Race Report: Lone Star 100km pt. 2

I was going to write this post as one long race review but then it started to get a little out of control so I’m breaking it into two parts. The race was two 50ish km loops so below is a recap of  loop 2 (55-110km). You should read pt.1 first, if you haven’t!

Eventually, I got the start/finish with Callum, my mom and Anna waiting for me. My plan had been to change all my clothes at this point so I wouldn’t be in wet clothes all night but it turned out that because of how hot it was, I wasn’t very sweaty. I changed my shirt, put a jacket in my pack and got some food. After not too long Callum and I were off. While I was in the AS, the race director, Rob, came over to me to say that it was record breaking heat and it would be smart to walk until the sunset. There were also tons of people dropping out!

Despite Callum’s promise that he’d definitely not be sick by Saturday (ha!), as we headed out he told me that he was feeling 70-80% better. We walked for a long time and then when we got back to the never ending desert, we started running. The problem was that because of all the rocks, you couldn’t run the downhills. My feet were also pretty destroyed from kicking so many rocks by this point!


Mentally, having Callum with me was a big lift. We walked/ran our way to the west aid station. I was having a tough time again by then. It was getting dark and I was feeling like I’d be out in the desert forever! I kept doing the math about how fast we were going and how much longer that meant we had to go, this is always a bad idea! We sat for a few minutes in the AS, Callum insisted that I put my jacket on (this was a good call) and I had some mashed potatoes and coke.  After some food, I was feeling a lot better and I knew we had to get out of there before we got too comfortable.

We were back in the stretch where all the aid stations are really spread out so besides the relay runner that passed us, we didn’t see anyone again for hours. By the time we were around 75km, I was feeling pretty good but ironically Callum’s cold had gotten to him and he couldn’t run very far without stopping to cough. We were mostly walking at the point and it became clear that Callum should not be running in the desert all night and wasn’t going to be able to pace the whole loop. We started to brainstorm what to do because where we were running was super remote. We decided that we’d get to the east AS and see if could get picked up from there.

Eventually, we got to the east AS and I would have been happy to just sit in the chair in the AS forever. I’m not sure whether this was purposefully but the AS chairs were outside of the tent so when you sat, you were in the wind which was really cold. Good incentive to get up and keep moving!


It was clear that it didn’t make sense for Callum to stay there so he decided to tough it out to the next AS which was close to the start/finish. The next 9-10km were a struggle. Callum couldn’t run and was sounding worse all the time so we struggled along. My sense of time was completely gone by now and it seemed like whenever I finished eating I’d be time to eat again! Callum thankfully forced me to keep eating. I also kept thinking about how much farther I still had to run and most of it alone!

We got to the next AS (around 85km), they had a heater facing the chairs and once I sat down I would have been happy to stay there. From this point, you climb the mountain, get the bracelet and then go past this AS to the start/finish for a final loop. Because they had a heater and hot food, we decided that Callum would stay there while I climbed the mountain and then we’d go back to the start/finish together.

At this point, I was so ready to be done running! I told Callum and the AS volunteer that I would go up and be down the mountain in an hour. The AS volunteer told me that most people had been taking around 2 hours to go up and down. I said that I had done it in an hour this morning and I would do it again. This is when I started telling myself that the faster I ran, the faster I would be done and I took off at 11:12pm. I climbed as fast as I could and I kept thinking that I was near the summit and then there would be a turn and more climbing. I was so determined to make it back in around an hour and kept checking my watch. I made it up in 40-45min and then recklessly ran down the loose rocks. I made it back to the AS at 12:27am. I was so proud of myself about how quickly I had managed to make it up and down!

I woke up Callum, got more mashed potatoes and coke and we started to descend into the start/finish where he was going to wait for me to do the final loop. This section of the course is so dangerous, it’s loose rocks and sandy dirt that has zero grip. I would have trouble going down this on fresh legs and at 90+ km in, it was brutal.

We walked into the start/finish AS at 97km and was told that I had to go out again. I was super frustrated about how long the course was but decided that I had to go out and run as much as possible to get it done. Just before 2am I headed out alone for the final loop. There was no one else around once I got into the desert but thankfully there were some runnable sections.

I spent the next two+ hours thinking about how angry I was that this course was long and how if it was really 100km, I would be done! It seemed like every time I got into an aid station, they would tell me that I had to go back out and run more. I spent the entire time with a cup of mashed potatoes in one hand and a water bottle of coke in the other. When there were flat sections to run, I’d just hold them out in front of me.

There’s not much to say about this last part except that it was a struggle. My feet were extremely swollen and blistered, my calf started to seize up in the last hour and I was starving but didn’t feel like eating. And the course kept going FOREVER!

Finally at 4:17 am, after around 110km and 14,000 ft of ascent and descent, I finished! I was the second place female but at that point, all I wanted was a bed and a shower.

