When we arrived at the start/finish area we began seeing the usual So. Cal. ultra suspects: Andy, Kirk ,George ,Xy, Deb ,Fred, Dina. But seeing Gary and Pam Hiliard made my day! Man Gary looks great, he is getting his strength back, and just seeing and talking to him was an inspiration.
After the RD (Luis E) made final announcements we where ready to get started, Tanya and I decided to run the entire race together today. Sometimes we do our own thing, but staying together makes for an enjoyable day, not only do we keep each others company, we feed off one another: this keeps us rolling especially in those latter miles.
The race starts with about a .25 mile uphill climb on pavement before you reach the trail, so we decided to hang back and walk this section. Save those legs and much needed glycogen. At the trail head was Gary H. giving high fives as we hit the dirt. We headed downhill then across a river bed each of which are full of uneven ground and rocks. If this first section was a glimpse of what was ahead I knew I was in for a long day! But I thought to myself there is no other place I would rather be, running a new trail in a beautiful place on a fantastic day. I said out loud "This is the day that the Lord had made let us rejoice and be glad in it".
Tanya and I began to get into a rhythm. Together as we trekked up the first climb, as we reached an opening the spectacular view grabbed our attention. Santa Barbara, the Pacific Ocean, and the Channel islands in there fullest. We had to stop and take it in, it was great.
As we approached the road section we caught a small pelaton of runners, which included Kirk, Thomas, and a few others. We exchanged friendly words as we ran down the road to the Gilbrator aid station. The volunteers were great and very motivating, but best of all the station was clean, and the food was great, very organized and helpful to each runner.
As we left the Aid Station, volunteers yelled have fun on the down hill, which we did but they failed to mention the climb on the other side. I began to feel like a big Yo-Yo if you weren't going down hill you were going up hill. My poor back, there was a short section we had to almost crawl through. It was a tunnel made of laid over bamboo trees. I did not like that section to much, but what would a trail race be with-out some adventure. Not to far from this area the air began to smell like a sulphur bath, maybe there was a natural hot spring in the area. Our maybe somebody had to many beans the night before :)
We finally made it to the turn around point(17.9 miles I believe) our time was 4 hours and 55 mins. We felt good about this time. We Fueled up, filled our bladders ate some food and where out of there in about 4 mins. Time to head home. Last year Tanya finished the race in 1 1 hours and 12 mins, so we felt if we could keep this pace she would definitely beat that time, and if we really felt good maybe even run a negative split and go under 10 hours.
Well to make a long story short that negative split did not happen. But we did finish in 10 hours and 27 minutes. A time that we both were very happy with. The course did not get any easier going back, but we finished strong . We passed about 5-6 runners; we where not passed. Not that we are competing against anyone, but we always try to keep it fun and find ways to motivate ourselves to keep "rocking and rolling".
It felt great to make it to the finish line and we didn't even need to use our night lights! Once we crossed the finish line Tanya had a cold bottle of water and I had a cold Coke-cola. Not the healthiest drink, but to me nothing tastes better than and Ice cold Coke after a long run; well maybe and ice cold brew. But because I was driving home I didn't want to go there :) We hung around, cheered in some other runners and then headed back down the 101.
If you are looking for a challenging, and technical run then SB9T's is for you.