(Gary H. giving final race instructions)
I'm writing this report a few weeks late, because the Sunday after the race Tanya and I flew to Bermuda for a little vacation and a wedding.
Back to race day, Saturday morning August 11th. I had been dreading this day, my training had not been the greatest. I had been feeling a little burned out leading up to this race, but what the hay we had already registered to run. Tanya and I woke up early, we had about a 80 mile drive to get to the start. When we arrived at the Mt Wilson observatory (start/finish area) the buzz of race day had already begun. We said our hello's to friends (Kirk, Michelle,Carmela, Ben, Charlie, Alex, Andy) and picked up of race packets, and started to focus on the task ahead, it was going to be a long HOT day.
This was our third year running this event, but was the first year the 50 mile distance was offered, and since we a gluttons for punishment we didn't hesitate to sign up. The 50K had kicked my butt previously so I knew the 50 miler was going to drop kick it! The run begins at the Mt. Wilson Observatory which is at roughly 5500Ft and then the course quickly descends into the Angeles National forest.
The early miles passed by quickly, I love the tree covered single track. Because the race starts with downhill miles it is easy to go out to fast, which I believe came back to haunt many runners. The forest is extremely dry this year because of a long drought in So. California, which was causing a lot of dust. Me and others were coughing dust clouds.
Because the 50K and the 50 miler share the first 26 miles and I have run the 50K two times previously the miles just seemed to pass by. When Tanya and I made it to mile 26 there is an Aid Station. The volunteers where directing runners, 50K'ers go this way "only 5.2 miles to go"! Man I wanted to go that way!, but no! I had 24 more miles to go which included the infamous 5.2 mile climb back up to the Mt Wilson observatory the finish. But, as much as I wanted to drop down to the 50K race I knuckled down and stayed the course, and besides Tanya was continuing on. So we headed out together, not knowing what was in store for us. It was Brutal, to say the least, it was hot, dry and no shade. I was saying to myself is this some kind of sick joke!
Tanya and I continued on, we decided to stay together, which was good for me. At times I felt like a tired donkey chasing a carrot, but having Tanya leading the way kept me moving.
The beauty of the Angeles forest is incredible and breathtaking; but after a while I was "full of it" and just wanted to get to the finish line.
We finally made it back to the final aid station and the final climb out. Tanya gave me that look, and it was time to "Rock". Though I was tired, I wanted out and the only way out was to climb. We knocked this section out in 1 hour 28 minutes and passed about 7 runners. I found energy somewhere, but boy I was shot at the finish.
We finished in 13 hours and 28 minutes, and earned every minute of it! To Gary, Pam and the volunteers "Thank You"! Mt. Disappointment has become one of my favorite ultra's, the organization, trail markings, and the aid stations are second to none!