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Antelope Canyon

The day before the race wasn’t filled with the usual pre-race nerves. Instead it was filled with multiple hikes with friends, random ice cream trips, and assisting the race director anyway I could. Then I settled down withnavajo tacos beside a campfire beside the start/finish area.
pre-race running along Horsehoe Bend rim with Pete S. PC: Nico Barraza
I felt like my goal time range for the race was well within reason, butwhen I heardat the race preview that there were 30 miles of sand (not the 20 I expected) and that the sand would be much softer/deeper than usual because of a lack of precipitation this winter, I was curious how the day would go down.
When I awoke at 5am I felt like I had plenty of time to dig through my bags, find my things, pack some drop bags, and get all ready. But after I broke my hydration bladder, founda bladder to borrow, dug out the items for my drop bags…. suddenly it was 5:50am and I stilldidn’t have on my shoes or gaitors, my drop bags were in a disarray, I didn’t know where my bib number was, I hadn’t filled up my running vest…. So when I say I wouldn’t have made it to the starting line without the patient help of Ben Light and Cherri Marcinko, I mean it! I jogged up to the starting line, items for my vest in hand when Matt Gunn yelled “Go!” So, carrying my items and trying to fall into step near someone with a headlamp as we scaled the slick rock, I tried to pack my vest while running. I shouldhave been more organized!
The paceon the initial 10 miles wasn’t an issue, but I was struggling with the effort required to move in such deep sand. I couldn’t catch a rhythm. The first 15 miles of the course had such a deep, unrelenting sand and I struggled to move through it. I tried my best to cling to good friends Steve Frogley’s and Scott Wesemann’s pace, and gave more effort than I should have that early in a race to continue to enjoy their camaraderie. Thoughts:
  1. Sand IS a four-letter word
  2. The sand is always firmer on the other side.
  3. There’s no other side.
The downside of pushing a little harder than I should have is my 20-something bonk was lower and longer than usual. I was grouchy, exhausted, and frustrated. I walked a lot while I struggled mentally, grateful I had spent a couple hours enjoying the view of Horseshoe Bend in a better mood the day before. When I hit the 25 mile mark nearthe 5 hour range, I felt deflated. My “A” goal of sub-9 hours was definitely gone, and nowthe “B” goal of sub 9:30 slipped over to impossible. If this was a benchmark running test for spring fitness, I was failing.
Horseshoe Bend. PC: Kendall Wimmer
I made a list (I like lists.) I remembered my primary goals were to push MY hardest, disregarding time. I also remembered all the things that drew me to this race–I’m not one for races but the Grand Circle Series races are more like fun adventure runsin astounding scenery than races. I tried to flip my mindset.
At mile 28 I managed a VFuel chased by applesauce (my new go-to calorie source) followed by essential oils and anew trick- spearmint gum. I turned some music on and smiled. So maybe I super suck at running in sand. Maybe my goals are too lofty. I may as well enjoy the day! I sung along to Lord Huron on repeat, rolling the lyrics over and over….
“I couldn’t get tired, although I should have been sleeping.
For the first time I wasn’t hard of feeling.
And at night, while the others were dreaming, we went wild.
We’d go running through the temples and the forests of the isle.
For thirteen of those sleepless nights I thought I’d never die.
I don’t know what it was that gave us so much life.”
Dropping into the waterhole canyon, I was immediately overwhelmed with beauty. I was alone to experience the entire slot canyon, dancing between canyon walls, smiling and filled with love and joy. I teared up with the appreciation of what I am ableto do. It seems fitting that the first ultraI cried during wasfrombeing overwhelmed with pain, and the second ultra I criedin was from being overwhelmed with joy. I reflected on my kids, my friends, and the many precious moments I been allowed to experience. I helped a few 55k runners out of the canyon (literally gave them a hand, they were struggling to push each other up the last little scramble) and their cheery faces brought me a little more joy. My overly emotional moment continued to drag out as I was flooded with memories of dear friends and the happy sweet 55k runners I had the pleasure of saying hi to as I passed. As someone who started at the back of the pack, that is still where my heart belongs- there to enjoy the experience and views!
