Tushars Half Marathon Trail Run 07/29/17

Anyone who knows me understands my organizational nature. That being said, when I have an upcoming event, I begin a week or two ahead of time with a list (imagine that — me, making a list!) of items to take, adding to it as things come to mind. Then a couple of days prior to departure, I adhere to said list and compile my items. It’s slick! It’s easy! It’s a no-brainer! So I felt well prepared for this race, especially since I had run it last year and was able to learn from that experience regarding what I would and would not need. Obviously, the most important need was a (drum roll here) HYDRATION PACK. I have several of them ranging in size and shape. One is best used to hike across the Grand Canyon; one is specifically to wear while biking; and one was purchased last year for trail running. I have worn it often and have loved my Camelbak pack. So when Todd and I arrived at our destination 2 hours away (remote cabin in the woods) and unloaded the truck, panic set in quickly when I realized that the blue bag which held all of my running needs was left at home. LEFT AT HOME!!! My confidence level was immediately shattered and I began to brainstorm about alternatives. I knew I would need drinking water on this run.

We were too far from the town of Beaver to consider driving back down the canyon, plus it was early evening and after store closing time. The only store I imagined that would still be open was the grocery store, and I doubt it would have backpacking supplies. I rummaged around the cabin and spied a durable Klim backpack in which were my son’s tools for his ATV’s (a tool “emergency kit”). He gave me permission to use it (it had a bladder) but even after I emptied out the tools, it was heavy and bulky on my back. I considered carrying plastic water bottles in my hands (the small kind you buy at the store) but that posed the problem of not being hands-free to hold my trekking poles. Thus, the debate went back and forth.

I decided to wait until my running buddy, Misty, arrived to see if she by chance had brought a spare pack. We met up with her at packet pickup at the ski lodge at Eagle Point. She had no extra pack; however, there was a tent set up for St. George Running Center where water bottles and packs were being sold. I bypassed the nicer $127 pack and sprung for the “insulated” $27 hand-held 17-ounce Camelbak option. My stress level went down a notch with that purchase, but just one notch, not two.

Carbo-loading was as simple as handing over a meal ticket and dishing up a big plate of spaghetti and breadsticks, catered by Eagle Point and overseen by the dude who manages the bicycle shop there at the lodge. He assured me that he was not the chef — he was just assigned a shift at the dinner meal that night. Whew.

Misty, Todd, and I mingled with other runners and the energy was palpable. There was a crispness in the air and we knew that, come morning, the temperature would warrant a light jacket. We retreated back to the cabin and turned in fairly early (10-ish) with a 6 a.m. wake-up alarm set.

I got roughly 6 hours of sleep that night, though piecemeal, but I’ll take it. The race start for the half marathon was 7:30 which meant plenty of time to pull things together and get to the starting line which was just 1 mile and a 5-minute drive away. I filled up my new water bottle and ingested a PB&H made with “thinwich” bread and called it good. Todd took us to the starting line.

Aside from my trail running shoes, the most important article of clothing that I had chosen to wear was a headband that originally read, “It’s All About Me.” I had crossed out the word “Me” and written the name KIMMY BROOKS in its place. I was dedicating this run to Kimmy, a girl with whom I had just become acquainted recently. Kimmy sustained a horrible leg injury in a boating accident a few weeks ago, in which she nearly lost a fight with the boat’s propeller. Through a common connection, I was able to visit her in the hospital where she was recovering. Kimmy is very strong and positive, and she inspired me further that WE CAN DO HARD THINGS. At several points along the course, I called out to Kimmy, as if she was there, reminding her, “We’ve got this!”

 

At 7:15, we huddled with the other runners and received some last-minute instructions. There was no signal such as a gunshot, just a verbal “3-2-1, GO!” And we were off.

The first part of the half marathon course was downhill for maybe a half mile, then turned sharply left (north) and went uphill for a mile or so. I fast-walked the climbs, conserving my energy for later. It was a beautiful morning with a clear blue sky and temperatures in the 50’s. The elevation was 10,500 feet and THAT, my friends, is the clincher. After a couple of miles, I opted to shed the sleeve portion of my jacket and wadded it up and stuffed it into my back pocket. Fortunately, the jacket I had chosen to wear had 5 pockets of various sizes, all easy to access. In them I had put a GU that I found in my purse, a coin that was given to me by a friend as a good luck token, another PB&H sandwich, and some Clif Shot Bloks.

We climbed up and leveled out, climbed more then leveled out, and so on and so forth. Misty had long since disappeared ahead of me, and all I could really see was the backside of the runner in front of me on a single-track trail. Sometimes the trail was smooth and covered with shed pine needles, making it spongy and soft to run on, while at other times it was laden with rocks of the large and small variety. Runners spread out quickly, and for every one runner who I passed, it seemed that I was passed by two more. I was determined to set my own pace and not feel too rushed. The time limit for the half marathon is 6 hours, which is oodles of time to cover 13.1 miles on any terrain (at least for most folks I know).

I was thoroughly enjoying my autonomy, stopping on occasion to record a video or take a few photos with my iPhone. I knew I would want plenty of evidence for this blog post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I ran on the flats and descents, hiked on the ascents. Our Aid Station was at mile 4, which I had reached in just about an hour. Just past this station, the lead runner in the half marathon passed me on his return route back to the finish line. Seriously! He was a full 5 miles ahead of me at that point. I felt like a snail. At about mile 5, after running on a dirt road for a mile, we turned right abruptly and began our climb of Mount Delano.

 

According to Wikipedia, Delano Peak is the highest point in the Tushar Mountains of south-central Utah. The Tushars are the third-highest range in the state, after the Uinta Mountains and the La Sal Range. It is named after Columbus Delano, Secretary of the Interior during the Grant administration. The grandcircletrails.com website states, “The Tushar mountain range is a hidden treasure of 12,000 foot peaks not far from Bryce Canyon. This is one of the most challenging courses in the Grand Circle Trail Series.” And also, “The half marathon takes the Skyline trail to the aid station, then does an out-and-back climb up to the summit of Mt. Delano at 12,169 feet, then returns the way they came to the finish line.” Starting at 10,500 feet then going up and back down, there is a total elevation change of about 3300 feet over the course of the 13 miles.

Having decided against my trekking poles, as really this 1.5-mile stretch of the course is the only section I thought I might need them, I had quick recollection of the race last year and how I would go only so far before having to stop and catch my breath. This time I tried a different approach, that being a side-stepping method of ascension which proved very successful for me. It was a very steep mountain, and those runners who were suffering due to the elevation were having to stop and catch their breath time and time again.

