Sunday, January 16, 2011

Ghost Town 38.5 Race Report

Dallas and I took off Saturday morning for Hillsboro, NM, the site of the 6th annual Ghost Town 38.5 mile race. It was my second running of this race. I hoped to beat my last year's time of 8:27, but with a tweaky shin the last few weeks, I wasn't so sure.

This would be the last running of the Ghost Town 38.5 - Susan, the RD, was moving on to other pursuits in life. I was glad I signed up. Plus, it is a great precursor run for the Old Pueblo 50 miler, which I'll be doing March 5th.

We got our bib/goodie bag about 3pm, left our drop bags and headed to the Black Range Lodge in Kingston, about 15 minutes away, where we planned to stay both the night before and after the race.

We were staying in a 'house' across from the lodge. This meant sharing our space (kitchen/living room/bathrooms) with other runners (which ended up being awesome!!!) However, I was worried when the manager (George) took us downstairs to the basement to the absolute yuckiest room there was - a prison cell.
Yes, we had to put our bags outside the room while we slept...there was no space!

The rest of the house was nice and other runners only paid a little more than us for much better rooms with windows, etc. And, we were charged $75 a night!

Later, we heard one of the runners upstairs was vacating the next night, so we asked George if we could switch rooms for Sunday night. He was good with that, and I was happy; we'd have our own bathroom. We still had to spend Saturday night before the race in 'the cell' - needless to say, the bed was awful, and we did not sleep good. At least we knew we would be upgraded the night after the race!

Okay, on with the race report!

Before we went to bed, we got to chat with the other runners in the house - Christian, Ed, Erik, Shannon, Ryan, Tom, Bill and Jeff. It was exciting waking up on race day with all of their rowdiness in the air. Lots of ruckus and mayhem, and finally, we were all headed to the race start.
'Da corker NM stylee' and 'King D' (Christian's nicknames for us!)
The race started at 6am and we were off in the dark, but shortly thereafter, a beautiful sunrise was happening behind us. The first 6 miles are on road and are uphill, but I hardly felt it with the dark hiding the gentle incline.

After turning off the road at Junction aid station, we were headed down a dirt road with lots of rollers.

I love the Gila forest!!!

Before long, we arrived at Stone Hut aid station - mile 9.5. Nice volunteers at these aid stations!!!

That's Scout from Tucson on the left - we met her out there. Scout - if you read my blog, email me so I can get you connected to the Tucson trail running community!

My shin/calf problem seemed to be staying in the background for now, which I was happy about.

Onward to the spur. The spur is an out and back trail off the dirt road, which was loaded with snow. I had a hard time enjoying it, because I couldn't get good traction in the snow. But, it was so beautiful, and I secretly was having a good time. :)

I did enjoy seeing all of the new friends on the trail that we had just met in our temporary house. We didn't know anyone else doing the race, so I really enjoyed the comraderie we had with our newly found friends.

New friend/housemate Tom from Arkansas

New friend/housemate Shannon
Crazy new friend/housemate Erik from Texas

Dang, the last part of the spur is steep.

We topped out on the spur and were treated to this:

Beware of the scary guy (Steve) and the crying towel

Yikes! That got us moving along! :)

Onward to Hilltop aid station at mile 16, where I saw Adrian from last year's GT! I ran with him a while last year, but he was volunteering this year. We saw our friend Erik drinking a Tecate. You see it all at ultraraces...

I wasn't eating much at aid stations, but they had lots of food. A banana, some V-8, and we were off! We ran into our new friend/housemate Christian, who was already on the way back from the 'out' point.

He finished in 9th place! Check out his website -

After this is when things started getting hairy for me.
I started having an asthma attack and we were headed uphill  and dowhill endlessly on rocky trails and into more snow.

Hey, at least I try to look good doing it!!

The asthma attack would lay on me for another 4 hours. Mentally, I was in a dark place! Dallas kept being the usual positive guy he is and I kept on with relentless forward motion.

Back at Vista aid station - draggin'....
I think Dallas is leaning on me? :)
Truckin' along around mile 30 or so...

Somewhere in here, I swore off ultrarunning! Dallas said we would discuss this matter after the race. He knows the deal...we all swear off running/ultrarunning from time to time during a race/long run.

And before long, we were back on the road for the final 6 miles. We passed a few people - one was Mary B. from CO, who said, 'No, that's not in my plan!' I laughed - I understand that feeling! She came in right behind me, though.

The runner's cars came into view and we knew we were almost done! All of our new friends were waiting there at the finish and slapped our hands as we came in.

Felt good to be done. We picked up our finisher awards - a pair of Moeben sleeves - I got the tie dye ones to match the Moeben skirt I have. I'll be stylin'!

There was a lot of food to eat post-race; Susan makes the best enchiladas, and there was also soup, chocolate chip cookies, bread, king cake (yum!!!), you name it. Later that evening, we went back for grilled burgers and a lot of other food. Susan knows how to do race food. We were stuffed.

Total distance: 38.5 miles (Garmin said 38.27)
Total time: 8:40:47
AEG: 4,542 feet
Highest elevation: 6,915 feet
Lowest elevation: 5,312 feet

Not quite as good as last year's time, which was 8:27. But, all the runners agreed that the snow was heavier this year, and with my 4 hour asthma attack, I think I did pretty well. I came in 5/19 women, and 37/69 overall. I'm sure Dallas could have finished top 10, but he ran with me and talked me through the mental demons when it seemed like I couldn't overcome my own mind. Thank you Dallas! ♥

Oh, and it all looked different in the days following the race. I am an ultrarunner, and a few days after GT, I was putting it all in perspective, realizing that I did have fun; that I had met some really cool, awesome ultrarunners, who were now friending me on FB; that I met myself out on the trail once again and overcame that dark voice; that I truly could not wait to get back out there on a trail, doing what I love - experiencing the beauty of the great outdoors with people that I care about and who care about me.

This trip was one of the best race experiences I've had. Staying in that house with those other runners, talking race/running shop with them all evening after the race - I wouldn't have missed it for the world!

Ryan, Tom, Shannon, Dallas, Christian and Renee

♪ "Let it in,
Let your clarity define you
In the end,
We will only just remember how it feels..." ♫


Chad said...

Great job keeping going when it got so hard. You are definately an ultrarunner!

HappyTrails said...

Blech on that scary dungeon room! Was it clean???!!! How fun, though, in getting to meet and 'live' with some fellow runners and new friends. Great job on finishing a hard race in spite of not feeling so swell. Isn't it nice to have a great guy help you through a tough time???!!! :-) Have a great week!

Herself, the GeekGirl said...

Hey there - someone gave me a link to your blog as the other runner who has asthma trouble! Glad you were able to finish too. PS: those were MY enchiladas. And thanks for the compliment! :-b