Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Week in Review (May 17 - May 23)

Tuesday - Up early for a Def Leppard Peloton ride, upper body and core. Work in the office, going for a walk at lunch. Literally nothing else, other than watching the finale of Ozark. Complete garbage.
Wednesday - My (44th!!) birthday! Unfortunately, I woke up feeling like garbage. My arms (especially my triceps) were super sore from the upper body workout I had done the day before. I was sneezing and coughing. Ben took a COVID test and it came up negative and my symptoms seemed more like allergies. I wasn't sure if I was going to do my run (mostly climbing goal), so I texted my coach to let him know I was going to play it by ear. Work was pretty busy, especially since I'm covering for Nicole all week. By the end of the day I wasn't feeling up to it, so I headed home after work. Ben invited Kristin, Doug, Jeramiah and Tyler over for pizza, cake and beer. Since we had cold-like symptoms everything was done outside. Hurray for finally some nice, spring weather.
Thursday - Definitely was feeling congested and tired, so I was glad I was working from home. Once again, skipped my morning run. Didn't seem like a lot of fun to run 8 miles without being able to breath without coughing or sneezing. A was playing at the graduation, and we got 2/3 of the way there when she realized she had forgotten her viola (d'oh) so we had to go back to get it. I ended up being "late" for work. Work was relatively busy, and other than taking Pika for a (shorter than usual) walk, I did nothing.
Friday - We had SNOW in the forecast. We also had plans to go on our first camping trip of the year - which included allowing A to have a friend join her. We had packed everything up and figured we would make a last minute call if we thought it was a "good" idea to head up to the mountains or not. My drive to work was REALLY fast, there was no traffic, and it was only raining. It didn't switch over to snow until mid afternoon. We decided we would go for it... A's friend came over when she got off work, and we got out of the house about when we thought we would - and it was snowing pretty good, although not sticking to the roads. The drive out of town wasn't bad, and even the lower foothills were ok, people weren't driving too crazy but speeds weren't really that slow. AND THEN. We hit a slowdown right before the Georgetown exit. We sat and sat. There were no updates on any of our apps, and we couldn't figure out what the issue was. FINALLY, after about 90 minutes, we started to crawl forward, only to find out we were being route into town and off the highway.
"Luckily," Cabin Creek was still open (it was 9 pm by now).
OK, there may have been "some" snow
The kitchen was unfortunately closed, and we ran into the same general "rudeness" from staff that we have encountered the last few times we were there. We knew we weren't going anywhere at this point, and "luckily" we have Shelly and a cover on the truck, so it wasn't a huge deal to end up camping in the parking lot...
Pika was a tad stressed out about this, I think mostly because A and her friend were staying in the truck
Saturday - I'm actually surprised that I didn't wake up at the crack of dawn. Maybe the stress of travel and last minute changes had me sleeping ok? It didn't take long to get everything ready to head out.
It was snowing, but nothing crazy and very little traffic getting into Frisco. All of us were hungry, so we stopped at Whole Foods for a burrito. Poor Shelly:
By now the skies were clear and it wasn't snowing, and looked really pretty out! We arrived at the campground and noticed it was "fairly" empty. The hosts found us immediately and were very nice and welcoming. (Also, they said they were from Georgia and this should have been declared a state of emergency, haha). We ended up with a REALLY pretty campsite!

The girls took Pika for a walk. Our site was right by the perimeter trail, and even though we were the first people on it since the snowfall, we had no problems finding it. Pika was SO happy being out!


