Friday, June 29, 2012

Silver City 30k Race Report by Michelle

Photo credit Lindsay Seals

Ryan and I drove to Silver City Friday night with Derek Call who was doing the 100k with Ryan.  Ryan didn’t want to drive out on Saturday morning since his race started at 5am.  When we arrived, there were people huddled around the campfire at the start/finish line.  So we joined them and chatted for a while.  About 10:30 we called it a night and climbed into the back of the Expedition to go to sleep.  When I got in I realized I hadn’t brought my sleeping pill so I lay there all night listening to Ryan’s breathing and the wind howling outside.  All too soon, Ryan’s watch started beeping which was set for 4am.  Ryan got all his things together, ate breakfast, and went to the starting line to check in and get his bib number.  The weather was perfect at the start of the 100k race.  It was a little cool but most people just had a light jacket or arm sleeves on.  I gave Ryan a kiss and told him to have fun then he was off for 63 miles of non-stop adventure!

I quickly went back to the Expedition and got back into my sleeping bag to try and rest some more before my race started.  At 6:30 I got back up to watch some of my friends start the 50k race.  I was listening to the race directors telling the runners what to expect out on the trail and what course markings to follow.  Then I heard them say there were cows out on the course and I started to worry.  I really don’t like cows unless they are on my plate, medium well.  They are less unpredictable that way!  So once the 50k runners were off I went back to the Expedition to get dressed for my race that started at 9am.  Once I was dressed and had applied the appropriate amount of Body Glide, I sat outside away from everyone worrying about the cows and trying to get mentally focused.   I realized it’s hard to get mentally focused and worry at the same time!

Pretty soon they were announcing that they wanted the 30k runners to come to the starting line for the prerace briefing.  Once they were done I had a few minutes to grab my pack, my trekking poles, and chat with some friends.  Then they told us to all line up and then sounded the horn and we were off.   The start of the race was a gentle downhill which I love.  Unfortunately, this was about the last ‘gentle’ anything on the course!!  The race goes right through the small town of Silver City.  When I got into town there were a few spectators out cheering on runners.   On the other side of town, which was about 100 yards, I came upon a rancher who yelled out, “You can do it, you can catch ‘em!”  It made me laugh!  After that I looked up to see the first 100k runner about to pass me going the opposite direction.  Not far behind him was Tony Huff.  

The first aid station I came to was really for the 100k runners.  It was only 2 miles into the race for the 30k runners and the 22 mile mark for the 100k runners.  I was pushing as hard as I could just before the aid station so I could see Ryan in this section.  The 100k runners were coming down the trail as the 30k runners were going up.  Just after leaving the aid station I spotted Ryan coming down the trail in 3rd place.  We embraced and gave each other a quick kiss.  Wayne Rancourt and his wife Wendy were the aid station captains and we heard Wayne yell, “None of that, you have a race to RUN!”  This would be the only time I saw Ryan although there were other places on the course where the 100k and 30k runners cross paths. 
On up the ginormous hill I marched.  I bumped into Dennis coming down and he said that I would be getting my feet wet in about 100 yards.  When I finally got to the ‘water crossing’ I realized the trail had turned into the creek for about 30 feet.  I didn’t even attempt to go around.  I just went right through!  I kept meeting other 100k runners as they were coming down the hill.  It was nice to see friends pass by and each of them had encouraging words to say to me which was nice.

Photo Credit Lindsay Seals
I tried really hard to eat enough but I didn’t do a very good job.  I was always forgetting until my stomach was growling, which was way too late.  Sometime during this first big climb I tried to take an S-cap and my stomach immediately rejected it and I threw up.  So I got a fresh capsule out of my pack and tried again because I knew I needed it.  The second time it stayed down, thank goodness.  When I was about 4 miles into the race one of Ryan’s friends Brian Davis who was running the 30k came up from behind and started talking to me.  This scared me to death because I knew I was the last 30k runner on the course.  He and several other runners had gotten off course.  I felt bad that he gotten introduced to what ultra runners call ‘bonus miles’ on his very first trail race. 

It was just after this that I pulled out my MP3 player to listen to some music.  Finally, I reached the top of the hill and thought that wasn’t too bad!  Now the course for the 30k and the 50k merged together so I would no longer be alone on the course since many of the 50k runners had not reached this point yet.  I got to the Long Gulch aid station which was 5.5 miles into the race.  I forced myself to eat some soup and some Pepsi, which is my ‘favorite!’  (Thanks Davina)  I stayed for a few minutes and chatted with the volunteers who were very nice and helpful. 

Once I left I turned my music back on and started singing.  (It was downhill so I had a little extra oxygen to spare!)  I kept looking at all the natural beauty around me.  It was spectacular with all the green forest and meadows filled with wildflowers.  A few of my friends passed me in this section.  Each one of them would walk with me for a while and keep me company.  It was fun to hear how their races were going.  As I was getting closer to the Jordan Creek aid station at mile 10, I was looking off in the distance to see if I could figure out what trail would lead me up Tennessee Mountain which is the next big climb after the aid station.  I could finally see a person hiking up a trail and figured that would be where I was going.  I stopped and let out a little whimper but continued on.

