After a huge meal (I seriously ordered pizza with a side of french fries) and another solid sleep, we had officially made it to the last day of the Golden Ultra, aka the TEARS, aka a 20K on runnable, beautiful trails. We woke up to the sound of rain and wind in the early morning hours and took our shivering puppy out getting a taste for what could be race day conditions.
For day 3, we had 3 runners: Jackie, who had also done the 5K on day 1, Amy who was running for the first time, and me who was on run #3. We all huddled together in the kitchen over peanut butter and bagels and SOS Rehydrate and decided what to wear. Just like getting ready for a night out, only different….#samesamebutdifferent.
I was layered up. Like whoa. Two long sleeves, long pants, AND my rain jacket. Oh, and of course my Sweat Pink trucker hat. I guess my motto was: ready for anything.
Let’s run together.
Jackie sweetly proposed that we’d run together for as long as she could keep up with me. I looked at her like she was straight crazy. I would be lucky if I could run anywhere near her, like in her general vicinity. My legs felt like absolute shit just walking around and it was hard enough to imagine how they would feel actually running.
Out loud, I said, sure we can run together for as long as it makes sense. And in my head, I made a plan to stay with her for 2 miles and then fall into my slow shuffle (er, I mean, my pace).
And that’s exactly what happened. I looked down at my watch, saw a big giant 2 appear and immediately found a more comfortable pace (snail speed!) while she flew off up the hill in front of me looking strong, solid and ready to rock the rest of that 20K (which she most certainly did).
No, really, let’s run together.
After losing Jackie at mile 2, I found myself chatting with a couple of guys who had also run the day before. One of them was a friend of Craig’s and the other had magic ski poles. I swear he was walking faster with those things than I was running. We chatted, commiserated and laughed a bit together until we hit some downhill sections where I was able to unload my legs and take off. Behind me a little ways, I made out a tall blonde and knew Carolyn, the badass lady runner from Victoria was close behind.
She quickly caught up with me and we fell into an even, steady pace. We had run together for awhile the day before and I could tell we were well matched for this leg of the race. We were keeping each other company through every twist, turn, and uphill (seriously, even the most minor climbs felt like GIANT climbs).
When we hit the final home stretch – a long, fun, downhill full of switchbacks followed by some crappy road running – I knew it was Carolyn that had pulled me through the final leg of the race. We stayed together until the very end. I pulled away slightly at the very, very end only because I knew the finish was so close and was determined to give it everything and more just to be DONE. Oh, and to have a beer. 😉
We exchanged hugs. And congratulated one another. And of course promised to become Facebook friends. And I’m so glad we did.
Official time: 2:39:08
After getting my sweet Golden Ultra finisher pint glass, I went and found Jackie who absolutely KILLED it (as predicted). She was a full 18 minutes+ ahead of me and finished her second ever trail race in 8th place overall (the first trail race being two days before, aka the 5K of the Golden Ultra).
Jackie and I did an epic ShowerPill wipe down (again the bar bathroom), changed into our finish line clothes, and then I went for a celebratory handstand on the beautiful pedestrian bridge.
And then we waited for Amy to finish so we could all fill our pint glasses with a beer before loading our stinky butts up back into the van for the long journey home.
The Golden Ultra was my first ever stage race. And one of the harder ultras I’ve done. I’m so proud of my husband, friends and my Sweat Pink family for their amazing finishes out there…and hope to make it a tradition of sorts. 🙂 Muahahahahah.
Abbie says, GREAT job out there everyone…and don’t forget to