Monday, January 4, 2016

Across the Years (Race Recap)

Glendale, AZ
Wednesday, December 30-January 1
Ultra Marathon #15
Weather - Sunny. Cold at night, pleasant during the day

For the last four years I have gone to Allen, Texas to run the New Years Double. I asked A a few months ago if she wanted to do the double 5k's again and she said no. So then when I started pricing everything out and it was going to cost me close to $1,000 to run... I decided to skip it.

Fast forward to October/November. Heather and I had plans to run CIM again in December. Due to lack of training, Heather decided to defer. Since I had already booked airfare, I started to think that maybe I could use my Southwest bucks for a different race. I wanted to do a race over New Years again and had heard good things about Across the Years.

So of COURSE I decided to sign up. Even though I have been running fairly regularly, my distance running has not been on point. I figured I would give it my best shot. My one and only goal was to see if I could get to 100 miles...

Monday - Tuesday

Of course I waited until the last minute to pack. I like to live on the edge. I did manage to fit all these items (plus a sleeping bag and pillow) in my backpack. I did end up using about 80% of the stuff I brought with me.

TSA was warning of increasingly long lines at security, so I headed to the airport a bit early. The lines weren't too bad, I think I only waited about a half hour. After getting near the gate I stopped at Rock Bottom and got a beer. I hate buying beer at the airport.

The flight was on time and is very short, maybe 90 minutes. I immediately headed for the shuttle to pick up my rental car. There was no line there either and I was on the road to the race pretty quickly. I did want to pick up a few last minute items and stopped at CVS for some water and wipes to clean my face. I also found an In N Out burger, which meant I had a nice, tasty "last supper."

Arrived at the start area at Camelback Ranch and wandered around until I found someone that could point me in the direction of where I could get the tent I had reserved. They were already all set up for us, which was great. I unpacked my gear, and then went to sit in the car and charge my phone. Around 9-9:30 I went to lie down.

Unfortunately, I did not account for it being FREEZING cold. I could not sleep because it was so cold. I was wearing everything I owned and it was not enough. Sad. Thank GOODNESS I had gotten  the rental car because I spent a LOT of time in there running the heater. So much for a restful night...


I woke up around sunrise. It was still chilly. I don't know if you can tell that there is FROST on my tent??

I headed over to the main aid station, where I got some breakfast and coffee. I sat in the warming tent until about an hour before the race start. Then I changed clothes and headed out. I was feeling woefully unprepared for this.

The course is a 1.05 mile loop on mostly dirt/gravel path, with a handful of paved areas. Apparently I should have read more closely and brought gaiters, as this proved to be an issue for a large portion of the race.

Anyway, we all lined up, I started towards the back, and we were off. We initially started out running counter clockwise. (Every four hours we would switch and run the opposite direction). There was a timing mat on the opposite side of the course.

What to say about the course... it wasn't super scenic, but there was this cute little pond on one side.

Early on, I met this little girl, Jane. She is 8 years old, wore this adorable little pack the entire time and had a goal to run 27 miles. (I saw her the next morning, and she beat her goal, running 29).

I had started typing up "status" updates on Facebook. Turned out to be a pretty fun way to journal all the crap I ate, if nothing else. You all know how I feel about grilled cheese, so this made me extra happy.

I was getting lapped and lapped and lapped... if you know  me at all by now, you know that I'm pretty slow and steady. So I didn't care. I was having a pretty good time - as is evidenced by this selfie I took about 5 hours in. (Only 43 to go?)

I took this when I hit the marathon distance
There were a lot of runners out during the day. In addition to the 48 hour division that I was running, there was also 24 hour, 72 hour and SIX DAY runners. (It totally helps justify my sanity when there are people who are out for SIX DAYS).

