Imogene Pass Run- Race Report

11 09 2007

My IPR experience, by Debra Turner- Kelly

First of all, congratulations to all of you – I read the finished results on the IPR website. You guys are awesome and I’m so honored to be part of this team.
I started out very good –looking at my lap times this morning, I was beating my own time goal per mile. My plan was to run the flats, and power hike any strong hills – and it was working! I also took in what all of you had said to me before the race. Any time I felt a ting of negativity, I thought about your well wishes and pulled myself out of it and worked harder.
I had reached the mile 5 (Lower Bird Camp) at 9:15am, of which I was elated. My goal was give myself at a minimum an hour to make the remaining 2.65 miles and I was meeting the mark. I didn’t even stop at the aid station as I had enough water and Gatorade in my pack. My mistake was looking at the white board near the aid station that stated that the cutoff was 10:45am. I thought that it was kind of odd that I had that kind of time left but you never know with races. I knew that we started 15 minutes later but perhaps something occurred at the start time that the race directors made a late change. I asked two people around if they saw the board cutoff time but they had not paid attention.
So, I kept focused and worked hard on mile 5 and 6, which was all uphill. When I reached the stream, with the three course guys there, I asked again about the cutoff time – it was 10 am and one of them said that I had 45 minutes. I reached mile 7 at 10:06am, and then I relaxed – with 39 minutes to make .65 miles, I knew that I made the cutoff. I wanted to gain some strength for the uphill battle to get to the summit within two hours, since my stop at the aid station would be very brief.

With the aid station in sight, I saw one of the runners walk back down, gestured angrily with her friend, and continued to walk towards me down the hill. When she reached me, I asked her if she was injured and she said no, that we had missed the cutoff. It was 10:20am – the Upper Camp Bird said that the cutoff was 10:15, not the 10:45 am that I got confirmed twice by the course personnel. I argued with the aid station personnel, as they took off my timing chip, about the 10:45am cutoff. They knew about the issue and had called the race director for his direction. Regardless of the miscommunication at Lower Camp, the race director stayed with the 10:15 am cutoff.
I was so upset – I had missed the cut off by 5 minutes. If I had known the right time, I would have pushed through – AGH!!! What BS!! I was disappointed in myself for slowing down but I was angry that I had been led to do so by the course personnel.
So, I stood there for a moment – do I turn back around or do I continue ahead, knowing that I’m now an invisible runner? I thought about the DQ’ers last year – particularly Scott, who made it such a badge of honor in much worse weather that we had yesterday. I realized that I had had this race in my head for a year and trained for it in half that year. I knew that I have to live with my decision for another year, maybe longer, since I am going to have foot surgery in October and may not make it to IPR in 2008.
So, I went for it – although mid way through at mid 8, I was wondering if I had made a mistake! Those last two and half miles were tough—but you have trained me well to trudge through adversity. I had plenty of water and Gatorade – I tried to eat a banana but couldn’t stomach it. My head was killing me, feeling the effects of no coffee in the morning! I walked past people who were turning around or had sat down for a rest. I heard that some woman far below me didn’t have any water and was getting sick. On the other hand, I had some people pulled past me but without the infamous timing chip, they were just as invisible as I was. However, I had gone this far and the summit was getting closer. Even though I was prepared for the false summit, it didn’t help the deflation when I got there and saw the uphill mile to the summit.
Based on my Garmin, I would have made the cutoff at the summit. I made it in 1 hour and 50 minutes. So, again, the IPR training had served me well – but it didn’t count officially. To the race personnel’s credit, they treated us like we were still in the race and got the cowbell treatment at the summit. I had leaned against one of the trucks to regroup and recover and one of the Search & Rescue guys had asked if I was okay and was there something in my medical history that they should be aware of. I told him that I’m okay—just wanted to get prepared for the descent. I found out that they had one incident already but the woman had refused medical assistance. So, I was feeling very grateful that I had made though a really tough uphill without injury. I filled my water jugs, as they were going to pull up the course on my descent. And I got what I came for – a picture of me with the Imogene sign, which I will proudly post at my office to remind of the hardest thing that I have ever done to this point in my life.


So I descend–I left the mountain at 12:21am – spent about 10 minutes at the summit. It took me 2 hours and 44 minutes to get to Telluride. I would like to believe that, if I was still in contention, I would have made the 2:30pm race gate—but I’m not so sure. I slowed down a lot — I didn’t want to come this far to injure myself, especially when I was already Dq’d. The rocks and road ruts slowed me down a lot, along with all the race vehicles coming down the hill. Each one had stopped and asked if I wanted a ride or needed water, of which I had refused. One of the S&R guys had cheered me on—he might have been the guy who talked to me at the summit. The main race director (John Jett) had stopped one time (to see if I wanted a ride) and I told him about my issue about the mixed cutoff times, particularly when I would have made both cutoffs. He said
that he hadn’t had a chance to talk to that aid station to figure out what happened yet. I also asked him for a finisher pin, which he gave me. Miki suggested that I write him to reconsider on making my times official—and I will do so – but not optimistic on the outcome. Tom was my cheering section at the bottom—he, as always, is my rock.
I’m sorry that I missed the post IPR dinner – but I wanted to wake up in my own bed, knowing that I’m going to be sore! Plus its football season and I have a couple of fantasy teams and pools to track!! Thank you all for your support and encouragement throughout the training and day of race—I carried all of that with me and more so. You have no idea how each and every one of you were with me though the full course. I’m just sorry that I couldn’t make my times official to show the world how great this IPR training group is to get a person like me up and over that mountain!
Hoped that all of you had a safe drive home – see you at the IPR party!

More photos

More more photos




2 responses

11 09 2007
FastForward Sports

Congratulations Debra on all your accomplishments this season and for an incredibly memorable experience this past weekend. Thanks for the feedback on your coaching and very supportive group, but it is YOU who were able to take full advantage of what was available to you, while many others would’ve assumed an “intimidation” factor that may likely have dissuaded them from ever taking that first step. In doing so, you’ve benefited personally, but also become a key player on the IPR Team, which has in turn helped many others to achieve their goals as well… how cool!

12 09 2007

Way to ROCK IT! You did it, there is nothing ‘unofficial’ about it!

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