I could hear a jubilant voice coming down the mountain, and soon discovered that it belonged to my new friend, John. He was hammering down Delano on his way to his 100K goal. John later would have to make the choice of continuing pursuit of his goal or giving it up to stop and help other runners who were in dire straits (suffering from hypothermia, for instance). His choice showed his true character.

Here is John’s recap of his race experience that day, as posted to his Facebook page and copied here with his permission (and as you can see, he did not use paragraphs, so take a deep breath and plow through his report — smiley face):

Tushar update.. all is well. I replied in length to questions about my post , here is a summary of my race experience. The race is beautiful and extremely hard. I ran huge races all year just to prepare for it thinking it was probably at the outer most limits of my abilities. I surprised myself by staying well within the cutoffs and took extra rest time at aid stations when I banked more time on the course. I think over 60% of field dropped or was pulled from race, a scenario playing out way to much in ultras these days. Leadville finishers said it was a harder finish for them, the flagging crew led by Patrick Sweeney said it matched the first 50 of Hardrock, needless to say averaging 10500 ft in elevation it was extremely hard! I banked time thru the aid stations because the hardest cutoff was 9:30 pm at mile 48 at Miners Park, right before a 4000 ft climb from 8500 to 12500 ft. I wanted 2 hr buffer there not knowing how I’d fare that late in the race on such a huge climb. Leaving Bullion Pasture with a 7 mile 3300 ft descent it started to pour and hail alternately with thunder and lightning, huge rain that you only get at altitude. Fun shit, I hammered down spread out in a group of 6-8 while 10 others were still at aid station. We were last of potential finishers as 70 people were pulled at cutoff at previous aid station. I pulled over when it was raining so hard it was just better to watch it for a while, I had plenty of time. People with essentially no gear went by, tough guys I thought, turned out they were just dumb. 1-1/2 miles from aid station a gal I had been running with ( I recognized everyone at this point having seen and talked to them at previous aid stations) came running up trail saying 1/4 mile down a flash flood at a creek crossing took out the trail, the creek was impassible, and a woman had a boulder roll over her leg and broke it. A guy she was running with stayed with the hurt woman and asked this gal to run back up the mtn to the aid station to get help. As we were talking 6-8 others made it down, all improperly dressed and about to go into hyperthermia. We said she couldn’t go alone and everyone looked at me, the only guy having fun, warm, dry, and properly dressed. Of course I immediately offered to go and off we went for another huge climb. I figured I could make it up and back if the rain stopped and finish a bigger version of race. We hammered up to the top and found since everyone quit they shut down early, no need to stay open after last guy left right. A course sweeper had just gotten dropped off and his ride had left. He was surprised to see us and we explained situation. It had stopped raining about 45 min before and I thought maybe we’d just hammer down and they’d give us some leeway on cutoff if we missed it. I turned to Ken ( yes that was her name) and saw she wasn’t moving as was locked up freezing, it took about 5 min of standing there. Todd the course sweeper tried to call out but no service so we wrapped Ken in plastic, gave Todd both our cells and as I tried to keep her warm by vigorously rubbing her arms and back he ran up road and used all our cell phones to get help. An hour later he got thru, they were 2 hours away due to having to evacuate 25 or so people from the lower aid station and help search and rescue get the woman with the broken leg out. The shit can go south fast at altitude. Todd and I worked on Ken, putting dry socks on her and rubbing her for warmth for 2 more hours until a truck made it to us. It all worked out in end other than I didn’t get to finish race. Kind of selfish but #*@%, every race I did this year, 9 big ones, was training for this. In the end I asked the race directors not to give me a dnf since we were responsible for getting word out about the woman who broke her leg and how we worked on Ken to keep her warm. They laughed and said they wouldn’t think of it and had heard about how in the middle of the storm we went up to get help not knowing when the creek would be able to be crossed. It was a awesome adventure but as I stated in some replies to my initial post, I am quite disgusted in the course ultramarathoning is taking. Races with a30% drop rate are the norm and this one and the next one I’m doing, Castle Peak are selling out and having 50-60% drop rates. Inexperienced and unqualified ( racers, ha ) are taking hard to get spots in races they can’t possibly finish! It puts undue stress on the race organizers and many people just quit when they get uncomfortable. I haven’t gotten into one lottery race I tried to enter and they’re making qualifiers to easy so the pool of people trying to enter lottery races is getting huge. After talking to Tushars RD’s, they like Castle Peak, are requiring hard qualifiers and a mandatory gear list. I wish the other races would follow suit. Do the hard shit!!!

This race really separated seasoned runners like John from the newbies (like I am). I agree with him that there ought to be some kind of checklist (list…. did someone say list?) of requirements to know about as well as to take in preparation for a run this gnarly, and I am certain that next year the race directors will put something together accordingly.

Now back to my story, it started to seem that Delano peak was out of my grasp when I finally laid eyes on it way at the top of the hill. People had gathered around the sign to celebrate and take a break. Misty was just starting to come back down when I got there, and I convinced her to come back to the sign “Delano Peak — 12,169 feet” with me for a photo. In hindsight, I should have let her bust back down the hill to the finish line because she may have placed in the top 3 females. I, on the other hand, took advantage of the crowd and did a little FaceBook Live videoing. Apparently I need some schooling on how to do that, because in the video, the sign is backwards. More conversations ensued as well as a few more photos, and then I started my descent.

I have always been a little timid going down steep, rocky trails. Images of a sprained ankle or a face plant were vivid in my mind. I picked every step carefully and made my way purposefully back to the same Aid Station that was at mile 4 (now mile 9, approximately). I had run out of water by that time so filled my bottle with Tailwind-enhanced water.

I committed myself to the final 4 miles, during which time I saw only a few other runners, one way up ahead and a couple way behind me. I did my best to run on the level and downhill sections, and hoof it quickly on the uphill sections.

I had secretly set a goal of beating my time last year which was 4:02, so a sub 4-hour finish seemed reasonable. My iWatch actually only measured a distance of 12.76 miles when I crossed the finish line in 3:53 and some change, but I’ll take it. Misty was there to greet me, having crossed the line 19 minutes ahead of me; she was the 5th woman to finish and I was the 9th.

I regret that Todd could not be there to see me in since he was 10 miles away at an Aid Station offering medical care to any runners in need. Fortunately, there were no runners in need, at least not at his Aid Station. We learned later that many runners suffered as a result of torrential rain and subsequent flash flooding that washed out the trail and made it impassable, one woman even being mowed over by a large boulder that broke her leg. She had to be air-lifted out to receive medical attention.

