Monday, March 31, 2014

Antelope Island Buffalo Run 100: By Scott Wesemann

The 2013 Buffalo 100 was a total disaster for me. I complained. I whined. I froze. I limped. I struggled. I did finish, but I was not happy at all with my race and time and knew that I would have a much better race this year.
Photo By Lori Burlison

My strategy was simple: Cut out time spent at aid stations, run an hour faster on the front 50 and run everything but the hills on the back 50. I knew by doing this I would shave 2-3 hours off of my time from 2013. I just needed to be more efficient and not allow myself to get lazy.

The first 50 miles went very well. Four front runner guys went out pretty quick and I was with a group of 5-6 runners in the next tier that stayed together for most of the first 14 or so miles. I was able to run with my good friend Jennilyn Eaton for a good chunk of the miles. The group we were in was very quiet, but Jennilyn and I laughed and joked and had a lot of fun and the miles just clicked on by. I thought she would drop me for sure on some of the downhill sections, but I picked up my pace some and she held back a little and it worked out well. I led the group of 5-6 strong runners, including the second place finisher, Tomokazu Ihara up the switchbacks out of the Split Rock valley. I kept waiting for someone to pass, but they must have liked my pace because nobody passed and we finished the switchbacks together.

Photo by: Lori Burlison

I could tell that Jennilyn was struggling the last 5 miles back to the start/finish. We ran with Jeremy Suwinski for some miles and he was pushing a nice pace and looking strong and he eventually dropped us with a few miles to go. At the start/finish (mile 19) Jennilyn sat down right in the dirt and didn't look well. We managed to make the stop pretty quick, but I was feeling bad for her. I have never seen her struggle like that and I was worried.

Photo by Derrick Lytle

After the short out and back on the Mountain View trail things only got worse for Jennilyn and eventually I dropped her. My heart sank when I turned around and saw her about 1/4 of a mile back on all fours just off the trail. Turning around and leaving was very hard, but I knew I had to keep running. I felt so bad for her because I knew how hard she had worked. I turned on my iPod for the first time and cranked out the next 12 miles to the ranch by myself. Those were the toughest 12 miles of the front 50 for me. I had a few close encounters with some buffalo, but performing the Craig Lloyd technique of yelling at them like a cowboy seemed to work every time and had them scrambling off the trail. From the ranch back to the Frary aid my heart kept sinking when I wasn't seeing Jennilyn and I thought for sure she had dropped and then she showed up running strong with smile on her face. I told her to catch me and my spirits really picked back up.
Photo By Kelli Stephenson

I ran by myself for the next several miles. After the Frary aid stop I picked up my mojo and ran really strong back to the Lakeside aid. I ran into Kendall Wimmer and he ran with me for a few minutes and really picked me up. I felt strong and things were going well for me. At the Bridger Bay aid station Erik Storheim was there to take care of me and I quickly downed some Coke and potatoes. I saw a light coming from behind and it was moving very fast. It was Jennilyn and she had caught me after I had been ahead by about 45 minutes and running very strong. Amazing. We ran the last 4 miles together back to the 50 mile mark. It was a real boost to see her doing well and I knew she was going to win the race. I came into the 50 mile mark in 9:12, right where I wanted to be.

Photo By Lori Burlison

At the start/finish there were several friends there to help me grab what I needed. I took more time than I should have and it was hard to get out of the tent, but I finally did. Rachel Moody paced me the next 19 miles. My stomach had some issues right out of the tent and it took me a few miles to get past that, but the miles flew by as Rachel told me story after story. I was much slower on this loop and hiked just about all of the hills, but ran everything else. Rachel was exactly what I needed during that section and I was feeling great with only 31 miles to go.

