Saturday, July 23, 2016

I...Am...A...WILDERMAN!




The Wilderman Triathlon (off-road Full/Iron-Distance, that is 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run) first popped onto my radar in early 2014 when I was looking for long, tough races to do. After 30 years of racing, my knees don't work as well as they used to, and I have a harder time running ultras and now do more triathlons. I was immediately intrigued, but at the time my mountain bike was a 1998 model GT Timberline that I rarely rode, and I wasn't sure I was ready for it. I planned to do it in 2015, but the date was moved from August to July and it fell on the same weekend as our Cacapon 12 Hour Challenge Trail Run ( http://ultrasignup.com/register.aspx?did=36991 ) that we put on here in West Virginia. I resolved to make 2016 the year, and contacted the RD far in advance to confirm the date, then scheduled our race for the week before. I had done two traditional 'Ironman' races in the last four years, Beach2Battleship and Michigan Titanium, and I got a nice new Trek Top Fuel mountain bike two months ago, specifically with this race in mind. My training was going well all winter and spring, but I was still nervous and even though the plane tickets and hotels were booked well in advance, I didn't actually sign up for the race until two weeks before. The timing wasn't optimal, only three weeks after a hard marathon at Bay Of Fundy, but no excuses, no regrets, it was go time!

We flew into Fargo on a beautiful breezy Tuesday afternoon. We quickly learned that it's nearly ALWAYS windy there. Upon exploring the town, we realized that Fargo is a really cool place with a lot of neat shops, restaurants, breweries, parks, and things to do. We went up to the Visitor's Center and got this year's Christmas Card photos taken care of!



We realized we were only minutes away from Moorhead, MN (a state we'd never visited) so drove over there for some refreshments at Junkyard Brewing company. It seemed like a good time to start carbo-loading for the race! As of now, this does NOT qualify for us to check Minnesota off on our 50-State run/ride/race list, but that may change in the future!


We had dinner back in Fargo at The Boiler Room that night. Went for a short run Wednesday morning that crossed the Red River of the North (into Minnesota again), spent some time at the Red River Zoo, then picked up my bike at Great Northern Bicycle Company (it had been shipped out for the race).




We weren't sure if it would work, but somehow managed to fit the intact bike, five people and four suitcases into a Nissan Quest minivan and headed out that evening for our next destination...Langdon, North Dakota, about three hours north. Once we arrived there, we wished that maybe we'd stayed an extra day in Fargo...

The Cobblestone Inn and Suites provided nice accommodations in Langdon. The problem was...there wasn't much to do there and we still had three days until the race. When Trip Advisor tells you the top things to do are the Eagles Club and bowling...and the best place in town to eat is Dairy Queen...you're not exactly in a tourist Mecca, and even for our usual off-the-grid preferences, this was a bit much. What to do?! Luckily, with a little research, Mary Jane found an awesome ziplining place 45 minutes away in Manitoba, Canada and we made reservations there for the next day! While we were there, they recommended a dinosaur museum in Morden which was really neat.



Thursday night after our day of Canadian adventures, I hung out at the hotel 'bar' drinking a few beers and watching the Tour de France, hoping I might meet a couple of my fellow WilderPeople, but I didn't. Friday morning though, we did bump into Brendan out in the parking lot and we talked a bit about the race, tire pressure and the benefits of putting aero bars on our mountain bikes. I pegged him as the man to beat, and that turned out to be correct! That afternoon we drove over to Walhalla to scout out the course a bit. We wound up at a trailhead where I would exit the gorge on my bike twice the next day...and the girls found a trail that was made for them!


The race briefing and check-in was pretty low-key. No numbers, no bibs. No bike or helmet stickers. No USAT card verification. No timing chip. No body marking! Just a swim cap, a T-shirt and sign the waiver! The RDs went over the next day's plan. We learned that 3-4 miles of trail would be removed from each loop of the bike course because they were unrideable due to all the recent rain. Furthermore, the river was at a high level, so ropes, rafts, and life jackets would be present at tomorrow's three scheduled river crossings! Good times coming! We ate some pasta and salad and retired back to Langdon, anxious to get the race underway.

