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Bryce 100: The Top Secret, Awkward Meme-Filled, Trail Poetry

About 10 days before the Bryce 100M I started thinking.... Hmm, I wonder. But I had a half marathon trail race that Saturday and I wanted to use it to force 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 mind if I want her to pace me. I think, "Bloody Hell Harry!" why not?! Which results in looking up 'bloody hell harry' memes.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="236"] haha seriously? I LOL'd.[/caption]

which mostly weren't 'bloody hell harry' memes. but really......they're so good. one more:

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="440"] for added fun on a tangent, watch this: (you know you want to)[/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="195"] Meet Toby. After helping the 100M's all day Fri she went on to rock the 50M Saturday! #ASDT PC: Toby[/caption]

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.

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="254"] Ben L and I at the start- He finished his first 100M! So proud.[/caption]

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. Whether because 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.

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="602"] 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[/caption]

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...

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="635"] 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.[/caption]

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 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!

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="610"] always a bit of sass[/caption]

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="266"] 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[/caption]

Kenzie came and paced me, 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:

then, myself:


  1. Well done, my friend. Happy you were able to have the run you've wanted and deserved! Sounds like an amazingly fun day. Glad you guys could spend a few (Ok, maybe more than a few) minutes riding out the storm at our aid station. Congrats on a great day.

  2. I've never had that much fun in a 100 Jennilyn. Truly memorable. Thank you.

  3. I wish you would run more hundreds so I could read more of your reports. Congratulations on a fabulous day, in so many ways! (I'm never going to get unicorn Voldemort out of my head, thanks.)

  4. Love that you decided to run at the last minute. I think people over-prepare for hundos (myself included), and that most would be much happier and more successful if they just skipped a day or two of training and went big. If things then don't pan out perfectly according to plan (as they virtually never do), there's not so much pressure, not so much emotional capital on the line. You just run.

  5. I'm so glad you had a great time and made some amazing memories;) I'm amazed at and love reading your coherent randomness disguised as a race report;)

  6. Now I want a pile of raspberry Mambas...

  7. Sounds like a good time. Never did I ever think to see the King of the Beats next to Picolas Cage.

  8. Love it! I had an unfortunate DNF at Wasatch last year from a number of stupid things I did. I begged Leland to let me run the Bear half beaten from Wasatch with zero plan other than to finish and have fun. I ran the Bear and honestly had the best ultra experience ever.


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