The second year, 2008, was not good! I had stomach issues and ended up walking the last 15+ miles. I barely finished before darkness set in.
This year, since I have changed up my eating and (knock on wood) I haven't had any real stomach problems, I thought I could do well. I was secretly hoping to come in around 12 hours, possibly even less.
Early in the morning (and I mean early) Linda, Anita, Barb and I headed over to the Headlands. They day didn't start to well. I arrived late to pick up Anita and we were 15 minutes late to Linda's. On the drive over, I couldn't find my bib, my bag was totally discombobulated. It wasn't looking good! We arrived in plenty of time to park close and we headed to pick up our stuff. I checked on my phone and the weather forecast was pretty decent: 30% chance of rain in the am and 40% chance in the afternoon. Hopefully, the weather would hold out.
I saw Jeffrey and Tony in the parking lot. After our hugs, the first thing Tony said is, "what are you wearing?" Everyone was perplexed about the weather. Bring a rain jacket or not??? It was about 55 degrees at the start and beautiful. I decided to go with a light weight jacket and put my gore tex jacket in my drop bag. That turned out to be a smart move.
We walked on to the beach and at 5:40 we were off. The start is about a 1/2 mile across the sand to a bottle neck that heads up a small trail to Bunker road. I wanted to start in the back so I wouldn't go out to fast. We made it to the top and started our climb up Bunker road. I warmed up and soon took off the jacket and tied it around my waist.
The course was a little different this year due to some trails that were closed. As we left out of Muir beach aid station, it started to drizzle some. As we started climbing up Deer park road, it started to dump buckets of water. It was raining so hard, I had to take my glasses off because I couldn't see a thing!
I arrived into Pantoll aid station and headed straight for my drop bag. The bags were sitting out completely exposed and they were all wet! As I was digging through my bag, Steve Ansell came over to help. He was kind enough to refill my bottles while I dug around in my completely disorganized drop bag. I set my glasses on the bag next to me. After I was done, my nice warm, dry jacket on, I headed for the bathroom. I was in the bathroom for some time and I got to thinking, where are my glasses? I returned to the aid station. I was yelling for Steve hoping he had them. A volunteer came up and told me she had put them in the bag I had left them sitting on top of. Thankfully, it was Clare and Scott's! I couldn't wear the glasses anyway due to the rain but I still needed them. I put them in my pocket and headed out. 15 minutes wasted...
The bolinas ridge section is my favorite part of the course. It winds around for miles. This section was almost comical when you saw the rain coming down so hard and the wind blowing the rain sideways. At times it would blow you right off the trail. I had my hat pulled down and my hood cinched so tight on my jacket that it was awkward to look up. I did notice the flowers on the trail were beautiful!!
I hit Bolinas ridge aid station, ate some cookies and saw Carol Cuminale. She said some 60 people had dropped with hypothermia. I guess the weather at the start had left many people under prepared. The next section is an out and back to the turn around point at Randall aid station, which is mile 35.6. This is where you see the leaders on their way back. Eric Grossman was in the lead for the men and Anna Ortiz for the women. I got to see lots of friends on this section.
I got to the bottom, ate some and turned around. I started the long climb back to Bolinas aid station when I heard someone yell my name. I saw Anita, Barbara and Lindsay heading down to Randall. Anita was not a happy camper, if fact her exact words were, "I'm f*^%)@!% miserable." I talked with them a short bit and kept moving. I was worried they wouldn't make the cut off.
When I got to Bolinas ridge fire road, there were large sections of the fire road that had puddles extending all the way across. On the way out, I tried to run around the edges. This was annoying because it was super muddy and you really worked your ankles trying not to slip while still running. I decided on the way back, to just power through the middle of the puddles, screw trying to hit the edges. The very first puddle I came to, I bolted in. Shockingly, the puddle was about 3 feet deep. It hit the bottom of my shorts. I was afraid my shoe was going to get stuck in the mud and I wouldn't be able to reach in without my face going underwater. I had to laugh at this point. I got a mental picture of being able to do a cannonball in the middle of the puddle!!
I got back to Bolinas ridge and started moving. I passed about 8 people on this section. They probably were pretty annoyed with me because I had my head down (due to cinched hood) and would run right up their back side before I realized it. They would step off and let me pass while I'm sure they were cussing at me under their breath. The trail was VERY muddy and slippery at some sections.
I got to the tricky left turn and met up with some very nice sisters. One was from Oregon and one was from Washington. How fun would that be to run ultras with your sister? We chatted quite a bit and before long we were at highway one crossing. It was there that I ran into Scott.
The four of us headed out and did some chatting and running. By now, the rain had stopped and the fog had started moving in.
The sister from WA was an awesome uphill runner while the sister from OR was an awesome downhill runner. Together they made quite a team! We stayed together for sometime before everyone separated. We were all trying to find our mojo and push towards the finish. It had been a long day.
As you finish up on the Coastal trail, you could hear the cheers from the crowds as runners crossed the finish line but because of the fog, you couldn't see a thing. I knew I was close. Just as I headed down the stairs, I saw Heidi, Mike and Barb. I was surprised to see Barb. I learned that her, Anita, and Lindsay had dropped at the Randall aid station due to hypothermia.
I crossed the finish line in 13:02 - better than last year, but not my best! I was a little disappointed but considering the weather and the condition of the trails, it'll have to do!
I did finish feeling great! My stomach held out and my legs felt pretty fresh. I never really got cold during the day, just wet.
Here I am at the finish talking with Clare and Steve Ansell (who is giving us the low down).
Of course, Roos and Connor drove over to watch us finish. Here is Connor playing near the beach.
On Sunday night, I found a large deer tick in his ear. I'm sure it's from playing on the beach and around the bushes at Headlands. Gross!!