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    Terri Rylander

    Are We There Yet?

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    Trail running through the Bryce hoo doos

    The change to the new year always brings a fresh, optimistic perspective on things. I fell for it, hook, line, and sinker. Feeling like I am certainly on the road to recovery and maybe even normalcy, I signed up for two summertime races – the Bryce 50k and Tushars Half Marathon. The Bryce race runs just outside the park but lets you experience the crazy hoo doos of the area up close. Tushars is a mountain climb to over 12k feet and back and the previous pics are gorgeous. I hesitate calling them races as they are more like hiking experiences for me with some running thrown in.

    It seemed all spring I was feeling better and better. Back to sleeping just 8 hrs instead of 10-12 and waking up feeling like I was actually awake. I’d been walking and running some, trying to be as regular as I could around my other activities, especially putting on the Mesquite Senior Games which takes quite a bit of time and effort every spring. Maybe my actual lack of regular running was helping?

    Anyway, it’s so easy to be inspired from the armchair. Reading trail running magazines, watching videos, and just seeing other people enjoy the mountain trails makes me think there’s no reason I couldn’t be doing that too. They make it look so easy, like even I could do it. And, the pictures are SO beautiful that I want to be there too. The dopamine that makes brings on addictive tendencies is surely present.

    The hard part is that after my work with Mesquite Senior Games wraps up, our weather immediately turns hot. That makes training extremely difficult. Local trail runs can be dangerously hot during the day so I tend to run roads at night, with an occasional nighttime trail run up on our mesa. There is not a whole lot of elevation gain and certainly no real altitude to train by, but you do what you can.

    Gathering for the race start

    Given my lack of training, a month prior I smartly downgraded to the Bryce Half which is only 13 miles instead of 31. Race day came and the weather was gorgeous. However, it had been and would be a good 10-15 degrees hotter than normal. Right away, the race took off up the mountain. It was a hiking congo line which was great for me. Allowed me to get warmed up before being peer-pressured to run.

    The hoo doos were awesome. Getting to hike/run right beside them was something else. Did I mention we went uphill? Up and up and up. Until mile 4 when it went back down to the road. That was a sweet stretch and I ran the whole way. From the aid station there, we hiked and ran another mile back towards the hoo doos through a sparse forest. It was getting HOT. I was doing well hydrating, but the sun was intense at 9000 ft.

    After leaving the forest, the trail began a serious climb! Switchbacks that had you resting every time you got to the corner. Lots of people sitting along the side. It was exposed and hot. Once at what we thought was the top, I started not to feel well. I was still drinking but my stomach felt nauseated and my body was overheating. I was passing people sitting but also being passed as I was going pretty slow.

    By mile 11, I threw up on the side of the trail. Immediately felt a bit better and was able to run the slight downhills before the next uphills. I passed someone laying down with friends helping her. Soon, I was nauseated again. At mile 13, I was sitting on a rock when another racer insisted he helped me find shade. I really didn’t want to move and felt horrible, but also felt obligated to let him help me. I walked about 10 feet and laid down on the dirt. He went on and I began dry-heaving. That’s the worst. Someone offered to find me help.

    Before I lost my stomach

    I really didn’t need help. I just needed to keep going and get out of there. At mile 14, I made it to the dirt road leading down to the finish line. Fortunately, I could slowly run and 6.5 hours later, I finished a half marathon. It’s crazy. Others weren’t so lucky. Lots of trail carnage. Rumor has it there were 15 IV bags hung on trees for various downed runners. So glad I didn’t do the 50K!

    While the race was beautiful and it was great to get out and be a part of it, it probably taxed my resources. Still working on eating whole foods, nothing processed, drinking lots of water, and sleeping—lots. Hoping I will have built up some new resources to tackle the Tushars race! Stay tuned.

    False Start in 2017

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    January 1, 2017. After a very tough 2016, full of a variety of mysterious health issues that turned out to be related to Hashimoto’s autoimmune thyroid disease, I resolved to get back on the running track again. I wanted to be driven to a goal, so with lofty exuberance, I signed up for the Bryce 50K in June and the Tushars Half in July. I dusted off an old training plan and, with new hope, I starting running again. Then I got my tests back.