This race was trying to be the toughest race in Texas and it probably is. Besides the race being way too long, the race management was fantastic. I have also very rarely have met so many friendly people out on a race course! It was a great race but I probably should have looked a little more closely at what I was getting myself into when I signed up.

Race Report: Lone Star 100km pt. 1

I was going to write this post as one long race review but then it started to get a little out of control so I’m breaking it into two parts. The race was two 50ish km loops so below is a recap of loop 1 (1-54km) and here is post about loop 2 (55-110km). Get ready, it’s long!

When we left for the van trip, we had two plans – meeting my mom in Long Beach, CA for Christmas and going to El Paso, TX for the Lone Star 100. When I signed up for Lone Star, I knew nothing about it except that it’s time/location lined up with our roughly planned itinerary and Trail Racing Over Texas (the organizer) had a good reputation.

A few weeks out I looked more closely and realized that it involved a whole lot of climbing (14,000 ft/4,200 m). I knew that was similar to the Black Spur Ultra that I did last summer and then realized that I was in for a whole lot of pain. Thankfully, living in a van for the last 3 months meant that we have spent a lot of time hiking and at elevation.

elevation lone star 100

A couple days before the race, I started looking more closely at the course map to plan my drop bags and realized that this course was long. The race had been mapped at 54km per loop. I knew I could have a pacers for the second of the two 50k+ loops so my plan was to have Callum run the second loop with me. For the first time ever, I actually estimated how long each section of the race would take me (being very generous) and portioned all my food into 800 or 1,000 calorie bunches.

We arrived in El Paso on Thursday afternoon. My mom flew down to meet us and take care of the dog while we ran. It turned out that she did a lot of taking care of us after the race too! Around this time, Callum started to get a really bad cold. I started to worry that he wouldn’t be able to pace but he was convinced that he would be better by Saturday afternoon.

My plan was to average 6km/hr, eat 200 calories every hour and walk every single hill from the beginning. I did all my training with real food but it turned out that I couldn’t carry enough calories of real food so I ended up eating a lot of sports food.

Race day arrived way too quickly, as it always does! We had a 6am start for what was predicted to be an unseasonably hot day. And all of a sudden, we were off!
The race started out with a rocky climb to the first aid station (AS) which was about 2km in. Then we did a loop through the desert and ended up back at the AS and retraced our steps back to the start/finish. At this point, we were at around 12km and I was right on my 6km/hr pace. I had a couple friends volunteering (Anna and Dwight) and Anna was at the start/finish AS, it’s always exciting to see a familiar face during a race!

Thankfully, at this point, the sun still hadn’t fully risen above the mountains so it was still not too hot. I left the start/finish AS and started climbing and continued to climb for the next 8km. It turns out this is where you do the most climbing in the loop. You have to climb to the top of a mountain to get a bracelet and write your name in a book to prove that you went all the way up. The climb is full of loose rocks so even as you’re going back down it’s tough to run. That was the theme of the race, loose rocks making it impossible to run.

I made it up the mountain in about an hour and then there was a long downhill. From here, it seems like you spend forever in the desert on rolling hills. Up until this point, the ASs had been fairly frequently and now it just felt like endless desert.

The race was way smaller than I realized so as the field spread out it was easy to not see anyone except the aid station volunteers. From the bottom of the climb to the next AS was 9km (east AS) and then 11km (west AS) to the next one after that. This time was fairly uneventful, I talked to a couple people which made the time go faster and then also spent a bunch of time alone.

It was also really, really hot by now and there was no shade. It turns out that the problem with running in the desert is that your sweat all gets evaporated so it’s even harder to stay cool. All the AS had ice but once the ice in my Buff melted, it would only stay cool for 10-15 minutes afterward because it would dry out so quickly.

My friend Dwight was volunteering at the west AS so I had been looking forward to seeing a familiar face there. Coming into that AS (around 30km), I passed two people. As a passed a woman, she looked at me and said that I was the second place female now.

In a long race, I prefer to not know anything about place because I don’t want to make stupid decisions to try to stay in a particular place. Apparently too bad about what I wanted to know! This second place woman actually ran into the AS just behind me and then caught up to me a km later and we talked for quite a while. As this point, I’d been really hot for hours with no shade and I was really happy to have some company! We ran together for quite a while and then she slowed down because she was having a tough time and I kept going.

What seemed like forever later, I got to the AS that is 2km away from the start/finish. This was actually really disappointing because I thought I was at the start/finish and it ended up still being 2+km of rocky hills away. This was probably one of the toughest times for me during the race. I wasn’t feeling great, I was hot andI thought I was never going to get to the start/finish to pick up Callum for loop 2. Even worse, I kept thinking about how I had to do this whole thing again in reverse!

At 9 hours and 14 minutes, I finished loop 1.

Here is part 2!