Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Red Rock 50 Mile Race Report

Photo: Greg Lanctot
This morning hurt. This morning was hard. This morning wasn't easy. This morning I went for a five mile recovery hike/run after a nice little weekend of racing up in the Santa Barbara Mountains. This weekend I won the Red Rock 50 mile. I most certainly did not think I would be typing that...I am still a little bit in shock. How could I have possibly done this?? Out of shape, under trained, tired, still healing, and just not ready. These were all of my thoughts as I toed the line on Saturday morning. I could not have possibly picked a tougher 50 mile. Seriously. Over 16,000 feet of ascent & descent. What the F#@$%^&* was I thinking. I packed the brightest light I owned in my drop bag, and had prepared to be out there for at least three days. This race was Zane Grey. This race was Twin Peaks but tougher. This race was bush whacking, technical, rugged back country survival, and I had no business doing it. I was scared shit less when the RD clearly stated at pre-race check in that no one was to start this race if they could not finish. He made it clear that this was extremely tuff, and if you thought you were not capable of it to not even start(yes I sware this is what he said). Right before we took off I quickly gave Jesse a kiss, and wished him luck as well as this would be his "first 50 mile race". If you have not picked up on this yet: Ultra Runners are flippin retards. Just complete tards.We have zero common sense, and just do stupid shit...at least those of us who have the heart to...ha! So begins my recap of my race on Saturday:

Right off the bat I linked up with the amazingly talented and sweet Maggie Beach. She is in training mode for the Brazil 135. She needed this race as it was brutal, and good training for what she has to accomplish in January in Brazil(go sista!!). It was great for me as I just wanted to survive, and finish in one piece. This was my first race back since my hip injury and surgery, and the goal was to stay alive. Throw myself directly back into the rat race, and just nut up as my son would say. Cannot believe I just typed that...

Miles 0-12:
Shit. Crap. Technical. Rocky. Lots and lots of climbing. Three miles of pavement??!! WTF Luis?? That's not really a trail, over grown, itchy, where is the trail, yes Maggie I hike every climb, stop running the climbs Maggie, How is my Jesse doing?, God these INKnBURN shorts are comfy, is this climb for real to the mile 12 aid station, would anyone notice if I crawled, wow now this is some great downhill running, god I love technical trails, wow what views, this is epic, my legs are feeling better, salt, Gel, Salt, drink, more Nuun, thank you La Sportiva for gripping this gnarly shit, are we even close to this damn aid station??!!, Steve Harvey helped Luis create this course....
This was a pretty interesting 12 miles for me. I felt good, but really, really ran/hiked mellow. There wasn't any easy part to it except the fist mile. It was beautiful. Some of the most beautiful trails ever, but just rugged and tough terrain. You either were going straight up or straight down. Lots of tough downhill in this section. I give this section a 4 out of 5 for technical terrain, and a 3 out of 5 for climbing. This course was an out and back so all I kept thinking was all that downhill was going to be uphill climbing in the last 10 miles of the race. Awesome. I had now officially decided I would be out here for four days. I got into the first aid station at mile 12 and filled up my two handhelds, and my 35oz pack. I moved as quick as I could, and also pounded some extra water while they filled my bottles. In and out in 2 mins. Perfect., and it's still only Saturday. 

Miles 12-20
Climbing, a million rocks in shoes, getting hot, can't wait to see Faye and mama Wickland at the mile 20 aid station, tons of rolling single track, maggie just dropped me, just caught Maggie, more climbing, my earlobes hurt, who's idea was this, god I hate Ultra's, God I hate Luis, man this 3,000 foot climb is just relentless, Maggie stop running, is Jesse ok?, gel, eat, cliff blocks, salt, drink, drink, hike faster, Maggie stop running the climbs next to me, my goodness this is hard, Yep I am gonna die, god I am so in love with my Jesse; such a lucky girl, come on legs, keep it moving, hike like you mean it, miss you Scotty Mills, God that other person is such a tool, please just go away, thank god for my friends...ok sorry bad tangent..lots of stuff was going through my head!
Be prepared to climb a ton from miles 12-20. My guess is it was about 6,000 feet of gain in this section. I give this section a four out of five for both technical and climbing.

