It doesn’t feel real. It didn’t feel real when I crossed the finish line.
27 hours and 30 minutes. I was at the finish. I had worked so many hours for it – and now I was done?
March 23rd at 12pm – I started my second 100 mile attempt on Antelope Island. Thanks to the sponsorship I received from #Trailsroc.
I had spent the week before this in Utah. Just wandering around, and running easy miles. Getting used to the area, and new time zone. We (my parents and I) spent a good amount of time scouting out the island, and playing with the Bison.
Jason Vidmar (AKA dark Angel) got in Thursday – the day before the race. He would be there to help crew and pace.
The night before We chatted with Daven. Went over some nutrition stuff, and some mental strategy.
Daven told me to find a Mantra. I wasn’t sure what this would be yet.
I woke up Friday morning. No alarms. A normal night of sleep.
It was a normal morning.
I started out in my #trailsroc singlet and RNR shorts. Then last minute threw on some arm sleeves. It was perfect out. But it was tricky weather – it’d be sunny, but cold. And stealthy wind.
The first 5 hours I told myself – If I go slow enough, I will finish. I thought I was going slow – but managed an 8 hour 40 mile.
The first 20 miles is where most of the elevation is. Such an awesome section. If there are trails I was meant to run on – it’d be these. I had so much fun – and likely why my first 20 was a bit fast. but worth it. I did these miles without any wear on the legs – it was all just time in the bank.
The next 30 miles would be on the second half of the course. I passed through the start/finish – taking in my first bit of solid food. And headed out.
This would start out with a long 22 miles of pretty flat trail. I was running – but was starting to feel my first crash coming. I was struggling with a side stitch, and could only manage small bursts of running. I got to mile 27 at Lower Frary – where Jason and parents were waiting. Jason reassured me that what I was feeling was normal – and Daven had said I would feel like this.
Knowing that was so helpful. And took any stress or doubts out of my head.
Lower Frary was a main protein point. I took in Core Power protein, plus some coconut water. As well as a salt tab followed by a ton of water. I was definitely behind.
I would start running again – next aid station was 5.8 miles to the Ranch. The side stitch was going away. I made up some time here and got there in about an hour. I did another salt tab followed by 8 oz of water. This was also my mandatory change spot – temps would start to drop from here. I put on a long sleeve. Jason piled potato chips in the cup holder of my chair. They had no salt potatoes – so this would due.
I left the aid – running. and Didn’t stop till I was already back to the Lower Frary Aidstation. This was a quick stop, and grabbed my head lamp here. I kept running as the sun went down. It was completely dark very quick – and found myself alone, with some howling wolfs (or something). I kept running till I got to the Mountain View intersection. It was a good climb to get out of these lower parts – so I walked.
The next section would be 6 miles around Bridger Bay. It was tricky finding the way here at night – some of the chalk arrows were misleading, or just not there. But I’d look ahead for something shiny – and it was usually right.
Going around Bridger was also deceivingly long. I could see the silhoutte of the mountain I was going around, and seemed like I’d never reach. It was also full of large rocks, and much different trail than the other sections of this race. I thought about the next time I’d be running this part – mile 94. That was gonna be a LONG 6 miles.
I was starting to get pain from my shoes in my right foot – there was weird pressure on my ankle. So I decided I would plan on changing shoes at mile 50.
Speaking of shoes. I struggled with what shoes I would wear. It had rained all day the day before so I knew trails could be wet or muddy. I brought like 4 pairs. But still wasn’t confident – so I got a pair of Altra’s while were were in Utah the week before. NEVER ran in Altras before. hah. But decided I did’t want to start in them.
I started the race in my Under Armour Speed Tire (don’t judge – I found them on clearance) which are actually really awesome. And have a built in gator. And semi water proof. Were perfect for the trails in the beginning. And light. I hadn’t run more than 10 miles in them before this either. But whatever – they worked.
As I came down the road to the start/finish/50 mile point – the wind had picked up, and was pretty brutal. Had not felt it until this section. Finished the first 50 miles in 10:40.