Race morning dawned cool and clear. It hadn't rained for 36 hours or so, giving me some hope that the course would dry out a bit. We reported to Mount Carmel Dam/Campground. Transition was again very low-key...no bike racks, no mount line. I lay my bike on the ground with my gear, put on my wetsuit and headed down to the water. The race started promptly at 7:00 am and we were off. Due to the small number of competitors, it soon began to feel like a solo swim. It was a straight shot to the turnaround buoy, 0.6 miles away...the only problem was the rising sun was right behind the buoy, so sighting was difficult. Whether it was this, GPS inaccuracy, or a long course, I finished with a 2.63 mile swim in 1:17:41...a couple minutes slower than hoped but not bad. I learned I was third out of the water, 4 minutes behind Brendan and just trailing the lone relay team in the full distance race.


Transition went smoothly and I was off on the bike. My biggest fear coming into the race was getting lost on the bike course, but it was extremely well-marked. My oldest daughter Alexandra captured one of my favorite-ever photos of me from the minivan as they cheered me on early in the bike ride. That is a huge field of Canola behind me. Mountain bike meets Tri bike.


I really enjoyed the first loop of the bike course. It was a nice mix of 25 miles trail, 10-12 miles of pavement, and the rest dirt and gravel roads. I passed a couple of the half-distance people early in the bike ride before hitting the first river crossing. It was intense! The water was borderline torrent, chest-deep, with a rope stretched taut across. I carried my bike in my right hand and held the rope in my left, and it was not easy! I wish I could share the experience, but there were no photographers there, and I dared not try to pull out my phone to document it, lest I lose phone and bike both downstream! Rest assured, this experience will be forever etched in my memory as one of the all-time highlights of my racing career. I passed Scott, the relay rider, shortly after the river crossing, then caught a bunch of half athletes in the later miles of this loop, which was a nice confidence booster. I rolled into the mid-bike aid station to see my family there and they reported that I was roughly 10 minutes back of first place.


This news emboldened me to start riding more aggressively in hopes of catching the leader. A few miles later, I was descending a tough technical stretch that I took really easy the first time through. I decided to try to hammer through it this loop to make up some time...mistake! My front wheel went under a big rock, created a pivot point and next thing I knew I was flying over the handlebars Superman-style, tumbling to the ground and then my bike crashed down on top of me! I was in a good bit of pain, and it took a couple minutes to compose myself, say a few choice words, and verify that my bike and myself were still functional. My left aero bar was knocked loose and my multi-tool had somehow disintegrated into a bunch of pieces inside my bag, so I had to ride about 20 miles with the aero spinning and bouncing around until I got to an aid station where someone helped me get it locked down again. My right arm and hip bore the brunt of the crash, and I still bear noticeable bruises and abrasions a week later, but it could have been much worse. I could have easily broken my collarbone, arm, or bike and been done for the day. It took a few miles to really get rolling again, but I had a solid second loop. There were several spots where I had to unclip and walk the bike through massive mud puddles or past groups of ATVs, but I made all the ascents in the saddle. The rain really got going the second half of this loop, making the roads muddy and slow. I rolled into T2 in good spirits, covered in mud and a little blood.





Mary Jane and the girls were there and they had pizza and chocolate chip cookies which hit the spot! The aid stations were pretty sparse, mainly just water and Heed. I had carried and eaten three peanut butter sandwiches, several handfuls of trail mix, and a few electrolyte capsules on the bike so it was nice to get some real food on board after 10 hours of effort. I was very excited to see that Brendan, the leader, was still in transition as well. Even though I don't run very much anymore, it's still my strongest discipline and as I headed out just a few minutes behind him, I harbored some hope that I could catch him and we could work together into the night...it had been a pretty lonely day. After an initial dirt road mile, I learned that this 'run' was going to be a doozy. The bike was very fun, and while challenging, had actually been slightly easier than I expected and not quite as hard as some other things I've biked (Garrett County Gran Fondo Diabolical Double and ABRA Hilly Billy). Two miles of creek running followed by several miles of climbing/descending and bushwhacking on overgrown, barely identifiable trails were producing 15 to 17 minute miles. My trekking poles were invaluable for staying upright and knocking bushes and branches out of my way! I saw my family again around mile 10. As always, it was a big lift to see their smiling, cheering faces! They reported that Brendan had extended his lead to 20+ minutes...apparently the run was his best event too! I resigned myself that he wouldn't be caught and made a goal of finishing under 18 hours. A dirt road section from miles 10-14 produced five miles at 9:40ish pace, so that seemed plausible...until I hit the next creek section! This one was over four miles of creek bed running in water that was sometimes waist deep and had a lot of deadfall that had to crawled under/over/through/around. It was still raining, and there was a beautiful double rainbow that inspired me through the gorge here as the sun set. I wanted to stop for pictures many times all day long, but felt like I should keep moving...not to mention the fear of losing my phone since the course was so difficult. A couple people did get some photos though, so this can give you some idea of what the course was like...

