Just a little 34-hour run in the mud
Grand Junction woman completes 100-mile run for animal sanctuary
Somewhere after 40 miles, the lightning lit up the western Utah sky and the rain showered the area. Then hail pelted the dirt.
Teri Shecter was miserable and demoralized, but she kept going.
But where there’s rain and dirt, there will be mud.
Running in the Salt Flats 100, her first 100-mile run, Shecter said this section of the run was horrendous, calling it “five hours of mud.”
The Grand Junction woman completed the April 28-29 run in little more than 34 hours.
She chuckled when she talked about the grueling run.
“A hundred miles is a long ways,” she said with a laugh. “It was easy at times, then it seemed like it would be impossible to get through.”
Mile after mile, Shecter kept moving, keeping a methodical pace in the run that started on the Nevada border in Wendover, Utah. In the second 50 miles, she was allowed to have “pacers” who ran with her.
“The pacers were great at distracting me from the pain and discomfort,” she said.
Even with the misery of the rain and mud leading into the 50-mile aid station, Shecter said the second half of the 100-mile run was the toughest.
“The first 50 miles were not nearly as difficult as the second,” she said, adding that she had done two 50-mile runs before.
Even with the rain and mud, and all the other challenges in the miles of adversity, Shecter never once considered halting her quest.
“I never considered dropping out. Besides a life-threatening injury or becoming hypothermic, I wasn’t going to stop,” she said.
During the long muddy section, a number of runners had enough and dropped out. Shecter said they even sent search and rescue members out to check on the remaining runners in that region.
By the time she finished the five hours of rain and mud about 9 p.m., it was time to get dry at the aid station.
“I had to change all my clothes because they were soaking wet,” she said.
Then after a quick snack, she was back on the course with 50 long miles to go and by that time, the darkness of night had arrived.
“I’d never ran all night before and from around 1 to 4 in the morning was the most difficult,” she said. “Part of it was the biorhythms at that time of night when we’re supposed to be resting and you’re running. The night seemed endless, but you just get into a zone.”
Shecter had turned 60 in September and that was a big factor for her to take on such a daunting and grueling endurance event. Another huge factor was to raise money for the Kindness Ranch Animal Sanctuary in Wyoming. Shecter called her run “Running for Kindness.”
“The big push was to finish for the people who were pledging for me. When you have a lot of friends with you, it’s a motivator for you to keep going,” she said.
She raised more than $2,500 for the sanctuary but the pledge site is still open for people who want to contribute (Kindnessranch.org).
During the run, Shecter had a backpack that was covered with a number of photos of the animals at the sanctuary. Those photos also kept her motivated, she said.
The course starts at the Bonneville Speedway and has around 17 miles on the actual Salt Flats, an area made famous for high-powered vehicles setting land-speed records. Jeep roads, mountainous areas and miles of land where people rarely go were all part of the 100 miles.
The course was a loop with runners dipping into Nevada around the 80-mile mark before finishing at the speedway.
Shecter, who moved to Grand Junction 13 years ago and is a probation officer, loves to be adventurous and that’s why she decided to take on the Salt Flats 100 in her 60th year.
A few months before she turned 60 on Sept. 26, Shecter made the decision to do the run and started training. She built up her mileage, topping out between 55-60 miles a day, and she folded in a circuit training and weight lifting regimen at the gym to also help her prepare.
Consuming calories in a 100-mile run is hugely important, but it wasn’t easy for Shecter.
“I carried some food with me but I just didn’t eat that much. Stomach issues are the bane of endurance runners,” she said with a laugh. “I ate lots of watermelon and oranges, that was really the only thing that appealed to me.”
After the tortuous 34 hours, she crossed the finish line and celebrated.
“It was pretty darn amazing. That’s a long time to be moving,” she said. “I was pretty darn happy to be finished, and I could finally sit down, ‘yay.’ “
The event had a 36-hour cutoff time and for all runners who finished under that time, they earned a commemorative belt buckle.
Even looking back at all the tough miles and obstacles that hit her during those 100 miles, she still said it was a great time.
“I really, really enjoyed it,” she said. “I want to do it again.”
She let a lengthy pause linger for a moment.
“But not for a while,” she said and laughed.
Succeeding after such a monumental challenge and to raise money for a worthy cause, left Shecter very satisfied.
“That’s the joy of it, the adventure. The mud was just part of it,” she said with a laugh.