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"You can take the runner out of the race 
but you can't always take the 'race' out of the (former) runner."
~ Yours truly again
Continued from the previous page . . .

A funny thing happened at the Upper Sheep Creek aid station -- my old competitive urges re-surfaced!

Ha! Not only was it an impulsive thing for me to enter this event at the last minute, I soon discovered I really, really wanted to stay ahead of all the people I'd been going back and forth with for the last five miles.

Keep in mind that I'd been walking most of the time so far. I wasn't racing the women in my age group who were actually running the thing. The first woman in the 60-69 age group finished in a blazing time of 3:42 hours.

But it suddenly became important to me to stay ahead of everyone I'd already passed, regardless of age or gender.

Looking back at the Upper Sheep Creek aid station

Where did that come from????

This is amusing to me in retrospect. I thought I'd buried any thoughts of competition when I "hung up my racing shoes" almost two years ago. But I've been a competitor all my life and it's a tough thing to completely discard.

I never did walk with anyone else during the race but went back and forth with several folks who were either walking fast or using a walk-slow run strategy until we reached Upper Sheep Creek at five miles. Several people who had passed me were still in the aid station when I arrived.

I passed several women in the 30K who stopped to rest/chat
on the way up to Horse Creek Ridge.

Without really thinking about it, I went right on through the aid station without stopping, quickly forded the little stream beyond (while others were wasting time trying to find a way to stay dry), and hustled down the trail so I could get a head start up the tough climb to Horse Creek Ridge. I had plenty of fluids and calories in my pack and didn't need to stop.

I got around several people that way! Seemed like a good strategy for the rest of the race . . .

Gotta hustle -- those gals are in the 30K! (Each race had a different bib color.)

Once ahead of them, I did my best to stay ahead of them. I was only concerned about my "competition" in the 30K, not the ultras.

I passed more 30Kers on the steep grade up to Horse Creek Ridge, keeping a slow but steady pace that allowed me to hike without stopping to catch my breath. Once on the ridge and going down to the Tongue River Canyon I did a little running off and on when I wasn't having to stop to massage cramps out of my legs. I was too tired to run any more once I hit the road for the last five miles.

I believe I stayed ahead of all these folks in the last twelve miles except one woman in her 40s who passed me at the Tongue River Canyon trailhead and finished about five minutes ahead of me.

If any more 30Kers had picked up their pace on the road section in the last five miles I didn't have much energy left to pursue them!

Old MOs (modus operandi) die hard . . .

A runner in the 50-miler comes from behind on the long descent to Lower Sheep Creek.

Will I get crazy again and enter any more races in the future??

I won't rule it out but I can't think of any other events I want to enter this year. I really prefer to be out on scenic trails like these with just Jim and/or Cody, going at my own leisurely pace and taking as much time as I want to absorb the scenery and take photos.

I realize now that I'll probably always have a competitive streak if I'm in a race, no matter how slow I'm moving along. I'm just wired like that and no matter how hard I try to be a Type B personality (yes, I know the irony of what I just said) there's a lot of Type A that remains in my DNA.

I don't consider that A Real Good Thing any more. Running is not good for knees that are bone-on-bone, even though the Orthovisc injections still allow me to enjoy day-long hikes in the mountains. I need to reduce as much pounding as possible.

But regarding scenic trail races with generous time limits . . . I won't say "never again," either. Stay tuned. My knees may be wearing out but I'm not dead yet!

Next entrythe Sunday awards brunch is always fun to attend

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, and Cody the Ultra Lab

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2011 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil