Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wasatch 100 Mile Endurance run Sept 11-12th

The day is about to begin. My buddy Wayne picks me up at 3:30 am to get to the bus pickup at 4am at the Marriott. We get there in time to load em up and move em out. We have all our gear, packs water bottles, drinks everything we think we need to get us to that first aid station. First of all everyone has to give me a little trouble about getting lost, the past two races and on one long training run I have gotten of course and put in a few extra “bonus” miles. Scott reminds me to watch for flagging, I of course say “flagging, what do you mean, I don’t know what that is” Gary tells me the race is in the bag for me, but will I be doing 105 or 110 miles? I am on a bus full of Comedians not runners. Then we are off on a nice comfy ride to the starting line in Kaysville.

5am start time Kaysville, UT
261 runners in every shape, size, and form are ready to tackle 100 miles. With John Grobbens instructions we are off headed north up the trail. Wayne gets us a good start and we are in a group moving at a nice pace. Then all of the sudden someone yells “WRONG WAY” 30-40 of us have taken a wrong turn and went right instead of left. Oh no the “Troy” getting lost curse has followed me to Wasatch. Well at least it wasn’t me who made the wrong turn, we got it out of the way early, and we didn’t get too far up the wrong trail. I was just following everyone else in the dark. So Wayne and I along with everyone else, get back on the trail only to find we are now near the back and behind slower paced runners. It is a futile attempt to pass on the trail as it is too narrow to pass and “Chinscraper “is upon us. We are in a pack of about 20 runners as we make the ascent. Whomever is in the very front slips, nearly falls, sends a rock down, and brings the entire procession to a complete stop. All of the sudden we have traffic jam on a nearly vertical wall at the top of Chinscraper. I am looking to find something, anything to grab onto that is firmly attached, and there is nothing, so I try to keep my feet firmly planted to keep from backsliding down into Wayne or anyone else. I find a hand hold for a minute and after what seems like forever we get moving again and up over the top. Whew that was spooky! We get to Grobben’s corner at about mile 13, (a water only stop) fill up our bottles and head for Francis peak.

Francis Peak Aid (Mile 18.76) Larry is waiting and has everything ready for me. I am feeling really good and it is a beautiful day. Nearly 19 miles completed. Off to Bountiful B Aid (mile 23.95) I don’t remember much other than it was getting hot. The trail could have used some work but it was a good stretch. Wayne and I got into the aid station in good shape.
Next up Sessions Lift Off (mile28.23) I wondered about the name but I know it is called that for a reason. It is a launch pad, you are low and you have to go high. There are 4 nasty climbs through brush and poor to nonexistent trail it is difficult and very unpleasant. I lose Wayne along here somewhere during the climbs, and then he catches and loses me. Lots of overgrowth made this section not only memorable, but something I would like to not like to experience again. We get to Swallow Rocks aid station (39.4) feeling really good Wayne catches me there we grab a Popsicle (yummy) fill our bottles and leave together. There is a climb out of Swallow rocks and Wayne tells me to go on up the climb. I am feeling bad about losing Wayne but feeling real good physically and run most of this section as it is slightly down hill. There is a slight breeze and it is hot so I take it easy and enjoy the ride.

Big Mountain (mile 39.4) there are tons of people cheering and cowbells clanging. WOW. Not what I expected. All the other aid stations just had a few volunteers. I weigh in; I am up a few pounds at 209, very good that means I have stayed hydrated. Larry grabs me gets me my stuff I slam an ensure, fill my bottles, grab some goodies from the aid station table, then I remember I need to pick up my pacer Kelly Snyder. I ask Larry where is Kelly? He says you got here faster than your projected time and he is in the bathroom, oops. So I wait a minute and there he is. I grab him and we get out of there. I see Wayne coming down the hill. Go Wayne. I am happy to have Kelly; we take out of there and get a going. It is a real nice stretch through here. We run the ridgeline for quite a ways. It is a long stretch between aid stations and I am out of water and starting to not feel too hot. Kelly keeps me going by giving me some of his. We get to the next aid station Alexander Ridge (mile 47.44) we fill up I get some bananas and food. Off we go. I am starting to feel better and we get moving. Kelly does a real good job of getting out in front of me and pulling me along. We talk, run and enjoy where we are. We go up over Rogers’s junction and can see Lambs Canyon. Trouble is it is 3 miles away. I hate seeing where I need to be, but knowing it will be a while before I get there. We can see that there are lots of cars and you can hear the people cheering. We need to get there before dark and we are cutting it close it is nearly 8 pm. I start to feel a little woozy again, but I stick with Kelly and I keep drinking and take my salt pills. Just as we get to the Lambs Canyon aid station (mile 53.13) I am starting to feel better. And wow, tons of people there, Carl, Larry, Arb, Shay, Steph and all of Wayne’s family to greet me. Shay promised to have ice cold Chocolate milk for me at the finish. How is that for motivation? Wayne is not far behind me, he comes in everyone gets to work on him. Larry goes to work I get new shoes, socks, shirt, eat some stuff, get my light, my hat, and some warm clothes. You would think this was NASCAR. Kelly gets me an ice cold PowerAde, I drink up, Wayne and I leave together with our pacers headed up Lambs canyon.
Kelly and I start to climb up the canyon, I really am feeling good and the cool night air is a welcome change. We are on pavement for 1.67 miles then back on the trail. We get in the groove and start to power up, we settle into a good solid pace. It was really fun. As we come over Bare Bottom pass we can see the lights of the valley in the distance. Down Elbow Fork and we are back to a paved section in Millcreek canyon. The pavement is nice change and Kelly and I get after it. 3 paved miles later we arrive at Millcreek Upper Big Water trailhead (mile 61.68) at ten minutes to 11. There are tons of people again cheering. I get my warm clothes on it is 45 degrees. By the time I leave I am shivering cold. I thank Kelly, he was huge for me he kept me going when I was down, and pushed me hard when I was up. I could tell he wanted to continue with me, but he had put in 21 miles and it was time for me to make the switch. Many thanks to him for a fine job pacing me through a great section.

