Monday, June 8, 2009

Squaw Peak 50 Miler

Squaw Peak 50 Mile June 6, 2009
I was very excited for this race. Having 14,000 of uphill elevation and some very serious climbs. I saw it as a warm up for Wasatch. So I was prepared for a tough day. Little did I know I was in for a humbling experience. Here is a view of Provo and Utah lake looking west about mile 7 outside of the #2 aid station at Hope CG. I had sprained my ankle on the river trail at about mile 1 and was really not in the best of spirits. It was a real tough break and I was tempted to go back to the car and call it a day. But since I had come with Scott I had no keys and it would do me no good to sit and wait at the finish. So I went after it. It was quite painful for the next 10 miles and it never seemed to loosen up.

It was all single track trail and it was real tough to run the downhill. I took some vitamin I and stayed on it. Here is a view from Aid Station #3 at mile 15.6. There was a long downhill section here and it was very rocky, I struggled all the way to Aid station #5 at Mile 21. We then had a section of pavement up Hobblecreek Canyon and it was a gift for my ankle, I was able to run the pavement and loosen things up a bit. When we got to Lower River Aid station #6 at Mile 26.5. I was feeling pretty good and the ankle was not so tight and painful. I hammered the uphill knowing that I had to get to get to Aid station #8 before 2:30 pm to make the hard cut off.

At Aid station #7 at mile 29.5. I had a drop bag here and so I reloaded with my amino and GU and got on my way as quickly as I could. It was 12:15 and I had a hour and forty five minutes to make the 2:30 pm cutoff but it was only 4 miles away I knew I could make it with time to spare. I knew it would be a tough haul because the second half of the course is tougher than the first half and elevation would be an issue as we were going to be near 9800' for a while.

Right out of the aid station the trail got real tough, but it only lasted for about 3/4 of mile

I got to the Little Valley Aid Station at mile 33.5 at 1:45 45 minutes before the cutoff and I was feeling pretty good the ankle was sore but runable and I refilled my bottles and got on my way. Larry Emery was there and he was doing well also. I hooked up with another runner and we took out of there headed for the worst part of the course Windy Pass. We settled into a good pace and were moving along well. All of the sudden we came to a T in the trail and we had to go left or right. But there were no flags indicating which way we were to go. We had gotten off course, and now we had to back track and see where we went off. We headed back down everything we came up and according to Bobs GPS. It was a mile and half out of the way, so we turned a 7 mile section into a 10 mile section between aid stations. We got back to the trail and came up on the sweep crew, we were DFL (dead freaking last) they thought they had all the runners in front of them. We explained that we were stupid and got of course. I asked if they had any water to spare and got a little, I was down to 2 bottles and I knew I was going to need 3 to get over Windy. Bob and I kept plugging along and passed quite a few folks, some not doing so well others just like us cruising along. It seemed to take forever to get to the bottom of Windy Pass. Bob took a food break and I continued on knowing that he would catch me on the downhill side.

This photo shows Windy pass in the distance we followed the snow line up and around. It was a very difficult climb. One guy called it "puke hill" I didn't puke on the hill. I waited till later.

Here we are on the downhill side of Windy Pass headed for Aid Station #9 at mile 41 by the time I got there I was in pretty bad shape feeling sick and I knew I was dehydrated. Jim Skaggs was manning the station and had some ginger chews and I chewed on one got my bottles full and got out of there. I took some S-caps and drank a full bottle of water. I was feeling pretty good and I knew I needed some GU. So I rip out a GU and do the usual sip and run, then all of the sudden I am going to puke, and I do, all the water and GU and S-caps are now on the trail. I am in big trouble. Bob takes a S-cap and cracks it open and puts it on my tongue. That seems to help and so I go back to sipping water and take a couple more S-caps. We get going and I am feeling okay not good but okay. I slow some and let Bob go as he is much faster than I am on the downhill. I wish him luck and tell him I will see him at the finish. I go about another mile and I am feeling real bad again. I don't dare take any GU and I am out of S-caps. So I stop sit down and I take my last bottle of water and mix up some Amino, then take some small sips as I try to get going again. I remember that in our goodie bags they gave us some electrolyte strips, so I take a couple and I sip my Amino, take a couple Ibuprofen and after a mile or so. I am feeling normal again. But now I am out of water again and not sure where the aid station is. So I very conservatively run till I hear Troy! And Scotty K is at the aid station, so I run in as fast I can get my bottles full again and here I am leaving Aid Station #10 Mile 46.9 or 49.9 for me because of the scenic detour. I am feeling real good even though my eyes are closed in the photo. I am not terribly photogenic at this point in the day.

I made it to the finish running the last 3 or so miles feeling really pretty good. What an amazing change from where I was not too long ago.

Here I am at the finish explaining how Bob and I got 53 miles in
instead of the recommended 50. It was a very wild day, with many ups and downs. I am humbled by the experience and it really was a test as to whether I can even begin to think about tackling 100 miles. You find that little mistakes can be very costly. 3 extra miles cost me big. Had I not made that detour I beleive I would not have gotten sick and would have been done hours sooner.