Monday, September 22, 2014

TransRockies Run6 - Stage 4

Nova Guides at Camp Hale to Red Cliff, CO
Distance: 14.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,830ft

I was pretty tired when I woke up, but the start line today was only steps away from my tent. Not only that, BUT we didn't have to pack our campsite as we were going to be shuttled back to this same spot for that night. This was the day that I allowed myself to sleep in the most.

I was feeling pretty sore and was a little nervous about it... regardless I was hopeful that I'd have a good run. Feedback I had heard from people that had run this stage in previous years was all over the place. Some people were happy about a shorter leg, while others said the climb was worse than Hope Pass- seriously?!?

I lined up for the start with a little extra inspiration as Jenny had tagged me on a Facebook post that read as follows: "My girl Gaby is running the TransRockies and is currently 13th out of 59 women. 120 miles across some intense, high altitude terrain. I just want everyone to know how amazing and inspiring she is! Go Gaby!! You got it!!!" Yes, that made me smile and reminded me there were people following my progress. In addition, my amazing husband would meet me at the finish line in Red Cliff to grab a couple drinks in Red Cliff. With that in mind, I set off on day 4 of this crazy adventure.

At the start line
To not mess with the theme that TransRockies seemed to have going on, the run started with 6 miles of straight uphill. It was mellow the first 2 miles, with 4 miles of steep, technical jeep roads. People seemed to struggle a ton, but I seemed to be moving somewhat efficiently. I reached the top faster than I thought and was convinced that this climb had been WAY easier than Hope Pass. Apparently, most everyone seemed to disagree with me even after doing it. They all thought I was crazy! Regardless, I'm happy I had a good climb.

The last push uphill. Some amazing views.
Once at the top, we traversed on the ridge for a little while before coming back down to tree line. The traverse was a mild climb, but I jogged most of it.

Highest point of the run
Once at treeline and when we started going downhill there seemed to be endless switchbacks down... I just kept wondering when I was going to reach the river! I was averaging 10 min/mile on the technical descent, until we reached the bottom of the switchbacks and it was time to run on a creek. In reality, it was a trail, but a few years ago, the creek seemed to swell up to cover the trail, so while we didn't run IN the creek, our feet were wet. This water stretch was longer than expected and we ran in the water for 3/4's of a mile.

Trail under water. We ran on this for 3/4's of a mile
We then crossed a bridge and were on a smooth dirt road that'd take us into town. Chuck met me 1.5 miles away from the finish with the pup and I was stoked to see them. I maintained 9:30 min/mile those last 2 miles and finished in 3h29m43s for 16th place just like on day 2. Seemed like with the shorter distances I didn't have enough time to catch up to some of the other gals and longer days were more favorable to me, but that's no news... we've always known that.

Finish Line Shot
Chuck and I hung out by the creek until Marna finished and then Marna, her husband and Chuck and I enjoyed a couple drinks at Mango's- Red Cliff's most famous (and only) bar. Chuck then gave us a ride back to Camp Hale. He hung out with us for a while and even went for a run there... He kissed me goodnight and left right before dinner. I'm not gonna lie, but I desperately wanted to go to the Avon condo with him, but wouldn't give up my full TransRockies experience. Crappy sleep was part of it all...

Post-run drinks at Mango's 
I again passed out early feeling somewhat confident about the upcoming Day 5 as we were approaching a very familiar area to me. In the end, Vail area was where I has trained so much in the previous 6 months. I was ready to come "home".

Up Next: TransRockies Run6 - Stage 5

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