Monday, March 7, 2011

Still Alive and on the Run-A TRR recap

Just took a look at my last post.  August of 2010!!  How to update without typing a book?!
The TransRockies recap could keep me sitting here for hours, reminiscing, getting out a paragraph or two...

But, since it is where I left off, I will try to get in a short but sweet story of an amazing run.

We pulled in to Buena Vista at 10 pm, after a long but beautiful drive from California.  After waking up, we planned our day, take an easy hike up Hope Pass to acclimate to the altitude and then recuperate.
Finding the trailhead to Hope Pass was harder than we expected.  It took a trip to the outfitters , where they spent a good deal of time with us, to locate the trail.  Two new running packs later, up we went to 12,500 feet.
It was absolutely beautiful.  I can't even put into words how amazing the views climbing up to the pass were.  Previewing this hike turned out to be a great idea.  Not only did we get in some altitude training, we could take our time, enjoy the scenery and take photos.
We finished up and headed back into town just in time for dinner.
The next day was check in.  Got lots of swag and a pretty good dinner too.

Day 1.  Easiest run of the 6 days.  Lowest altitude and least amount of climbing...still over 20 miles of running.
Another great dinner, more impressive swag  and the ceremony for the winners of the first stage.  They also gave a short preview of stage 2.  They suggested bringing lots of cold weather gear, could be rain, snow or all of the above at Hope Pass.

Day 2.  Hope Pass again.  We all load into buses and take the long snaky road to the trailhead.  They check our gear to make sure we have windbreakers, gloves etc. in case we hit "weather" on our hike today.  Less than 15 miles, but all up and down.  It's a scramble after the gun, everyone running up the trail.  Less than 2 miles in, the masses thin and almost everyone is gasping for air.  Rick and I know whats ahead and keep up a slow and steady pace.  Head down and panting, I struggle and let Rick get ahead, he makes it look effortless, even running in sections.  No time for pictures, glad we took some a few days earlier!  At the pass, chug some heed and start down the backside, to lower altitudes and air.  It feels like a long run to the lake and the finish.  Quads and hammies are starting to complain.
All in all, we had a great day.  The weather was best!

Day 3. Another long run, over 20 miles, with over 2,000 feet of elevation gain.   We start out in historic Leadville.  After breakfast in the town gym, we head out through the town find the trail and start climbing.  This will be the way we will start all our mornings for the remainder of the race.  A big ass climb up to god knows where then a  long quad busting downhill to the finish.  All peppered with such beautiful views it almost takes away the pain..almost.
We are starting to recognize other back of the packers.  Some are better climbers, others bomb the downhills. We pass each other many times through out the hours-words of encouragement shouted out as we slog out the miles.  We survive day 3, was a hard one for me.  I just want to rest up for day 4, another short mileage day, but steep.

Day 4.  It felt like we were going straight up for miles.  This day feels even harder that day 2.  Michelle Barton explained it felt harder because it ends up steeper at the summit.  Steeper, and no air. But it was a stunner at the top!  Clear blue skies, above the treeline, we could see for miles.  Then there was the videographer at the top...capturing us in all our glory....we skipped dinner at the camp that night, preferring to try out a local Thai restaurant, but heard we made the nightly video recap...apparently we were a big hit, became celebrities for a day!!

Day 5.  It sinks in, we are gonna finish this.  We look at the map for stage 5, more up and more down.  13 miles of up and 13 miles of down with a finish in Vail. This was a strange run.  Alot of wandering around through the ski area.  One section is short but very steep, I have to slide down on my butt, in view of the everyone at the next aidstation!  Much running on access road through out the ski resort.  Finally a long switchbacky downhill into the town of Vail.  Steve promises us steaks at dinner tonight, even with the altitude playing games with my stomach, I feel as if I could eat a steak or two.
Dinner doesn't disappoint! It was a great spread!  The mood is light, unless we get injured or sick, we will finish.

Day 6.  We start up(what else is new...) and out on a pretty singletrack through a grove of aspens.  I think this is my favorite so far. It levels out for a few miles and rehash the last few days as we run easy.  It's a stage of rolling hills and more ski lifts.  At some point we exit the trail and run through the town of Beaver Creek.  It raised a few eyebrows as we colorful and somewhat dirty runners run through this upscale ski resort, with Transrockies workers holding up traffic for us so we could cross streets.
We think we are near the end of the stage, as we climb out of the city up thru some trails behind some really nice homes.  I call Matt(who is meeting us at the finish with Karen) to let him know we are probably on the home stretch.  They are there having lunch waiting.    Well, that last little stretch look us almost an hour longer that we expected!!  But we finally cross the finish.  We did it!!!! Pictures and hugs!
An over the top banquet that night.  We wanted to look good leaving, so Matt brought me heels and a dress to wear at the dinner.  Rick wore a suit!  People didn't recognize us!  So much fun!

Thinking back, I'd have to say, I am very proud of myself for finishing this.  I think it was the hardest event I'd ever finished.


Glenn Jones said...

Hi Lori! Nice to see you around! I had to miss Baz's runs. Recovering from runner's knee. Almost back to form at this point....

Lauren said...

Oh Lori! What an awesome adventure. Congratulations. I would love to do something like that. You are awesome for finishing. I don't know how you do that kind of altitude! Yikes. The top of Bear Mountain (the ski resort) is 8,000+ ft. I can't even imagine how you were able to do 12,000+. Congrats again. Hope to see you soon!