Once we were set up we decided to head out and actually DO something while the weather still looked clear, since there was MORE snow in the forecast. First, we headed up to Breckenridge to visit Isak. They DEFINITELY got a TON of snow. The hike up was single track through about 18" of snow!
Then, we headed back to Frisco to pick up a handful of groceries we had forgotten, and a visit to Outer Range. The girls went to Whole Foods for pizza.
Back at the campsite to start getting ready for dinner. We planned (and by we, I mean Ben) on hot dogs and potato salad. The weather held up right until it started to get dark out.
Temps really dropped, and since there were no fire restrictions, we made a huge fire! A is pretty proud of her fire-making skills - thank you, Girl Scouts!
We roasted some s'mores, although that proved a bit problematic since the marshmallows were partially frozen, haha. 
The snow really started to pick up again and it was getting cold, so we all retreated to the camper. Somehow all four of us PLUS Pika were able to fit on the bed for a few wild rounds of Uno. 
Sunday - Somehow, we ended up sleeping until 8?? Crazy. The sun was shining when we exited the camper and Ben and I took Pika for a short walk.
Ben and I headed into town to get coffee, and stopped at the store to pick up a few more ingredients for breakfast. Ben made burritos! By the time we finished eating it was unfortunately already time to start packing up to leave. We opted to stop at Outer Range for another beer (and more Uno) on our way out of town.
Since the weather had been so icky all weekend there was ZERO traffic getting home, which was nice. We unloaded everything and investigated the small amount of damage we had from the storm. We lost a small branch off the tree in our front yard, but most of the debris was actually from the neighbor's tree. We unpacked and popped some pizzas into the oven for dinner. We tried to finish off the s'mores with a campfire but all the wood was damp and it was SUPER smoky, so we gave up.
Monday - Time to get back on track with training after being sick for a week. I'd already talked to Greg about not doing as many miles as was on schedule (9 seemed like a LOT), so he lowered it to 5. 5 sounded reasonable. I didn't have to get up crazy early because A's friend had spent the night and said she would take her to school. I finally saw one of the owls!!
I was taking it easy, and the run was going fine until I really had to use the bathroom. Luckily, this seems to happen to me fairly regularly when I get up early to run, so I plan my route around a bathroom, haha. Once that was out of the way the rest of the run was pretty good. It had been sunny when I started but gradually got cooler and the clouds started to roll in. I was a bit worried I was going to get rain on! 
LOTS of damage from the heavy, wet snow :(
I am LOVING this new Garmin graph!! I only wish this update would have happened before Cocodona, so I could have an actual visual aid of how much time we were stopped at aid stations...
I got home with enough time to take a shower before logging in for work. Ben headed to Dunkin to pick up my free birthday drink. Managed to get laundry done and the house cleaned up. After work we headed to the school for A's end of year track banquet. We were bamboozled into thinking there was food. All they had was desserts. Boo!! We had to improvise dinner and didn't eat until 9. Ugh!! 

Stats:
  • 5.6 miles run
  • 30 minutes of cardio
  • 30 minutes of strength training

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Cocodona 250 (Race Recap)

Prescott, AZ
Monday, May 2
Ultra Marathon #40
Weather - SUNNY, warm

This post's subtitle is "the tale of  yet another DNF."
*I reserve the right to edit as/if I remember additional details. For some reason I'm spacing a LOT of details.

Preface

Ben and I had been planning on running together. Initially, we even thought our friend Zach would be signing up and we would go through it together. He had different plans and wanted to do his own thing. We reached out to a few people for crew/pacers, but a few months out it became evident we would be doing this solo. Ben seemed to think it would be fine, as we are both "experienced" in this distance, and it wasn't a big deal. I, on the other hand, was very apprehensive. Mainly because I've done this before, know what it takes, and also recognize that our personalities definitely clash when we are tired or frustrated. But here we go...
Photo: Scott Rokis

Photo: Howie Stern

Photo: Howie Stern

Race Day

With the course changes, we now had a luxurious start of 10:00. I didn't think we even needed to set an alarm, since I'm normally up with the sun, but I set one anyway. I much prefer to wake up to the slight vibration of my Fitbit, but since that broke last week (waaaaah) I had to settle for my phone. I was right, after a semi-restless night of sleep, I woke up a bit  before the alarm and decided to just get up. All I really needed to do was shower and get dressed, as I'd packed up most of my stuff already.

Took my shower and went to get dressed when I realized... crap. We packed all our tubs of Squirrel's Nut Butter in our drop bags - the ones we had loaded up at packet pick up. "Luckily," we still had to drop off our finish line bag before 8:00 (we hadn't left it before because we wanted to keep our flip flops as long as possible). Ben offered to head over there to buy some because he had seen it for sale at the expo. I decided to start with my hair braiding to give me something to do. I'm halfway done with my braids as he was walking out the door when he screams "you need to come outside right now!" I am actually naked and mid-braid. He's telling me to just grab a towel - which I can't do because my hands are holding the braid. I peak around the corner and see a javelina! (I understand that if you see them regularly they are kinda mean and not a big deal, but he was cute from a distance). Anyway, headed back inside just as a car drove by, so good timing, haha.