My good friend Josh Greenwell paced me from mile 69 to the finish. We did very well keeping my goal of running as much as possible and we made decent time all the way to the turnaround at the ranch (mile 83) where we took a longer break. After the ranch things got tough. I was very tired and ready to be done and it was a total grind back to the Frary aid and it got even worse when the wind picked up and we had to run into it all the way back to the Lakeside aid station. Those were the toughest miles of the whole 100. While hiking the steep hill out of that aid Josh mentioned that we could still go sub 23, but we were going to have to push and it was just the motivation I needed. We pushed it pretty hard all the way to the finish. I blew through the Bridger Bay aid stop and we cranked out some really decent miles to the end. I finished in 22:42 which was good for 14th place and a PR in the distance by almost 3 hours for my 6th 100 mile finish.

Photo by Craig Lloyd

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Redemption - Antelope Island Buffalo Run March 21 2014


On my first attempt to complete the Wasatch Front 100 Mile Endurance Run 2012, I had decided to quit at mile 65. I was walking up the road to the next aid station where I intended to sit in a chair, get warm, and call my wife to take me home. With the decision to quit, I was no longer moving with a purpose other than to get to where I needed to be to quit. Other racers and their pacers passed me, and I envied them. Each one asked if I was alright. I complained of not feeling well. One of them told me in sincerity, “Don’t quit. You will get it back.” I did not believe him. The sun had gone down and I felt cold. I looked forward to sitting near a heater, pulling a blanket over me, and sulking in regret.

Start of the 2014 Antelope Island Buffalo Run 100 Mile. There were a few early 50 mile starters in the group, including my older brother Peter. At 12 noon Jim Scaggs drew a line across the dirt road and counted down. 'Run you fools!" photo: Joe Dean

On the last hill before the aid, a vehicle coming toward me stopped, and Davy Crockett jumped out. He immediately assessed my condition, ignored my complaints, then addressed my immediate needs. I sat in a chair, he pulled a heater close, brought me food, and helped me dress some stinging, watery blisters. Then I got up, walked out, and finished the race. I got it back, as promised.

 First Mile, All Smiles. Experienced 100 mile racer Jeremy Bradford and I lead out the 100 mile runners. Jeremy stayed close through the first half but had to drop out due to an injury.
Photo: Kelly Agnew

I used to hate running. There was a brief season in middle school when the physical education teacher had us running laps around the school track. The mile run was to me the ultimate distance. I remember how it hurt, how it intimidated me. I even competed in the mile race in the ARCO Jesse Owens Games one season. After that. I stopped running. I played no sports in high school, nor did I do much of anything productive throughout high school. I must have slept for months. I became severely depressed and acted out in foolish ways. I hated myself.
Trying to make it look easy

 I lost friends and became isolated from family. I wanted to disappear completely. I dropped out of school at age 17, and wandered through young adulthood with no future plans. My parents, struggling to understand, and praying for my life, did anything and paid anything to help me get on my feet. I saw a therapist for several months. In each hour-long session we discussed what was on my mind, what I was afraid of, and what I wanted. He taught me to identify irrational fears. He taught me to identify negative self-talk. He taught me also that physical exercise will destroy depression. He encouraged me to go out and try it. So I did. I had a bike and I rode trails. I hiked. I swam in the reservoir. I was alive again. I volunteered to serve a two-year church mission. Back home, I earned the G.E.D., then enrolled in college courses. I graduated university with high grades, earning a B.A. in history. I married a beautiful and special young woman, and became the father of two boys. The three of them are the light of my life.
Mile 38 "No time to chat!" I did not stop at most aid stations, just ran through them. A let-down for my friend Brenden who came out to spectate his first ultra sport and maybe chat about music or history.
photo: Brenden Rensink

Through my 30s I stayed physically active and became familiar with the Central Wasatch mountains and canyons. I built my leg strength in day-long ridge scrambles and dozen-mile routes. I pushed for greater distances with my hiking partners until it occurred to me that I could go further if I learned how to run instead of hike. Some of my hiking partners where ultra-runners. One man, who goes by the name Grizz, had astonished me with his strength, speed, and endurance as he topped the highest granite Wasatch peaks. And he was in his mid-sixties! He had run and finished the Wasatch 100 eleven times. I wanted what he had. I began to run instead of hike. 
My brother Peter Van Horn finishing his first ultra, the 50 mile Buffalo Run. Peter was burned over a third of his body in 3rd degrees in a work accident several years ago. He finished the 50 miles in 8 hours 46minutes

Two years ago I marked my 41st birthday in the middle of the night, at mile 56 of my first 100 mile race, the Antelope Island Buffalo Run. I finished later that morning in a time of 23 and half hours, for 12th place. My wife and boys, and parents were there to welcome me in. I returned the next year and ran it better, capturing 5th place. 

