Adventure Awaits!

Hello Farmgirl Friends! Every now and then I seem to write a blog post completely unrelated to my “normal” Farmgirl life activities and show you a little bit of the crazy part of my life. So buckle up!

About a year ago he asked us if we would crew for him on another ultra trail run. We jumped right in and said yes, even though six years ago we said we’d never do that again! But time has a way of erasing exhaustion! So here we were again saying “of course we will”!

But, hold on…. the run was 250 miles. Yes, you read that right. TWO HUNDRED FIFTY MILES!!!! And Kayla and I would be driving the truck with camper on the back zig zagging all over northern Arizona with a two year old. Camping at night, crewing around the clock, working out all the logistics of getting to the aid stations, having everything organized and ready when he came in to those aid stations, getting there on time, making sure his nutrition was what it should be, taking care of any medical assistance he might need, honestly the list just went on and on.

He trained for a year and we fretted for a year! And before we could even blink the time was on us. So, now guess what my friends? You get to go on this ultra trail running journey with me!

But before we take off on the run, here are a few logistics:

  • The race is called Cocodona 250
  • The race is 250 miles long
  • The race starts on a Monday morning at 5:00 AM outside of Phoenix, AZ and ends Saturday morning in downtown Flagstaff, AZ
  • The overall race cut off time is 125 hours (there are cut off times for every aid station as well)
  • There are 26 aid stations throughout the 250 miles; 15 of them are accessible for the runner’s crew
  • This is a point to point run, no loops or repeats of trails
  • Total elevation gain for the run is 40,154 feet
  • Sleep is not a requirement, but seven of the aid stations have designated sleep areas
  • Pacers are allowed but not until mile 78
  • All runners are required to wear a spot tracker

So now that you know a few of the highlights, lets head to the start line!

Something to note here is that this blog post is written from MY point of view (the crew person) not my son (the runner’s) point of view! I’m pretty sure he would look at everything differently! But he’s not much to complain or go into great detail about obstacles, so I get to tell the story!

The day before the race we drove the 2 hours from Flagstaff to Black Canyon City (out in the middle of the desert) where the race would start the next morning. This happened to be one of those Arizona spring days where the wind was blowing dirt like you’ve never seen before (unless you’ve lived here!) and it was horrific. Logan completed all his check in details and we parked our camp chairs on the side of the camper where the wind wasn’t quite as bad. We cooked a little supper, got everything lined up for the morning and climbed into the camper for our first night of no sleep!

Day One, Monday

The glow at 4:30 AM of the start line was beautiful. The Arizona Saguaro Cactus are so gorgeous. Logan passed the start inspection checking all his gear to make sure he had the required items, and the assignment of the spot tracker and confirmation that it was working. He didn’t seem too stressed… mostly just ready to get started.

A few details of this first day. It would be a very long 37 miles of very rough country for him before we saw him again; likely about 15 hours. So it gave Kayla and I plenty of time to get to the first aid station. We had two vehicles… Kayla would be driving the truck with the camper on the back and I had her SUV. The purpose of this is that some of the aid stations are too rough to get into with a large rig and also we wanted a spare vehicle in case of an emergency. Eldon, my husband, would be joining us during the days starting day two. But for this first day we were completely on our own.

We arrived at the camp spot for the night at Bumblebee Ranch and had to wait for a pass to go to the first aid station, Crown Point. The roads from the camp ground to the mountain were almost a one vehicle width and parking in the little mining town was limited. So, they were giving passes when your runner was at a certain point on the trail.

We finally got our pass, left the truck behind and we were on our way for the VERY long drive to the aid station. We arrived and set up out little “camp” with all of Logan’s necessary items and we waited.

Crown King Saloon Aid, mile 37. It was wonderful being able to track him and when we knew he was close, we took off and met him coming down the trail. Little Eleanor was so excited to see her Daddy!!! Logan said he felt great, so he ate some supper from the aid station, rested his feet for a short bit, put on some warmer clothes and off he went for his first all nighter. We loaded up our supplies and headed off the mountain to the truck and camper, where we had another night of little sleep! (How many times in one night can you check a spot tracker??? WAY too many times.)

Day Two, Tuesday

Whiskey Row Aid, mile 79. Eldon joined us that morning in Prescott AZ. We walked a couple miles out of town to meet Logan and walked him into the aid station. He was exhausted but still strong.

A 10 minute power nap in the camper, some food at the aid station, a little foot care and we told him goodbye again.

Iron King Aid, mile 91. This was a good day with aid stations fairly close to each other. We got there quickly and I had time to fix a pot of homemade chicken and rice soup. So when Logan came in to the aid, he came right to camper where he had a good hot supper and he was out again! (Aid station food is actually very good, but he had specifically asked for my chicken and rice soup, so we went prepared!)

Fain Ranch Aid, mile 97. We saw him about midnight where he took a 90 minute power nap and we told him goodbye for another really long night.

