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Zion 100

Zion 100

It has been a very long time since I posted a race file on my weblog. It’s about time! I lately completed Zion 100 held close to Zion National Park. I had completed 9 other 100-mile races in Utah however had by no means run Zion on account of conflicts every 12 months.  This 12 months I may in spite of everything make it and signed up with a couple of days to spare.

At the top of 2018, I controlled to complete my 100th 100-miler at Across the Years on their flat route in Arizona. But I nonetheless was once combating a bone harm in my left knee that wouldn’t let me run very lengthy on trails. I may run at the treadmill or at the apartments. In February, I tried operating 100 miles on the Grand Master Ultra in Arizona on flat sandy trails however stopped at 75 miles on account of crippling knee ache.

I went again to the physician and had every other MRI. He instructed me he may do every other process with lengthy therapeutic however both method he stated, “you have run your last 100-miler.”  I selected to be affected person and hope for additional therapeutic. This was once the similar physician who in 2003 instructed me to forestall operating on account of my different knee. That was once ahead of I had tried my first 100-miler, so it’s been difficult to take his recommendation.

More therapeutic got here. On March 18th I made up our minds to take a look at a take a look at 6-mile run on trails and it went nicely. A six mile run is something, however ultradistance is every other. My motivation for buying out to do coaching runs has been low over the months on account of the ache concerned, however in all probability now I may in spite of everything perform a little just right coaching.

By the top of March I began to run extra persistently. But although my knee could be advantageous, my again muscle tissues had been unfortunately off form when making an attempt climbs. Once I hit age 59, I found out that flat very lengthy coaching runs weren’t sufficient to toughen the again, and now at 60 it was once worse.  So, I went to paintings, hit the hills and did some weight coaching. For the primary seven day of April I ran 70 miles and climbed about 7,000 toes, feeling a lot more potent.

Bunkhouses at Zion’s Camp and Cottages in La Verkin

So, in all probability foolishly, after only one week of arduous coaching on steep trails, essentially the most since every week in October 2017, I signed up for Zion 100 hung on April 18th. I traveled to Southern Utah the afternoon ahead of and stayed on the new Zion’s Camp and Cottages in La Verkin owned by means of my buddies. I really like staying there on my Southern Utah journeys as a result of they’re at all times so quiet, reasonably priced, new, blank, and I sleep rather well there.

The first monster climb

Zion 100 is administered at the wilderness mesas out of doors of the nationwide park, above and to the east of the towns of La Verkin and Hurricane. Even even though it’s within the wilderness, it’s actually a mountain run with about 11,000 toes of mountaineering alongside the way in which. I had anticipated numerous dust highway operating, however lots of the route is administered up at the mesas meandering on slickrock loops utilized by mountain motorcycles. The result’s an overly technical and somewhat gradual route with surprising perspectives alongside the way in which.

View to the west

The get started was once in a the city park within the the city of Virgin. The entrants record was once now not revealed on-line so far as I may inform and I used to be surprised at what number of runners there have been within the race. There had been 262 100-mile starters and 331 100Ok runners for a complete of just about 600 runners at the similar route for the primary 50 miles or so. That was once a disappointing discovery as a result of I really like the solitude of smaller 100-milers.

I revel in competing, however after my closing failure, I pulled again expectancies and set my purpose to only end, confidently round 30 hours or so.  We began in the dead of night at 6 a.m., a mass of runners with headlamps that exited town of Virgin and ran south towards Gooseberry Mesa. Our first main climb of two,500 toes in 3 miles got here speedy. I purposely held again, took it quite simple. The knee was once advantageous however the again complained. Most of runners within the  pack had been bundled up in heat garments however I didn’t as a result of I knew it will really feel heat at the climb and it did.

I arrived on the most sensible, at Goosebump (mile five.2) in 1:20 in 160th position. All of the drop luggage had been in a disappointing random heap and it took a pair mins to seek out mine. My prevent was once for roughly 5 mins as  I refilled my bottles, dropped off my gentle, and ate. The subsequent phase was once speedy rolling dust highway. I  found out that I had dropped too a long way again within the pack. Many of the runners round me began to stroll on gentle climbs. I made up our minds to step up the tempo and rely the entire runners that I handed for the following 6.2 miles to Grafton Mesa. It was once nice a laugh and I handed about 85 runners catching as much as others who had been preserving secure runs going.

