I wanted to let my emotions get back to normal before writing this so I could think rationally. My first attempt at 100 miles was nowhere near what I expected. I didn’t have many expectations, but I did expect to finish. RRR is known for being one hell of a 100 miler and it was exactly that.
Before I left for Colorado I was really excited about the race. Most people know I’m obsessed with Colorado so any reason to go back gets me pumped up. I’m also obsessed with running (obviously) so putting the two together seemed like a win-win.
For the couple of days leading up to the race the weather was back and forth. It went from sun to torrential downpour in a matter of minutes. The forecast called for clear skies and sun Friday afternoon so we kept our fingers crossed. We didn’t do a ton before the race besides the pre-race meeting on Thursday evening.
The race started at noon on Friday and luckily all of the rain got out of the way before the hares started. I showed up about 11am ready to go. My stomach didn’t feel great but I figured it was just nerves. It was finally time to line up at the start and begin a life changing trek through the mountains.
The first 4.5 miles went up a black diamond ski route up Mt. Werner. It was quite the calf burner, but knowing it was the steepest climb throughout the entire race helped me power up. Dave and I made it up about the same time and ran the next few miles together. The altitude was already bothering me and I had to use my inhaler at the top. We caught up to the amazing Nikki Kimball and Kerri Bruxvoort, where we had a train going up until Fish Creek Falls. Right about the time I started running with them was when Dave dropped back and wasn’t looking very good.
The next few miles had a lot of back and forth – running alone, passing Kerrie & Nikki, Kerrie passing me and so forth. I also didn’t feel like anything I ate was really helping my stomach, but it hadn’t gotten worse by this point. I ran by myself for a while when the sun was setting and it was by far the best time during the entire race. I was up in the beautiful mountains surround by birch trees and the fall colors. I wish I could have captured that moment on camera but I still have a good image of it in my head.
Nikki caught back up with me once it started getting dark. We were just about to the Olympian Hall aid station where we would need to change into warm clothing and get ready for the night. I spent a solid 20 minutes at that aid station changing, eating, drinking and talking to my fabulous crew members, Amber and Luke. I told them my stomach didn’t feel great but I didn’t think it would be an issue. Then I was off.
I was able to cruise back up to Fish Creek Falls, but that’s when things went downhill. It was really the only technical part of the course so I knew I would walk it when it was dark. However, I didn’t think I would have to walk the next 20 miles. My stomach ache turned into a horrible side pain that I could no longer run through. I would attempt to run for a minute, walk a few minutes and repeat. It was the most frustrated I’ve ever felt during a race.
I finally made it to Dry Lake at mile 64.7 where I saw my crew again. I told them I had been walking and was very cold, but my bag with my additional warm clothes wasn’t there. Luke asked if he should go back, get my bag and meet me at the next aid station. I told him it would be too much trouble for him to get to the next aid station so I could just wait until I did the out and back to Spring Creek. What I didn’t realize is that the temperature would drop significantly while making the trek down there. I was freezing and the 5 miles down to Spring Creek felt like 20. I was getting so cold that my left quad felt strained and I had a slight limp going the last 2 or so miles. This was when shit really hit the fan and I kept repeating, “I’m not dropping, I’m not dropping…”. Once I got to Spring Creek it was all over. I knew it as soon as I arrived and sat down. I didn’t want to keep going.
So that’s when I dropped and hitched a ride to the start/finish from a guy waiting for his wife. I felt really weird as we walked away from that aid station, but I also felt a sense of relief. At that point I didn’t care that I wasn’t finishing because I really didn’t want to keep going. I know myself well enough that when I don’t want to be out there then something is wrong. Most people will say that’s normal but it’s a feeling that’s hard to explain. It’s different from just being tired.
Once my crew got back then we wall waited for Dave to finish. He was still on track and I knew he wouldn’t drop at that point. The sun was back up, it was warm and he was determined to get that belt buckle. Fast forward to that afternoon and here comes Dave running down the home stretch, with a smile on his face.
It really was incredible to watch those who finished. I was so excited for each and every one of them, especially Dave, but it really started to mess with me mentally. Should I have kept going? What should I have done differently? I couldn’t stop questioning it until just a couple of days ago.
I can finally say I’ve come to terms with it. I don’t want to throw out excuses or justify the situation. All I can really say is that it just wasn’t my day. That race taught me lot and it’s only fueled the fire. I don’t know when my next 100 mile attempt will be, but there will definitely be another.