You can imagine the stress that Kayla and Eldon and I had every night… tracking him incessantly, worrying terribly. In order to conserve battery power, Logan kept his phone turned off so that was stressful. And because at this point he had only slept a few hours total and had admitted to us that he was running along the trail in kind of a sleep state on a pitch dark and narrow trail in the middle of nowhere, we were super stressed. Kayla was up on her bed in the camper, I was on the couch bed and Eldon was at their house in Flagstaff… we were texting each other all night sharing his location etc.. Kayla and I never talked in the night as we didn’t want to wake Eleanor but we texted each other continually! So you can imagine our relief when Logan turned on his phone that second night and sent a picture to Kayla of the backs of several other runners. There was a small group that had joined forces through the night. What a relief for us and we were sound asleep in minutes after that!

Day Three, Wednesday

Jerome Aid, mile 126. We all met Logan on the road coming up the winding mountain into Jerome… exactly half way!!! He was starving, exhausted, and hurting but in good spirits! We sat in the shade in our lawn chairs while he took a power nap and Kayla worked on the blisters on his feet.

We told him goodbye and took our time loading up our gear and then we headed down the mountain for the next aid station. The running trail off the mountain was along the side of the road, so we actually got to see him a couple miles later and he was just happily running along with a big grin on his face. No words for how I felt at that moment.

Dead Horse Ranch Aid, mile 135. Eight miles later when we saw him, his feet were really giving him issues. Kayla doctored them for him and they both agreed that his shoes (his second pair) were done for and causing some bad hot spots. So she quickly picked up the phone and called a running store in Sedona and purchased his particular HOKA shoes for me to pick up before they closed.

So, here is a bit of info on pacers. Pacers are people that the runner selects and can use them after mile 79 to run along with the runner. Logan is one of those people that really enjoys running alone. He is comfortable in the quiet, the long miles, and never wants the stress of finding pacers, lining them up to make it to aid stations, etc… so he insisted he was running every mile of this run without a pacer. But Kayla was worried about the third night possibly being the hardest and she has a friend in Flagstaff that is a long distance runner as well as running coach. Kayla talked Logan into asking her if she would pace him and he finally agreed just a month or so before the run! And Ella was all in!

So… meet Ella! Her husband brought her to Dead Horse Ranch and she joined Logan on the run at this aid station. You cannot even imagine the feeling of relief for us knowing that he would have someone to keep him going through the next 28 miles and especially through the night.

We were all hesitant to say anything, even to each other… but all of us felt pretty confident at this point that Logan was going to make it to the finish. He was hours ahead of the cut off times at each aid station, his fueling and nutrition was going good, his feet were painful and blistered but nothing that wasn’t manageable, he was able to function on the daily 90 minute nap. I was starting to breathe a tiny bit easier; even though there was still over 100 miles to go and absolutely ANYTHING can happen.

I left the aid station before Logan and Ella took off and I drove to Sedona where I picked up Logan’s shoes. And then I met up with Kayla again at the Sedona Aid where we set up camp, ate some supper and went to bed!

Day Four, Thursday

Sedona Aid, mile 162. I think we thought we would really sleep, but unfortunately we were so wound up at this point that sleep didn’t happen AT ALL this night!!! I was going to be driving Ella home when they came into the aid station at breakfast time, but about 2:00 AM we realized from the tracker that they were making really good time and would likely be into the aid station about 4:30 AM. Finally at 3:30 I just got up and got dressed and walked the short distance from the camper to the aid station and sat down and watched the aid workers cooking a big pancake breakfast! At 4:00 I decided to take off down the trail to meet Logan and Ella and I think I only walked about 10 feet and there they were… jogging in with big grins on their faces. With Ella’s fresh feet and her push, Logan actually gained a few hours. We walked to the camper and Logan climbed in bed for another 90 minute power nap while Kayla gave him a massage and foot care (and his new shoes!). Ella and I jumped in the car and we were on the road for the hour drive to Flagstaff where I dropped her off at her house… I would be picking her up again in about 24 hours as she planned to pace Logan his last 40 miles.

Schnebly Hill Aid, mile 180. I met up with Kayla and Eldon and we had quite a number of hours before Logan came in so we relaxed in the pine trees, played with Eleanor and finally we took off down the trail (dirt road) where we met Logan a mile out. I love this picture of he and I… I was just so happy when we saw him trotting along the road with a big grin when he saw us. We were all just so happy to see him looking good!

Logan relaxed for a bit in the lawn chair, took a short snooze with Eleanor in his lap, and refused to take off his shoes as he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to get them back on his swollen feet. So at this point there wouldn’t be any more blister care.

He told us about a big water crossing on Oak Creek outside of Sedona and everyone was trudging through it and of course getting wet. He knew the last thing he wanted was wet feet… he actually said he thought finishing the last 75 miles in wet shoes might keep him from finishing. So he launched himself off the side of the creek bank and jumped from rock to rock and actually made it to the other side with dry feet! There was a race photographer there that caught it on camera (he found it on the photo site the next week)!

