Last Saturday began early. With a 4:15am wake up call, I was a bit worried at the sound of pouring rain. I knew the forecast in the mountains was not for rain, so I wasn't too worried. Then I was into the shower and making those final getting dressed preparations. I headed downstairs to make some toast and stretch a bit before crew member Sonya arrived at 5:20am. When Sonya arrived, we loaded up her gear into the back of the car and set out for Starbucks. I already had Michelle's order so we could make just one stop. We saw crew member 2, Rick pulling into Starbucks as we were pulling out. He was to pick up my pacer, Rob (who would also require a stop at Starbucks of course!), and then head up to Easton. We got to Crew Chief Michelle's at about 5:50am and loaded everything up into the backseat. We decided to wait until we were in dry Easton before trying to get everything sorted out and into the box on top of the car.
We arrived in Easton at about 7:15am after pouring rain at least half of the drive up. I decided to drive as my nerves were getting the best of me and I felt I needed something to do or I would go crazy. Once we arrived we tried to eat some of the awesome breakfast the volunteer firefighters had made for the runners and crews. Huckleberry pancakes, fruit, eggs, ham, sausage...the works. I couldn't eat much. We went back to the car and got all the stuff organized and I started to get my feet ready to go. I started with the Anti-Monkey-Butt Powder on my feet to help with heat rash, then lubed up the toes and heels with Body Glide and put my injini's and ankle braces on. I had to adjust my left brace a few times before it felt just right. Then I checked in with Rob who needed a pacer bib and I picked up my #12 bib and goodie bag. Lots of runners and crews were arriving now and I got a chance to talk with lots of people. Soon it was time for the race briefing and I was really beginning to feel nervous! Finally we were set free to use the porta-potties and get the final gear on and line up to start. I got my pack on and my water-bottle with orange-ginger Nuun ready to go and hit the bathroom line. I was feeling goo. 10 minutes later I went to the potties again! Then it was time to toe the line. With literally 20 seconds before the start I realized I didn't have my two gel flasks and wonderful crew Chief Michelle went flying into action and got the gels to me as I was jogging at the start!
I quickly caught up to Karen Wiggins who I would be with for about the first 25 miles. It was great to have company. We we at the back of the pack and taking it nice and easy which was fine with both of us. We came into the first water stop at Goat Peak at 10:50am and headed out to Cole Butte. We were thinking we were getting away with an easy first climb right about the time the climb really began! It was too bad though as our legs were fresh. I am not sure what times we came into Cole Butte or Blowout Mountain, but they were within the range I had on my expectation and notes sheet. I was very glad to hit the Pacific Crest Trail as it seemed to be well groomed and very easy to run on and feel we picked up time on this section. We came into Tacoma Pass and I got to see my crew for the first time. It was great. They gave me a new bottle with Sustained Energy and I ate some watermelon. I need to thank Jon Yoon also for fixing my watch so the timer was rolling at 45 minute intervals. I had been eating gel or food every 30 minutes but felt it was making me a bit nauseous along with my nervous tummy already. It proved a good move. I think I made some good time on the next section and even passed several people. I enjoyed being greeted by a high school boys cross country team at Blowout Mountain and appreciated the help the coach gave me about getting real food into my body as I was feeling a bit low at this point. I was glad to see it was only 3 miles to Stampede, but it turns out it is really 3.9. I thought why is it taking me so long to run 3 miles (as I was running the whole time)? Well, because it was just about 4 miles!
Coming into Stampede Pass I felt great, but really wanted company. Karen had left me earlier, eager to get to her husband and change her shoes at Stampede. I wanted my pacer and to have someone to talk to! I sat down too quickly here and got light headed and felt a bit ill. I kept asking for my lights. My crew took care of me, getting me solid food to take with me , a new bladder and bottle and put a jacket on me. They were worried about me. I assured them I just needed to go and get moving. I really did feel better as soon as I was moving again. They told me they would wait 15 minutes at the aid station in case I needed to come back. I was good. I ate the sandwich piece they gave me and a Snickers bite size bar and felt good again. I decided to listen to my Ipod and run as much as I could before it got dark. I knew there were some people behind me and as soon as it was really dark I was glad to have some company besides the music. for 5 miles out of 7 between stations I was alone and the last two I spent with a man named Mark. I found that as soon as it was really dark, the trail also became very overgrown and big chunky loose rocks took over the trail. It became hard to run and have good footing, so I was reduced to more walking here which I didn't really want to do. I was surprised to find my crew at Meadow Mountain as I forgot it was a crew point. This perked me up too as I knew I would find Rob at the next aid station. I was faster than I thought, but I didn't like what time it was. Too close to the end of my time range. Mark and I had to walk most of the next section, as it had lots of climbing at the start and steep, chunky rock descents. Rob and another guy came out to meet us from Olallie. This helped pick up the pace into the aid station which was good. I needed to have a blister taken care of here on my heel of my right foot. Michelle and Sonya got started and then thee aid station crew kinda took over. Scott examined the blister and brought over a big knife, wiped it with an alcohol pad and began to pop and scrape my blister. I distracted myself by drinking an apple juice box and having Sonya get my blister band aids out of my pack. After deliberating about what was best, vaseline or the band aids, I decided I wanted the blister band aid and kiniesio tape covering the band aid. Scott didn't think it would stay but it did! With perogie in hand and Rob in the lead we were off to discover the new rerouted section into Hyak...........to be continued!