2016 Kat'cina Mosa 100k Adventure Mountain Run Race Review Report - Springville, Utah

The 2016 Kat’cina Mosa 100k - Race Review

It’s done. 5th place overall with about 70 people registered, and about 55 or so finished. I have no idea how many of those were DNS or DNF. So bottom line, getting in the top 5 is certainly evidence of a good performance and I’m proud of it. Read on for the details.

I woke up about 1:30am after about 3 hours sleep and got as ready as I could and showed up at the start about 30 mins early. I did all my normal pre-race stuff. I ate a banana, a PB&J and some potato chips and gummy bears. Drank some water and called it good. My brain wanted me to have a bathroom stop before the race but that didn’t happen. Oh well, I’d probably be stopping somewhere mid-race for a visit to the bushes. The start was about as expected and at 3am we were off.

I had a really cheap headlamp with me that I used and was certainly not the dumbest decision I made during the race, but it’s certainly not the smartest either. The headlamp was barely sufficient to light my way along the Squaw Peak road. I had never used this headlamp for anything and I wasn’t even certain the batteries were fresh. With everyone else and their stellar headlamps around me for the first few miles it wasn’t so bad. I was living off the other headlamps as much as I was my own. Eventually though my excitement and determination to finish this race in good time was enough to get me out a head by myself with a few other runners so far ahead of me that they were nowhere to be seen.

Of course one of the things about being out in the front of the pack is the marking of the course. I was fairly certain I was where I needed to be but boy were the markings for this course sparse. Throughout the race I went uncomfortably long distances without seeing markers and at least 2 times I was very near turning around.

The dark lasted quite a while and my pace was well above my goal pace and I knew that this wasn’t too bad because the climbing was certainly going to slow my pace a bit. The first 3 aid stations were over and done in the dark and I was feeling good and knew I was very close to the front. The 2nd big climb to Lightning Ridge came up and I was now passing some of the early starters. I asked one of them and they said I was the third runner. I was pretty excited by this and thought that if I could maintain that position I would be in good shape.

I consider my pace climbing up to this ridge to be a good performance on my part. I was able to keep a good pace all the way up and was feel pretty good. Eventually after the ridge there was some downhill that was a little bit more than I was expecting but not overly difficult. The trail did relent every now and then and I was able to pick up the pace some more and that was going good.

I got to the next aid station at Big Springs and was in and out in what was probably too fast of a time. I don’t even know what I ate or drank looking back at it. I was too excited to keep going.

As I was leaving I heard someone say about it being a really big hard climb coming up and I almost didn’t believe them. I thought that it probably wouldn’t be that bad. But well, it turned out it was. The sun was now up and making the exposed portions of the course rather hot and there were some tricky rocky portions of the trail that wasn’t exactly easy to cross. Again, I kept up my pace as best as I could and passed a few more of the early starters and some other hikers that weren’t participants in the event.

Windy pass seemed like it was forever away from the last aid station. I kept thinking that I could see it but I really didn’t have any clue where it was. Eventually I saw some people on the skyline that was pretty far off and I felt pretty sure that’s where I was headed. I did the best I could muster and eventually made it to Windy Pass. The aid station wasn’t much and I didn’t take much from them. I distinctly remember having some chips with me outside the aid station and throwing them down because my body didn’t want to eat it. I think this might have been an indication that something wasn’t quite right.

I was told that from windy pass it was downhill to the next aid station. Yes. I wanted that more than anything. Well, there was still some climbing then it did go down. But about 5k after windy pass the course was not downhill. It was more of a roller coaster than anything and again, it felt like forever to get to the next aid station. I kept up my pace as best as I could but I was in fact walking more than I would have like to.

The trail started to go down about a mile from the next aid station and I ran as much as I could. I was low on water and energy and it was more difficult to run than it really should have been at this point.

I got to the next aid station and knew that I had to make it quick or I was going to lose my 3rd place position. I changed my shoes and socks and wiped off my feet with wet wipes - they were very dirty. At this aid station there is an out-and-back portion that must be completed. I went up and back and was in pretty poor shape by the time I got back to the aid station. I stopped and knew that I was in bad shape but didn’t know what to do about it. I was a little nauseous and low on energy and didn't have any appetite. So the only thing that I could think of doing was moving forward. I could still do that and that’s what I came here to do.

I didn’t really know what the course looked like from here. I was about mile 40 and knew that it was more or less downhill from mile 52. So I had about 12 miles that I was hoping was going to be some flat, fast road but soon after the aid station was just up and nothing but up.