Photo credit: AJ Focht/Craig Brace


I was hoping to get out of the creek before dark, but didn't make it. These miles were in the 16-19 minute range. At one point my feet were hurting from all the shale in my shoes, so I stopped and sat down, took off my shoes and shook out a very small amount of rocks and shale. Odd, I thought, it feels like there's a lot more than that in there? Then I removed my socks and a huge volume of silt and shale poured out of them! One got away from me and started floating downstream but I caught it. Had to repeat this entire operation again later. Well after dark, my Garmin showed I'd been in the creek for over 4 miles with no end in sight, and I became increasingly worried that I had somehow missed the exit point, and began to really cast about with my light looking for marking ribbons. Finally, I saw the glow of a big campfire through the raindrops and ran up on two guys chilling next to it. 'Are you with the race?' I asked. They were, and they guided me to the final river crossing of the day, the toughest one yet! Hand over hand in deep, rushing water I made it across!

I had about 7 miles to go at this point. I was being swarmed by armies of mosquitoes, you couldn't count all the bites I had the next day. MJ had planned to begin running the course backwards from the finish to meet me and pace me the last few miles. (She's training for her ninth 100-miler next month and needed to get some miles in too!) I expected to see her anytime, and after going for quite a while without that, became concerned that she was lost. At last, I saw her headlamp coming towards me around mile 21. It was still pouring rain and we were both soaked. I mentioned that I felt OK since I was still moving well, but had some concern for hypothermia among people still out in the creek with many more hours to go. She had indeed gotten misdirected and off course but now we trudged onward together. A sign informed us that the course had been rerouted late in the race to skip a third creek section, presumably because it was dangerous or impassable? Luckily, they were able to add an out-and-back segment to preserve the full marathon distance, so we could maximize our suffering. I had joked to the RD earlier in T2 that we should get a small refund for the few miles cut from the bike, lol. I had to walk a bit more and run a little less in the final miles. We popped out onto the road for the last stretch and climbed one last big hill to the finish at Walhalla Country Club. MJ ran ahead to make sure the girls were ready for my finish...good thing:


They came out and ran into the finish holding my hands and it was a done deal! I was a WILDERMAN! Just missed my goal of 18 hours, finishing in roughly 18:06, about 1:20 behind Brendan, he really smoked me on the run. I was very happy to finish second overall, but The Wilderman isn't really like a traditional race, it's more of an experience, and a battle against yourself and your own limitations and fears.


It would be six hours before the next full distance finisher came in after daybreak. We got a couple pictures; I was hungry and we headed back to Langdon for food and recovery. Enjoyed a couple beers and pizza, I was so wired from the all-day triathlon that I didn't get to sleep until after 5:00 am! We missed the award ceremony so we could check out of our hotel, then went back to pick up my bike and return to Fargo for one more day. We had a blast in North Dakota...although we missed our mountains, we loved the people and the natural beauty, and the wide open spaces. It marked the 25th state in our quest to race/ride in all 50 so we are halfway there! Thanks ENDRacing for an epic experience I will never forget. As a fellow RD, I appreicate all your efforts, you really had to do some serious RDing with the last-minute course changes and high water! Thanks to CTC Bikes and Great Northern Bicycle Company for getting my bike out there and ready to race; and thanks to Mary Jane and my girls for supporting me and keeping me going all day! I hope this race sticks around and grows in coming years, The Wilderman rocks!





GPS Files (hyperlinks don't seem to work, have to copy and paste if interested)

http://www.strava.com/activities/643480355 swim

http://www.strava.com/activities/643480390 bike

http://www.strava.com/activities/643480408 run

















Friday, July 31, 2015

2015 Mohican Mudfest 100

Mohican 100 was chosen because it was a WS qualifier, close to home, good venue for the kids, and a new race for me. Training went fine, although maybe the taper wasn't quite enough. I seem to peak in training and then not have quite as much left as I would like for race day.

