A little late on this race review but better late than never! Two weeks after the Hunter Gatherer 50k it was time to put on my big girl shoes and do my second ultra in two weeks. Definitely a first for me, still coming off a summer of injury and minimal to no training, I was a little nervous to see how the miles would feel on my still healing ankle. I know this would be a good test to see how recovery was going and on top of it had my friend Kevin to run with for the day.
Race day mornings are early, and as my friend Lauren came to pick me up the moon was shining bright in the night sky still. We headed over to Kevin’s house and picked him up then made the drive north to Antelope Island State Park, checked in at the packing lot at the entrance, got our bibs and headed into the park. Antelope Island is a pretty unique place, an island on the Great Salt Lake where buffalo roam freely. I had been to the island before but never for a race.
We pulled up to the start where a heated tent with coffee and hot chocolate were waiting. The 100K racers had already started and we head a lot of time before our race began. The group of us milled around, Lauren took photos for her company Running Elevated. It was soon race time as the sun rose across the Great Salt Lake. We were off and quickly Kevin and I decided to spend the day running the race together. He was looking for a finish before heading into a 50-miler and I was looking for another injury free finish.
We jogged the flats, hiked the hills for the day. It was such a change from Hunter Gatherer each aid station felt like a luxury. I think I told every volunteer, “at least we don’t have to filter our own water” which was always met with a strange facial expression. As the miles racked up, Kevin and I talked about everything and nothing for the entire day. The temperatures were perfect, the right amount of sun. I used my new Inov-8 hydration pack once again as well as new Inov-8 top before the temps rose and a new pair of Trailrocs. This coupled with my CW-X compression shorts and sleeves have become my goto items for race day.
I had no watch on to keep track of pace, no GPS or heart rate monitor, it was simply a day of running with the feel and experiencing the views. A unique aspect of this race is the course runs through part of the island normally closed off to the public, so really we got to experience something special. The terrain was a welcome change from the bushwhacking of Hunter Gatherer and in comparison felt “easy”. It made the day extremely enjoyable. Prior to the race Lauren had asked how long we thought it would take and Kevin and I both agreed 8-9 hours, knowing neither one of us were running at 100%. We crossed the finish line together just under 7 hours. (Hunter Gatherer took a leisurely 14:30 two weeks earlier) Although never one of us won any sort of awards for speed at Antelope we enjoyed every minute of it and both came out of the race uninjured and ready for our next events.
The biggest bonus of the day was after crossing the finish line, being handed my finisher mug, there was fresh bison chili ready to eat and a cold PBR. It really doesn’t get much better than that! One of the many reasons I love small trail races, it’s the personal touch that makes the day that much better. Already looking forward to the next one!