I overheard a runner explaining that for the following 17 miles or so we might be operating on difficult slickrock. I had now not anticipated that. It was once somewhat gradual however a laugh single-track path or marked routes up and down slickrock. The knee didn’t at all times recognize the arduous slick rock however it behaved.  We did a laugh loops on Wire Mesa and Grafton Mesa overlooking stunning valleys  after which returned to Goosebump (mile 34.Four).  I were operating for 8 hours and it was once 2:00 p.m.  I knew my tempo was once gradual however the entirety was once going advantageous.

After a 10 minute prevent to consume nicely, I used to be off for every other lengthy 11-mile slickrock loop on Gooseberry Mesa.  The perspectives taking a look down beneath to La Verkin, Hurricane,  and snow-covered Signal Peak within the distance had been surprising. But then issues fell aside. Perhaps I ate an excessive amount of. I began to really feel unwell and sore.  My tempo slowed to 20-minute miles together with some quick relaxation stops. People requested if I used to be k as they handed by means of. All the operating up and down slickrock was once taking a troublesome toll on me.  But after I slowly reached the top level of the loop, additionally the top level of the route, the slow downhill helped and temporarily the illness went away and I began to have nice a laugh once more.  That is standard when operating 100-milers. You may have the bottom of lows and the very best of highs inside the similar hour.

The climate were completely absolute best. In previous years this race were plagued by means of sizzling temperatures however it was once repeatedly cool with only some quick stretches of exasperating wind gusts.  Off within the distance I may see rain showers however come what may, we had been ready to dodge all of them and I by no means felt any rain.

Phil Lowry picture

I arrived once more at Goosebump (mile 45.7) at just about 6:00 p.m. I were operating for almost 12 hours however I felt nice. As I used to be discovering my bag, Danny Widerburg of West Jordan, Utah yelled out to the runners there, “See that man within the orange blouse, he’s operating his 101st 100-miler.” I blushed and waved.

Danny Widerburg

For the following phase, we descended backpedal the top mesa at the path we had climbed up all over the morning.  I ran with Danny and we had a good time speaking for the following hour. Our tempo was once as gradual because the others round us however I in point of fact loved getting my thoughts off operating and swapping tales with Danny.  He in the end went on forward however unfortunately wouldn’t end, going 100Ok (62 miles).

I arrived at Virgin Desert support station with absolute best timing as nightfall was once arriving. There I had my heat garments and inexperienced flashlight for the night time. My prevent there was once the longest of my race as I rested for 30 mins consuming and converting my garments. I left on the 14:47 mark (eight:47 p.m.) at mile 53.eight.  I used to be nonetheless on tempo for roughly a 30-hour end or so. I didn’t in point of fact care about my time so long as I used to be nicely forward of the cutoff occasions and I used to be.

Running in the dead of night was once superb. I had a good time chasing runner lighting fixtures forward of me and handed a couple of as we wound down thru canyons arriving on the south rim of the Virgin River close to La Verkin. Even even though it was once darkish, the partial moon shed sufficient gentle to appear down the large river gorge. We ran alongside the river for some time and took aspect routes round drainages towards the river.  Along the way in which I listened to more than a few very fascinating historical podcast episodes in regards to the Jacksonian technology and the distance race. I wasn’t pushing it very arduous however the runners in the back of me weren’t catching up. The 100Ok runners had been now not on our route so the remainder 100-mile runners had been beautiful unfold out. My solitude had arrived.

We crossed the Virgin River over a bridge and shortly additionally crossed Highway nine close to Virgin and headed up a steep paved highway as much as Smith Mesa. I used to be satisfied this massive climb wasn’t a technical path. My Garmin watch ran out of batteries close to the top of the climb at mile 70.7 after 20 hours, 20 mins. I quickly arrived at Smith Mesa a few mile later the place I had my backup Garmin watch.  Good making plans.

It was once now three:00 a.m. The stars had been superb above me within the sky and the temperature was once nonetheless very delightful.  I wore 3 shirts to stick heat however the jacket I had tied round my waist by no means got here off.  I subsequent attacked a six-mile “Flying Monkey” loop. At first it was once a laugh technical path with climbs however then it was a rutted mess for a number of miles, chewed up by means of farm animals. It wasn’t muddy, however it was once nasty operating over the ones craters of foot prints. This was once my least favourite a part of the route.