My friend, Joe, and I would do the 100. Shauna, Megan, and David would run the 50 mile option. Connie and her family still decided to come to support and have fun even though Connie would not run due to a fractured bone in her foot.
The race began in a drizzle at 5 am. The rain gradually increased to a steady downpour for a short 13 hours!!!!! The loop course became muddy, shoe sucking muddy and often over ankle deep, and hard to traverse. Hills turned into slippery slides.
I was worried that the kids, Jason, and Connie's family would not be able to do the scheduled ziplining as I ran in the drenching rain. However, they were having a great time ziplining in the rain as I would learn at the half way point.
We also ran through a terrible tragedy as a search and rescue was working to recover a teenager who had drowned the night before. I could not help but feel ill from heartbreak for this child's family much of the rest of my run. Any time goals were thrown out the window on the third loop. Joe got sick in the middle of the night. Several people were falling and dropping. Jason paced on the last loop and exhibited his usual patience with the trudgery.
But, in the end, we all finished. 42% finish rate. 3 toenails sacrificed. WS qualified. Cool buckle. Oh my!
Thanks to Jason, my girls, awesome friends, and the Mohican volunteers and RD for a race that I will never forget!


My 54 mile smiling crew!


Recovery Hike!

Ropes course on tired legs!!!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Shatwell Search and Rescue

Frozen Sasquatch 2015 was the first race, as usual, on the calendar to start off a new year! Six of us would be traveling to Kanawha State Forest in Charleston to tackle the 50k. Each of us in our group has at least one 50k finish at this event. The weather is always a wild card as we have encountered ice, snow, and even a warm day that appeared to be spring like. This year it seemed that we would be running in chilly rain!
We drove down the night before and stayed with Jason's aunt and uncle who were very generous and welcoming. Early the next morning, we woke to crisp air, but pleasant running temps. We picked up our packets and started the race. As if on cue, the rain began to pour. The trails were wet, muddy, and sloppy from the start. Joe and I stayed together during the race and finished a little slower than we had hoped. Jason was already finished and cheering us on at the race headquarters. Jes was there, as well. She had been injured and decided to stop after one loop, completing the 25k distance.


We were all changing and anticipating Shauna and Erica's finish. They would probably be finished in about 8 hours based on previous performances. We also thought it could be slower due to the muddy trail conditions.
We decided to wait in parking lot where you can see runners descending the switchbacks on the final mile. Our group of runners all have distinct gait patterns, arm swing, limps, etc. and we can spot each other from quite a distance! We watched as the clock neared the cutoff of 8 and a half hours. Shauna and Erica should be coming any minute. We spotted Shauna in her orange hat, but that did not look like Erica in front of her. Well, Erica will be right behind her, we were sure.


We cheered Shauna on to finish as she announced "That's it. I'm the last runner! ". Jason immediately responded, "Well, where's Erica?". There was obvious concern on Shauna's face as she explained that Erica should be 45 minutes ahead of her. They separated at around mile 16 when Shauna didn't feel well and decided to take a significant walk break. So, where was Erica? The sweepers followed Shauna into the finish and said that they did not see anyone else. One of the sweepers was in charge of aid station 2 (about 7 miles from the finish) and confirmed that Erica did pass through that aid station.
We were still expecting Erica to come down the last switchbacks soon. Maybe she got off course briefly, but she would find her way back. She makes maps for a living, after all! It would be getting dark soon so we were becoming more worried by the minute. She did not take her cell phone since the signal was sparse. The volunteers at aid station 3 could not be reached to confirm if she had made it to that aid station. The park ranger and volunteers had driven some of the roads leading to the aid station and did not see or hear her.
A sound in the distance lead the sweepers off in the nearby hollow hoping to find her there. But, the sound was not replicated and the search in that area did not reveal her whereabouts.

