We quite literally, merrily headed outta town Friday morning, heading east to colorful Colorado. It was a long drive, but I've come to the conclusion that my friends who are also my running tribe do not run out of things to talk about. You name it, we talked or laughed about it. We rented a cute little house 10 minutes from the start line. The evening before the race was full. Packet Pick-up, quick shopping trip, and dinner. Need to point out Fort Collins is a jumping town! Main street is packed with brewery's, restaurants, shops, and college kids oozing from every corner. It was also graduation weekend, there were people everywhere! After a really fun dinner consisting of 2 beers and mediocre at best fish, but outstanding chips (potato, potato, potato...) we piled back in Jill's truck and headed to the house. Drop bags, race clothes out, bed.
RACE MORNING!...came early
Coffee started peculating at 3:00am. One by one we began milling. The scents of Coffee, Sunscreen, and Desitin filled the kitchen and living room. Bibs pinned, shoes tied, poop again, and we're out the door. It was pretty warm, for a May Colorado morning at 4:45am. Quick shot over to the start line. We snagged a parking spot right next to the start line due to our untouchable car pool game. It's gonna be a good day, i could feel it, man! And, we were off.
From here, I can only account my version of this race, but I can say I think we were all pretty stunned by the outcome. The first 10 miles were great and runnable. The scenery was on point, and the first 2 hours flew by. I glided in to the first aid station Towers for the first time, grabbed a watermelon and headed out behind Betsy. Cheryl, Jill,and Dee were ahead and outta eye sight. Betsy and I pushed in to the Horestooth Aid (mile 10+) at the same time, and 10 minutes under my personal goal time to get there. The cut-off's to this race are tight. Betsy heads out. I'm slightly behind at this point, because it was getting HOT and I wanted to start icing my neck immediately. blah, blah, blah for 4 miles back up to Towers (for the second time) and exactly where everything went backwards (sincerely) for me. I saw Betsy just before the she popped out on the dirt road leading to the aid station (mile 14ish) In true Betsy fashion she was outta the aid station like lightening and I didn't see her when I arrived a few minutes later. I got more ice, I ate some more watermelon, I asked a volunteer if I needed to check out, and I proceeded down the wrong trail. How? I'll tell why it's there fault, then how it was mine. There were 2 trails out of Towers Aid. There were 2 distances in the Quad Rock. The 25 milers were coming in from a dirt road, and the 50 mile racers were coming in from an adjacent dirt road... let's see if I can draw this how I see it in my head right now
No, my 5 year old didn't draw that, I did.
So, how is it there fault? In my opinion there should have been a sign and or person at each trail signaling runners to their course trail. Or, at least checking the 50 mile runners in and out of that aid station. There was no timing mat at this aid, but I still think a written check in-out could have helped air heads like myself...which brings me to...
So, how is it my fault? Those awesome colorful triangles in my portrait above are flags. In hindsight, I should have realized that was a "barrier" for the 50 milers to take the trail to the left . However, back to their fault. I went right to the tables and never knew there was another trail out of Towers. I actually thought the flags were blocking off the dirt road which we came up earlier in the morning, which was now the trail the 25 milers were coming up into Towers. (confused yet?) (Well, clearly I was) Back to my fault, I should have read the course description. And, actually I usually do study the course before hand.so, my fail. Also, it should have tipped me off that I had been on the trail to the right before. It was really sweet downhill for about 5 miles, and I was just on it maybe 1 and a half hours ago.
So, after getting food, ice, coke I said to a volunteer at the (wrong) trail head, "Do I need to check out" She said No, you're good, squirted me with water, and I proceeded down. I wondered why so many people were speeding by me, but WHY didn't dawn on me until I hit Hoorsetooth trail again.
After a bit (a lot) of cursing and holding back of tears. I decided to get aid and continue back up to Towers the exact way I went up before, take the correct trail this time, and continue on to the Start/Finish. Knowing very well that I would miss the cut off's to finish the 50 miler, I came to peace with it pretty quickly with the notion that my goal races are Bighorn 100, Wasatch 100, and The Bear 100. I would get 34 or 35 miles and heat training out of the Quad Rock 50 miler.
I ran into the always lovely Eve who was running the 25 mile race. She allowed me to curse and vent some more. We chatted for awhile, and I dropped behind her for the big climb back to Towers. At this point, Quad Rock had turned into a training run. I didn't have a chance in heaven or Hell to make the first cut off with my course mistake, so I didn't push hard from there on out. blah blah blah, back to Towers, down the correct trail, into Arthurs, out of Arthurs, climbing up one last time until the descent to the start/finish. After Arthurs, I expected to cross the girls paths as they continued on their counter clockwise direction of the course. Where is everyone?? Perhaps I followed a trail of boy scouts or a heard of deer this time and missed the course again? Perhaps I was daydreaming and took a turn to head back to Hoorsetooth for the third time? :) But no, I was on course. Finally, I see Carrie, Dee, and Jill. They made the first cut off at the turn around, yay! They were trucking on to Arthurs but chasing the second cut -off. Betsy and Cheryl were done for the day due to cut off's and pains.
I had to force down a bonk bar to get the last 2 miles under my belt to the finish. When I came in, everyone was there, and done for the day. None of us were able to get in under those cut-offs for the 50 mile finish. What. The. (You Know what Im gonna say...F!)
For a little perspective...I went on UltraSignup ,Jill and Dee have never missed a cut-off. Between the 2 of them alone, they have 165 races recorded on Ultra Sign up. This ain't their first Rodeo, know what i mean?
(I am not sure about Betsy, Cheryl, and Carrie) But, I do know there's another combined 110 races between Betsy, Cheryl, Carrie, and myself. So..here's what I'm having trouble processing, and you can make your own conclusions, obviously:) But, that's 6 strong and tough women who have ran, according to ultrasignup, 275 races (and mind you, more than that, as all races aren't recorded on UltraSignUp) who couldn't make the cut -off's for the Quad Rock 50.
Perhaps, it just wasn't our day. Perhaps, (speaking for me only) this is not a race for me. Even though I took a detour that didn't give me a chance of making up time in this race, I don't think I could have made it past the second cut off, even if I managed to get it under the first. It allows little to no margin of error or hiccups for a back or middle of the pack runner (in my very humbled opinion)
So, we didn't get what we went out for, but that's life. We all walked away with a 25 mile finish medal, and a long day in a beautiful place. Beers and food afterwards eased the sting. We headed back to Salt Lake early Sunday morning. It was Mother's Day, and as much as i couldn't wait to spend it with my little babes, it was also pretty great to spend the morning with my second family. We will get em' next time.
- Scout Mountain 35k
- Bighorn 100
- Speedgoat 50k
- Wasatch 100
- The Bear 100
- The couch for a month