Initially it had seemed like we would have tons of time, but it shouldn't be a surprise that time just slipped away. By the time we headed out of the bnb it was already 8:30. We hadn't had any food yet and still had to drive and buy bottled water. I had wanted a Jamba Juice and a cinnamon roll, but we no longer had time for that. We found a little café on the way there and got a breakfast sandwich and stopped at a gas station for water. By the time we arrived we had just over a half hour until the start. Used the bathroom and stopped by to say hi to Greg and his crew, before getting our trackers and then last minute pack finalizing. By the time I headed over to the bathroom it was less than 5 miles to the start. HOW.

Start to Iron Springs (Miles 0 to 11.2)

Here we go again... it wasn't especially warm, but it was definitely sunny, so we were planning on hiking most of the day until it cooled off. With THAT said, I usually like to run areas where I can because I like to bank time for later in the race. More on that later. We started in the back - like the VERY back. I think there were maybe 5 people behind us. No one in our group was running - like at all. I was not used to such a narrow section of trail in the early miles. It was all single track, and it's not like I "needed" to pass people, but it would have been nice to be on wider trails while people spread out. Either way, that's where we were. I was surprised to be near Lee (who was a top 5 "woman to watch") and her girlfriend being at the back as well. Uneventful miles, for the most part. 95% walking, tiny spurts of jogging when we had a chance. Hot. Sunny. 

We had a road crossing pretty early on. There was actually a volunteer telling us when it was safe to cross. We did some running on the road and passed a few people. 



Photo cred: Anastasia Wilde
Aid station was exciting because I was was able to get ice for my bandana. They certainly didn't have a lot of ice, but enough that I wasn't mad.

Iron Springs to White Rock (Miles 11.2 to 17.9)

Absolutely no idea what this was.

Hmm. A lot of this section was actually in a wooded area, which definitely kept the temperatures down. We saw a guy come down towards us a few miles in that was headed back to the aid station to drop. Another gal sitting on the side of the trail saying she was sick. Seemed like an awful lot of people were already feeling really shitty for being so early in the race. 



I literally cannot remember anything else about this section or the aid station. 

White Rock to Finch Wells (Miles 17.9 to 31.9)

(Thanks to watching a video, I now kind of remember the aid station. Aid station was in a dirt parking lot and I'm pretty sure I had to use the bathroom. We were pretty efficient at this one!)

At some point we finally came out of the woods and ended up on a dirt road (where we saw Jamil with his drone). I tried to get Ben to run this section but he kept telling me he didn't want to blow out his quads with too much downhill running. So... we walked. 
And then we saw people coming towards us? The first guy says "HI, I'M YOUR NEIGHBOR!" And I was like, uh, I think you have me confused with someone else? Then he says, no, I talked to Ben on the trail the other day. Turns out, he does live hear us. It was funny. There were a few types of people in this section. Those that were determined and running, and those that just looked sad/mad and walking. One of those was Mike Versteeg (who won last year, and we would later find out he dropped at Whiskey Row). This was still a really wide dirt road and I kept telling Ben we should at least be jogging this... more walking than I would have liked. I did run some and we even passed some people.

Finch Wells to Skull Valley (Miles 31.9 to 36.5)

I was mostly excited for this aid station because when the course changed the race guide said the food would be "something, but we don't know what yet." We spent a while discussing what the food could POSSIBLY be. It was nothing we would have ever guessed - spring rolls! We spent more time at this aid station than we should have (I'm not going to say this anymore - it will be a recurring theme for every aid station going forward). 

Skull Valley to Finch Wells (Miles 36.5 to 41)

I don't remember the Skull Valley aid station at all, but it was heading towards this one when it was dark and we came upon a guy that was pruning trees right off the road. At night. Very strange for sure. Briefly saw Natalie at the aid station. She was in and out very quick.

This was a nice, short section. It was wide, dirt road. Gradually uphill.

Finch Wells to Copper Creek (Miles 41 to 48)

I'd guess it was about this point when everything began to fall apart. We had not really banked any time, but we were well ahead of cutoffs. I was definitely getting tired and I was already requesting taking a nap. Ben was freaked out by all the small scorpions we had been seeing on the trail, but I didn't care. I laid down for something like 10-15 minutes, and didn't sleep at all. (No surprise). We weren't sure where the course would veer off, but we came to a big junction and couldn't miss it.