Kendall and ginger ale, mile 45

Everyone struggles. Everyone has good days and bad days, and many more days that are merely “meh”.  Sometimes we lose sight of who we are, believing our present struggle will define us for entire lives. Sometimes we give into irrational fears and hide, or go to sleep, or drive people away. Sometimes we hate ourselves for what we perceive as failure. Sometimes we go for years believing there is no way to change. 

My crew at 50 miles

Sometimes we get a glimpse of those who love us, whose hearts bleed for us. Sometimes they walk with us to the next aid stop, bind our wounds, get us fed and warm, and do everything they can to get us moving again. They can’t carry us because it is our journey and we must each walk it, or run it if we can.
Going back for the second 50 miles

And sometimes, if we work hard, and if we want it bad enough, sometimes we win.

 2014 Antelope Island Buffalo Run 100, first place 100 mile, 16hrs 40min

I’ve observed that as in a hundred mile race, in which I experience highs, lows, and every sensation in between, in life I will follow much the same pattern. I will savor the days when I feel strong and fast. When I am low, all is not lost. It is not time to quit. I trust the words I heard on the road up to Big Water at mile 65: 

“Don’t quit. You will get it back.”

Happy and relaxing with Jennilyn Eaton, women's 100 mile champ and course record holder of 20:18.00.
photo: Kelly Agnew

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Buffalo Run 100 Race Report - by Craig

I'm walking down a hill at mile 59, a hill I normally run tired in the 6s. I'm walking and shaking and shivering because if I try and run I know I'm going to fall over and likely not get back up. On a course that has loops and short out-and-backs and passes by the start/finish at least 4 times I am, by far, in the most remote and difficult place to get out of. It is also freezing. Well, at least I think it's freezing. Maybe that is because only a half mile ago I was bent over dry heaving my guts out only 20 feet from the Split Rock aid station. I can either curl up into a ball and wait for someone to come save me or keep walking. I choose to keep walking because I know I have the longest climb ahead of me and maybe it will warm me up. All I know for sure is that my race is over.

My race didn't start that way. The first 50 miles were pretty much a breeze. Other than a short stint of dehydration and some leg cramping it went just as planned. I came into 50 at the start/finish feeling good and ready to run fast on the back half. The next 8 miles got progressively worse. My stomach started to turn and I was finding myself unable to put down any gels or electrolyte bites. But I was still in a good mood. Even after my dry heaving session I yelled "puke and rally" and walked into the aid station and ate some food. And then that downhill where everything went "downhill".

Mile 9. Photo by Cory Reese 

I walked 98% of that 5 mile loop back to the aid station. I had decided that if I couldn't run the 5.8 miles back to the start/finish I would DNF. I didn't come out here to walk my way to 100 miles and this race didn't mean enough for me to gut it out. I knew I had to eat and feel ok about it before leaving or I would be resolved to walking again. Then Jennilyn showed up. She put her arm around me, comforted me . . . . for about 11 seconds, then made me eat some plain white bread and leave with her and her pacer. And we started running. And that felt pretty ok. On a long stretch of cruiser downhill we even set a pretty good pace. Well, until I had to step off and start dry heaving again. For no reason at all I was unable to stop from wretching. Jennilyn and pacer ran on ahead and I worked to not get too far behind as we all rolled into the start/finish. 30 more miles. Can I do 30 more miles feeling like this?

Being treated like a King. So undeserving.

