I signed up for this race Wednesday night. It was one of those things where I just had the urge. After Wasatch I'd hardly trained but had been feeling good and getting in some nice runs. Mostly maintaining fitness and having fun. Antelope Island was just a spontaneous urge I had. My wife was out of town visiting her family so I drove up and stayed the night at the start. I slept great! Maybe is was the laissez-faire attitude I had about the race and maybe it was the dark cool night. But it sure was nice.
At 6am with little pageantry we were off. I got in line behind the front pack which consisted of mself, Davy Crockett, Tim, and Scott. It's was warmer then I thought it would be but pleasant. After 10 miles of nothing special we hit the beach. First was the finest softest sand possible. Slipping and sliding it felt you were going nowhere. Then it became the salt flats which was very nice to run on. However we couldn't see the flags very well and somehow ended up in a willowy marsh stomping through knee high muck and mush. I was not happy with the smell nor the wet slop that ended up in every crevasse of my shoe. After 9-10 minutes of this we reconnected with the chase pack on the right course.
The sunrise was beautiful over this next section. Scott began to pull ahead on the long climb and Davy dropped off. Tim and I ended up running together for the next 10 miles or so. This far side of the Island is of limits to the public and it was neat running through a beautiful area I'd never been. I was feeling great all the way to the half way point. Scott was 5 minutes up and I had gaped Tim 3-4 minutes. The race was now getting real and I finally started thinking competitively.
The second lap started great. Beautiful and isolated the back part of the island is surreal. I was moving well and having a nice time. As I started up the big climb I became worried that in my lack of preparation for this race I failed to put enough foot and salt in my bag. I got to the aid station and ate some potato chips killing too birds with one stone and was off. It looked like Scott had somehow pulled ahead and was now 10 minutes up and Tim was 7-8 minutes back.
However I started feeling the effects of the race. Soon I was out of everything; water, salt, and food. I thought beforehand that the aid station was at the ranch but it was 2+ miles past the ranch. I kept up a decent pace all the way to the aid station but I knew I was cutting it close. At this point I began walking every 10 minutes for 30 seconds. My energy levels were really low and I was just trying to get to the next aid.
As I entered The Gate aid station I had 10 miles left. Scott was now uncatchable and Tim was nowhere is sight, 8-10 minutes back. In my cramping state I needed salt. I grabbed some much needed salt tabs, filled my water, and ate a couple potato chips & was out of the aid station. 1/2 mile out I realized I never opened my drop bag and was running with zero food. Needless to say it got ugly. I'm just an idiot sometimes on the trail. I can't believe I didn't grab any gels! I suffered to the final aid station and as I was nearing it I could see Tim in the distance pulling me in.
I filled my bottle, grabbed some nuts & two gels to get me to the finish line, and took off in hopes of beating Tim. 2 minutes out of the aid station I got real nauseous so I pulled over and sat down. The nuts and gel needed a minute to digest. Tim went by my asking if I was ok. I waived him on because it was too little too late. After another mile I started to feel better as my body processed the food. Soon I took my last gel and was cruising. By the end I was flying to the finish line cursing myself for not taking enough food and forgetting my drop bag. Those last few miles I moved as well as I had all day! I finished 3rd in a time of 10hr 28min.
Loved the race!! The course was awesome. I actually put my finishing time at 10:30, so I beat that which I was happy about. I know I lost 20 possibly 30 minutes due to my stupid planning and forgetfulness at aid stations. But that's what happens when you're not focusing and wing stuff. I actually had a really good race aside from the lack of food. My feet had ZERO issues or blisters!! My Altra Lone Peaks truly are the greatest trail shoes in the world. I'm pretty stoked about that. Since running in them I have had no worries about sore arches, feet, blisters, etc. Something I use to constantly have issues with. But what a great race. I'm sure that next year more runners will head out to the island for this awesome race. I sure had a great time!