Shannon & Pam, after months of training, officially became ultrarunners with finishing Way Too Cool 2010 (3/13/10). They continue to run the long distances as they continue to challenge themselves physically & mentally. This is where they post those triumphs and also their tribulations.

May 11, 2011

Wild Wild West Marathon 2011

 Can you say brutal?  This was an extremely tough, but gorgeous run.  It's nothing like the Sierra Nevadas where we have beautiful tree cover, soft pine needled dirt, lots of streams to keep us cool, etc.  This is the high desert, wide open, lots of sand and rocks, etc.
 The race started in Tuttle Creek Campground.  It is very unformal start, our start line was a line drawn in the dirt.  I love these kinds of races.  Our starting elevation was 5100 feet.
 I was so happy to have Mindy start the race with me.  Her mom lives in Independance, which is only 10 min away from Lone Pine.  Her mom was awesome.  She picked me up at 5:30a and took my battered body home that afternoon.
 When you start the race you basically climb for 8.5 miles, so there is a lot of walking.  The sand was really bad during this time too.
 Here we are after a climb.  We thought we were done (with the climbs), but apparently not.  We got a little tease of a downhill then wham we had to start climbing again.  Well apparently, there was some ribbon play on the course and a lot of us took a wrong turn (with ribbons showing us the way) up this hill (that's Mindy right up ahead on RHS).
 Luckily we didn't go ALL the way to the dead end, other runners determined that we weren't on the right path and started heading back down.  Some even crossed over the wild terrain to get to the correct trail.  This little detour took us out of way 1.5 miles GGGGRRRR.
 Here we are at the highest point of the race 6500 feet.  The road on the LHS is the Whitney Portal Road, the road on the RHS is Hogback Creek Rd and that's the way were going.
 After peaking at 6500 feet, you start a 6.7 mile decent.  I believe this is where I began to struggle.  The elevation was wreaking havoc on my lungs and I was having a hard to taking in a deep breath.  My legs were feeling like lead.  By mile 12 I could no longer keep up with studette Mindy.  I proceeded to struggle the rest of the way.  My feet really started to hurt and I just couldn't get the oxygen my lungs wanted.  Not to mention the heat was starting to pick up and we were totally exposed.
 Here I am at mile 20 of the race.  I felt like this skeleton (dead) by mile 20, especially when my watch said I only had 4.5 miles to go, but in reality I still had 6.2.  I logged my marathon (26.2 miles) as being finished at 7 hours 19 miles.  I really really struggled after that.  I couldn't run anymore, even though it was fairly flat.   I believe the last mile was the hardest of them all.
 When I got within a tenth of a mile from the finish I started running and Mindy got it.  My dad did too, but I don't have those pics yet.
It was awesome to have my mom and dad at the finish.  Mom made me a sign that says I'm a Trail Turtle Goddess.  I think that might be the name of another blog I'm considering starting, which would be about other things in my life besides running.  Not sure yet, I have a hard enough time writing this one. :)

Started at 5100 feet, peaked at 6500 feet, finished at 3700 feet, 7 hours 48 minutes, 10th out of 11 in my age group (didn't finish last - woo hoo).  Mindy finished 7 hours 7 minutes and 8th in our age group.

So as tough as this race was Mindy and I both said we'd do it again.  We had considered the 50k for next year, but after, we both said no way on the 50k, but yes on the marathon.  However, some sand training is definitely in order.  Plus, I need to wear shoes not so well ventilated.  I have some awesome trail shoes designed for quickly drying after going through water, well that wasn't a good thing when you're in a lot of sand.  I did have to stop several times to empty my shoes which cost me time.  Next year, different shoes.  Plus I need to deal with my foot issues before I do this one again.  But it's definitely on the calendar for next year.

Thanks again to Mindy and her mom (Mindy for running with me, her mom for driving us to the start line at 5:30a), my mom and dad (for driving me all the way to Lone Pine and back - they're awesome), my aunt and uncle (for letting me crash their pad) and for my training partners who did the distance with me when needed, Ralph and Lisa.  Hugs to you all.

For more pics, click HERE.

FYI - I did the Apple Blossom Trail run (9 miler) the weekend before the WWW marathon and developed my very first blister EVER.  But the blister was no longer an issue for the marathon, thank goodness.

This weekend I'm doing the Dirty Secret Trail Run (10 miler) with Pam.  I just realized that I'm doing 3 races in 3 weeks.  Ya, I'm done for a while after Saturday's race.  But I'll post about it and the Apple Blossom Run too later.

Stay dirty.


  1. Oh Trail Turtle Goddess (I love it)!! Congrats. What a brutal race!!! Sounds tough with that sun and exposure and man, I really dislike sandy races! HA

    How awesome to have your parents at the finish of such a big race. That's a dream of mine. To have my dad at the end of one of my marathons or ultras. How special!

    Congrats and recover!!

  2. I looked at that race last year but i wasn't sure . Looks like a good one--oh and I'll be doing the dirty secret run this weekend too. 3 races in 3 weeks--WOW!

  3. Great blog, Shannon! You are one tough cookie, but I already knew that :) Oh and I love the trail turtle goddess's so you!

  4. Hey Shannon as a Business Teacher here in Lone Pine, my students were doing research on the WWW Run and found you blog. Thank you for posting the details of your run and painting a picture for the students.

    We hope you are coming back for round two this year, we have added a competition between the rest stops and some local activities to help make your visit even more memorable!