Dates: 7/4/22 – 7/10/22
Miles: 13.6 training + 33.1 race
Lost Souls Routes: 3
Total Lost Souls Routes: 38
Commentary: Monday was my travel day back to Idaho. I expected a flight to get delayed or canceled, but thankfully everything went smoothly and I got home as scheduled. But since I got in late, I decided to take Tuesday off.
Tuesday morning I met up with a lady from the trail running group, and we did three Lost Souls routes that neither of us wanted to do alone because of danger noodles. Not only was it great to have another pair of eyes looking for snakes, but I learned a lot about training for ultras. She said she counts all the time she spends on her legs as training – running, hiking and walking. This gave me confidence I’d be able to get the necessary miles in for my fall 50-miler.
After the run I convinced my husband to take the canoe to the lake for some fishing. He just quit his job, so now we can finally spend time together again! It reminded me of our time in Virginia when we used to take the canoe out a few times a week. It also reminds me of why I’m sick of working and want to quit my job. Sigh.
Wednesday was my birthday, and luckily, I got to work from town! My sweet husband took me out to lunch for a low-key celebration. Thursday was another uneventful day, and although I planned on running or hiking, I didn’t.
On Friday we managed to get our van back from the body shop even though it’s not completely finished. But it was finished enough to drive, and that’s what mattered because we needed it to go Beaverhead for my race! We made it to packet pick-up and the pre-race meeting, then headed up to the start line on continental divide at Lemhi Pass.
At 7am, the race started, and so did I! Honestly, I didn’t feel prepared at all, but I knew I would be able to finish within the more than generous cutoff, so I wasn’t worried. The initial uphill kicked my ass, but my calves weren’t as angry as I anticipated. The downhills were quick, and I felt amazing.
The uphills did start to wear me down. My uphill legs were wasted, and I couldn’t wait for the downhill finish. But first we had to tackle the infamous scree field – three horrible miles of scree. At the aid station before the scree I did something I never thought I would do. I took a shot of pickle juice. I gagged, and it was horrible, but my legs did feel a lot better afterwards.
I don’t know if I ate too much at the aid station, if it was the pickle juice, or the altitude, but the ascent to the first “point” in the scree field was miserable and slow. The whole time I felt like I might vomit. I had to stop multiple times until the nausea passed. I thought the first “point” was the last one and it was all downhill from there. So, when I started the second scree field ascent, I was beyond bummed.
On the downhills I felt great even with the scree, but each uphill was killer. As a consolation prize and to remind myself why I was doing this, I stopped at each “point” and took in the views. I wasn’t there to race, to run, or to complete my first ultra. I was there to enjoy the gorgeous views the course had to offer. At least that’s what I told myself when the going got tough.
And boy did it get tough! Aside from the nausea and never-ending scree, a thunderstorm rolled in. The wind was wicked, and a few of the gusts almost knocked me over. Because of the wind, the rain pelted my tender flesh, and I had to cover my face to avoid the painful stings.
Once the scree field finally ended, there was a steep downhill section to the last aid station. Although the steep part was a wee terrifying, the aid station was more than I ever could have hoped for. They had a generator and made smoothies! One of the volunteers filled my water for me, even put the bottle back into my vest, and brought me gummy bears while I rested in a camp chair.
From there it was mostly all downhill. I had hoped to make up some time on the downhill, but my legs weren’t cooperating. After the second creek crossing they finally got some life in them, and I picked up my pace. Going faster felt amazing after going sooooo slow for the previous 5-6 miles.
As I approached the finish line I made to sure to rig for jumping on my husband. I dumped my water bottle, and secured all the stuff that might hinder me jumping on him when I finished. It was all for nothing though! Since I was going so slow on the scree, he didn’t think I would finish as early as I did, so he was bullshitting with some folks in the parking lot when I crossed the finish line. I still like him, and love him. Thankfully some of the trail running group members were at the finish and cheered me in.
During the race I met some wonderful people who helped me immensely. Just being around other folks made things easier. The chatting was a welcome distraction from the discomfort of being on my feet for so long. On the scree field I hiked with a couple of other chicks for most of it, and we helped each other through the psychological aspects of the challenging terrain.
For a good portion of the race I had cell service, so I kept my virtual cheer squad posted on my progress. Their encouraging text messages helped keep me going. Even when I was by myself, I didn’t feel alone because I knew I had folks out there tracking my progress.
Anyway, that night I was sore. So sore I almost couldn’t fall asleep even though I was exhausted. After about two hours of sleep I woke up and took some ibuprofen. It helped a lot, and I managed to get almost eight hours of sleep. It wasn’t great sleep, but it was better than I expected.
Sunday morning I was still sore, but it wasn’t bad, and I felt fucking fantastic! We found a hot spring and soaked for a wee bit, and that helped loosen me up significantly. Then we found a nice creek to do some fishing and let the cat explore. The cold water felt good on my tired feet.
I’m officially an ultrarunner, and it feels soooo good! This has been a dream of mine for over a decade. Now it’s time to start training for my 50-miler in November!
Endlessly seeking adventure.