The Antelope Island 50k is a race that I have wanted to do for a few years. I had signed up back in 2012, but an unexpected family emergency pulled the plug on that one. So, it goes without saying that I was excited to actually run the back part of the island everyone raves about. Jim’s fall lineup of races is pretty low key, which also appeals to me. With me not racing any fall 100’s it was finally my year to run it.
This race is fast, as are all on Antelope Island. With pacing three 100’s in the month of September, I hadn’t exactly done much speed work, but that didn’t seem to impact me much over the course of the race. My Dad and I arrived at the island early. I am paranoid about not being late (to anything…). I took a nap in the car and then meandered up to the start area.
The start was a leisurely jog along the fence and we turned up towards the White Rock loop. I managed to catch the one dude in front of me part way up the climb and put a bit of time on him by the time we reached the Elephant Head aid station. All was well at this point. Pearl Jam Live on Two Legs was playing on my iPhone. I had my first Lori Burlison sighting just before starting up the switch backs. She is such a welcome sight at these races! I tried to smile.
After making it up the switchbacks I started to have a sinking feeling that something was wrong. I had been looking for a course marking that would have us cut to the right and head to the back side of the island. I didn’t see a mark. Having not ran this particular race before I was clueless as to what switch back this was supposed to happen on.
I wandered for a while. I cut up a random switch back to what looked like a game trail. I then proceeded to go up and over a ridge to see if I could get a better view. No such luck. Eventually a group of four other runners had joined me in this meandering. After a while we were pointed in the right direction and we then headed back down a few switch backs to the correct route. Lori was there directing runners up and over and I was finally back on course. All in all it probably was an extra 25 minutes or so and 2.5 miles.
At this point I had to readjust my mindset a bit. This was not the first time I had missed a turn before while leading a race (Zion 50k… Corner Canyon 50k…). The other occasions had been because I hadn’t paid attention to clearly marked intersections. This was a little different, but I’ve had some practice in this area to say the least. Making a wrong turn is obviously not desirable, but I’ve learned that how you react to it can make or break the rest of your race.
So, getting close to four hours was out. I then decided to make it my mission to pass as many people as I could. Winning the race from behind would be my new goal. The miles clicked by and I passed some people on the climb to the next aid station. It was getting hot. All leg muscles took turns seizing up and generally causing discomfort.
By the time I had reached Jarrod Garr at the subsequent aid station, he informed me that I was in 1st place. I didn’t believe him. After getting a Coke for the road I was out. More miles went by. The highlight of this stretch was my one sided conversation with a coyote, and a few antelope crossing my path in front of me.
I have no memory of anything over the next few miles until I got to the aid station just past the ranch. Seth filled up my empty pack. Amie gave me a coke to go and I was out. I asked who was in front of me. They said no one. I started to believe I was actually back in 1st.
Last observations for 2014 –
- The way my race season ended was a complete 180 from 2013.
- The Antelope Island 50k course is my favorite on the island. I will be back next year.
- I am fortunate to run for the HUMR Ultra Team. Love you guys!
- Seeing Lori Burlison out on the trail taking photos instantly lifts my spirits.
- Eating chewy Spree candy during a race was a poor choice.
- Missed turns happen. It’s how you deal with it afterwards that counts.
- After seemingly days and weeks of my IMTUF goat induced stomach flu… All is now well.
- I talk to animals while running. It’s very strange.
- My lucky Orange Smith Optics Masterminds worked again!
- 2015 will be even bigger! #humrnation