Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My last and final blog post

I knew the day would come and it is here. This will be my last blog post.

Thank you for visiting with me!

I've thought about it for a bit, but I just wasn't ready. After my last post, I came down with a virus that attacked my lungs pretty bad. I took about 3 weeks off of much running, putting me behind in my training for Pemberton 50k and Old Pueblo 50 mile. During that time, I discovered that there are so many other things that I want to do with my time. Blogging is a time consuming activity. I want to spend more time with friends and also do more reading and house/yard projects. I've finished several books already since Christmas - it usually takes me forever to read a book.

My blog has always been for me; it was a creative endeavor, a journal of sorts. I documented my runs with pictures and feelings and facts about my runs. I rejected all offers to commercialize or promote my blog in any way. I just wanted to be able to create stories out of my experiences with my runs and my life. It also allowed me to look back at my runs and races to remember how I did and what they were about. A diary. I wanted to look back and see in pictures and words what I wanted to feel like on the inside - adventurous and strong.

Me and Dixie Dog in Colorado

It was about 5 and a half years ago that I started it. I barely finished my first marathon, and hadn't even started running trails or ultra distances. I enjoyed taking pictures of the people I ran with and the places I went. Slowly, I got into trail running and eventually ultramarathons, and my blog took on a life of its own.

My first 50 mile finish!

Eventually, I got into TTR (Tucson Trail Runners) and started running longer and longer distances. I have survived falls while trailrunning (requiring two ambulance rides from trailheads and a surgery with a plate and screws!) and learned a lot of lessons on the trail.

I met a few people over my blog that have become good friends. Julie, from Golden, CO, found my blog and came to Tucson to visit her parents. We started running together while she was here and we really hit it off. Every time she comes to visit, we try and hook up for a run or coffee. She has seen me through a lot.

The infamous Julie pose.

I also met Kathleen from Colorado Springs, who eventually started her own blog with her husband Steve. We spent a lot of time conversing back and forth through email for several years until I finally visited her and Julie in CO a year and a half ago. She has had her own struggles over the past few years - a very strong gal.

At the top of the Manitou Incline!

Just meeting those two gals have made my blog worth it all of these years.  I am so blessed to find these amazing women!

Other people have found my blog and it helped them with local trails or various trail races. The conversations I have had with all of you all have been kind and joyous. I am so glad that I put myself out there so I could interact with all of you. It made me feel special and brought a confidence in my life that I never had growing up. I felt helpful.

My blog has chronicled so much along the way.

During 2009, I separated from my spouse Ken and got a divorce after almost 10 years of marriage.

Ken, me and the Cracker Dog giving the 'fish eye'

I moved out and started on my own again. It was painful, but I learned a lot of lessons that I was able to carry forward into my new life as a single person. I eventually recovered from that and I am good friends with Ken to this day. I'm very blessed by that.

Through all of the trials I have remained sober. I quit drinking when I was 22. I will be 23 years sober on March 1st (yes, I'm 45!!) I quit smoking when I was 28 years old. I've tried to live a healthy, spiritual life and I am surrounded by people who really care about me.

In 2010, I started dating Dallas. He was new in TTR and we became friends after my divorce. We started dating and our love grew - we shared many things in common - cooking, trail running, spiritual matters, our troubled pasts. We quickly became best friends and got married on a trail in the Catalina Mountains in 2011.

I felt really pretty that day. One of the happiest days of my life.

We have run many trail runs and races together. We did a 12 hour night run, many 50k's and eventually did the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim. 

Shortly after we started dating, we took over the administration of the Tucson Trail Runners. We enjoyed it for a long time, but it was a lot of work. Ultrarunning is booming and we were getting emails all the time from interested runners. As of this week, we have stepped down from that in order to take care of ourselves and spend time doing other things that we need to do.

I've watched myself age on my blog; that hasn't been easy! But, I've also watched myself 'grow up' and become a more mature thoughtful woman. It has been a journey in self and I hope I have helped someone in doing so.

