Wow. Another race down, another set of life-long memories made.
This was the third time I’d run the Copper Hills 4 Peak Challenge. And I have to tell you, this race gets better with each year. The volunteers are amazing, encouraging and energetic. I roped my friend Kristin into joining me, and I had a blast running with her!
We started out on Sunrise mountain. It was pretty dark, so I was glad I had my Knuckle Light. The temps were perfect. Cold at the start is exactly where you want to be. Because, especially with running, you’ll warm up super fast. I was already shedding my arm warmers within the first few miles.
I was running this race for my friends Sandy and Glyn. They always participate in this event, either running or volunteering, but this year cancer stole that chance. While I was running, Sandy was fighting for her life–Glyn right by her side. As I’m typing this, it appears she is losing the battle and may very well find herself dancing at the feet of Jesus any time now. It was an honor to do this for them. They’ve selflessly given so much to their church, to their friends, both serving & volunteering without expectation. Those thoughts and memories kept me going when I started struggling.
The second peak was West Wing Mountain. That was a brutal and a very technical climb for sure. But I got to see a couple friends, Hans and Melissa. It was just the boost I needed.
The third peak was East Wing, and that felt more like bouldering. Huge steps (Nature’s Staircase) made it feel like I was doing squats for a mile or two.
Now starts the long run down, around and out to Calderwood Butte, the final peak. I was really struggling during this part. Mentally and physically. My left shin was actually getting pretty fatigued/crampy. It was weird.
What really helped was running into the Embrace Your Pace Crew! Seeing Courtney, Melissa, Terri, Jon, Addie, and Rebecca on the way off East/West Wing mountains was just the pep I needed. Their smiles and their energy renewed me.
By now I was about a solid three hours into things, so instead of a gel to supplement my Tailwind, I opted for a PBJ. I could only manage about three quarters of it, but the two mile jog (flat!) to Calderwood was what my body needed. I tackled Calderwood, happy to be on my former home turf (I lived near there and did that hill a lot the past two years). At the bottom, I was loading up on water and such, looking forward to the two-ish mile jog back to the start.
It was difficult, and I walked a couple times during those two miles, but when I wanted quit and just walk it all in, I remembered Sandy and Glyn. In the hospital, Sandy was hooked up to life sustaining IVs and such, so I pushed on, repeating her name in my mind. Remembering our years as friends.
Even though we hadn’t been in contact a ton the previous handful of years, she is a life-long friend for sure. One of those people who forever makes an impact on your life.
Then I saw my sweet hubby. Only a mile left now! I was struggling with fatigue, but seeing him, hearing his encouragements, renewed my strength!
So, I just told my arms to keep pumping, knowing my legs would follow, and I hunkered down. I didn’t finish super strong, but I finished with a solid PR of about 15 minutes or so. I don’t keep super track, but I think last year according to my watch, I was at 4:44 and I clicked stop this year on my watch at 4:29. So, I’ll take it. And I’ll take the beautiful third place trophy!!
- Solid/consistent training: Having a coach and using training peaks play a HUGE part in my ability to consistently train without injury.
- Healthy eating habits: Daily healthy eating is key. I have a ways to go in this category since I really like my sweets and martinis, but sticking to high quality foods is key. I use the DQS (Diet Quality Score) app that really helps me think twice about eating low quality food.
- Calories during the event: I rely on Tailwind the most, but I also supplement it with GU gels and PBJ sandwiches (only I use honey instead of Jelly) during the race. I try and consume about 150-200 calories per hour. That seems to work for the most part for me and my body type.
- Trailsisters: And of course, surrounding myself by supportive people is key. I love training with my trail sisters for sure. They keep me accountable, motivated and excited to train. You know who you are, girls!
Well, that was a long-winded race report, but I am an author after all, right? LOL!!! Hopefully it might help someone who stumbles across this and is thinking of trying an endurance event.
Have fun, my friends!