Liz and I had a weekend off before this one but both of spent much of this time "off" working and suffering from a head cold. Neither of us are much prone to getting sick but this is the 2nd or 3rd time this year and I think it's due to the stress we are putting our bodies through. Our immune systems are depressed from the constant travel, work, and physical abuse of running these races. We both started this race with stuffy heads and both produce copious quantities of "nasal mucus" as well as coughing up unidentifiable substances also in copious quantities. Sorry for all that but it was a significant part of our race!
One unique and positive aspect of this race is the 11am start time on Friday. This is nice as it lets you get a full night's rest without the sleep disturbing anxiety of oversleeping. For this one we flew into Denver on Tuesday, picked up the RV and drove up to Sheridan for the Thursday packet pickup and drop bag drop off. There was a nice buffet dinner of pasta, pizza, chicken and a full salad bar Thursday night where we spent about 4 hours eating, chatting with old friends and meeting new folks. One of the new people we met was Mark Tanaka from CA who weighs about 120 lbs but I swear he put away 10 lbs of food before our very eyes! Good to meet you Mark!
We drove to Scott Park in Dayton about 10 miles from Sheridan and parked the rig near the start. It was a bit noisy early but quieted down and we both slept decently with the aid of Nyquil. There was a 9am race briefing and then a carpool to the start 3 miles down the road. We started on a gravel road for 2 miles to the trail which led us a few miles up the Tongue River canyon and then up a big climb into the high country. The course is an out and back but we would run past our starting point down the gravel road all the way to Scott Park.
|The gravel road at the start. 160 or so started.|
|Still on the gravel road....|
|Singletrack along the Tongue River. Liz just ahead.|
|Leaving the river and heading up high. Descending this on Saturday was rough with blistered feet.|
|Looking back towards the Tongue River canyon.|
|Upper Sheep Creek aid station at the end of the climb from the river.|
|This and the following pic are from the long traverse toward Footbridge.|
|Starting the descent to Footbridge AS. Liz and I ran near each other during much of the race.|
|The footbridge with the excellent aid station just across the river.|
|Fairly early on the climb up from Footbridge AS.|
|Heading down to Footbridge early Saturday morning. A couple of miles before this I witnessed Liz startling a large bear from the top of a hill when I was about 1/3 mile behind her. She never saw it.|
|Dry Fork AS the last main AS. From here it is mostly downhill. I had been ahead of Liz Cow Camp but she caught up at the AS while I refueled and did some foot maintenance.|
Many runners talked about how difficult the 5 miles of road was at the end of the race but I found it quite nice. I was able to shuffle most of it in as it was less painful for my feet to shuffle slowly rather than walk. I finished in 32:45 and Liz came in about 30 minutes later around 33:15. We were both hobbled and could barely get around enough to change shoes and get a bite to eat at the park. It was very sad to finish so late and to be so wrecked as we both missed out on socializing at the finish. This one was very tough for both of us. It even brought tears to Liz's eyes as she removed her shoes, saying "That was too hard. I don't want to be tough anymore."
This race has a pancake breakfast and awards ceremony in Sheridan on Sunday morning. We were able to spend some time with friends and enjoy ourselves there though we were both very footsore as were many of the other runners. The awards ceremony was very well done by emcee and ex-RD Wendall Robison. This is a good value race. For your entry fee you get a pre race buffet, a goody bag with technical tee, socks and a first aid kit. You also get treated like a king (or queen) on the course and if you finish you get an embroidered fleece blanket and belt buckle. And then the awards ceremony free pancake breakfast. Not bad.
I have to put in a huge shout out to race management and the aid station volunteers. This is truly a "wild and scenic" run. It is a true backcountry experience and it couldn't be done without these dedicated volunteers. Every aid station this year was run by the same crew as the previous year showing dedication and a willingness to work hard so we can play hard. Thank You!
I am writing this in Sheridan on Thursday and will be running the Black Hills 100 starting at 6am on Saturday blisters willing. Liz is in GA and will be flying up for the Great New York 100 also starting on Saturday. Wish us luck. This is getting hard....
Race count: Liz (17) Scott (12)