So, now we had to go find her. The park ranger initially did not want "5 more runners lost", but who best to find her, but runners who are fit and can navigate trails? The plan would be to go the top of the last trail and start back tracking. We hadn't brought our nice lights and headlamps, not anticipating being out on the trails after dark, but the park ranger found a few household type lights and a volunteer loaned us one.
Mike, the race director, would accompany us since he was most familiar with the park trails. It was totally dark. We piled into the Suburban after putting our muddy trail shoes back on for the task. We headed up Middle Ridge Road. The road was in terrible shape. We slipped and slid in the deep ruts and ditches as the mud peppered our car. I had my window down in hopes to hear Erica and the mud quickly splattered my face! We all had some terrible scenarios of Erica's whereabouts and condition and they kept getting worse in each of our minds as the minutes and seconds passed. Was she unconscious and injured? Would she even hear us yelling? Did she have an asthma attack? Did some crazy mountain man kidnap her and have her in a trailer (with a basement)somewhere? It is amazing where your mind goes when you become scared and uncertain. It had been nearly 2 hours since darkness had fallen. Erica did not have a light.
We finally reached the top of the trail where we pulled off of the narrow road. We began walking down the trail, we blew my soccer whistle which had been hanging from the rear view mirror for 2 years. We had a small cowbell from a triathlon and began yelling. We had barely ran 100 feet, when we heard an echo "hello", "hello". Seconds later, Erica appears in the beam of our lights with a big smile saying "Guys, I am so sorry". We all nearly burst into tears! She said that she was fine and knew that we would find her! She took a wrong turn and then when she was able to navigate back, the course markings had been removed so she could not find her way. She had traveled over 38 miles!
We quickly loaded her up and slid back down the muddy mountain in the Suburban.

Erica is probably one of the most observant and attentive people who I know. And, also she is very smart (as I told those at race headquarters). So, if she can get lost, I know that could happen to any of us. Erica was correct in not feeling upset and knowing the we would find her! We were not leaving without one of our own even if it meant a helicopter with a spot light, search dogs, and a lumbersexual trying to find her (inside joke).
Thank you so much to the park rangers, Mike, Dan, Sara and the other volunteers/sweepers! This is a Shatwell Adventure that will not soon be forgotten!


Thursday, December 25, 2014

Jealing at Javelina

Javelina Jundred would be my best shot at a Western States qualifier this year. I had tickets in the lottery the 3 previous years, so I did not want to lose those chances! If I could not run a qualifier, then I would have to start from scratch the following year! I began weight bearing on my right leg status post fracture of tibia/fibula and hardware including a plate, wire, and 11 screws in late February. My goals of Vermont and Tahoe 200 were not to be realized, so I chose Javelina due to the date (allowing maximum recovery time) and the hopefully, forgiving terrain. I had to gamble on the heat since the previous year was a scorcher, but this would be my 2014 goal.



My ankle and right lower leg looked like a chicken leg with maximum atrophy, but I worked hard to regain strength and stay determined. Mileage was limited for several months due to discomfort and limited range of motion, but MI Titanium Iron Distance Triathlon training would be my cross training and endurance base. Biking was going well until I crashed when my brakes locked up and I fractured my tooth root and ripped off the right half of my face. Unknowingly, I also severely bruised my right femoral medial condyle which forced no running for 6 weeks. The Iron Distance race was a success with no run training, but I have to admit that a marathon distance without run training was not easy. :-)

So, now my focus would be to balance increased mileage to complete a 100 while not re-injuring my knee, ankle, or other part of my body!!!! I completed a long run of 40 miles 4 weeks prior to the 100 and hoped that would be enough!

Javelina would be part of our family vacation and my awesome crew of my three girls and husband would be there to provide support and encouragement. Watching the forecast in Fountain Hills gradually heat up was a bit scary. My first 100 mile race was in heat and I suffered in a bad way. The conditions were out of my control, so I would make efforts to prepare for the heat and develop strategies to keep my body temperature under control.

We arrived in Arizona on Thursday and explored the area. It was HOT! Friday morning we arrived at Javelina Jeadquarters to claim our tent site. It was HOT! The girls were already suffering from the heat and direct sun at 8 a.m.! We headed down to Casa Grande to explore and meet Sam, Jason's cousin, for some supplies (cooler, chairs, sleeping bags). Thanks, Sam! I started to feel sick with a headache...not a good sign. I tried not to worry...I needed to rest. We headed back to the hotel and I went to bed. I woke to pick up my packet and then back to bed! Jason took the girls to the Jalloween party in Fountain Hills. (Thank to you the great community of Fountain Hills who welcomed the runners' families to join their celebration!) I completed my drop bag preps, ate a bit, and then back to bed!!!!
I woke at 3 am Saturday morning and the headache was gone. The first couple steps after I got out of bed were painfree and no limping (usually it takes a while for my joints to loosen up these days). All of these were good signs. Jason drove me to race and watched as I squeezed into a mass of runners as we headed out into the desert to start the race. He then went back to let the girls enjoy the pool and relax. As sun went down they would head over to cheer me on and Jason would pace the last 3 loops.



