This weekend was fantastic! My finishing time certainly wouldn't indicate that, but I couldn't have been happier with the hours I got to spend in the beautiful Bighorn mountains. It was strange to be away from my family for that period of time, and perhaps even more strange not to have my wife out on the course crewing for me, but it was a great trip, and we had a fantastic Father's Day when I got back on Sunday.
To give a brief summary, the race began Friday at 11am, and I started out fast (thanks to my Prefontaine 'stache), but not too fast. I watched the front runners rolling up the canyon, but stayed at a nice pace. I was still in the top 10 coming into the 30 mile mark, and still in that neighborhood at the 48 mile turnaround spot. I felt great, but could feel myself simply running out of energy (which I knew would happen eventually due to lower mileage training...). So I embraced the fatigue and moved on. Night fell just as I hit the turnaround, so I was fortunate enough to see the whole course in daylight. The night was clear, the stars bright, and the temps pretty chilly, but the night passed quickly. Saturday morning's dawn was spectacular, and I was surprised by a lovely red fox bounding past me up "the Wall." I vividly remember grubbing on some fantastic bacon at the Cow Camp aid station (mile 76), which fueled me well.
Toward the end, my body was completely cashed out of any possible energy reserves, but my mind kept pushing me on, even though I was moving slow. The last 5-6 miles are quite flat and on a gravel road, but with no energy left I had already resigned myself to the fact that I'd have to speed hike it the best I could. After just a few minutes of that though, I simply couldn't take it, and drew up energy from nowhere to really hammer those last miles in. I finished utterly spent, and incredibly happy.
It was fun to see my friend and teammate Mike Wolfe out on the course just eating it up. He ultimately destroyed the previous course record by 35-40 minutes... simply awesome. The wildlife was fantastic, the wildflowers abundant and vibrant, and the Bighorn Mountains were simply a thrill.
This was a great race for my mind, and I think it was a great first step in getting my body back to where I'd like it to be for actual 100 mile racing shape. Huge thanks to all the wonderful volunteers and race directors who made Bighorn such a special time!