Friday, July 21
100 mile attempt #17
Weather - Warm and sunny
"Do what you can, with what you have, where you are." - Theodore Roosevelt
"Set your goals high, and don't stop till you get there." - Bo Jackson
I'm not entirely sure why I picked High Lonesome as my big summer race. Everything I knew about it put this race completely outside my abilities. But I figured with some good training, I would have a chance of coming home with a buckle. The race is a lottery, but the odds are much more favorable for women since the race is a 50/50 male/female split. I attended the lottery party in January in person, and ended up only a few spots down on the waitlist. There was no movement for months. In an ironic twist of fate, my number was called the Friday before I left for Arizona to run Cocodona. I had completed all my volunteer hours and was ready to run!
Leading up to the race, I did a LOT of training at altitude. Other than the ruggedness and technicality of this event (which was my first big mountain race), the high altitude is what scared me the most. Even when hiking, I hit elevation over 12,000' and I get very anxious and everything seems insanely hard. A month out from the race, I went to BV with friends and we did (what I considered) the scariest part of the race - over 4,000' of climbing up to the highest elevation on the course - 13,100'. I actually had a pretty spectacular training cycle - completing all my workouts, doing hard things, and remaining injury free.
In our last email before the race, it was emphasized that we had to attend packet pick up and the mandatory meeting or we would not be able to run. Erring on the side of caution, we got to packet pick up VERY early. It was nice not being stressed out. Got my pre-race mugshot done and picked up all the swag - a nice Rabbit flannel for the race shirt (even though I actually already have the top, haha), plus other goodies like logoed gaiters and stickers.
Unfortunately, I had NOT slept well. After many months of actually sleeping well, I had a decently tough time falling asleep and woke up around 2 am and then struggled to get back to sleep. My alarm had been set for 3:55 am, and I got out of bed prior to that time since I was restless and anxious. Ugh. I hate HATE HATE starting a big race already feeling tired.
I had everything ready to go, took a quick shower and tried to eat my breakfast. I did better than usual, finishing probably 75% of my breakfast goal. Ben and I were out the door on time, just before 5 am, since I wanted to get to the start line with plenty of time to do my gear check, fill up my bottles and even have time to chat with people I knew.
The gear check was no big deal, bottles got filled, I used the bathrooms a few times, and then with about 10 minutes to gun time, runners were instructed to get in the chute. I looked back and realized I was WAY too close to the front, so I kept moving back until I was at the end. Ohmygod why am I doing this?
Start to Raspberry Gulch (Miles 0 to 7.3)
At some point, I guess I neglected to realize that once we left the field area, the course was a downhill on road for the first few miles.
I know I need to not compare myself to others, but within about a minute, there was only one person behind me. I wasn't full on "sprinting" or anything, but I was running a comfortable pace, around 11:30. Sigh. I knew I needed to run my own race, but I hate hate hate hate haaatttteeeee being so slow on "easy" stuff. Blah.
After about 4 miles we started up a dirt road. I was able to actually catch/pass a few people here just by doing an easy run/walk. It was a slight uphill so I didn't go to crazy. We shortly turned onto the Colorado Trail - and this was the section that Ben and I had run a while back, so I was familiar with at least the next few miles. It quickly gets relatively steep and I was trying to hike as efficiently as possible. It was already getting hot and I was surprised by how hard this felt - even with all the training that I had been doing. I knew when we got to the "log bench" that it would be pretty runnable until the aid station.
|It was here that we called lost dogs Stitch & Sunny's owner!|
I did a decent amount of running here, and it was really the first part of single track where I found myself in front of a small pack of runners. Once we crossed the road by Stitch & Sunny's house, I walked a bit to eat a quick snack. I wasn't quite sure how far the aid station was. There was a small climb to get there, but I arrived, quickly had my bladder filled up for the big climb and grabbed a 1/4 peanut butter and jelly (and something else, maybe pretzels?) before heading out.
Goal time for segment - 1:35
Actual time - 1:46
Behind goal - 11 minutes
Raspberry Gulch to Antero (7.3 to 16.9)
A bit disheartening to be a decent amount slower in this section as it should have been one of the easier sections, but I had to keep moving. When Ben and Tyler and I had done (most of) this section to Antero, we started at roughly the same time, but it had been a LOT warmer. I was glad that while warm, it wasn't unbearable. PLUS, we actually had some cloud cover, which was nice. While I deemed this section to be the hardest, it was mostly because of the higher elevation, with the climbs being secondary. With that said, the lower climbing on Brown's feels harder to me, and race day was no exception! I was really trying to stay on top of nutrition, but with the climbing, heat and lack of appetite, I knew I had to be proactive. I was hiking with a few different folks, and had to pull over a few times and let people go past because I wasn't going fast enough.