    Getting the thyroid balance right is not easy. Doctors raise your levels very slowly so as not to overdose you. Apparently, too much thyroid hormone can cause heart issues or even strokes. So you spend way too long being under-dosed. For most of 2016, I was tired, cold, foggy, and fat (10lbs up). It sucked but I was willing to be optimistic that I was on the path to getting better. Other people with Hashimoto’s seemed to be able to live active, normal lives so there was no reason I couldn’t.

    In the fall of 2016, I was definitely better than I had been, but still not great. My running had slowed to just a couple days a week at a frustratingly slow pace. But, my thyroid results showed everything was fine! I will never forget my endocrinologist looking directly at me and saying, “I really don’t know what else I can do for you!” I was devastated. Was this my new life? Will I be low-energy and achy forever? This must be what it’s like when you get old. I should just accept it. But I can’t and didn’t.

    Fortunately, I was listening to a podcast one day about functional medicine. It had always been in the back of my mind, but it isn’t covered by my insurance and I wasn’t yet fully convinced that Western medicine couldn’t fix me. Well, I was all over it now. I listened to the same podcast twice. Then I made the decision to give it a try. I pulled $2000 out of my savings and decided I would commit to at least 6 months to see how it goes. I made an appointment that same day.

    Our first meeting was all about history. There was a lot I could say no to. But in a way, that made it harder. If there was something obvious in my past, the treatment path would be more clear. So, we started with two tests to see where I was at. The first is called a GI Map. It’s a test for virus, bacteria, and parasites in your intestines. They check for things like candida, norovirus, h. pylori, c.diff, e.coli, etc. The second test was a hormone test called the DUTCH test. It looks at your various hormone levels 4 times over the course of 24 hours.

    The GI Map tests your poop. Collecting and prepping the sample is kinda gross. The DUTCH test looks at hormones in your pee. You pee on the paper and let it dry to send off. Then I waited and waited. It took over three weeks to get the results. And, the results were quite interesting! I don’t know why Western medicine does not run these as a matter of course. It turns out I tested positive for salmonella, staph, and giardia. What? I never drink unfiltered stream water. Oh, but my dog does… and he likes to lick faces. Crap. (no pun intended)

    The hormone test was a bit more complicated. It showed overly high free cortisol on waking that then plummets all day. Additionally, my other hormones (estrogen, testosterone, progesterone) were all under range too. Turns out to be a sign of adrenal fatigue. Sounds easy – just let it rest. Unfortunately, it needs to rest a long time. Average recovery is 9 months. I also tested high for gluten antibodies and low for gut health. This means my intestines are as porous as can be, letting in all the bad stuff. Plus, now I have to be serious about no gluten. That really sucks.

    All of this news really took the wind out of my sails. A few weeks after the results, I jogged about 7 miles on Saturday and hiked 8 miles on Sunday. Nothing hard and nothing at all compared to what I used to do. But, I paid for it for three days after. I had what is called “wired and tired” where I was anxious but couldn’t sleep, as if I had too much caffeine too late at night. Apparently, your body just does not have any reserves at all.

    I am on a large handful of supplements three times a day, in addition to the normal vitamins and supplements. I have sworn off gluten, as hard as that may be. I am eating and sleeping well. I even started yoga. The supplements will treat safely and slowly versus the quick and dangerous of pharma drugs, especially the anti-parasite drugs. I’ve since gone way over my $2000 budget, but after being on these meds for nearly two months now, my need for thyroid meds has been cut in half and the nodules I have, that so many experience, have shrunk 25%!

    I am ready to give running a try again.

    Grand Canyon Ups and Downs

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    I giggled to myself with excitement when the plans were confirmed. We were crossing the Grand Canyon again!

    Karen, Gary, and I set a date, or rather the availability of rooms set our date for late October. Just after the North Rim closed. Given my health issues this past year and how I had been feeling, I was anxious to prove I was still ok. Also, I was anxious to show my new friend Karen the Canyon as a one day trip. She had backpacked across previously but never done a single day crossing. She wasn’t sure she could!

    We decided to camp out the night before at the North Rim campground. Karen got there first and saved a spot. Gary and I drove up together, arriving just after her. We set up camp, then wandered around the campground and visited the lodge. Looking across the canyon, I anticipated the next day’s crossing. I was sure it would go well.

    My trusty companions

    We started just after sunrise, about 7am. It really wasn’t cold and we had a nice jog down the first few miles. That is, until Karen took a spill and powdered her face and cut her hand. She was ok and we continued on. It was a pretty day and mostly uneventful down to Phantom Ranch where we stopped for a snack and drink.

