(Red Lover's Ridge. Between mile 61 and 75 of the Wasatch 100.)
My feet are mangled. Seriously. I have hobbit-looking feet right now. So the dreaded 'race' is over and done with and it was definitely a learning experience. I made it to Lambs Canyon, which is 53.1 miles and then I called it. I had been running for over 16 hours with temps in the 90's for much of the day... my feet were covered in blisters... like both heels, the sides of my feet, and (gulp) under a few of my toenails....and to add insult to injury, I was stung by a bee on my hamstring at around mile 38 (I think the stinger is still in my leg, actually).
I have mixed feelings about the race at this point. I feel like I 'let people down' by only doing 53 miles. I truly could not have gone any further due to all that was going on with my body but I still feel that twinge of regret... and that sense of disappointment for those who came out to support me. Of course everyone is telling me I'm crazy for thinking this and that they are so proud of me for making it as far as I did... but still.....
... I didn't do all 100 miles.
The race was really, really, REALLY difficult. The first few miles were great... thru rolling hills, over stream beds... and then the climbing began. The next 5 miles rose 5,000 feet in elevation with the last section (aptly called 'Chinscraper') was so steep that we literally were bouldering up the trail. The weather was perfect until about 8 a.m. when we got over the ridge into the sun... and then the heat came... and beat us down. Man, it was hot out there. The majority of the first 40 miles are on exposed ridges where there is no relief from the sun. On race day it was hot... like in the 90's... and it was windy.... a HOT wind at that.... which made it difficult to stay hydrated. I drank approximately 2 liters of water/electrolyte replacement between every aid station, which were every 7 to 9 miles. I peed a few times before 8 a.m. (T.M.I., I know) and then 10 a.m. was the last time I peed until Lambs and I still didn't pee until after I was home that evening. Basically I went over 12 hours without even the inkling of needing to pee. Not good. I drank and drank and drank... but the heat, the wind, my exertion level was depleting me of all the water and fluids I took in. It was really weird... and really unsettling.
With all that was going on in my life... from moving to injuries to travelling to planning a wedding to blah,blah,blah... I'm content with running 53.1 miles. My longest training run over the summer had only been about 18 miles so I more than doubled that. And... that course is a MONSTER! AND.... I've heard that the last 25 are the hardest part of the race. Lee said to me, 'Next year when you do this race...' and I had to interrupt him and laugh, 'Ha! Not next year, babe... try in TEN years when I do this race again...'
I think I was a little naive going into this race but I now understand the type and the amount of training that must be done to conquer the Wasatch 100. I think I took my training a little too lightly and I also tried to pack way too many things into this summer to successfully complete this race. Someday I will do this race again and, when that happens, I plan to be more prepared... better trained... and much wiser in the art of ultra-marathoning.
Thank you to my family and my friends... my sisters for making the trek from California... my cousins and aunts for making the trek from Davis County... my mom and Aharon for running the best damn aid station at Big Mountain... thank you for all the support via texts, phone calls, etc from friends... and, last but certainly not least... thank you to Lee for being my rock... my 'shoulder to cry on'... my voice of reason... and my biggest fan. I couldn't have done this race without any of you.
Someday I will do this race again and I will conquer it. Just not next year.... or the year after that...... :-)