I started a new job last year that has taken more of my resources than I would care to admit at the moment. I have a lot of debt that I'm trying to pay down; this job will allow me to do that and be more free in the future.

My Mom died suddenly a few years ago, followed by the accidental death of my dog Cracker. Since I started my blog, I've lost many dogs and rabbits. I am no stranger to loss. I lost my Dad almost 21 years ago and I still miss him. Losing my marriage to Kenny was so difficult. I made it to the other side a stronger gal.

Now, I am going through another loss that I just don't want to go through publicly. Dallas has recently ended our marriage and I'm on my own again. 

So, it is time for me to say goodbye. 

Farewell my friends.

Thank you to all of you who visited my blog and maybe could relate to me or found a friend in me or just wanted to see what I was up to. It has meant the world to me. Now, I will be spending more time with friends, reading, and whatever makes me feel good. I'm not sure about my upcoming races; they are pretty unimportant right now in the grand scheme of things. You can be sure of one thing - I will keep running and keep loving and I will survive whatever life throws my way.

If you want to keep in touch with me, just send me an email - pinkcorker at yahoo dot com. 

Signing off - Pinkcorker. ;)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Bear Canyon Loop with Colorado Julie!

I've known Julie for over 4 years now. I met her in the Summer of 2008 when she was down from Colorado to stay in Tucson for 6 months with her children and husband (who was on a sabbatical). She had found my running blog and we hooked up for some trail runs.

I broke my wrist pretty badly that Fall and barely recovered in time to run with her one last time before she left Tucson. We stayed in touch and when she comes to visit her parents we try to hook up for a trail run or at least a bagel. Her and her husband Mike had us over for dinner one time when they were here, which was really nice. Mike is an excellent cook.

I went to CO to visit her in September 2011, but could not run with her because I had torn a ligament in my groin. I couldn't run with her in March when she came down, as I was recovering from OP 50.

So, I was excited to get to run with her when she was coming down to Tucson this Tucson to visit her folks. We usually run Phoneline loop, but I talked her into a longer run so I could show her our standard TTR Bear Canyon loop run. I knew she would love it.

Lots of rain and snow run-off made the 7 crossings before 7 Falls very wet and a little cold!

We took our time and enjoyed the views. We talked the whole time, of course. Lots of cloud cover, but it was the warmest day this week. We started at 7:30am, and it was around 48 degrees. By the end of the run, it was around 68. Perfect.

It wouldn't be a run with Julie without a 'Julie pose'. :)

I've got this one down!

The 8th crossing had water, but we were able to get across without getting wet (although my feet were still wet from the last crossings).

I jumped the gun on the 'top-out'. I told her it was at one spot, and then we kept climbing. Still made for a nice picture!

We finished the 17 miles and 3,000 feet of ascent feeling pretty good. I was proud of Julie! What a blessing to have her in my life. I learn more about her each time I see her and she is a really awesome gal. She has an awesome husband and kids, too.

After the rains this past week, the mountains were covered in snow, so it felt more like the holidays. However, even though Winter is officially here, it feels a lot like Fall here in Tucson. :) 

Hope everyone enjoys the holidays and remembers what is important to them. For me, it is people. 

Saturday, December 8, 2012

McDowell Mountain Frenzy 50k report

I signed up for this race the week before. Dallas was doing the 50 mile distance, and I thought it would be nice to join him for the road trip. The race takes place in Fountain Hills, which is about a 2.5 hour drive from Tucson. I wasn't going to be getting off of work until about 6-7pm on Friday night, so we elected to save the $100 hotel room cost and drive up the morning of the race.

We woke up at 3am and we were out the door at 3:55am, arriving at McDowell Mountain Park in Fountain Hills at 6:20am. Bib and shirt in hand, we then sat in my warm Subaru Outback (heated seats!) . It was cold! 

