Sunday, September 9, 2012

Triple Duty at Wasatch 100

Always a welcoming sight:  Big Mountain aid station
was Olympic theme this year ~
I kind of missed the pink flamingosfrom years past.
This past weekend I did triple duty at the Wasatch 100.  In the days leading up to the race, I started getting really nervous (mostly upset stomach) thinking of the gravity of what so many of my friends would be accomplishing this weekend.  Some of them finished, and some of them did not.  But all of them had an epic adventure in the Wasatch mountains, and I was lucky enough to be there to witness it.

Kim's crew boss, Ann
I wanted to put up a post on Facebook and "tag" all of my friends who were running.  But as I scrolled through the start list of over 300 racers, I realized that I actually knew (not just acquainted with, but face-to-face knew) about 40 people who were racing.  I have some pretty amazing friends.  Unfortunately, Facebook didn't want me to tag that many folks in one status update, so it would have to suffice to post a generalized statement wishing everyone luck.

Ants on a ridge top ~ Bald Mountain
First duty:  pacing my friend Kim.  I met up with crew chief Ann on race day, and after a quick trip down the canyon to get a fresh coke Slurpee for Kim, we met her at Big Mountain.  I ran with her for about 13 miles over the ridge tops, stopping briefly at Alexander Spring aid station (she wanted to sit down, but I wouldn't let her.  She squatted near the aid station while I got her a ham sandwich which I pretty much force-fed her as we walked down the trail away from the aid station).  Things got dark, fast.  Coming around the corner, about two miles outside of the Lamb's Canyon aid station, we saw the lit-up tents in the distance.  It was like a desert oasis, waiting for us... a mirage.

We laughed and told stories all along the way, and I recited tales from my TransRockies adventure and clips from Modern Family television episodes.  We had a really great time.  We got to Lamb's, and met up again with Ann, crew boss, and the night pacer, Janice.  After getting Kim changed into warmer clothes and force-fed some mashed potatoes, they went on their way towards Millcreek and Brighton, off in the night...

Looking down at Little Dell Reservoir
Then came duty #2:  volunteer at Lamb's Canyon.  It was about 10pm when I started my volunteer duties for the night, mostly hanging out with Matthew and Naomi on the soup station, but also cleaning up random trash and straightening up.  As it got closer to the midnight cut-off, I had a couple of medical consults:  one person falling asleep with very low blood sugar and another with major muscle spasms and cramping from electrolyte disturbance.  Getting them hydrated and talking them out of puking for an hour or so worked wonders for their conditions.  And although they both ended up dropping out of the race, I felt like I had served a real purpose and kept some people a bit safer.  Their families were very gracious and thankful, and it really made my night when I heard their kind words, after spending time with their loved-ones to get them feeling a bit better.

Holla!  Kim coming down Bald Mountain
After the midnight cut-off, those of us left at the aid station (I was impressed that there were about a dozen of us who had stayed until about 1am) were left with clean-up duty.  This meant cleaning up and loading everything into a UHaul moving truck:  all of the food tables, soup station, tables, chairs, water jugs, and the biggest task:  taking down Jim Skagg's big white (wedding) tents that we had borrowed from the Antelope Island races.  Wow, they came down systematically and relatively quickly.  Jim had bins labeled for each section of tent or piece of metal tubing, and hopefully we didn't mix things up too much.  It all seemed pretty organized to me, and I thought we worked really well as a team to get things taken down.  A highway patrolman stopped by about midway through the tent-disassembly process, and was surprised to find a bunch of stand-up citizens such as ourselves and not a bunch of rowdy drunks on the side of the highway.  We offered to let him help with the tents, but he declined and continued on his peacekeeping rounds.
Just a pacer ~ me on Bald Mountain

After driving down Parley's Canyon at about 2am, I got home, showered, and ate some scrambled eggs and toast and hit the hay.  I'd had a long day and needed some rest.  The dogs woke me up at 7am wanting their breakfast, and I fed them and went back to bed for a bit.  I woke at about 10:30 and after drinking a half a pot of coffee and catching up with runner positions on the Wasatch 100 website, I found the motivation to move on to duty #3:

Finish line duty.  I drove up to Midway, Utah to the Homestead, site of the race finish festivities.  Just missed a couple of friends finishing due to construction traffic in Parley's Canyon, but saw a whole bunch of other friends finish, and those whom I did not see finish I was able to hang out with and listen to their stories.  I ate one of the best cheeseburgers of my life, worth every penny of the $13 I spent on it and a bunch of fries, and drank a few PBRs as well.  So many smiles there at the Wasatch 100 finish line, and I was so thankful that I already had my own buckle (from last year) that I won't have to run that race anytime soon ~ it's a doozy.
Girls with smiles ~

Watching my friends finish and listening to them tell their stories really got me excited for the Bear 100, coming up in three weeks.  Because of the fortunate timing (sometimes these two races are only two weeks apart) many of my friends will be racing the Bear 100 up in Logan, Utah as well.  I couldn't be more amazed and proud to call them my friends.

After triple duty at Wasatch 100, I'm looking forward to running my own race at the Bear.  It will be another great dance in the mountains with friends.
Kim was bathed in golden light coming
into Alexander aid station


  1. Great post. Can't wait for some adventures together!!

  2. Nice work, helping out friends and racers! Good luck in The Bear 100.