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Zane Grey - RunUltra Marathon

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Payson, Arizona
United States
75F / 24C
Total Time = 11h 50m 18s
Overall Rank = 18/74
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Hello race fans, welcome to Zane Gray...where the rocks fill the landscape and thorns tear your legs.

Lets back up to 2008. 2 DNFs - both ultras. One of them - Zane Gray. This race tears you up and spit you out good days. As amazing ultra runner Ian Torrence says in hos 2010 race report:

"This was my eight Zane Grey finish. I've had glorious times on this trail, but there have been many very trying times as well. The course has made me cry and essentially throw up my hands and lose hope. I've been lost, I've fallen and I've been brought to a queasy crawl by its forces. I've won the race, held the course record and competed with some of the best trail runners in the country along this trail. Many years, each different than the next."

So sets the stage for Zane Gray. If anyone really wants to know what its like - run it. I'm serious. I think this should be on everyone's bucket list. It's beautiful, remote, challenging, etc - so it fits all the bucket list requirements.

On Friday afternoon Jacob and I caught a ride up with the Coury boys (and their uber kind mom Patti!!). It was usual funny craziness on the way up - dorky race talk, laughs, adventures, etc. Jamil won the race last year, but with the crazy fast field (Karl Meltzer, Scott Jamie, Ian Torrence, Andy Jones Wilkins, Diana Finkel) - he wasn't so sure of his chances.

We actually have a ton of silly eating habit in common. He's trying to be a fruitarian. So for the race, he wanted to sustain himself on Orange Juice and fruit!!! Anyone remember the half ironman I tried to do on dates and coconut water. Yeah, he was getting the same kind of flack - but I was rooting for him, because my goals were similar. I had giant bags of dates and a coconut water in each drop bag. So this is all setting the stage for either awesme success or huge failure!!

Fast forward to the morning of:

3:20 wake up call
Grab the stuff and go.

One of the other things need to be mentioned. One of the leaders of our running group (the WMRC) lost his 6 month old DAYS before Zane. He wasn't running in it - but we decided to show our support. When they posted "wear colors," I knew I had this - ribbons, brightness, strawberry shortcake on my pack.

Event warmup:

In the car, Jamil was talking about how Hal Koener didn't take a flashlight to WS100 because he was going for broke. I, however was going to take a flashlight to ZG, because that's what stopped me from finishing last year (among other things). So, right before the race starts, I had the call of nature, but I decided to go in the woods. Why wait in line for a porta-pottie... well, guess what, I dropped my flashlight!! I quickly noticed it, because the race began in the DARK!!
  • 11h 50m 15s
  • 50 miles
  • 14m 12s  min/mile

As the race started, I tucked behind Chip, who had a really nice flashlight. I just kept thinking "today will be a good day." "Don't sweat the small stuff," but in reality was freaking a bit. A lot can happen out there, and dammit, I was going to finish. In my head, I needed to be on top of things, so that I wouldn't need the flashlight.

These miles were pretty uneventful. IT was quiet. IT's always quiet at the start of an ultra - so many people thinking (Maybe even just waking up) - a good time to just take it all in. In the first 8 miles you have a pretty good climb that take you over to the edge of the woods with a great view. Of course, if you look to far out, you'll catch a rock and nearly die.

So lets talk rocks. I am used to rocks. I run rocks, I love rocks. Now with all the rain and snow, the rock get loose. And with the infrequency of the trail being used, the rocks are both loose and ROUND! So these aren't your average trail rocks. I had to make sure that I was careful all day. In the last month, I took two crazy falls, both jamming my left knee on a rock. Each time, my knee swoll like a golfball! With these falls two weeks a part, I was concerned. Any additional knocking of this knee could have sidelined me for the race...

The first major stream crossing happens at mile 8. Stream crossings are fun. I took the first couple easy - who really wants there feet wet in 40-degree weather???

These miles were painful. Why? I dunno. I started to "fall apart" pretty bad. Stomach pains. Mentally, I held strong, but I was fading. Jacob came up behind me, and I kept urging him to go. He was being polite, but he finally went.

I made a quick decision that this was MY race. My body was not going to dictate this. So mentally, I said to myself deal with it. I decided to suck on ginger and eat a salt pill. As I was rounding the next aid station, Jody and Honey (the awesome local female runners) started gaining on me. Now lets back up - I didn't want to win the race, but I did want to be ahead of schedule. I told myself that they couldn't catch me until after mile 33. So, I took off. Let's be clear - in my head, they were both going to catch me and beat me, but I just wanted it to happen later.


This is when the race gets better for me. I turned on my music, tucked behind a guy that I could just "follow," and turned on auto pilot. Actually, he kept a pretty aggressive pace for me - running up little hills, so (as I told him) he was "keeping me honest." He didn't really want to chat, and neither did I, but we both enjoyed each other's company. I like being in my head in these types of races.

Nothing really spectacular about this section except the streams, rocks, lack of trail markings (making i easy to get lost). Okay, I will say one thing about the trail. Getting lost in the section was pretty easy, but somehow, I managed to stay on course, and I think it's because I was "at one" with the trail. Call me hippie, call me crazy, but I felt like I knew the highline trail - it's quirks, its weaknesses, etc - so I never really got off the trail.

And this is where I took off. So at one point, Jacob, the orange shirt guy, and Aaron's twin (jeepfleeb) and I were running in a pack. I was in the middle. When they let me lead I just ran off. Not intentionally...I was just feeling it. There were a lot of runable sections here, and I took full advantage.

