Back in 2021, I signed up for the Siskiyou Outback 100K. Little did I know that this adventure would turn into quite a day. My friend Mica and I were running together smoothly when out of nowhere, I flew
through the air after tripping over a sneaky rock. My right knee took the full force of the landing causing
a huge gash that exposed my kneecap and some tendons. I was terrified! Luckily, it was less than a mile
to the next aid station, and luckily Mica was with me!!! We hobbled to the next aid station, where I got a
ride to the ER from the kindest volunteer.


Early in the 2021 race behind Mica Werner (Steffi Kautz)


Thankfully, no bones were broken, but I did end up with internal stitches and 13 staples on my knee. I
clearly earned the “Dirty SOB” hat with that battle scar, which is awarded to runners with sufficient
blood showing. The things we do for a hat, right!? Despite all this, I made a speedy recovery, and I was
back running within a few weeks – thanks to Dr. Adam Mohr from Acceleration Sports Medicine! Just
seven months after the epic tumble, I ran the Black Canyon 100K. Completing Black Canyon was a great
confidence booster and so much fun, especially since we were an entire group of runners from Portland
supporting each other and cheering each other on. But I knew that I’d have to give the Siskiyou Outback another shot.


In the hotel room with an immobilizer after a few hours in the ER (Steffi Kautz)


Fast forward to 2023 – the year of redemption!

I booked the most charming Airbnb for my family, my visiting friend Jula and, of course, Pete the dog
and we drove down to Ashland the evening before the race. Race day arrived, and honestly, I was super
nervous about this race. I didn’t sleep the night before (but kept trying to internalize my friend’s words
that it didn’t matter). I felt sickish to my stomach in the morning and honestly did not feel like wanting to run the race. A thousand thank you’s to my husband Daniel for putting up with me that day when I
clearly questioned my own life choices!


Pre-race photo (Daniel Ballhorn)


I reminded myself that my only goal was to finish in one piece and get the Western States lottery ticket,
which is a 17-hour cut-off. The race started, and I was in the middle of a giant pack of runners, but
strangely in my own world. I didn’t feel too great, still sick to my stomach and easily out of breath as the
altitude got to me. I took it easy, stuck to my plan to walk all the inclines, and took it one mile at a time.
The race is very well supported with aid stations being no more than 7 miles apart, usually less, and they
were a saving grace. It really broke it down mentally to get to one aid station at a time. Once I got to the
Jackson Gap AS (mile 15), I really was not feeling well and told the volunteers. They told me that it often
gets better in an ultra. And then also added that it also gets worse again. True words! It also didn’t help
that the stretch that was ahead was where I had fallen in 2021. But I had some coke and went on my


Trails early in the race with Mt. Shasta in the background (Steffi Kautz)


During the next section, I chugged along with two fellow runners, and we chatted briefly. That really
helped to distract me and made the miles go by quickly. Eventually, I got past the spot at mile 20, where I fell two years ago, and that was such a relief! I felt better right away, started eating real food at the next
aid stations, and was energized. There was also a spot with reception and some cheerful texts from
friends came in, which absolutely made my day. The next ten miles still had lots of climbing and
technical trail at altitude, so I wasn’t moving fast, but the views were magnificent with wildflowers everywhere, and I really enjoyed that part of the race. A long downhill in a forested section followed
which made the trail more runnable.


Siskiyou Gap Aid Station at mile points 8.5 and 21.5 (Sean Jeter)


Once we reached the Potlicker Aid Station (mile 31.6), we were in a valley and breathing got much easier.
That was also a huge point mentally because it was around the halfway mark and we had access to our
drop bags. I filled up at the aid station and got ice in my ice bandana and arm sleeves. After the Potlicker AS, I was a new person, started to chat more, and passed some runners. We had a downhill gravel section from Potlicker at mile 31.6 to Ricketty at 36.4, which was really smooth. After Ricketty 1, we had a bit more downhill on gravel, which led us down to around 3,000 ft of elevation, before turning back onto the trail and climbing back out of that lowest point of the race. I ran by some hikers; they congratulated me on my race, but I had another 20 miles of race left. I was weary of the low that might come, but it never did. I ran what I could and walked with energy when I had to walk. We got back to Ricketty (43.6 miles), where I saw Anne Crispino-Taylor, an absolute legend in the local running community and we chatted for a bit. After Ricketty 2, there was more climbing and rolling gravel road until we got toPotlicker again (49.5 miles). At Potlicker, several runners from the 100K and 50M were waiting for the shuttle as they had dropped from the race. I checked in with myself but felt great and quickly grabbed my poles as this was recommended on the race website for the final climb, the notorious Time Warp trail. Refilled with some aid station snacks and water I went on my way. The next 5.5 miles were on gravel again and passed pretty quickly. I got to the final aid station, filled up again with snacks and hydration before heading into the final climb.


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Time Warp lived up to its reputation as the “bitch climb” with 3,200 ft of climbing in 5 miles. We were
warned, but it was still a mind-boggling uphill battle. The air got thinner again, but I powered through.
And eventually, I got to a plateau towards the top. There was a bit of snow on the trail, and I did not want
to mess up so close to the end and ran with my phone and navigation app in my hand to ensure I was
on the trail. I kept chugging along, passed a few more runners, and finally, I was at the top!!! So close to the finish! Just about a mile of descent from the top of Mt. Ashland to the finish at the Ski resort left. The
downhill felt pretty steep with more sneaky rocks. The race directors were making sure everyone’s legs
trashed, and everyone got their money’s worth! But the views and setting were absolutely breathtaking.
It was amazing running into the valley and being greeted by family and friends as well as wonderful
volunteers, who handed me a finisher mug (the reason for doing this race, right?!) and a cowbell for 2nd
place in my age group. In the end, my total time was 13 hrs 42 minutes, and I was 4th female. So happy
and proud of this one! I’m immensely grateful to my family and friends who supporting me on this
journey. You are all the best, and I could not have done it without you!


Finish line photo (Carsen Maciag)


I absolutely recommend the SOB races! There are several distances to choose from, and the 100K is a
WSER qualifier. The race organization was top-notch, the aid stations were numerous and well-stocked, and the volunteers were absolutely fantastic! Thank you all!!!

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