Why I continue to sign up for the 50 miler when I do not have the speed at this time to finish it under the cut off time, I do not know, but I did it again this year. Probably because the RD will give you credit for the distance you finish- nice guy that he is.
This was my first race since my dad passed away in January and I was having a little bit of an emotional Friday morning on my way to work. Then I get to work and my co worker's brother in law died. On my way home I pull over to let a funeral go by. Three times in one morning I have already been beaten on by death. My emotions were a little raw by the time my mom came over to my house. She has a friend that lives in LBL, so she usually rides down with me and spends the day with her while I am racing. My co worker's husband, Dale, also rides down with us and his wife, Kim, is coming in the morning.
We pick up our packets and chat with Steve, LBL RD, before heading to meet my mom's friends at a local restaurant in town. It is a buffet and I try not to eat too much of the fried food so I am not spending all of my time in the woods off trail. We eventually say good night and head back to our rooms.
Dale and I head out in the morning, drop off our drop bags, and then head down to the start. The start was moved down by the water this year- which was beautiful, but cooler. I saw Jim and Karen there and Jim was shocked that I would have on a full face orange ski mask on, but I also know what works for me by now and the temps were too cool for me not to have something on my head and over my nose and mouth. To heck with what people thought- even if they don't realize that the orange hat is famous!
The race started and I headed out with everyone. I was just hoping to do better than last year but I knew my training had been sub par with everything that had happened the past couple of months. Once you turn off of the road onto the trail, you have a nice conga line that goes for quite awhile as everyone jostles around and tries to find out their pace and get spread out. I eventually get away from others and am cruising along enjoying the quiet solitude of the morning. I feel comfortable and know by the time I get around the first loop I will be able to switch out from the orange hat to just a toboggan. I try not to spend too much time at the aid stations, but it seems like I have to stop at every port o pot. A little frustrated with having to go so much, especially since I don't drink that much to begin with. I figure it will get better as the day goes by, or at least I hope (it doesn't).I eventually get around the first loop and change hats and discard my jacket and gloves. Sometime around the second loop I catch up or he catches up to me, but I meet Rob Apple. I have heard of Rob, but I have never met him before. I knew that he had finished countless ultras (like 600 or some crazy number- someone asked and he told them, but I have since forgotten). Turns out Rob is quite the wildflower book of knowledge. We pointed out several species of wildflowers throughout the day and he was able to name them. The only one I remember is periwinkle and that is because I have a carpet of them in our backyard along my trail. (I had always wondered what the name of the flower was- now I knew -Thanks Rob!) It helped to pass the time and the morning quickly. Although Rob commented that I had a good walking pace and that would was good with ultras, I knew I was slowing down some. I thought of my dad some and got a little sad, but Rob helped to
used my inhaler and carried on but a little discouraged that I continue to have an issue with my breathing at this race two years in a row. Not sure if its the dampness and chill from the lake or what but I tried to minimize it this year with my orange hat and keeping my mouth covered in the early morning hours. I'll have to keep working on that problem. Anyhow, before long we had reached the end of the loop and turned back on the road to try to
head for the finish. We crossed the finish line in 9:03:23 for the 60K. I felt really good after I finished. (Thirty minutes slower than last year- no wonder I felt so great!) Although my time was slower, Rob helped to make the day and my race very enjoyable and I know it really helped me from being out there along dwelling too much on my dad's passing. Thank you Lord for trail angels. Karen was at the finish and I saw Sal from Vol State. Dale and Kim were there and I chatted with them and they gave me a ride to the showers so that I could get cleaned up. We stopped at a nice Steak house on the way home. All in all a very good day. Even if I had another 50 Miler DNF!