So there I was, on a long sandy road, cranking out 9 minute miles, passing 55k’ers giving them loads of encouragement, tears flyingwith how happy I was…. I know, right? Classy girl here. Probably should stop admitting how sentimental I am. Ehmmm….
Waterholes Canyon PC: Kendall Wimmer
I came into the Horseshoe Bend aid station just as happy as could be. Dear friendspampered me. I was beginning to make up lost time, and realizedI could potentially hit my “B” goal. I did my nutrition sequence and headed out. I would continue to cruise until about mile 42, where I usually hit my second bonk… Though this bonkwas full of pain from running hard so late in the race. Istruggled to manage a running motion on such wrecked legs. The sand did a number on me! But it was too late in the race not to give it the best fight I could, though eachmile got a wee bit slower as I approached the finish. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Antelope Canyon 50 Mile Race Report
so happy! PC: Matt Williams
Elation at coming in right between my time goals, seeing my friends, and having the pain and sand be over filled me. I tried to put on my “brave” and “happy” face and pretend I wasn’t entirely wrecked…. Then I collapsed on the other side of the finish line.

The entire day was overwhelming. I enjoyed theopportunity to meet new friends and watch old friends run, eachwith their perspective races, places, and paces. The long painful lows and the overwhelming high between all addsto the weight of the pressure and pleasure of participating in a race,and it isa lot to process! Huge thanks to Matt Gunn for creating an atmosphere, experience, and linking such astounding scenery that even someone that dislikes racing is drawn to all his races!
Also a huge thanks to my sponsors for their continued support. Thanks to La Sportiva for encouraging me to do what I loveand for making shoes that I can run in 50 miles of desert sand without blisters or feet problems! Thanks to Gnarly Nutrition for helping me keep my training diet on track, and for creating a chocolate protein (Feast) that has my vitamins in it so that I can drink chocolate-peanut butter flavored smoothie of spinach and seeds this morning and get all my recovery nutrients in. A last shout-out to my strength training coach Cass at Momentum Athlete- I am so glad my hammies and glutes were strong enough to handle that sand! Couldn’t have done it without you! update:race result 9:15/F1/CR Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news so happy! PC: Matt Williams
showing off the race swag: finishers bracelet, winner’s tomahawk, “lucky” cairn earrings from a dear friend for race, and new navajo necklace Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news YES! Finishing. PC: Craig Lloyd
that’s just really neat! Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news IMG_7142
PC: Cherri Marcinko
I always choose the last taper run with care. It is mentally significant, even though the run itself is merely a chance to stay loose before race day. Today I chose the City Creek Canyon trail, which was my first trail run in Utah. I lived closeto it during a rough period of life, and often late at night I’d hop onto the trail… 11pm, 1am, seeking peace. The dry grass and rutted dry dirt reminded me of canal roads in Idaho. It felt like home. Isn’t that what we all want to feel when we’re nervous? The simple feeling of belonging? Of home?
More and more running has been a refuge, a place of balance, a lyrical moving meditation for me. At this race I hope to find that balance more within myself. A dear friend and talented Chakras/ Color Therapist/ LNP/ Meridian coach Kathy Heinsohn took the time to chat with me this week. Many of her words have stuck with me through runs and races over the years, and I wanted to feel ready for what this year would bring, as the first race of the year has become significant to me. She told me simply to “go run and know that balance and being grounded will come as you follow your heart.” Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news IMG_7123
PC: Steve Frogley
My heart, for once, actually wants to run hard. I want that freedom in motion, that joy in dead legs. I want to know my training has paid off. I want to test my mental fortitude.
