July 15th I traveled to California with my family (Trey, Xian and Gage) for an adventure in California. Our first stop would be San Francisco..... then the next morning we would head over to Mill Valley where we'd stay the next two nights as it was close to Rodeo Beach in the Golden Gate Recreation Area where my 50 mile trail race would be on Saturday.
(Me standing at the race start)
The night before the race we had checked into our room, gone over to check out the race start and then found some Italian food in Mill Valley to eat. The Morning of the race we all got up and headed over to the race start where I would pick my packet up and try to wrap my mind around what I was about to do.
It was cool and somewhat foggy when the race began and seemed to stay this way for most of the day. My arm warmers weren't rolled down much during the race... as you can imagine.
Miles 1-5 seemed to be pretty brutal right out of the gate. The first hill we climbed took me over 25 minutes! The first climb was then preceded by some single track and a lengthy descent near a horse track and stables.
(Just some of the scenery from the trail)
The next portion gave a break of climbing for a bit, but it wasn't long before we were faced with yet another LONG climb followed by a nice descent. Then came a segment that was a mother of a climb both going out and coming back (especially back). These climbs are nothing like what we have in Tennessee... they are way long and every single time are followed by down, down, down. Not too much technicality... just super long and wear on you after a while. Near the end of the first 25 miles I had convinced myself that I just simply couldn't finish the last 25 miles. During this time I met a gal named Karen Hanke who said "oh... no... you can't quit... you can do this". That is when I volunteered her to run with me the last 25 as she wasn't exactly feeling it today either. Misery does love company. Karen rounded up her friend Henry Hobbs at the turn around and from there we would all 3 finish this race up together.
The last 25 miles were a bit slower... just as myself, Karen and Henry thought they would be. We power walked and slow jogged the uphills and tried to run most of the downhills and flats.
(Karen and Henry trucking up the hill)
Both Karen and Henry went up those hills like it was nothing. I actually had to work to keep them close. Turns out my specialty in this particular race was the downhills and technical areas. Having the company of my new friends was just what I needed to make it through this grueling 50 miles. It is crazy how conversation can take your mind off of pain! Once we neared closer to the end I started to perk up. We all crossed the finish line together!
(The 3 amigos.. couldn't have done it without them!)
What an amazing day this turned out to be after all! To top off this great day... my friend Harry Williamson (former Chattanoogan now living in Santa Rosa) was waiting at the finish line with Trey and the boys! If you are looking for a challenging race on the Pacific Coast to do.... check this one out! http://www.pctrailruns.com/event.aspx?dtid=5654
I hope to keep in touch with Karen and Henry and hope that we will do another trail race together in the near future... what fun people they are!
(catching up with Harry after the 50 at dinner )