100 Miles of Heaven and Hell (Part 1)

One-hundred miles.  As my friend Byron liked to repeatedly point out, that’s like running from Boulder to Colorado Springs.  I’m not sure what inspired me to give running 100 miles a go, but when Anthony decided to go back to school, I decided it was perfect time to go for it!  It is still mind blowing to me, that so many people want to run 100 miles that most of these races have a lottery.  So in December, I threw my name in the hat for the Wasatch Front and crossed my fingers.  Nine months and 1,873 miles later, I found myself waiting in line for the bathroom about to miss the start of the hardest race of my life.  Not that it mattered if I missed the start, because if you have ever been to the start of an ultra you know that everyone starts off walking.  And so the race to the finish line began…

drop bags wasatch 100
The sea of drop bags the day before the race

1,873 Miles Earlier: The Training Process

Juggling training, working a full time job, being a wife, and trying to have some semblance of a social life proved to be the ultimate test of my time management skills.  I would run up 14ers before work, run marathons on Friday nights, and even did speed workouts while on a business trip in London.

Commuting to South Denver often meant getting some pavement time in and utilizing the rush hour run
A quick run up Grays before a 9am conference call
Anthony, can you hear me now?

I had a training plan, but if a day of skiing with friends got in the way of a long run, I skipped my run.  Or if my bike was calling my name, I went biking.  I honestly believe variety is the spice of life and didn’t want to feel like I sold my soul to running.

Dawn Patrol on the split board was the perfect alternative to running on a snowy day
Riding bikes with friends helped to keep training fun
Upslope brewing company
Meeting my favorite bartender for a beer was an important part of maintaining balance

In June, I ran the North Fork 50 in preparation for Wasatch.  The course was through Buff Creek and covered trails that I often bike and had been using all spring to train.  I finished 16th overall, with a time 15 minutes faster than my goal.  I felt strong and I think it was then that I thought I might actually have a shot at finishing the 100 miler.  A big part of my training was back to back big mileage days on the weekends, so I followed up the 50 miler with a half marathon on Sunday before finding myself back at the office on Monday.

Finishing strong and ready for a beer after the North Fork 50

I spent the next few months enjoying the long summer days and trying to spend as much time in the mountains with friends as possible.  I was even able to pull Anthony and Buster away from the river for a day or two for some runs!

Date run up North Arapahoe Peak
North Arapahoe Peak
Cruising downhill with Buster in tow
The best running partner with four legs
Racing the rain
A post work birthday run with Ally
Even Buster knows that icing your legs after a long day is the key to recovery

The Four Passes loop in Aspen had been on my list for quite some time.  When I saw a weather window open up, I headed to Aspen to give it a shot.  Weather is a key factor since you climb four 12,000′ mountain passes over 26.6 miles.  After a day in the Carbondale library (one of the many perks of working remotely) and a run around Snowmass, I was ready to see what the Four Passes loop had to offer.  It did not disappoint and was definitely one of the highlights of the summer.  Of course, Crested Butte was on my way home so I had to stop and meet my friend Katie for a night of camping and day of biking before making my way home.

maroon bells
The Maroon Bells
The Four Passes Loop powered by Chocolate Chip cookies
Katie ripping through that sweet Crested Butte single-track

After a summer full of running and fat biking, it was time to take a few weeks to taper!

100 Miles of Heaven and Hell (Part 2)

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