    From there, we started up the hill. Bright Angel trail is a beast and the day was warming up. I soaked my shoes in every stream crossing but they dried quickly. I was doing really well…until I wasn’t. With four miles to go, at Indian Gardens, I started falling apart.

    It was like all of the sudden I had nothing. Nothing but a gut ache. I had no energy left and felt nauseous. Karen and Gary were a ways ahead but then would stop and wait. I would take 10 steps and was out of breath. With three miles to go, I threw up but there was nothing there but the remains of the water I was sipping. I think it took three hours to go three miles. It was sheer misery.

    Having waited for quite a while at the top, Gary came back down to look for me and coaxed me up. It was long after dark. Just out of the canyon, I had to throw up again so crouched by the sidewalk trying not to be noticed. We waited for the bus to take us to the lodge, but when it came, it was packed. I tried to wave it on, but the people on the bus offered seats. I prayed I wouldn’t throw up on the bus.

    I made it through the 20 minute bus ride and we got checked in. Unfortunately, it was another half mile or more walk to our room. I suggested we get food at the cafeteria before heading to the room. I sat with my head on the table while Gary and Karen ate. A wave of nausea hit me again and I threw up on the table with my head in my arms, hoping no one would notice. Once I got back to the room and laid down, I started to feel better.

    Grand Canyon never disappoints!

    The next day I was totally fine. We had a nice breakfast, except for the horrible service. It was so bad, I complained to the manager and she comped our meal and gave us lunch free too! We toured the canyon having a completely enjoyable day. Karen and I even earned our Junior Ranger badges!

    Spectacular sunrise on South Kaibab

    Heading down the canyon on South Kaibab at sunrise is always a treat. The views are spectacular and you feel one with the canyon. I did my best to stay hydrated, even chugging my water bottle empty as we approached Phantom Ranch. I avoided their lemonade and drank another bottle of water instead. As we geared up, my stomach suddenly felt ill. I quickly ran over to the bushes and threw up again!

    Crap! Now what? There is no way out except up. And, I certainly didn’t want to hold back my companions. What the heck? After sitting for a few minutes, I felt better. But now, I was angry. Why me? Why do I have that body? I offered to take Gary’s hiking poles and then stormed ahead. I hiked fast and hard. It’s funny what anger can do. I stayed 10-15 minutes ahead of them all along Bright Angel to the ranger station.

    That’s where the climb really starts. I have always done fine here, surprisingly. This time was fine too. A little tougher but ok. The last two miles were tough and they were out quite a bit before me, but I made it. We hit Jacob’s Lake for dinner and a room with a shower.

    Overall, it was another wonderful but challenging crossing. Karen did excellent. Gary was strong and supportive as always. Me? I’m still a work in progress.

    Will Wog for Food

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    My journey to find answers to Hashimotos continues. Some days are ok and some are not. None are what I would call good. I have done a ton of research and reading.

    I was surprised to read the numerous articles that suggest Hashimotos, and autoimmune diseases in general, may have a diet component. Specifically, food sensitivities. I have never been one to feel like I was sensitive to food. But, I am open to the idea that some kind of sensitivity is causing my whole body inflammation. Unfortunately, the variety of articles suggest all kinds of possible culprits:

    • Gluten (or even all grains)
    • Dairy (yes, even Greek yogurt)
    • Soy (take a look – it’s in everything!)
    • Nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews, etc.)
    • Legumes (think kidney, garbonzo, green, peas, peanuts, etc.)
    • Nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, potatoes)
    • Raw cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, etc. – reduced iodine effectiveness)
    • Citrus (grapefruit, oranges, lemons, etc.)
    • Fungi (mushrooms)
    • Corn (also in everything)
    • Sulfites (wine, etc.)
    • Sugar
    • Caffeine

    I remember reading this one day, early on, around lunch time. I looked in my fridge and just started crying. What on earth does a person eat? One can only eat so much lettuce! I decided to start with gluten for sure, but avoid dairy, soy, nuts, beans, and nightshades. I am basically following a Paleo diet, sometimes called Auto-Immune Protocol (AIP), but not been overly strict about it. Although I am one who claimed I would be devastated if I ever had to give up my cereal and milk, it hasn’t been that bad. Plus, I am very motivated.

