How do I begin? This was only my second 100. I knew it was an easier course than States but it is still 100 miles!!! You just can't look past that. You have to respect the distance no matter how hard the course.
Arivied in Sacramento via plane on Thursday. Time to relax I figure. Went to the race briefing on Friday. Sure enough, there has been problems of people getting lost in the past because of lack of course markings and/or vandalism on the course. This I knew going into the race. So, the plan was to try to stay focused during the race. Could I do this in a 100? We will see...
Started at 6am in the dark with the a headlamp. Thank you Kyly for suggesting this. Started out too "Hot" for the 20-30 miles trying to hook up with runners that have ran this race in the past. Two provided valueable information on the trouble spots. That was a great help. But getting after it early would take it's toll.
At mile 30 or so I noticed that my legs were completely tired! Plus, I was having mechanical issues with my ankle and a toe. Took care of the blister, a first for me. I always get blisters but I don't give a crap normally. But this one was as big as a little toe. And the blister was on the little toe!!! The ankle... Well, I twisted it at Waldo and it has never healed completely. The shoe was bumping the peroneus longus and peroneus brevis tendons on the lateral malleolus. I asked the aid station person at mile 27 if they had a sharp knife or sciccors to cut my shoe but they didn't have anything sharp enough. I managed to loosen my shoe and adjust it so it didn't bump the tendon anymore. That was a great help.
But shortly after the mechanical issues I was having other issues. My back was hurting. Really, quite painful actually. I took 1000mg of tylenol and 600mg of ibuprofen that I carry always. I think that helped a bit.
Moving along... Things got a little better. I was eating my beans and Pedisure at desegnated aid stations. I was thankful for the calories. I doused myself a few times as the tempurature was in the low 90's at times. I was thankful for the ice at the aid stations, I took advantage of that. I soaked in streams for 2-4 minutes twice. That helped to cool the core.
From mile 30-60 I had an extreme low point. My back was hurting so much that I honestly didn't think I could finish. But another dose of tylenol and ibuprofen would help even more. At about mile 60 I noticed that I was starting to run better and I was encouraged. Then I thought, "I think I can finish this thing."
At that point I desided to put the hammer down and get after it. Afterall, there was a group only 15 minutes in back of me that has been there for 20+ miles. It was time to gap them. I didn't care that I had been lost for 20 minutes earlier in the race. That was behind me. I concentrate on eating and drinking. More beans and Pediasure helps again. I am running well and starting to enjoy the race more.
I hit the turn around on the second out and back and start to love it. They have a vanilla shake for me. How awesome is that? Plus, more calories!!! I start to jam the last 16.5 miles back to the finish. I see the group that has been behind me early on. I have gapped them to 30 minutes now. Good. Still have to stay focused.
I see Kyly shortly after heading out. I think she is in the lead for women. I don't say anything because it is hard to tell with pacers and runners in the dark. She was having a difficult day with legs hurting. I tell her that my legs have felt tired all day. I want to talk longer but I have to tell her that there is a group on my tail. She tells me to get going. I tell her to take care of herself and to see her at the finish.
I see Scott Cheers and tell him he is going to finish his first 100! (he is from Coos Bay, Oregon on the coast.)(Scott in red shirt.) 26:26:23 for 19th and 6th in his age group.
I see Olga and George (her pacer) she looks good. She offers encouraging words. I see Catra and Kathy D'Onofrio and they say I am in 5th. I tell them that I am in 6th actually. They say I am running strong. The aid station people say I look great and look better than anybody that has came through. Either they are good liars or things are going well I figure. (Olga and George in picture.)
Things were going well. I just had to stay focused on trail markings, (or lack there of), I waist at least 10 minutes those last 16.5 miles trying to find the trail markings. I just try to run everything from there on out.
I get to a road section that crosses the river. I know that I would be able to see headlamps behind me if the group of three are close. I run stealth accross the bridge and up the hill. It took 20 minutes to do this section. I never see headlamps behind me when I crest the hill. Good. Things are still going well. I turn my headlamp and waist lamp back on.
I run hard the last 3.1 miles. As I come off trail and run accross the last leavy and run stealth again. I look back and I don't see any lights. I make the last turn towards the school still running hard. I turn the lights back on and watch the trail closely. I am glad, nobody has passed me the last 40 miles.
I finish in 22:33:33. Not the time I wanted but am surprised to finish in 6th. AND I DIDN'T GET CHICKED! That will never happen again. But it is nice one time. Kyly finished in 25:44:35 in 15th overall and third women. Both of us were second in our age group. We brought home tons of swag.
We both didn't have great races but we both battled through difficult hurdles. It was nice to finish when you have to persevere.
Now it is time for a massage. I figure I deserve it.