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"STRUGGLING, BUT HAPPY TO BE HERE..." I EXCLAIMED! I reached the summit of Pikes Peak Mountain ( 14,114 feet)! Race volunteers were a bit concerned as I approached. It was a bit of a rough day for this little lady. My morning started off fumbling around in my best friend (Erin Hammond's kitchen), trying to make myself breakfast. I dropped water bottles, cut myself, and forgot half of the things I needed! Wyatt, Erin, and I would soon make our way to Manitou Springs (the start of the race at the bottom of Pikes Peak). The cute little town filled with shops, restaurants, and friendly people awaited our arrival. We got there with an hour to spare before start time, in which I would use to warm-up, do some drills and find my place on the starting line.

There was a handful of competition with a few foreigners in my race. Using my new "cycling" uphill technique, I comfortably made my way through the switchbacks...4 minutes faster than last year! Things were going good. It was going to be a hot day, so unlike last year, I came prepared (or so I thought), with my Ultimate Direction 10 oz handheld for extra water a long the way. I also had my sports bra loaded down with GU Energy gels and a few salt tabs. Unfortunately, I soon found out...that would not be enough for today. A few miles from the summit, I BONKED...HARD!!!.

I found myself literally crawling the last mile, using the rocks to hold myself up and choke down the vomit. I didn't want the race officials or medical personnel to see me struggling and make me stop. My face felt white as a ghost when I ran into Dan Vega towards the top. He quickly could tell something was very wrong as I mumbled I would be fine with some real food. Understanding, he urged me to keep pushing forward. We did and we both took a break at the top (Dan sustained an injury that was holding him back from the exceptional day he was having :(

I stuffed my face abnormally with food at that aid station. If I were to have a chance at making it back down, I needed some energy and I needed it quick (whether that meant cramping, bloating, or vomiting..on the way down). Women passed by me ( I was 10th place leaving the top), ...I couldn't believe I had to stop and was trying not to panic. I felt the surge of sugar and the need to get going.

My downhill would be more successful than my climb. I managed a 1 second personal best on the down from last year, even with falling several times! I have only fallen ONCE in my ENTIRE life at a trail race, prior to this one. I finished in 4:56:09 (over 10 minutes off my last years time) UHG!...That was good enough for 5th place this year (I would have finished second with last years time- the one I was hoping to kill this year)...and RUNNER-UP 2nd place in the Nation for USA. I think the "rough" day was brought on by lack of training, sleep, and overall inadequate preparation. As I said at first though, I was VERY happy to be out there again, and I am feeling pretty good now. I am looking forward to building up training these next few weeks before Run Rabbit Run 100 miler! Thanks to all who support me and my dreams!

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