Jackpot Ultra Feb 15-16, 2019

If you are reading this post you will notice the race actually happened 2 months ago.  I have not been okay with how it went.  However it's probably time to stop beating myself up and move on plus I'd like to delete these pictures off my phone.

Race prep in Vegas went really well, we had lists for days so shopping was easy.  Our rental car was fantastic for storage and space, not to mention comfort and we had a great motel room near the race.  It was all perfect.  It had taken months of planning, don't get me wrong!

Package pickup was smooth and I was oddly optimistic (I'm a realist so this is unusual).  We had record rainfall the day before the race and things were a little soggy for everyone setting up.

Another brilliant idea, stocking up on McNugs pre-race.

We watched Catwalk on Netflix before going to bed, fabulous floofs!


Friday morning

Up, shower, short drive to the race.  There are already RVs taking up quite a number of the spaces closest to the race pathway - not impressive.  We manage to slot in next to a tree that smacks me off the head whenever I need into the car boot.  (Note: the RD's changed this for 2020, the RVs will be moved back a row). 

You know what happens next.  SHOWGIRLS and ELVIS.  In my favourite colours too, everything is so awesome this year.

We are under a wind warning for today, it is expected to pick up a little bit later.  My initial plan is to hit between 40-50 miles in 15 hours then take a motel break for a shower and pizza.

After the pre-race briefing and the traditional Viva Las Vegas we head off.  It's happening!  The first lap is so uncomfortable, my legs are burning and I need to adjust to the fact this thing I've been thinking about for an entire year is actually happening.  This is it.

Spot the snow on the mountains in back.  In the first 3 hours I complete 4 laps (10 miles) with minimal breaks to adjust shoes and add Vaseline to myself.  If I want to reach my goal I realize sitting down for extended periods will not work.

The wind has started to pick up but my Goodrs are keeping it out of my eyes nicely, the colour of these just makes me happy.  We put a chair behind the car with a cooler and nuun supply by it so we wouldn't be tempted to get in.  Over the next 3 hours I complete another 4 laps/10 miles and apply approximately 12 tons of Vaseline to myself.

This is taped to the dashboard for morale and reminder purposes.  I am running my Garmin for the first part of the day (15 hours) to keep track of things.

The wind is relentless, we have added a wind warning to the previous day rain warning.  We are starting a warnings collection.  I am staying upbeat and just focusing on moving forward, running as much as possible and getting each lap done.  Things are going very well.

Photo credit: Jose Santos Run 2 Improve

Aid station, slight downhill on pathway (run), bridge, turn, uphill to turn, flat (run), descend to gravel (run), cross the drainage outlet, climb to grass, pass the tents, pathway (run), back to drainage, cross path, gravel puddle section (run), rejoin path, bridge, left turn onto rocky trail by rushes, mud, climb, aid station.

Over and over.  Crimson and clover.

Time to keep an eye on the runners picking up their stuff for the Saturday races.  This was what I was hoping for, I'm so happy to see Josh. This guy started Run It Fast and I'm fairly sure it's his fault I'm here.  Thank you?

Another 3 hours, another 4 laps/10 miles.  30 miles total and it's 6pm.  I celebrate with a 5 minute break in the car to put my cozy hat and jacket on.

I'm aware of some pressure on the top of my feet but it doesn't seem enough to do anything about.  My little toes feel like they're in much better shape than normal.  At this stage I'm entirely focused on getting around the course, it's an alternate state of existence, my perception of the space I'm in and my movement through it changes.  Floating.  I don't remember all the details about a lot of the day.

Wind = kites.  It gets dark fast and the wind is still relentless.  We add some rain sprinkles in for fun. Another 3 hours pass and I have done another 4 laps/10 miles.  Okay, that's 40 miles in 12 hours and I have another 3 hours to go before the planned break.  It definitely feels harder now.  It's pitch dark, wet and the wind is in my eyes as I can't wear.....my sunglasses at night.  Yep.

I'm getting really tired as I finish lap 17 (42.5 miles) and my brain decides I'll do one more then I'll wait for Kev in the car.  I let him know as I pass him.  At 45 miles, right in the middle of my goal range but 1 hour early (exactly 14 hours) I sit down.  FYI my Garmin Fenix lasted this entire time without charging.

That turned out to be the end of my race.

When we got back to the motel I took off my Torins and found the pressure on the top had pushed my nails back into my feet.  It was Kaua'i all over again.  I cut my blisters off then lay down for a while.  Our plan was to go back out by 6am.

When I got back up I got really sick, I could barely stand and sweat was dripping off me.  I couldn't get my feet into shoes.  I wanted to get back to the race to at least support Kev so we did that.  My parking chair was where we left it.  I was proud of that.

This is defeat.

I slept the rest of the day in the car while Kev made his way up to 100 miles.  He had Phil Kessel's number and I couldn't let him quit.  I would at this time like to apologize to Martin Straka.

This is winning.

I'll write a post about what went wrong/right soon, so I can refer to it if I'm ever stupid enough to do this to myself again.

Over 4 Jackpots I have done 211 miles around this little park.  I have nothing but love for it hate this park with every fibre of my being.

Oh, and after the race it snowed.  We had a snowfall warning.  Collection complete.


  1. Hey Susan! great recap. I loved it. It was a pleasure being out
    there, Im glad I was able to capture these great momments also would you mind if I add your BLOG to my monthly newsletter. Over 200+ runners receive it. let me know IM on facebook. Thanks!


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