    In the morning, I make myself a smoothie with vanilla-flavored rice milk, vanilla-vegan protein powder, spinach, ginger, banana, avocado, and frozen berries. It’s a treat. Lunch is typically a big salad with vinegar and oil dressing. Dinner is pretty plain, with a protein source and steamed veggie. I am also experimenting with gluten-free things, but they are pretty expensive. So many people claim to feel so much better in just days. Honestly, I wish I could say it was a miracle cure, but it hasn’t been. After nearly 2 months, I really don’t feel much different. I have yet to give up sugar and caffeine but may have to consider that.

    Meanwhile, I continue to jog/walk (wog) at about a 14-15 minute per mile pace. It’s depressing but all I can do.

    And the journey continues…



    Do All Good Things Come to an End?

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    It’s hard to believe nearly a year has gone by without posting about an exciting adventure. Truth is, I’m on a new journey – one I never expected to be on. I have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. An autoimmune disease where your body mistakenly attacks your thyroid.

    I had no idea that your thyroid controls every single cell in your body. I barely knew what and where it was. Sure, I had the signs. But, they were gradual and explainable. Last summer, I noticed some aches in my joints. I am pretty active, so maybe that’s the cause. I am also a “woman of age” and my periods had pretty much stopped and the hot flashes came on with a vengeance. They were more intense and frequent than anyone else I talked to. It was also a sign. I started gaining weight. Every time I stepped on the scale it seemed to go up a pound. I gained 10 lbs in 6 months. It was also a sign.The voice in my head said I really need to stop snacking, but I was so hungry all the time. I couldn’t go longer than 30 minutes after waking without eating. I carried snacks with me everywhere. I often felt hypoglycemic. Also a sign. I was running 35 miles a week, so I could explain it away.

    One of the more curious signs was that I was/am cold all the time (also a sign). I have two heating pads I use daily. One on my work chair and one in my bed. You mean that’s not normal? Sores seem to take longer to heal (another sign). My running pace got even slower. I was never fast to begin with but could never understand why, with all my efforts, I could never improve. My resting heart rate was in the low 50’s (a sign). My exercise heart rate easily escalated into the 160’s and 170’s on any small hill. It’s called exercise intolerance and is also a sign.  I was sleeping 11-12 hours every night and never feeling fully awake until mid-day (also a sign). I hated that I had a hard time remembering or focusing on tasks (also a sign).

    In a strange twist of fate, I was about to learn something that would change my life forever. My annual ob-gyn visit was in November. Again, it came back abnormal. After an attempted but unsuccessful colcoscopy (extremely painful – Google it), my doctor decided he should do surgery and perform a cone biopsy of my cervix. Even though it came back cancerous, they were able to tell that they got it all and the whole thing was relatively uneventful. However, my blood pressure through each of these checks came back somewhat high. It wasn’t alarming, just high for me (also a sign).

    What we did learn through the preparatory blood work was that my thyroid level (TSH) was really high. I remember, just before surgery, he came in all excited to tell me he found out why I am gaining weight – it was due to my thyroid. We did some follow-up work which looked for the Hashi antibodies and it was confirmed. I asked for a copy of the blood work and noticed some other interesting bits. My cholesterol was 210!! It’s never been above 150. It was also a sign. My alkaline phosphatase was low. It seemed random but turns out was also a sign.

    I was excited to find out all these oddities (signs) were related. Just give me that thyroid pill! It will be my fountain of youth! Well, even though I started taking thyroxine, it hasn’t helped all that much. I maybe feel about 20% better.

    Although it is difficult, I am still trying to stay active. It would be easy to stop exercising altogether but I refuse. I also refuse to think that I may not be able to experience and post about more epic outdoor journeys in the future. Till then….

    A Dangerous Lesson

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    Every run we go on is influenced by the natural world around us. The weather, the terrain, the type of surface we are running on, flora and fauna, and the visuals of everything around us all have some level of influence on every mile we run. I think this is the number-one thing that makes running such an appealing activity. In a sense, because of these influences, every run we do, to varying degrees, is different than any run we’ve ever done before. This can play out in very subtle ways, and it can play out in very extreme ways. Geoff Roes – Ultrarunner

    The sun was setting, we were stuck, and I was ready to call search and rescue — it was that extreme.

    Nice start to the trail.

    June is always hot in Mesquite, with most days being over 100 degrees. But this week, was unusually hot. Temperatures were expected at about 116 making Dirty Thursday on the fully-exposed mesa not very appealing. Fortunately, there is a nice area in Utah, about an hour and a half from here, called Pine Valley. It sits at about 6200 feet and is fully forested, so it’s much cooler. I have been there once before and decided to try another trail in the area. This one would be about a 14 mile loop, that tops out over 10,000 feet.