Jason was in the tent – I would be picking him up as pacer here. But first I changed shoes. Got some food. I was still wearing shorts – and had planned on them being ok for all of this. But as I sat – I got cold. And Jason convinced me that pants would be the smart option.
We started out for the second 50. Time to do what I just did all over again. I figured most of this would be walking. But we actually ran a good amount up until Elephant head. I was feeling pressure on my toes, and they gradually got worse. It got to the point where I couldn’t run, even tho I wanted to. Down hills were rough because my toes would hit the front of the shoe. I was bummed that we couldn’t take advantage of a realllly great and long downhill after the Elephant head out and back.
This was a low point for me. I was sad. Sad that a couple of toes were keeping me from running. They are just toes – I should be able to ignore them right? Who needs them. But then I’d kick a rock. And cry. (ok only cried once) I tried to keep calm – because I knew if I let it overwhelm me it’d only cause breathing problems. I was just frustrated. Jason kept saying cheesy motivational things, and Dad jokes. And told me to reach Zen state and maybe the pain would go away. Jason’s the best.
The frustration didn’t last long. Because I looked around. It was everything I had hoped for. It was a clear night. Full of stars. An awesome crescent moon reflecting over the Salt lake. We watched it as it got lower throughout the night. I didn’t want this to end.
Photo by Jason Vidmar
We talked about the plan to relieve these toes. I didn’t know If I could wait till the start – this loop was 20 miles. Jason threatened to cut open my brand new Altra’s. My mom got them for me for my B-day — they couldn’t die yet!
As we got back around to Elephant head for the last time (we go through this aid 6 times). My toes were actually not as bad. I thought maybe I kicked enough rocks that whatever was there had popped. Or I had actually achieved Zen state.
So we continued on back to the start/finish. I was really excited for these trails again – I loved running them the first time. I hoped we’d be able to run them again. And we did – we cruised through 4 miles of trails, and got to mile 70 – 17 hours.
It was 5am. Exactly the time I predicted being here. My parents were back with a blister tool kit. and We went to work on the toes.
I would leave Jason here and make my way to Mountain view aidstation solo. We would re-group there and see if I wanted him to join again. Toes felt better. But I was feeling sleepy. And cold.
I got to mountain view. I found myself in my parents car hiding from the wind. Also found myself holding coffee and a box of donuts….. hmm. Pretty happy about this. But I got out, and Jason joined me to make sure I didn’t fall asleep. We walked. I closed my eyes and walked. Jason finally convinced me to take a gel, and it actually helped.
Sunrise from Mountain View. Photo by Jason.
We got to Lower Frary – finally. I took in protein, and gluten free cookies here. I would leave Jason here again. I felt like I’d be able to start running, energy was coming back. I was reaching a weird mental state. I didn’t want to carry anything. I was wearing a pack but not eating or drinking anything from it. So I left it at Lower Frary. I ran and made good time to the Ranch for the last time.
Ranch was mile 85. I got water, and ate some cheese quesadilla. But it was warm so I dropped all sleeves and gloves. And ran out – waterless, sleeveless, headbandless. But least I had my sunglasses again.
Not that I approve of pictures of me eating, But it’s part of the story. Photo by Dad.
A few miles into leaving the ranch – the wind had picked up. It was brutal. I was soooo cold. I looked for my parents car – hoping they would be along the road somewhere. SAVE ME. Nope.
I was cold. So I ran. Probably helped my time overall. But even running didn’t make me warm enough. I couldn’t wait to get to Lower Frary for the last time. And put on some clothes.
I was feeling a big crash coming. I was thirsty. I was cold. I was getting a side stitch. That’s what I get for dropping everything.
I got to the aid, and put EVERYTHING back on. Including hydration. I took in an entire Core Power protein. And some other food. and made my way out to mountain view for the last time.
I was right when I felt a crash coming. I was crashing hard. The protein may have been enough to completely shut down the system. I was sleepy again.
I was cold. I was walking. The wind was brutal. But it was also so nice out. I put my hood up. Had my sunglasses on. No one was around. I cried.
And it wasn’t a bad cry. It was a cry I had held in early in the race. That I was so happy to be here. A cry I held in everytime I thought about finishing. A cry because I was going to finish, and that I would miss this place. Tears dripped down my sunglasses. I smiled. Well – I’m awake now.