I was very low on energy and wasn’t eating like I should. I thought at the time that I had been getting enough liquids but looking back I’m not sure.

I walked a lot of this part of the course and kept expecting for another runner (or fifty) to just pass me like this race was a 10k. But surprisingly, no one did catch up to me.

I didn’t know where exactly the next aid station was but it finally appeared. I sat down and asked for a Red Bull. They gave me one and I drank all of it. I took some food but don’t think I ate much of it. Putting food in my mouth was something my body didn’t want. Chewing was hard and swallowing was almost impossible. I thought I was just going to immediately throw it up. I never did yak but I was not feeling well.

The course out of this aid station kept climbing, I sort of knew it would but had hoped it wouldn’t be too bad. Well, it was still tough. The good news is at this point was that I did feel okay and was able to get up the climb with surprising speed. I wasn’t doing 9 min miles but I was able to maintain a good balance of walking and running. That red bull did something. I’m not sure what, but something. I guess.

But after the climbing up my energy began to wane again. The trail leveled out and the sun was beating down pretty hot and I hit a rough patch again. I counted steps and tried to make sure that I was walking at least as many steps as I was running and kept moving forward.

I thought to myself how hard this race was. I really was, at this point, completely hammered. I was toast. I was fried. I was whooped. I was exhausted. I was out of it. I was zapped. I knew that someone was going to pass me before the finish. I was just trying to not make it too bad.

Eventually, out of the blue, someone did pass me. He was doing a much faster pace than I was. I said good job and he and his pacer were out of sight. 4th place, well, that’s still not bad.

The next aid station finally after what felt like an eternity finally came to view. I didn’t know what to do. Drink? Eat? I could drink but didn’t really feel like I needed a lot of water. I was still disgusted by eating. Didn’t think there was any point or benefit to taking the time to force myself to eat some chips or pretzels. I sat down and the nice people at the aid station helped as much as they could. But I was done. Totally done. But totally NOT done at the same time.

So I drank some red bull and some water and just left. I was hoping that since the rest of the course was downhill I would be able to just put my head down and go but it was not to be. I ended up just walking and running. Walking a few steps and running a few steps. When the course went up I walked and when it went down I did my best to run it. But I was still just a zombie moving at a meager pace.

After what felt like another eternity I came to the next aid station. I tried to get some water and food in but didn’t do so well. Had some red bull and got some cold water. With something like 6 miles left on pavement I was thinking 4th would be good if I could just get down the canyon in a decent fashion.

Well, as I sat at the aid station another person who looked like they were on mile 2 of a 10k race flew in and out of the aid station. Good for them, honestly. Now I was in 5th place. I guess this isn’t the finish so I guess I’ll keep going. And 5th isn’t that bad, right?

My brother came up to this point on his bike and rode with me for a while. But this was no fun for him. I wasn’t able to mentally engage in anything else and I could barely run anything at this point.

Before the race started I was looking forward to some fast miles in this part of the race. I had hoped that the canyon would be downhill and shady and since it was a road be a nice way to wrap up the race. Well, for me it was about 4pm and the sun was at a perfect angle to not provide any real shade from the trees. The road was surprisingly flat from my point of view. There was nothing good about this part of the race. I even had to dodge the traffic and that was no fun either.

Well, again, I tried as best I could to run as much as possible but I really couldn’t go for more than about a quarter mile before I had to walk a little. When the road straightened I tried looking back fully expecting a group of runners to just run past me. But no one did. I couldn’t believe it.

Finally after 13 hours and 49 minutes of the worst bashing of my life I crossed the finish line. In 5th place overall!

I think I underestimated this race but then when I say that it’s sounds weird in the context of 5th place overall in a 100 kilometer race. I know I did well in that sense, but I don’t think I did well in the overall execution of it. I don’t know if I should have held back earlier in the race or did something drastically different with my nutrition. But the nausea and the heat were mighty foes.I would like to have been able to run a little bit more consistently in the last 10 miles of the race.

But this is a good effort and a good learning experience for me. Even before I did this race I knew I was going to go at it with much more of a “race” mentality than I did earlier this year at the Zion 100k (where finishing was paramount to pace or place). I wanted to take more risks with this race even if it did mean crashing and burning. I don’t see this as being my last 100k and since I think I could do better, there’s a non-zero chance I'll come back in the future.