With a tough race under our belts, Misty and I were craving protein, so we made our way down to the Canyonside Restaurant and each ordered a half-pound cheeseburger with grilled onions and bacon. Yum! It was easily the best hamburger with a side of fries that I have ever eaten.

Later after Todd’s shift at his Aid Station, we returned to the finish line to witness the first 100K (62 miles) runner finish in a time of 13 hours 33 minutes. That’s insane! He looked like he was just getting started.

We returned home after a restful day at the cabin, and when we walked in we saw this sitting on the floor near the back door — the bag with my hydration pack! Oh well, there is always next time to get it right.

I made a few new friends at this event, which is what I always hope to be able to take away from such activities. Let me make mention here of John, Charlene, and Kayli.

According to my iWatch, I did not meet my standing goal this day, but I burned 1400 calories, exercised for nearly 4 hours, and completed 31,865 steps. There were 18 half-marathon finishers in front of me and 50 behind me. I had such a good experience that I am entertaining the option of doing the marathon next year. The Tushars is where it’s at! But don’t tell anyone, because I like having the place pretty much to myself!

Desperado Duel 50-Mile Bike Race 07/15/17

When the time rolled around for the annual Desperado Duel Bike Race, (details on website ridesouthernutah.com), I quickly hopped online to register because I was already familiar with the course and scenery. Back at that time, the event featured 100- and 200-mile options, hence the word “dual” in the title. I had previously ridden the century ride (which is actually 109 miles, not 100) back in 2005. I recall vividly the headwind that was present for the distance between Circleville and Panguitch, roughly 30 miles. It took me 6 hours and 48 minutes to finish that thing! The 200-mile option is no longer offered, but instead are 50, 100, and 150-mile courses (hence the spelling of “duel” now). This time, I opted for the 50-mile distance (actually closer to 52, per my bike calculator) which was described as an out-and-back course starting in Panguitch and winding through Red Canyon in Dixie National Forest along Highway 12 near Bryce, Utah (check it out on utah.com/bryce-canyon-national-park/bryce-canyon).  This is what the Ride Southern Utah website states about the course:

The 50-mile route has a total gain of 2066 feet. It has one Category 2 climb at the beginning of the event. (The climb rating system goes from 1 to 5 with 5 being the easiest). You’ll climb 1205 feet in the first 13 miles — an average grade of only 1.7%. After that, the course flattens out and you’ll only gain 867 feel in the final 37 miles. 

Panguitch (Utah) is a drive of about 1 hour 45 minutes from St. George. Its elevation is 6624 feet and population approximately 1500. The 4000 feet of elevation change from St. George to Panguitch translates to meaning it is MUCH cooler this time of year! We were all too happy to leave the 100-degree temperatures and trade them for the 80’s.

I was privileged to work at the event’s packet pickup for 4 hours that evening, meeting other riders and mingling with some high-energy individuals who motivate and inspire me — and make me laugh.

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And none of my activities would run as smoothly without the help of my husband, who is always willing to participate and be where I need him when I need him to be there.

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Pictured here with Kellie, one of the greatest bike riders I know, both mountain and road. For real.

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My dear and long-time friend, Sherri, having also registered for the 50-miler, arrived in Panguitch Friday evening. We coordinated plans for race morning, which was to meet at the starting area around 6:45 a.m.

The Sandman always makes himself scarce prior to any event in which I participate. Sleep had NOT been in abundance on Saturday morning when I awoke at 4 a.m. I readied for the ride and again worked at packet pickup from 5 to 6:30 a.m. I then donned my biking helmet, shoes, and gloves, and found Sherri among the approximately 300 riders; she was looking like a million bucks, as usual.

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Sherri wanted to stick together, but I encouraged her to climb the hill at her own pace (she is a much stronger rider than I). At 7 a.m., after a little instruction from the race director, Margaret, we crossed the starting line and ventured out in the 55-degree temperature. As expected, Sherri was knocking out the miles one at a time more quickly than I was, and I finally lost sight of her at about mile 5.

The course took a sharp left and we were on highway 12, heading due east toward Bryce Canyon National Park. Bikers were directed to leave the roadway and take the trail that parallels the highway. The trail is maybe 10 feet wide and covered in shade offered by the tall pine trees surrounding it. I am pretty sure I had a perma-grin on my face, and for certain I called out to anyone who may have been listening, “THIS IS THE LIFE!!” I took a couple of selfies during that stretch of trail, first making sure that no other bikers were around me (I did not want to take any chances of causing an accident).

At about mile 20, the course turned north on to Johns Valley Road. It was along this route that some of the faster 50-milers were heading back down, and I was looking for Sherri. I counted about a dozen bikers by the time I reached the aid station at approximately mile 25, which was loaded with all the best goodies that bikers crave! The line to the port-a-potty was long and I decided that I could “hold it” for another hour or so. I set back out quickly, reversing my route and heading back toward Highway 12 south along Johns Valley Road. I passed Sherri, who was going the opposite direction, and I later learned that a big group of bikers had missed the turn at the intersection where Johns Valley Road is to the left and Ruby’s Inn is to the right — and that group of bikers went straight, which means they added a couple of miles, at least!

I busted back down the trail pedaling as fast as my little legs would go. I mostly stayed in a small clump of bikers, leaving enough space ahead of me to allow me to see the trail. The only close mishap was coming around a corner and seeing a young boy, maybe 3 years old, on his little bike with training wheels right in the middle of the trail. At that point, we were going 20-25 MPH and I was not sure what he would do, but he stayed put and we swung around him.

I felt really good the entire way back, eventually separating myself from the other bikers by a couple of minutes. My goal was to finish under 3 hours, and the time clock read 2:59:47 when I passed under it. Goal achieved! Sherri came in at 3:11 (but remember, she had more miles) looking strong and invincible. My time put me at the 7th female out of 49 in the 50-mile category, and 21st out of 110 overall (men and women in 50-miler).

Here is Sherri at the finish line, with husband in the background:

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I chatted with my friends on the tandem bike, Shaun and his daughter, Kira, who had finished a few minutes ahead of me. I also warned them that they would be mentioned in my blog. They were a powerhouse!

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I found Todd busy hauling coolers in preparation of aid station supplementation, so I rode my bike to the house 2 blocks away where we had spent the night, quickly showered and packed up, then headed back to the finish line where a post-ride meal of lasagna, bread sticks, Caesar salad, and berry cobbler had my name on it.

