McMahans take on TransRockies Run |

McMahans take on TransRockies Run

Sarah McMahan Special to the Bonanza

I've been hearing about the Trans Rockies Run for years as my husband Ross has raced it four times. It's been one of my top 10 goals for two years. So after missing the 2012 race to have knee surgery, I finally took the plunge and teamed up with Ross this August for the experience of a lifetime.

I felt ready, sort of. It's hard to know what 120 miles over six days with 20,000-plus feet of climbing will feel like. Add to that Ross is much faster than me and pushed us hard every day gunning for first place. Several times we had the first-place team in our sites … which only encouraged us to go faster. 

I had to take it one day at a time and mentally prepare for just about anything — 24 miles with rolling hills, or 14 miles with a steep climb up to 12,500 feet, followed by a rocky, technical downhill. I will lose two toe nails from the downhills. We always started at an elevation of at least 8,000 feet and it definitely helped coming from Tahoe. Every day was different with its own challenging terrain.

Fortunately, the scenery of the Colorado Rockies was so breathtaking it helped distract me from my fatigue, oxygen deprivation and sore muscles. Not to mention, I had something to prove to my husband, who had always raced with a male partner and had one partner drop out. I'm a tough wife, and I never quit. Many people had asked jokingly before the race, "Is this going to be good for your marriage." Although I knew they weren't really joking.

I'm glad to report we took second place in our division of 80-plus mixed (ages combined) and we were among the top eight teams overall. The experience was awesome with a killer course, beautiful camping spots each night, a cool relaxation zone to hang out, plenty of food, massage and the coolest, most extreme people you could ever meet. Every time I think back about our journey, I'm overcome by a sense of accomplishment.

So will I do it again? Ross and I have already signed up to compete in 2014. We have a first-place finish to achieve.

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