My friend Frankie woke up with swollen eyes from possible poison oak so she decided to pack it in and head home. That was a smart move.
My daughter's friend was having a birthday party at 2:00 so that was my time goal to finish by 1:00pm. Check in was at 7:30am with the run starting at 8:30. Well, I decided I didn't want to wait around. I arrived in Foresthill by 7:00, checked in by 7:10 and hit California Ave by 7:20. I knew I would need the extra time to try and catch the first shuttle at White Oak Flat back to Foresthill at noon.
Early morning on the trail
The first few miles are downhill and my legs did fine as it was gradual. Then the steep descent started and my quads started yelling "NO!" I must have looked pretty funny with my stiff-legged, painful running style. It was not pretty.
The funny thing about this "downhill" run to the river, is all the uphill. Steep uphill. Not real long sections but enough to be annoying. I didn't know what was worse, the demoralizing uphill or the quad busting downhills. Plus, I didn't know where the aid stations were so I had to conserve my water a bit. Another thing about this section is at points it seemed we would never reach the river and when we finally got close, the trail would climb up and away from the water. What the heck?
I know my attitude was a little bad just because I was tired from the day before. But then that's the point of doing these big back to back runs, learn to run and keep moving forward on tired legs and spirit. So that's what I did. I ran when I could, walked when I couldn't but I always moved down the trail, getting ever closer to the Rucky Chucky aid station.
The first aid station was at Cal 2 or Peachstone, manned by none other than the Twietmeyer family and other wonderful volunteers including John Medinger. Wow, I was surrounded by ultra legends! That's one thing I absolutely love about this sport, it doesn't matter if you're a mid-packer, front-runner, or running legend, we're all the same in our love for the sport of trail running.
I was about 10 miles into the run when the fast runners finally caught me. I'd try to pick out a wide spot in the trail to let them go by but sometimes there was just no safe place to move over so I'd pick up the pace trying to keep the faster runner from having to slow down too much until I could finally move over for them. They were always very nice and would usually say something encouraging as they went by.
After what seemed like forever, I finally arrived at Rucky Chucky. We had the option of running another 1/4 mi down to the river to check out the actual river crossing area but I was on a time limit so I grabbed some food and water and started the 3 mile climb to my ride. I also met up with Mark Winkelman (from yesterday's water bottle squirting deal) and he introduced me to Jenny Capel who is an incredible runner from Reno.
I mentioned yesterday that one thing I've discovered is I'm a very slow climber so I figured this hill would be a good chance to work on my speed walking skills. I was moving right along when another female runner came up beside me and struck up a conversation. She was incredibly nice and kind of soft spoken and I asked her name. She said Rena. Holy smokes, Rena Schumann. I see her results all the time in Ultrarunner magazine and I know she's fast and yet she took the time to walk and talk to me. She almost sounded apologetic as she announced after awhile that she was going to go ahead and try to run a bit.
After climbing away from the river that I had just spent the last 15 miles trying to reach, I got to the final aid station of the day and the bus was still there. Yeah, I'd made it within my time goal. I was impressed with the layout of food, bbq, drinks and lots of folks hanging out. However, I didn't have any time to spare. Greg Soderlund announced that the bus was leaving and the next one wouldn't be for another hour. So I grabbed a hot dog, 2 oreos, and 2 pieces of red licorice (I know, my mind wasn't functioning right) and hurried to the bus. I found myself sitting behind Rena and we were able to visit on the ride back to the elementary school. She stated that after the last couple days she was really confident in her ability in the upcoming WS100. I wish her well.
I worked Monday so didn't participate in the third day of running. I didn't do any running that day actually. I was impressed that I could just walk. Getting into and out of the fire engine was a feat in itself. Luckily we had a slow day. It's now been a few days and I've done a couple runs and bikram yoga and things are finally feeling better. But most important is my attitude: I'm excited about really training hard and seeing what I'm truly capable of.