Location: Zion, Utah ♦ Distance: 45km ♦ Elevation: 1100meters (estimate)
Zion was my second Ultra Marathon, where I anticipated hot, dry, blistery conditions. However, as with all races and adventures, there are always unpredictable conditions! Thank goodness I am an over packer and had multiple layers that were seemingly ridiculous with a desert destination race.
The race started with a 2 hour time delay, due to a down pour of rain! When it rains in the desert, it pours. The delay was actually a big relief as we did not realize that there was a 1 hour time different from Vegas where we were staying to Zion..ha, PHEW! During the down pour, while I munched on Peanut M&Ms because I didn’t want to start hungry, the race directors impressively kept their calm and thoughtfully considered the racers safety, conditions, and course.
The course was rerouted to a 45km course, using a road for the main climb and trails that were intended for the half marathon distance. Although I would like to see the trails on the original route, I am so grateful for the decision that was made. This was a wet-clay course. New terrain to my feet and more challenging than any root/rock/sand/snow I have ever ran on. It was running while having ten pounds of mud stuck to your feet, reducing any traction your shoes would normally give, and sliding from side to side…skate-ski experience would have come in handy here!
Clay aside, this course was phenomenal. The scenery was the exact opposite of everything I am used to and looping through the aid station 3 times made for 3 opportunities to snag one-bite brownies and head back out with a chocolate filled smile. I also utilized Tail Wind during this race, to help me better manage my fuel and hydration. I probably went a little overboard with 3 scoops per 500ml, but felt well hydrated throughout and new I was moving closer towards hitting my ideal calorie and water intake.
45km later, my blue shoes were orange, my legs had received a long mud bath, and my heart was ecstatic. I finished in an unexpected 4th place for women, 16th overall and had completed my second ultra!