The 50 miler started at 7am, so we got out at 6:50am and Dallas went to the bathroom one last time. As he was still in the port-o-potty, the race started! He got out and scrambled across the start line, a minute behind the pack already. I felt bad for him and hoped it didn't ruin his race. He reported later that he quickly caught up to everyone and began passing people.

I got ready to head out on the 50k, which started at 7:30am. After the start, it warmed up quickly. We were in a train, and I wasn't passing anyone for a bit; I always start races out slow. I settled in to a good pace on the easy desert trails.

I couldn't tell you what trails we were running at first, but eventually, we got on the good 'ole Pemberton trail for a little bit, eventually cutting over to Dixie Mine trail and the aid station turnaround.  I saw the front runners of the 50 mile blow past me at this point (the were on a slightly different course). As I descended to the aid station, I was also seeing the front runners of the 50k, since this little section was an out and back. We had been climbing uphill slightly since about mile 3, so it was nice to drop into some downhill coming into the aid station around mile 10.5.

Heading into Dixie Mine AS

We had to climb back out for a few minutes, which is when I ran into Korey in 3rd place for the 50 miler! I didn't get to see Dallas on the course. :(

Around this time, some runner coming the opposite direction asked me, 'Is your last name Taco Bell?' I told him 'No!?!?' and kept going. That was so weirdly random.

I latched on to a guy (Jeff was his name I found out later) with a yellow shirt and yellow water bottles around mile 11, which is when some screaming downhill started. I would follow him fairly closely for the rest of the race. He was my pacer! When he ran, I made myself run. When he hiked uphill, I did, too. He was good motivation.

Climbing back up from Dixie Mine - there is Jeff behind me!

Even though it was downhill all the way down Tonto Tank trail, I was having energy issues until arriving at mile 19.5 aid station. I don't think I was eating enough. I filled my pack up again with ice and water and Hammer Endurolyte Fizz and downed my Perpetuem. I took about 5 minutes, my longest break at an aid station yet. A lot of people passed me, but within a few miles, I caught up to most of them.

Even though the Perpetuem helped a little, the last 12 miles of the race were brutal! Hot, lots of rolling hills, steep climbs and descents! We were on a competitive track for mountain bikers. 5.5 miles before the finish, you actually go into the finish line, then head out for another final loop. Some runners actually dropped here.

On this last technical loop, I was thinking of how cruel it was to end a race this way - then Jeff turned around and said, 'This is cruel!' I laughed. The climbs were 'put your hands on your knees' steep.

However, in the last 12 miles, I passed about 10 people. I may not be fast, but I'm consistent if I start the race at a reasonable pace.

I was so glad to be finished. We got a finisher's pint glass with pink lettering on it! 

Total distance: 31.56 miles
Total time: 6:05:49
Total elevation gain: 2,326 feet (not much for a 50k, but this definitely was no Pemberton 50k!)  All of the little rollers in this race really wore me out.

I was 6th female overall - 30th place.

I had to wait for Dallas to finish, so I showered, ate (thanks Patti Coury - homemade potato soup and quesadillas with avocado and salsa!) and yacked with other runners (one of my favorite things to do).

I got to see Korey Konga from our TTR group come in first place in the 50 mile! His first 50 mile finish and he wins it! Amazing.

Dallas came in at 10:25, looking dehydrated, but happy! He was 15th place! His first official ultra race since Javelina 100, which was 13 months ago.

We left Fountain Hills for our 2.5 hour drive home, stopping at In and Out Burger. I ate 2 burgers and fries! Dallas was still not feeling good - very nauseous, so he didn't eat much. We finally arrived back at Tucson at 9:30 pm, happy to be home.

I recovered very fast from this race - not much muscle soreness at all. However, I re-aggravated my right anterior tibial tendon where it hits the front of the ankle. I think I crunched it early on in the race with all of the little dips and turns in the trail. It isn't bad, not like it was in the Spring, for sure. So, two weeks off to rest. Two 50 milers in the next 6 months is the goal, so a little repair now will be good. I feel in really good shape and hope to go into this next running season injury free.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

TTR Redington 50k

This is the 3rd time that I have attempted the entire 50k. 2 years ago, I got lost near Bellota Ranch with Alli and Glenn, but last year, I ran really well and finished in 7:13. That didn't happen this year.

The run starts from Prison Camp off of Catalina Highway. It runs on the Bellota trail (which is Arizona trail) through Molino Basin and over a ridge towards Redington Rd. There is a lot of up and down, but it is fairly runnable. It is an out and back, about 15.5 miles each way.

Getting it together!

The masses gathering...

I started out slow, and kept it steady all the way to the aid station, which is at Redington Rd (about 13.5 miles in). I got to run quite a bit with Chia-Chi and Steve-O, but they turned around after 10 miles and headed back. 

I dropped off a few things in my drop bag, but didn't reload, as there is about 2 more miles out towards an AZ trail sign and then back to the aid station. I would then reload gels/bars and fill my pack with Hammer Endurolytes Fizz tablets and cold water. I also had some Perpetuem that I knew would revive me. 

As soon as I got back to the aid station, manned by Pete, he told me, "I hope you didn't need your drop bag; I sent it back to the finish with Ross." I freaked out (and later apologized profusely). I had none of the stuff that works for me! Julie was there and offered me a few peanut butter Gu gels (which I wasn't fond of, but I was grateful) and some tablets that she said were like alfalfa with electrolytes. I was worried that I wouldn't have any electrolytes for the way back - it was going to be hot as usual on that exposed trail. I grabbed 4 fig newtons and was on my way. 

It burst my bubble. I tried to get beyond it, but I was pretty mad. Why would they take my drop bag back before I had a chance to use it? I think they thought I had already gotten what I needed out of it, I guess. Pete later admitted it was a mistake.

I did think a lot about the kindness of Pete, Julie and Tonja. They were trying to offer me various things (salt and PB and crackers, for example) but I tried to take what I thought would work for me. Julie giving me those gels and tablets - how nice that was.

My energy started to wane on the way back - I wasn't eating enough and those electrolyte pills didn't help at all. I finally ran into Christie at about mile 23 or so? We ran together for a few miles - she wasn't feeling good. I told her my tale of woe and she gave me a few peppermint gels. They were pretty good! She had also stashed an ice cold bottle of Nuun flavored water at the tank (around mile 25?) and shared it with me! So kind! 

Right before the Nuun, I fell pretty good, wiping out my knee and hands. Ouch! I used my white hankerchief and mopped up the knee until it quit bleeding so much. My legs were also pretty scratched up from catclaw. What a sight.

Christie noticed Dallas on the ridge and I slowly caught up to him, with Christie dropping back a bit. Dallas had a variety of aches and pains and wasn't feeling very good either. We hiked like crazy up the ridge and after getting to the top, we started doing a little running. It was super hot, though! I think around 82 degrees, but at 4,500 feet elevation, it really was a scorcher. This run is all exposed.

We walked/ran the last 2+ miles between Molino Basin and Prison Camp. I was pretty tired. Dallas was trying to get me to head on a few times, but I kept waiting for him. We were going to run this in together! And we did.

At the finish. So glad to be done in this Fall heat!

Total time: 7:32
Total distance: 31.4 miles
Total elevation gain: 4,635 feet

Not as fast as last year, but I got 'er done. The lesson from today? If the game changes, I can still survive. Being thrown off course with no drop bag, I got to experience kindness from Julie, Pete, Tonja, Christie and Dallas. I got to finish with Dallas, too! Sometimes you just don't know what is in store for you - you have to be open to what the universe throws at you.

Another 50k in two weeks on 12/8.

McDowell Mountain Frenzy 50

Sunday, November 18, 2012

TTR Mt. Lemmon Ascent

This TTR run is always held the same weekend every year. Some years, the turnout has been small (under 10 people). This year, we had around 25 people do the whole enchilada!

