I was surprised when Scott came running up from behind me. He is definitely someone that I usually never see during a race since he's so fast. We chatted a bit then he smoothly pulled away and I never saw him again. Sounds like he had a bit of an adventurous race, you can read about it here.
Enjoying an early morning buffet
The miles passed quickly along the bike path as I tried to stay on the dirt portion next to the pavement as much as possible. Quite a few people went by me and I wondered if they knew what the second half of the race was like. This is one race that if you burn too many matches in the first half, the second part will eat you up.
Cheerleading chickens along the path
Significant mile mark just before Beals Pt. (26.2)
There's a bit of uphill as you leave Negro Bar and head to Beals Pt. and I was surprised at how tired I started to feel. But I knew my family would be waiting for me at Beals so I just kept plugging along.
Coming into Beals Point
The girls making sure my chip and race number still match
Caitlyn, one of my biggest fans
I got some more S-caps from Pat, visited the restroom, got some food and headed back out. As I rounded the park I noticed that Pat and the girls had crossed the parking lot so I got to give my girls one last hug. Suddenly I found myself very emotional. I didn't want to continue running. What was the point? I was tired, I had just run a marathon, and I was with my family. But I knew I wouldn't stop because I wasn't at the finish line and I'm not a quitter. Plus I wanted to see what this year's finishers jacket looked like!
Hard to say good-bye
As I made my way to Granite Bay I finally started finding my rhythm. I was back on trails and I was feeling strong.
Beautiful trails in Granite Bay
Last year the section from Granite Bay to Rattlesnake Bar destroyed me. Singletrack with lots of ups and downs, twists and turns, I could never get comfortable. This year I ran the uphills strong and the downhills on the edge of control. I was having so much fun and passing lots of people which only made me feel stronger after getting passed so much at the beginning. I came into Rattlesnake in 8 hours which is 25 minutes faster than last year.
I hit the bottom of the last 3 mile climb in 9:20 and started doing the math. Could I break 10 hours? On this steep section I was averaging 13-15 min/mi so I knew it would be close. I had spent over 10 minutes back at Beals Point with my family and I started wishing I had about 5 of those minutes back. But I really wanted to try and break 10 so I put my head down and started repeating to myself: never give up, never give up.
The girls watching the finishers
Finally the finish line came into view and I saw Caitlyn run towards me from the side lines. For the first time she ran with me and we crossed the finish line together. It was a wonderful experience. The clock said 10:03:36 but suddenly those lost minutes at Beals didn't matter so much.
Gretchen and I sporting some nifty finishers jackets
Julie Fingar did a fabulous job putting on this race as Race Director. The volunteers were excellent, filling my hydration pack with ice water and getting me anything else I needed. We couldn't have asked for better weather and I have to applaud all the runners who chose this race to be their first ultra. I hope they all had as good a time as I did. I look forward to taking another 35 minutes off my PR next year! Results can be found here.