Lastly, while heading back to St. George via Panguitch Lake (which was part of the 150-miler course), we passed some of the 20 or so gutsy bikers who were pressing up the steep hill toward the lake (a downhill reward would await them) and I captured this photo of the guy in the lead, at least as far as we were able to ascertain. Check out his kit! (A “kit” is the term used for a cycling outfit that includes shorts/bib, jersey, and sometimes socks, shoes, and helmet).  For other fun biking lingo, check out this link: https: greatist.com/fit/ultimate-guide-cycling-lingo

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I was again impressed with how well Red Rock Bicycles sponsors an event. Margaret and her team have the system down pat. Their next bicycle event for road biking is the Fall Tour of St. George on October 21st with 35, 75, and 100-mile options. Ride Southern Utah!

Logan Peak Trail Run 06/24/17

I have pounded pavement for over 20 years. I have run the same courses over and over again. I could nearly run the St. George Marathon blindfolded. Having said that, transitioning to trail running has been a welcome change. I accepted the challenge from dear friend Sandy when she suggested that we sign up for the Logan Peak Trail Run. She had run it two years prior, and I trust her judgment. I copied the following description from the ultrasignup.com website:

The Logan Peak Trail Run traverses the mountainous area around Logan Peak through Logan Dry Canyon and Providence Canyon (the main drainage’s just south of Logan Canyon). During this challenging event, runners travel a bit over 26 miles on a predominantly loop course with over 6600 ft elevation gain. Amazing views, lots of climbing, and varied terrain/habitat are just a few reasons to run this course. The elevation gain/loss makes this event roughly comparable to many 50 K races. The race is a spectacular opportunity to experience the outstanding trails around Cache Valley, and Logan is a great place to hang out and have fun.

Runners also have an option to complete only the Syncline Loop (avoiding the 1070 foot climb to and descent from Logan Peak), for which they will receive an official time but not an overall place.

The fact is, however, that this trail run constitutes 28 miles, not “a bit over 26 miles” as described. And if one missed the final turn to the home stretch, one can easily add an extra mile, which I did. Heck, 29 miles is so close to 30.1 miles (a true 50K distance) that I should have just kept going. I am an over-achiever like that at times.

I was anxious to get registered, thereby having something to look forward to (spending a chunk of the day with my running buddy, surrounded by spectacular scenery and cooler temperatures than we have become accustomed to in Southern Utah). As far as training for this, I chalked up a couple of 4-mile runs in the hills just east of my house; I really did not train on the terrain nor for the distance that would be required of me for this endurance “race.” Regardless, I was determined to give it my best shot.

About a week prior to the event, an email from Jim (the event director) announced that the option of ascending all the way to Logan Peak was out secondary to excessive snow and subsequently no access. I was somewhat relieved, feeling like the 22-mile option (“Syncline Loop”) was more within my grasp. However, due to grumblings of the registrants as well as a very warm week leading up to the event, Jim emailed an update just days before the event, stating that ascension to the peak was back in the mix. The one drawback, however, would be that we would not have any aid for a solid 20 miles; aid stations were not possible where they would have been otherwise because of the snow-covered trail. Having been suffering from a nagging hamstring injury, Sandy was reticent to attempt any distance at all, but at the last minute decided to pursue it with the encouragement and support of her husband, who was also participating.

Race day arrived, and with a 6 a.m. start time and packet pickup prior for the hour prior to that, I had my alarm set for something like 4:30. When I awoke at 3 a.m., nervous that I needed more time to prep, I set my alarm for 4:15 but did not fall back asleep. A very patient and supportive husband drove me and my hydration pack to the start line at Gibbons Park at the base of Dry Canyon in Logan. I immediately met up with Sandy and her husband (and also their daughter). We gathered on a grassy knoll with the 106 other runners for brief race instruction presented by Jim, and following his verbal countdown, we were off and heading for the hills.

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The trail quickly narrowed and we made way for those who opted to actually RUN it. As for me, I was determined to save something for the second half. I have not decreased the size of the following photos since I want the reader to have a greater appreciation of the scenery we encountered within the first mile….and every mile subsequent to that.

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The course description is as follows:

Start to Aid Station #1: The course proceeds about 0.5 mile from the start up to the Deer Fence/Bonneville Shoreline Trail then north another 0.5 mile to the Logan Dry Canyon trailhead. Runners then climb up Logan Dry Canyon for about 3.5 miles on single-track trail to Aid Station #1/4.

Aid Station #1 was not a figment of our imagination. It was stocked with Mountain Dew, Coke, water, Cheez-Its, gummy bears, M&M’s, and all the essentials for regeneration of energy. From this point, we were on our own (as far as water and food rations go) for the next 20 miles. We pressed (hiked) on, at this point turning south and appreciating that the trail was leveling out somewhat. Again, course description posted here, except there would be no Aid Station #2:

Aid Station #1 to Aid Station #2: From Aid Station #1/4, the course turns right onto the South Syncline Trail and continues over to Providence Canyon (a little more than 2 miles on single-track with spectacular views). As the course enters the Providence Canyon drainage, the South Syncline Trail merges with the Welches Flat jeep trail, which rolls up and down for about 4 miles until joining the main Providence Canyon jeep trail. The Providence Canyon jeep trail climbs for another 0.75 mile, and then you follow the main forest service road 1.5 mile north to Aid Station #2/3. There are a few side trails along here. Pay attention to the course markings.

We paid attention to far more than the course markings; we were really into opportunities for photos, selfies and otherwise.

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Sorry, but I will not spare the reader from large photos. I would make them even larger if I could — the scenery was THAT spectacular, and I would love for you to see the detail of each and every leaf and rock, both of which were in abundance.

We soon encountered our first ridge of snow, and seeing this up ahead of us made me panic just a tad. I was grateful for the single hiking pole I had opted to bring.

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The barrier of snow proved to be less of an obstacle than it had first appeared. We had been made privy to the fact that the course would be more like an obstacle course than just a trail on which to run, but when we did encounter flat, smooth sections of it, we ran.

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Before introduction to my next photo, I have to also introduce you to a trail running legend, a man whom I met along the course. I had heard of him and had seen his name in race results time and time again, but it was on this day that I was actually fortunate enough to meet him in person. He is James McGregor, and here I have captured a shot of him (far right, photo forefront) agilely making his way along the course. And yes, he is a distant cousin who is knowledgable about the rich history of our McGregor heritage.

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At this point along the course, runners were chatting and exchanging details about their experiences, whether on other trails or on this one in years past. We formed friendships quickly. There was ample opportunity to chat about the common bond we all shared; trail running.