We run from Sabino Canyon, up the tram road, and take the connector to Sabino trail. After hitting the basin, we run out on West Fork trail, past the Cathedral Rock and Romero Pools trail intersections, and then straight up the mountain on Lemmon trail. The run is a son of a biscuit eater, for sure.

After hitting West Fork, I started feeling lousy. Dallas was running with me and we had a few people around us, but we were in the back of the pack (not for long - a lot of runners missed the trail and ended up bouldering somewhere around Hutch's Pools). 

My gut was in a knot and cramping and my energy was gone. I had hiked Tumamoc Hill the day before (only 3 miles, 700 feet elevation gain), so I assumed my tiredness was from that. I had eaten an expired gel (discounted from The Running Shop), which had never bothered me before, but I likewise assumed that was why my stomach was in so much pain.

I concluded the next day that I had some sort of stomach bug. It has been going around. (I probably won't eat the rest of those expired gels, though, just in case!)

Needless to say, I stopped numerous times to double over in pain. I had a hard time eating, which wasn't helping my energy. I thought at one point that I wouldn't be able to go on.

I persevered. I always do. And Dallas was there to help. 

This is one of our hardest runs. It climbs about 2,300 feet in the first 10 miles. The last 9 miles is about 5,000 feet of elevation gain and is very steep and difficult. Looking out East from West Fork as we started climbing was beautiful, though.

I felt better for a little bit as we got closer to the top, but it was pretty hard to keep it together. My stomach was in full revolt. Thank goodness for the pretty landscape to look at. This run is so freaking steep!

We ran into Gene and Ross near the top. Dallas stopped and chatted for a minute or so; I was on a roll, so I kept going!

Before we finished, we were passed by a lot of the runners that had gotten off course. Dallas kept pushing me so we would get done in under 6 hours, which was my goal. Previously, I had only done this run once, in 2009, and it took me 6:01. 

We did it!

Total distance: 18.78 miles
Total elevation gain: 7,287 feet
Total time: 5:53

Old Pueblo 50 mile and Zane Grey 50 mile training has begun. The TTR Redington 50k is next week!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Everyone Runs Half Marathon

This ultrarunner is really getting too old for half marathons on pavement! I haven't been doing any speedwork, so it ended up being a difficult run. I ran as fast as I could, but hit a wall at 10 miles and slowed down a bit. It was really cold at the start, and I ended up overdressing and became fairly warm halfway through the race.

Total distance: 13.1 miles
Time: 1:55:02 

I finished 5th in my new age group (45-49). I missed 3rd place by one minute and 7 seconds. I'll take it!

It was 3 weeks after Grand Canyon R2R2R, but I think I recovered well. Wasn't my fastest time, but given that I've been training for massive uphills and not fast and flat running, I was happy with it. Not sure if I'll ever do another one (I think I may be done with pavement forever), but Everyone Runs has the best races. A long sleeve shirt that actually fits my small frame, a great breakfast, and a good course.

Back to the long, long runs with lots of uphill starting next week! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Grand Canyon R2R2R

Otherwise known as a 'double crossing'.

Dallas and I were going to do this run last October, but I tore a ligament in my groin over the summer. I recovered just in time for us to hike/run down to the river and back (17 miles). So, this trip for us was over a year and a half in planning. As the trip got closer, the anticipation mounted. We were excited to do our first Grand Canyon R2R2R.

We arrived on Sunday from Tucson and checked into the Bright Angel Lodge (we made reservations 10 months in advance). The wind was howling; it was expected to be about 25 mph winds with stronger gusts the following day. Clouds were building and we were a little worried. Nothing to do about it now, so we settled down to sleep after some soup and mashed potatoes and gravy at the Bright Angel Lodge restaurant.

We awoke at 4:30am and got ourselves ready to go. We caught the first 'Hikers Express' shuttle at 6am, arriving at South Kaibab trailhead to start the run at 6:33am. The wind was really blowing, making the air temperature feel pretty cold; the actual temperature was around 40 degrees. We put on rain jackets over our long-sleeve shirts to keep the cold wind out.