It was in this section that I began to see people struggle with the altitude and heat. I passed a guy that seemed to be really having a hard time and I tried to be encouraging by telling him that we were close to the top. He told me that it was actually his third time attempting this race, and he was just trying to pace himself better. I saw the photographer and then, suddenly, we were at the top!
Goal time for segment - 3:30
Actual time - 3:45
Behind goal - 25 minutes
Antero to St. Elmo 1 (16.9 to 25.1)
I knew I needed to eat something. I can't remember what the options were, but I know I didn't take enough. Topped off my bottles and headed down. Once again, having done this section before, I knew it wasn't going to be a cake walk. It's hot and very rocky. There were a lot of ATVs in this section, but they were so incredibly courteous!! Almost every single one stopped and waited for me to pass before heading up the pass. It was awesome!
In this section I caught up to a lady, Carmen, from Florida. She had only gotten off the waitlist in the last week! Apparently we had also both run Cocodona this year, so we talked a bit about that. Another lady caught up to us and joined in the conversation as she had also been at Coco this year, although she DNF'd at Deer Pass. She asked why I wasn't sure if I could finish this race since I finished Coco. Well, there's a lot more running in 100s I said! I took off and never saw either of them again the rest of the race.
We finally got put back on the road to St. Elmo. I had guessed that the course would turn on the road in town up towards Cottonwood, and I was right. I assumed it would be a lot closer than it was, so I felt a bit bamboozled that I still had to go up a bit to arrive at the aid station.
Goal time for segment - 2:00
Actual time - 2:18
Behind goal - 43 minutes
St. Elmo 1 to Cottonwood (25.1 to 31.3)
Filled up bottles, but again, didn't seem like I grabbed enough food when I got to the aid station. I was already annoyed/panicky that I had not hit a single goal pace.
*I should have explained this earlier. I normally do not even have goal paces. High Lonesome keeps some pretty detailed records of historic paces for finishers, so I had gone through those splits and created goal times based on the "slowest" finishers*
I had thankfully filled my bandana with ice before leaving and a I felt a LOT better. The climb out of St. Elmo was hot and sandy (as expected). The fast people had already done the out and back section, so I was always trying to not be in the way of the faster people coming down (although technically on the climbs I would have had the right of way, although only a couple people actually moved over to let me pass).
I was drinking a LOT in this section. I had a general idea of how much gain I was looking at, but was more thinking about the "3 miles up and 3 miles down" and trying to remember what the high point of Laws Pass would be.
This section was really pretty! Lots of trees and wildflowers. I stopped at the creek and filled up my filter bottle since I was like a camel in this section. Finally it seemed like I had to be getting close and a runner stopped briefly to say that I just needed to go up another switchback and the top really was at the end of that climb. I saw the second photographer at the summit.
|Mile 90 Photography|
I could tell at this point that the aid station was not going to be at 31.3 miles on my watch, especially when I saw the "one mile to aid station" sign, I realized it was going to be close to a half mile over. BUT, I saw Terri and Tyler that were hiking up so I said hello to them and ran down. Initially I had told Ben not to bother coming to this aid station, but I was really happy they had decided to come anyway.
I immediately took off my pack and used the bathroom for the first time on the course. I was starving and a bit dismayed that there weren't a ton of food options. I used my bowl to have a concoction of mashed potatoes, rice, soy sauce, bacon and avocado. (Pro tip - this is the first truly cup-less race I've done. I did not know it would also be spoon/fork free. So if you do this race, bring something). Thankfully, they had tortillas that I was able to use to scoop up food. I had not wanted to spend a lot of time here, but I seriously needed calories and I'm glad I ate a decent amount here.
I also had to pick up my "divide gear" and have that checked before departing.
Goal time for segment - 2:30
Actual time - 2:37
Behind goal - 63 minutes
Cottonwood to St. Elmo 2 (31.3 to 37.5)
Tyler and Ben got some pictures of me leaving the aid station.
I ran more in this section, especially as I got closer to the aid station. I actually came into St. Elmo feeling pretty good for what I had done.
Goal time for segment - 2:30
Actual time - 2:35 (!!)
Behind goal - 68 minutes
St. Elmo 2 to Tin Cup (37.5 to 41.2)
I think this is where I made the biggest mistakes. First, I took off my hat and sunglasses and put them on top of the water cooler while I was getting food and bottles filled. Brandon was volunteering and took care of the fluids. I was looking at food options and took some basics - quesadilla with avocado, pretzels, and then a pierogi. I got confused I think when I heard someone say that Tin Cup would have x, y, z food. I was really trying to get out ASAP. Because I was rushing to get out, I was a ways out of the aid station before I realized that I had not picked up my hat and sunglasses, so I had to run back to get them. Thankfully, a volunteer saw me coming back and yelled out "did you forget something?" and grabbed them for me. Probably only wasted a few minutes, but still upsetting.