With the need to restock our water supplies ahead, we looked forward to the spring spoken of in this course description as offered by Jim:

Station #2/3.
As you are above Providence Canyon on the jeep road, there will be a water source coming from a pipe into a trough. This water is really cold and good and as far as I know safe. I’ve drank from it numerous times and never had an issue.

Though the runners had thinned out by this point, a half dozen or more of us found ourselves at the spring all at the same time, which can be seen in this photo to the left. And it was very true that the water was REALLY COLD AND GOOD, and hopefully “SAFE.” As far as I know, no runners had any “issues” secondary to drinking it. I filled my hydration bladder to the brim.

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Sandy and I lingered a little longer at the spring than the others, and found ourselves likely bringing up the rear for the next many miles. But who cares? We sure didn’t. We stopped to document the beauty every chance we got.

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In the following photo, you can see the orange trail marker tied to the tree. Obviously, the trail was obscure, so it was important to pay attention to these markers in order not to get lost.

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Sandy and I knew the steepest part of the course was still ahead. We held a steady pace and used our poles to assist us through mud, snow, rocks, and under and over trees. Remember, there was no Aid Station #2:

Aid Station #2 to Logan Peak and back to Aid Station #3: It is a 900 foot climb in about 2.5 miles on jeep trail from Aid Station #2/3 up to Logan Peak. In most years, at least part of this is on packed snow. Along the way you can look down and see Providence Lake and a huge bowl called the Rodeo Grounds. The course returns the same way from the peak. Runners who wish to avoid the trek to Logan Peak (the Syncline Loop Option) can skip this section and proceed to the next section. (Finishers who take the Syncline Loop Option receive an official time, but not an overall place; note also that the distance for the Syncline Loop Option is NOT an ultramarathon distance.)

There was no question whether or not we would make the trek to Logan Peak. It did not look that daunting. Why would we come this far only to cut it short? That would be crazy.

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On the way up to the peak, Sandy’s husband was coming down, which meant he was at least a full hour ahead of us on the course. We took advantage of the meeting with a few more photos.

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Once at the top, a.k.a. Logan Peak, we touched the phone tower as we had been instructed to do. Apparently, in years prior, there has actually been someone assigned to be there to witness said contact, for without it, all the effort was futile and would not “count.” Here I am with new friend, Celeste, touching the tower (and feeling really good about it, obviously). I learned later that some runners not only touched the tower, they wrapped their arms around it and KISSED it. 🙂

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Realizing I had cell phone service at the top (underneath a cell phone tower, no less), I made a FaceTime phone call to my husband, sharing the view with him from atop 9700 feet while he was sitting in the car somewhere down around 4500 feet.

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Sandy and I were followed up to the top by another runner, and we imposed upon him to capture our achievement in a couple of photos.

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Here is Sandy descending from Logan Peak, running as if she did not have a pained hamstring and 14 miles under her belt already.

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Having passed the halfway point, we were looking forward to some more amazing scenery and downhill portions. It’s true what Jim said, though, about the most varied section of the race (and remember there was no Aid Station #3):

Aid Station #3 to Aid Station #4: This is the most varied section of the race, with pine forest, fir forest, aspen groves, wildflower meadows, sage slopes, short snow fields, mountain springs, and spectacular views into Logan Canyon and the Naomi high country. Leaving Aid Station #2/3, runners turn left and take the main forest service road north for about 1 mile, before turning left onto a spur road. About 0.4 mile down this spur road, the course makes a left turn onto single-track trail. This trail rolls for a little less than 2 miles until encountering a T junction at the bottom of a descent through fir trees. Make a left at this T (the trail to the right goes to a spring). Continue along this single-track for another 1.5 miles, eventually climbing gently to a sage/wildflower covered ridge. From this ridge, runners descend 1.25 miles back into Logan Dry Canyon. Along the way, there is a high mountain spring. When the trail comes to the canyon bottom, it makes a sharp right turn and then descends gently about 0.25 miles to Aid Station #1/4.

There are two water sources along here. The first is a side trail off of a switchback. It’s about 100 yards down this side trail and is a spring coming out of the rock. I have also drank from this water and not had any problems. The other water source is about half a mile from Aid Station #4. It comes from a pipe into a trough and is really cold and good. I highly recommend filling your pack/bottles here as there may be limited water at the aid station.

The photo below gives the reader an idea of the obstacle courses along the trail. There were many times that we questioned the course, but managed to always find the orange markers tied to trees.

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Suffer through these photos, if you must. I insist.

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And here is one section where we had zero trail but trusted the footprints of the runners in front of us. I was not tempted to stray from the course — not even to take a look to see how far the drop-off was. Where is an inner-tube when you need one?

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The view of Logan and nearly the entire Cache Valley was spectacular.

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We saw no other runners from when we started the North Syncline Trail until Aid Station #4, where we informed the volunteers there that we knew of at least one other runner behind us. It turned out there were four. We had run out of water about a mile before finding the next spring, where we gratefully filled our hydration bladders. It was just a quarter mile from the spring to Aid Station #4 (which was also Aid Station #1 coming up).

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Once we reached Aid Station #4 and grabbed a handful of melting M&M’s, we headed back down the course on the same trail we had come up many hours earlier that day. Sandy’s watch was keeping track of our distance (as was mine, unbeknownst to me — but it about fell off my wrist with the buzzing announcement that I had just set an all-time exercise record… 2022 calories burned, 457 minutes of exercise, not quite 63,000 steps, and a total of 31.49 total miles for the day).

Aid Station #4 to the Finish: This last section (4.5 miles of mostly single-track) is simply the reverse of the first section of the race. Enjoy the downhill and the great views down Logan Dry Canyon into the Cache Valley!

Here you can see the elevation chart. I am in the process of losing my two big toenails, so if that tells you how that downhill section felt to my feet….

I sent Sandy on her way ahead of me for the last 3 miles since she felt good and my legs felt like rubber. One thing I did not want to risk was spraining an ankle (or worse) on a trail where the only way out is walking. I jogged solo slowly and, in my nearly delirious state in the 80-degree heat, missed the last turn to the finish line. I admit that I shed a tear or two during that last extra mile.

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Though I was nearly last out of 109 finishers, taking 9 hours 25 minutes to run 29 miles, I was THRILLED to have finished such a difficult run! And I RAN to the finish line where my patient, supportive husband and friend Sandy were waiting for me with open arms. A cold Diet Coke never tasted so good!