Ok so I arrived up at the mile 20 aid station and was so amped to see mama Wickland and Faye. They quickly peeled off my INKnBURN long sleeve tech shirt(we will be launching these early January), and then filled my bottles. I left my pack(big mistake) as I would hit this same aid station again in 12 miles. I would hit another aid station in between at mile 26 so I figured I would be ok? Right? How much climbing could there possible be? I left the mile 20 aid station and caught back up to Maggie. After about a mile and a half of steep downhill running we had to make a small detour to get our race day medals. God Luis is evil. This detour consisted of a 500 foot scramble/climb up a side of a peak. Oh come on!! Up and down we went, and I stashed my medal in my pack. So began the journey of:

Miles 21-32:
All downhill, and then all uphill. Ok screw that. When you are driving on Hwy 101 look over to your right as you pass through Santa Barbara. Then look at the highest peak with the towers up on the mountain. Now run from the top which was the mile 20 aid station to the very bottom near the ocean which was the turn around, but it actually was mile 26.5 cause this race was 52 miles not 50. WTF??!! Luis you suck. I think I said that already...now leave the mile 26.5 aid station, and turn right around and climb like 5,000 feet back up to the mile 32 aid station, but scramble most of your way up because 50% of this descent and ascent is loose scree and rocks. Maggie was great this entire section because we kept each other alive, and just talked and talked. We also saw all the front runners coming back up as we ran down. I got to see Jesse, and he was in first!! OMG!! He looked fresh, amazing, and full of so much energy. He is such a rock star, and he is mine. Love that man for the rest of my life with all my heart. Thank you Lord for stepping into my life, hitting me over the head with a bat, and bringing me the gift of the love of my life. Next I saw my little brother Eric Wickland, and then Mike Swan, Thomas Reiss, and Dan Lenberg. All studs. Super studs. I wish every race could be an out and back. I wish I had half the talent of these boys. About a mile from the top of the climb though I completely ran out of water. Man I needed my little pack. If you run this race never carry less than 60oz of water. Ultra Runners are retarded sometimes. I came into the aid station and actually spent a couple minutes here. I slammed a Guayaki Pure Endurance drink, and even put another one on ice in one of my handhelds with three Nuun tablets. Filled my other handheld with water, and remembered to grab my pack I left. I ate two Hammer gels(after I marry Jesse I am gonna marry the Montana Huckleberry Hammer gel. Just sayin). 

Miles 32.5-40
At this point Maggie and I left the aid station together, and I knew we had four solid miles of VERY technical gnarly downhill running. I turned on my ipod for the first time during the race, and before I knew it I was flying through the trees. At times I was running so fast I could not even drink from my bottles. The only thoughts I had were run like the wind. You actually might finish this thing in the light...you actually might finish...you actually might win...and then everything turned over for me. I was done surviving, and just trying to finish, and decided to see how fast I could actually run this thing. I felt like myself again for the first time in 10 months!!! Zero pain. All I had to do was run like the wind. Run Keira...RUN Keira...RUN. So that's what I did. I ran like I have not ran since my win at AC last Summer. This time though all that was on my mind was how happy I am, how great my life is, and I can't wait to get in the best shape of my life. I pushed and pushed until I reached the last aid station. As I approached the climb up the hill I could see the volunteers. I looked back and hoped I would see Maggie. As far as I could see she was no where. I waited a couple minutes and stretched hoping I would see her as we had really helped each other all day, but no site of her along the ridge. I said a quick prayer she would finish strong, and decided to push hard to the finish. I arrived at the aid station feeling strong and focused on forward relentless motion. 