Eventually the ruts stopped and it was once time to descend just about 2,500 toes off the mesa. I had anticipated a pleasing dust highway to run speedy on, however no, it was once a horrible, technical, unhealthy path alongside cliffs. Areas of the path had been destroyed by means of boulders and rockslides that we had to select our method thru.  I may see the lighting fixtures of headlamps beneath additionally suffering. This descent appeared unhealthy to me, particularly in the dead of night, however I made my method down beautiful slowly however I did catch up and cross many runners.

Finally, the sloping wilderness ground arrived and I may run once more because the night time sky was once beginning to enliven.  I reached Virgin BMX support station (mile 80) at 24:17 (6:17 a.m.) There was once frost on my drop bag and it was once chilly. But my plan was once to depart in the back of my heat garments at this level and to go off into the chilly morning that I knew would heat up speedy simply wearing a T-shirt and shorts.  Everyone else was once nonetheless in point of fact bundled up. If I get dressed too heat, it makes me decelerate. My prevent was once for an extended 25 mins however it was once wanted.

With simply 20 miles to move, I subsequent needed to face a 17-mile out and again that climbed as much as a low mesa with extra slickrock a laugh. I knew I may make it. My knee was once advantageous. My largest drawback was once horrible again muscle tissues spasms that a great deal slowed me down.  I skilled every other dangerous low level operating up a light sloping highway as much as the mesa.  My miles once more slowed to 20-minute tempo. I couldn’t see any runners in the back of or forward of me so I went at a lazy tempo with a number of stops.  Eventually I ate extra and my power got here again.  I met Robert Boyden coming again and he clued me in at the slickrock segment bobbing up. By the time I reached Guacamole support station on the most sensible, (mile 85.7), I used to be feeling advantageous once more and feasted on some bacon and quesadillas which introduced existence again into me.  Rachel Moody was once there pacing a runner seven miles forward and he or she gave me great phrases of encouragement.

Taking it simple, I in point of fact loved the quiet morning solitude at the path winding thru and over the slickrock on that lovely mesa. Some mountain bikers got here by means of and I noticed an occasional runner coming again, however it was once quiet and non violent. Cell telephone Internet sign got here again, so I despatched out some photos and texts. I in the end returned to Guacamole and was once ready to greet dozens of runners behind the pack in the back of me together with Phil Lowry and Jill Cark at the coaching run for 200 milers. After temporarily grabbing meals at Guacamole support station (mile 92.five), I appeared ahead to a rapid run down the street. It felt speedy, however at easiest was once a 15-minute-mile tempo.   I stuck up and handed a number of runners with pacers transferring slowly. Funny even though, once I would cross them, all of them aroused from sleep and moved quicker.

Steam crossing, Phil Lowry picture

There was once the most important flip off the street to a path that I didn’t need to pass over.  I noticed within the distance a runner make the flip.  But then my drained thoughts will have to have went to sleep. I utterly overlooked the well-mark flip off and it wasn’t till every other quarter mile down the street that I noticed I goofed. That took the entire wind out of my sails.  I grew to become round, feeling very silly, attempting to not consider the additional part mile or so. With 4 miles to move I used to be just about finished. My tempo went again over 20-minute-mile tempo, and I simply appeared ahead to the end. We needed to make a move crossing with 3 miles to move, wading in calf-deep water. My drained toes loved the chilly water.  The closing hour was once sizzling and most commonly a demise march, however I plodded alongside. With the end in sight, a number of runners blew by means of me operating speedy however it didn’t topic to me. I made it!  I ended in 31:53 in 107th position.  I used to be dehydrated badly on the end however another way felt very advantageous.

A large crowd of cheering households and buddies had been on the end, however I didn’t know somebody there.  I simply quietly claimed my belt buckle, retrieved my drop luggage, and went to my automobile to drink up and funky down. I mirrored on what I had achieved.  After the entire lengthy months of therapeutic, I had completed my first mountain path 100 for the reason that 2017 Bear 100 in September 2017.  I used to be so glad.  Just a month previous my physician had just about satisfied me that my 100-miler days had been in spite of everything over and that I had to get started appearing my age. But I did it. I ended a tricky path 100-miler and it seems like I used to be the second one oldest finisher at age 60.

My buddies Rich and Carolyn Murset kindly let me use a room at Zion’s Camp and Cottages to cleanup and relaxation a bit of. Then I made the lengthy Four-hour pressure house, hobbling into the home to cheers from my circle of relatives.  My 101st 100-miler was once within the books.

Fitbit steps. Each line is steps in five mins. Total of 210,000 steps and 1,200 flooring





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