    Lush forest of aspens and pines.

    Lush forest of aspens and pines.

    Gary, my friend and running partner, met me at 6:00am and we hit the trail at 7:30. It was beautiful. The air was cool and, there were wildflowers and lush grasses. It was so close, but so very different from the desert. We hiked up the trail, which climbed over 4000 ft, and began seeing views through the trees that you would expect to see from an airplane window.

    At one point, we came to a fork in the trail. There was some signage, but the names and arrows meant nothing to us based on the trail name we were on and where we were going. I knew we needed to keep left, and it was the right choice. I really wished the map I printed from the forest service website would have shown the little side trails for reference.


    We could see for miles at over 10K feet high.

    We topped out near Mt. Burger, but the trail forked again–the left fork continuing to climb and the right fork dropping. No signage this time. After a few minutes spent questioning and analyzing our options, we heard some voices down the right trail fork. We started down the right fork, but lost the voices as we came into a clearing where the trail seemed to disappear. We sat on a log, had some food and drink, and tried to pull up a more detailed map on my phone–which, oddly enough, got great reception at that point. I noticed some people out on a point, so Gary went to ask them if they knew which way.

    “Keep going on this trail and follow the cairns,” they said. We set out again, looking for cairns. We would find one and have to stop and look around for the next. Was that a cairn or just a pile of rocks? There was no real trail, but we were able to carry on, finding what we believed to be cairns. We even came across a few leftover patches of snow.


    Beautiful meadow!

    At about mile 7, the trail opened up onto a beautiful meadow! The trail was cut neatly through the grasses and seemed so obvious. We joyfully trotted down the trail, which followed a nice little creek. It was gorgeous. But that all came to a screeching halt as the trail faded away.

    We wandered around looking for signs of a trail but found nothing. Gary suggested going back the way we came, but I was not keen on climbing back up and I really wanted to make the full loop. Having been on the other end of the ridge, on a similar meadow, I was sure this creek and meadow would lead us in the right direction. I convinced Gary I was 90% sure this would work.


    Navigation the boulders and treefall.

    And then, the creek went underground. There was no more grassy meadow, just a forest floor littered with hundreds of fallen trees that we began to pick our way around. At this point, we knew we were off trail but didn’t think we would have time to turn around and return the way we came. We continued down the creek line, scrambling down boulders and climbing over fallen trees.

    In the back of my mind, I worried at some point we might come to a cliff we could not manage. Every time this appeared likely, we somehow managed to get down. Thankfully, he is tall and can get himself down and then help me down. When it wasn’t boulder-scrambling, it was log-hopping and making our way through the densest underbrush, complete with stinging nettles, stickers, and biting ants. The underbrush was 4-5ft high and fallen logs crossed our path by the thousands. It was extremely slow going as we continually climbed over and under logs, pushed brush out of our way, and crawled over boulders. We were moving at about a mile every two hours. Barkley ain’t got nothing on us. Gary must have hit his head 5 times crawling under logs. I took a nasty fall when a log I was on broke, and a couple other falls when branches I was holding onto on the hill broke.

    And this was the easy section.

    And this was the easy section.

    At 14 miles, my watch died. My cell phone had a low battery warning, so I turned it off. My hydration pack was empty, and I had about a half-bottle of water left. Gary was completely out. Things were about to get worse – way worse. We finally hit the wall. The one we could not get down from. The sidewalls of the canyon narrowed and the creek dropped at least 20 feet. I sat and cried, though the tears were dry. Gary yelled cuss words into the wilderness which seemed to echo off the walls. Feeling defeated, he sat next to me. I apologized for my poor, selfish decision.

    I thought to myself, “This is how people die. I am one of those people.” I was not prepared to be there any longer, let alone after dark when temps would be in the 40’s. With all seriousness, I suggested we call search and rescue using the only ounce of battery left on my phone, but Gary was not ready to give up.

    It was about 7pm local time and the sun was low in the sky as he scrambled up a steep side hill behind us. He didn’t know if we could cut across and back down the hill, below the cliff, or if we would again meet the cliff with no way down. It was worth a try and he told me to follow him. The hill was steep and we were holding on to any plant or rock we could so we wouldn’t slide down. I was so dehydrated at this point, my mouth felt like paper. I was nauseous and dizzy, and couldn’t think straight. We were in the last hours of the direct sun and just wanted to lay down. But, I knew I had to keep going while we had daylight and pushed ahead, taking one or two steps and then resting a moment.

