The Zion 100 did not go as planned, but it was a fantastic day nonetheless. Instead of running alone, I ran with Marshall for Miles 5 through 55, until he and his pacer, Michael, took off. Marshall ran a personal best of 23:31. My pacers, Dave and Kim, kept me company from Mile 52 to the finish, so I had someone running with me the entire way. And, of course, I talked to my fellow runners, and to my SoCal Coyote teammates, who were at every aid station.
It is difficult to capture the emotional experience of being out in the desert, on trails and remote back roads, for over a full day, watching two sunrises and one sunset, and being supported by so many friends. Whatever I write here will necessarily fall short of conveying the beauty, camaraderie, euphoria and exhaustion I experienced this past weekend.
The race began at 6am on Friday morning in 37 degree weather, and I finished 25 hours and 37 minutes later, at 7:37 am on Saturday. The course rolls through the countryside just outside of Zion National Park, climbing up to three different mesas, then descends back down to the start/finish area at Highway 9.
|Just before the start: Marcus, Tiffany, Marshall, Andy and Jack|
|Me and Marshall at Mile 19|
I started out running the flats and downhills, and walking on uphills. By the end, I was walking on most of the flats and even some of the downhills. The low point in the race came at Mile 88 or so. It was about 4am, and Kim and I had just climbed up the Flying Monkey Trail. We were on top of the mesa, on a fire road, walking into a moderate head wind. I began to feel cold and a bit fuzzy, and wondered whether I would be able to finish. Fortunately, Kim gave me a thin plastic jacket, which I put on over my two shirts. The jacket broke the wind. I rested briefly at the aid station at Mile 88.5, ate a bit, and by the time we reached the final turn-around at Mile 91, I knew I would finish.
|Mile 96 - with Jeff in the distance|
|Mile 99.74, with Kim, my closing pacer|
The video below shows the finish line. Thanks to David for taking it and sharing it with me. That's Marshall whom I'm talking to at the very end (he's off screen but you can hear our exchange)