Monday, August 10, 2009

PCTR Headlands Hundred

Not really a ton to say about my day at the Rodeo Valley aid station. But I hope you will enjoy the pictures anyway. I left home at 4:55 a.m. so I could pick up donuts on the way. Yes, I said DONUTS. When I said I hadn't had one in three weeks, it made me want one very bad. I arrived at the aid station at 6:05 a.m. just as the sun was trying to come up over the hills. It was a beautiful morning. I was in my tank top by 8:30 and out of my long pants by 9:00.

This bridge was right below our aid station. It made me think of Garin.

When I got to the aid station, there were only 30-something runners left out on the course. They came in very sporadically. We were mile 83.7. Most of the runners weren't very interested in eating much. They mostly wanted liquids and a place to sit. Most of them had a pacer or some type of crew in the parking lot. They were changing shirts, socks, bottoms. They were taking off their headlamps and applying sunscreen. One runner even took a 90 second power nap in the chair. I saw a few people I knew and met some that I only knew by name from Facebook. Some of the runners were really talkative and some could barely put two words together.
By 10:00 we had seen every runner, except one. We kept walking out to see if could see him coming down the trail. We were slowly dismantling the aid station, making sure to not make it look like we were shutting down completely. Just making it more compact. After about an hour of waiting, I finally decided to go for a run, to see if I could find him. Here's where the smile comes in!!

I took off up the trail to see if I could find out where he was. After running for about 15 minutes, I finally saw him and his pacer coming down the trail. He had his arms up in the air and he was shuffling quite slowly. My first thought was, "well, at least he's doing the right thing by asking God to help him right now." But, come to find out, he was hoping the swelling in his hands would go away if he held his hands up above his head. Yah, he was very swollen. Too swollen to be comfortable for another 16 miles, that's for sure. I ran back to the aid station to let his crew know he was okay. Brian and I broke down the aid station after this runner finally made it back there (45 minutes it took him to shuffle down). He crawled into his wife's car and plopped down with the air conditioner blowing on him. He wasn't going to walk any further. I don't blame him. I did see him later at the finish line. He was in very good spirits. That was the longest he had ever run.

I went to the finish line, which was four miles away and hung out with Sarah (the RD) for a couple of hours. During this time, I saw maybe four runners come in. I literally cried when I saw them. They all had someone there, waiting for them. You could see them as they were coming down the switchbacks toward the finish. They had to come across a dirt parking lot in a path lined with orange cones. None of them were "running" really. I don't even know how they could be moving after that many (27+) hours. But, it was amazing. This one lady below (you will have to enlarge the picture to see her well) is 68 years old. She came down the hill and across the parking lot leaning severely to her left. After she crossed the finish line, I heard her tell Sara that she was standing up straight up until 91 miles. She also said that she had made a lot of progress in the 100-miler -- she was pain free until the 50 mile mark. She was laughing and I was laughing but wiping tears at the same time. I would say she's quite an inspiration but evidently she doesn't like being told that because she knows people only say it since she's old. Well, yah....... that's the inspiring part. LOL

Here's just a couple of shots of the ocean.

Oh, and then there's these guys. NO, they weren't part of the race but they ran by my car and they were shirtless. What can I say? I like shirtless runners!

I loved the day over at the Marin Headlands. It's such a gorgeous place. It's an hour away from me. I'm not familiar with the trails at all, but I would certainly enjoy spending some more time over there. An hour away for that kind of beauty though? Probably more than worth it!
Until later.............


theresa said...

Yes you ARE familiar with some of the trails! You did Pirates Cove!
Thanks for asking Marissa to tell me you said hi! I was excited when she told me! But too tired to remember to relay a message back! I missed seeing you though!
Thanks for the great pics on the blog!

Southbay Girl said...

I can't even imagine running 100 miles! I'd be shuffling all right! very nice of you to go and volunteer! It really is very inspiring to watch people conquer their demons or pains!!

I didn't realize that race was by the ocean-trails by the favorite!!

Hope you are well and embracing your swimming, pilates, hiking and running!!! Your smile shows you are happy!!

Rick Gaston said...

Those shirtless dudes was how we felt Saturday morning before 100 miles, strong, fast and studly, hahaha. Oooo I think I know who that guy was that dropped at your aid station and the inspirational woman is Eldrith Gosney. She had hurt her back a week before. I'm glad you had a great time out there! It's where I do most of my training.

Missy said...

OMG, ocean and trails - LUUUUUCKY! I want to be that lady when I grow up. I don't care if I am running sideways.

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

You captured great photos & got some incredible stories to share with us. Very cool. Volunteers rock, so thank you for doing that!!

René said...

That's amazing!

trailturtle said...

I'll be happy to be able to do 20k when I'm 68! Thanks for the effort to take and post your thoughts and pics from some of my favorite trails. Have more donuts!! Ann

aron said...

looks like an AWESOME day!! beautiful pics as always :)

Irene said...

Those are some gorgeous trails!

Like others have said, I couldn't even fathom running that far! Those are some amazing people. They probably do marathons for training runs! I'm in awe.

Ditto on the shirtless runners! ;)

Dave - Atlanta Trails said...

wow, we must have just missed each other at the finish. I was there from about 10.30 until 11.15. Then it was time to sweep!

Mel-2nd Chances said...

wow, i can't even imagine. How can you not feel inspired being in the company of such amazing people. :)