The first loop felt great. The sunrise was beautiful and despite over 500 runners, the trail didn't seem overly crowded. The first loop was too fast for much of the field, including myself. It felt effortless enough as I chatted with other runners and compared goals, injuries and such. It would heat up quickly and then I would be forced to slow down, so I didn't worry. The second loop felt warm, but I felt like I was tolerating it well until my left calf seized up...for no good reason? I had never had this happen and it did scare me a little. I walked some and then tried to run through it and it did eventually go away, then came back an hour later, and then I guess it just decided to chill out!

I was not looking forward to loop three which would be the hottest loop of the day. I slowed my pace and decided to just get through and it would get cooler. I could feel the hills on this loop and walked a little more. On the the downhill rocky section, I went down hard hitting my right ASIS (front of hip/pelvis) directly on a sharp rock. That hurt! It took my breath and make me nauseous. I sat for a few minutes and two nice guys lifted me up on my feet. They walked with me for several minutes until I felt like I could run. Thank you so much to these two!!!! So, I kept moving. My hip was sore and bruised, but I could run gingerly so it must not be broken....ahh, that would just stink! I was having trouble taking in calories at this point due to the heat and and nausea, but was looking forward to the sun going down.

Loop four was fairly uneventful. I was concentrating on my footing as the sun was going down and looking forward to seeing Jason and the girls. Finally, I was there and my awesome crew was waiting and developing their strategy to help me out! Jason was ready to go! Alexandra and Jillian (13 and 10) would take turns staying awake. This was totally their idea. I told them to try to sleep and set an alarm for 4 hours. They were so excited and ready to help. Lap 5 was tough. We hiked the hill and started to attempt a little running when Jason nearly stepped on a rattlesnake!!! The rattlesnake seemed to taunt us. It did not rattle, but it was in no hurry to slither off of the trail and into the desert floor cover. I was not doing well and so glad that Jason was with me. I'm not sure if I would have had the reflexes to hop over that fella! I felt like I wanted to puke and even tried, but nothing. I decided to sit at the next aid station halfway through the loop and try to drink soup broth and pull it together, somehow. That seemed to help and we were able to run (well kindof) much of the second half of the loop.

Jillian was ready and wide awake to greet us as we completed the 5th loop. Meghann (7 years old) was sound asleep from her busy day swimming and Alexandra was asleep, as well. We gave Jillian a big hug and were off on loop 6. It was the middle of the night and fatigue was setting in. We could hear coyotes howling on both sides of the trail as if they were discussing the unusual notion of humans running around in circles on their land. Now, just as I hoped for the sun to go down, there is something about a new day and daylight that is also comforting. I knew that the chance of a 24 hour finish was not a possibility at that point, so I reset my goal to just finish. It seemed that my body forgot how to run. I would try to pick up my legs, but the movement felt very uncoordinated with little forward progress and it just seemed more energy efficient to walk. We arrived the Jeadquarters. The sun was not quite up. Alexandra was awake and so was Jillian. They were ready to help, but I told them that I was hurting and just needed to get back out to finish the final loop. Meghann was still asleep! (That cot must have been comfy!)

So, we were off. We hiked alot. The 3 1/2 mile hill that I easily ran on the first loop seemed like a mountain. There was no way I could run that now. So, we finally made it to the spot where the trail was runnable..the last 3.5 miles. Jason told me that if I could run at least 15 minute miles, then I could break 27 hours. I told him that I didn't care and that there is no way. At that point, I got a little angry with myself and then I just willed myself to run, to pick up my daggone legs and run! And, it worked. I was running. I was running 12 minute or under pace and wondered how long I could do that. I just kept thinking that I wanted to be done and see my girls. I passed several runners on that last loop and encouraged them to push to break 27. I was on my last half mile and was still running. The girls were waiting and ran through the finish with me in 26:48.
Jason and my daughters are always my inspiration to finish. I never want to let them down. So much of a 100 mile race is mental toughness and working through the low points in your head. This was certainly not my best performance, but I am proud and lucky to finish. I am so grateful to have a family who believes in me and to have awesome friends who were cheering me on from home. I have a body that is somewhat beat up, not genetically gifted, but I have a strong mind and I don't easily give up!

Thank you to the wonderful volunteers and Race Directors who provided a well organized, inspiring, and memorable event in the heart of the Sonoran Desert!

Relaxing, visiting family, and celebrating on our last day on Arizona!