my food plan was to take one GU and one Powergel every hour combined with one LARA Bar every 3 hours somewhere during those stretches and then top off my liquids by downing a 20oz Gatorade about every three hours or so at mile 17 and 33. The water is easier for me to drink than the mixes when it's warm. The GUs have a good mix of carbs. The Powergels have 200mg of sodium per gel (4x the amount in the GU) to be sure I was getting my electrolytes. The LARA Bars were easy to chew, tasted good, and were my natural food of choice. It all seemed to be working very well.

The next stretch of 9 miles consisted of more blissful running. Sweet trail. I was feeling like one of the natives of the land from 10,000 years ago. Something a bit primal in me was stirring. Our train continued our speedy pace through the forest.

17 miles. 3 hours, 10 minutes. Feelin goooooooood. Got the bottles refilled. Took a couple orange slices. Drank a 20 oz Gatorade to ensure my liquids were topped off. I was only carrying two handheld bottles and with the dry Arizona heat (which I was prepared for, but had yet to encounter this morning) and somewhat long stretches between aid stations, I didn't want dehydration to be an issue. Drinking this much at the aid station would allow me more distance before I would need to begin drinking from the 40oz I was carrying and thus increase my fuel mileage. 20 oz was alot to take in all at once, but it was a method I had used in my last two 100s last summer and it seemed to work well. I just had to take it easy out of the aid stations due to belly fullness.

The next stretch was where the race began. Some of the more rugged, remote, unkept trail (if there even was one) I've ever been on in a race. At times, the "trail" consisted of yellow ribbon tied in a winding manner to scrubby juniper trees up a 500-1,000 ft slope covered in briars and dry prickly desert flora. By the top, the left side of my shorts had been ripped open, I took a thorny whiplike branch of some kind dangerously across the front of my lower pelvic region, and my arms and legs were cut, scraped, scratched, lashed, and bleeding. It was gnarly. Unlike any other trail race I've ever done. It wasn't a trail. It was a route. An adventure. We all had to pay close attention to the trail ribbons so we wouldn't lose our route.

At mile 23ish, there was a makeshift aid station. I wasn't sure if there would be anything between the aid stations at mile 17 and mile 33, but I was glad there was. Trevor and I were together. Damien and a few of the other guys were up ahead. We were catching back up to them. Between mile 23ish and mile 33, our group joined forces again and we rolled into mile 33 in our group of 5.

Mile 33. 6 hours, 45 minutes. I continued to feel great. I mean, I felt like I'd been running, but I wasn't at all exhausted. No pain. Anywhere. Feet, ankles, calves, knees, quads, hips... everything was a go. I remember how pleased I was feeling about how the race was going. My previous couple of races hadn't gone quite as well as I'd hoped due to my continuing chronic patella tendonitis in both knees and then just lack of proper training or nutrition. I think I was mostly surprised here because I really hadn't been putting in alot of miles over the past 2 1/2 months and I wasn't sure if I'd actually lost some fitness during that period. I'd decided to take that time off to let my body regenerate a bit and hopefully repair itself, especially my knees. I guess the rest was what my body needed! I was continuing to feel good.

Damien left the aid station and Trevor and I followed a couple minutes behind. I had taken another 20oz Gatorade and some more orange slices and could definitely feel my full belly.

Looking back, I should have just slowed to walk the hills over the next couple of miles. But I was feeling so great! Why walk when you can run?! My legs felt great. My lungs felt great. The only issue, a minor one, was all the liquid in my stomach, but that would pass as it was absorbed into my system. Or so I thought.

I felt good shortly after leaving the aid station where the trail piched upward and about 15-30 minutes after leaving mile 33, I caught and passed Damien and began yo-yoing with another runner. An older guy who was haulin up the trail. My stomach felt a bit tight. Hmmmmmmmm... Then it felt even tighter. Oh boy, this doesn't feel good. Maybe I should eat something, I thought. So I ate a lemon LARA Bar. Ooooooo now I really don't feel good. We had begun the day's biggest climb (unbeknownst to me) and as we continued upward, I felt worse... and worse............... and worse.......................... until I finally reached the top. Damien had caught back up to me during this stretch and continued past. Then Trevor caught back up. We walked for a bit. I really felt like I needed to puke. And then I did. Everything out. All of it. It took about a minute. And then I felt better. "Feel like running?" I asked Trevor. "Sure." So we were off and running again But now things had changed. I had no fuel in me after leaving it all on the trail back there. And my stomach wasn't too keen on the idea of taking anything in either. Ugh... The next 5-6 miles took us about 2 hours. We were getting caught and passed by all kinds of folks. And I was feeling worse and worse as time went on. The stretch between mile 40 and 44 was one of the worst trail experiences I've ever had. I felt weak. Foggy. Nauseated. Practically dead.

When we finally arrived at mile 44 aid station, I curled up on the ground and told Trevor to continue on without me. I was in no condition to move anywhere. Jen made me some Recoverite. I was hurtin. A medical guy came over to check me out. "I suggest you don't continue", he said. I didn't feel like continuing anyway. Jen pulled the car up closer and I walked over and got inside and took a 30 minute nap. I was wasted. And then, I woke up. Felt better. Muscles felt good. Stomach felt good. Head felt good. So I got out of the car, packed a couple gels. refilled my bottles, said thank you to everyone there who had helped me, and trotted off down the trail. I had spent about an hour there.

The last 6-7 miles were pretty uneventful. I caught and passed a few runners along this stretch most of whom were wondering where I came from. I felt like I'd crawled out of the grave. That's what I told them. And then, there was the finish. 12 hours and 22 minutes after we'd began. Trevor finished about an hour ahead of me (the hour I spent at the aid station). Damien was a half hour in front of him. I shoulda been up there with those guys. Grrrrrrrrrr! They both had a really good race and finished quite well on an exceptionally tough course. Many of the runners were stating that this 50 miler made them feel like they'd run 100.

Here are the results