First, for the love of God if you are going to go anywhere early in the morning…
a) have 4, not three, but 4 alarm clocks in case you miss the first three.
b) have an awesome running partner that will call you when she is waiting outside her house wondering what happened to her ride
c) Do not have plans to PR if you get up late.
For some ungodly reason I missed the first three alarms, I woke up when my phone rang. Thank God I had my phone on and all I hear was the voice of Janet to realize that I should have been by her place at that moment. So I got up like a motherfucker and got dressed as fast as I could and got in my car and drove away. Now, you have to realize that I have a routine when I go to a race. Well, this time the routine went out the window. I forgot to go the bathroom, shower and make my bed (I do this all the time). I even forgot my drop off bag. Crap, oh well.
Janet was laughing hard when I got to her house, she got in the car and drove to the starting place. One thing that was good about this, there was not car line to the parking lot and the bathrooms were deserted. We checked in and we were ready to go for that little run we were talking about for a long time, a 100 K little run.
Janet and I were late, I never saw any of the runners, they were already in the trail. As we started to run, all of the family members and spectators were coming back to their cars. I have no idea how late we were, but oh well. The run starts in the beach and it picks up the trails pretty fast. We started slow, walking the inclines and jogging the flats and the downhills. I was happy to be there, I knew it was going to be a long day, but hey that is why we were there, right? It was going to be a long day, but we really did not know what we were against.
For the last few years, I was told, the weather has been benign for this particular race. This year, however, the Raining and Wind Gods were out in full force all day long. It was simply ridiculous. As I mentioned before, I forgot my drop off bag, so I did not have socks, shoes, jacket or anything except what I had on. As we started to make our way up the mountain I was getting cold and started to move a little faster. Janet decided to take it easy since she will have an awesome adventure in the next few days, so I sped ahead. This is the first time that we actually ran separated since we started to run together more than a year go.
As the day went by and the day and my legs grew tired and I slowed down a bit, I got colder and all of the sudden I was shivering. My teeth were shattering and my hands were cold, I could not even open a freaking cliff bar. It was ridiculous and painful. The temperature was cold and the wind was amazingly strong. The rain kept coming down and I was hungry as hell.
This year, according to many, has been one of the toughest. There were a lot of no-shows, and I don’t blame them. But not us, Janet and I were going to run it regardless of who show up; rain or shine we were going to do it. But I was definitely not prepared for what it came next. I heard people dropped because they got too cold to the point of getting hypothermia, and I thought I was going to be one of them. I kept checking my fingers to see if they turned blue or something. Especially in the way from Bolinas Ridge to the turnournd at Randall, the weather in this section got really bad and there was not hiding from it. You see, the Bolinas ridge section is a single track on the mountain. The wind was incredible and I saw a couple of runners being knocked out by the wind to the side of the mountain. I have never experience a run such as this, it was challenging beyond my wildest imagination.
I got the chance to see people in their way back and nobody made me smile more than Caitlin Smith. That girl is amazing and that smile never leaves her face. She is definitely a fucking rockstar. As I made it to the turnaround and started the long back, I saw Janet and Brian Harvey. Both were having a good day regardless of the conditions of the day, and all I could think was, I cannot wait to get to the finish line, change some clothes and get in my car. That was my motivation that kept me going. For a moment, it appeared that the weather was going to change for the better, but it was just a fluke, it got rainy and windy and cold again.
But what made this race fun is the company. Ultramarathoners are really cool people. I talked to Catra Corbett for a little while, Anil Rao and Brian Harvey among others. I also met Linda from Seattle. The distance was tough, the weather was tough, but it was so much fun. Loved it, it was a great day. And then my poor feet.. :)
At the end we did it.. It was a long day, but my GOD it was an amazing day. As I was getting to the end I could hear the commotion down below. I could not see anybody because the fog was thick, but I could hear people cheering. that kept me going and when I got to the finish line I just wanted to find out who was the person screaming and it turns out it was a volunteer using a megaphone. What a great idea... :)
Sometimes we think about what we are going through at this very moment in our lives. And yes, it might be tough; it might be cold and miserable. But if we stay the course and have a goal in mind the finish line is glorious. This reminds me of a really cool quote I heard once; “When quiting is no longer an option, you’re half way there” Which applies to most of us in most situations, not just racing. And the truth is, we are stronger than we think, when we think we cannot longer go, we actually can. So, what I learned in this race, I might not be able to stop the rain, or the wind or the cold, but they also are not going to stop me.