Bighorn 50 recap

Photo courtesy of Matt Welsh

The 2014 Bighorn Mountain Wild and Scenic 50 miler is a spectacular, challenging and remote race in the Bighorn mountains of Wyoming. 2014 was the 5th time I’d run the race and experience greatly helped. Even though I won in 2012 as well, this year was much more challenging for me mentally. In 2012, all I had to do was push through the physical pain to run fast. In 2014, I struggled right from the start and had constant doubts of finishing let alone doing well.

Maybe I was just having an ‘off’ day or maybe it was all the mud and standing water we had
to run through from the start. I just wasn’t flowing like I usually do. The long, grueling climb out of Footbridge (mile 18) actually helped by placing a huge physical demand on my body and distracted my mind from doubt and fear. I focused on my efficient technique which greatly helped.  I also kept repeating different mantras including “I am light, I am strong” and “I feel no pain” which helped keep my mind from wandering back towards thoughts of quitting.

Around mile 38 I caught up to Adam St. Pierre and ran with him for a few miles which was a huge boost for me. We chatted for a bit and encouraged each other 10476029_10152172923117724_387104990_nto finish strong. Then, around mile 40 which began a steep 7 mile descent, something just clicked and I took off.  I bombed down and never looked back. I absolutely flew downhill with joy and freedom.  I knew from previously running the race that this was a huge risk and I may pay the price on the last 6 miles of road to the finish. To my surprise, I hit the road and continued to run fast and strong. Lindsey said I ran most of it going sub-7 minute miles. This was by far the ‘easiest’ part of the race for me. I finally felt good both mentally and physically.

I finished strong for 1st place in 8:12:41. Even though in 2012 I finished over 20 minutes faster (super muddy conditions in 2014), this year I was incredibly happy to finish well and conquer my strongest opponent-my mind and its enduring weapons of fear and doubt.

Thanks to all the volunteers and folks who helped out with the race. Without you, all of us runners couldn’t do what we love so much. Finally, thanks to my sponsors who support my running passion.