Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Skyline To The Sea 50K

It was early into the week, possibly Monday or Tuesday, that I informed Anu that she was running the PCTR Skyline To The Sea 50K on April 26.

I am coaching her to her first 100M start, the Lean Horse 100M in Hot Springs (SD), on Aug 22.

This was my way of getting her to run when tired. To say that she was excited is an understatement.

The initial plan was for the 2 of us to drive to the Finish and take the bus up to the Start. It changed a few days before the race. Raj was going to drop us to the Start and then show up, hours later, to pick us up from Waddell Beach. I drove to their home earand transferred my race stuff to their van. We left their home around 8 a.m. (the race starts at 9 a.m.) and made it up Hwy 9 in no time at all (at least that's how it felt!). It was chilly at the top and we stayed in the warm van after picking up our bib numbers and attending to the call of Nature. The bus from the Finish had not arrived yet and the parking lot was sparsely populated.

That all changed when the bus disgorged its passengers. Very soon the lot was a hive of activity.

We talked with super triathlete Stanley Ho who was doing his first ultramarathon. Abhijit had driven him to the Start. I also bumped into familiar faces - Keith and Kay Blom, Sean Lang, Martina Koldeway, Mark Tanaka and Samanvitha Rao to name a few.

The race started on time. The first few miles were downhill on the most wonderful surface I had ever run on. The trail was idyllic - a slight fog around and the sun gently warming our skin now and then.

(coming into the first AS)

We reached the first AS after a few pit stops to answer the call of Nature again. Keith Blom and Gene Weddell were on the main road, just before the AS, to direct us along the right path.

Rick Gaston was in this AS. He took a picture of me while I was taking a picture of him. :)

We were out of here soon and began the trek to the next AS. Anu was feeling great and I took a lot of pics of her, smiling and posing along the trail. The AS was manned by Zach Landman (he had volunteerd in my Ruth ANderson race the weekend before) and his girlfriend. After spending a few minutes eating and socializing, Anu and I began the wonderful descent into the Gazos Loop AS.

The AS was a hive of activity. Runners leaving to begin the 7K loop. Most runners were exiting it to start the push to the Finish.

We soon caught up with Famida Hanif-Weddell on the longish climb. The next few miles were spent in her company. The steepest part of the climb was quite steep but not very long. We soon began the descent down the the trail we had run befor, the one that took us into the AS. The station came into view soon enough. Chakri Gullipalli, a Team Asha runner and mentor for the past 4 years, was waiting to start his run to the Finish. The 3 of us left the AS together but we soon left him behind (he had some muscle tightness and had wisely chosen to slow down).

Anu and I had the most wonderful time from here on out on the long descent. The fatigue finally hit Anu with about 6 miles to go. She never complained even once, keeping a smile on her face all through the final push.

(My finish. Thanks Keith Blom!)

She made it into the Finish 7:53 after the race had started. What a trooper! Extremely strong mentally and getting even stronger with every race finished. Way to go girl!

(Anu's finish)

Raj was waiting for us and we duly made it back to Saratoga around 6:30 p.m.

Quicksilver next up for Anu.

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