December 2, 2018
As long as this race doesn’t happen on Thanksgiving Weekend, I would like to continue to run it. This is a quality event put on by a quality volunteer running club organization. They know what runners want and they deliver, and it’s reasonably priced. Four of my ten best 50Ks (in terms of time) have been run here, and the race is centrally located to where many of my ultra-running friends live. It’s a great introductory event and friends like Angela Holder, Stephanie Harris, and Dulce Barton ran their first ultras here, not to mention many hasher friends.
For the past several years, I have been fortunate to stay with Darrell Price and Megan Stone in their home so close to the race start/finish. Angela has joined me as well as Alan a couple of times. This year, we convinced speedy Peter Yeh to join us for his first ultra (no need for an early start with this one). Also staying at the house is John Radich, an ultra runner whose name I have seen dozens of times, but had yet to put a name to a face.
After registering and enjoying a simple pasta dinner at St. Ann’s, we retire to Megan and Darrell’s for minimal talking before an early bed.
I created pace sheets for all my friends that are running today, which also include Rumiko (aka Yoko) running her first ultra, Aamir (aka Dr. Strange Glove), possibly also his first, and Laura and Stephanie Harris (not her first).
I see many of my favorite people and jog with some in the first few miles but generally fade off as they push along at a good pace and I do a slog. Alan and Peter are well ahead of me, and Laura took off early.
After the first aid station, we are dusted by a truck driving along the trail for a bit (and then pulling off to provide beer support to their runners (for Rumiko and Michelle in the 30K).
There is a really nice moment about 22 miles in when Aamir and I are going at about the same pace. A sort of extra fun moment with this is that in the past week or so, I have been trying to write alternative lyrics to Christmas songs, so I test myself by singing them to Aamir (and writing a couple more on the fly).
When we get to Wagon Wheel at Mile 25, I avail myself of a beer (because I’m not running a PR here) and at this point, Aamir pushes his pace with the intent of breaking 7 hours.
At the last aid station, of course, I enjoy another beer proffered by Chris Rios and Ruth Carter (former RD and hash friend), but don’t waste too much time so that I can finish in around 7:10.
All of us have good times, ranging from 4:45 and change for Peter up to 8:30 for Laura and Stephanie. We enjoy some pizza, soda, and beer before hopping in the car and driving back to Southern Cal.
John, Alan, Peter, me, and Darrell at the finish line.
I look forward to 2019 when I can finish my 10th OTHTC and get my 10 time finisher’s jacket.