I hit the 50k around 7 hours. Not bad, since I've only run double digits a handful of times in the last two months. I changed into my "night" clothes around 4:00 because I knew how cold it would get as soon as the sun set and I didn't want to mess with it in the dark. Fellow runner took this for me after he caught me trying to take a selfie :D

I was still doing pretty well. Definitely had slowed down a bit, but nothing catastrophic yet. I was SO HAPPY to see that the water station had picked up some beer! I asked for a cup of beer and he offered me the bottle. So, I walked and drank it. I managed to finish the bottle in less than a loop (I was thirsty!)

And then I had a few really great miles. Like miles where I ran faster than I had at the start of the race. With pretty much zero training, I managed to hit the 50 mile mark at under 12 hours. (Imagine what I could do if I trained?)

Within a few miles, I began to get cold and my watch was already beeping low batter at me. I was tired, and since I had not slept the night before I decided to sit in the car, charge my phone and watch, and try to warm up a bit. I may have dozed off a few minutes here and there, and around 2 am I headed back out. I stayed out for about 4 hours, walking almost all of it, only getting in 13 miles. So by now I'm only at 66 or so miles and I am miserable. Still tired, and cold. So I decided to take another break, hoping that if I headed out closer to sunrise I'd feel better.

I maybe nodded off a bit, but nothing too spectacular. I got up around 6, grabbed a cup of coffee and headed out. FINALLY, the sun was coming up. YAY!!

The first two hours were slow going and I walked most of it. I did stop into the first aid tent to have some blisters taken care of. Grrr with these stupid little rocks!! I had some decent miles after the sun came up. I took this selfie right around the 24 hour mark.

Walk, jog, run. I spent a few minutes chatting with some of the other runners, but a lot of the time was spent listening to my iPod. Early afternoon, maybe around 2:00, I pretty much... stopped. I was at about 91 miles and I was overcome with exhaustion. It wasn't even so much physical exhaustion, I was just so tired after having been up for SO LONG. It was warm outside so I decided to lie down in my tent for 45 minutes. I was out immediately and woke up feeling like a new person. Totally good decision to stop for a few!

I put on my warm weather clothes and then headed back out. I wanted to get in as many miles as I could before the sun set.

After not craving sweets the entire race, they put out chocolate chip cookies with nutella. That might have been the most delicious thing I've ever eaten. That, and the pepperoni pizza. I walked and ate and then I hit my 100 miles. I decided to go for an extra few miles so that I would have gone farther than everyone who stopped at 100. I stopped around 7:00. I spent some time in the warming tent, then went to CVS to buy some celebratory beer (it WAS New Years Eve after all). I had a few beers and then fell asleep in the rental car. I really had no intention of getting up and running more.

Then, for some reason, I woke up, completely alert, around 5 am. I figured, well, let me look at the standings and see how everyone did over the last 10 hours that I haven't been on the course. I got some coffee and thought, what the heck, maybe I'll walk a few loops. I put on my grey sweats and grey hoodie (warmest stuff I had) and headed out. I hesitatingly jogged a few steps. Then a few more. Then a few more.

I was "running." Like for real "running." There were hardly any folks out, but the ones that were, were walking (with the exception of a handful of 24 hour people). Every time I got close to the start, I would almost stop, and then I'd think, what the heck, one more. I kept going until I didn't have time for any more. I did another 13.7 miles, which brought my grand total to 115.48.

These are NOT speedy times, by any means,  but these were my miles 102-115, and I'm damn proud of them
I grabbed coffee and a breakfast burrito and sat in the warming tent until 9:00, and then watched the next set of runners head out. While I was packing up my gear, I took this selfie:

I think I look pretty "human" after all this...
The awards ceremony was at 10:00 in the stadium across the parking lot. A little strange, since people were still going to be running for a few more days.

I collected my beer mug, and my FIRST BUCKLE.

I chatted with Cory for a few minutes (MY HERO! He ran 150 miles!), and then I was in my car and headed to In N Out for lunch before heading to the airport.