This blog is built on a single foundation, that we never quit. People had sent me texts of support, were following me on Twitter and Facebook (not that I was posting anything, but others were), and then there is always the support my wife and family lend. I couldn't let them down just because I had an upset tummy. Off I went. Over that long 24 miles of out and back along the Mountain View trail I did whatever I could to run, but the cramping in my legs was severe from deydration and I couldn't put any fuel in my stomach. Over a 4 hour section I probably averaged fewer than 20 calories per hour. Good friend, Mike let me sleep for 20 min at the Lower Frary aid station, which helped me a ton. I was able to wander into the Ranch and sit by a fire, now only 17 miles left.

I can do 17 more miles.

While sitting by the fire a couple of aid station workers were talking about making burritos. All of a sudden a burrito sounded really good. Like really, really damn good. At the same time another friend Ashley showed up, pacing another runner. She gave me a pity hug (I assume any interaction with me during that time was out of pity), some words of encouragement, and was off again. The volunteers made me a cheese and egg burrito and I was amazed that I could finally eat. I left feeling better than any time in the last 8 hours.

I didn't push any more fuel for another 6 miles, but finally decided to force myself to take a gel. I needed energy and there was simply nothing else I could do. This time, no wretching. And I started to feel good. Then another gel and I was running, consistently. The last four miles are on my favorite part of the whole course. Technical rocky trail along the north shore of the Great Salt Lake, I love it. I found myself running fast and was in a good mood to boot. I was back, just in time to finish this thing. I even ran into Jeremy running the opposite direction who joined me for a couple of miles. That was fun. I finished in 22:05:00, not good, not even close to my goal time, but a finish none-the-less.

Finishing in a disappointing 22:05:00

I'll say this. I'm glad I finished. Had I DNFed however, I would not have regretted it. I wasn't injured, but I was in no position to conitue on the way I did. Racing just doesn't mean that much to me and I'm not sure I will gut it out the same way in the future. 

I really just want to thank all of my friends who were there supporting me. At the 50 mile mark - start/finish - I had so many people around me I felt like a celebrity. Thank you to everyone who was there and was so supportive. And thanks to my sponsors, Altra shoes, Ultraspire hydration, Gnarly Nutrition, and VFuel. They make the best products on the market and I am proud to represent them. Thank you so much.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Buffalo Run 100 - Pre-Race Post

by Craig

Wow, I've slack in posting on here. I apologize for that. My professional job has been overwhelmingly busy, but in a good way. At the same time, I've been extremely focused on the growth and development of I am very proud of what we havev done over there and see a very bright and exciting future on the horizon.

Training has been good, probably better than at any time in the last year. I feel like it has been very targeted towards running fast this coming Friday. I have laid off of steep vert and summits and focused primarily on runnable terrain and higher miles. I am hoping the dedication pays off in 2 days.

Training hasn't been all work, however. I have had countless long runs and amazing experiences with my friends- out on Antelope Island in the middle of the night, down in the San Rafael Swell, and on nearly every trail between Draper and downtown Salt Lake City. Is it really training if I am having this much fun?

I am going into Friday's race confident and excited to run my first 100 miler without a crew or pacer. It will be a new experience for me, but one I'm looking forward to. Wish me luck, I think I'm going to need it. Until then, enjoy some recent photos.

Jennilyn and Scott running down Tibble Fork

Running the foothills above SLC with a few Altra elite athletes

At the top of Hidden Peak very late at night with great friends

Flipping at the Good Water Rim Trail

Noz, at the Swell

Brent, Instagram style on Corner Canyon trails

Running solo on dry trails in Corner Canyon

Friday, February 21, 2014

Moab's Red Hot 55K 2014


Presidents Day weekend in Moab has become a tradition for my little family. By February my wife is ready for a weekend away from teaching third graders, and my boys are excited for a return to the desert to look for dinosaurs and play on sandstone. For me, I get to run 33 miles over slickrock and red dirt in Moab's Red Hot 55K. I ran it last year and struggled somewhat with blown quads, so this year I made arrangements to have a better go of it. With better training and familiarity with the course, I started with the intent to finish under 5 hours. After much resting through November and the holidays, I resumed training at the start of the new year and focused on developing speed and hill climbing strength.