Right before the aid station you had to cross Jordan Creek.  I didn’t even hesitate, I just walked right through.  The water came all the way up my calves which felt wonderful.  I wanted to soak my bandana in the water but it just seemed like a lot of work at that moment so I passed.  At the aid station they took my pack and filled it with water and ice.  I should have had them fill my bandana with ice to wrap around my neck but I didn’t think about it.  I ate some grapes, drank some broth, and had a Pepsi before heading out.
As I was leaving the aid station to climb the steepest hill in the race, I told Amy King if she heard any crying up on the hill it would be me!  She said, “Just keep your head down and keep putting one foot in front of the other!”  So this is what I did at first.  A number of people passed me on this part of the course, including the last of the 100k runners who by this point had already done 30 miles and were heading in the same direction as me.  Tennessee Mountain is a little over a mile long and over ONE THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED FEET OF ELEVATION GAIN!  This hill is so steep that you think you can see the top in places but I found that to not be true.  It just seemed to never end!  I focused on putting one foot in front of the other which was very hard.  I stopped often and looked up at the clouds moving across the sky that were blocking the sun.  

The overcast weather made it feel cooler during this section of the course which was nice.  I had looked at my watch when I started the climb and again when I got to the top.  It took me 90 minutes to get to the top and when I finally made it I shouted out “Woohoo, I DID IT!”  I don’t think anyone heard me because there was no one around to witness my VICTORY!  After having the pleasure of hiking my fat ass up Tennessee Mountain I realized I would have given it another name, or two that are not appropriate for this race report!  (After finishing, I heard many colorful and interesting names others had come up with too!)  While standing at the top, I looked over the backside of the hill and noticed the climbing wasn’t over.

The clouds were starting to get darker and darker.  When it started to sprinkle I thought a bird had pooped on my hat but it was a big fat raindrop. The rain felt wonderful not enough to soak you but just enough to cool you off  at this point in the race I was walking as fast as I was running.  Since it took me so long to get up Tennessee Mountain I began to wonder if Ryan was going to beat me to the finish line.   When I saw him at mile 22 he was looking so strong.  I thought for sure I would see him sitting in a chair at the end. 

I love these kinds of races where there are different distances so everyone can see each other out on the trail.  Right before I reached the last aid station a friend of mine Christine, who was running the 100k, passed me for the third time.  She walked with me for a while.  It was nice to have someone to talk to.  When I finally made it to my last aid station I asked the volunteers if Ryan had come through yet the second time (he hit that aid station twice with a 15 mile loop in between).  When the volunteer told me he hadn’t I did a little happy dance!  It was 5pm when I was there and Ryan had been through for the first time at 3:30 so there was no way he could catch me unless I sustained a major injury during my last 3.5 miles! 

I didn’t feel like eating anything while the volunteers filled my pack but I did manage to drink a Pepsi, some broth, and a muffin.  When I was ready to leave the aid station I pulled out an elevation profile map I had brought with me.  I thought it was all downhill from there but boy was I wrong. Leaving the aid station there was a short hill I had to climb.  Once I got to the top, I started daydreaming which was a huge mistake.  I had my head down and noticed that there were no footprints in the dirt.  I started looking around for course markings but didn’t see any so I continued on for a short time.  When I finally decided that I had gotten off course I turned around and headed back the way I came until I found the flagging.  The intersection was well marked and after seeing it I couldn’t believe I made a wrong turn!  This was my lowest point in the race.  I added an extra mile by not paying attention to the trail markings.  I couldn’t believe this had happened but I pulled up my big girl panties and continued on. 

Photo credit Christie Ebenroth
When I was about 2.5 miles from the finish my friend Sam rode up on the back of an ATV and joined me for the final stretch to the finish.  He had finished the 30k about 4.5 hours earlier (cuz he’s AWESOME).   I was so happy to have him with me.  He kept me moving all the way to the finish line.  At this point, I was really starting to struggle.   I hadn’t eaten enough calories during the race and the heat was getting to me.  I was starting to feel nauseous and had to take more breaks on the uphill sections (which at this point in the race seemed just as steep as the BEAST, I mean Tennessee Mountain).  While I was resting, the leader of the 100k race passed us.  I don’t recall what we talked about near the end but Sam had me smiling and laughing.  Once I could see the dirt road that leads to the finish line I knew I was close.  When I got to the road I saw my friends Jenny, Sparkle, and Christie there to cheer me on.   Christie joined me and Sam for the last half mile. I thought about running down the road to look strong at the finish but I was so exhausted from the race and the lack of sleep the night before it was all I could do just to keep walking. It was about here where Brian Snyder, the 2nd place 100k finisher, passed us like a bat outta hell!  He was just flying down the road.  Once I turned the final corner into the finish line I started running.  After all, I had to look good for the finish line photo, right?

