LOVE HARDER , EAT BETTER & EXPLORE FURTHER
Travel to a remote area of Idaho? Check.
Run the 100k Option when everyone else (rightly) dropped to the 55k? Check
New Coach, Tempo Work, Heat Training? Check
Be Prepared and Research the Course Terrain.......Kind Of
Rather than bore you hundreds of words - which I'm sure I could - I'd rather share this race recap in photos and commentary. Truly there are so many things I could say about this long weekend - from getting to see Liz, Todd, Jen and Eric (some of my bests from Massachusetts/Montana) to getting to see one of the most scenic and remote parts of the country blessedly on foot.
I will say I got here with some amazing training from Andy Jones-Wilkins (if you're reading this I'm sure you'd know him better as AJW, ultrarunning badass) who picked my straggly butt up, gave me some great workouts and has made me so much faster and confident. Also, of course to my husband Luke and my mother-in-law Ann who waited patiently for me to finish and at the only crewed Aid Station (where mostly I just threw sweaty things and food wrappers at her, before she had to watch me Squirrel-Nut-Butter my undercarriage).
Without further ado....Race Weekend! And we headed off on our flight!
Oh wait first we got in a car accident...yup, good ol' Nashville fender bender
We arrived in Salt Lake City, found beer (obv) and tried to get a solid night of sleep before we headed north to Idaho!! We met Liz and Todd for breakfast in an SLC diner (where we offended everyone) and then prepared for the 5.5 hour tour...
And here's where things get fun...as if they weren't already.
After arriving in Salmon, ID, home to about 300 hotel rooms, we found out that the hotel room Liz and Todd had booked had given away out hotel room! Liz had accidentally book from Thursday to Sunday, seeing as we had not shown up, they gave the room - understandable, but suddenly terrifying. There was one hotel room left in the whole town, with a single king bed.
Enter the lovely Jen and Eric Hebert. Who were also running the 100k. Liz and Luke had previously dropped to the 55k. These guys had a spare queen bed in their room - and we were golden and ready to prep!
With race time at 5:00 AM that means alarms were blaring at 2:40 (for a 3:15 Ass-In-Seat, for the 1:45 drive to the start line in Leadore, ID). Luke was kind enough to drive me and his mother to my start line.
I was feeling ready, I had anonymity here, I had no idea how I would react to the altitude, and I was just looking forward to the sunrise and the lovely terrain.
Cue amazing race pictures (taken by Luke, Liz Masterjohn and Eric Hebert - scroll to the end for awesome video by Eric!)
Here I am coming into the Mile 26 Aid Station - the only time 100kers are allowed crew access.
I felt strong, I enjoyed the DRY heat - so different from the soaking humidity I was used to. I was excited to see my mom-in-law and I was excited to start the tough climbs. The first marathon of the course is LOVELY and so runnable, the goal is to not blow yourself apart. This aid station is the start line for the 55k and the start of the hardest terrain. Lots of climbs (as seen in the elevation profile) and THE BOULDER FIELD. HOLY GOD THE BOULDER FIELD OF LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP AND TERROR AND BRUISES.
4 miles of THIS. It was amazing, I love slow, technical "running". I kept my wits about me and kept huffing, eventually catching and passing the third place male (I hadn't seen a woman since the start line). Not without first completely eating sh*t into the talus and scaring the poor guy - I appeared dead for about thirty seconds.
Finally turning off the talus field, you take the steepest way possible back down to about 6,000 ft (i.e. dropping 3,000 in two miles or so). This was tough - but at the same time an amazing oppurtunity to fly as fast as I could. Things got complicated trying to *safely* pass 55kers with trekking poles - and in fact I ran face, leg, hand first into a tree. With a few new gashes dripping blood I trucked it into the last aid station. Two oreos, fresh tailwind and I was out of there as quickly as possible. After first deliberating with the medical crew that, no, in fact I was okay with the blood dripping off me and I would clean it at the finish...
4.5 Miles of jeep road, ice-cold-perfect creek crossings and beautiful winding pasture - I trucked it into the finish line. Although I couldn't link the video in here - here's the screenshot of my finish leap to Luke. I was ecstatic - finally a day I was really, really proud of. Total redemption from the collapse of my IT band(s) at Georgia Death Race. Third overall, First woman, and a shiny new course record at 13 hours and 17 minutes (1.5 hours off the previous record).
We ambled about for a bit, let my husband drag me to the medical tent, took a paper towel shower and waiting in earnest for the next women and to see the men I'd run with along the way.
We got to see Jen and Eric finish together, hand-in-hand, later that night before we all crashed. I think I only slept 5 or 6 hours before I was up, starving, and begging everyone to go get breakfast.
Liz and Todd had to head back to Salt Lake City for a flight back east that night - Luke and I had chosen even better, to fly out on Monday afternoon and enjoy another day in Utah.
We drove back from Idaho, stopping as often as I cramped up or got hungry, and even hit the town of Lava Hot Springs to get in their 105 degree pools. Needless to say it was empty - seeing as it was 105 degrees outside...
And our final night was spent in Logan, Utah. The town Luke's next 100 (The Bear) will start in - much less busy than SLC and surrounded by mountains.
We ate pizza, drank awesome local beer, wandered (gimped), and tried to reorganize to get back to Alabama with all our gear. Logan is a lovely city with a great trail community (Altra is based there too) and worth a stop, just an hour north of SLC if you're ever in the area.
Before I dive into all the awesome gear I used at the race - here is the awesome raw footage from the 100k that Eric Hebert took while on course participating as film crew for the race - worth every second of ignoring work and watching!!
Also please check out the race - this was truly amazing and I may even go back next year. The podium winners get free entry to either distance next year :)
ALL THE RUNNING-NERD-GEAR THINGS!
- Shoes: All the love to Saucony and the Peregrines - I took my shoes off after the shifty climbing, soaking ice baths and tough downhills to not a single blister, (new) missing toenail or even maceration - although I know my trusty Swiftwicks help with that too :)
- Milestone Pod! Always - Love - Data. Unfortunately I was moving JUST TOO SLOW in the Talus field where the pod lost the 1.5 hours I spent out there. Which is completely fine with me, I otherwise love the autopause feature for when your pace drops (for instance at an aid station, looonnggg bathroom breaks etc.) so your run doesn't end up as several runs. Proud of myself for the pick up at the end, my low impact and keeping my leg swing up in the runnable sections.
****BONUS : if you're reading this before July 31st, use the code PodTeamLiz30 for 30% off up to 4 pods.
- Shorts: Saucony Bullet Tight Short - so tight (a good thing for me), pockets galore
- Top: Lulu - my go-to. Doesn't ride up behind my pack like the loose stuff a lot of companies are pushing right now
- Fuel: Started with my favorite Honeystinger chews before everything went sideways and I turned to Tailwind for the rest of the race. Seriously, truly saved my day that the race had it on course.
- Pack: Nathan Vapor Howe 12L. Would have loved the lighter 4L but with 1 crew stop I had to carry a lot more
- Watch: Timex-20-buck-Walmart-special. Hey this thing has made it through GDR, Beaverhead, Stage Racing and my life
Luke Hough & Liz Canty
Liz Canty and Luke Hough. Co-habitants who like to run, race, explore and drink much too expensive beer. Read along through the awesome, the sweaty, the daily life and the occasional bickering over which running shoes are the best…