“I think we’re just a weird group of people,” Kysar-Carey said. “I think we do it because we like to challenge ourselves. There’s nothing like going out to push your body to do a 100-mile run.”
Kysar-Carey, 47, grew up in Powell, but moved westward after graduating from Powell High School and now lives in Folsom, Calif.
She said she is excited to run in Wyoming, where her family still resides.
“It’s great to come back out here and do a run where they’re all going to be out there and cheering for me,” she said.
The support should motivate Kysar-Carey during the approximately 30-hour run.
“It makes all the difference in the world,” she said.
Last year’s Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run in Northern California was Kysar-Carey’s first 100-mile run.
Kysar-Carey was one of only 170 runners to be chosen to participate in Western States out of a 4,000-person pool of applicants.
“I’ll be lucky to ever get into that again,” she said.
Prior to that race Kysar-Carey had been working her way up from five-mile runs to half-marathons, marathons and eventually 50-mile runs.
She even ran around the Grand Canyon “rim-to-rim-to-rim” in a day.
“My training really just consists of doing 50-mile runs every weekend,” she said, but said she tries to get to 65 miles a week prior to a 100-mile run.
Kysar-Carey expects the elevation of the Big Horns will make this weekend’s race more difficult than last year’s Western States.
To prepare herself for running at higher altitudes, Kysar-Carey did as much training as she could in Lake Tahoe, a two-hour drive from Folsom.
In the week leading up to a race, Kysar-Carey will stop running to ensure she has fresh legs for the race, though unlike many other runners, she doesn’t alter her diet.
“I just eat like I eat,” she said.
On the trail, runners rely on aid stations for food, water and even the occasional wardrobe change. Kysar-Carey said she typically likes to change shoes at least once while on the trail, depending on the terrain. But whatever is done, it’s usually done fast.
“You try not to spend more than two minutes at an aid station,” she said.
Runners equip themselves with headlamps for the night-portion of the run. Trails are sometimes marked with glow sticks but Kysar-Carey said she knows better than to rely on them as they often end up in the bellies of deer.
Nightfall can provide runners with an interesting setting, but also an uneasy feeling.
“The evening sections of the run — last year I didn’t move very fast,” Kysar-Carey said. “You’re just in a different state of mind. People talk about running while they’re sleeping.
“It can be dangerous. You hope you don’t get lost,” she said. “There’s no guarantee you’ll be on the right trail at the right time.”
Kysar-Carey said people often ask her why she chooses to participate in such strenuous events, a question she sometimes asks herself on the trail.
“At about mile 80 you’re kind of like ‘Why I am doing this? This is stupid. It’s not even fun,’ ” she said. “Then you finish and you go, ‘Oh my gosh that was the best experience ever, I can’t wait to do it again.’
“We like being out on the trails, we like the outdoors and if we can stay out there and run for hours and hours and have somebody support us with an aid station, that’s a lot of fun.”
Kysar-Carey is shooting for a time under 28 hours. Where she finishes compared to other runners is less important.
“It can be a competitive sport, and everyone’s competitive that does it, but really you’re competing against yourself,” she said.
The Big Horn Trail 100 will start at 11 a.m. Friday on Tongue River Canyon Road in Dayton.
The Big Horn Mountain WIld and Scenic Trail Run offers 30K, 50K and 50-mile runs that start Saturday morning.
The men’s and women’s records for the Big Horn Trail 100 were set last year. Mike Foote of Missoula, Mont., finished with a time of 18:36:42, and Darcy Africa of Boulder, Colo., finished in time of 22:27:26.