 

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Me and cousin James at the finish line. He is 74 years young and, while this was his 75th or so ultramarathon, it was my first at age 55. I hope longevity is in our genes!

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At breakfast the following morning, this was my view of Logan Peak from where I sat at a table in Logan. Yep. Been there, done that. HAPPY TRAILS!

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Double Nickles 06/07/2017

Here it is nearly July, and I am just now getting around to telling you about the anniversary of my birthday earlier this month. Time just marches on, sparing no one. It’s true that time is a he, as in Father Time, just like nature is a she, as in Mother Nature. Father Time has a way of stealing the hours from a day to the point where a week seems to be comprised of 5 days rather than 7. The older I get, the more quickly time seems to pass. I cram as much as I can into the time I am allotted, and the older I get and the more I accomplish, the more I realize how much there is yet to do — and how very precious time is; it is definitely a gift, and we should not be wasting any of it.

My birthday fell on a Wednesday this year, and I had purposely left the day wide open to do some of my favorite things. I started off with a long bike ride, intending to bike 55 miles (one for each year) and had a very good start.

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However, the temperature rose very quickly and, after a couple of hours and about 35 miles, I realized that I could be content with cutting the distance short (riding as far as how old I feel, rather than how old I actually am).  With other things that I wanted to accomplish, I made the decision to settle for 40 miles and move on to the next project.

I parked my bike and loaded up my cleaning bucket, then drove across town to my mom’s house. There on her front door was this poster:

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My mom is my #1 fan, obviously. She turns 85 later this year but does not use that as an excuse for simply a verbal “happy birthday, daughter!” Rather, she still spends hours being creative and productive. After cleaning her four toilets as well as performing various other household chores, I accepted some birthday cash and a kiss, then drove back home to swap out my car for the truck.

My next destination was the Lifetime store on St. George Boulevard, where I quickly picked out a bright orange kayak (I had done a little research on these) and used my birthday money to purchase it. Off to the pool I went, convincing Todd and others to join me for a cool time. That kayak fit perfectly on the water, and soon three of my grandkids were navigating it around the pool effectively and efficiently.

 

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Using barely enough time to shower and clean up, I whisked my best boy off to dinner with me at my favorite restaurant, Cappeletti’s on Tabernacle Street.

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Having my birthday fall on a Wednesday meant that I got to party with more than just family members; I attended my weekly Adult Beginning Hip Hop class at The Vault and continued the celebration with much dancing and exuberance. Having over a dozen people dancing in a circle around you while chanting a birthday wish trumps being sung to prior to blowing out candles on a cake every time!

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Returning home to this on the counter was nearly more than I could take in; a dozen beautiful roses from my husband.

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Extending the festivities out 10 days post-birthday with husband, sons, and grandkids, hosted by daughter-in-law, was the “icing on the cake” (so to speak). Other than my youngest grandson, age 2, insisting on blowing out his own candle — and dousing it by putting his mouth over the lit flame — the evening was perfect.

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Birthdays are a welcome event for me, and with age comes wisdom (or so they say). I know for certain that with each passing year and more candles to count, I have more blessings to count as well.

 

Life and Its Changes

Life—it just has its ups and downs and it changes with wind and oh,  it’s ever so busy these days with all of our obligations.  With that change, comes adjustments and a reorganization of life.

I started a cooking blog recently and it is taking more of my time than I realized.  With all of my other obligations, I’ve had to make some of those changes in life, so I decided with a heavy heart to put all of my energy into the cooking blog.  My friend, Tia, will carry on doing this blog and keep doing a fabulous job.  She is top notch at everything she does and this blog will be no exception.❤️

Thank you to all of you readers. We have quite a following for only being live a short time–about 2,000!!  So exciting!!!  As a parting post, I would like to share one of my favorites from my itsapegslife.com blog Raspberry Chipotle Salmon with Zoodles. Just click on the link and you’ll have it. 🙂

I hope you like it!! Run happy, dear friends! Hugs to you all!

Pal Peg


 

HELPFUL HINTS for runners

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to stop by here and read. I know the last thing we need is to waste time on the internet, but I try to be selective with my topics. I hope that today’s will benefit you in some way, especially with the upcoming summer racing season.

I will cut right to the chase, so to speak, and share with you some hints/tips that I have acquired and used over my years of running (in no particular order):

SPONGE: If I am going to be running in the heat, I sometimes cut a new sponge to fit inside a pocket or even in my hat, then every few miles I dunk it in water and wipe my face and arms with it. Wring it out on top of your head and store it again until the next opportunity to wipe down. It’s very refreshing and helps wash the salt off!

ICE: If you’re fortunate to be offered ice during a race, don’t pass it up! Put it in your shorts, your bra, your mouth, or your hat! I have filled my hat with ice during the last few miles of a few marathons, and it kept me cool and alert.

SHADE: Even if it means crossing the road to get to it, seek the shade! It can be a few degrees cooler and can make a huge difference. The road will be cooler for your feet, also.

SLEEVES/NECKERCHIEF:  I just learned that some of the name brand apparel companies are making arm sleeves with fabric that protects from UV rays. Wetting the sleeves with water before and during a run keeps you even more cool. The sleeves extend from the wrists up just past the elbows.  I recently ordered some made by Pearl Izumi on Amazon (all white) for $16. I have also worn a cold, wet rag around my neck but this can be tricky at times.

CHAFING: There are few things more miserable than chafing from a rigid sports bra! I have heard horror stories about chafing in other body parts, too. I have to tape up (I use KT brand tape) prior to my long runs, applying it to areas that are susceptible to chafing. Some runners use Aquaphor, Body Glide, vaseline, or another anti-chafing solution. I suppose protecting the nipples is a good idea for the guys, too. I know of Band-Aids made just for this, or KT should work, too. Don’t wear anything that hasn’t already been put to the test before a race (see APPAREL).

APPAREL: Never wear something new during a race (especially marathon) without trying it out first, whether it’s an article of clothing, shoes, socks, earbuds, or sunglasses. Even if it’s something that’s been in your closet for a long time, give it a whirl before going the distance. I once wore a skort that was too big for me (I had forgotten that detail) and I had to hold it up for the first 13 miles (alternating hands) until I found someone with a safety pin to cinch it in. And remember that darling tank top you just had to wear? The one with the seams under the arms? You will be reminded of those seams with every swing of the arms starting about mile 4 (see CHAFING). For your choice of apparel, I highly recommend light-colored wicking fabrics if warm temperatures are forecast (dark colors absorb the heat, while light ones reflect it). Extra credit if your shoes or shoelaces match something else you’re wearing.