Friday evening before the race we arrived in Moab, checked into our hotel and went for dinner at...Denny's. I know, I know. But by the time I worked my way through the long line at race-packet pickup, the hour was late, we were tired and hungry, and we needed cheap, quick food. In the 1980s when I was a boy on vacation with my parents, my dad always described the likes of Denny's food as "sawdust". I can confirm that in 2014 they have not changed their ingredients. Of course I hoped that my sawdust meal would not be a problem for me in the morning. Not if I could help it. Those who run with me on weekdays know that I make a mandatory stop in the first mile to, uh, "lighten the load". But on race days, I am all business, and I make sure to take care of "business" well before the race.

Red Hot is a big race. By 'big' I mean lots of participants. All that movement and chatter at the start line is exciting and intimidating. But I felt good and just wanted to run on dirt, wearing shorts and t-shirt. The temperature in the morning was pleasant. The R.D. counted us down not long after I arrived and suddenly a mass of colorful bodies were bouncing down the Jeep trail toward the mesa.

In There Somewhere
 Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

Like last year I ran a few steps behind one of my running heroes. He didn't sprint off like the young fellows at the front, but I knew he would move up several places by the finish. I concentrated on running that first uphill at a quick but comfortable pace. I ran a fast 3 miles through the valley, then ran up the second climb easily. On the road up to Metal Masher I compared how I was doing to the previous year and knew this was going to be better. I passed the first aid table without stopping. My confidence increased and I ran consistently up to the top of the mesa, to the highway overlook. From there the trail winds back down, somewhat technically, back toward the first aid station. On the flats my speed training payed off. I maintained my place and even picked up a handful of places. By the time I had come back down the hill where we end the loop portion of the course, I knew I was going to have a good day. I looked forward to running on the slickrock of Gold Bar, where last year I fell apart.

 How could you not want to run there?
Photo: Myke Hermsmeyer

Gold Bar is like no other trail I have run. It's not a trail, but a route. It is other-worldly. It is a maze of desert geology decorated with desert plants. The route markers were well-placed and I wondered if they had been there since last year because they were tied to the same unattached random rocks. A few times I had to stop and look around for the next marker. Last year I struggled through this middle section and watched runner after runner pass me. This year, three passed me, including Kerri, the eventual 2nd place women's finisher.

At the top of Gold Spike, at the mile 22 aid table, I stopped briefly to down a coupla cups of soda. My aid stops had been crisp and quick - really no more than the time it took for a volunteer to refill my open water bottle. I was loving this. It feels good to have a good, solid, consistent day. At the last aid table a volunteer told me there was five miles to go. Easy. I can do five miles. But this five miles had a series of climbs over petrified sand dunes. At four miles we hit flat dirt road and I again called up on my speed training. I picked up another handful of places and remained there to the finish.

Trying to hold my place
Photo: Stephen Lindsay

The last mile was tough, as it always is, but I was in danger of slipping to 21st place from a runner only ten seconds back. It was Mark H., who started with us at the Pony Express 100 in October. He is fast. I hung on and finished 20th in a time of 4:44:52. Two years ago this would have been a top ten finish, and shows how competitive this race has become.

At the finish I felt terrific. Not only did I meet my sub-5 hours goal, but this race was an excellent training run for an upcoming race.

Later That Day...

I took my family to MILT'S for some greasy good American food, then back to the hotel to watch the Winter Olympics. The next few days we spent seeing dinosaur tracks, petroglyphs, and exploring Arches N.P. We have a new tradition. We will be back next year.

Monday, January 27, 2014

By the Stars

When we turn off our headlamps and crane our necks back we are enveloped by the bright, shining stars backed by the eclipsing emptiness of space. It's beautiful and mesmerizing. And it's simply a random Saturday night with some local Wasatch Mountain Wranglers.

