• February 21st, 2015
  • Cool, California
  • FOURmidable
  • Sharon: 4:26:46
  • Tim: 3:03:13


30 down only 22 to go.

I got so excited when I found a HM that was run on the Western States course that my brain malfunctioned. I have to remember that just because a race is in California doesn’t mean that it is close. Apparently, I also forgot how to interpret what an elevation profile means in real life.


No problem – I’ll just walk the uphills

We left as soon as Tim got home from work but it was still almost 3am by the time we got checked into our hotel. Then the alarm went off at 5:30. We stayed at the Hawthorn Suites in Sacramento. I highly recommend this hotel. We tried to be out of the hotel by 6am because we still had an hour drive and a 8am start. Yay coffee.

Still blissfully unaware

Still blissfully unaware

It was a beautiful morning. The run down to No Hands Bridge was fun but muddy. Real trail runners don’t even slow down for puddles but I’m a wimp and hate to get my feet wet. I stopped a couple of times to figure out how to jump over the most narrow section. That never works. By mile 2 I had wet feet.

At the famous No Hands Bridge

At the famous No Hands Bridge

After the turn around at No Hands Bridge the work began. I hiked the small hill up to the base of K2 thinking that hike was steep. Hah. K2 was the most intense mountain I have ever climbed. Usually, during a race I walk the steep uphills but I couldn’t even walk up this trail without stopping to rest. I came up with a new mountain mantra during this section – “Burn calories, firm butt” – not likely to lead to spiritual enlightenment but it was an in the moment mantra.

I need a new hobby

I need a new hobby

From K2 on I went back and forth with a man who was running with his dog. He would pass me on an uphill and I would pass him on the downhill. After K2 there was a nice runnable section. Trail running is so much more scenic than road running. I turned around to get the picture of where I had just run. Notice Jim and Sara (yep, a dog named Sara) gaining on me again. They pass me on the next incline. I really need to work on my climbing skills.

See you soon

See you soon

This course was extremely well marked. Getting lost is always a concern of mine (because I do it so often) especially on trail runs. They had colored ribbons, flour arrows, and signs. Well done.

There was another evil hill towards the end (see elevation profile) that nearly had me crawling. A woman named Heather caught me on this section and we started talking. She recommended ginger ale for my nauseous tummy. Somehow I missed the fact that the aid station had ginger ale. It worked! When I mentioned that my Garmin said 12.1 miles and “Yay, only a mile left” she informed me that this course was actually 13.8 miles. What ?! I almost sat down and cried. Blissfully the last mile and a half was relatively flat. Tim came out and walked with me for the last mile. I even did a couple 10 second bouts of running. I was never so glad to see him.

After crossing the finish line I collapsed in the nearest shade that I could find. This was one of the friendliest races I have ever been to. Someone even brought me a chair. I must have looked pretty bad.

Still alive after the race.

Still alive after the race.

After the race I talked to Jim, the guy with the dog who kept passing me. He is an ultra runner who was doing the half to see how his injured foot would hold up. Jim if you read this give me your blog address and I’ll link to it. You were an inspiration. Another mantra of mine was – “don’t let that man and dog pass you again”. I did manage to beat him in, but barely.


Follow Jim and Sara at www.sofarfromnormal.com


  • 13.8 miles
  • Had to mail hats


  • Well organized
  • Wonderful volunteers
  • Beautiful course
  • Running on the Western States 100 course
  • Cool beer glass (who needs another T-Shirt and medal)
  • Best course markings ever
  • Really friendly race with a great vibe
Can we sit down please

Can we sit down please

This was the hardest race I have ever done. And my slowest time. 4 days after the run my glutes (front of thighs) are still sore. This is not a race I would recommend to anyone who was not extremely fit. The climbs were brutal and the trail itself was muddy and quite rocky. However, if you are looking for a challenge I would highly recommend this HM. The well marked course with incredible scenery and super friendly people made this a special race.


Please leave a comment. You know I love comments.


  1. Hi Sharon!

    I found ya! My blog address is sofarfromnormal.com – I have been very lax lately about keeping it up to date, but hopefully you will find something of interest there.

    It was fun “switching” places with you ūüôā That was one tough race, but it is one of my favorites for sure.

    Keep in touch, and I will be following you on your mission. Let me know next time you get to run in NorCal!

  2. Ho. Lee. CRAP! That elevation graph made me whimper and want to hide under my desk! You are a BEAST! They would have to airlift my body out after 2 miles. I understand the Western States allure, though, and now you can say you were on it — that alone is worth the agony!

    • Thanks. In retrospect it was so worth it however, it was not my wisest choice. I hope you are staying dry in OR. I thought we would get rain for our race after this one but luckily it waited until the ride home. Good to hear from you. Hope you are happy and well.

  3. Sharon and Tim.
    I just had to say good morning before heading to the gym. I will read this more thoroughly later today. Wow!
    You are awesome and so proud of you.
    We had a dear friend die suddenly, at age 55 due to an apparent heart attack so have been grieving all week and just couldn’t get to the gym
    I have more news for you so will touch later today.
    Love and hugs,

  4. I can see by the photos that you were quite challenged, Sharon. I think it’s so wonderful that Tim watches carefully over you and is so encouraging to you. In spite of look “peaked,” you look wonderful – – fit and happy. Obviously the beach agrees with you! It blew my mind when I saw that you have done 30 HMs…..that in itself is an amazing feat. I kind of think you won’t do this again for a long while. I imagine your bodies are wondering when they’re going to get a rest!

    It’s also really interesting to me to read about the folks you run with – the ones that pass you, the ones you pass, the ones who trade back and forth, and even the evil ones on bicycles. I really do feel like I ran the race with you two! Great job – can’t wait to see you and have a face to face catchup. (Will probably take a few hours!!) Hugs to you both…

    • I’m also mind blown that we have done 30. It both feels like we just started this nonsense and at the same time feels like we have been racing every weekend forever. I’m crossing the days off my very interesting calendar until I see you.

      • desertmarilyn

        Not long now!!! You will be receiving an interesting package within the next week…..you’ll get a big laugh when you open it…can’t wait to see you!!

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