15 weeks of training has an infinite amount of conclusions. At any moment, I could have succumbed to injury, boredom or fear. Each week, the walls narrowed and what was a vast expanse of opportunity morphed into singular focus. On June 24th, 2017 I ran the San Juan Solstice 50 mile race in 12 hours 17 minutes. I carried a pack full of water and snacks, but more importantly, I carried my training with me. Every stream crossed and log hurdled was oddly familiar. I’d never been here before, but the movement was the same. In the weight room, on my local trail, resting on my couch- all these movements added up, gave me courage and familiarity in the unknown. Box jumps and tempo runs were familiar faces in a sea of strangers.
I can’t imagine writing a true race report. A minute by minute playback of the entire race would drag on for pages. Instead, here’s a few memorable moments in no particular order:
- Lake City is a hidden gem nestled in the San Juan Mountains about an hour south of Gunnison.
- After a good night’s sleep in a bunkhouse just south of town, we were running and crossing streams. Sarah and I kept a strong pace to avoid backups during the 7 or so stream crossings.
- Top of the first climb was to the shoulder of Redcloud Peak and the gnarly trees mixed with wildflowers perfectly framed desolate ridges bathing in the morning sun.
- I spent the first 20 miles ahead of Sarah. She passed me somewhere on the divide and was quickly out of sight as I relished the fact that she was no longer chasing me down.
- At mile 32, we met up again at the aid station with a yurt. I think it’s called Alpine. Sarah and I would run the rest of the race together.
- With renewed energy and most of the climbing behind us, we jogged the whole way to mile 40 where Caleb and Kelsey were volunteering. Easily my favorite part of the race! Check out Calebs inaugural race, The High Lonesome 100 in late July.
- After, mile 40 theres only one more significant climb before town. With hundreds of wildflowers in a seeminglu infinite aspen grove, there was plenty to distract me from my screaming hip flexors.
- Sarah led the last rocky descent into town and the two miles on the road to the finish line almost broke me.
- We crossed the finish line together, holding hands.
It’s been really fun training for my first 50 mile race. Now I’m looking forward to a week or two of rest, 3-4 weeks of yoga intensive and building my climbing training plan for the rest of the summer. I’ll probably still run a bit this summer, but not like before.
Essentials for the 50 miler:
- Voke Tabs – literally crack
- La Sportiva Mutants
- Ultimate Direction AK 3.0 Snack Vest
- V-Fuel energy glop
- Black Diamond Z Poles
- Laspo Arm sleeves
- Julbo Sunglasses
- Golden Mountain Runners Hat