I was really in the zone. I knew 33-44 were the lowest points in the race, so running these parts fast really would put me way ahead of my goal. I thought that if I was going to fall apart it would be between 33 and 44.


Coming into 33 is pretty great. The last major aid was at mile , so we got to see all of the supporters. I tried not to take too long at aid stations. So I fueled up and went on my way. The coconut water here was damn good!!!

I caught up to Nathan - the youngest Coury brother. He was doing his first trail 50. I asked him how he felt and he said "everything hurts. It hurt more to walk, so I decided to run everything." HA! We chatted, and he told me his big brother, Jamil, was only a half and hour ahead of us. We decided to try to catch him, only Nathan wasn't feeling it. I ran on without him.

Supersecret goal here was to run 33-44 in less than three biggie, right, except that like 2000+feet of climbing here and the terrain. I just dug deep. Took in the scenery, listed to my tunes and enjoyed the day. A few more times, my stomach started to feel woosy, and every time that happened, I took a ginger chew and a salt tab. It worked okay.

The day felt hot, and with all the burnout, everything was superexposed. But, fear not, I am solarpowered. The heat didn't stop me, and actually helped me pass up a couple of people.

33-44 is also the section with tons of downed trees. This is how Karl Meltzer (the guy who was had an hour lead over the field at 33) broke his arm. So, this part of the course, especially requires caution. They really do mess with your running rythmn, which after already on the course for 9 hours is not necessarily fun.

At some point, I decided, I was not only going to finish, but if I pushed it, I could finish sub-12. I flipped the switch in my mind and decided "this was it".

At the aid station, I downed a coconut water and sped off. I had 1:30 to run 6 miles, with 1000 feet of climbing at the beginning two miles. I started climbing a realized I was out of water. OMG! I might have Fucked mind started playing tricks and doubting my body. Then, my body starting revolting - I felt sick to my stomach.

NO! This would not stop me. Sure in my head, if I finished over 12, I'd still make my goal of FINISHING! I dunno, though, I knew I had sub 12 in time to be lazy.

I went for it still. Fighting sickness and cramps and the inability to each calories that I need, I told myself it was only 6 miles. And really after the climb (which sucked BIG donkey balls), it was only 4...

So I climbed. And I passed some guys...and I hurt, but what really finally flipped the switch was seeing Jamil. I yelled at him in the distance. It fueled him to keep going. And it flipped my swtich - no more pain, only sub 12.

We finished :30 seconds apart!!
What would you do differently?:

Post race
Warm down:

Once I sat down and processed it all, I was laughing and joking with everyone. I finally felt like an ultrarunner!!

Event comments:

Thanks everyone for believing in really was bittersweet to kill a race that I DNFd!

Profile Album

Last updated: 2010-04-17 12:00 AM
11:50:15 | 50 miles | 14m 12s  min/mile
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 18/74
Course: 50 miles of unforgivable rough, steep hills, thorns, 9300feet of climbling and 8700 of loss...
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 5
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2010-05-04 12:32 AM

Subject: ...
This user's post has been ignored.

2010-05-04 1:05 AM
in reply to: #2835099

Gold Coast, Australia
Subject: RE: Zane Grey
What a fantastic achievment! I cannot even imagine running an Ultra Marathon. You rock!!

2010-05-04 10:52 AM
in reply to: #2835099

Subject: RE: Zane Grey
Great race report! You did a great job dealing with the highs and lows throughout the day.  Congrats on an amazing time! Wow! I'm so impressed with you.
2010-05-04 4:25 PM
in reply to: #2835099

Extreme Veteran
Bend, OR
Subject: RE: Zane Grey

Congrats on a race well done! You're our new Ultra Queen!

2010-05-04 4:25 PM
in reply to: #2835099

Subject: RE: Zane Grey
Awesome job girl! You have more guts than anyone I know! You just DO IT! I feel tired now after reading your RR! Haha!
2010-05-04 4:49 PM
in reply to: #2835099

Subject: RE: Zane Grey
See?  You did amazing!  Very fun reading your report. You worked hard for this, and put it all out there for the race.


2010-05-04 5:38 PM
in reply to: #2835099

Phoenix, AZ
Subject: RE: Zane Grey

Awesome job Paulette. I admire your courage to go out there a second time and kick . Congratulations!

2010-05-04 9:12 PM
in reply to: #2835099

Waller County, TX
Subject: RE: Zane Grey

As a Boy Scout at Camp Geronimo back in the 70s, I hiked The Highline Trail many times. One day, I'll go back and run it.

Well done!
2010-05-04 11:46 PM
in reply to: #2835099

Subject: ...
This user's post has been ignored.
2010-05-05 12:30 AM
in reply to: #2835099

Plano, Tx
Subject: RE: Zane Grey
"Finally felt like an ultra runner?!" What are you talking about!?

Again, Freakin AWESOME job. You seriously made one of the gnarliest courses I've ever seen into your !!
2010-05-05 12:45 AM
in reply to: #2835099

Subject: RE: Zane Grey
Amazing job!

2010-05-05 10:07 AM
in reply to: #2835099

Big Bear City, California
Subject: RE: Zane Grey
Dang woman, amazing job
2010-05-09 8:58 PM
in reply to: #2835099

Goodyear, AZ
Subject: RE: Zane Grey

You set such amazing challenges for yourself and you always get your goal! That was a great race report and even tempts me to put it on my bucket list...for someday!

Your love of running and dedication to training are inspiring! Can't wait to see what you plan next

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