The Never Summer 100k ExperienceA friend had mentioned the Never Summer 100k race, I liked the name. Up in the Colorado mountains, super scenic views, western states qualifier, easy enough to get into, and not too expensive. Signed up, got a couple of others to sign up too. I trained enough or not enough, I don't know. You can always do more. I had kinda injured my back 4ish weeks before the race. Workouts were kinda off since then. We left early Friday morning, I got these two running crazies to come too!
Then you went down, scary way down. Then up and down across a trail to the next aid station. I thought I can't climb another mountain like that. It was borderline scary and it was hard but they said that was the worst of it. Not that the rest would be easy. They said the next 6ish miles would be nothing in comparison to the last miles and they were right. Some road downhill for a while then trail, pretty trail all well-marked. The only part I wasn't loving was going though the field of downed timber. Looking back it seems cool but at the time I wasn't all into getting around them. I might not have been in the best of moods when I hit the next aid station. I was only 29 miles in and 10ish miles to the next aid station with more mountains to climb. That didn't sound like the best so I hung out at the aid station longer than I usually would. I'm an in and out girl, 5 minutes max. I still never sat down and was there less than 15 minutes I'm sure but keep sampling the food and thought about how nice dropping out might feel when this super nice aid station worker Sarah offered me her ice filled neckerchief thing. Of course she said she needed it back when she saw me at the finish so clearly I had no choice but to finish at that point. I went on up to the next climb. It went up hill for a while, it wasn't that my legs were that tired, it was just that I kept having to catch my breath a little during the climbs. It was very pretty trail though and so diverse. Wooded areas with creeks running through then across huge rocks with snow and a lake below.
This was probably the only time along the course I questioned at all if I was on the right path a couple of times. Then there would be someone else around who thought we were and after a bit I'd see another pink flag never getting off course. Eventually I came back to a road and a mile and a halfish later to the 39ish mile aid station. This aid station held an out and back. 2.2ish miles out then come right back to the aid station for snacks, easy peasy. Somehow I missed that the 2.2 miles would be straight up another mountain, took over an hour to get up it.
There was a lake at the top, going down didn't take quite so long. I saw Deb Johnson(after seeing that she had done the race last year and was from the Kansas City area I looked her up on FB to badger her with questions about the event, she was super helpful) on the way down looking super fresh, not like she had been climbing mountains all day even though she had. Had a good chat with her then we went on our ways. I made it down to the mountain and perked up even though It would be dark soon. I only had 6ish more miles to the next aid station where Courtney would be to travel the last of it with. Plus I was told no more ridiculous climbs. It was dark fairly quick so I kinda hung with some other runners till the next aid station. I wasn't to worried about getting lost but you know bears and moose. The day before the park ranger had told us the likely hood of seeing a bear was slim to none. I got to the aid station and one of the first things Courtney says to me is about the bear some runners saw on the trail today. I was like we are about to go for 14 miles into the wilderness do we really wanna talk about this bear now? Courtney was chatty to make the time go by much faster. I was feeling done with the whole running up hill thing or really even running. Just wanting to make it under 23 hours, since that seemed like a legitiment goal, I told Courtney she was in charge of time as well. The miles past fairly quickly though maybe not as quickly as I would have liked. Courtney did sing a good Hi Ho Hi Ho it's off to work we go from Snow White that was quite peppy. The last hill was super annoying and seemed to go on for ever and ever and ever. Like it would not end then we made it to the last aid station 2 miles out. Didn't stop at all because 2 miles. Ready to be done, the 2 miles seemed to go on forever. Just when I was like were the f is this finish, it showed up. Not many people around at 3:43 in the morning but we finished. Dennis was there at the end which was nice!