I drove up to Zion's Ponderosa Ranch Resort on Thursday with three of my teammates and one of their boyfriends. We got there just in time to set up camp before it got too dark. It was beautiful out and the stars were bright. Night was cold, but I was prepared with my sleeping bag, an extra blanket, and two pillows. My tent buddy, Ajit, brought an air mattress, and that was nice. I was warm, but everyone else in the morning complained of freezing.
Our team captains, Marc and Marianna, stayed the night at a motel in Kanab. They barely got there before the start of the race at 9:40am. I checked our team in since they hadn't arrived yet. About that time I saw a single grey cloud come over the mountain top. My first thought was, "here it comes." Marianna was our first runner and she arrived with just enough time to get her stuff out of the vehicles, put the bib on, and go to the starting line. But the race started about 5 minutes late anyway. I helped set up their tent and canopy. Then I went over to watch her start. She was at the back of the pack as they all ran by me. Somehow she got lost out on the course. We started getting worried after a while and we reported her to the race officials. They sent someone to look for her and one of our guys ran the loop backward to see if he could find her. He did as she eventually found her way back on course. So, an hour and 45 minutes later, she had completed her 3.2 mile loop and the rest of us could run.
I was runner #6 which was the long loop, 7.8 miles. By this time everyone of us had gotten rained on during our runs except for runner #5, Bao, who must've been awfully nice to Mother Nature. The elevation is higher than what I'm used to running in, so it took about a half a mile to a mile before my lungs got acclimated. The hills were steep in the first 2.5 miles, and I found myself hiking up the uphills and running the flats and downhills. I felt relatively good until I reached the halfway point. That's when I think the muscles in my legs were getting deprived of oxygen. It was really hard to keep them moving. I knew it was the elevation, and I hoped that it wouldn't be a problem in my next two legs because the distance was much shorter. In fact, I would already have run over the half of my overall distance with this loop.
About two miles into the run, I saw a runner off in the woods. She hollered at us and asked us what loop we were on. We were on red and she was on yellow. Poor thing was lost. I hope she found her way back. I saw one guy cut the course I was running. I don't know if he did it on purpose, but I yelled at him that he was going the wrong way. I told him the course goes this way where I was going. He turned around. Then I realized the trail switched back around and would go right back to where he was, so I told him, "Never mind! Go back to where you were!" He only cut out about 100 feet and I quickly passed him. I was surprised at the number of people I passed because I really wasn't running that fast. But trail running is tough, and there were a lot of walkers. The rain didn't bother me at all, but at about mile 3.5 it started to hail. There were small pellets, but it made me say, "What the hail?!" I'm glad they didn't get any bigger, and it only lasted for about a minute. But still, that's 60 seconds worth of stinging hail.
I'm pretty sure I saw Jun at the race, but wasn't positive because he was wearing sunglasses. I never approached him to ask because I'm sure he still thinks I'm a racist. Anyway, after our last runner ran, it was Marianna's turn to run again. Now she was doing the long loop and this is when the rain really started to come down. She made it through, but they decided to stop the race for three hours and hope that it would let up. They were going to let the next three runners on everyone's teams not have to run. But the rain would only stop briefly, and then it was coming down again. So they postponed it another 5 hours and were going to have everyone only run two legs. I spent almost all the time in my tent. I got a lot of sleep. A lot! Come morning, they opted to let the hardcore teams finish if they wanted to, but everyone else could call it a day and still collect their medals. That's what my team decided to do.
It was kind of fun, but I won't do this one again. Last year a similar weather front came through, but it snowed them out instead. Either this race is cursed, or it's just bad timing and they need to move it to next month. Very pretty area though. And here is our team picture. You like?