(photo - Derrick on top of Topa Topa ridge just after sunrise)
It was also wonderful to see our friends Chris and Sue, who are now married. I couldn't help but notice the rings at dinner the first night we were there, and eventually the story came out. Those guys are so cute together, being quite smitten with each other. It is nice to see friends happy. Chris is the RD for C2M, and Sue naturally gets sucked along to help along with him, so a huge amount of thanks are due them both for all the thought, effort, work, and sleeplessness that they contributed to making this such a great event.
H'ard Cohen was also there manning the start/finish area, and though I always like sharing trail time with my buddy, he put in a ton of valuable work for everyone instead. He probably would have dropped my sorry ass if he had run, he's been doing a tone of training these days with an eye to playing down at Hardrock this year as well. Maybe I'll be in better shape by then so he won't kick my butt there too badly, either! Howard brought his wife Jeanne and daughter Rachel out to lend a hand as well. It was Jeanne's first time out at a race and though she seemed a bit amazed at the craziness of it all, she really helped the runners out a lot. I appreciated her bringing me the blanket and cup of soup by the fire when I got in at 2:30 AM when it was so darned cold out!
So...... yes, that was a "DNF" that I mentioned above.
I pride myself on being tough and sticking things out, but there were a couple of issues I had here. Firstly, I was sadly, sadly not in anywhere the shape I need to have been for a 100 mile run. I was still crawling back from the slow start this year, and this race came up too quiclky for me to get the mileage in the bank that I should have had. I was pretty good through 50 miles, and then declined rapidly. The heat played a part as well and I got a touch dehydrated, but though that contributed to my downward spiral, the real cause was lack of preparation. Secondly, I did not approach this as a "race" and thus didn't take it seriously enough. This contributed to the lack of mental fortitude and resilience that would normally carry me through a 100, making it easy to stop when I did. I was just not mentally prepared to manage the suffering of sore legs and sloooowwww pace that I was doing then for another 20 miles and, probably, 10-12 hours more.
So I jammed out at 80 miles, leaving out the final 4000' descent and return climb back (sometimes knowing the course can be a detriment!). Martha was at the Gridley Top aid station where I stopped - perhaps another minor contributor to the decision - and we walked back the remaining 5-ish miles to the camp.
Of course it is a bummer not finishing, but there were a number of positives from the trip overall:
- hanging out with Derrick and Jayne
- seeing our good friends Sue, Chris and Howard again
- seeing lots of other Coyote friends
- seeing Deb Askew and Gene Thebault as well
- a solid 80-mile training run
- managing a 2AM race start with no problem :-)
- visiting the Ojai Olive Oil plantation and production facility
- awesome breakfasts at Mrs Olson's
- buying some incredible strawberries and avocados at the Oxnerd farmers market
- niiiice beer at the Anacapa brewpub in Ventura
- touchy-feely at Patagonia headquarters
- winning his'n'hers bowling balls and carrying cases for being the lowest-scoring couple on bowling night!
- a DNF means I have to back again next year :-)