Tuesday, April 29, 2014

2014 Zane Grey DNF, or Magi's big apology

We knew the weather would be bad, I even had the most obvious dream about it the night before. In the dream my friends and I were lined up at the start under a perfect blue sky. Then the dark clouds rolled in, slowly and ominously taking over the sky, blacking-out all light, much like 'The Nothing' from The Neverending Story....not to different from what really happened race day.

5am start and we are all off from the Pine Trailhead headed to Camp Geronimo aid station at mile 8, everyone but me that is. I was feeling really good and enjoying the light drizzle that we had for the first hour and a half. Cruizin on down the trail I went, wheeee, having fun, stupidly assuming I knew where I was going.  I know exactly where I took the wrong trail and I unfortunately didn't realize I was following the wrong trail markers until I was pretty far off course. The Mogollon Monster 100miler shares some of the Highline trail with Zane Grey, grrr I'm such a dummy, face palm! There was hail, there was snow, there was freezing gusts of wind, and I managed to reach the top of the rim on the WRONG trail. What was I thinking!? Part of me was hoping the trail would intersect with a road that could bring me down the mountain on a different route--I did eventually reach a road, the rim road, a very much not right and incorrect road that at least I had enough sense not to take.

The worst part of this whole expedition was the time I wasted of the race's resources. This includes the extra time the course sweeper (THANK YOU) spent checking for runner 135, the time spent by a medic and Jim, the lead radio coordinator,waiting for me at the broken-down aid station, and the stress and worry I caused my crew, and friends.

As I was descending the Webber (wrong) Trail the weather was really getting bad. The rain had already turned to hail, but the hail and wind were getting worse. My gear was pretty good for the conditions but there is only so much your extremities can take. My hands and feet were beyond numb and stabbing--however this pain is irrelevant in comparison to what the other runners who endured the entire course went through. I knew my day was over and that I would be in a warm car by 10:00am. So I had as much fun as I could slipping and mud surfing my way back to where I got off track. I sang songs out loud to myself, sent messages to Emmet on the wind to not worry and that I was ok (bummer he didn't hear them), and finally emerged at what was the Camp Geronimo aid station 3 hours and 15 minutes late. As soon as I saw Jim I shouted "runner 135! I'm fine and I'm Sorry!!". Jim and the whole Zane Grey coordination team are extraordinary by the way--a sincere thank you-thank you-thank you!

Jim radioed in my found status (no longer jerk-lost status) and let my muddy butt in his truck to get warm. The medic who's name I wish I could remember (Alex?) had waited to make sure I was ok, which I was, (just embarrassed) and went to one of the many runners who would need his attention that day at Washington Park aid station mile 17.

To the amazing RD Joe Galope, I am terribly sorry if I added stress to an already intense day.

My crew and best friend/loved one Emmet was the one who had the roughest day. A word of advice to anyone that will take it, please avoid going missing, your loved ones will thank you. I had friends ready to drive up from Phoenix and start a search party, the race officials were 10 minutes away from starting an official search and rescue effort, and the whole time I was fine, just on the wrong trail. This is a mistake I shouldn't have made that I take full credit for.

After being returned to my loved one and a change of clothes, Emmet and I headed to mile 33 aid station Fish Hatchery to rally at the finish. What a day this was for everyone! The race was cut short and mile 33 was the new finish due to the weather. The finish line stories were another testament to the loving community that is ultra-running, each runner that came in had a story of how someone had helped them at some point. Congrats to all the runners who attempted Zane Grey this year, how nuts,crazy,awesome was that!?

The Amazing Michelle Patuto and I at the start (She did awesome!)

 The Amazing Tiffany Forster and I (She did awesome as well!)