Copper Creek to Whiskey Row (Miles 48-60.7)

Ben fell apart at the Copper Creek aid station. He had been using an Ultimate Direction bladder that is VERY difficult to open/close, and at some point he was trying to close it and it got a hole in it (?) and started leaking all over his stuff. A temper tantrum and ruined bladder later, we got out of the aid station. I had been hoping to use the bathroom, but there wasn't one at that aid station, so I started the climb out alone so I could take care of that. The section to Whiskey Row seemed like it took forever. The sun finally came up and I started to wake up a bit. 
Basically how I felt at this point

We had a LOT of pavement coming into Prescott. The town is pretty hilly and there was a funny incident where we were on the wide sidewalk (walking with traffic) and an old lady was brisk walking IN THE ROAD against traffic and Ben was joking that she literally would rather risk her life than walk on the same side of the street as us. He determined the ultimate insult would be her crossing back over after she had a big enough lead on us - which she did. There were a LOT of markings missing in town and I had to pull up my Gaia to make sure we were going the right way.
We finally got close and recognized where we were - the courtyard where the aid station was located was right by Sheri's wine bar! I had desperately wanted to nap, but first - pizza! 

Spent some time eating, then tried to go to the indoor rest area but it was hot and LOUD. Even with earplugs I couldn't sleep. In lieu of wasting time, I got up after a bit and tried to get everything organized for heading out. When I went to change socks I discovered I had some pretty nasty blisters - which is something I hadn't experienced in a long time, but I had felt them coming on so it wasn't entirely a surprise.

Whiskey Row to Iron King (Miles 60.7 to 74.2)

We had a long road section leaving Whiskey Row. There were a ton of lights that we had to wait at in town. I was pissed off that I had never been able to sleep at the aid station, and the heat of the day was already making me so tired. We stopped at a gas station for Ben to buy a beer (because he could) and we walked along and took drinks. After a few miles, I told Ben I was going to have to sleep somewhere, and luckily we found this little park that was relatively quiet. I think I maybe took a short nap here, don't really remember. 

We finally got out of town, and then we were by a lake. A long stretch of non-technical dirt where we still didn't run. As we were heading towards the dells, I rolled my ankle for the first time of the race, about 67(?) miles in. I really thought I might have really hurt it, but like usual, it seemed ok if I kept moving. 


Suddenly, we were out of the really rocky area and back on a flat, dirt road. It was definitely getting warmer here, which was making me tired. Again. We found a place in the shade that I chose for a nap. It was mostly perfect, except there were a lot of flies.
We saw a guy running towards us with a dog and we both got really excited that the aid station was close. Sadly, it was still a bit away, like a few miles. When we started to see civilization, a woman warned us that she had seen a bull snake. 
Can you spot him?
I kept pulling out the map to see where this aid station was. A decently long trek on sidewalks before we finally saw it at an intersection.

Iron King to Fain Ranch (Miles 74.2 to 79.4)

We left the aid station (after waaaaay too long) and immediately had to cross a road. Happy about a shorter segment to an aid station, but NOT happy about crossing fields and running on the side of the road. We had to climb up/over a lot of fences using these makeshift ladders that were unstable and sketchy.

Fain Ranch to Mingus Mountain (Miles 79.4 to 91.6) 

We left the aid station at Fain Ranch a bit before sunset. We got a bit disoriented just leaving the aid station and had to pull out Gaia just to see where the course went. In the field area it was really flat but a ton of small trails and we weren't sure where to go. Would have been "easier" if we would have been with other people, but we weren't. We saw Scott in the field taking pictures and asked what the climb up Mingus was like and he said it was going to be a little work, but nothing crazy. I kept that in my head during this boring field section.