I had re-watched "The Well" and my goal was to get to Tin Cup before dark. I did also remember that this section "should" feel runnable but that it was just a steep enough grade that I would not "want" to run. So I put in my headphones and did a run/walk when I could and could finally see the girl in front of me that I had been chasing earlier.
There were some people camping off this road, but it was pretty remote. It did appear that I would be arriving at Tin Cup basically at sunset.
Arrived at the aid station and I was already feeling pretty tired. I had COMPLETELY forgotten that Tin Cup was a basic aid station. SHIT. The only food that was there was pretzels, chips, fig newtons and Oreos. Literally NOTHING that sounded good to eat. I forced myself to eat a couple fig newtons, but they were disgusting and I really should have taken more. I also, unfortunately, wasn't able to have any real caffeine other than coke. I did fill up my small bottle to add my caffeine powder to. Took a minute to put on my R1 as it was starting to feel chilly.
Goal time for segment - 1:15
Actual time - 1:20
Behind goal - 76 minutes
Tin Cup to Hancock (41.2 to 49.3)
I think I heard/understood that this section was going to be a couple miles of gradual gain, then I thought it was going to be flatter-ish and then downhill into Hancock. I have no idea where things went wrong, but lots of errors made here.
I headed out with my Kogalla and headlamp. The girl I had been chasing was just in front of me, and I think I kept her at the same distance for a bit. That actually made me feel pretty good since earlier I was having a hard time keeping up. The climb was fine. It was, in fact, switchbacks. It wasn't too steep, but I certainly wasn't running it.
I guess I came up on a flatter-ish section? This is where things no longer make sense to me. I believe this was the Alpine Tunnel section that is supposed to be super pretty during the day. At night, it wasn't super wonderful. The trail got pretty narrow in areas and it was marshy and muddy. I caught up to the girl I had been chasing and asked if she was ok. She was having some stomach issues, so I gave her some pepto and passed her. I also passed another woman in this section, and she was struggling a bit. Within minutes of me telling her that we had done "most" of the hard stuff, my brain broke. There was some steep and rocky descents that I didn't feel like I could run. I get so cautious on stuff like this that I just feel like I am wasting time. I am also getting INCREDIBLY tired.
There was a section of not technical double track that I should have been running, but it also seemed like we were on the edge of a cliff for a while, so I probably wasn't doing what I needed to. I was slowly watching time go by. I also was getting REALLY cold - mostly my hands, but my gloves were in the back of my pack and I didn't really want to stop and get them out. I kept thinking I had to be very close to the aid station.
Spoiler - I should have taken a minute to get my gloves out.
Goal time for segment - 2:45
Actual time - 3:12
Behind goal - 128 minutes
Hancock to Lost Wonder Hut (49.3 to 55.7)
I was WAY behind my goal when I got to Hancock. This was where Ben was going to start pacing me. I had not wanted to spend any amount of time at aid stations, but the big problem here was I had let myself get too cold. I had to sit by the fire to warm up. Thankfully, I had a puffy coat here, so I put that on and also added pants. I was REALLY REALLY REALLY whiny at this aid station, so many thanks to Tyler, Terri & Ben for putting up with that!
The other issue was that there really wasn't much to eat here. There were no potatoes. There was rice, but nothing really to mix it with. I was feeling a bit nauseous and knew I really needed calories. They had some pizza rolls which I thought would be really good - but unfortunately, I put one in my mouth and it made me want to throw up. I just didn't eat enough here, and I had already been here way too long, so Ben and I headed out.
I pretty much knew that leaving only 40ish minutes before cutoffs was going to make things very difficult. Things went from bad to worse on the climb out. The lower part on the road was fine, but we both got hot pretty quickly and I stopped take off my puffy coat. Once we got on the single track, it was steeper (but honestly not that bad comparatively), but I just was struggling. My breathing was very labored and my legs just had no interest in climbing. We got passed by a runner on the climb and then we actually passed someone at the summit. I had hoped to be able to run some on the way down. As I have said, I'm cautious on descents, and even more so when it's night and when I'm tired. It was rocky, there was a lot more mud and marshy sections.
We saw the sign three miles out for the Lost Wonder Hut. That is when I think my race ended. Just doing the math in my head at this point, and the aid station being further than I thought, I pretty much realized I was not going to have enough time.
