Skiing Mt Rose from top to bottom without stopping, I could barely breathe when I finally struggled into the bar. After considering this situation over a beer and several cigarettes, I decided to start running. But it was not cool for girls to run in the 60’s, so I pulled on some tennis shoes and ran around the block before daybreak so no one would see me. Definitely helped my skiing endurance.
Fast forward to the 80’s: I had a stressful job, was drinking way too much and somehow found myself at the Polo Fields in Golden Gate Park, nursing a hangover and watching the ladies proudly finish the Avon Women’s Marathon. I was inspired to run a marathon before turning 40! So I did and ran 4 more just to make sure the first one wasn’t a fluke.
Then it was the 90’s, back to school to retool, even more stressful jobs and my running dwindled to weekend warrior-hood.
Fast forward to 2015 – We purchased a house in Tahoe Donner, I found DPMR online and I did some running on the TD cross country trails, volunteered to work an aid station at the CP 100k, joined in some trail maintenance, and met many folks at the volunteer appreciation party. Great event! I met Peter and asked him if he would work with me to get ready for the Rocky Mountain ½ Marathon – I thought it sounded cool and I could visit my cousin’s kids in Boulder. However, I ran into a snag – what I thought was sciatica turned out to be a pinched disk between L4-L5. I was finally able to get it corrected in February 2016 and started working with Peter in March. I also finally retired in May and we came up to our new place in June for the summer.
After a few weeks running at Tahoe, I thought “why go to Boulder when the glory of the mountains is right out our front door?” Change of plans – Peter suggested Broken Arrow then thought better of it since the course was 25% snow-covered and I had really no experience running in snow. So it was the Burton Creek ½ marathon in June. I finished; it wasn’t pretty, but I made it, coming in dead last but 1st in my age group!
With that, Peter suggested I consider the Sierra Crest 30K. At first, I was reluctant – 18 miles? Really? Then I remembered the DPMR tag line: “unafraid” and decided to stop whining to myself and “just do it”. Peter had me out on the course in bits and pieces to learn the route. I faithfully went to the Tuesday morning hill repeat/speed workouts. I always brought up the rear but everyone was so supportive, coming back to find me when I had taken a wrong turn and giving lots of encouragement. What a wonderful experience!
So race day, off we went. I was as prepared as I was going to be at that point in time. For the most part I was at the back of the pack. Once we merged onto the Sunrise Bowl trail heading for Glacier, the 1st woman from the 50K passed me….way to go!!
Mike Kreaden passed me coming out of the Glacier aid stop – it was great to see a familiar face – he was looking good. Then up the DRT and down to the bottom of Johnson Canyon; saw Javier – another familiar face and high 5 on the way down. So far, so good. I’m staying hydrated and eating my favorite energy bars – one every hour.
At the bottom, we take a turn and I see the “hill from hell”. I remember running up this road during a training run, but I don’t remember this thing being this steep…or this long!! Where is the turn for the single track?! Keep going…. aaah, there it is – I’m much more comfortable now and already at mile 13 or so. Only 5 more miles to go; I can do this!
Then I saw a fellow on one of the little bridges – he was not feeling well. Altitude? At that point, a bicycling trail monitor appeared and I felt OK about leaving him. Now, I’m on the approach to Summit Lake. Mone’ sailed by giving me sweet salutations and encouragement – go girl!! Then 2 ladies sitting in the grass under a tree – also not feeling well. Can I help? Food? Water? No, thanks, so I keep going. At Summit Lake, keep going. About 4 more miles to go.
I’m now dogging a gal who passed me a while back before Summit Lake. I don’t want to let her out of my sight; she becomes my nemesis. My foot hurts like hell; I pop a fist-full of acetaminophen and keep going. I see my nemesis at the 3rd aid station and asked how far to the finish – 3 more miles. I thought it was only 2! Whereupon a gal standing beside me looks at me and says “it’s better than 4”! You’re right!!
With that, I shot out of the aid station, heading for the finish line, leaving my nemesis behind and muttering to myself “just do it”. Finally, under the freeway and onto the Boreal parking lot for the last circle through the Boreal bushes to the finish line. Why, I ask you do we need to run a circle in the bushes. Just keep going – don’t let up now!!
I finished!! Peg was there to greet me as were Rebecca, and Mone’. What a high!! And I was not last this time, my pace was pretty much as planned, and I beat “nemesis girl”!!
Ladies and gentlemen of DPMR: I so appreciate your support and encouragement….maybe, just maybe, there’s an ultra in my future – maybe next year.