LISTS: I am a fan of lists. I makes lists of lists to make. For real, before a race, start making a list a couple days beforehand of the items you will need. As something comes to mind, write it down. Check the weather report and decide if a light jacket or blanket will be useful while waiting at the starting line. What about a big garbage bag? I ran one marathon in a black garbage bag due to unrelenting rain. I was grateful for the protection. However, I ripped it off after 8 miles because I was sweaty and wet anyway. Will you need sunglasses? What direction will you be running — into the sun or not? On the night before the race, set all of your items out where you will have quick access to them on race morning. This takes some of the stress out of race day!

MUSIC: I generally run with music played on an iPod. In fact, I would say that I do 95% of the time. However, some race events do not allow earbuds to be worn, so be aware. My music is hand-picked and categorized by pace. I have a 10K pace list of songs selected based on a faster pace. I run to the rhythm of each song, and I know that if I can get to the finish line before 12 songs at 4 minutes each have played, I will have a decent 48-minute 10K time. That is just an example, because each song is not exactly 4 minutes (my iPod tallies the total time of that folder and I can customize as necessary).

Whatever the distance, whatever the pace, and whatever the reason, find joy in the journey! Happy trails!

 

 

IronMan 70.3 St. George 05/06/17

With Boston in my rearview mirror, I have recently been able to focus on the next big goal, which was the biking leg of the IronMan 70.3. I had tucked my bike away for the winter many months ago, then dusted it off recently to “train” for this goal, which was to bike 56 miles on a tough, hilly course (elevation gain over 3500 feet) as part of a relay team. I received invitation from long-time friend Cheri many months back, asking if I would be interested in participating on her team and represent the biking portion. I consented quickly. Due to Boston being my main focus for the first four months of this year, I was especially anxious about knocking out so many miles on a bike in a reasonable time. This was the IRONMAN after all!

Cheri had a friend of a friend who consented to take the swimming leg, so we were set. However, said swimmer backed out early on, so we were left with the task of finding a replacement — which we did. A dear friend of mine who has an extensive past history of swimming agreed to team up with us and start training. Alas, due to other constraints, she, too, had to bow out just a few weeks prior to judgment day. Fortunately, a mutual friend of both me and Cheri committed to participate with us. Her name is Anji, and she has a plethora of triathlon experience; we felt blessed to have her.

After reviewing the biking portion of the course in my mind and doing a little math, I sent Cheri a text message in late March, suggesting that I hoped to bike the 56 miles in 3 hours 45 minutes.

Fast biking has been a daunting thing for this girl, as I know many who have taken spills and broken bones. My bike is just an average, run-of-the-mill Trek bicycle which I purchased about five years ago at Al’s Sporting Goods in Logan, Utah. It gets me around in fine fashion, and I have never had justification to “upgrade” components and such. I know of some who have $10K invested in a bicycle! But as they say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and, therefore, I am content with the “as is” status. One of my favorite friends on earth, Amber, is an avid biker and lives in Northern Utah, where winters are severe which make bike riding from October through March nearly impossible. Amber knows my leave-the-light-on policy with her, so on occasion she loads up her mountain and road bikes, then heads down south to visit us in Southern Utah. On one of these recent visits, she agreed to give the IronMan course a trial run with me. We set out on a Friday morning in cool temperatures but dealt with a strong wind which did not play in our favor. I managed a 52-mile ride that day, sending Amber on ahead of me through the climb in Snow Canyon to fetch her car at my house about 10 miles away. After a long 4-1/2 hour ride for me, she picked me up at a bike shop and drove me home. My hopes for a 3:45 time were dashed and I feared I would be a letdown to my teammates. But in hindsight, I am grateful we had to combat the wind that day because it proved good training for the wind at IronMan. It was the heat that many were unprepared for.

The day before the event, I scheduled a full-body massage with massage therapist Penny Cole, my first time under her skilled hands.

Totally relaxed, I went directly to the IronMan Village where I met up with my two other team members for check-in and packet pickup.

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We had a few questions to which we sought answers, but it seemed that as one was answered, another one cropped up. A group text message exchange went on throughout the day. Taking my packet and instructions, I then I loaded up my bike in my truck and drove to Sand Hollow for bike check-in. At that time, there were only several dozen bikes being racked, nothing in comparison to what it would be like the next morning. I cannot even compute the value of all of these bikes. The following two photos were taken race morning, courtesy of friend Tiffany (race participants were not allowed to have iPods or cameras as they were deemed a distraction, so I borrowed photos from others who were volunteers).

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I sent my teammates a photo pointing to our assigned spot, #4025, as if that would help.

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I always look for opportunities to make new friends, and in the course of bike check-in, I did just that. Meet “Cowboy,” who, I am told, is in charge of the IronMan as far as rules and regulations go. I will have to find out his real name, but he has vast knowledge about this event and was a great resource for details. Randomly, another athlete who was checking in his bike was wearing this year’s Boston Marathon shirt, and when told he could not take his dog into the caged area with his bike, I offered to take the leash and wait with his dog while he got his gear set up. We chatted briefly about the recent marathon, and I again realized what a small world it really is. It’s amazing to me how one item of clothing can trigger a conversation and unite two otherwise complete strangers.

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That night, I had the opportunity of attending a Brian Regan show at Tuacahn. I chose for my date (since Todd could not attend secondary to supporting his son’s graduation in Logan) the beautiful Joann, whom I met at the Boston Marathon but who is a local St. George girl and avid runner. Two thumbs up for Brian! Nonstop laughter was the order for the evening. It definitely served as a pleasant distraction so that my mind was not constantly on IronMan and worrying how it would unfold. Yes, I am a worrier.

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It was after 11:00 p.m. Friday night when I set my alarm for 4:20 a.m. and crawled between the sheets of my bed. Surprisingly, sleep came fairly easily and I fetched about 4.5 totals hours that night, which is double what I get most nights before an event such as this.

Arising at 4:20 a.m. Saturday morning, I quickly dressed in my biking garb, made a peanut butter and honey sandwich for breakfast, drank a protein shake, and headed to Town Square to catch a bus to Sand Hollow. It seemed wrong to be heading the opposite direction (6 miles to Town Square from my house heading west, with Sand Hollow about 7 miles from my house to the east), but riding the bus up was my only option. Unloading from the bus in the dark, I walked to the caged bike area and quickly spotted my dear friend, Tiffany, who volunteers at IronMan each and every year. She had a big black marker in hand, headlight on her head, and was calling out to athletes with offerings of body markings (writing their race number on their arms). If you could bottle the energy of a positive person, I would choose Tiffany; I am pretty sure that what I lacked in sleep was made up for with her enthusiasm as we exchanged 2 minutes’ worth of words. I love her so much. Her other task that morning would be stripping swimmers of their wetsuits as they climbed out of the water, and she has some great stories about that.

