Bryce 100M, Bryce Canyon City, Utah 4,3

Elevation Range: 8,000' - 9,400'               Elevation Gain: ~19,000'

Scrolling Photos from Race Day
June 14, 2014 - At this point in life I pretty much do what I want and, frankly my 
dear, feel no compulsion to make excuses for any shortcomings in the expectations
of others.I love to chase down trails in wild, challenging, and scenic places, and 
love to share it with beautiful, fit people who come from the same tribe as me.  I
continue to encounter other old codgers obsessed with finishing and the time on 
the clock, but it ain't me, babe... no, no, no, it ain't me no more.  I run races just
like I enjoy eating good food, relishing the sensuality of every bite... every step.
I take my time and push myself away from the table before I am uncomfortably
full.  Moderation, Moderation, Moderation.  And so it is with racing - when I reach
a point of sensual satisfaction with the effort, my body reminds me in one way or
another to pull up short of satiety.  I am no longer a gluton for suffering.  While
most of my racing companions toe the line with a driving gana for finishing, it is not
a fait d'accompli in my mind.  Once the excitement of the chase and my social
appetite begins to wane (I'm not having fun anymore!) I am generally ready to do 
something else.  And so it is with much of my racing these days.  If I do happen to
revert to old ways of chasing time instead of dreams, my aging bones, tissues, and 
organs generally send a clear signal of reminder that I'm not that way anymore.
The beauty of Bryce Canyon and the glowing race reports of this event have been
alluring me like a siren song for most of the last year.  I just had to experience
this venue first hand as a runner.  When my friend Fanny Barrette from Calgary
anted up the entry to get in, I jumped at the chance to once again share an
adventure with her.  The plan was to do back to back weekends with this event and
the San Juan Solstice in Colorado for a whirlwind ultra holiday.  As this is likely
my swan song year as an inveterate ultra runner I feel a sense of urgency to check
off as many exciting events from my bucket list as possible, without running myself
into oblivion.

After car camping up Red Canyon in the Dixie National Forest under a beautiful full 
moon (I couldn't help but want to howl throughout the night) I rose early to toe
the line for the 0600 start that would take us immediately into the hoodoos after
a couple miles start on a dirt road.  I caught up with Fanny after about a half mile
and stayed with her through the first ten miles on the Thunder Mountain and 
Grandview Trails.  With the perfection of the weather I set upon a strategy of
taking pictures all day, then running if the race should continue into the night.  It
was just so beautiful every direction you looked.  I couldn't take the race too
seriously, so stopped to take copious pix of the scenery and people.

The mid forty-degree temps soon rose, so I shed my jacket and was able to run the
rest of the day comfortably in a tech shirt.  Hitting the Thunder Mountain Aid Station
at ten miles in a casual 2 hours and 15 minutes, I took my time to drink and eat
before heading out ahead of Fanny.  As the scenery became less dramatic I left
my camera in its case and engaged several interesting people along the way.  The
tempo seemed to bump up with the conversation and I lost Fanny.  Waiting awhile
before leaving the second aid station, I headed out and would not see her again.

As the event unfolded I spent time with a variety of people, including Fanny's friend
Leslie Pryslak, and Olga King, who I have been acquainted with for a few years.  I
enjoy conversation immensely and discovered many new friendships along the way.
The day moved along quickly as we climbed up to ridges that overlooked the 
majesty and enormity of these canyonlands.  I had to pause frequently on the ridges
to appreciate the views and snap more photos.  Life was good and I was in my glory.

Somewhere after thirty miles my bad Achilles began to roll inward, pronating such
that the side of my heal was hitting the ground with each foot strike instead of the
heal pad.  It has been a recurring problem and has knocked me out of races prior
to this.  There seems to be little control in keeping it aligned once I reach a certain
point of exertion and tissue exhaustion.  The net effect is an unresilient pounding
shock up the line to the knees, hip, spine, and shoulders, as they attempt to 
compensate and absorb the shock of each step, particularly downhill.

I had to walk to avoid the extraneous wear and tear.  There was no choice.  Along
the way I decided the hundred miles was out.  By mile forty I decided the likelihood
of continued aggrevation over another ten miles was not worth even seeing the
rest of the course out to fifty miles.  Rolling into the 40-mile aid station in about
ten hours and twenty minutes I was offered a refreshing PBR from my new friend
Debbie Farka and her husband Lane (who I will see again at el Vaquero Loco),
shared my beer with another new friend Kristel Liddle, quickly arranged a ride out
of there, which I grabbed with another new friend Brea Cornell.  The beer and offer
for a quick ride back were instrumental in my departure from the course.

So I bugged out before really egregious injury could manifest, got a ride back to my
home on wheels, chez Larry, showered and moved onto the next venue on my
holiday itinerary in Zion National Park, after retrieving my drop bags.  I had a great
time, even a reasonable run up to a point, with friends - new and old - to keep me
company all day. I have no regrets.  The course was gorgeous and challenging.  The
part I missed was largely gravel road and serious climbing.  Oh well.  I live to run
another day.

My take-away from the day is that I am likely going to have to use RockTape to
support the permanent damage to my left Achilles and give it every benefit of the
doubt when it comes to additional support, including probably the use of 
compression socks from now on.  Yeah, I would like to have gone further.  My legs
were good and the weather was perfect.  I was still having fun when I stopped.  But
the beer and the pain were convincing.