"Wranglers" - the duality of the word is actually comical and yet completely unplanned. Months ago I started the Facebook group the "Wasatch Mountain Wranglers". Its intended purpose was to create a public forum to connect on running plans. I figured it would be easier for the 10 to 15 of us to coordinate plans on there than to email. Now, so many months later the group has crested more than 450 members and has a completely self-sustaining community. The group is filled with wranglers, both those who corral mountains like tame horses and those who lasso their friends into doing their bidding.

Jennilyn was the Wrangler this night. A run we've done a few times now has gone unfinished in Winter - running Tibble Fork to the top of Hidden Peak (the top of Snowbird Ski Resort) and needed to get done. She and a couple of others tried it last week and got scared off by a snow machine making its way down the mountain towards them. Uncertain if they were going to get in trouble or not, they opted to get out of there instead of face potential consequences.

We started our adventure at 9pm on a crisp, but not overly cold night. Tibble Fork Reservoir reflected the surrounding mountains while Box Elder Peak kept vigil over us. Five of us - me, Jennilyn, Scott, Leslie, and Jen made our way up Tibble Fork Rd toward Mineral Basin. Leslie and I fell behind as we scouted out some very obvious mountain lion tracks. The reality of the wildness around us enveloped us like a fog and we continued on in quiet respect. The climb up with quick and easy as we approached the bottom of the lift, Larry's Hole (at least that's what it's called in the Speedgoat 50k).

As we approached it became obvious that there people inside the shack, purposefully managing the snow makers just outside. While the others seemed apprehensive about approaching I took the initiative and walked right up to the building. Two guys came out to greet us, asked where we came from, and were impressed with our Saturday night's activity. I felt comfortable asking them how high we could go and they excitedly told us to "go all the way up". Sweet, Hidden Peak was ours for the taking. We donned our Kahtoola and Hillsound spikes and headed straight up Mineral Basin. The slope was steep, often approaching 45 degrees, but the snow was tracked out and bullet hard, so there was no chance of avalanche, just slipping. We successfully hit the top of Hidden Peak and the warmth of the 'warming room' in exactly 3 hrs. Having the warming room was a real treat and we hung out, snapped a pic, and prepped for going back out into the cold.

A warming room at 11,000 ft. Yep, that's awesome.

The run down wasn't nearly as direct as the way up, it was just too steep. Instead we cruised down the groomer track, only stopping at the steeper sections to pull out garbage bags and slide down the hill on our backsides. One time I got moving so fast that I almost took out Jennilyn and had to pull the bag out from under me so that I could slow myself to stop. Back down on the road out of Mineral Basin Leslie pulled out her sled and started riding it down the snow machine track which acted just like a luge run. Twice she did it, both times riding well over a quarter of a mile. I remember the last time she slid down she spun around just before coming to a stop and seeing them smile on her face was of pure childhood enjoyment. Magic.

We continued down without incident. Jennilyn and I even tried to hide and scare the others, unsuccessfully. We chatted away, fighting off the sleep that was starting to weigh on us. It was now almost 2am, and three of the five of us had already run once before earlier in the day. Ultimately it was one of the best runs of the year. I'm so pleased with the friends I have and can't think of a better way to have spent a Saturday night.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2013- A year in review: By Scott Wesemann

What a year! It seems like I have been saying that every year for the past several years, but as I look back at 2013 I can't help but think it was a pretty phenomenal year once again. I ran more miles and gained more elevation than ever before. I finished 3 100 mile races and once again hit my goal to summit over 100 peaks for the year. Here's the recap:
A hug from Craig at the Buffalo 100 finish.

Buffalo Run 100: Yeah, on paper this race seems like a pretty easy one, if you can call running 100 miles easy, but this year the weather didn't cooperate and finishing this race was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. The cold air, wind and constantly changing temperatures were something I hadn't planned well enough for. Mix in some really achy knees and the first 50 miles were a total mess. The wind calmed down some the back 50, but the cold temps during the night really took a toll and grinding out the last 30 miles was a suffer-fest. I didn't have the finishing time that I wanted, but I got it done and overcame a lot of adversity out there. I'm looking forward to running this race again in 2014 and significantly improving my time.

