About 45 miles into the race, Honey Albrecht began to think about quitting.
“Most ultra runners would agree it’s probably about 70 percent mental and 30 percent physical,” said the Payson resident and manager at Rim Runners, located at 807 S. Beeline Highway in Payson.
“You have to do the training, of course. I was just at a stretch where my legs were just hurting really bad and that’s kind of early for that. So I was kind of having a pity party and I was going to stop at the next aid station. That was a low point for me.”
But she didn’t stop.
“I’ve never taken Advil in a 100-mile race because you’re dehydrated. But I took one and I was good to go.”
She managed to complete the final 55 miles in the Flagstaff to Grand Canyon Stagecoach Line 100-Mile on Sept. 21 and 22. She finished in a personal record 25 hours and 28 minutes. It’s the best time she’s had in 11 100-mile races.
It was almost an hour faster than any time she recorded in the 10 previous 100-mile races she’s finished.
“They give you 30 hours to complete it,” she said. “It was a PR for me at 60 years old by almost an hour.”
There are some 100-milers she didn’t complete. But she said the Advil and support from friends really helped her finish another ultra race.
She finished fourth among all women. She finished just 55 seconds behind the woman who placed third. She didn’t realize she was so close to third.
“I probably saw her at about mile 90,” she said. “There was a woman there who said she just wanted to get through the aid station and continue. I was looking at my time and had no idea I was that close. I was so ahead of my scheduled time that I sat down to eat. I planned on finishing at around 11 o’clock Sunday morning and I finished at 8:28 a.m.”
Rim Runners owner Margaret DeHesse, 63, ran with her for the final 20 miles.
“She pushed me pretty hard,” she said. “She kept me going good.”
For this race, competitors can have a pacer run with them for the final 46 miles. She had two friends do that.
Phil Carlson paced her for 26 miles starting after mile 54. Then DeHesse ran with her the final 20 miles.
Alicia Judy crewed for her after the 54-mile mark, meaning she drove ahead to meet her at aid stations and make sure she had what she needed to continue, including encouragement.
They set aid stations up approximately every 10 miles and some allow a crew or friends to meet you there to keep you going.
“She crewed for me through the night using Phil’s truck,” she said. “The aid station at mile 54 was really hard to get to.”
Albrecht has been running 100-mile races for about 20 years. She said she was probably 40 when she ran and completed her first one, the Western States in California.
She said ultra races give her a chance to experience nature.
“I only do trail (races),” she said. “How else are you going to see so much except by foot? We go to places you can’t even get to on horseback. It’s such a cool feeling running through the night. And everybody watches out for one another.”
She’s run the Big Horn 100 in Wyoming three times. She didn’t have a pacer or crew in two of those events.
“You’re running by yourself through the night in the forest and that gets a little scary,” she said.
It was her first 100-mile race since the Mogollon Monster 100 in September 2018. DeHesse paced her for 57 miles in that one.
So what’s next on the calendar for Albrecht?
“I don’t even know,” she said. “I’m just kind of savoring this one.”
A strong possibility, she said, is the challenging Zane Grey 100K (62 miles) along the Highline Trail next April.