Monday, April 30, 2007

Zane Grey Highline 50 Miler

Executive summary: Zane Grey kicked my butt.

More detailed account: ZG, billed as "the toughest 50 miler" in the country, was all I'd expected and then some. The course traverses the 50+ mile Highline Trail, which parallels the Mongollon Rim near Payson, Arizona, about an hour northeast of Phoenix. It is an extremely rocky trail, and where it wasn't rocky, the ground was full of dried horse hoof "pock marks." However, I prefer more technical courses, so that component really was quite fun.

It was HOT. My usually strong stomach rebelled, the body seeming to query "Are you doing this to me again, you Idiot?!" Consequently, my pace slowed over the inferno-like midsection of the course--that would be roughly miles 2 to 48. Never has my system processed so much fluid over the course of 12 hours. By mile 25, ALL I was craving was ice water. My thirst seemingly could not be quenched; diligence re balancing electrolytes was in order, and toward the end of the race my stomach finally came around--woohoo! The second half of the race I consumed exactly three ClifShots and a package of ClifBloks, much less than usual.

Now, a heartfelt plug for a sponsor: my new Nathan Intensity vest was a godsend--I love it!! It is very comfortable, bounce free, and able to carry enough fluid the LOOOONG stretches between aid stations at ZG. This from a diehard hip belt user. I may just have become a hydration pack convert. :)

While I'd hoped to run under 11 hours, in the end this race became one of surviving. My time was around 12:15, good enough for second woman. Congratulations to Emily B. for her first place finish... and to everyone who ran this ultra-tough event!
My buddy Steve's photos & the results

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