I quickly found Anji, and we documented our union in a couple of photos, seen here.

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Following her assistance with tire inflation, as well as reviewing team protocol, Anji left with the last wave of swimmers to embark into the cold water of Sand Hollow. Our assigned wave start time with the swim was 7:37 a.m. Runners have a 1:10 time limit or they DNF (did not finish), meaning they cannot move on to the next event. Anji claimed that she would need that entire time to complete her swim, though I was somewhat skeptical. Regardless, I got comfy in the staging area for the relay teams. We were instructed that we had to wait there for our swimmer (as opposed to wandering aimlessly around the racked bikes). It seemed like mere minutes had passed when I saw Anji running toward me in her full wetsuit, fussing with the zipper in the back. I quickly grabbed the timing chip that was secured via Velcro to her left ankle, shifted it to my left ankle, then ran (in my cleats) to my bike, hoisted it off the rack, and ran/walked it to the exit. We could not mount our bikes before a specific line on the ground. Once across that line, we had a green light (figuratively speaking) to hop on and pedal.

The wind had picked up considerably by this time. The relay teams were the last ones on the course, so it was as if I had some catching up to do. I found a comfortable rhythm just in time for the first big hill, at which point I shifted gears and powered up and over. Bikers pressed on to Hurricane, where at mile 12 we had our first Aid Station. Other than being somewhat rattled by witnessing a biker being strapped on a stretcher by ambulance personnel, I felt really good and opted to blast past the aid station, since I had sufficient water in my bottles and adequate bladder capacity to store the water I was ingesting.

We took a hard left and headed west on State Street in Hurricane, using the right lane of the eastbound traffic. Bikers were starting to spread out, and for every two bikers I passed, it seemed one passed me by. “On your left” was called out often. I felt great and looked forward to seeing my friend, Jason, at about mile 26; he was stationed there with his job (Washington County Sheriff’s Department). He is a great supporter, and his big smile and thumb up out the window of his driver’s seat gave me added energy.

It was fun to scan the crowds of spectators for familiar faces, many to whom I called out. I wish I could express adequately that spectators are a huge factor in any sports event, for without them we would have no reason to perform.

The wind behaved reasonably from our east-to-west angle of travel, but as soon as the course headed back east, the momentum became sluggish and progression came less effortlessly. With the Snow Canyon section looming just ahead, I knew I would have to put on my game face. If I had been wearing a baseball hat, I would have turned it around backwards. I stopped at the base of the hill at the last Aid Station and, with the assistance of brothers who were there volunteering and representing a local bike shop, I had fresh water in my bottle after emptying my bladder in the port-a-potty. The tailwind that followed us up the canyon was definitely heavenly. I imagined angels lining the sides of the road, cheering us on and offering words of encouragement. It reminded me so much of this mortal life as we plow through challenges in front of us, slowing us down but also making us stronger in the process. I was assured of the presence of angels when a particular butterfly fluttered around me for the two steepest miles of the five-mile climb. I actually called out to the butterfly, saying, “Granny! Thanks for coming. I knew you were going to be here with me — now help give me strength to get up this hill!” Many bikers had given in to the hill and were walking their bikes. In my mind, I had bargained that once I got to the top of the hill where it intersects with SR18, I could then relax and float downhill the last 11 miles to T2 where Cheri would be patiently waiting for me.

Boy, was I wrong.

The sense of accomplishment of rising to the hill’s top was short-lived, as immediately upon turning south, we were “hit” (it felt like, literally) with a fierce headwind. Where normally I would be able to coast downhill, I had to continue to pedal to keep forward motion. I have never had to grip my bike handlebars in such a manner before. “White knuckles” has an entirely new meaning. I passed a few bikers along the descent who had stopped along the side of the road, one of them even vomiting. The temperature had risen to mid 80’s, and combined with the wind, it was proving too much for some. I again realized how blessed I was to still be upright and closing in on my goal. However, those last 11 miles were the hardest miles on my bike in my life. I had run out of water but knew I had to hang on until T2. My watch revealed that I could possibly meet my goal of 3:45, and I was anxious to send Cheri on her way before the heat climbed any further.

I unmounted my bike in the designated section and then walked it into T2 and toward the relay racks, where I mounted it at #4025, then found Cheri sitting with other relay runners on a patch of grass under a shade tree. Apparently, the timing system had messed up and had indicated that I had completed my biking leg a full hour before I actually did, sending her into a panic and scrambling to get to T2 via her husband. I am sure that took a lot out of her, that added to the fact that her running shoes had been stolen out of her garage (among other things) in the days leading up to this event. She did not act rattled at all, however, as I wrapped the timing chip around her left ankle and sent her off on her 13.1 mile run in the heat and wind.

I walked my bike to my truck, loaded it up, then returned to the Athletes’ Village for some fruit and potato chips chased down by an ice cold cola drink.

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I had opportunity to chat with friend and ultra fast runner, Amber, in the food tent while sitting on the cool grass. Her relay team had nailed each leg, even with biker Steve taking a tumble on his bike. I checked my watch and then headed to the finish line for the next half hour where I waited for Cheri to run in. By that time, Anji had gone home and showered, then returned for the finale. I had a little time to call my mom, as promised, with an update on my status. Yes, she is a worrier, too. 🙂

Not long after finding a good spectating spot near the finish line, our runner girl Cheri came in with long strides and a smile on her face.

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We did it! We finished the IronMan 70.3 relay! Our summary breaks down like this:

SWIM (1.2 miles) = 50:11   BIKE (56 miles) = 3:46:17    RUN (13.1 miles) = 2:01:15

Below are the bike and run elevation charts, respectively.

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Our total team time, counting T1 and T2 (transitions), was 6:43:37.

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After our team dispersed, I connected with some of my favorite people in the world, Nicole and her mom, Sydney. They are like family to me. I admit that I missed having Todd with me to assure me and put my worries to rest, but I know he was where he belonged at son’s graduation at Utah State.

Participating in an IronMan event has been something I have always aspired to do. I dream that one day I could actually compete in one solo, but until then, I boast that my teammates were top-notch and nothing will alter the positive experience and the memories made on May 6, 2017. Will there be a sequel? Just wait and see…..