USD Magazine, Winter 2004

extreme conditions," Capel says. "But they don't realize how amazing it is to be out in the wild. It's so At mile 27, for example, Capel reached the top of Little Baldy Mountain.The sky was a piercing blue, the vista of mountains seemed endless, and Capel wondered how many runners would notice. At mile 52, she crossed a bridge over the river into a canyon so lush that even But the final few miles weren't pretty. At mile 95, Capel, who had shifted between fourth and frfth place, dropped to sixth, where she remained until she crossed the finish line. After so much exertion, she "When the race was done Iwas bummed,'' Capel recalls."I thought, 'This isn't how everyone said it beautiful.'' now she can't find words to describe the splendor. says it was a bit of letdown.

you're ready to do it all over:·

would feel.' I didn't have that sense

in 15th place among

of euphoria."

Capel started running marathons in 1999. In 2002, when the 26-mile races became ho-hum, she tried ultramarathons, which can span 50 miles. She ran 17 of those before she really kicked it into high gear and tackled theWestern States race, her first I00-miler and one of seven races that comprise the annual "1ontrail Ultra Cup competition. The race began at 5 a.m.,June 28, t the ski resort in SquawValley, Calif., nd, for Capel, finished 21 hours and .0 minutes later on the track at lacer High School in Auburn, Calif. long the way, she forged through inyons where temperatures soared I13degrees and waded through American River,where the 45- •gree water swelled to the 5-foot-9

the women.

The euphoria came three weeks

"Now Ifeel like I've accomplished everything for 2003:' says Capel, who plans to take time off to start a family. "I talked to other women who have kids and they say they've returned stronger and faster, so I Eventually, Capel plans to run the Hard Rock in Southern Colorado. Boasting extreme altitudes, moun- tains and snow, the race can take 48 hours and is heralded as the hardest "It's the ultimate challenge to make your body go when you're sleep deprived and when the trail is so steep all you can do is walk," Capel says. "But for me, that's the allure - to see if Ican do it.'' know I'll be back." 100-miler in the country.

later in the Vermont I00-mile

Endurance Run, Capel's final race in the Montrail Ultra Cup 2003 series. Her second-place finish boosted her cumulative point total, and she was named this year's Ultra Cup female champion,garnering bragging rights as the best female ultrarunner "I figured if I could do this,what else could I dor' Capel says. The answer came in November, when she traveled to Taiwan and competed with the U.S. women's ultramarathon team in a I00-kilome- ter - 62-mile - road race against women from 35 countries. The U.S. team took fourth place behind Italy, Germany and Japan, and Capel came in the country. But Capel didn't bask in the glory. She just set her sights higher.

mner's waist

- Krystn Shrieve

''People ask how Ican run for so

,any hours, especially in such


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