It was so wonderful when I finally crossed the finish line.  Many friends were there to congratulate me and give me a hug.  The race directors, Davina and Emily, gave me the coolest finisher award.  It was a metal cereal bowl!  Just kidding, it was a really neat gold pan.  Woohoo!   Since we were in an old mining town it was perfect.  Then they gave me ‘The Last Nugget’ award for finishing last place in the 30k race.  (Ryan was jealous because he just got a really BIG metal cereal bowl, I mean gold pan!)

Total time 10:10:01, Elevation gain/loss 4,353 feet, Wily cow encounters ZERO

People have asked me why I do these races.  I love being out on the trails, the supportive fun atmosphere being around other ultra runners and enjoying the beauty of nature.  The fact that I walked nearly the whole thing and came in two hours after the finisher before me doesn’t bother me a bit.  I recommend that anyone who wants to try this, whether you are fast or slow should get out and give it a shot.  I bet you would surprise yourself with what you are capable of.   

Silver City 100k Race Report

I normally don't ever get around to writing anything down after a race.  Not sure why.  Guess I am always ready to move on to the next one.  I looked back at my Boston Marathon draft I started and it abruptly ends with us driving the course the day race THE END.  Anyway, something is better than nothing so here it is.

Michelle and I drove up with my buddy Derek to the starting area on Friday night and had a chance to swap stories and catch up with a bunch of friends who were running and volunteers.  I had to be up around 4am for the 5am start.  I think Michelle said I fell asleep in about 9.3 seconds which was nice.  Unfortunately she had forgotten her sleeping pills that she needs to get to sleep so it was a long night and following day for her. Morning came way too soon and to my surprise it was a lot warmer when we woke up.  The night before the wind was howling and it was cold.  I had been watching the forecast and didn't think I would need a jacket at the beginning.  Luckily, I left my arm sleeves I got from Pocatello in the bottom of my sleeping bag after our recent trip to Stanley.  I was warmer than the night before but I was still glad I had the sleeves.

Mike Blessing was making breakfast burritos before the race and they were amazing.  I grabbed a couple of those and headed over to the pre-race meeting.  Nothing new in the pre-race. Watch out for snakes, you might get wet at some point, and all the regular stuff.  While we were waiting my friend Amanda showed up which was a nice surprise.  She was volunteering during the race and got up early to make the drive from Meridian to see the race start!  We chatted for a while then I gave Michelle a kiss and lined up for the start.  Lining up for the start of an ultra is kind of funny but I always go to the front.  I think the only other person to do it was Dennis.  He got right next to me and placed his leg right in front of mine like he was trying to trip me which was pretty funny.

10, 9, 8.......go!  And they're off!  Until we reached the road Davina, the race director, was the race leader in her boots and coat carrying a clip board which was fun.  I didn't have a headlamp since I figured it would be light in 15 minutes. I followed Derek for a while since he had a light and out of nowhere he goes down.  The road was relatively smooth but had bumps that popped out of no where.  We cruised through town and up to War Eagle Mountain basically as one group.  When we reached the top the sun was just peeking out and there was a slight haze in the air which made the entire sky glow.  It was truly one of the best sunrises ever.  At this point I was with Tony Huff, Randy Benthin, and Paul Lind.   We approached Michael taking pictures and got some great shots of us.

Not too long after War Eagle we reached the first aid station in Hayden Saddle.  This is about mile 5.5 which was a quick stop for water and a couple of gels.  After the leaving the aid station, you drop down a steep shale slide and begin the ascent to Hayden Peak.  Hayden Peak is the highest point in the Owyhee Mountains and the view was worth the trip.  We stayed long enough to snap a quick picture and headed back down.  The 100k route returns to the base of the shale slide and then drops deep down the backside of the hill on an old road.  The road eventually disappears at the bottom and we had to bushwhack cross country back up the mountain to the Hayden Saddle aid station.  This was a challenging section since there was no trail but it was very pretty and cool back there.  The climb was roughly 900 feet in 0.7 miles.

We popped out of the trees right at the aid station which was mile 14.  I had some bananas, oranges, and cookies and was off.  I was feeling good and we were going into a section that had a little bit of up and down but was basically riding the ridge.  I was the first to leave out of the 2nd aid station and from there were seemed to get spread out pretty quick. Maybe we didn't, I don't ever look back to see where people are.  All I know was this was a beautiful stretch with scenic view of the backside of the mountain looking toward the Oregon border.  Somewhere along here Tony passed me on the downhill and we chatted for a bit.  After he got by I realized I do better when I have someone in my sights.  He was bounding like a deer down some of the rockiest crazy terrain I have ever seen which was amazing.  I caught back up to him with a solid power hike just before we dropped down the steep descent into the Silver City aid station.  Tony dusted me again on the downhill and I didn't see him for another 15 miles.