Miles 40-52.5 

Pictures: Greg Lanctot
Leaving the aid station I was so excited to see my friend Greg Lanctot. He is the team manager for the Quicksilver Ultra Running team, and just super fun!! I nicely asked him how many guys were in front of me(LOL!!! Love you Greg!) and off we went. We quickly caught up to Dan Berger, and the three of us played like little kids on the trails. We laughed, chatted up a storm, and Dan and I were dying laughing over Greg taking pics of us. We decided he was the team Dad, and hoped he would have juice boxes up ahead at the next bend. We climbed a ton together, and once again had to run through the campground on the pavement that I so much hated early on in the race. Be warned this last 12 miles is tough. You climb a crap load, and it just sucks ass. If you can, run this race with a friend cause alone it would have been awful. Above is a cool pic of me and Dan looking all rad, and Jesse around mile 22(I will be happy when Movember is over and he looses the stash!). Ultra Runners are so rad. Seriously we are just radical people. *Most* of us ;-)

The last couple miles are tough. Lots of little ups and downs, and a couple good little climbs. It was getting close to sundown, and I was just so tired. Dan and I would trade places, but for the most part we just ran one right in front of the other and tried to survive. Somewhere in the last mile we caught another guy, and the three of us finished together. I quickly fell into Jesse's arms, and worked hard to hold back the tears. I looked at him and asked him if he won. He smiled and said yes. The most unbelievable thing though is this: He ran this race in 8:40. The next guy behind him was like 9:15. I ran a 10:25. He beat me by an hour and 40 mins. He is super human. A super stud. He was born to run Ultra's, and I am so proud of him. Who runs there first 50 mile and wins? Crushes the course and the competition. Freak of nature that boy, and I love it. This race had so much meaning for me. Why? Heres why: 
*The longest run I had done in the four months leading up to this race was like 25 miles...oh boy..but I survived!
* I did not race the first 32 miles, and actually hiked most of it, and had fun doing so. Enjoy the ride folks
* Life has been so ever changing and tuff this last year for me...but I have won. I have come out on top, and I just rock. I never gave up, and only moved forward. I have come out the winner. Just sayin'
* It assured me what I am good at. I love gnarly tough courses, and thats what I will stick to.
*I cannot wait to go back next year in solid race shape, and friggin tear this course to absolute shreds. Shreds. 

Jesse and I both wore all INKnBURN running apparel. No chafing, tons of awesome little hidden pockets on the shorts and jog bra's for salt and GU's, and just so soft. I wore the Women's Hollywood Dragon shorts and  Jesse ran in the men's running shorts, and they were comfortable, functional, and the best shorts I have ever raced in.Jesse agrees 100%, and loves the length of the men's shorts. He used to run in the shorter length, but says now he would never go back. I will not ever run in any other shorts nor will Jesse. Buy a pair. You will never run in anything else. I promise. I cannot wait for us to launch our compression leg sleeves, long sleeves INKnBURN tech running shirts, and the full line of women's camisoles. So epic!! Below are a ton of pics from my dear friend Jayme Burtis out on the course. He is one of the most talented photographers I know. If you need a photographer use him. He rocks. 

So I guess that's it. I ended up sixth overall, and survived. I won. I cannot believe it. Man life rocks. We spent the rest of the weekend with Tyler having so much fun in Santa Barbara. What a great way to finish the amazing Thanksgiving Holiday. I spent the entire day on Thanksgiving cooking and baking, and then the entire day on Saturday running. How many women can say that? Ha! I love it! Cannot wait to shred in 2012. 

Thank you to Luis Escobar for putting on such an awesome race. Put this on your bucket list friends. So insane. 



  1. Yeeeeaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!!! Nice work Keira!!!!

  2. Great race report! Dude, who does Jesse think he is... winning his first 50 miler, punk.

    Jayme's pics are awesome, he even makes Eric Wickland look not that hideous!

    SOLID running Keira.

  3. Awesome...so happy for u & your Jesse!! Your personality shines through in your recap, very fun to read!
    2012 is yours baby!!

  4. Wow, awesome, seems your man won too!

  5. Hi Keira. .just read this RR and now Im freaking scared!!! I thought I had done the hard stuff for this race. .but you say the first 12 miles sucks!! oh no!!!!!!!

    Didnt know you won this thing. .I woulda picked your brains more at your race last weekend! And Maggie DOES rock. .shes awesome. .

    hope to see you out there racing. .not sure if you are or not. .hope so!! And I hope I survive. . .for reals. .

    Jon Nathan