OHLONE SOLO 100 MILE TRAIL RUN.People often ask why do you run so far especially if it's not an official race. I say to them, I do it for the challenge and to feel alive.
I started Saturday at 4:20am I was going to start at 4:30am but got there early.
I had about 3 hours sleep the night before.
Andy flew up from SoCal and his flight was delayed ,and we went for dinner, and I still had to decide what to wear when I got home.
It was really warm at the start, no need for a jacket. I ask Andy if he wanted to pace me up to the Horse Heaven junction, he agreed. I felt really good and we talked all the way to the junction. We said goodbye and Andy gave me a little gift it was a little key- chain of a cute doll and it said "Superstar". I loved it. It would be my new good-luck charm. I hooked it on the front of my pack. I knew if I hit low points along my journey, I would look at it and it would make me smile.
Andy's last words to me were to drink, and eat ,and take my endurolytes. My plan was to take 1 cap and eat 3 clif bloks every hour. That's what Andy does and he's fast so I thought why not try it ;)
I don't eat much in a race because I'm not usually hungry . I knew it would be hot so I didn't want to fall apart so I would try his advice.
I made it to the top of Mission Peak in 78 min. It was the most beautiful sunrise. I took my first endurolyte and ate 3 bloks and took off into Sunol. I got into Sunol around 2:15 from the start. I went to my resupply which I dropped and stored next to the EPRP rangers office. Ranger Neil drove in as I was getting my water , ice and food.
I gave him a hug ,he wished me luck, and off I went bopping along the trail listing to my MP3. I would not have any supplies again until 31 miles where I would meet my crew in Del Valle.
I took off towards Rose peak the goal get there in under 5:45. I got there at 5:40. I ran out off water ,maybe a mile before the summit ,but only had to go another mile to Maggies where I would get water. I filled up and took off to Del Valle. I called Andy from the summit to let him know I would be there between 12:30-1:30.
I arrived in De Valle 8:35 into my run. The plan was between 8-9 hours. I stayed to regroup eat a popsicle which Jerry brought for me at my request. Mike Palmer would pace me from here to Sunol, where Andy would be waiting to take over pacing. Mike was there to pace me and help mark that section of the Ohlone 50k course.
It was hot out there and I knew the climb out of Del Valle would be tough. I said good-bye and me and Mike took off. I told Andy and we Should be to Sunol at 7:30pm but I would call from Rose Peak. I felt like I was going to die climbing out. It was hot but I knew it would start cooling down. I looked at my watch at one point and it said 104 for the weather. I just hiked all the uphills as best I could. I had to stop and sit many times alone the way. We arrived at the aid station that was 5.50 from the finish of the 50k race, they had dropped the supplies off, they always do it the day before, and most of the volunteers hike in Sunday morning or camp out.
I went through the supplies to get ice and water and found some tea. I really need that it tasted great. We headed out to Maggies where I knew I would see the volunteers who were camped out. My friend Jurek was already there. I had seen him with the rangers dropping off supplies earlier that day.
I was slow and the heat was taking it's toll. I just kept focused and looked at my little"SuperStar" doll. We made it to Maggies and there must of been 8 volunteers who were going to camp out that night. They gave me ice and some chips and sent me on my way.
I called Andy from Rose and said we would be there at 8:30. We took off I was starting to feel better because I knew all those big climbs were finished for now.
It was getting late I asked Mike to run ahead since the park closed at 9pm and didn't want him to get stuck inside the gate. It was no big deal because they actually lock the gate at 9:15.
I was only 5 min. behind Mike. I showed up at 8:55.
Andy took pacing duty from here. I was super happy to have him out there with me. The plan do a 2.5 mile out and back along the Little Yosemite trail than head 11 miles out over Mission peak to the trailhead than run 1 mile to Jerry,s house where I had aid. Head back to the start where I would start my watch for the last 50k, which is the time they put as my 50k result for the race.
