The course at this past Saturday's UROC race was a challenging one. Weather conditions caused all sorts of fun surprises along the way, including: snow, wind, ice, mud, standing water, and anything else you can think of! High mountain climbs, steep descents, road, and bike path caused us all to dig deep. Each section had it's own little test with an exceptional view of beauty.
With that being said, congratulations to UROC race directors, volunteers, and the entire race committee on creating a course that was truly ULTRA. After all...aren't those diverse trials what ultra racing is all about? Running through the boredom, the strains, the hunger, the nausea, and even pushing ourselves through the easy?
That is exactly why I toed the line. To find out just how far I could dig but still try to enjoy the day!...and that I did. The beautiful sunny sky's, fall leaves, and fresh air made it all worth while. When I first started, my legs weren't too happy. The course would cause us to climb up a mountain from the start..then wind us down the snow covered trail to the first aid station. Wyatt quickly helped me change out my bottles and was on my way. Cautiously dancing over snow covered roots, rocks and ice covered puddles...myself, Stephanie Howe, and few others made our way together over to Frisco. I was surprised to see Emelie Forsberg in our sights as the trail spit us out down town. Staying together on the quick trip up to Miner's Creek road, we slowly started to separate. Steph took off with Emelie trailing and then myself. I could hardly keep up with Emelie and would eventually lose her especially at the top of the mountain where strong, snowy winds pelted the side of my face. There was barely evident tracks of the people in front of me as I slowly maneuvered my way across the ledge of the mountain between Frisco and Copper. Once on top...I took a brief second to check out the view and then bombed my way down the icy mountain all the way into copper. I could feel that 100 miler I did 2 weeks ago. I was thirsty, hungry, and pretty much doing the marathon shuffle on the bike path to 2-Elks trail.
Next up, a 2,000 foot climb in 2.4 miles. Of course snow, fallen trees and slippery conditions would suck the life right out of me. My water supply fell short this section and hunger struck coming into 2-Elk lodge. At this point, we had about 18 miles to go. I prayed. I prayed a lot, asking for God to help me bounce back and really cruise on these last miles. I wanted to at least hold on to 4th place. The nutrition would help. The next section into Minturn was a long grass covered descent, followed by a technical rocky section...my legs easily carried me down as I passed by 3rd place, Kerri Bruxvoort ( she too ran 2 weeks ago. but in the 50 mile...still an exceptional and inspirational effort by Kerri for toeing the line as well!). During that time, I thought of my plan for the next 10 miles so the aid station stop could be as quick as possible. Just a change out of water and I was on my way. Focused and determined to stay in 3rd place I gave the last 5 mile climb all I had. Night was falling upon us as I briefly grabbed some gummi bears at the last aid station before zipping down the final 4.7 miles. It would be the LONGEST 4.7 miles of my life! FINALLY, the inflatable, lit up,arched finish line appeared. Happily coasting through, I thanked God for making this one possible...it hurt like hell and there were times I wasn't sure if my legs were still going to move, but you never know in an ultra race what is going to happen! ...Same with life- so dig deep!
3rd Place, 12:46:24 ( a heck of a lot longer than I thought it was going to take!)...19th overall among the men.