A tale of my trials and tribulations out on the trails. I hope you find my rewarding experiences inspiring for yourself.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
A fun time in the bushes!
I definitely have to say getting up at 2:50 in the morning isn't my thing. Especially when I went to sleep at 10 pm! Well, this is the state of mind I was in when I started the Sawtooth Relay at 4 a.m. June the 14th. 32 *F, and I was tired, and cold, running in pitch dark. Once I got onto Hwy 75, the temperature dropped to 26 *F and I was not very happy. My time was going very well, and I was making 6.2 mph very consistently. My dad and younger brother were crewing for me, and I would see the Tahoe drive by with my dad sitting on the window ledge "Way to go Ben!," and I was trying to figure out who was driving the car at this time. The scenery was absolutely incredible! Watching morning come and the sun hit the tops of the White Cloud Mountains was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. The first 24 miles were very flat, and I do believe that because of this I hit my 1st low early. Towards the end of this stretch, I became very tired and walked for a mile or two, you generally expect a lot of hills to walk on and I didn't have any, so I will definitely plan around this next time I visit Stanley for the race. At the 1st marathon mark, you start your ascent up Galena, which is a brutal climb, but offers absolutely spectacular views. I hit a high on the way up to the summit, and had a wonderful climb. Cresting at 8701 ft. above sea level, I could definitely feel the altitude and was happy for the 6 mile descent off the mountain. I took a lunch stop (this was mile 32), popped some ibuprofen, and was on my way. My dad went back to our campsite to get my mom, and my 2 younger brothers and my best friend, Mark Johnson went on with me. All was going very well, and I had been making spectacular time. Then the heat got to me. I started having GI distress like it's the cool thing to do, and had to make pit stops every mile or two. This was at about 45 miles. Even though the course is completely downhill from here, I was moving very slowly because of the stomach cramps I had. My dad and my mom caught up with us, and he was doing everything he could to pump me up. I would run into a checkpoint, and the whole crowd of people would be cheering me on. It was awesome. I ran into Anita-Nell Swanson, fellow Pulse member, and she really helped to motivate me along the way. I kept chugging along, and I remember my dad asking me "Do you think you can make it?" after coming out of some bushes. I replied "I'll drop dead before I give up," and I was that determined to finish. I sucked up the GI distress, and started pumping out 8:15 miles, pretty hard considering the miles I had covered. Those last 10 miles were really, really, long. I was really motivated when I caught up with fellow musicians and racers Mark Koob and Leanne Spinazola. Leanne ran some of those last moments of the race with me, thank you so much! I was an emotional mess. We hit the last checkpoint, 2.67 miles to go, and I made it hurt. The stomach cramps forced me to stop, and I made a point to run as hard as I could afterwards. I came weeping across the finish line in 12:07, taking 3rd Overall. What an incredible experience! I recommend this race to all ultramarathoners. Gorgeous scenery, awesome atmosphere, incredible finish line food. Thanks to Holly Finch and The Pulse Running and Walking Store for sponsoring me, and a huge debt of gratitude to my crew for their support. I couldn't have made it without you guys.
Hey there! Ben Blessing is my name. I am a former Marine who is working towards my Bachelor's in Music Composition. Other than that, I spend my time on crazy weekend trips running insane amounts of miles. I am currently training for the Cascade Crest Classic 100 mile Endurance Run. I have high hopes of getting into the Badwater Ultramarathon next summer.