We walked him back down the trail and told him goodbye again. The aid stations were getting closer at this point and that felt really good.

Munds Park Aid, mile 190. Not much to say about this stop… Logan came in really strong. He ate a bit and was gone again. We loaded up one more time; hopefully just one more night on the trail!

Fort Tuthill Aid, mile 210. This aid station was at the county fairgrounds. A lot of memories here as we raised our kids showing their 4-H animals at this fair MANY years ago! (Yes, we lived in Page, AZ for 28 years!) So Kayla and I and Eleanor walked around a little bit; it’s just a beautiful fairgrounds in the pine trees. We tried to get to bed early as I would be leaving to pick up Ella at 4:00 AM. But for some reason the spot tracker wasn’t updating so we would go 45 minutes to an hour without any updates on where Logan was, and of course since it was the middle of the night, we were so stressed. Eldon was doing the same back at the house and so we were just a mess. Logan did finally turn on his phone and called Kayla to check in sometime around 2:00 in the morning. He admitted he’d been doing a lot of sleep walking and was having a hard time staying on the trail.

Day Five, Friday

I stepped out of the camper in the pitch dark at 3:30 AM to go pick up Ella, just as Logan walked up and scared the life out of me! Since we hadn’t been able to track him, I really had no idea what time he’d be getting in. I was so happy to see him, I cried. He said he was absolutely exhausted and since he had time to spare, he was going to try to sleep longer than 90 minutes.

I picked up Ella and we got back to the fairgrounds where we sat in the warm aid station building and visited with runners and pacers coming in and leaving. Kayla was able to give Logan a really good massage, and he slept a couple hours.

At 6:00 Logan was up and all refreshed, he ate some breakfast and after checking out with the Medic, he and Ella were on their way!

Kayla and I hurried out of the aid station as we were going HOME!!! The final aid station was just a few miles from their house, so we were so excited to get a hot shower, wash our hair and and maybe have time for a nap!

Walnut Canyon Aid, mile 228. As was our usual, we hiked down the trail to meet Logan. Ella came running along quite a bit before him and she was just joyfully running and giving him space! But for a minute our hearts kind of sunk when we saw her but not him! We parked ourselves under the trees, had a little picnic (we had picked up Chikfila for all of us!) and just relaxed. Well, as much as you can relax when you know you’re on the final 25 miles before the finish line!

Logan got a good rest on the ground while Kayla massaged his legs. Eleanor snuggled with her daddy and we just enjoyed an hour of relaxed time.

Finally he checked out of the aid station, we gave big hugs and said the words we’d been waiting to say for five days: “See you at the FINISH”!

Success!!!! Kayla and I and Eleanor finished our job of crewing! We were so proud of ourselves. My daughter in law is such a jewell… who else can spend 5 days (and nights) in close quarters of a tight camper dealing with all kinds of stress, lack of sleep, worrying about your husband and STILL be cheerful with a mother in law!!! We said we could do anything now! Ha! And Eleanor??? I seriously know of no other 2 year old that could do what we did; laughing and talking the whole time!

Ella texted Kayla this picture of Logan climbing to Mt Elden… the last long climb of the run!

Heritage Square, Flagstaff finish line, mile 250. After cleaning the camper and getting showers we headed to the finish line!!! Talk about excitement… it was a like a party going on! We expected Logan in about 10:30 PM but the tracker was showing a much earlier finish. We saw that when they got to the top of the mountain, they never stopped at the aid station there… Logan’s tracker just kept moving. We found out later that the aid station was amazing… a big warm fire (they were actually in some snow at the peak), a hot supper and comfortable chairs. Logan took one look and he knew that if he stopped he might not get up and finish the final 10 miles, so they grabbed some food and took off down the mountain!

Kayla, with Eleanor in the stroller, jogged a mile or so to meet him so she was able to run in to the finish with Logan and Ella! The last few minutes of the run were streamed live on the big screen and it was such an exciting finish watching them coming in before we could even see them. Eldon and I both felt pretty emotional.

Such a proud wife!

.And that is the end of the Cocodona 250 Adventure! I asked Logan what was the best part of the entire 250 miles? His answer couldn’t have been better: “It was knowing as I got close to every aid station that you guys would be meeting me on the trail”.

Six weeks later… it’s kind of a blur… and feels like it was just one really really long, never ending day! Smile!!

Until our gravel roads cross again… so long.


  1. Margaret King says:

    Dori, You made me feel like I was right there with you and felt all of your exhaustion. WOW! What a race. Congratulations to all of you.

  2. Judith says:

    Congrats to your son (and you and his wife).

    I’m telling my son about this; he thinks this kind of thing is fun. I think it is torture 🥺.

  3. Ladybug loves lilacs says:

    Congrats on the fantastic finish! No easy task whatsoever.
    Thank you for taking us along on the run.

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