The elevation at this TH is 7,260 feet. There is no water all along it, but we carried enough to get down to Phantom Ranch. There are several bathrooms along the way, too, which is nice.

Here we go...

The sun was just starting to come up over the horizon when we left the TH. I can't imagine missing this part of the run - some people start in the dark or go up/down Bright Angel and skip this trail. It is one of the best parts of the run! So beautiful. If you can, descend on this trail first, right at sunrise. 

The wind was really howling as we descended the steep South Kaibab trail. A few times, I crouched down in some really exposed areas out of fear of getting blown off. With the dark clouds looming over the North, the weather was feeling ominous. We decided we would go with it and make good decisions to turn around if we needed to.

Just a small dropoff.

We passed a few mule trains coming up, but both of them at a good spot to pass.

Shortly before reaching the river, my legs were already feeling a little wobbly from the 7 miles of downhill. I tripped and took a fall about a quarter mile from the river. I just scraped my knee, but I didn't realize it until I got down to the river that I didn't have my brand new Nikkon Coolpix camera (Dallas got it for me for my birthday!) We concluded it must have fallen out of my pack when I tripped, so back up we went. Dallas went ahead and got it, but the delay set us back about 7 minutes. At least I realized it when I did. 

Onward across the Colorado river and on to Phantom Ranch!

We arrived at Phantom Ranch at 2:05 into the run. We took a 10 minute break, and refilled our packs with water. It was too early in the morning for lemonaide and we knew we wouldn't make it back before they closed, so we moved on. 

We then headed gently uphill towards the North Rim through 'the box', a deep canyon along Bright Angel Creek with quite a bit of shade. That cloud cover was now paying off. We ran a lot of this section at a good pace as we crossed bridge after bridge. 

We arrived at Cottonwood Campground, which is about halfway up to the North Rim, at 3:50 into the run. We ran into a few 'double crossing' hikers and took about a 10 minute break, filling our packs from the water spigot. I ate one of the avocado wraps we made and it was delicious!

Everything is good...for now.

There was still a few more miles that were fairly runnable and we were feeling good.

About 5 miles before the top, we started climbing pretty steep. While there were a few small runnable spots, we mostly hiked from this spot until we reached the top of the North Rim. 

We stopped briefly right past Supai Tunnel and refilled some water, meeting a gal that was also doing a double crossing, but was ahead of us a bit going the other way.

Right before the wheels came off the bus!!

Dallas started feeling lousy at this part of the run. Afterwards, he concluded that he was just carrying too much water and his pack was weighing him down and tiring him out.  And, he was probably a little dehydrated. Usually, it is me that gets a little testy in a long run; this time, the tables were turned. At some point, he was irritated and said, "you are too positive me for me right now." Misery loves company. :)

Not in the mood for pictures at this scenic overlook...

There goes grumpy...

The last few miles got slower and slower as we hiked the steep inclines. Surrounded by fall's changing colors, I was really enjoying this part of the journey. But, it was hard. The North Rim is at 8,250 feet elevation, so it is quite a climb from Phantom Ranch, which is 2,480 feet elevation.

We reached the North Rim TH at 6:40 into the run; shortly after 1pm. It was freezing, so we didn't stay long!

I took some Hammer Perpetuem and we finished off the avocado wraps. We only stayed about 5 minutes or so and down we went! It was pretty steep, but most of it was runnable. We ran into a lot of day hikers who were a little more than amazed at what we were doing.

Love running downhill

The food and the downhill must have revived Dallas; he was now a running machine. The drop is almost 2,000 feet in 3-4 miles, so you can fly downhill! Have to be careful, though; there are some pretty exposed areas. I wouldn't want to take a fall through some of the cliffs we were running on!

My left big toe was really aggravating me; the downhill is steep and my toe was jamming. I've never lost a toenail, so I was worried. Thankfully, nothing happened to it, but it was darn sore for about 5-6 miles.