I had really hoped to make up some time in this section, and like everything else that didn't work out in this race, that didn't either. Once it started to get a bit darker we were moving slower because there were cacti in the trail or little holes and we didn't want to roll an ankle. My poles also kept getting stuck in the dirt, and that was annoying. We finally turned - but we weren't done with the field yet. Everything got pretty crazy here and we went from ZERO flags and not knowing where to go to a TON of flags, bushes, and confusing turns. Finally we got to a road. It was wide and not technical at all. There wasn't much running here either. I was super tired, plus, I had my first blister pop (on the bottom of my foot) and it HURT SO BAD. I don't think I've ever had a blister pop before. Felt like fire on the bottom of my foot. I really wanted to nap but there were cars speeding up and down the road and I felt like it would be too loud and dangerous, so we kept going. Finally we made the turn towards the trail to climb up Mingus. There was a clearing off the road so I planned on napping. That's when I discovered Ben had accidentally left my emergency blanket at the last aid station. Luckily, we had a second one. I think this was the ONE section where I may have actually slept a bit, although I don't think we were there for more than 15 or 20 minutes.

It was definitely deep into the night by the time we started the climb. I have really been working on my climbing and didn't think there was anything crazy about this at all. I was in the lead and honestly I had to keep stopping to make sure Ben was still behind me. I had been hoping to grind this out a bit faster, but... 

Mingus Mountain to Jerome (Miles 91.6 to 108.7)

THANK GOODNESS for finally arriving at the Mingus Mountain aid station. We arrived somewhere around 2 or 3 am and I immediately asked where we could sleep. There were cabins with bunk beds and it was warm. Unfortunately, still no blankets or pillows. I used my emergency blanket and my pack for a pillow. Ben slept on a different bunk because he said my blanket was too loud (eyeroll). I set the alarm for the longest break yet, 75 minutes. 

Unfortunately, if I *did* sleep, it wasn't much. When the alarm went off I didn't feel rested at all. We headed towards the aid station to eat and load up. Yet another time when everything seemed to take FOREVER. Finally, we were heading out - it was almost sunrise, and we were following a gal and her pacer. They didn't seem to have much sense of direction as they kept turning around and saying they were off course. 

This section was super pretty (in the beginning) and had a TON of descent. It was pretty technical and steep and we were moving slow. Once the sun came up it started to get warmer and we stopped to load up our layers.



I think this is probably where the race really started to fall apart for both of us.

Once we got down the steepest part of the trail we were still in a wooded area. We were both tired and we laid down in the middle of the trail to take a nap. Probably a fail since I clearly remember listening to people walk by and such. Sigh.

I certainly was NOT looking good, nor feeling good at this point. Only 100 done?!
The trail leveled out a bit and I told Ben that I was going to put in headphones and grind. I was tired of moving slow and watching our pace creep up. With the double track trail I was moving pretty well, although there were tons of loose rocks that hurt the bottom of my feet every time I stepped wrong. We *did* make up time here. Then we got to a real garbage section of trail where it was just super rocky and steep to go down. 
It was way worse than this looks
We could see  a dirt road below with runners on it! FINALLY, we got down there. The joy was short lived because although it wasn't technical, it still really hurt to walk. We had to climb back up a hill to get to Jerome. Completely uninteresting town. Ben wanted to stop for a beer and I said no.

Then we had to go back DOWN out of town on more dirt roads. Wondering if we were EVER going to get to the aid station. This section just lasted forever.

Finally, we arrived. 

Jerome to Dead Horse Ranch (Miles 108.7 to 117.2)

They had some "to die for" rice and sausage and other random food. We sat in the shade and ate and Ben patched up my blisters. I was feeling a bit better, but once again I was annoyed with how long we stayed at the aid station. We had some road miles to get out of town and some dirt. Again, no running. Grrr.

Then we got to one of the most bullshit sections of the course - a powerline section that was super rocky and steep. I could not keep my balance and rocks kept sliding out from under me. I was so angry and annoyed at this point. WHY IS THIS THE BEST CONNECTING POINT? WTAF. At some point I pulled out my phone to look at Gaia and I couldn't get it to unlock. Ben messed with it and my have accidentally done an emergency SOS. Whoops.

For a section that wasn't "that long," this part went on FOREVER. we did finally end up in an area where we had our first major water crossing I barged right through. 
I did realize after crossing that the Ultraventure Pro shoes DO NOT DRAIN WHATSOEVER. It never occurred to me that they were sealed so much more, but thankfully we were only a few miles out from the aid station, where I had another pair of shoes.

