“FIRST WOMAN!” the aid station volunteer yelled as I approached the first aid station. Considering I was unable to run a continuous mile a mere three months ago, those were TWO WORDS I never expected to hear.
I signed up for the Sapper Joe 15K just a few hours before race registration closed on the web. After my experience in the Park City Trail 15K a few week prior, I was ready to give another race a go.
The Sapper Joe takes plan on the Camp Williams grounds in Bluffdale, Utah. The course runs through the National Guard’s lands which are typically used for blowing things up so this is the only time of year you can get out on those trails and run trails and as we were warned at the pre-race meeting, if you see something shiny don’t pick it up!
The Sapper Joe 15K was pretty much the most fun race ever. Mostly because the starting line was wedged between two tanks and some men in uniform shot off a cannot at the start, which was a nice wake up call and really got me moving at a fast pace. The first few miles were totally in the dark with cleverly placed glow sticks lighting the way, so I had no idea how many runners were out in front of me.
I sort of wish I the sun hadn’t come up because it was illuminating what looked like a near vertical wall straight ahead of me. PLEASE don’t let that be the way, which of course meant that it was the way. This was the absolutely most ridiculous uphill ever!!! We are talking 250 feet of elevation gain per a quarter mile?!? It was so steep that I almost had to use my hands to keep from tipping over backwards and that hill just kept going and going for a mile or more.
Finally after four miles and well over 2,000 feet of gain, I got to some downhill which at first felt terrible since my quads were burning so badly I thought there was no way I could kick it in to high gear to make it back down to all those soldiers. With the aid station in sight, I finally got my legs moving and it was at that point that I found out that there weren’t any gals in front of me. So I grabbed some pretzels and some water and hauled it on down to the finish.
It had rained the day before so the trail was the softest and nicest dirt ever and the descent was not too steep so I could really haul. I ran miles 7, 8, and 9 just under a 7 minute pace which is a gosh darned miracle for me! We are talking SERIOUS miracle! I have never been at the lead in a race and it was quite the experience. I tried to refrain from turning behind to see if any girls were on my heels, because I honestly didn’t want to no if anyone was coming. So exciting! Also, the race was termed a GENEROUS 15K and with my watching beeping past the 10-mile mark I had no idea how much more I had to go so I just held on and went for it.
So much fun! Best part was my super awesome prize, a water bottle with a TANK on it! Not to mention, race medals were dog tags with… you guessed it a TANK on it. Screw birds, put a TANK on it is my new favorite saying!
The Sapper Joe Trail Race also features a 30K and a 50K so there is no doubt I will be back for one of the longer distances next year!