Last Friday and Saturday, I ran the Bear 100. When I signed up for it a month ago, I was coming off of my great TransRockies race results and was feeling very strong. As the days got closer to the Bear 100, however, I began to feel tighter and tighter, achier, and generally tired. I have had a long summer of running, and was starting to wonder what I had gotten myself into.
I knew that I had one thing going for me ~ a great crew and strong pacers. I tried to put the pain (back and hamstrings) out of my mind and focus on the facts that I had trained well all summer, thus having a really strong base of mileage, and that I had really strong, positive people supporting me. I also have a great massage therapist, whom I visited 4 times in the two weeks leading up to the race.
|Ready for the start!|
I said hello to a few people at the start and then went off on my own to walk around and try to loosen up my legs a bit. It's always nice to see my running friends at these types of events, but it can make me a bit more nervous too. Before I knew it, I was re-lacing my shoes a bit tighter and getting ready to start running for the next day and a half.
|Sue in "hurry up and wait" mode.|
Then as I was trying to put my feet out of my mind, my lower back flared up. My SI joints had been a problem in the week leading up to the race, and today was turning out to be no different. Thankfully, I had brought an SI belt (a velcro belt-device that you wear low on your hips to put some compression on the SI joints and prevent the inflammation created by instability) and my back felt better.
|My car had a really good time.|
|Cute Jamie and Ann at mile 45 aid station.|
I met Sue again at mile 30, Cawley Canyon, and ate well again. I saw some of my running friends, who were there to crew, aid, and cheer on friends ~ Candy Lavicky and Colleen Ford. As I exited the aid station, Eve Davies waved to me from her parked vehicle. It was really great to see so many smiling faces out there.
|Beaver Mountain color.|
I made it into Temple Fork at mile 45, and was happy to see my pacer, Ann, who would join me for the night section. I had told Ann that it would be okay if she met me at mile 51, but honestly, I was ready for some company on the trail. Her boyfriend Jamie was there as well, as was Jasper Mueller, to whom I believe I am Eskimo-married to now, as he bathed my feet with water, wiped them down with a towel, and applied tape to my heels. Apparently because of this ceremony, he informed me that we are betrothed (!)
|Me and Andrea negotiating the rocks near mile 85.|
The climb seemed to go on forever. We saw Naomi from Canada again in this section, and exchanged some words of encouragement. We did have a really nice descent down to Franklin Trailhead at mile 61 after reaching White Pine ridge, which I think may have been in the dark by this point, because I really don't remember it at all. I remember the fall colors throughout the day, and from this point on, I would remember winding aimlessly through thick pine forests in the dark. At times, it seemed as if we were just running around in circles. I was so glad that I had Ann with me to reassure me, because I could have sworn a couple of times that we would end up right back at the same aid station we had just come from.
|Bear Lake is in sight!|
Continuously, I found my eyes crossing and my vision blurring and I was stumbling over rocks, falling asleep as I was walking. A couple of times I just laid down without warning and slept for 5 minutes. I can't tell you how grateful I was for those few minutes of sleep. They were glorious. I tried eating caffeinated jelly-beans to wake myself up, and ended up vomiting them up because the combination of caffeine and sugar was just too hard on my stomach. I actually woke up and ran pretty quickly, singing a Katy Perry song, for about 20 minutes. I reveled in those few minutes and took advantage of my short-lived energy.
|Above Bear Lake with 5 miles to go.|
|Me and Gerald in the final quarter mile.|
We left Logan River and I thought to myself, "Just 6 more miles and you get to sit down in the ski lodge (at Beaver Mountain). Just 6 more miles and it will be light again. When it is light again, your stomach will feel better and you will move into the final stage to get this thing done." What a long way 6 miles can be when you are traveling at 2 miles per hour, in the middle of the cold night and have been going for over 20 hours already. What a long way indeed. It was so cold, there was frost on the ground. There were a couple of stream crossings with precarious rocks and logs, some of which I was able to cross on all fours as to not fall in and some that I just walked through the ice cold water because I knew that if I tried to stay on those rocks that I would fall. 2 miles per hour. Slower than my slowest estimate. It was a long, cold night, but it would soon be over.
|Giving my friends at the finish line a smile.|
Ann and I reached the Beaver Mountain road and followed the arrows to the ski lodge. On the way to the lodge, my friends Andrea and Mark cheered for me in the parking lot. I mustered a slight smile. My friend Cathy (Marit's partner from TransRockies) put her arm around me and told me how proud she was of me. I may or may not have thanked her. I wanted to cry because I was so grateful for having such wonderful friends. I wanted to lie down. I wanted to sleep.
Mark got my sleeping bag and set it up in the corner of the lodge for me. "Fifteen minutes, that's all I want. Please... " and Ann advocated, "I would totally approve for her to have just a few minutes of sleep." And they did, they let me sleep. And it was glorious.
|Across the grass to the finish line.|
I felt like I was freezing as Andrea and I walked away from the shelter and warmth of the ski lodge. I shivered, walking away from running friends who were crewing others and must have appeared as though I was looking right through them in my daze of fatigue. I was so cold, so cold... I had on my down jacket and my down vest I was so cold. I knew I was over-dressed but didn't have the calories in me to keep myself warm. I just had to keep moving. The sun was up at this point (it was just after 7am) and it would begin to be warm. My friend Ken Jensen was at the next aid station, Gibson Jack, and I was looking forward to seeing him.
|Sue congratulating me at the finish.|
Andrea and I averaged about 3 miles per hour until the end. We were in and out of mile 85 aid station, Beaver Creek campground and Mark took some photos of me negotiating the rocky section just before the aid station. He high-fived me as I said, "607, in and out!" and the aid station volunteer gave me a courteous smile and nod. Andrea got me another banana and a 7-up, which both settled on my poor stomach really well, and about every 20 minutes I would take 3 bites of banana and about 3 sips of 7-up. We walked up the hill with a couple from Canada (I think) and I was actually able to think of something else besides how tired I was and how much my stomach hurt.
|Me and Sue ~ so happy to be done.|
Six miles downhill. Very steep downhill. So steep that you almost can't look up to realize that Bear Lake lies just a few miles below you. Turquoise blue and inviting. Waiting for you. So steep at times that you think your legs will just give out on you and you will topple, head over heels, rolling and tumbling and not be able to stop... but my legs held, and I made it to the bottom of that hill that seemed as though it would never end.
|Enjoying some finish line refreshment!|
We hit the paved road. How far? A mile or so... that's all... it's almost over. My friend Gerald was walking up the road to meet me. I didn't recognize him. I was so focused on the finish, and where was it anyway? Was it soon? Was it just around the corner? Andrea and Gerald walked as fast as I ran. I actually ran the last mile down the road. I hit Main Street in Fish Haven and looked for the park where the finish line was. It was there. I was crossing the grass. I was under the finish banner. I was done.
34 hours 9 minutes. 100 miles.
It was a beautiful day of Fall colors and vistas. It was a gorgeous day with friends. It was a long, cold, painful night. It was a redeeming morning. One thing is certain, I love my friends. I think I may have turned into a little popsicle laying on the side of the trail in the middle of the night if it hadn't been for Ann. My friends fed me, taped my feet, changed my nasty, gross, dirty socks, and kept me from melting down. They reinforced the confidence that I had in myself to get the job done. 100 miles in the mountains between Logan and Bear Lake and I am not sure I will ever do it again. Time will tell. I said the same thing after Wasatch 100 last year.