Antelope Canyon is a testing race. I’ve drastically altered my training to help get me ready to run the Kokopelli trail in it’s entirety later this spring. With Antelope Canyon being very similar in terms of sand, vertical gain, and arid temperment, it should be a great place to set a benchmark in training. I’ve done fasted state long runs as well as limited my caloric intake more and more on runs, hoping that a lower-calorie approach to ultras will help my stomach tolerate the running better. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news IMG_7087
I will never be the best, nor the fastest, nor the most knowledgable, nor the most improved, nor the nicest, nor the best-looking, nor the fittest. But I can be a pretty decent person, a well-rounded runner, a good friend, and someone with an infectious passion for life and moments and experiences and joy. I’m hoping for those grounding roots at this race…
Funny that a race I desire to run my hardest is also one I seek peace at the most? But then, is that not distance running? Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news IMG_6428
PC: Craig Lloyd Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Beautiful rock in the Grampians of Australia.SOURCE VIDEO: BIG...
Beautiful rock in the Grampians of Australia.
SOURCE VIDEO: BIG 4 - Groove Train (33/5.14b) - Grampians, Australia [3:32] by Marmot Mountain Europe [YouTube] Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Belogradchik fortress entrance Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Boulderer worship.SOURCE VIDEO:Yosemite Waltz [2:03] by Will...
Boulderer worship.
SOURCE VIDEO:Yosemite Waltz [2:03] by Will Fraker [Vimeo]
About 10 days before the Bryce 100M I started thinking…. Hmm, I wonder. But I had a half marathon trail race thatSaturday andI wanted to use it toforce me to try to actually run, so I decided to put off serious thought until after the half marathon was over. Since I couldn’t move my legs after the half (not used to running that fast!) I decided I should spend my time reaching out to a couple people and see what my options were for slogging out 100 miles.
The Tuesday before the race darling Kenzie texts me demanding I make up my mindif I want her to pace me. I think, “Bloody Hell Harry!” why not?! Which results in looking up ‘bloody hell harry’ memes.
which mostly weren’t ‘bloody hell harry’ memes. but really……they’re so good. one more:

for added fun on a tangent, watch this: (you know you want to) Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Bryce 100: The Top Secret, Awkward Meme-Filled, Trail Poetry
Meet Toby. After helping the 100M’s all day Fri she went on to rock the 50M Saturday! #ASDT PC: Toby
So with that, I decided…. WTH why not? I couldn’t run because my legs were too sore from the half still, so maybe 100M would loosen them up. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Bryce 100: The Top Secret, Awkward Meme-Filled, Trail Poetry
Ben L and I at the start- He finished his first 100M! So proud.
At this point ~ untapered, sore, untrained/overtrained (hard running week the week prior) I didn’t know what would happen if I toed the line at an ultra. I didn’t want the pressure of being a racer, I didn’t want to spend the days prior discussing the course or stategy or being a number on ultrasignup. I felt like if I put myself in front of the mirror as a runner, I saw one thing. When others see me as a runner, it’s like that mirror is covered in a matte film and spray painted with whatever they want to see me as. For this race, I just wanted to run. I wanted to run and love it and run as myself, as Jennilyn the person, just for runnings sake. Whetherbecause I’m an introvert or because I just get too much anxiety from people’s expectations, I knew for me to have the peaceful run I wanted it needed to be kept quiet. Thus the top-secret race began. Fortunately I was able to sign up the day before which kept me off the utlrasignup list, and only a few close friends who “got it”knew and they let me keep things quiet and nonchalant. Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Bryce 100: The Top Secret, Awkward Meme-Filled, Trail Poetry
my trail running club is cooler than your trail running club. I can say that w/o being a biggot because it has nothing to do with me– it has to do with peeps like these girls who slave at an aid station in the hail all day and then go out and run ultras right after. love them. PC: Aaron Williams
The ride down was rather entertaining with lovely ladies. I hadn’t met Toby before and anyone who “punks” the other RV mate on the way to pick you up should be an instant friend. We chatted, I got a bit of reading and writing in, and it still didn’t feel like I was going to run… Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Bryce 100: The Top Secret, Awkward Meme-Filled, Trail Poetry
the early miles, PC Steve Frogley… who crushed his 2nd 100M and stopped to help (chiropractic adjustments) a bunch of other runners on his way. karma must love Steve.
Fellow super nerd and poet DJ and I had discussed running the early quarter of the race together to keep the pace light and easy and well… to geek out on poetry and weird memes. Friend Steve F stumbled up on us early in the race and we leap-frogged a bit. (He would later take the time at mile 25 to adjust my knee during his race so that I could continue running. What a nice guy!)
