Gearing up for the race was a little stressful as the weather called for chilly rain storms to pass through the area. Gloves, thin arm warmers, compression socks in addition to normal shirt and shorts. Wary of my decision, but it turned out perfect for the day. The rain came in every once and a while, but no downpours, so nearly perfect race conditions.
After a short speech from Dean, the race began at a mellow warm up jog out of the festival area and down into Rodeo Beach. After a mile, my legs wanted to go, so I was off dashing through traffic and nearly up to the leaders. Up the first hill and trying to pace myself with the extra post Ironman weight. (Mom wanted me to put on some pounds after seeing me in Europe) Heading down to Pirate's Cove is a fairly technical descent and I took it pretty fast and distance myself from the guys who passed me on the uphill. In retrospect, I should have taken it easier as fast feet through there probably took more energy than braking. Up and over the hill to Muir Beach and still feeling good!
Running along Highway 1 to Heather Cutoff and the long grind to Pantoll was a good way to try to recover, but then, just at a mellow turnaround I manage to step in a hole and tweak my ankle. Serious panic attack goes through my head as I try to evaluate the situation. The last time this happened my ankle swelled up like a balloon, but it didn't feel as bad. Crossing the field to the hill, my ankle recovered and I felt good enough to continue (my mind was still grappling with the fact I still had 20 mile!).
4 miles and 1500 feet later at Pantoll and the legs are so grateful to get a let up, but now into some technical trails, so not really. Some hopping, dancing, and running later, I arrive at Bootjack which was definitely my favorite part of the race. So many people got out there including a few SF Tri PEP's who cheered us on. You could hear everyone from the bottom of a short hill and just wondering what was going on. After grabbing a PBnJ, a Gu Brew refill I was off down the hill into Muir Woods.
A good 45 minutes later, we finally crest the climb and are on our way back to Tennessee Valley. Downhills hurt more than uphills now. Quads screaming and I'm way too tentative to let loose. Things are pretty blurry at this point now and I finally know why there is a brand out there called "Zombie Runner". My only thoughts are moving forward. I was so happy (probably didn't show it) to see a training friend Ivy at Tennessee Valley. She's always got a smile and good things to say, so she encouraged me along and said I looked great (lying).
Final climb up Monticello and I know its the last one. I make a deal with myself to run 2 minutes, then walk 1. All the way up, I was cursing my watch when it hit those run marks, but it got me to the top!
Final aid station and final fueling to make sure there was not last minute cramping. "2.7 miles to go" a volunteer said. A euro-pro 50 miler came along and lets out a desperate "We go down now?" in an awesome German accent. This put a smile on my face and some other laughed as well.