Kodiak 100

Right decision? Wrong decision? No decision of your own, because you ‘timed out’? They all sting. . . I started at 8a on Friday morning and dropped at 9:15p on Friday night. There will be more! My hip felt great. My body felt great. I ran an easy 5 miles on Sunday, next to the ocean breathing though some tears. I will be okay.

The 45 miles of this trail that I ran was some the most beautiful places my feet have taken me.

The first 20.7 miles: The start of the race was in town. The first 5 miles was a climb to the first Aid Station. This part was mostly jeep road. It was beautiful and fragrant. The smell of pine and grand views of Big Bear lake. I was in a good place. I wore a tank and compression shorts. The weather was mild and a bit humid for CA. Part of the 100 mile field started at 8a. The (prize purse) 100 mile runners started at noon. If I were to guess, about 1/2 of the 100 milers ran with poles.

The clouds grew dark in places and the sun blazed through in others, on the way to mile 12.7. This was a crew spot/Aid Station and campground. I used the bathroom here (note-there were ample bathrooms along this course).

The next 8 miles were single track and rolling hills. This part was exposed with a fantastic breeze. I was doing a great job drinking and eating! Sounds of thunder and black clouds but no rain, yet!

Aid Station at mile 20.7: We were warned in the race briefing that section 20.7 miles-30.1 miles was going to be a long, technical, 10 miles to mile 30 and our next crew spot/aid station. Racers were told to make sure that they had enough food and water. I began this section at around 2:00p on Friday.

Miles 20.7-30.1: This section was no joke. It began with one sweet mile through a meadow then, about 6 miles down hill to The Siberia River and water stop. Finally, 3.8 miles up hill, 2000′.

The downhill for the first 2 of 6 miles was not bad, single track. . . but this soon turned into frustration! From miles 3 of 6 to 4 of 6, I was running on the side of the mountain–one side drop/one side mountain. This part was narrow and slippery because of the tiny rocks and powder-like dirt and gravel. It was difficult to find a rhythm here. Miles 4 of 6 down to the river were tough for any person over 5’4″ tall! The trail was lined with manzanita trees that created a tight canopy. I lost my hat at least 4 times. There were also trees over the trail that I had to either climb over or pivot under. I was stung by a wasp on this portion of the race (MANY runners were stung, some up to 8 times).

Finally! The River! I refilled my bottles, ate two popsicles, and began the 3.8 mile ascent to the next aid station/crew spot. (I will see my crew here for the first time all day.) I think it was around 3:00p. I had a wet arm sleeve around my neck, that I filled with ice at mile 20.7. Tough climb with switch backs and some steep sections. I felt okay. I slowed down, established a consistent cadence and pushed past many struggling runners. This topped out to a short road section and my crew!!

Aid station at 30 miles: I came into this section and told my crew that I wanted to sit, eat, change and be there for at least 20 minutes. That climb was tough and I was looking forward to taking my socks off, using an ice-cold wash cloth on my feet and on my sunscreen-ed body. It was about 4:30p. I asked for an aid station worker to douse my head with ice water. Felt. So. Good. I went back to my chair, sat and drank an ice cold chocolate milk. My crew handed me a short sleeve top and sport’s bra. I changed in the bathroom, while my crew got my pack ready to go. In 20 minutes, I was off to aid station 35. (Because of the time of day, start of the race, logistics of aid stations and crew stops, I needed to take both of my headlamps in my back, here.)

Miles 30-35: I took my time here, while I slowly ate my sandwich. . . little bits at a time. It felt good to be dry and cooled off. I noticed that I was really wet from sweat by the time I got to aid station 30. (Typically, I do not have to change clothes at all until it gets cold. When I run at altitude, there is usually little to no humidity. This day was different). I finished my sandwich and started to go to work, hiking up, hills, running down, declines.

Miles 35.5-45: 9.5 miles to the next aid station. This portion was beautiful. Mostly fire road (like Pine to Palm) and single track down to the aid station. This is where my low point occurred. I cried a bit. Then, looked up and out over the mountains upon mountains. It was breath taking in a grand way. In a way that is hard to describe. I was humbled and grateful.

I started this section at about 5:00p. The sun started to set at about 7:45p. I did not need a headlamp until about 8:30p. It began to get cold. I texted Byron at 8:00p and told him that I was having a hard time breathing in deep. I continued to drink and started to focus on running down hill and hiking up hill. Bit by bit, I made it off of the jeep road and back onto single track. I had approximately 1 1/2 miles to the aid station at Hanna Flats. By now, it had been dark for a while and I was cold. I was still having a hard time breathing deep.

Aid Station 45: I made it here at about 9:00p. I was worried because I had no cell service and last I told Byron, “having a hard time breathing deep.” The aid station worker asked if I was doing okay. I said, “no, not really.” I sat down, drank some hot broth and started to think about my situation.

  1. hard time breathing deep
  2. cold
  3. warm clothes at the next aid station, 7 miles away
  4. 2000′ climb to the top of Sugarloaf coming up. This was the highest part of the race, 10,000′.

What was most important? How do I feel? What can I do about it? Because of the four factors above, I decided to drop @ 9:15p. NOT an easy decision.

In my mind. . . I could slow down my pace and take my time to mile 52, but I was cold, and it was getting colder. The closest bag drop to from mile 30 was mile 52. I estimated that this 7 miles would take me at least 2 hours to hike. Also, if breathing was not normal at 7,200′ and mile 45, would it get worse at mile 70 and 10,000′? I was pretty decisive and not emotional about my choice. I asked the HAM operator to call my ride, and I dropped.

Race stats to mile 32. (My watched died at 32.)

distance: 32 miles

descent: 5600′

ascent: 5600′

pace: 15:32 minutes/mile

highest point: 7,700′

Live daringly, boldly, fearlessly. Taste the relish to be founding competition – in having put forth the best within you.

-Henry J. Kaiser

Next up? Georgia Jewel 100, September 22, 2018

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