Bighorn Trail Run 30k
On Saturday I got to run in my backyard in the Bighorns. I have spent time on the trails I was going to be running on.
I left Rawlins Thursday night and was able to have a very low key day on Friday.
Saturday morning I was up at 520 to get dressed and make sure I had everything before we started the drive to the start.
We were headed up the hill about 615ish and made it in plenty of time to watch the 50k race start at 8am.
I had plenty of time to get food in my belly and just relax before the race.
This race was the 2nd one for June and I was honoring more of the Granite Mountain Hotshots.
My husband and little sister took me to the start and we patiently waited for Mom and Dad to show up.
As we clicked closer to 9 am, I was getting worried that my parents weren’t going to make the start, but they pulled into the parking lot with about 15 minutes to spare.
It was looking to be a pretty perfect day for a run through the trails. I only wish now that I had put on more sunscreen.
I had little to no expectations going into the race. I just wanted to have fun! I knew I wanted to finish and I had a goal of 3.5 hours. I would have liked to be under 3 hours, but that was only if I was feeling really good.
There was a brief downhill before you started a little climb. I knew I just wanted to take my time climbing. I kept telling myself that I had to save some for the road out of the canyon. I knew if I felt good coming out of the canyon I would be pretty satisfied. I wanted to race smart. Once you crested the climb you hit a 4 wheel trail that was slightly downhill. It was a really good road to spread out on and just cruise through. I think I hit my fastest mile of the day on this portion. It was just nice to stride out and not have to watch every step. After the road we were on single track pretty much the rest of the way.
Seeing an aid station on a trail run has got to be the best feeling ever. The first aid station was right after mile 5 and right before “the haul.” I walked into the aid station, grabbed some water and pretzels. They had so much food I didn’t know what I wanted, but knew with my game plan to take any kind of calories at every stop. I did carry gels with me, but actually only ended up eating a whole one of them for the whole 18 miles.
You still cruise downhill for a little bit after the aid station, but then you hit “the haul.” Which is basically straight up the mountain from one canyon up and over into the next. I knew this would probably be the toughest part of the course and once I was up and over it was all downhill from there. Little did I know that I would need the guys’ strength on the downhill more than anything. Those downhills are no joke. I was not physically ready for them. I jumped off the side multiple times to let people pass (only to later catch them on the road). Numerous times I called upon the guys for strength, but I think they let me know they were there but also let me know this was something I was strong enough to do myself. Every time I needed them, every time I asked for something from them I got it. Numerous times on the trail I just wanted to know they were there. I knew they were the breeze in my face, the flowers blooming along the course, the birds chirping like crazy in the distance. A couple times coming off the mountain I had a black and white butterfly fly right in front of me and keep pace with me for a little ways before it would take off into the sky. I knew that was them telling me that I had to use my own strength to get myself through this, but they were there cheering me on the whole way.
I knew exactly where this aid station would be as the hubs and I spend dang near every spring in this canyon getting our hiking legs back under us. I again walked into the aid station. They had fruit and sweets. Anything you could want after being 10+ miles into a trail race. I grabbed some fruit and water and enjoyed my little rest. I knew I had just over a mile until I was to the county road.
Miles 11 and 12
I had never seen this trail so green and filled with the spring colors. It was gorgeous, but on the flip side it was definitely a little toasty. These last few miles also paralleled the river running down the canyon. I had to do everything in my power not to jump into the water.
At this 3rd aid station, I had some more fruit, water, and heed (similar to Gatorade). They also had a nice little spray station and I made sure I was soaked before I left. They also had a little soda station set up and I figured Pepsi sounds really freaking good right now, so why not. As I left the aid station one of the volunteers said it was 3 miles to the next station. I was thrilled when I was told that because I thought the next “station” was the finish line.
The road. I was excited to be on the road because that’s where I felt most comfortable, but when I realized the road had NO shade coverage I was wishing I was back on the trail. People had began to bonk and slow down. I started noticing the people I was passing were people that had passed me on the downhill and good 5 miles ago. I just kept my eyes to the front and my head held high. I had to stop and get a rock out of my shoe at one point and as soon as I started to put my foot back in my shoe I felt it start to cramp along with my whole shin starting to seize up. I knew that I had to keep moving in order to keep the cramping at bay. I knew that the finish line was getting closer with every step. Along this road was one house that had encouraging signs in front and a boom box playing Eye of the Tiger. If that didn’t make you want to run with every last bit of energy you had I don’t know what would have.
The closer we got to the aid stations there were kids running up to runners handing them popsicles. Freaking popsicles! That thing never tasted so good. The ice cold goodness and the amount of sugar in that thing was exactly what I needed to get me the last little bit into town. Once I reached the official aid station I took some more water and again another swig of Pepsi. Surprisingly enough I never had any stomach issues.
I had driven this stupid county road so many times I was ready to see the bridge at the highway. I kept praying that it would appear. And I finally did. I saw off in the distance a purple shirt and heard the cowbell. As I got closer I realized they were waiting at the corner for me. It was my dad! As I reached him he said “you look good” and I simply responded with “I feel good.” I did. I really did feel pretty good considering I was nearing 18 miles on probably one of the toughest courses I have ever ran.
I ran into the finish with my head held high and my arms raised. I had conquered the 30k of the Bighorn Trail Run.
I was damn proud of myself.
Official time 3:17:44
I collected my finisher t-shirt and hobbled my way to the side to meet up with me family.
Ok readers this is where it gets really fantastic. Are you ready? Might want a chair and some tissues.
An older gentleman came over a handed me $20 for the Foundation. He told me about how he had to pop his shelter years ago on a fire in New Mexico. He also told me that he fed the Granite Mountain boys dinner days before they died. If that right there doesn’t prove to you that those boys were there with me on Saturday. I don’t know how much more proof you need.
After that I sat down and had the hubs do what he does best after each race, the removal of the compression socks.
Remember how I was dying to get in the river too? Yup, that happened also.
The hubs asked for my best “Bighorn Trail Face” and this is what he got.
Thank you for all the encouraging words and continued support along this crazy journey!
I couldn’t ask for a better support crew in my corner!