Trail conversation went from discussing Jack Kerouac’s proposition “If all the world were love, then how could love exist? This is why we turn away from each other in moments of great happiness and closeness. How can we know happiness and closeness without contrasting them, like lights?” and Allen Ginsberg’s argument back(written during a bout of Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Bryce 100: The Top Secret, Awkward Meme-Filled, Trail Poetry insanity, so a direct quote is a bit incomprehensible) that if everything were love, love would still exist, just like if everything were the color green, green would still exist. We discussed that we wouldn’t KNOW green without the other colors, and the value….debating both sides, explicating, repeating phrases, and on and on for hours. This was interspersed with laughing-til-you-pee-your-pants about things like Picolas Cage memes and hamsters in blenders and monkeys on drugs. Pretty sure we entertained, offended, and inspired everyone around us. (All three. The trail poets do all three. It’s a package. Like Mamba. You can’t only get the lemon ones, even though you wish you could.)
During this rain, hail, mud, and lightning ensued. Approximately miles 18-96 we had weather with never more than a 45min break. Conditions were rather terrible, but spirits were high. We sat at aid stations for 25-45 minutes 5 times to try to wait out different storm systems. Although we had only planned on 20-25 miles together, DJ and I would eventually run 75+ miles together.
I was SO looking forward to the Wasatch Mountain Wrangler aid station (miles 46 and 56) that throughout the day DJ would shout “Pink Cliffs!” (the WMW aid station) and I would have to respond by raising my arms and screaming. While I still don’t have my voice back… I appreciate the WMWs. They are a family in ultrarunning and they worked that aidstation like the bosses they are. Thanks guys for all the time, money, energy, well-wishes, food, and kindness! Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Bryce 100: The Top Secret, Awkward Meme-Filled, Trail Poetry Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Bryce 100: The Top Secret, Awkward Meme-Filled, Trail Poetry
always a bit of sass Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Bryce 100: The Top Secret, Awkward Meme-Filled, Trail Poetry
I like her so much I carry her around after running 100 miles in hopes she’ll let me keep her. no dice, but there’s always next time. PC: Aaron Williams
Kenzie came and pacedme, and kept saying the nicest things about me running late in the race…. Either she was psyched I was still running 85 miles in or she wanted me to move faster to get rid of me. Whichever it was, I appreciate her. About mile 83 and amid a massive downpour a tiny little baby bunny was on the trail. (NOT A HALLUCINATION ~ Kenzie saw it too!) The little bunny stopped and I said, “I bet this little bunny will let me pet it!” And it did! I kid you not, I sat petting a feral bunny in the the middle of a rain storm at mile 83 of the Bryce 100M. Lightning was striking, my pacer was swearing at the elevation gain, I wanted chocolate cake, and the world still made sense.
Much fun was had. I felt like it was the “laziest” 100M I’ve done in the sense that I’ve never sat around so much nor laughed so hard. The weather, mud, rain, chaffing of EVERYTHING from being wet for 20 hours was work for sure, but the run… well, it was what running is all about ~ connections between self, people, and nature… with a bit of humor, wit, happiness, and awkward goofiness thrown in.
I wish I could tell you I trained and tapered and raced my heart out. I wish I could tell you that I nailed a pre-meditated nutrition plan, that I had my aid splits dialed, than I ran to my potential. But none of that is true. Instead I’ll tell you that I had the most fun I’ve ever had running a race and the best 100 miles I’ve ever experienced. I’ll tell you that I set out to prove to myself that I could run 100 miles by myself and instead learned I didn’t have to.
As for inspirational words to end with (ya know, besides “just run” and “love it”) I thought I’d include poems from the trail poets. First, DJ: Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Bryce 100: The Top Secret, Awkward Meme-Filled, Trail Poetry
then, myself: Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Bryce 100: The Top Secret, Awkward Meme-Filled, Trail Poetry Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Caves...Kit Mikayi Rocks Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Cinque Torri in mist Rock climbing and bouldering pictures and news Climbing 7939