The 30k started their race at 9am I believe and they came up the same canyon we were going down.  At this point they were at 2 or 3 miles and we were coming up on mile 22.  It was fun to see lots of friends who were running and get my only chance to say hello since most of them would be at home asleep by the time I finished!  I had fun charging through all 708 water crossings :D  At one point I even told some of the people I was passing to smile THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN!!  In their defense we were screaming down the steep downhill while they were headed uphill.  Just as I got to the aid station I met Michelle.  I leaned on her while she held me up!  We had short kiss and told each other good luck and were on our way.  While I was at the aid station one of the volunteers asked me how my feet felt and I said 'fine, but ask me again in 40 miles!'  Wayne and his wife Wendy were working the aid station table and I think I was already starting to get brain fog because he asked me if I wanted water and heed.  I said sure and he asked which bottle is heed?  Um, I don't know, just put it in one of them and water in the other I guess?  It's hard to think sometimes. If you are volunteering at an ultra and you have an aid station later in the race try asking one of the runners a math question.  That would be a hoot.

Anyway, I got headed down the trail to towards town and headed back up the same hill I just came down but on a different road.  The trail was steep but manageable.  I leap frogged back and forth with 6 four wheelers up this climb which was not pleasant.  They were courteous but dust is dust.  There were about 673 water crossing in this section.  Several of them halfway to my knees.  I actually enjoyed being near the water because it was warming up and I kept dipping my hat and handkerchief in the water to stay cool.  Once I crested the hill there were a bunch of people at the top for some reason.  They had 4 wheelers but were also handing out what looked like aid station stuff.  I later found out this was the Long Gulch aid station.  Next time I am going to read the run description and look at the aid station chart, I swear!

They had bacon.  It was awesome. The END

Oh wait, I still have 38 miles to go.  I cruised down the hill and passed a guy who was struggling from cramping and offer him and S-cap to help.  He recovered quickly and promptly dusted me on the downhill.  I came upon Ande Wilkes in this section and she had just had a bad spill on the unforgiving rocks.  I introduced myself and told her I hated to meet her under these circumstances.  She assured me she would be fine and I continued on.  We were catching some 50k and 30k runners in this stretch which was fun.  I got behind two ladies that running all the uphills.  It took me forever to catch up to them and when I did I told them they were hardcore for running the uphills.  Their response was the faster we run, the sooner we get to drink beer at the end.  Who can fault that logic!!

I rolled into the Jordan Creek aid station at 11:20, just over 6 hours after we started and 6,300 feet of elevation later.  As promised, I laid down in the creek and swam in the water!  Amy King got a good picture of me being a goofball.  Val Block was awesome at this aid station and got me all fixed up.  One funny thing of note at this aid station.  Amy's daughter Faith was standing at the table when Bryan Snyder came through and passed me.  He dipped his hands into the food bowls like we all do, grabbed some stuff, and was off.  Once he left Faith turned to I think Val and said 'EWW did you see that guy just put his dirty hand in the food bowl!'  Now I am standing there getting ready to do the same thing. I asked her if she would make up a bowl for me so I wouldn't have to do that.  She gives me a weird look so I dipped by grubby paws in the bowls and hit the road.  I laughed as I could see her get the EWW look again.

The next section is Tennessee Hill.  I was with the scouting group Emily put together last fall so this was not a surprise for me like it was for others.  It climbs about 1,150 feet in 1.1 miles.  I never stopped once and passed about 20 people.  The only person I couldn't catch was Brian Snyder.  I tried to offer some helpful advice to several people who looked like they were struggling but apparently they didn't have as good of an attitude at that moment as I did.  They basically told me where to go and how to get there in their own little way so I motored on by.  This mile took me 24 minutes which I was really happy with.  Once I got to the top I went right into a run and passed through a whole bunch of people who looked shell shocked and amazed that they made it, and rightfully so, it was H.A.R.D.!  The back of the hill is as steep as the front for a ways and on the way down a ziploc bag flew out of my pocket!  I looked at it gently bouncing along the steep terrain to my right.  In the back of my brain I can hear Emily yelling at me, RYAN!!  So I go side hill trying to catch this silly thing before it gets away.  Luckily it didn't get to far and a littering incident was narrowly avoided.

                                                               By this time it is about noon and the heat is starting become more noticeable.  I went for a mile or two to where the 100k route makes a loop down to the mile 36 DeLamar aid station.  I start heading downhill and am surprised to see a head bobbing through the trees and bushed ahead of me.  Somehow I had nearly caught back up to Tony.  I was feeling pretty decent on the long downhill when I get to a spot where there are three flags in a row that seem to be indicating a right turn.  That didn't seem right so I kept going down to a gate I can see crossing the road.  Once I got down, there were no flags on the fence or the closed gate so I assumed those 3 flags were indicating a turn.  So I turned back up the hill to the flags and followed what I thought was the right direction.  Long story short, I was supposed to stay on the road and continue the way I was headed.  Apparently the local cows had taken a liking to the flagging and were chewing some of  them up and spitting them out in random places.  I knew I had to drop all the way back to Jordan Creek so I returned to the road and headed down.  Sure enough, I ran into the flags eventually.  I got less than one bonus mile but wasted 20 minutes.