We pretty much ran from the North Rim all the way back to Phantom Ranch - about 14 miles. It was fun.

We made it back to Phantom Ranch at 10:15 into the run. It was now almost 5pm; the hoards of people staying the night there were waiting to eat dinner. And, they were staring at us like we were lunatics. This really annoyed Dallas. We had a few people come up and talk to us about what we were doing.

We got our packs refilled, split the last almond butter and jelly sandwich and headed out after a 15 minute break. We were ready to be done...

We crossed the Colorado river one last time and headed down Bright Angel trail. Eventually, the river went out of view and we started working our way out of the canyon.

Silver Bridge - starting Bright Angel trail

The 'Beach' near the river on Bright Angel trail

One long last lookback before the sun goes down.

There were a few water crossings, and we ended up getting our feet wet. It wasn't cold, thankfully, so it felt good. Around 6pm, we donned our headlamps and continued up Bright Angel trail. I did not run at all that I can remember once it got dark. We started up the steep switchbacks, which seemed never ending.

There was more water on the trail about halfway up; not sure where it was coming from, but we were careful to avoid slipping.

The last 3 miles were so ridiculously hard. It felt so long - switchback after switchback, we just put one foot in front of the other. Dallas had another small down spot; he felt dizzy and wasn't feeling well. I was worried! I have never run with him when he wasn't feeling well (it is usually me that is melting down!) Nevertheless, the trooper he is, he carried on. That's the great thing about Dallas and me; we know we can count on the other to pull it on through!!

We were worried we would get cold, but we never had to pull out our layers. I did put my gloves back on, but the thought of stopping to do anything more than that at this point seemed like too much. I can get a little task apathy late in the game of a long run.

We finally reached Bright Angel TH at the South Rim in 14:03. We made it - completed our first Grand Canyon R2R2R! I was hooting and hollering when I saw the TH sign. 

It was cold at the top; the wind was blowing and it was freezing to the bone. We hurried on to the Bright Angel restaurant. Our goal was to finish before 10pm so we could get some hot food and it was a little after 8:30pm. Yay!

Soup and mashed potatoes and gravy again to go and back to the room. We took our shoes, socks and gaiters off outside the room; the orange dirt was everywhere!!!

My feet were really sore before I went to bed. Dallas had some Biofreeze gel, and that really helped. The room had one double and one single bed. We decided to sleep in separate beds. We know enough about each other to know that we were not going to sleep well. Our body heat runs high after an ultra and we both flop like fish all night from the pain. It was weird, but good. I got a little sleep, but not much after all. Such is how it is after an ultra.

I feel like I ate and drank well. For my record, I ate:
5 Gu gels
4 Gu blocks
1/2 almond butter and jelly sandwich
2 scoops of Perpetuem
1 and a half avocado wraps (small tortillas)
5 or 6 large chunks of TJ's dried mango (with chile spice!)
2 'fruit chia' bars
1/2 Probar (I couldn't finish it for anything!)
1 coconut Larabar
Handful of gummy bears
Ginger chew

About 2,500 calories, I estimated. I would bring more 'real' food next time, as the bars were hard to eat. I just wasn't in the mood for them (although the 'fruit chia' bars are delicious).  I drank about 250 ounces of water on the run - I kept adding the Hammer Endurolytes Fizz tablets to my hydration bladder. I also used Hammer Anti-Fatigue caps. 2 before the run, and one every hour after that. They really work.

I felt like we were fairly well trained, for the most part. I was really sore in my calves for about 6 days; the downhill really pounds them. Next time, I would run Mt. Hopkins a second time to get a lot more downhill training in.

My mood was the most even that it has ever been on a run; no meltdowns or down moments. I stayed pretty positive the whole time, which was awesome!

What a feeling of accomplishment. Dallas and I agreed we would do our first GC double crossing together. What a wonderful thing to share with each other.

I am super proud of what we did. I turned 45 years old two days before this run; there was no better way to celebrate than running 45 miles in one of the 'grandest' places ever. And, with my best friend.