I knew going in that it was going to be a long day but since I have done numerous half Ironmans and a full Ironman suffering for hours on end is something that I am well accustomed to. The first 16 miles were relatively uneventful. I started off easy as planned and just ticked the miles away one by one. I was lucky to be able to spend most of first 8 miles – the Darrington Loop – running behind a fellow Folsom Bike athlete and friend Karyn Hoffman. Definitely helped make the time go by faster (and more fun)!
About two hours in things were looking solid and I felt decent until – BAM! I face planted it on the ground. And just like that there went goal #1 – stay upright! Shortly after this fall was the next aid station which so happened to also be the relay exchange. As soon as I crested the hill I spotted teammate and friend, Erin Wachter who quickly became Nurse Erin. She nicely cleaned my face up a bit and shared a few laughs with me before sending me back on my way. From here to mile 20 I plugged along but with definitely with less spring in my step. By mile 20 even less pep and by mile 23 no pep – the suffering increased 10-fold! Although I never really entertained the thought of dropping out I did throw occasional pity party for myself, especially across the long, flat levy.
Eventually the levy ended and I reached Folsom Crossing and trudged over what I used to think was a small climb. Upon reaching the top I quickly spotted a runner down the hill which helped me regain some focus especially since I had been running solo for a good hour or more. I reached the bottom of the hill just as I caught up to the runner who turned out to be Scott Williams (Karyn Hoffman’s partner in crime). We arrived at the aid station about the same time but I left slightly before. It was the last aid station and 2.3 miles to the finish. I want to take a moment to point out that this was the longest 2.3 miles of my life! I ran (hobbled) down the bike trail wondering if someone had lengthened the bike trail over the course of the night.
I finally made it down the last hill and with about a mile was mentally done. How does one run 30 miles and fall apart with one mile to go?! I don’t know but ended up lucking out. Scott was right behind me and started shouting at me. This was a huge help at just the right time! We ran almost all the way to the finish together but he had just a bit more to give than I did and pulled away with ¼ mile to go. I crossed the line exhausted, happy and proud!
Visit From the Editor at Freeplay Online to read The 5 Things I Got and the 10 Things I Learned from the Gold Rush 50k.
Thank you to everyone who supported me on and off the course over the past several months!
Sacramento Running Association, Salming Running North America, Hoffart Chiropractic, XX2i Optics, Nature’s Bakery, Fluid Sports Nutrition, Rudy Project, Body Concepts Inc.