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Friday, June 20, 2014

Fifty Miles of Fun! (If pain and suffering are your thing)

It was finally time.  After months of training, tapering, planning and packing it was go time.  We camped at Ruby's Inn Campground the night before and I spent most of the night laying awake in my sleeping bag waiting for 4am to come.  Finally I got up about five minutes before my alarm, took my things to the nice, well lit bathroom that was right next to our tent and proceeded to get ready.  I sat in the van and ate cold oatmeal with blueberries even though it was pretty freezing outside.  Jeff got up to wish me luck, "Stub a toe!" and I headed out into the darkness to find the shuttle bus to the start.

In Ruby's Inn I ran into Jim Skaggs, the RD for Buffalo Run and Antelope Island races.  He told me the story of his first fifty and I tried to calm my nerves.  I was, for the first time, nervous!  The starting area had huge barrels of fire where runners huddled and chatted, waiting for gun time.  I saw my friend Cherri and many other familiar faces.  

Finally it was time to run.  The first couple miles were on a dirt road leading through a camping area to the trailhead.  It was pretty crowded at first, but thinned out after the first few miles.  Unfortunately, at mile two I felt my left IT Band stiffening at the knee.  I knew that was a bad sign and actually stopped really early on to stretch.  It was to no avail, by mile seven both IT bands were causing me pain.  The scenery was beautiful and I did my very best to remain calm and run on.  By the first aid station at mile 10, the pain was coming in waves varying from mild to excruciating.  I have to say from the first aid station to the next I paid little attention to my surroundings, I was simply attempting to continue moving forward as fast at the pain would allow.  Somewhere around mile 15 I was alone and allowed myself to cry.  This was not how the day was supposed to start!  It hurt so badly and wondered if I had it in me to do fifty miles with this.  Time would tell.  There would be no quitting.  

I met another runner who was moving at a slow, but steady pace and I focused in on her and was able to motor on despite the pain.  Then, I would have waves of feeling okay and would push myself as much as I thought wise.  I saw many other people I knew, some looked better off than others and many were very encouraging.  After talking with several other local runners I realized that this is ultra and I needed to accept the pain and motor on.  By mile 26 I was actually starting to feel good, despite the pain!  Blubber Creek aid station at mile 27 was run by local friends, the Wasatch Mountain Wranglers and seeing so many familiar faces was a huge boost!  I was falling apart physically (literally, my toenails were falling off and I had to stop to duct tape my big toe) but mentally I was higher than I had been all day.

I was able to rally out of that aid station and run from there to the mile 40 aid station where my family was waiting for me.  I put on my music and quite literally told my IT bands to fuck off.  I ran happier and better than I had all day!  I was going to do this!  I was going to run 50 miles!  WaaaHOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!  Straight Canyon, here I come!

I was nearly to the aid station when I saw my son, Kurtis with Ozzy, our dog, running toward me!  This made me SO happy!  Kurtis hugged me and ran the last couple hundred yards in with me where Jeff and the girls were waiting.  My heart soared!  My hips stiffened!  From this aid station to the next Jeff and I jogged, walked and hiked as much of it was uphill.  I tried to move as fast as possible, which was not all that fast.  At the mile 45 aid station I had to tape another toenail that was lifting badly.  We ran into more local runners who were so encouraging.  The last five miles were really really hard.  I had already been in a lot of pain all day, but it was becoming very bad.  We ran and walked until about the last two miles, when running became completely unbearable.  I hobbled and moaned, but never quit moving forward.  Relentless Forward Progress.  

Finally I heard the aid station!  I cried a little (for about the fifth time that day) from joy!  I picked up the pace as fast as I could muster.  Then there was Lila running toward me!  People were cheering.  I ran.  I ran with determination I have never felt.  I did it!  I ran FIFTY miles.  My friend Cory was at the finish cheering people on and Kurtis was there with Clarissa.   

Jeff was amazing.  He was an incredible pacer.  He encouraged me without being pushy and the horror of how bad I looked never showed on his face!  Of course, I was a hot mess for a few days, and am still not 100%, but I'm loads better.  I hadn't expected the pain cave that would be the next day, but I survived.  And, no surprise, I can't wait to do it again!

50.5 miles
17:12 average pace

And now for the goods!  #trailfies!  

This was early on, before my legs began to hurt.

The views were so spectacular that I really had to control myself with the picture taking!  

This is Ed, AKA Jester.  He holds the world record for most marathons run in a year, and runs more ultras than my tiny brain can fathom.  He is an all around nice guy, and it was super cool to meet him out there.  He was very encouraging at a time where my mind was mad.  

One of the Wasatch Mountain Wranglers caught me foam rolling!  Thanks to Kristyan, Aaron and their cute kids for getting this for me!  And a special thank you to the Wrangler to helped me clean up my nasty blistered toe so I could lance and tape it!  Now that is service!

It was getting hot, but it wasn't too bad.  I kept my water bladder full and a wet bandanna around my neck.

My sexy pacer!

This was at about mile 48.  I was really hurting here.  Bad.  Like, you know how I'm always smiling?  Well, this is all I could muster.
The waddle.
Doin' the ultra shuffle!
A local runner and fellow member of the Wasatch Mountain Wranglers snapped this of Jeff and I coming into the finish!
 Aaaand.... Feet!
My beautiful medal.  I'm going to wear it every day.  Indefinitely! 
The next day.  Sore, but smiling!
My IT bands were mad at me.  Oh well.  They're getting over it!

So... who wants to run Buffalo Run 50 with me in March?

Coming into the mile 40 aid station

Post race glow.  Hobbling, hunched over, sweaty, dirty, bloated and smiling!


  1. You got my foam roller dirty.
    I'm not speaking to you for like 2 minutes.
    I'm also glad you were able to restrain yourself in taking pictures :)
    Beautiful pics and great job - YOU DID IT!!!

  2. HUGE congrats Renee! So proud of you. This is such a great accomplishment, especially considering that Bryce is a tough course. It has been fun following your training and I'm glad I was able to see your finish. Way to go!!


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