I got what I needed at the aid station and Vince my next pacer was ready to go. I arrived a little before projected time and so Vince didn’t even get to sit down before we were ready to go. This is a section of trail I know well from training here so often. I am very excited about it. I take Kelly’s advice and keep it steady. Vince and I make it to the Desolation Lake Aid (mile 66.93) it is 12:38 am and it is triage here, people asleep in sleeping bags, people all around the camp fire with their heads in their hands. I fill my bottles and get gone before it becomes contagious. We head up to Red Lovers Ridge, I pause and look up to the stars and remember to be thankful to be alive. It is dead quiet and surreal, a defining moment. I say goodbye to the lake and traverse to Scott’s pass aid at (mile 70.79) I pull in get some soup and it is amazing. I get one more cup of soup and we head down Puke hill to Guardsman pass and onto Brighton. Vince my pacer does a great job and we arrive at Brighton (mile 75.61) at 3:13am.

All the advice I got about Brighton aid was to get in and get out as fast as possible. It is warm inside and some people never leave. So I run in, let out a yell WOOOO! Weigh in at 204lbs, get my drop box, reload, refill, brush my teeth (thanks Mark Collman) wash my face, answer natures call and I am out of there with a yell in 10 minutes (just like NASCAR). I also pick up my next pacer Tommy Thiede. He asks are you ready, I say heck yeah let’s get up this mountain. We power up to Point Supreme (highest point on the course at 10,400) we get to the top and there is a guy hanging out cheering us on at 4 in the morning. Amazing and very cool. We head down to Ant Knolls aid and that is where I make a huge mistake. I sit down. I start to feel nauseous and think I am going to puke. I eat some crackers and anything else I think can to stifle this. Nothing works. I look at Tom and think I do not want to puke that will really mess things up I had just filled my tank. So I decide I have to get up and get going. I figure if I puke I puke, I got to get going. Not too long later, I am feeling good again. I tell Tommy, don’t let me sit down ever again, no more of that. We make it up the Grunt and get to Pole Line Pass Aid
(mile 83.39) I have friends working here and so I let out a yell, to let them know that runner 176 is here and he is hungry. I get my needs met, take a couple pictures, a hug from Colin and we are on our way. It is 6:28am and I am about to see the sun rise for the second time. I have been lapped by the sun. As we make our way to Rock Springs aid (mile 87.39) we are in some of the prettiest areas. We have a great view of the back side of Mt Timpanogos. Unfortunately the fun is about to end. Up next we have the Plunge and the Dive. Two very nasty downhill sections that are just plain no fun, motorcycles have been using the area as a widow maker hill climb training area and the trail is a rut filled with rocks and flour type dirt. I fall many times try to break my ankle many more times and eventually we make it to Pot Bottom aid (mile 93.13) it is 9:44am. I am starting to feel some real fatigue, up to this point I have been upbeat and motivated, so I refill my bottles get some encouragement and Grandmas cookies from Olaf and head up out of there. I start to think that I may not get done, I am hurting more than ever, my feet are trashed and I can tell I have some blisters in areas that I have not had before. But I let Tom pull me down the hill it is a rocky piece of road that is not helping my state of mind; it is a slog towards the Maze. We get in the Maze and it is like we will never get out, I hear golfers and can tell we are close to the pavement, but it seems to take forever to get to the road. Then I realize, as I get to the pavement, that I am going to finish, I am going to drag my worn out feet and butt to the finish and we do just that. I run the last ½ mile and finish my first 100 mile run at 30 hours 59 minutes. Un-freaking believable. I shake John Grobben’s hand and I thank him for a very well organized event, it was exactly as described, “100 miles of Heaven and Hell”. Words cannot accurately describe what happened or how I feel. Happy sore muscles.

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