Sunday, June 28, 2015

 100 Miles- Bighorn Mountains Race Report

Approximately 17,500 feet of climbing and 18,000 feet of descent.

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This 100 mile race was an 11am start on Friday, June 19th, with 330 other runners hoping to cover the distance in the beautiful Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming, USA.  It is described as an “
extremely challenging” race, on an out-and-back course with elevations up to 10,000 feet.  We started in soaring temperatures of 30+ celsius degrees with not a single cloud in the sky.  It was hot!  I had sweat dripping from my chin within minutes.  It was the kind of heat that had our elbow creases sweating.  Need I say more!  330 runners, soaked, climbing a ~13 miles mountain, hoping to stay ahead of dehydration and heat exhaustion.  Looking up and looking back, it looked like we were in a huge conga line.  What an exhilarating feeling!  

So how did I do?  Well, if you look up my results, it may look like I did horribly.  

Here are my stats:

Gun time - 32:15:35
Overall Finish - 144 / 193 (finishers) Remember, 330 people started
Gender Finish - 23 / 36
Age Group Finish - 10 / 12

But sometimes numbers don’t tell the whole story.  My race started great!  I was comfortable, eating and drinking with no issues.  It wasn’t until the ~78 mile marker that things started to go badly.  

I climbed back up to either Bear Camp or Stock Tank (can’t remember which), taped up some toes and headed to Cow Camp (76.5 miles).  By this time, my feet were swollen.  Wedged in my shoes, excruciating pain in my feet/toes, I walked out of this aid station.  With no bigger shoes to changed into, I trudged the next 6 miles back to Dryfork.  At this aid station, with the help of 2 great volunteers, they taped up my whole feet in hopes that the swelling/blisters would decrease.  Stomach and hydration still good, I hoped I could pull things together to finish the race running.  Nope!  Unfortunately, the tape didn’t help.  I took out my orthotics on the side of the trail, to give my feet more room.  Well, that just killed my feet. This downhill section was the worst!  I’ll admit, there were lots of tears!  Hobble hobble hobble…. and now with 5 miles to go, the TR TH blister volunteers helped me take off my tape, soak my feet in freezing river water, re-taped my blistered, put my orthotics back in and encouraged me to finish the race.  

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Normal feet ----------------  feet getting taped ------------------ sausage toes/feet

This next section was a dirt road, and flat all the way to the finish line.  It felt never ending!  I saw a panda bear beside the river on this section.  I guess that’s what being awake and running for so long does to ya.  Panda bear or no panda bear, I got threw it with a finish time of 32h15m, with tears in my ears, a smile on my face and the hand of extraordinary stranger in mine. 

So, it wasn’t the breakthrough race that I trained for, but I am proud that I didn’t DNF.  To be honest, I never once had the thought of quitting.  Even though I went into this race with the goal of a podium finish, I didn’t want to DNF.  With my family in my heart, the encouraging words of fellow runners,  I hobbled on.  That's just the kind of stubborn person that I am.

Dryfork 13.4 miles (20.8km) climb, 7480’ elevation,  3h09m
Footbridge 30 miles (50 km), 4590’ elevation, 6h57m
Jaws 48 miles (77 km), 8800’ elevation, no data
Footbridge 66 miles (105 km), 4590’ elevation, 17h53m
Dryfork 82.5 miles (132 km) 23h23m
Finish line 100 miles (160 km), 32h15m

I can not finish this blog without talking about the friend that I made: Alan Lam.  Alan and I met at approximate 10 mile.  We talked and shared stories and we even have some of the same friends.  What a small world!  You really get to know someone when you spend that much time together.  I still can’t believe he stuck with me when times got tough for me.  Thank you Alan!!!  Truly, truly, truly...Thank you!  (Sorry for all the tears.) I hope we could race together again soon.

Now what? I have a fire in my gut that is always growing. I love this sport and I am not going anywhere.  I’m recovering well, and looking forward to my second peak this fall.  Golden Ultra and Oil Creek 100k, here I come!!!
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With warm regards,
As always, thank you to everyone that help make my racing dreams come true!

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