At dinner last night:
Sorry about the last teaser post, but I’ve got so much to share and so many photos…needed to break it up. Plus, I’m behind with work stuff and house stuff and it’s all I had time for at the moment!! Oh, how I wish I could just blog the days away, and do little else.
Now that I’ve written this novel, you better read the whole damn thing. Go grab a beer, smoke, vibrator, whatever will keep you focused.
Before I get started on this long and drawn out journey, I will answer what you all want to know. Did I crap myself? No. In fact, not so much as a skid. My stomach behaved better than it ever has on any run. And let me tell you, this was actually the longest run I have ever been on in my life, including the marathons. It took us 4:35 to cross the finish line for a total of 20.85 miles. This is actually a pretty respectable time for this race! I will say I did not pee from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Can I get a shout out for DEHYDRATION!? But I am alive. And I don’t even hurt today!
So, when we left off, Dean and I had just crossed the start line. He told me a bit about the course and how the last four miles were pretty brutal since it would be scathingly hot by that time and it was a gradual climb to the finish. Brutal for him means deathly for me. He suggested conserving a bit for the first half, which was fine by me. It was a single track, straight up. People were walking parts of it. It wasn’t until we got on a wider straightaway that we found our stride. Dean kept telling me to lead the way and set the pace. Being very new to trail running, I knew this would be a long and challenging day for me.
Some of you with the eagle eye noticed I wasn't wearing trail running shoes. Yep, that’s right. I only found out about this race a couple of weeks ago. I’ve never been a trail runner or worn trail shoes. I bought some, but they didn't work out and I simply did not have time to break in any others. If I was going to be a rookie on the trail, I was going to do it up right in my Mizuno Inspire road shoes. Hell yeah!! I also didn’t have a fancy hydration pack, poles, compression socks, dirty girl gaiters or any of the other stuff the cool kids were wearing. I probably would have gotten picked last on the gym team that day. And beat up later.
The race format is that you run with a partner and you stay with that person the whole race. No running ahead if you’re feeling stronger. You’ve always got your partner nearby. That meant that for the whole race Dean had to slow to my sorry-ass pace. I know there were times when he really wanted to take off, but he just kept saying he was having a great time and enjoying not racing for once. I wonder if he rolled his eyes behind my back. Except he never was behind my back. He did comment once that it was harder to run “this way” (meaning slow – occasional walking up the steep parts) because he had a tough time settling into a cadence. I personally messed up Dean’s cadence. I might have to get that made into a bumper sticker.
After running uphill for what seemed like a very long time, I looked at my Garmin. 2.19 miles. Are you freaking kidding me? The trail was very sandy making it hard to get your footing. The sun was heating up and the route was exposed with very little shade. This part of the state is quite arid with cactus and sage along much the of the way. We climbed and climbed and climbed. Dean and I talked about all kinds of stuff – training, marathoning, jobs, Greece. There was a lot of time to just shoot the shit. Probably around mile five I forgot that he was DEAN and not just another person. The conversation drifted to our families, future goals, etc.
When I got really winded and tired he would start telling me stories about races he’d run. It was a good distraction. Dean’s stories are not like most people’s stories. If you talk about running the Hood to Coast Relay (197 miles) on a 10 person team, he talks about doing it solo. If you talk about running in heat and sand he talks about running hundreds of miles in the Sahara desert through knee deep sand and 125 degree temperatures over several days. And winning. His legs and overall muscles were also a distraction. I had a lot of time to watch these body parts on the trail since he was in front of me. He is one BIG ASS muscle.
The climb to the first check point at mile 7 was a bitch for me. Very steep. I simply had to walk parts of it. At this point I was mentally in the toilet. I was tired, hot and psyched out about having so far to go. It was freaking 92 degrees! But I didn’t come to this race to bitch and complain. I knew I could do it. I just had those moments you have in a race where you feel kind of hopeless and discouraged. I continued to take my electrolyte tabs, which I think saved me in the end.
At the top of the climb was the blessed check point. I poured water on my head. I drank GU Brew and took in some GU Chomps. I realized that Dean had not been drinking anything on the trail and very little at the aid station. I think he had a half a banana. I asked him about it. He said he doesn’t drink much when he runs because he doesn't feel the need for it and doesn't sweat a lot. WTF? Here I am sucking on my Camelbak, huffing and puffing, pouring sweat. This guy really is superhuman. Believe me when I tell you that. He is also one of the nicest people on the planet. He was kind, patient, easy on the eyes. Overall he exuded great energy. And muscles. Did I mention muscles?
The next few miles were a breeze. Mostly downhill, no sand. Then we started the up and downhills that would take us to checkpoint two at 14 miles. I had some tough moments along this part too, but once I hit the half way mark, I started to perk up. I love being just beyond the half way mark!! It is when you are closer to the finish than to the start. When you can taste the end.
The rest of the miles ticked by in a haze of conversation, gunning up hills, and sweat. At the last aid station I had some Coke (as in cola. I already did my cocaine that morning) – something I’ve never done, but with only 4 miles to go I didn’t give a shit. If I puked or crapped, so be it. A volunteer poured ice water down my back. Dean suggested stuffing ice into my sports bra like he’s seen some elite women do. Since I’m so elite, I did it too. If only. I have to give a shout out to the support along this race. The nicest and most helpful people. When you came into a check point they would ask what you needed and take over from there – filling your Camelbak, getting you e-caps, you name it. They were a real energy booster!
I only farted loudly once and it was when he was telling someone a story about the Big Sur Marathon. I don’t think anyone heard it.
Coming into the finish:
Call me fist pump Beth. I’m so cool:
Pointing at my boob:
The guy in the white sunglasses is running with Dean on Stage 2. Check out that bicep:
Sitting in the river post race. SO cold – better than an ice bath. I bet those guys’ balls were shriveled to nothing:
Told you it was hot. Gross. I came home and poured this into my salt shaker:
At the camp for the race. Tent city. I was glad to be going home to my bed:
My biggest fan. Couldn’t do any of this without him!
The kids getting ready to try the Gore-Tex wind and water proof gear in the rain/wind booth:
With the kids at the end. He was so sweet with them. Signed their shirts and books, told them he wanted to run with them if they ever came to San Francisco:
A HUGE thanks to Gore-Tex, Outside PR (Kelly and Devon - we love you!!) and Dean for giving me such a great day. And the schwag ain’t too bad either (Timex watch, gloves, jacket, tech shirt, coffee mug, shoe warmers/driers, handheld bottle, Salt Stick tabs, GU stuff, trail running book, running hat, gear bag):
- The studs who do all six days of this race are insane. Maybe I can be like them someday
- Dean is all that. ‘Nuf said.
- You can push through about anything. As they say, your body wants to give out long before your head. Let your mental strength take you through the tough times. Know that you will hit peaks and valleys. Don’t let the valleys make you stop or quit. The peak is just around the corner.
- Keep taking risks. Continue to do that that which makes you uncomfortable. Continue to live fully! Feel that fear and do it anyway.
- Run with someone much faster and stronger than you (I recommend Dean K). You will push yourself way harder and the sheer humiliation of being slow will keep your ass going.