When I got to the DeLamar aid station Christie came out to greet me.  Dennis and Paul were just leaving and another guy Steve had passed me by too.  Mike Chrisman was there with Wayne and Christies family and he cooked up some cheese quesadillas that hit the spot.  The ATV guys were asking me where the confusing part was so I gave them the general vicinity and where the flags were.  I was distracted talking to them and forgot all the things I was going to get at this aid station.  Christie refilled my water, Wayne gave me a big bag of grapes, and their daughter Savannah offered me a pickle as big as her arm which was super cute.  It didn't sound good at the time so I declined and walked out.  Just as I am leaving I remembered she said she would have popsicles, so I grabbed one and hit the road.  After leaving I realized I was going to get some ice for my bandanna, sunscreen, and something else that I still can't remember!  I do remember trying ginger ale for the first time in my entire life and it wasn't bad! The only reason I did is because it was the closest thing to my hand on the table!

I would have to say the prettiest part of the course was the 5 mile stretch after leaving that aid station.  There were lots of wildflowers in the meadows.  Aspen and pines were mixed in with the sagebrush and bitter brush too.  I followed Dennis' bobbing head for a long way and then was alone for a long time.  The next weary soul I came upon was Mike Blessing chugging into the Slacks Corner aid station.  He had had a long day and was ready to be done.  I saw Mike and Tina Upton here while I was changing my socks.  I don't normally change my socks but after 44 miles of wet feet I figured I'd give it a shot.  There wasn't any water on the last section so it seemed like it would be worth it.  I got a chance to say hi to  Ray Ramirez who was volunteering.  I met Ray at Wilson Creek near the end.  When I passed him that day I asked him how he was doing and he replied, 'Livin' the dream, DON'T wake me up!'  It has since become one of my favorite lines and seeing him brought a smile to my face.

They had bacon.  It was awesome. The END.

Oh wait, I still have 19 miles to go.  I left out of there with a new shirt and a long sleeve on since the cloud cover was making it really cool.  This lasted about 20 minutes and then the clouds broke and it heated up quick.  I didn't take my long sleeved shirt off which in retrospect was a bad move.  Part of the reason was so I wouldn't get sunburned.  The other part was I just wanted to keep moving.  I think I was overheating which took a lot out of me.  There was zero shade for the next 7 miles and it only got hotter.  I rolled into the Black Mountain aid station at mile 51.5 around 5:45.  Tony Salazar and his family were aid station captains and it was wonderful to visit and get recharged.  The heat had sapped me so I decided I would stay for a bit to get some fluid in me and hopefully regain some energy.

From Slacks to Black Mountain it was 1,150 feet of gain and 2,700 feet of loss.  When I left Black Mountain I was not looking forward to the return trip to Slacks.  This section is a loop and returned us to Slacks so I knew we had a long grind back.  Luckily the climb came all at once for the most part.  The four miles after the aid station had 1,500 feet of climb and 150 feet of loss.  After that it seemed like we were running the ridge line for the most part.

I was fading badly by now and just trying to keep up my forward motion.  When I came across the Canyon County ATV volunteer I asked if I could sit on their 4 wheelers to take a break and they all let me thank goodness.  One of them gave me a badly needed  bottle of water too.  I told him he was a GOD and thanked him for volunteering and headed out.  About mile 59 my watch died and Derek caught up to me at mile 60.  He was on fire when he caught me.  We chatted for a bit and I told him not to let me hold him up and go kick some butt.  We met at mile 7 of the Wilson Creek 50k and stuck together the rest of the day that day.  After that we started running before work during the week.  Anyway, Derek says, you've been kicking my butt for 60 miles, let's run it in together.  Sounded good to me. I hadn't had anyone to talk to for many miles.  Derek said he had been alone nearly all day and welcomed some company too.

After a bit we slogged into the Slacks Corner aid station again.  This time at mile 60.  Ray was there again and Jim and Jane Updegrove were there as well.  They are both ultra-veterans and know exactly what you want to hear and what you want to eat.  Jim said it was 2.8 miles to the road and 0.6 from the road to the finish.  For me this is good information to keep my brain focused.  Too bad my watch was dead!  At the glacial pace I was going the miles were seeming longer and longer. One funny thing that happened during this stop was Jim was trying to get Derek's number to mark him off the checklist.  Derek wasn't paying attention so I swatted him and said, 'What's your number?'  'My number? 618-51....'  'No your race number goofball!!' 'Hey, it's been a long day, don't ask me hard questions like that!'