    Route before watch died.

    Route before watch died.

    We got to the ridge line of the steep hill and tried to go down below the cliff, but weren’t confident we could get below it yet. So we continued higher on the ridge and looked over the edge. I was so afraid it would be another cliff but it was just a very steep, forested hill. We could see town about a mile and a half away. If we could go over this hill and down, we would at least be on flat ground. We weren’t sure if there would be more dense underbrush to navigate though. We went over the ridge and diagonal across the other side, slipping down and getting lower.

    As if it were sent from heaven, we reached an open, grassy flat area and our spirits were lifted. Although we weren’t ready to celebrate yet as we still had a ways to go, the cow pies told us we were probably going to be ok. We followed the path the cows had left and found a more defined trail. Soon we came upon a house and it was then we felt finally that we were “out of the woods.” We got back to the car after 11.5 hours on the mountain that should have been more like 6. Our bodies are beaten and scratched but we were ok. Best part was that we didn’t end up on the news.

    Lesson learned is that no matter whose trail it is and how confident you feel about it, always bring items for emergencies. At the very least, I should have brought a flashlight, a cell phone we didn’t use, more water, a light jacket, maybe even a knife and twine. Second lesson is, if you reach a point where you can’t find the trail, do NOT keep going.

    Totals:  11.5 hours, 17 miles, over 6000 feet gain.

    « of 24 »

    When a Race is Just an Excuse

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    Red and gold streaks

    From the first pictures I saw of the Hardrock 100 race, I knew I had to find a way to get to those mountains. The pictures are stunning. High altitude peaks rising far above the treeline, streaked with ribbons of orange and gold that stream down to lush green meadows. So, when I found the Silverton Marathon/50K race, I knew I wanted to sign up. It was the perfect way to get introduced to these beautiful San Juan mountains.


    Silverton, CO

    Silverton is the home of the Hardrock 100. The Silverton Marathon/50K race starts and finishes there, just as the Hardrock 100 does. The course follows some of the same Hardrock trail, starting at 9300 feet and topping out just under 13,000 feet. I couldn’t wait to experience it.


    Heading up

    From the minute the race started, I was back of the pack. It’s a familiar place for me. But, I’m checking my watch, and as the slowest person, I am doing 12-minute miles. The rest of the pack is just gone! The first six miles are fairly level. I was able to do a run/walk combo but catching my breath was not easy.


    Serious climb

    As the route turned into a climb, I power-walked as fast as I could. I was able to stay ahead of about 4 others, so at least I wasn’t last. But, after stopping at the 12 mile aid station, I was nearly last. Although the road led up a nice valley, it was at about 12,000 feet and my lungs weren’t feeling it. I was plodding along when I got passed by the remaining runners, except one—an older man who was walking the whole thing.


    Beautiful views

    It was then that it really thought about why I was there. I had no illusions of winning or even placing in the race. I had no thoughts of even getting a PR (personal record). I was there to experience the beauty of the mountains. I smiled and kept on.


    Nobody left

    Some friendly ATVers took my picture as I headed up the bowl. Although you could see people up on the ridge, it was a long steep mile to reach them. This is where the course topped out at just under 13K feet. Sleet was hitting my face sideways and my mouth was so frozen I could barely talk. A nice man offered to take my picture, so we found a suitable backdrop and I smiled for the camera. Now I was dead last.


    Over the first pass

    The course took a small dip before the next pass. That’s where I came across a couple in a Jeep that were lost. I stopped to help them figure out where they were and how to get where they wanted to go. After spending about 5 minutes with them, I carried on again.


    Nice smooth downhill trail

    As I reached the second pass, I started wondering if I would truly be the last one in. Although I was ok in placing last, I didn’t want people to have to wait for me. So, I was determined to do a run/walk combo the final 10 miles. After a stop at the last aid station, where I chatted briefly with the volunteers, I worked my way to the finish. The views continued to be everything I hoped for and I had enough energy to run across the finish line. 15 minutes later, the older man walked across the finish line.


    Finish line!

    In this race, it really was about the journey and not the destination. I look forward to using another race as an excuse to have a new and awesome experience. And, if I come in last, so what.