Jason was waiting at the mountain view interection. We had planned on running Bridger Bay to the finish together. We were quickly greeted by some Bison.
Mile 94ish – Photo by Jason.
We would try to run a few times around the rocky sections. I wanted to get to the finish. I figured it’d be a 28 hour day. I got warm as we were running, and again reached mental state of not wanting to carry anything. I shed my jacket and hydration. And as we got off the trail and onto the road – I dropped them. It was only road left till the finish – and we ran the final stretch.
I finished 100 miles in 27:30:27
Nutrition I used:
Had to collect a sticker on each out and back to Elephant head – to prove you made it.
4 Huma gels total
3 bottles of coconut water
3 bottles of Core Power protein
6 gluten free cookies
2 Justin’s almond butter packs
1 chocolate covered almond
3 salt tabs
Few sips of coffee
A ton of water
Orange mud single barrel
Under Armour Speed Tire trail shoes – first 50
Altra Timp trail shoes – second 50
We sat around the finish for an hour or so. Got post race Buffalo stew. Still didn’t feel like I should be done yet. Finishers were coming and going – not really sure who was a 50 miler and who was a 100. I met 2 people from NY out there. I had talked to Kristen Roe before making this trip – we were the only east coast 100 milers. I ran into (literally) a 50 miler from Buffalo as we crossed paths on the trail. Small world.
I feel eager to do another 100. Everything about this race was perfect. I felt good the whole time. No stomach issues. My legs always felt fresh. Usually at some point I feel like everything hurts – that didn’t happen. My biggest battle was blisters, and feeling sleepy. And just being cold. My low points weren’t even that low. And now only a few days later I feel completely recovered.
It all just seems like I got off too easy. Or I should have ran more.
But that’s my first 100 finish. Unscathed. I can look back and love every minute of it. It was perfect. I could say I wish it wasn’t so cold. But pretty sure the cold kept me moving. Now I don’t know if I should rush into another – or take my time and find another awesome one to do next year. This year is still plenty busy with awesome races and adventures.
It was more than just training to get to this 100. The support from EVERYONE was pretty overwhelming. You forget how much training you actually do – till people remind you. You don’t believe your ready for this till friends tell you – you put in the work. Then hearing that your coach and friends are checking in throughout the day – are the simple things that keep me going.
Thank you #trailsroc – for getting me here. And following me through this journey.
Thank you community for EVERYDAY support – whether or not i’m racing – people are the best.
Thank you parents for the best birthday in the history of birthdays. Support from them is no surprise – as well as Dad blowing up facebook.
Thank you Daven – for pushing me to my limits, and guidance. And for sharing your knowledge as well as Rogers knowledge of Nutrition, and race strategy.
Thank you Jason – for making the trip to Utah, and being more sleep deprived than I was. But somehow managing 40 miles and who knows how many hours. Getting me through the darkness offering support, as well as humor and just being an awesome friend.
Thank you to Strat – who always helps me during training – making sure I don’t fall apart – and putting my feet back together again.
Thank you to Chris (Running Inside out Podcast) for making me talk about these things. And forever will be a training partner/run fam.
And thank you to the Mountain Peak Fitness/Red Newt Racing team – always supporting teammates going after it. Looking forward to the races to come this year!
Ending March with the most miles I’ve ran in one month – 279.63
From December 17th – when training started – till March 31st – I’ve ran 928.53 Miles
I wonder why recovery was so easy – And Daven reminds me that I was TRAINED for this. That my body was ready for it. And it was meant to do this. I believe it.
Every winter #Trailsroc offers to award $500.00 to runners who will represent them well. All you need to have is a big goal race – and they will give financial support as well as training and encouragement. In return – you wear the #trailsroc shirt at the event – write up a recap – and share your stories with the community and world.
This was a LIFETIME goal. It was also my birthday. #trailsroc gave me so much – and probably the best week of my life. If you have a grand adventure in mind – share it with them. Apply to be an ambassador for 2019!
Photo by Jason
Photo by Jason