They had bacon.  It was awesome. The END

Oh wait, I still have three miles to go.  We headed out of the aid station and up to the ridge where we were met by Christie in her pink flamingo hat.  She was just the ray of sunshine we, I mean I needed to get me to the finish.  From this ridge it is mostly downhill to the finish and we picked up the pace considerably once we has someone with about 20 times more enthusiasm that we did combined to get us motivated.  We goofed around and Christie got some silly pictures along the way as well as some amazing sunset pictures.  We popped out on the road and I saw Lindsay Seals was directing the runners down the hill to the finish.  She did the 50k earlier and was out volunteering to round out the day!  I told her she looked like she could run another lap!  We started to run down the last stretch but had to get our stuff organized a bit.
We stopped and both took off our long sleeve shirts.  I stashed my sunglasses in Derek's pack and Christie took my vest. Christie took off like a bolt of lightning and I chased her for a minute of so before the smart part of my brain decided that was a bad idea.  She continued on and alerted the masses of our pending arrival.  We rounded the last corner and crossed the finish line with a rather sweet heel click in perfect unison.  Luckily Michael was there to capture it nicely.

I went into the proverbial hands on knees, I think I am about to die pose for a minute while I caught my breath.

Once again Michelle was there to hold me up so I didn't fall!  We kissed and she said she was proud of me.  Dennis and a number of others were still there to congratulate us at the finish.  Davina and Emily presented us with our finishers award which was a gold pan which is very cool.  This course was HARD. I had 63.3 miles and 15,000 feet of gain and loss.  The elevation was difficult but what made it tough were the loose rolling rocks under what seemed like every step.

I always like to make note of things that went good and bad so that I can make sure they don't happen again.  Getting off course sucks.  So what, move on.  Don't let it get to you.  This was the best and worst thing that happened to me.  It also taught me to study the maps and aid station better.  I don't normally pore over them because I don't typically run up against the cutoffs.  Had I done a bit of studying beforehand I wouldn't have gotten off course, it was totally my fault.  Lesson learned.

The other thing is heat training.  I run in the morning because it works with my schedule and my family life.  I need to get out in the heat more to be better acclimated.  Lesson learned.

I had a great experience and will hopefully be back for more punishment next year!  Thanks to Pickled Feet Emily and Davina for putting this event on as well as all the amazing volunteers who make these things happen!

Big thanks to Tom Peavey, Christie Ebenroth, Amy King, Tony Salazar, Michael Lebowitz of Long Run Picture Company for the wonderful photos.  I took my camera and left the battery in the CHARGER at home.  Oh well. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Silver City 100k tomorrow!

Getting excited to kick some butt at the Silver City 100k tomorrow.  This is my first attempt at 100k.  I have done several 100 milers but this will be a challenge due to the altitude and elevation change.  Pacing will be critical.  Good times!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Why do I run Part II

Part I can be found here.

After looking back at the Part I entry I remembered that there was one important picture missing... This picture was taken the day I realized I wanted to be an ultra-runner.  This was about 30 minutes after the start of the Javelina Jundred ultra near Phoenix in 2010.  I had never ran more than a marathon before this day and I ended up getting nearly 50 miles and loved it.  Here is the recap.  The people were all amazing, the atmosphere was relaxed, and I had fun. 

Here are a few more recent reasons why I run, and why I get up so early to do it....

Today, I was at Polecat loop and I caught this beauty.

A week ago on June 14th, I suffered through this one.  Also at Polecat....
June 2nd, at the Pocatello 50 ultra...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Aut Inveniam Viam Aut Faciam

"Aut inveniam viam aut faciam." That's an old Latin phrase that pertains to perseverance. Supposedly it was spoken by Hannibal of Carthage, in response to his generals who told him that it would be impossible to cross the Alps with war elephants.

There will always be people in our lives who try to hold us back from achieving our goals and dreams. Like anchors, they want to embed themselves at the bottom of the sea to success and prevent our ship from sailing. You make the mistake of sharing your aspirations with them, and they immediately set about sabotaging your efforts. In their minds, they are just helping you out. You know, bringing you back to reality.

For example, they may tell you that you can't lose weight, stick with an exercise plan, or (insert goal here)...because you have no willpower or because a previous attempt did not work out. I don't know what makes people do that. Maybe sometime in their past they themselves lacked the perseverance or self confidence to dedicate themselves to achieve one of their goals. Now, in an attempt at self validation, they want to stymie your efforts.

Personally, I try to avoid negative people who try to hold me back. But sometimes it's a friend or family member that you can't avoid. In those cases, I just give them Hannibal's response to his generals. “Aut inveniam viam aut faciam."

"I will either find a way, or make one." You CAN ACHIEVE your goals. By the way, Hannibal made it through the Alps with his elephants. Just ask the Romans.

This post was adapted from a post I saw on the Q by SlipKnot Slim today.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What if?

I've had to learn through experiences not to be afraid to fail. You don't know what the future holds for you. You can hope your dreams come true, but you have to be fearless. I don't want to look back and think, What if?