Dead Horse Ranch to Deer Pass (Miles 117.2 to 130.5)

After hearing that Ben's tracker wasn't working, we handed it over so they could test it (and they didn't find any issues).  And holy cow, was the Dead Horse Ranch aid station THE BEST.  First off, they had tacos. AND THEY HAD MARGARITAS. WHAT?? I needed to change clothes and apply more buttr, so I grabbed my bag of clothes and headed to the bathroom at the campsite. Woo hoo, there was even a shower area so I could change easier! I got all my clothes off. Applied the buttr and... I HAD GRABBED BEN'S BAG OF CLOTHES INSTEAD OF MINE. Ugh, #whenmatchymatchygoeswrong. I tried to call him to ask him to bring my stuff but didn't have service. There was no way I was putting my other skirt back on, so I put my old shirt on (keep in mind I don't even have underwear on) and walked out in my bare feet, hoping to not moon anyone. Ben was like, wtf are you doing?? lol. I just asked him to hold something up so I could get dressed there at the picnic enclosure.
Margaritas in a tiny collapsible cup...
We had planned to not stay long, but you'll be shocked to hear that we stayed well over an hour. I had opted to go to the medical tent to have them re-tape my feet (it made a huge difference). I have no idea what Ben was doing while I was doing that, because even after he had his feet looked at he still had done zero things in terms of loading up his pack. Double grrr.

This was probably the most irritated we got with each other, because I was really pissed off at how long we had spent at yet another aid station. We kinda stomped out of the aid station.

At this point, the trails got REALLY pretty. But also confusing. 
We ended up heading out shortly before it got dark, and it looked like we were going in circles. I asked Ben if he had ever seen Pee Wee's Big Adventure, because I was *SURE* the gps was gonna look like this:
Spoiler: somehow the gps was basically a straight line??

Anyway, this was probably the point where we started seeing things. It always looked like there were a couple people "right up the trail" with a Kogalla. And then it would seem like they were in someone's backyard and they would be looking around, and then they would disappear briefly, and then we would turn a corner and all of a sudden see someone again.

Somewhere along the trail we heard people coming up behind us, and then we almost missed a turn up the trail, they must have made a wrong turn because all of a sudden they just vanished. We had to pull out the map a few times because it was hard to figure out where we were going.
We saw the "halfway there" sign. At SIXTY HOURS into our race. I knew my watch was "off," but I wasn't sure by how much. How on earth were we going to do the back half in roughly the same amount of time??

We kept hearing music, like someone has having a party out in the middle of nowhere. At one point, I could swear that I saw a group of people gathering for a selfie.

Then all of a sudden, we came across a guy... sitting in the bed of a pickup. Maybe we weren't hallucinating.

And the group of people that vanished all of a sudden were right behind us. I finally got my first bloody nose, and it was kind of a doozy. I went through a few nose tampons before it finally started to clot.

Deer Pass to... kind of Sedona (Miles 130.5 to DNF)

I HAD TO NAP. Deer Pass was not a sleep station, but Ben ran ahead and found out they had a cot for medical, and he grabbed it and put it outside the tent. There was also a blanket - wooo! I laid down for a bit, but unfortunately, still, I don't think I got any sleep. Loaded up on food, realized I didn't have anymore LMNT (whoops), and headed out. Our pace was horrific. We were SO much slower than we should have been by this point. I'd be uncomfortable with even 20 miles left at this pace, much less 120.

Our mood was bleak. We headed out and it was another section of wide dirt roads. For some reason, my shoes were collecting way more sand, and I had to stop pretty early in this section to dump it out (the video is my second shoe, first one seemed to have WAY more sand).
At one point, we got off course, and it was a while before we realized it. I knew it. I knew it then that this was just not going to happen.

I'm getting mildly hysterical. I'm tired, we are moving so slow and we are going to DNF. I tell Ben I need to nap. 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there. I never sleep, so the short time doesn't matter anyway. We were climbing up a seemingly endless hill and I was swerving all over. At some point, I realize Ben isn't behind me so I lie down on the trail and next thing I know, there he is. Maybe I slept at that point? 

We talk about it, and I am trying to have him understand that if we aren't going to be running at least SOME we are going to be a DNF. And when do we want to drop? A gal and her pacer came up behind us and I asked how far to the aid station, since my watch was way off. When she said it was still 8.4 miles away, my mind was made up. I pulled out the map and it looked like we were really close to town, and that there was actually a hotel right off the trail.

