Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pacing and crewing duties, IMTUF 100

This past weekend I had the chance to do something that I really like to do, but don't get much of a chance to do.  Pace and crew friends in their 100-mile races.
Several of us drove from Utah up to McCall, ID to crew and pace a couple of friends, (Breein Clark and Jeremy Achter) at the IMTUF 100.  This race is a seriously tough, remote, and long race.  It's advertised as a 100-mile event.  We think it actually runs around 108-110 miles total.
the race starts and finishes at Burgdorf Hot Springs.  Think very rustic, no electricity, running water or indoor plumbing in the cabins.
I got up there around 8:30 Friday evening, found the cabin we were staying in and moved in.  The rest of the evening was spent drinking beer and engaging in high school age humor.  In other words, fun.  We did get to bed at a reasonable hour though since our runners had to be at the start at 6am.  No moon or clouds at night, and being well away from the city lights meant that the stars were absolutely spectacular.
I didn't sleep too well, but neither did anyone else, so 5:15 came pretty early.  Up, make some coffee, get our runner ready and walk to long 50 yards down to the starting line.  Once the runners started, we headed back to the cabin, ate breakfast, loaded up all of our stuff and hit the road to the first place we could see our runners.
It's a rugged trail out there.
It was a beautiful day for anything, the sun was out, it was warm, and the leaves are turning.
We first met our runners at about 13 miles in.  They were both doing well and we got them fed, hydrated and out.  After that, we had several hours to wait, so we headed into town to grab some lunch and harrass people on facebook.  Then, back out to the aid station at 33 miles. 
Upper Payette Lake
Feed and hydrate our runners, get them what they needed and kick them out again. 
Just waiting for our runners at the Upper Payette aid station
Jeremy and his pacer Mike heading out from Snowslide aid
Next up was the aid station at 47 miles.  Here, runners were able to pick up their first pacer.  Both Breein and Jeremy still were doing very well.  We got both of them out in short order, then headed for the next crew aid station. 
At Lake Fork, Breein and Jeremy switched their pacers.  Aric had paced Breein for this section and Mike had paced Jeremy.  Now it was Jared (Jeremy) and Harrison's (Breein) turn to take them through the night.

Breein looking happy and good at Snowslide aid
The section from Lake Fork back to Upper Payette Lake was supposed to be 25 miles.  We figured around 8-9 hours.  Nope, that didn't happen.  Both runners took right at 12 hours and the actual mileage was closer to 35.  That helped from my perspective since it allowed me to get a bit more sleep.  I did manage to get around 4-5 hours of sleep while sitting in a nice warm truck.
Jeremy showed up first at around 8:30 and picked up Mike as a pacer for the last 15 miles.  Jeremy looked really good other than being tired.  Breein didn't roll in until around 11:15am.  I had gone for a short run down the dirt road hoping to find her and Harrison and I did manage to about 3/4 mile away.
Breein getting ready to head out with Aric from Snowslide aid
Breein still looked pretty good, was actually running sections but also looked pretty tired.  At this point the offcial distance was supposed to be 88 miles.  What we figured was that it was over 90.
We got Breein squared away and the two of us set out for the remaining 15 or so miles.  Over the first four miles or so, she moved very well, running long stretches, chatting.
Random log cabin we came across in the middle of nowhere
Then we hit the steep part of the climb.  And it got warm.  And there was no breeze.  And Breein doesn't do well in the heat.  Still, she plugged away and eventually we made it to the final aid station.  Ice in the pack, under her hat, and half a beer and we were out.
Stomach was still bothering her, but she kept everything down.  By now we were traversing along a ridge and the scenery was gorgeous.

Now we had the final eight miles or so, and it was all downhill.  Awesome, easier running......oh wait, some of that downhill was steep and very rocky.  I'm glad she had some poles to use.  I kept an eye on the watch and the mileage and tried to push where I thought I could and back off when I needed to.  About a mile or so from the finish we met up with Harrison.
Showing off her finisher's belt
He ran in with us, taking pictures and chatting.  Breein ran across the finish looking strong.  Final time, 35:15, good enough for 7th female.  I'm super proud of her.  She never once voiced anything about quitting.  She was determined to keep going.  One tough lady.

I'm thinking about running this one next year.  Gorgeous scenery, really hard race.

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