Friday 6/8 12:45, Allen and I set up tents on the side of a dirt road at the Al Bahr shriners camp at 6000 ft in the mountain. The camp is all brown, woodpeckers are everywhere and the pinecones are huge.
Friday 6/8 4:00- Race meeting in the main lodge- RD Scott Mills informs the crowd of 200 runners. I am again awed that so many people can have a singular goal and that goal of running 100 miles is psycho.
Friday 6/8 7:00 - Prerace dinner and hangout with Roch Horton, Luke Nelson, Jeff Browning, Krissy Moehl, then early to bed in the tent.
Sat. 6/9- 7:00 Start line standing next to Jeff, Luke and Tim Long. All look strong, all could contend. The day is bright and warm, we go.
Sat 6/9- 9:15- Jeff has taken the lead, I'm forth in a conga line with Fabrice and Tim, we jump over a snake stretched all the way across the trail.
Sat 6/9- 10:00- I pass Tim and Fabrice at mile 20. I don't see another runner until mile 79, only it is their mile 51 as they are coming as I am going. The wind picks up along the ridges.
Sat 6/9- 11:15- Enter the Nobel Canyon, it's beautiful but hot, downhill, hat dipping in stream crossings, keeping up on salt, water. Pine Creek aid station and someone has a mister on my neck and watermelon in front of me. I see Glenn Tachiyama I'm feeling good.
Sat 6/9- 12:20- Slow ascent on hot road, taking it easy, what happens here affects everything after. Climb to the ridge where the wind helps. Feels like being in front of a blow dryer. Allen walks me out of the aid station, it's good to see someone.
Sat 6/9 4:15, I'm in the middle of nowhere on sandy roads hoof printed from a horse race earlier, I can see forever as the trail bends around grassy hills. I see huge birds, emu? I get closer. Wild Turkey, they look taller than me. 59mile aid station and I'm losing my enthusiasm. They also have a blender, tequila and Margarita mix, after some serious thinking, I leave anyway.
Sat. 6/9 6:00 I find my pathetic drop bag at Paso Picacho aid station, I sit at a picnic bench and have a croissant, some coffee and a pity party. I feel cooked, I want to cry but need the hydration so I don't. I walk out and continue up Stonewall Peak.
Sat. 6/9 7:30- The deer see me, they run straight to where I am running. I see coyotes hiding in the grass, I cross sweetwater creek, hit the aid station, continue. It's cooler now. I'm feeling perky. The bunnies keep hopping out on the trail where earlier it had been lizards. I climb. Out of the sky floats a little yellow balloon, it lands not 10 feet from me as I pass a meadow 76 miles into a 100 mile jaunt. It gets dark.
Sat 6/9 9:00- Finally make mile 80 aid station where I get on my night gear and Allen Skytta joins me to pace me in the final 20 miles. Company is a great thing, even when we aren't talking it's still being part of a shared experience. The miles churn by relentlessly as the trail, with it's loose rocks and poor footing does a number on my feet.
Sun 6/10 12:20- Rat Hole aid station, 4 miles left to go, aid station worker says,"bad news is the guy in front of you has already finished, good news is you are 3 minutes under last years course record." We sprint out. 1/2 mile down the dark single track I spy something in the trail ahead, it's dark and short and running as fast as it's little legs will carry it. It's a skunk! We are trapped running behind it as it won't leave the trail and we sure won't pass it. Eventually the trail spits out onto a dirt road and we sprint by the little guy on his right without getting sprayed. Now we need to make up time and put the hammer down. We fly, we hit the campground and the finish line in 17:54! Second fastest time on the new course. 2nd place to Jeff Browning and a PR by 1:11.
Sun 6/10 4:00am- After calling home, shivering in the 41 degree night, having my tongue cramp, eating soup. Seeing Tim Long come in third, taking a cold shower, getting on every clean piece of clothing I had left. I finally hit the tent and slept for 3 hours.
Sun 6/10 6:30pm- arrived home to Seattle to the loving arms of my wife and kids.
|finish line photo SD100 by Glenn Tachiyama|