|About 5 miles to the finish.|
Oh, how quickly a race can change when you have 26 miles to go. Twenty-six uphill, rugged, hot, high elevation, rocky, sandy, breathtaking and beautiful miles to go.
And just like that my story changed.
My new story was "WHAT THE %$*&!!! This is the hardest...((little whimpers)) .. arhgg.. ((bigger whimpers)).. I'm soo thirsty. I'm seriously SO thirsty. I'm the most thirsty I've EVER been in my entire life. How much farther to the next aid station? Seriously? Why are we not there yet??"
The Bryce Canyon 50 miler started bright and early at 4:30 AM. A bunch of groggy runners loaded onto comfy shuttles that would take us to the start.
The starting line was in the middle of a Dixie National Forest. The sun was coming up and the aspens were glowing and shimmering. It was very scenic and everyone was filled with excitement (and nervousness).
The first couple of miles ran singletrack next to ledges and offered views of pink ledges and the Grand Staircase.
|Sunrise over the pinks|
The trail quickly started to climb and as I got higher and higher, the ground seemed to just disappear from all around me. I was looking out over pine forests and beautiful pink cliffs.
|One of my favorite photo op spots along the course. Gorgeous!|
|Kanab in da houzzz!|
I'm going to now fast forward a bit -- made it to the Blubber Aid Station where I saw a bunch of familiar faces. One of the reasons I love ultra running is the community! The runners are THE BEST. And because the sport is still relatively small, you end up bumping into quite a bit of the same crazy people at the races. Grabbed some water, sunscreen, glide.. and shoved onward. Before leaving, my friend Jackie said "this section I've been told is pretty hard." Ut.Oh.
So now, enjoy some nice photos. My mom told me if ya got nothing nice to say, don't say it :) The next 22 miles really sucked. But, sprinkle in this gorgeous scenery and you know what, looking back on it all it was pretty awesome, actually. And now that I've done it, I feel pretty bad ass.
Fast forward a few hours. Where was I?
Nine miles to the finish. NINE MORE MILES! I got this! Nine miles is like... nuthin'. Right? Wrong.
Thankfully, the last nine miles might be the most beautiful nine miles I've ever been lucky enough to run. The course winded along the Thunder Mountain Trail, a trail that is famous for mountain biking and hiking. IT. WAS. GORGEOUS! GAH!! So brutally breath-taking. So freakin' hard. So steep. Just nine more miles.
An hour later (and more than 2 miles..) I saw another person walking towards me. It was a spectator who was looking for their family member on the trail. "how much farther???" I asked. "About 2 miles?" OMG. No!!
Again, I tried to muster up an remaining energy to rally to the finish. I pushed on. I saw another person up ahead. "How much farther??? do you know??" I kid you not...
"About 2 miles maybe? Sorry!"
At this point I was on the brink of tears. I really really wanted to be done. Up ahead I saw a gravel road and a sign. "To Finish: 1 mile!"
It's official this time! ONE MILE! I started to jog. Up ahead I saw two runners who had giant smiles and were really bookin' it. It was my friends Catherine and Clair! Super! Just what I needed. The three of us were about to put a period on this crazy tough day.
|friends on the trail - Clair and Catherine|
|we are so sooo almost there!|
|quarter mile to go! still smiling :)|