In silence, we start trudging the last descent of our race. Anastasia was getting some shots coming into Sedona since it was sunrise. I told her she didn't need to take any pictures of us since we were dropping in a few minutes. I'm glad she ignored me and took one anyway. What a gorgeous area - too bad we didn't get to run there.
We arrive at a trailhead and call the hotel to see what availability they have. They will let us check in right away (keep in mind, it's like 6 am) and that they are currently serving breakfast. It's pricey, but it seems like a good idea, so we walk off the course. The end.

Garmin Distance - 142.42 (based on where we were, I think I had at least 4 extra miles)
Garmin Time - 68:00:02
Garmin Moving Time - 48:48:35 - Crazy to waste 19 hours and not even get any sleep. Ridiculous.
Garmin Elapsed Pace - 28:39
Elevation Gain - 17,258'
Miles 1-10 - 16:57, 16:29, 16:08, 16:49, 14:57, 15:39, 18:06, 16:40, 17:07, 15:27
Miles 11-20 - 28:18, 16:25, 17:28, 17:19, 17:37, 18:46, 17:34, 29:39, 23:14, 21:17
Miles 21-30 - 18:23, 19:09, 20:11, 20:15, 21:02, 19:10, 16:06, 17:29, 17:50, 18:05
Miles 31-40 - 18:35, 18:58, 37:42, 18:24, 18:04, 17:19, 38:29, 19:48, 19:20, 20:03
Miles 41-50 - 20:17, 39:32, 20:19, 22:56, 27:34, 30:07, 28:47, 24:28, 58:25, 27:19
Miles 51-60 - 37:16, 35:40, 31:19, 32:35, 22:38, 34:28, 23:26, 19:52, 19:31, 19:27
Miles 61-70 - 18:08, 48:50, 44:31, 1:07:39, 26:08, 19:12, 19:02, 19:39, 24:13, 28:30
Miles 71-80 - 25:38, 28:46, 22:27, 34:33, 21:15, 21:08, 20:40, 46:04, 21:59, 21:14
Miles 81-90 - 25:13, 23:35, 59:39, 25:48, 28:38, 24:57, 27:10, 29:57, 29:59, 54:18
Miles 91-100 - 27:53, 31:16, 37:31, 24:55, 2:12:10, 43:57, 28:32, 36:51, 35:19, 26:18
Miles 101-110 - 35:38, 25:58, 33:07, 26:33, 31:40, 21:05, 20:49, 23:07, 27:26, 24:58
Miles 111-120 - 25:49, 25:33, 1:19:48, 25:11, 26:39, 23:30, 27:57, 23:24, 23:41, 23:44
Miles 121-130 - 1:22:27, 32:30, 21:08, 21:53, 25:00, 23:25, 33:06, 34:39, 26:00, 24:14
Miles 131-140 - 33:32, 30:10, 24:08, 26:31, 1:03:59, 36:40, 44:38, 32:28, 29:58, 35:27
Miles 141-142ish - 49:51, 57:30, 19:22 (45:42 pace)

