At the packet pick-up on Friday night, a Moab local told us that this has been the worst winter they have had in 40 years. Race officials said that there was some snow on the couse, but that is was mostly runnable. Saturday morning the sky was clear and the temperature was in the low 20s. I was feeling good as I rode to the start with Kemp and Andy. Andy and I talked about our time goals for the race. Andy said he'd like to finish in under 7 hours. I said I'd like to finish faster than last year (5:52). Kemp, running his second 50K, said that he was going to win.
Kemp and I went out together and breezed through the first 4 miles in under 35 minutes. I walked a bit going up the second steep climb and took off my long sleeve shirt as I was already sweating. I continued to run well throught the fist aid station at mile 5 and on up to the course high point on the ridge and then we hit the snow. Miles 9-12 were all in shin to knee deep snow. It was tough, slow and exhausting. Mile 13 brought aid station 2 and end to the post holing. I immediatley felt better and clicked off some good miles out of the loop and back to aid station 3 where I filled my water bottle and continued down the hill that we had come up at mile 4 in the snow and was now thick with mud. Things started to get rough at mile 20 going up the hill on the slick rock. I went through mile 21 and aid station 4 feeling pretty wiped out, but still moving steadily over the rock and ice. I started looking for the last aid station a few miles later when Eric Lee showed up taking pictures and passing on the bad news that the jeeps carrying aid station 5 couldn't get past a "wall of ice" so there would be no aid for another 5 and a half miles. I looked at my 1/4 full water bottle and let news settle in and I kept going. I was moving pretty slow by now and at one point I sat down on the rock to shake some gravel out of my shoe- wow I wish I did that sooner. At mile 29 I passed the wall of ice and arrived at the aid station. I took my time there, filling my bottle, eating a chunk of banana and a handful of potato chips. They said there was just another 2 and half miles to the finish and I knew most of that was down hill. I started feeling better soon after leaving the aid station and a few minuted after that, I saw Ean, Maddie and Shadow hanging out beside the trail. They ran up to meet me full of energy and ran with me towards the finish. After a few minutes, they trailed back and with energy levels rising, I picked up my pace and ran on down the trail towards the Colorado River. I called out to Micah who was sitting on a rock about a quarter mile from the finish and watched as he got up to meet me down the trail. I was glad to finish in just over 6 hours and 4 minutes which was 12 minutes slower than last year, but not too bad considering the course conditions and my recent injury.
This was a good early season ultra to give me a push towards doing the training necessary for the races ahead.