Ooooooooooooweeee! That was one kick-ass run! I mean so literally and figuratively!
I picked up Travis on the corner of Ashby and College...Upon seeing him, he matched the profile of an ultrarunner to a T. A completely sweet natured guy, a transplant from Minnesota...We chatted easily and were excited about the day.
The weather was deceiving with it's low hanging fog. Condensation drippped from the trees the higher we climbed Skyline in the Element.
Know where your race is.
I thought I knew where we were going, however upon arriving in the Redwood lot, it was apparent that we were in the wrong entrance. A few inquiries later, we were back on Skyline headed toward the south entrance.
Once parked and registered Travis and I parted ways, he was doing the 50K and I the 20K. I found Karen, a gal I met and talked a lot with at Pacifica and we talked a bit as the herd took off. I was a little rushed as evidenced by my mismatched socks. I meant to switch into thicker ones and I did.... but only halfway....I grew uncomfortably aware of this around 2 hours into the race.
Both Karen and her friend Dick are veteran trail hounds and they could tell I was all amped up and cautioned me to settle down.... I tried to but I was all jiggy still from getting the entrance wrong and trying to register and change into the right socks and shoes ....while the race director was already sounding off the start!
Wendell and Sarah, the event directors, held up to there reputation for hills and almost immediately there was a ridiculous ascent. I tried running,...slowly...Karen chuckled ...saying "I'm walking faster than you can run...take it easy! So, for the first time ever in a race I walked.
I knew this was the right thing to do but I really didn't pace myself well in the beginning, I think I pushed too hard on the flats initially to make up for the walking.....That didn't last too long though.
I really mixed things up on this run. I would go really slow and easy on the flats and then push on the hills...That worked for awhile...A good while actually...It seemed that I recovered quicker on the flats vs the other way around......Weird. The fog gave way to the sun not long into the run, about 45 mins into it I was really glad that I had frozen one of my water bottles. I GU'ed at this point and was for the most part alone.
The variety of terrain was incredible. It had it all, steep up and downs, single tracks, fire trails, and poison oak galore. Fortunately they were plenty of shaded areas to combat the heat out in the open. I got off track a couple times, and was grateful for the shout outs of my fellow runners.
Run More, Talk Less
I was feeling really good for the first 2 hours....Legs and breathing were all good. I'm not normally so social during races but today, I talked....A lot...This would prove to be my demise in the end. I met up with a couple of other gals ....Actually they caught up with me and got me back on track, hence helping me avoid a nasty climb back up hill! I kept up with them for awhile ( the adage "run your own race" completely forgotten at this point!)....They were HAULING ASS I tell yah....And at the same time saying "we're just taking it easy, feel free to go around anytime".....Hew ...Needless to say I wasn't in any hurry to get in front of them!
We held close for a good ways on the single track and chatted a bit about other PCT races.....These women were so fast....And they weren't even giving it there all....they still had another 30K to go!! My turn up front didn't last long. Before much longer I got out of the way and poof! They were gone.
About 2 hours and 15 minutes things started to fall apart. I was really tired! My right leg was achey and I walked some more.
Each attempt to run felt ridiculous. A woman I had passed awhile back caught up with me while I was walking...Guh!!! No biggie...I said to myself, I admitted to going out too fast and she said "yeah, that's easy to do...but it's so beautiful!" I didn't say anything back to her...she was right, it was beautiful...but for a few minutes I remained in my head about the need to walk....lame, dumb, blah, blah.
By this point I could here the chatter at the finish line even though I couldn't see it....Alas...an end to this race! I tried in vain to pick up the pace and settled for a fast shuffle. I hoped that I didn't look as tired as I felt! T was waiting for me at the finish line, with camera in hand, so we'll see soon enough.
What an amazing event. It KICKED MY ASS and I can say without a moments hesitation, this girl left it all out there on the trail! Despite how tired I was and how badly I wanted it to be over......I can't wait to do it again!!
Forget the Numbers
Suffice it to say I didn't come anywhere near my "super secrete" time(2:00), nor my "yeah right" time(2:15), not even my "that's more like it"
time(2:30) close though. I finished in 2:38
I discovered some wonderful trails today and met a few cool folks. Even though talking so much cost me precious energy as did going out too hard in the beginning. I feel like I really did something today!