Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hitting the Speedgoat Wall

Erik’s description “Speedgoat Death March” turned true for me. I had really been looking forward to this race. I like to climb and I am not a “true runner” more of a steady trail slogger. So this is my kind of race. In last years Speedgoat I went out slow and finished strong, passing a lot of people in the last third of the race. My plan this year was the same. I wanted to run somewhere back in the top 25 and then hopefully pass people on the climb up the Ridge trail and Little bowl in the last few big climbs of the race and try to get myself somewhere in the top 20. I figured a few people would hit the wall after the massive climb from Dutch flats back to the tunnel. What I hadn’t counted on was that one of those people would be me.

As I hit the Dutch Flat aid station I felt in pretty good shape but I just didn’t feel quite normal. I blew it off and headed out on the big climb back to Snowbird. I caught a few people but just couldn’t seem to pull away from them, and then I really had to battle to just stay in touch. As the climb progressed I just felt worse and worse. I started downing gu’s like crazy hoping that I might be just a little low on calories and could rally back. By the time I hit the aid station at Mineral Basin I was cooked. I believed I had officially hit the wall. After the guy running the aid station filled up my hydration pack I think I was just standing there in daze. He finally just kinda of yelled at me “get out of here, get moving” and I did, funny how sometimes all it takes is somebody to just tell you to get moving and you do. Sarah Evans caught me soon after and she made me take the lead, I like running with Sarah, we usually run about the same pace and she is a always a pleasure to be around but I soon had to let her go as I started to cramp a bit and just didn’t have and energy to push at all. I hit the tunnel aid station being run by Jim Skaggs. I asked him what place I was running in and said 18th. I ran through the tunnel hoping I would recover on the downhill before the killer climb up the Ridge trail. Usually I love this trail, it’s a rugged rocky ridge that over looks the cirque and you run on the same basic elevation as the tram cars, but I was doomed. Even on the lower tail leading up to the ridge I just couldn’t make any pace. I stopped at least 10 times up that ridge and got passed by at least 10 people. As I neared the top I could hear Scott Mason cheering people on. I thought to myself, man I must look pathetic, here is a guy that just pulled himself over the Hardrock 100 course and here I am just trying to finish this 50k. Scott gave my some kind words and then I was off for the last real climb of the day, Little Bowl which at the time looked to me like a 4,00 foot climb but in reality is probably more like 500 vertical. I actually sat down a few times climbing up Little Bowl, hoping nobody I knew would see me.. Rich passed me heading down the final descent to the finish looking great, then Christian came buy not to long after, looking not so great but still moving well. I moaned to him about my sorry state of affairs, he complained his legs were shot and don’t believe people when they say this is the last climb, there is one more little ****** climb after the tram on the backside. Then he basically said treat it as a training run and get moving, so I did. I slogged my way up to the top did the ***** little climb on the backside then actually rallied a bit once I hit the hot dusty road to finish. Its funny because all day long I wanted to quite or stop and all it would take is some one to say get going or some kind of words of encouragement and I would respond and keep moving. So about a mile from the finish I caught a runner that had passed me earlier in the race and he was walking on the road going down hill, so as I passed him I yelled at him “come on latch on to me and lets get this thing done” and dammed if he didn’t immediately start running, we both pushed a really strong pace all the way to the finish. A nice way to finish after a long hard run.

After the race I had the pleasure of meeting and talking to Adam Casseday and his wife. My wife had met them when I ran the race at Massanutten100 in the spring. He had placed third at that hard 100 and he had come out from West Virginia on his honeymoon and thought he would try one of our local races. At one point he looked at me and said this race is like the Barkley Marathons of the west. I think he was very impressed with our mountains here in Utah! I want to thank Karl Meltzer for creating one of the harder if not hardest 50ks in the country. Also of course all the great volunteers that helped. To name just a few Scott Mason, Roch Horton, Jim Skaggs, Butch Adams, Dave Hunt and many more I wish I knew all there names,thanks again. Also congratulations to Erik, Rich and Christian who all finished strong and placed in the top 10. Believe it or not I love this race and will be back next year and will hopefully avoid the Speedgoat bonk. To see a few pictures my wife shot of the race click on my link. Also to see some great professional pictures go to Pure Light Images



peter said...

Congratulations. Sometimes hard a hard finish will carry you through hard races yet to come. Thanks for the write-up. My legs hurt just thinking about this one.

Jason said...


Nice way to push through it. Although I'm glad to hear that I was not the only one suffering with cramps. When I got to the tunnel my lags were cramping and I felt like blowing chow, but Jim fueled me up and I slogged onward. What a sick course! Great finish to you all.

Christian said...

Nice work Greg, you may not have done as well as you were expecting, but that was still a great run. Tell Marge thanks for taking the great pictures! IMG_4545 shows Erik starting his glissade toward me on the snow field. that got me motivated to move...