So… by the time I get a race report up, it’ll be time for next year’s Crown King Scramble (CKS)! Work has been insane. Merger projects, “Java boot camp”, “The New American”, my first American Airlines project, and so on. More about that later. Let’s talk about running because that’s more fun.

Mid-epic training story line, I left the blog hanging after “Big Training Weekend Survived“. Training for Crown King Scramble (CKS) was intense, but everything was made possible thanks to my wonderful husband and my fantastic ultrarunning coach, James Bonnett. And Mt. Ord. With a 7.5 mile climb to the top with 4,000 feet of climbing Mount Ord is a steep beast that’s perfect for training the climb that is CKS!

Of course, if I sign up for a race, it is almost always guaranteed to be a record heat / high temperature for that day. My luck, March 29th was a whopping 97 degrees. *sigh*

Crown King Scramble 50K is no joke. You begin the race at Lake Pleasant, and climb nearly 7,000 feet to end up at a small mining town called Crown King. The first fifteen miles are mostly small rollers with a little bit of climb, the final fifteen miles are the brutal miles with lots of elevation and climb.

Knowing it was going to be a rough, dusty and hot day, I told myself that as long as I could make the cutoffs and finish, I’d be satisfied. I’d never even run a marathon, much less an ultra. My longest run was 18 miles, and my hardest training weekend consisted of back to back 15 mile trail runs on both Saturday and Sunday.

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My very first “Marathon Selfie” at 26.2 miles

Chuck had planned to run the race with me to help me pace and get through the aid stations faster, however, due to an ankle injury that was slowing him down, he handed me an Otter Pop at mile 19 aid station and sent me on my way. Sad but determined, I soldiered on in the heat.

I dipped my visor in every creek I crossed and tried not to glower at the ATVs and dirt bikes that kicked up all kinds of dust during the climb. The race is held on forest roads, so having to share the trail with the ATVs/bikes made me a little grouchy. But I kept climbing.

Shari CKS 2015

Mile 22

After what felt like forever, the heat began to subside a little as I was climbing up into the pines. It’s called a “spines to pines” race because you begin with cactus everywhere and end up in the cool pine trees of a mountain town.

Dean was also running the race (MUCH faster than us) so it was neat to have Kim at the finish line to grab a pic as I ran across. I was thrilled to finish, but also worried about Chuck, not knowing where he was on the mountain by that point. Shortly after, I received a text from Chuck, who was still able to finish, albeit with quite a limp and an ankle injury that unfortunately took him out of commission for most of the summer.

Would I do it again? YES! I can’t wait to sign up and run it next year. I absolutely LOVED this race.

Here’a a link to the pics we took that day – thanks to Kim for my finish line pic! Crown King Scramble 2015 Photo Album

Shari CKS Finish

Finish with a big smile!