This past thursday on the schedule was a long run. Only this long run was going to be totally different than what I have done in the past. In fact it was a lot easier on me mentlly. I decided, after talking to Coach Nikon that a point to point was in order, starting from my place and going up to Auburn via the parkway and the single track trails. We both thought that this epic run would be roughly 27-29 miles. Now the only problem was finding someone to give me a ride. But I didn't have to look far, I asked my sister and she was more than happy to pick me up at the Overlook.
With the plan in place now all I had to do was execute it.
I was ready to go by 6:15ish on Thursday morning. I decided not to bring Traildog as I didn't think I would have enough water for the both of us. So off I went in the dark making my way to the Overlook. The first 5.5 miles were on the American River Parkway and during this part my legs felt dead. I felt like I couldn't get any sort of rythym. Was it because I had a long ways to go? I don't know, but I just kept plugging along knowing that eventually everything would fall into place.
Once I arrvied at Beals I took my first Gel and hit the levee for a few miles. Slowly my legs came back and it was just in time as the fire road was up next with it's great rollers. I hit the single track in a positive mind frame with my legs feeling strong. I had decided that at granit bay I would refill my pack and use the bathroom, and I also took in another Gel. I didn't want to fall behind on my fueling as I was on a tight schedule and had about 5-5.5 hours to arrive at the Overlook and I was unsure of the distance.
After Granit bay I just locked into a nice steady pace and enjoyed the single track trail. I was enjoying my music and I was enjoying my time on the trails. I was focused, I knew I had a dead line and I knew that I could do it. The miles were ticking by. I was fueling about 1 gel every 30 minutes and I kept reminding myself to drink, even if it was just a sip here and a sip there.
As I was running along I noticed that my body didn't feel right. Something was off, my legs felt funny and I noticed that mentally I was fatigued and my thoughts were becoming negative. I didn't wait long to make a decision, I took in a Gel and a salt and not long after I was feeling much better and I was back on track. Fuel, I needed fuel.
Now that I was feeling better and stronger I hustled onto Horseshoe bar. I knew from my past runs that once I arrived at horseshoe it was only 11.5 miles to the Overlook. Which could take me at least 2.5 hours as the dam hill is 3.3 miles up. I hit horseshoe feeling pretty strong and just kept moving. I had about 2 hours to get to the Overlook so I had to find another gear.
I was pushing the pace running every chance I could even when my head was screaming at me to hike that hill I would run it. I was making some good time along this section of the trail. I just put my head down and ran. I stopped a few times to stetch my hamstrings out and to fuel. I had to dig deep. I pushed on knowing that I was almost there. Soon I could see the dam hill and I knew that I was going to have push myself.
I hit the base and power hiked the steep part and took in a Gel. Than I started running, I just put my head down and ran, one foot in front of the other. Running with my head down actually helped because all I focused on was a few steps in front of me instead of the bigger picture of how far I had to go. Slowly I was making my way up. When I hiked I was hiking with a purpose, I was on a mission. The hiking was only to let my legs recover and once they had recoved I would put my head down and start running. I was almost there, just a mile to go, than only half a mile. I was in the home stretch. I hit the Overlook in 5:15, 27.5 miles. It was 11:30 and I was right was on time.
My sister was waiting for me which was great. I grabbed a towel and made my way down to the canal to get in and take my ice bath. The canal was really cold, so cold my toes were freezing. But it felt so good on my legs. When I arrived back at the car my sister had all sort of snacks for me and a coke. I was in ultra runner bliss. A coke and snacks; I couldn't have asked for anything more ohhh and a ride home of course.
Thank you Kristina for taking time out of your day to pick me up. I appreciate it so much. A point to point was just what I needed and having the pressure to arrive on time really kept me focused and on track all morning.