During the 2.5 mile out I was falling apart, poor Andy had to deal with all my emotions. I was crying one minute laughing the next. Earlier in the day, at mile 43 I felt a bladder infection coming on. I was able to keep it under control. But it was getting worse again. I just had to make sure to drink a ton. And to make sure and use the cranberry juice I had waiting at Jerry's. I stopped and had to lay down at mile 55. Andy also massaged my neck & shoulders. I regrouped and we headed back to the aid in Sunol. We got what we would need for the next 11 miles and headed out into the night. I was getting sleepy so took a nodoz at 11:30. I was excited to have Andy out on my trail that I talk so much about. He was excited to pace me. We have run a few Ultras together now and have seen each other at hundred milers through the years. But never has he been around me to see how I am during a hundred miler. I will say I only had 1 mini melt down and that was because I was mad that I was so slow in the night.
We got to the top of Mission Peak and looked out to all the city lights. The weather was warm still no need for a jacket. During the whole run I put my jacket on two times for maybe a few minutes.
The plan was to be to Jerry's by 3:30 we got there at I think 3:10. I heated up some Miso soup and we headed out.
We got back to the parking lot and I started my watch at 3:40. We saw one of the usually hikers Doug and his dog Joe. He always hikes in the wee hours of the morning. We hiked and talked a little bit with him.
Andy and I enjoyed bonding out there. We really had fun.
We got to see the sunrise which was awesome. Heading back to Sunol we saw Phil Stark who was running 100k out there. I had seen him the day before. He had a friend pacing him. We wished each other well and off we went.
We arrived in Sunol sometime after 6:30. We got our supplies and said hello to the people who were setting up the aid station for the race. I knew it would be tough the rest of the way ,the climb to Rose, the climb out of Satans pit but I knew I would get there. My bladder infection was getting worse and there is nothing to do about it but drink. I was dry heaving coming into Sunol so I took a pill I had for sour stomach it worked. My feet were really sore. But knew I had to do what Andy said just put one foot in front of the other. He also said I shouldn't worry about my finishing time that it's all about the journey.
There were many times climbing out of Del Valle I want to quit but keeping positive turned it around.
When I was feeling sick at mile 79 I just wished I could quit but I knew I was just having a low point.
I was happy to reach Rose Peak but at this point the bladder infection was kicking in more. I had to keep stopping to pee. My feet were so trashed no blisters just sore. I was wearing shoes that I have never tested during 100 miles. I won't wear them that far again.
When we were heading to Rose the first runner passed us it was Jean he had won it last year and had a huge lead. We exchanged greetings and off he went. He went on to win.
I was now very encouraged to see all the runners passing me. I saw my friend Will who looked super strong and finished 7th. Most runners knew what I was doing and offered words of encouragement and commented many times that I was crazy.
The climb going down Satan's pit was painful my feet hurt so bad and my bladder hated it too. We stopped at the bottom to prepare for the climb out. I soaked my bandana and wet my legs down. I swear keeping your legs wet keeps your body cool. Many times on the course I wet my legs down with my water bottle. So many runners were having problems with the heat. Most of us struggled at some point out there. Having Andy out there all those hours was a blessing without him I don't think I would of wanted to keep going.
He is truly an Angel to have put up with me for so many hours.
I looked at my watch at the aid station that is 2 miles from the finish. I wanted to finish in 34 but that went out the window hours ago. I thought it would take me over 36 hours. But looking at my watch and doing some basic math in my head I thought I'm going to push to break 36. I always have given myself a little goal when running this solo that I finish in under 36 hours because that's my cut off.
I started shuffling faster and we made it to the finish in 35:50 WOO HOO!!! I was super happy. This was my 5th Ohlone 100 mile run with the race and my 8th Ohlone finish.
Congrats. to all the 50k finishers.
I want to thank Andy for being the best boyfriend ever and keeping me positive and motivated all those miles and hours. Oh and awesome job to Andy for running 53 miles out on the Ohlone. Thanks Jerry for the popsicle and helping with taking Andy back to Fremont and letting us use your house as mile 67 aid. And Mike who paced me 20 miles and than ran the 50k race the next day.
I will be back to do it again next year. Really my secret goal is to someday have this as an official 100 mile race ;)
click for pictures Andy took while on the trail.
Thank you to RD's Rob & Larry ,and all the volunteers you guys were all so helpful and happy to help.