Nastia Lukin, U.S. Olympic gymnast
Runner's World Quote of the Day

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Vacation Bible School

Last night I was at VBS which is put on each year at Southminster Presbyterian Church where my brother's family attends. Rich's wife Julie is in charge of it and does a wonderful job getting the kids excited about it each year. This year is a pirate theme and on the way out Carolyn Blackhurst was snapping pictures so I had her get some family photos of us, just like she does every year. They turned out awesome and since we are too lame to ever get a real family picture taken Julie suggested we frame this one and hang it on the wall! I agree.

It also reminded me of one of the pictures I used in the Idaho Power Health Fair video of the 'before' Ryan. The picture on the left was from June 2008. The outward change is obvious but in some ways things haven't changed. I was always happy, always had a smile, and loved spending time with my kids...just like today. Except that my kids are getting older and I need to make sure I take time to cherish these moments. Zach was 3 in the picture on the left and he'll be 8 in a few short months, time flies!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Running Nerd Ryan Rides a Bike.... Dr. Seuss! This one is for my Dailymile cycling buddies Scott J. and Sue R.

Distance: 17.4 miles Time: 01:19 Pace: 13.2mph

So today I decided to get up and ride the Prison Loop. From my house I go out towards the Idaho State Maximum Security Penitentiary and make a big loop back to my house. When I started to lose weight I did this loop twice a week on my Specialized Stumpjumper mountain bike and swam the other days. This route was the first route I used for a long marathon run and I remember I thought I would die!

Anyway, today was interesting. About halfway through, I dropped down to the center ring in the front to climb a hill and was never able to shift back to the big ring. It was really annoying and I need a tune up for sure. I still use the Stumpjumper for my road rides!

As I was riding I was thinking back to the first rides I did out here. A couple of observations had me laughing.

-Some things never change
  • There is ALWAYS a headwind going west on 10 Mile Creek Road, deal with it.
  • I always feel better after a good workout no matter what it is
  • Beating the sunrise is always awesome
  • There is a dog that lives on Cloverdale between Columbia and Hubbard that would eat me for breakfast if I poured maple syrup on my butt
  • I will always be slow on my tank of a bike. The knobby tires and pedals with baskets for my non-clip in shoes stink.
-Some things do change

  • I didn't stop at 8.5 miles to smoke any cigarettes
  • I have granny hands now that I lost weight so I wore gloves and a long sleeve which I NEVER did before
  • I have improved my time significantly
  • I had a smile the entire way and almost embraced my tank bike thinking maybe I was getting a better workout because of its inefficiency
Another side note, Camelbaks are awesome for bike riding. I hate them with a passion for running. Street lights encountered, zero. Stop signs, five. Number of cars I saw today, maybe 20.

After today's adventure, I may even try lifting weights Br3nda!

Avg HR 120 Max 150

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Did I mention.....

I try not to be 'that guy' until people ask.  Then I bore them to death with the details! Did I mention that I run ultras?

Frozen First

Video made during the Wilson Creek Frozen 50k this past January.  Inspiring!

Frozen First from Silverline Films on Vimeo.

Monday, June 4, 2012

2012 Pocatello 20 Mile Trail Race – Tales from the Back of the Pack

by Michelle Scott Anderson Saturday, June 2, 2012

We had to endure this on race morning!
I’m not sure what my official time was but the important thing is I finished! When I signed up for this race I had asked Ryan if he would do it with me and he agreed. I knew that it was going to be hot the day of the race but the heat never really got to me. There was always enough of a breeze to keep the temperature comfortable and the scattered clouds helped too. When we lined up to start the race we headed to the back of the pack then we were off for a 20 mile adventure. I did this race last year, but it was the snow course route. So after 5.5 miles, everything would be new to me. Just like last year the winner of the 50 mile race passed in front of me about ¼ mile into the race which was mile 32 for him I secretly wanted to beat my time from last year but I wasn’t going to push myself so hard that I wouldn’t enjoy the race.

Just before the Scout Mtn aid station
So the plan was just to get from one aid station to another. The first one was at mile 5.5. When we got there Ryan filled my pack with water while I got something to eat. I tried to eat as much as I could which was probably not enough. It was 9.1 miles to the next aid station but first I would have to go up over a really huge mountain to get there. By now several of the 50 mile and 50k runners were passing us. It was funny to watch Ryan as they passed. I’m so slow that he was often about 10-20 feet in front of me and whenever a runner would pass me Ryan would fall right into step with them and keep pace. He would chat with them for awhile and then I think he would realize that I was no longer around so he would stop and let me catch up.

On the way up to Scout Mtn.
After the first aid station I noticed my chest was hurting with each breath I took. Since this race is at a higher altitude I thought that I might have a problem with this I just took more breaks so I could catch my breath.

