Well, I tried to condense the final stages of TransRockies into one post, but it just didn’t happen. 120 miles is a LOT of trail to cover, so I’ll recap the last 2 days separately…
Stages 1, 2, 3 and 4 had all been difficult but I’d surprised myself and felt a lot better than expected. There was no turning back in the final 2 stages, I’d made it to the final stretch and even if I had to pay someone to fireman carry me up the mountains and log roll down the back side, I was going to finish what I started.
Saturday morning we woke up at Camp Hale and I scouted out some of the friends I’d made during the week. I’d bumped into more than a few people in the medical tent getting ankles and knees taped, blisters wrapped, and joints iced. Sunscreen slathered, bundled in all kinds of gear, we were a cute bunch (not).
I started off running with Sarah, a sweet, insanely talented, and tough-as-nails cyclists from Vancouver. After a couple miles she zoomed off to dominate the hills, leaving me with a some familiar couples I’d been running with all week. The first 10 or so miles were gradual uphill and peaked at the “Top of the World”. I’d say the views from the top were breathtaking, but after huffing and puffing my way up the final steep climb, I didn’t have much breath left.
We kept climbing and descending along a single track trail to the next Aid Station at around mile 14. Something from that Aid Station did NOT settle well because for the next few miles my stomach was sloshing around and slowing me down. A few miles later, I was celebrating my stomach finally calming down when I noticed a few drops of blood on my leg. Great- dry air and high altitude had given me a nose bleed. Luckily another Aid Station was right around the corner, so they tossed me a few tissues and encouraged me to keep running- “It’ll make for a great photo for the slideshow if it’s still bleeding at the finish”… Umm, I’m not really a pose-for-the-camera-with-blood-on-your-face kind of girl.
Feeling like a wimp, I pushed on, trying not to focus on my tired ankles and running nose. I caught up with Phillipe and Linda, an adorable couple from London, who I’d been chasing all week and zoomed down the last long hill behind them. When I finally spotted Taylor at the finish line, I filled her in on the train wreck of 24ish miles. As I’d tried to tell Sarah the day before, just like in training and in life, not every day of this adventure is going to be pretty or go as planned. We can’t dwell on the days that beat us up a little.
Looking back on Day 5, I think I was a little mellow dramatic about the tough spots. I’ve already forgotten about my burning legs, churning stomach and bleeding face. My battered feet are mending, and all I remember are the incredible people and sights from this stage. This may have been my toughest day, but I’d still run it all over again.
The final camp in Vail was beautiful and dinner tasted better than any other night. Taylor and I settled in to our tent and anxiously waited for Day 6!