Well, this was my year to run the infamous Speedgoat. I first volunteered for this race in 2010 when I first started getting into the IDEA of running ultras and thought it looked hard. In 2012 I was ready to race, but was plagued by a healing stress fracture that would surely get worse running the ups and downs of this course. By this time I had a good idea of what type of pain was being handed out by this race and it's director, Karl Meltzer. This year it was my turn and while my friends thought I was crazy and constantly reminded me of the brutality, it was decidedly one of the races I would dedicate myself to. I could handle the pain...at least it wasn't Softrock, right?
The morning of the race I wasn't nervous. I knew it would hurt and just wanted to give it a solid effort, so off we went!
The first ascent up to Hidden Peak went really well. I ran and hiked, keeping up with some familiar faces. I frequently saw Nick in switchback above me, but had no idea where my other friends were. I ended up topping out at Hidden Peak (~mile 8.5) in a little over 2 hours. I felt strong and was informed that I was the second HUMR up the hill. Cool! That felt good. I saw Jo, Karen, Jim, Alyssa, Aric, Zach, and many other beloved faces. I was charged and, as such, I charged down the hill to the pretty part! I was very much looking forward to racing through the flowers.
BJ and Lori were in the flowers snapping photos. I remember commenting on BJ's epic mustache being my favorite in the whole wide world and ran off without listening to his response. I know, I can sometimes be awkward.
Running down into Larry's Hole went fine, as did down into American Fork, oh, except for the boulder filler rock bed. It was during this tragic and terrible technical descent that Ryan flew past me like a bowling ball going at least a million miles an hour. Perfect. That knocked my confidence down, but Ryan is cool...he's allowed to pass me.
Roch Horton was down in Mary Ellen and this is when it started to drizzle. Roch proclaimed over his kingdom of volunteers to "treat me like royalty" and I got the worst Popsicle flavor (orange) and ran off. The ascent out of American Fork was slow and full of deceit. I would feel like we had to be at the top and then we would have another climb. It was during this time that I felt others were gaining momentum and I was stagnant. One or two girls that I had been running with had left the aid station before me and a new girl I hadn't seen before left me in the duct. Perfect. Girls were not allowed to pass me, but I guess they didn't get the memo. At any rate, Larry's hole the second time through was fine. I was informed that I was running around 9th or 10th woman, but know I didn't have enough in my legs to put up a fight to the finish.
At this point I realized that I have probably been under eating and drinking. I think the fact that aid stations were close together, but up mountain (and therefore took a long time to get to) really messed up any eating/drinking "strategy" I might have contemplated. I realized this when my legs didn't necessarily hurt, but felt empty and devoid of energy.
Two miles to the tunnel brought be up Baldy and Amie Blackham passed me. She obviously didn't get the memo, but she is awesome and duly forgiven ;-) The "run" up baldy was about a step per 2 seconds. There was no trail to speak of and I almost fell backward a couple times. Amie (and others that passed me) hiked SO strong! Note to self: More climbing is needed in my weekly routine!
This was my darkest hour. I thought about quitting. I wanted to place higher in the women's field. I contemplated the advice my good friend, Breein, gave me the night before the race... to remember why I race; to have fun. Was I having fun?
At the tunnel I ran into Renee, Katherine, and Shane Martin. Shane said something profound and inspirational (or maybe I was just thinking about him finishing Hardrock 100 not too long ago) and off I went with a Popsicle in hand.
The decent down two miles was forgettable, except for one instance that proved Scott Jaime right...re: women peeing on the trail. The ascent up Ridge trail was difficult, but pretty awesome. I passed a few guys and felt confident as I have hiked this trail a few times...I knew what was coming next. 100 yards (or so) before the summit I ran into beautiful Breein and "Dud to stud" Jared and they kept me company to the top where they informed me that they were waiting for someone else to run in. Typical.
At this point I knew I could beat my goal of sub 8 hours, but I'd have to run it in. It was too cold up at Hidden Peak and no one (Larry Adams) wanted to give this sweaty, stinky girl a hug (I was elated to see everyone). Thanks Jim and Karen! Off I went down the mountain. I saw Lori one last time on the way down, but basically ran strong. I few crazy guys passed me a crazy descents going way too fast for their own good, but I also caught another. This is cake. I've practically forgotten my sorrows and am dead set on a finisher's medal, cold PBR, and pizza, OH and a chair.
I finished right at 8 hours. My watch says sub and official says 30 seconds over. That's 8 hours in my world. Thank you to all that supported me with cheers and love on Saturday. You make the race and bring such job to my heart!
P.S. I did have fun!