It’s taken me a while to sit down and write about this one. I’m still not quite sure how to describe this experience. This was probably the most physically and mentally exhausting experience I’ve had so far. 33 hours is a long time to spend on the trail and my hat is off to anyone who has the determination to stay out until the very last cut off to make it to the finish line. By comparison, this made my 19 hour finish at Western States seem like a 5k fun run.
The day started off well enough. The 5am start is pretty early but made a world of difference from the 4am starts at Leadville and Vermont. I at least started off the day feeling somewhat rested and normal. But I already new that I was going to have a difficult day. In the three weeks after Leadville I cut back on my running mileage significantly and started taking more rest days. But the more I tried to rest and recover, the worse I felt. My last easy social jog with the Fort Collins Trail Runners the previous Tuesday felt like a chore. I was getting winded on easy climbs and my legs were aching and sore. I was in no condition to race …let alone finish a difficult mountain 100 miler. But I had set out to finish the Grand Slam series 9 months ago and couldn’t quit after finishing the first 3 events.