Flagstaff to Grand Canyon Stagecoach 55K Race Report
1. Getting lost: because I knew it was a small race and wasn't sure there would be other runners around to follow if I was unsure about the route, this was the part that I was worried about the most.
2. Wild animals: bears, mountain lions, bison, snakes.
3. The elevation: the course starts at 7500', goes up to 8500, down and up a little and down to 6500.
So with those three worries on my mind, who had time to worry about running 55K and whether or not trying fairly new fuel (it worked on an 18 miler so it should work on a 55K, right?) would work out!
Getting There: Since Flagstaff was on the way home back to Texas for my husband and I, who have been traveling in our RV for nearly 4 months, I ran the Stagecoach 55K trail race today which started in Flagstaff. The name of the race mentions the GC, but only the 100 mile racers ran up to the Grand Canyon (Tusayan, actually, which is south of the GC).
|Before the Start|
Expo/Packet Pick-up: Picking up my big and finisher's shirt at the running store in Flagstaff was easy and only took about three minutes!
Weather: 40's to mid 80's, sunny
Course: Most of the course ran along the Arizona Trail, but not all of it did so I was afraid of getting lost. However, the course was very well marked. I did get lost for maybe just under a mile total, along with 2 other runners (maybe we were chatting and not paying attention), but when we found the course again, I couldn't believe we took a wrong turn with all of the flags marking the right turn.
Fuel Pre-race: pancake (woke up hungry at 2:30 AM and I've heard Meb eats in the middle of the night before races to keep his blood sugar level, fell asleep again), Rice Chex and apple sauce (3 hours before start), which left me a little hungry at the start
Fuel During the Race: 7 servings (almost 2 flasks) EFS Liquid Shot (berry), 2 Hammer gels from aid station. After mile 21, I was really tired of sugar! With only 2 full aid stations (mile 9.5 and 21) and one water only station (mile 24), I needed to be fairly self-sufficient so I wore my 40 ounce Camelback hydration pack, but I still ran out of water twice (before mile 21 and the finish).
Gear: Mizuno Wave Kazan trail shoes (a recent great buy for $50 at Fort Collins, CO, Runners Roost store), Skirt Sports Women's Adventure Girl Skirt, Thorlo Experia socks, Cabella's XPG performance shirt that wicks moisture.
|Zoe Anxiously Awaiting the Race or Wishing She Was in the Warm Car|
I'm happy that I didn't run into any wild animals and getting lost wasn't too bad - bonus miles, or one anyway! I only wish I hadn't gotten lost in a hot and unshaded place! The elevation didn't seem too bad. I was so busy trying to run a fast pace during the mountain section and enjoying the shade and trees!
I loved running through the forest for the first 20 miles, but the section after that was unshaded and desert-like and seemed to go on forever once my Garmin died and I didn't know what mile I was running in was tough. There were sections so full of rocks that I had to walk. I'd rather be running! At least I wore a regular watch (I thought my Garmin 220 battery would die), so I knew the time.
When I finally saw the finish line and checked the time (3:53), I realized that I needed to hustle to make it in under 8 hours. My husband arrived at the finish just in time to see me. I heard him cheer for me, crossed the line and Ian Torrence, the race director, shook my hand and congratulated me. I finished in 7:55, giving me a sub 8 hour race. All I felt was happiness and exhaustion!