Sunday, September 21, 2014

Wasatch 100 2014

As I toed the start line of this year’s Wasatch 100 Mile Endurance Run I could not help but see the trails ahead through the lens of two big semi-failed adventure goals: last summer’s Wasatch 100 DNF and this summer’s attempt at the summit of Denali.  Both adventures ended with me giving it my all and not being able to stand at the finish/top.  This time not making in to the end was not at option in my mind.  I equated last year’s drop, at mile 75, to getting off on my salts in the heat, leading to complete GI shutdown.  So I started off the race running very conservative, chatting it up with friends, making jokes, and militantly drinking and downing Salt/Potassium capsules.  As I pounded up the first 4000 foot climb the stars started to align. 

Alignment #1: Absolutely perfect weather.  If I were to pencil in a spread sheet and hand in to God to dial in the weather at each point along the course it would have been identical.  Even when the high was in the 80’s there was good cloud cover. T-shrit and shorts all night, crisp and chilly. Awesome.  

Alignment #2: Good buddies. I like to talk when I run, especially with good friends and interesting folks I meet along the trail.  All along the trail my spirit was lifted by folks.  This year I only ran with a pacer for the last 25 miles instead of the last 60 miles.  It was nice focusing hard all day then looking forward to Spence keeping me company the last 25 miles.  Keeping spirits up for the whole race can be tough, this year it was easy thanks to Spence, Newman, Matt, Scott, Ryan, Matt VH, Casey, Bryan B., Derick, Aaron, and many others.         
Alignment #3: A happy gut. I could eat anything I wanted all day.  The last 25 I even craved gu’s. Weird.   To keep salts and H2O up I did 2 things: I have noticed in the past I don’t really drink as much as I think I am from my hydration bladder hose. So, during the race I stashed multiple Gatorades and chugged them on site then filled them with water.  Then my hose was a back-up and coolant provider.  HUGE help.  
Newman and I getting ready to scrape chins. (climb the super steep "chiscraper")

My goal late in the race was still to go under 27 hours, as the night progressed my bodies ability to keep pounding really surprised and excited me.  All day I followed the simple mantra of running the downhills hard and power hiking the ups.  The only difference this year is that I made sure my power hiking was “with purpose.”  I have hiked behind runners like Andrea Martinez and realized that we are both hiking but she is leaving me in the dust.  I really focused on pumping my arms and straight up power hiking.  Late into the evening I was even able to run a lot of the easy ups, especially leading up to Dog Lake, (where I finally flipped on my headlamp, totally bragging I know, but I was so excited to be moving so well) 

Overall 3 quick highlights from the run. My dad texting congrats to me literally a minute after finishing which means he was up all night refreshing his browser (on vacation) My friend Matthew Van Horn who could not run today due to injury out along the course in a lazy boy and then at night playing beach boys under a beach umbrella all night cheering us on (on a 10,000 ft mtn saddle). And my boss at work coming up to Brighton mile 75 at midnight just to tell me good job and good luck.With a such a great day in the mountains it is hard to decide what to do next.  Buffalo 100 fast…., Bryce 100,  Hardrock…., States…  who knows. I just hope this year’s interstellar aligning was not a unique singularity and more late nights are as shiny.    

30 minutes after my finish.  I finished in the dark and didn't leave Izzy enough time to arrive. oops.