Top it off with some snow fields and gross talus descents. We finally finally FINALLY saw the turn toward the aid station but I was greeted with "you're going to have to push to at the turnaround." I told Ben that there was no way that I was going to have enough time to get the calories I needed (or the time) to attempt the 9 mile Headwall section.
Arrived at the aid station with THREE minutes to get in/out and told Ben I was done. The gal that had passed me was leaving when I got there and another that came in when I did literally turned right around and left.
Goal time for segment - 2:45
Actual time - 3:07
Behind goal - 145 minutes
End of the line
It was not the way I wanted my race to end, but I can't say I was surprised. We were welcomed into the Hut and offered some food. I had been so hungry and expected that I would be eating a lot, but I took a couple bites of food and that was all I could stomach. I was given some hot tea, but really, we were just going to have to wait it out at the aid station until we could get a ride out. While we were waiting, we heard that the winner had already been done for hours.
We were able to get a ride down with someone (I can't remember his name, but he was one of the volunteers that had done course marking). The drive down to Monarch was a bit scary and seemed like we were going really fast on an 4 wheeling trail. I actually fell asleep on the drive.
We got back to Monarch and were trying to get a hold of Tyler and Terri when we didn't see them. We sat at the first and ended up having to wait a few hours. We did see people that we knew, so at least we were able to talk to some people.
The End. (for me)
Garmin time - 21:56:50
Garmin distance - 56.71
Elevation gain - 14,462'
Miles 1-5 - 11:51, 12:19, 12:25, 15:03, 21:21
Miles 6-10 - 12:20, 13:18, 16:48, 18:44, 22:45
Miles 11-15 - 25:23, 29:40, 30:00, 34:45, 22:53
Miles 16-20 - 13:48, 16:10, 21:22, 16:42, 14:45
Miles 21-25 - 15:12, 16:57, 17:59, 18:07, 16:52
Miles 26-30 - 26:22, 32:10, 23:12, 32:28, 21:41
Miles 31-35 - 19:55, 32:31, 29:21, 33:37, 30:41
Miles 36-40 - 20:07, 17:16, 16:33, 25:37, 20:30
Miles 41-45 - 20:12, 21:42, 29:02, 23:56, 23:01
Miles 46-50 - 27:17, 26:24, 22:05, 20:44, 21:45
Miles 51-end - 57:41, 31:07, 32:35, 32:57, 28:47, 25:59, 30:48
- This race is hard AF. I don't know if it would have made any difference to preview some other sections or not. I hoped for a finish but knew there was a good chance I wouldn't.
- Swag is top notch
- Volunteers were awesome and this was the best marked course I think I have ever been on. I never once had to question where I was going.
- Even though my feet were wet probably 2/3 of the race, I got ZERO hot spots and ZERO blisters. Crazy.
- I liked that the cutoffs were more lenient at the start. I did get behind, but it wasn't from lack of trying, and once the cutoffs were getting more aggressive, I just didn't have anything left.
- The finish line was AWESOME. We went back about an hour before the finish line cutoff and there was so much energy. NOT TO MENTION, with the extension of the overall cutoff going from 36-37 hours, we actually saw like 20 people finish! While deep down I know that I would not have been able to be fast enough leaving Lost Wonder, I did have to wonder what I could have done if I had really gone all out. Anyway. Finish line is awesome. Loved it.
- Salomon Adv Skin 12 pack. I had just picked this up and used only on one training run. It was good, and definitely less annoying than some of my other packs. I don't really understand why the "pockets" on the shoulders are open. I would prefer to have it be a zip or drop in so I would feel "safe" putting salt or chapstick there. I did have to dig a bit for things that I felt like I needed to secure, but not too bad.
- Clothing - YMX long sleeve, Rabbit EZ tee (was my lucky shirt, but I guess not anymore), CVG 5" shorts, Zensah crew socks, Topo Athletic Ultraventure 2/gaiters, OR sun gloves, hat, ice bandana. At night, Patagonia R1, Smartwool liner gloves, Bula beanie, Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer 2 (although probably would've been fine without it other than sitting at the aid station).
- Food - Some dried fruit, apple sauce, fruit snacks, Awesome Sauce, LMNT. Once again, I think I had more expectations from aid station and I should have taken an extra minute to just eat ANYTHING. I really got behind on food and never could catch back up.
- Other - Leki poles, sunscreen (no sunburn!), chapstick, Goodr sunglasses, Kogalla/batteries, Petzl headlamp, required bivvy, Rabbit Treeline rain jacket (required, but never used), REI rainwall pants, Garmin 7s.
Mile 90 is doing photography and the race pics aren't up yet. I will add and give credit when they are ready.