This past September I toed the starting line at the IMTUF 100 just outside McCall, Idaho. I was kicking myself while camping the night before for not bringing a warmer sleeping bag as I woke up several times to find myself shivering. Once we got moving it wasn't as cold. After around 5 miles, I started feeling a pain toward the back of my knee and tried to stretch it several times thinking as the temperature got warmer it would loosen. It ended up going the other direction and got worse as the pain began to shift to just above the side of my knee and I eventually figured out it was my IT band. It got to the point that by mile 15 or so I couldn't run anymore and it was a huge chore to even hike on a steep downhill. I didn't feel any pain though while power hiking flats and hills, and made the decision to just keep hiking and enjoy the day until I timed out of the race. That moment came at mile 58 just after 2am but before then I experienced one of the most enjoyable days on the trail in the past year. The IMTUF 100 course is incredibly scenic, well run and tough, and I met several other runners along the way, had visits from my crew of family and friends, shared some great miles with Kerry who paced me that last 10 miles or so, and was able to see a beautiful area of mountains in central Idaho that I'd never seen before. As disappointing as it was to experience my 2nd DNF, knowing that I did what I could and stayed on top of things mentally had me leaving the race feeling that it was a positive experience. I went to the finish line for the last few hours of the race and cheered the final finishers. There's nothing like watching people cross the line after running 100 miles…it's one of my favorite things to do.
The IMTUF 100 is definitely one to come back to and I'm considering running it again next year. I've been 100% healed up for several weeks now and have started to plan out 2015. I'm registered for the Austin Marathon on February 15 and I'll figure out the rest of the year after the Western States 100 lottery drawing on December 6.