It’s a testament to being on vacation that two weeks have passed since Western States, and it feels like it was only yesterday. Mentally, that is.
Physically I feel great. I had some concerns for a while there about my right quad, and finally went to see my massage therapist four days after the race. I warned her she probably wouldn’t be able to use much pressure, and that’s saying something coming from me. I usually let her go unrestrained with the deep tissue work. And then she proved me wrong by using more pressure that I imagined possible, causing howls of protest to escape my usually silent lips. Apparently her yardstick for too much pressure was if I “jumped off the table.” Seriously, she said that.
Okay, watch while I jump off and run screaming, naked, out the front door.
Truthfully though, she was a miracle worker. The next day it felt 90% better. Two days after that, 100%.
Then, 4th of July weekend came with its ritual marathon of barbecues. I decided the quad was healed enough to enter the Firecracker Mile, which takes place in downtown Truckee just before the parade. If I’d remembered how much it hurts to sprint a mile, I might have decided I needed more recovery. Somehow though, when you’ve just run 100 miles, running only one sounds like fun.
I managed a 5:24 and 3rd woman, while Chris took the win in 4:25. Afterwards, we caught up with Amber, Dave and Turi, who had come over after their Kings Beach run, to complete the TLD+Gretchen gathering.
The rest of my local Truckee roustabouts showed up to watch the parade while we happily let kids spray us from the floats with super soakers. It was a hot one! The bike ride home required the traditional stop to swim in Donner Lake, and the rest of the day was spent with the traditional feasting, consuming of blackberry pineapple mojitos, and firework viewing from the end of the street.
And already I am off on my next adventure. I sit in Silverton, Colorado, shortly after the start of the Hardrock 100, where I’ll be pacing my friend Betsy for 30 miles. When we first started the drive across Nevada, Utah and Colorado to get here, I kept thinking about the phrase, “The more you know, the more you realize how little you know.”
I didn’t have time to do much homework on the race; I only knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. On the drive out, I tried to pick Betsy’s brain, and I really hope I didn’t get too wide-eyed at some of her course descriptions. Betsy’s done this race 10 times, so I’m super lucky to be hanging with a veteran. My biggest goal at this point is not to be a liability to my runner.
After yesterday’s pre-race briefing, that goal is even more prominent in my brain, my eyes even wider. Talk of steep, icy terrain over Virginius Pass had me running to the sports store in search of YakTrax. I can’t believe I left mine at home! After all the questions about snow at Western States, and the knowledge that no traction devices were allowed, it never occurred to me that other events would actually encourage them. Well thank God!
I still feel like I’m about to head off mountaineering in the dark, but at least I know this: It will be an adventure! Again, number one goal – don’t be a liability! After that, I’ll try to take care of my runner.
We already hit our first crew checkpoint this morning, Cunningham Gulch at mile 8.4. Standing at the bottom of the gulch next to the river, wrapped in my down jacket, I stared up at the steep mountain walls. I had to tilt my head all the way back to watch runners negotiate cliff-side switchbacks alongside a stunning waterfall. I live in a beautiful mountain town, but the scenery here is truly mind-blowing.
After runners descended into the gulch, they crossed the icy river into the aid station. Betsy was exactly on pace and didn’t waste any time, getting what she needed and moving on.
Afternoon thunderstorms are predicted to move in just as the front half of the race manages Handies Peak, the high point of the race at over 14,000 feet. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for all of them through that.
I’ll be joining Betsy at mile 42 (Grouse Gulch) sometime after 5:00, when we’ll head off into the night for 30 miles. I’m really excited to be pacing, and equally relieved not to be running 100 miles myself!
You can follow the progress of Betsy and all the runners on the Hardrock Live Webcast.