“I WILL NEVER DO THIS FREAKING RACE AGAIN!!” That is the sentence that ran through my mind for almost twelve hours during the Speedgoat 50K. I went into the race a little oblivious, as I often do, because I don’t want to be psyched out beforehand. I was feeling okay about my decision to run until I ran with someone a couple of weeks before that reminded me of cut-off times and how she knew a friend that had attempted the race twice and missed those times. Hmmmm…well…now that was in my head! I guess the slogan on the web site “Start training now…cuz it’s gonna hurt” or the freaky goat logo on the shirts should have given some insight into this unique race. I hung onto the fun sentences on the web site, “No littering anywhere on the course, it’s a freaking forest!” I also liked, “Disqualification does not include eating pizza at the finish line.” I wanted a slice of pizza, dangit!
I didn’t train the best for this race. My longest run was thirteen miles with no elevation training, so I just hoped that I could finish the race without being pulled from the course and sent back to the finish line on the ride of shame up the ski lifts.
The race was BREATHTAKING!!!! It was hard to take in all the beauty! A wild moose greeted us around mile three. This was also the point in the race where I started running with some guys that told me this was their second or third attempt and that their friends were pulled from the course the last time. This was definitely not helping my running self-esteem, but I tried not to let it show. “This is about as bad as it gets, right?” I said puffing up one of the continuous climbs. They actually laughed out loud at me. “You haven’t seen anything yet, Honey! Just wait until you get to mile 21. The grade is so steep that you have to watch out for runners rolling back down on you like bowling balls! I just take ten steps at a time and then take a break and continue that pattern until I make it to the top!” We continued our separate paces after I cheerfully said, “Thanks so much for the pep talk, Guys!!”
Peak after Peak!! It was brutal! There was no time to be bored for a second though! The terrain continuously changed. We ran on single track, between wildflowers so close they touched our legs. We crossed multiple small streams and could hear the waterfalls and trees rustling in the breeze. There were washes with all sorts of rocks that took runners up higher and then dropped us down. The steep downhill descents caused me to fall on my butt multiple times, but I made every cut-off time by the skin of my teeth!
The aid stations were amazing! The potatoes in chicken broth were delicious! The popsicles were sweet treats. The “Bowling Ball” mountain was very treacherous; I actually did have a woman slip and bump into me, but we both stayed on our feet. The beauty of the mountain was distracting. I could see all the mountain peaks around me, felt like I could touch the clouds, and could smell the flowers and mint. The suffering seemed bearable because everywhere I looked, I saw other runners feeling the same pain.
There were many steep mountain ledges in the race; this felt dangerous because our legs were so trashed from all the steep ascents and descents. This danger helped to keep our minds occupied though and made for absolutely gorgeous photos. I made it up one of the hills and was rejoicing in my head because, according to my Garmin, I would be finished in three miles!!! BUT…as with most trail races, the distances are not exact, and I actually had six miles to go!! This was so defeating!! My legs were toast, my shoes didn’t have any tread left, and I was feeling nauseous. I came upon a guy sitting with his head in his hands. I asked him what was wrong, if he was okay. He just pointed ahead and said, “ANOTHER MOUNTAIN!!!” I’m not sure what words came out of my mouth when I looked up and saw the rocky single-track leading up yet another mountain side, but I’m sure they were not kind.
When I finally reached the finish line, I was so happy to be finished. It was brutal! It was dangerous! It was a beast! It was AMAZING!! Karl Meltzer was standing there to greet me with a handful of gifts. He gave me my medal, EFS products, a beer can opener, and other fun items. My friend was there to snap a picture of me, and I made sure to smile. The race was so well organized and extremely breathtaking. It should definitely be on everyone’s bucket list!! The pictures that are found of Speedgoat in magazines can’t even do this race justice. This beauty has to be experienced…in person!! And…experiencing it in person with other runners that are suffering makes it even more beautiful in a sick sort of way!
When I got home, friends and family kept asking me how the race was. I kept telling everyone, “I WILL NEVER DO THAT FREAKING RACE AGAIN!!!” A few days ago on a run with a friend, we talked about Speedgoat and how beautiful and brutal it was. I told her she definitely needed to do it, and that “maybe” I could bring myself to do it “ONE MORE TIME!”