Special thanks to Rob O’Dea Photography for letting me include a few of his images on this page.
Pulling into Twin Lakes on the inbound leg (mile 60). It’s uncommon to see ultra-runners carrying trekking poles, which, frankly, bewilders me — trekking poles are invaluable during the climbs, especially steep ones: they allowed me to go faster and they kept my legs fresher than if I went pole-less. I picked up the poles starting at mile 40, just before the 3,400-foot climb up Hope Pass; they proved their worth again on the 2,700-foot climb back up Hope Pass, from the Winfield side. I used them on-and-off to TreeLine, where I ditched them for a few miles before using them once more up Sugarloaf Mountain. I dropped them for the last time at MayQueen.
(L) Crew chief Anya, who, with other members of the crew (Beth, Aaron, and sometimes Kristen) were immensely helpful during the race.
(R) Fording Cottonwood Creek, the cold waters of which felt oh-so-refreshing after running nearly 60 miles.
Pacer David Henzlik (r) running ahead of me just before TreeLine in order to coordinate with my crew before I arrived. Fourth-place finisher Rick Hessek is on the left.
Our crew vehicle at TreeLine. Notice the stormy skies, which were a standard throughout the day — racers (and their crews) saw snow, snow pellets, hail, cold rain, and thunder & lightening.
Until about mile 60+ I was plagued by a bloated stomach that had not let food or liquids pass through since about mile 20. I felt great from about mile 65 to 95, and this photo shows it: I look smooth and comfortable on my way to Fish Hatchery (mile 76).
Ecstatic to break the second-place tape in 18:17:25.
My crew: Beth, Anya, me, Aaron, and Kristen.
Race winner Duncan Callahan, who finished in 18:02 after a really strong finish (he put 12 minutes on me in the last 13 miles). He has also written a race report and posted a few photos for his website, www.duncancallahanrunning.com.
My body shut down pretty quickly after finishing. Once I laid on the cot, that was about it – I did not stand up for another 4 hours. (I had to be carried from the cot, to my car, and into the house we were staying at). Upon finishing all racers have their lungs, pulse, and blood oxygen levels checked.
I did not have the strength to keep myself sitting up, so Beth served as a nice bookend.
Crashed out a few hours after finishing. Notice the bedside puke bucket, which thankfully I did not have to use. I did, however, have to use the pee bottle (not in photo), since I couldn’t muster up enough strength to walk into the bathroom.
At the awards ceremony the morning after. For breakfast Aaron and I both had 800mg of ibuprofen and a Coors.