On up the trail we continued. After a mile or so, Ryan asked if I would like him to soak a bandana he was carrying in the creek and put it around my neck. It felt heavenly! At about 7.5 miles into the race there were some people that had a cow bell and were cheering the runners on. It brought a smile to my face as this part was a really steep section I needed that encouragement right then. A little while later we hit a dirt road and this is where the views became spectacular. I just had to stop all the time and turn in a 360 degree circle. This road was steep and really long. I had trekking poles the whole race which helped a lot with my posture and kept the swelling down in my hands.

Right before the summit is when I started to whine to Ryan that I was tired of all the uphill and didn’t know if I could finish. He said “the only way down from here is to run to the next aid station and by then we’ll almost be there.” There was a patch of snow that we went through and Ryan put some in the bandana wrapped it up and put it around my neck so for about a ½ hour I had my own little A/C. Once I made it to the top I thought to myself, “I hiked my ass all the way up here and I will finish this race!” The whole time I was going uphill I kept wishing for the downhill. Be careful what you wish for. When we started downhill it was so steep and rocky my legs were shaking with every step I thought I was going to fall. I’m afraid to run downhill when it is that steep.

Between Scout Mtn. and Big Fur aid station
Then out of nowhere Ryan just goes bombing down the hill and sits down at a flat section to wait for me. When I finally reached him I told him that it was my turn to sit down and rest. Normally I avoid sitting down at races because I usually get stiff. But I needed to get my legs to stop shaking before I continued on. While we were sitting Ryan asked if I had anymore food I could share with him. I did have a sweet and salty bar and some honey roasted peanuts. I felt really bad because it took us so long between the first aid station and the last that he had run out of food. I always tell people when they go with me they need to pack a lunch!

Just before Big Fur aid station
Once the steep part was out of the way and we got back into the trees on a nice trail (that wasn’t so steep) I started enjoying myself again. This part of the trail was so beautiful and quiet, until I started running and heard a weird noise behind me. I asked Ryan what it was and he said it was his WATER BOTTLES!! I asked him where they were and he said “hooked to your pack.” I guess I was the pack mule for him.

As we were going down we met a guy going up he asked how we were doing and if one of us was the runner that needed help. We said no then asked him how far it was to the aid station he said about 2 miles. A minute down the trail we came upon a couple more people that were going to the runner that needed help. Then they said that the aid station was less than a mile. Hmmm, neither one of them was right. Shortly before the aid station I had a complete melt down and told Ryan that I wasn’t having fun anymore. Every step was painful and I could hardly run. When we got to the aid station a volunteer grabbed a wet wash cloth and handed it to me. Oh my goodness, it felt so good to be able to wash my face and arms with the cold water. Then when I was done I had the thought that I was probably the 280th person to use the wash cloth but oh well. The Big Fur aid station was the best aid station and everyone was so helpful. I sat down, they refilled my pack, brought me coke to drink, as well as something to eat. Once again I tried to eat as much as I could but nothing sounded really good. This guy came up to me while I was sitting and told me that I had 5 miles to go 4 were downhill and 1 was up. It turned out to be 5 miles with 3.5 downhill and 1.5 uphill.

Nordic Ski Area
Not long after we left the aid station we hit pavement. I was a lot more comfortable running on the road then I was on the trails. I think this part was my fastest mile. At this point I finally felt like I had to use the bushes but I was on an open road with nowhere to go so I held it. We turned onto a dirt road with a sign that said Nordic Center this way. I knew that there was a bathroom there but I didn’t know how far it was. Once we made it to the top I finally told Ryan I couldn’t hold it anymore so he kept a look out while I did my business. Then we got back on the trail went maybe 100 yards and there was the bathroom. Ugh.

Looking back at Scout Mtn.
The moon was gorgeous coming up over Scout Mountain where we had just come down. It was very big and bright. I had one more climb I had to get through then it was downhill to the finish line. Once we started on the downhill I couldn’t stop crying I felt so emotionally drained. Plus, my feet hurt like crazy every rock I stepped on I whimpered. I just wanted it to be over. I hadn’t been running for awhile but once we had a mile to go I started up again. I had brought a headlamp with me and ended up pulling it out ¾ of a mile from the finish. Ryan told me that he would come in behind me so I wouldn’t be last again but I wanted him to get a picture of me crossing the finish line. We came out on the road that we started on I could see the last turn into the finish line. Right before the turn I asked Ryan to run head as fast as he could to get a picture of me.

Finish line!
Before he left he stopped and gave me a kiss and said he loved me and was proud of me. Then he took off like his hair was on fire (if he had hair that is!).

Michelle, #27, Kirstin, Lynette, Dennis, Paul, and Pam
There is a slight turn into the finish line and once everyone saw me the cheering and yelling was so loud I couldn’t believe it. I started crying again. It was the most wonderful feeling to see so many people. Most of the time when I finish races hardly anyone is there. When I crossed the finish line I gave Ryan a huge hug. I’m not sure if I said thank you for sticking with me for the whole race but I loved having him there the entire time.

I am so proud of myself for not giving up and finishing the race. See you next year!

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