The boys at the Bryce 100

Bryce 100: This was the best experience that I have ever had in running and one of the sweetest memories of my life. I was fortunate to be able to run every step with 3 of my best friends, Craig, MattW and Josh. My plan going in was to do whatever I had to in order to hang with the guys for the first 50 miles and then take it from there. Remarkably we all felt pretty good the whole way and not only were we able to run the entire 100 miles together, but we also finished in a very respectable tie for 19th place. I still can't believe that we all went the whole distance without any significant issues. I'll never forget all of the laughs, the pain and pushing each other through the night. I think more than anything this race taught me what I am capable of and it also reaffirmed that I have some pretty incredible friends.
Me, Craig, Josh and Matt at the Bryce 100 finish.

Speedgoat 50K: This is probably the most difficult 50K in the country and since it is in my backyard I've wanted to do it for a few years now. After banging my kneecap in the Uintas my training had suffered significantly and I was worried about it going into the race. Fortunately I felt fantastic the entire 32 miles and the scenery was as good as it gets anywhere. Mix in several elite runners, most of the local ultra running crew and all of the Refuse2quit guys and it made for the perfect day. My only real complaint was my knee took a beating in Mary Ellen Gulch, but otherwise I completely enjoyed this race... Oh wait, there was that part when we had to make the final climb back up to Hidden Peak. That kind of blew a bit, but otherwise it was one of the best days of 2013 and I got to swear at Karl.

Running the Speedgoat 50K

Wasatch 100: This was my 3rd straight Wasatch. With my experience finishing the race twice along with some very solid training during the year made me feel very confident about reaching my sub 30 hour goal, but the Wasatch course has a way of neutralizing expectations. It was one of the hottest Wasatch race days ever and was in the high seventies when we started at 5:00 AM. I felt nauseous from the start (damn you Hostess pie) and didn't start feeling well until about mile 25. I did have a fantastic stretch from mile 25 to Swallow Rocks at mile 34, but I developed a really bad calf cramp that got progressively worse to the finish. I felt decent to Desolation Lake (mile 66) but from there to Brighton the wheels came off, the nausea came back and I lost my will to finish. After spending several hours at Brighton (mile 75) my pacers, Rob Bladen and Zac Marion refused to let me quit. I was convinced that I couldn't finish, but somehow I got out of there and came back to life. I felt phenomenal the final 25 miles and went from 211th place to 150 at the finish, shaving almost 3 hours off of my previous best time on the last 25 miles. It was my slowest 100 mile finish ever, but one that I am the most proud of. I learned that our bodies are stronger and more capable than we think. We can accomplish at times what we think is unthinkable.

Finishing my 3rd Wasatch 100

102 peaks: Keeping track of my total mountain ascents for the year started in 2009 after I made it a goal to climb a peak per week for the year. From 2010-1013 I've summited 348 peaks. Last year I set a goal to go over 100 and I finished the year with 116. My goal this year was once again 100 and midway through the year it wasn't looking very good, but I made a really strong push the last few months and just barely hit the mark. Most of the summits were repeats, but I did hit 11 new peaks that I had never been on and I loved every single one. My favorite summit memory of the year was watching the sunset from the top of Tokewanna Peak with MattV and Craig. It was pretty awe inspiring to be there in that moment, in one of the most remote and least visited places in the High Uintas. I'll never forget that feeling.

Willard Peak with Jennilyn and Craig

2013 was a sweet year. Most of all the best memories from the year are getting up early while the rest of the world sleeps, to meet great friends to play on the trails and in the mountains. I could not be more stoked for 2014. We have a lot of adventure planned and I'm psyched to watch all of my friends do amazing things. There are races to run, summits to climb and adventures ahead. Bring it on.

The Grandeur Peak Fun Run