Thoughts:
  • What happened? Well, I have a few theories. First off, WAY too much time was spent at aid stations. This was my first time tackling this distance with Ben and no crew/pacers. No matter what I tried, everything just took FOREVER. Also, I feel like there were too many close together aid stations in the beginning, which again, adds more time spent in aid stations, even though we probably didn't need much in the early miles. DNF came because we were already borderline too slow and there wasn't going to be any way to make up enough time to continue - especially with lack of sleep and messed up feet.
  • The course was... meh. I don't normally mind running in the desert, but Arizona is WAY rockier than I am used to. My feet were demolished hard and heavy - VERY early. The prettiest parts are in the back half - which we didn't even get to.
  • Most of the course was very well marked. We had some issues in the field areas, in towns, and some of the dirt roads around Dead Horse & Deer Pass.
  • Aid stations were AMAZING. Probably the best that I've experienced. In addition to all the basics, and to go snacks (trail mix was a staple for me to grab at every aid station), there was a TON of variety. Every aid station had something different. I never got sick of eating, woo hoo!
  • Hydration and electrolytes were not an issue at all. 
  • No weird wardrobe or pack malfunctions.
Gear I found essential - finally different than other races since I was much more limited on what I could carry and pick up at aid stations
  • UltrAspire Zygos 5.0 pack. Outside of how hard it is to get the bladder in/out, this pack was sooo great! I wasn't sure the 4.0 could be beat, but this worked out SO WELL.
  • Sea to Summit 1 liter and 2 liter dry bags. THESE ARE A LIFESAVER. So I put all "electronics" in a 1 liter (headlamp, headphones, batteries, etc.) The 2 liter dry bags are for layers. It makes it so much easier to pull out a couple of dry bags so it's easier for me to put a full bladder back in the back. PLUS, all my stuff stays dry.
  • Kogalla RA - Even the medium Batpak 2 was enough for me for a full night. Didn't even use a full Batpak 1 in the whole time I was out. (used to charge phone/watch)
  • Petzl headlamp/batteries
  • Leki Micro Vario carbon poles
  • Topo Athletic - the Ultraventure Pro was ok, but as I said above, didn't drain at all with water crossings. I switched to Ultraventure 2 at mile 112 or so, and they worked well.
  • Topo Athletic gaiters - they work awesome! EXCEPT... the section at Deer Pass where I got a ton of sand in my shoes, not sure why.
  • Zensah crew socks - I changed socks at Whiskey Row when I had to take off the rock tape and work on blisters. Also changed at mile 112, for the same reason, and because I was putting on "new" shoes.
  • Zensah high neck sports bra. Wore the same one the whole race with zero chafing. 
  • Smartwool gloves. Never was cold enough to need anything more.
  • Patagonia R1 - Probably my most important layering piece. Used a lot.
  • Patagonia Airshed Pro Pullover - A new piece in my wardrobe and I LOVE THIS. It's thin, but man, it's powerful! I like that the sleeves aren't tight, so I can pull them up if I want. The zipper comes down pretty low for breathability. AND, the hood is awesome. I used the hood a LOT during the overnights and always used this as my base long sleeve layer before adding the R1 when it got colder.
  • Patagonia Nano Puff - I bet I would have used it more had I made it to Flagstaff. Was happy to have picked it up at Mingus since we left the aid station are 4 in the morning and it was very cold!
  • Columbia sun hat - wore all day, every day. Packed it up when it got dark.
  • INKnBURN skirts. Wore one for the first 112 and then a second one from then until the DNF. No chafing or weird issues (unlike at Antelope)
  • REI rainwall pants. Back to my original pair that has the holes in them from Bigfoot, but they worked great as my only lower body layer.
  • Rabbit tops. The one in all my pictures is a new style - Low Tide. It's exactly the same as the High Country plaid, but themed with a "Cali" vibe. I wore a sleeveless High Country with a thin YMX (sadly now out of business) top underneath after mile 112. No pictures of that one at all, sadly.
  • EMERGENCY BLANKET. I am not sure I have ever used this in a race, but it was so small and took up no space. I actually used for almost all my nighttime trail naps, and it was magical. I'll never NOT have one again.
  • Buffs - great for my bloody noses. Again.
  • Goodr sunglasses
  • Garmin Fenix 6S - Route was loaded on my watch, although I think this was the first long race I've done where I never even unlocked it. I did notice that at 2.5 years old, it doesn't seem to be holding a charge as well. I was charging every 12 hours or so. It does charge REALLY quick though.
  • Jaybird Vista headphones, although I only used maybe an hour total.
  • LMNT electrolytes
  • Beachbody Energize - although maybe I am immune to it now? I never felt like it actually kept me awake this race :(
  • BASE performance salt. Didn't have to use much since LMNT has way more sodium than other electrolytes
  • Chapstick - never lost it!
  • Chamois buttr - ZERO chafing down there. Reapplied at mile 112, just as a precaution
  • Squirrel's Nut Butter - reapplied under my arms somewhere around 30-40 and again at Iron King. Zero chafing!
  • Gauze dental rolls - had to use a few of these (again) when I got another decently bad bloody nose
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Face wipes - I pulled one of these out and cleaned my face at the end of every day. Didn't break out like I have at other races where I forget to do that
  • SUNSCREEN. I don't think we had any clouds the ENTIRE RACE.

Week in Review (June 7 - June 13)

Tuesday  - Peloton stack to start the day: Work in the office. Went for a walk at lunch. After work I headed to my second job. Home in time ...