Part 1

Miles 1-5 - 11:33, 11:42, 11:43, 12:12, 11:50
Miles 6-10 - 14:24, 13:19, 12:59, 12:25, 11:56
Miles 11-15 - 12:22, 11:49, 13:38, 13:41, 13:30
Miles 16-20 - 16:21, 12:50, 13:34, 13:26, 13:06
Miles 21-25 - 18:39, 13:13, 15:00, 13:22, 14:25
Miles 26-30 - 14:04, 14:45, 15:22, 15:31, 13:40
Miles 31-35 - 14:36, 15:08, 19:11, 17:31, 15:48
Miles 36-40 - 16:04, 14:19, 18:01, 15:42, 15:18
Miles 41-45 - 14:39, 15:31, 17:06, 13:36, 13:18
Miles 46-50 - 16:58, 14:50, 13:51, 14:34, 14:06
Miles 5-53.25 - 15:29, 21:59, 28:37

Part 2

Miles 53-66ish - 18:30, 17:28, 16:08, 17:41, 16:00, 18:00, 20:38, 18:42, 27:55, 18:21, 18:15, 28:46, 14:17

Part 3

Miles 66-91 - 20:47, 19:08, 21:40, 19:29, 26:16, 19:32, 27:52, 12:41, 14:13, 13:08 12:57, 12:35, 16:26, 15:09, 18:08, 16:51, 16:21, 20:29, 16:15, 27:15, 18:37, 23:28, 29:10, 16:08, 16:24, 16:49

Part 4

Miles 91-102 - 21:32, 21:19, 21:22, 19:29, 19:43, 24:52, 26:10, 22:24, 21:11, 31:12, 20:28, 15:58

Part 5

Miles 102-115 - 16:27, 15:08, 15:50, 13:56, 15:53, 13:35, 13:03, 12:59, 12:58, 13:31, 13:43, 14:16, 13:56, 12:45

  • What an incredibly well-organized event!! I loved that there was a tv at the start/finish where I could see exactly where I stood in the rankings, how long my last loop had taken me, and how many miles I had run. Especially since I get super squirrely, it was nice to know that I didn't really have to keep count. This was great for my mental sanity.
  • They put out lights on the course at night so I didn't have to use a headlamp. I loved that.
  • The warming tent was fantastic. It was great to sit in there and warm up for a few minutes, or to just sit and eat. There was also a charging station that I used a handful of times.
  • Aid station = TEN STARS. There were all the typical aid station foods, pre-measured out in little cups so you could take them on the go. Candy, chips, pickles, potatoes. There was soda and coffee. And almost at any time of day there were fresh "hot" foods. There was pizza, chili, sandwiches... I did not go hungry!
  • There were tons of pictures taken (sadly, none in my "Rocky" outfit), and pretty inexpensive at $5 for a digital copy. I did buy just one, from the first day:

Final Thoughts / Confession

OK - I hesitate to even type this. I am not looking for anything here, this is just an  honest representation of how I feel.

I'm embarrassed that I only was able to do 115.48 miles.

Yes, I know that I didn't really train.
Yes, I know that it is the farthest I have ever run.
Yes, I am PROUD of my accomplishment.

If this was just a 115.48 "run" - I would be OVER THE MOON... once you tack on the 48 hours I had to accomplish this, well, I'm sad to say that I wish I could have done more.


I am so pleased that I got back out the final morning and ran until time ran out.. I have NO regrets. I really did leave it all out on the course.

Maybe next year, I'll go back. Maybe.


  1. Congrats on your finish. Pretty amazing the amount of distance you were able to cover on minimal training.

  2. Serious congrats! And it really is amazing you just went out and did this without much distance training lately - you rock! It sounds like a really well organized race - I really do want to look into doing either this one or Javelina Jundred next year!

  3. Wow, that is super cool! I've never heard of anything like this! You are a little crazy, but - I think we already knew that. Plus you are a distance machine! You need to really start making ultras a thing.

  4. You are amazing! Congratulations


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