This is the one event where I feel the most at home. No matter what's going on in my life, this is the one event where I can keep my shit together and handle business.
This year I drove up to solo the night before the event to make sure I got a good night sleep. I would like to say I got a good night sleep the night before the event, but because of some issues I was having in my life, I didn't get much sleep at all... and I'll just leave it at that.
To be honest, I really wasn't sure how this race was going to go down.
The morning of the race started off good. I saw my friends Catra and John before the beginning of the race and got to talk to them before the race started.
My parents drove up the morning of the event and met me at the start line of the race. They've been at just about all the races I've ran, and have been to eighteen of the twenty 100 mile events I've ran. The only two 100 mile events they missed were both years that I ran the San Diego 100.
The race started off on not the best note. I accidentally didn't turn on my Garmin until about 1 min before the start of the race and this wasn't enough time for my watch to get the satellite signal when the race started. My watch picked up the GPS signal about 5 mins after the race started.
At the beginning of the race I was a little concerned about how I was going to mentally do during the race. At the first aid station I came up to (about mile 5) I saw that my friend Eric was there volunteering. This was a pleasant surprise, and since we ran by this aid station 8 times during the race, and I would get to see Eric each time. Knowing that I would see Eric at the aid station every time I came through gave me something to look forward to during the race.
Around mile 15 I started talking to a runner that I was making my way up a hill with. We started having the typical trail running conversations... "What races have you done... Have you done this race before... How long have you been running trails..."
After a mile of talking to my new trail friend, Leah told me that she was from Chicago and had recently moved to the Bay Area with her husband. Leah then told me that her husband was working at one of the aid stations all night.
At this point I remembered that my friend Eric was originally from Chicago. I asked Leah, "Is Eric your husband?" It turned out that I had been running with my friends wife.
I really enjoyed running with Leah. We had some good running conversations and we oddly enough ran at pretty much the exact same pace. This was nice because I didn't really want to run alone all day, but at the same time I didn't really want to talk all day. Sometimes I enjoy a good silence while I'm running and luckily for me Leah seemed to be the same. We would have a random conversation from time to time, and then we would run for a long periods of time in complete silence. It was awesome!!!
When we got to the mile 50 aid station my friend Stephen was there volunteering and had a Dr Pepper waiting for me. This is where I made a slight mistake during the race. Stephen walked up to me, with a Dr Pepper in his hand and offered it to me. For some stupid reason I had it in my head that I didn't want any caffeine until mile 65 so I passed on the Dr Pepper.
Leah and I left the mile 50 aid station and were on our way to finishing the second half of the run. At mile 55 I was still feeling good, but this feeling wasn't going to last too much longer. Around mile 58 I started feeling really tired. I was really wishing that I had taken that Dr Pepper. Luckily I had a caffeine pill in my bag and was able to take that to get my energy back up. After I got some caffeine in my system I was able to get rolling again.
Leah and I ran together up until mile 75. At mile 75 she took a break so that she could take a short nap. My friend Chris was waiting for me at mile 75 and was getting ready to pace me for the last 25 miles of the race. I also saw Stephen at mile 75 and got the Dr Pepper that I should have taken from his at mile 50.
Chris and I ran through the last 25 miles of the race together. Chris has come out to this race for the last 4 years to crew and run with me. I was looking forward to running with Chris all day. We had not seen each other in a while and I was looking forward to catching up with him.
I really wanted to finish the race in under 26 hours this year, but I just wasn't able to pull it off this year. I was really disappointed with this, but I did finish in 27 hours and 28 mins... and that was a course best for me.
I really love this race. I look forward to it every year, and can't wait to run it again next year. My goal is to get at least get 10 finishes at this event in a row. Hopefully in 2017 I'll get closer to my 26 hour goal at this race.
Until next time...