My 7th time here and my tradition of "sticking it to the Solstice". I am sad that this might be the last year for this race as RD Pigtails is retiring (I am so appreciative of her putting this on all these years) but maybe someone else will take up the challenge. At least I am here this year and the weather looks good. Cold but not too bad, and just a few drops of rain during the race. My feet will stay dry and I will be comfortable the whole way.
Start - Crowded on the narrow trail for the short out and back, but not so bad. I don't worry about pace and I stay relaxed. Then back across the bridge and onto the real trail.
Mile 1 to 5 - With Mike and Ted. Catch up to the Prez and Krez. There is an 80% chance that they will finish well ahead of me today. I would be 80% dumb to pass them here. So I just hold back, run with them and mostly settle in behind them. Also new to me Lisa and Wendy are rounding out our pack. About 9:25 per mile. That seems just a little faster than I should be going, but not at all unreasonable. I would be fine with a sub 4:20 finish today. This pace would be about 4:10 and if for some reason (unlikely) I am feeling great, I can always speed up later. Yes, I am running smart today.
Mile 5 to13.7 - Lose Mike and Ted at the aid station. The five remaining stay together to the turnaround. Missing the Rogue Wave. We had some epic times here. Raven flies just overhead. Wonderful aid station with warm salty roasted potato pieces, thanks to Christie's family. Old school Maniac Central with so many happy runners. Steve Walters sighting. Rikki coming back from the turn around going way faster than I expected. She will go on the be the fist place woman.
Mile 13.7 to 19 - Turn around. Now wave to the the runners just behind me. Prez and Krez stop to use the bathroom and my whole race strategy is shot. I am not going to wait for them so I go on ahead. Lisa and Wendy running the same pace so we just keep going at that speed. Try to not look at my watch too often and just let the miles accumulate. Get into some nice grooves and keep up the pace, though I lose a little time at the aid station.
Mile 19 to 26.2 - Get a little bout of light/fuzzy headedness. Not taking any chances I slow to a walk and pop my third S!Cap. This is a symptom that I know all too well, but also know the cure. Slow down and get that salt pill down and I will be fine. Back on track. But now my hips begin to bother me a little. Shorten the stride, slow the pace and look forward to the last aid station. There it is. Less than 5 miles to go. Wendy now a ways behind me and Lisa too far ahead. I will run the rest of the way slowly (walking the bridges) but fearing the Prez and Krez. From here out I have to run a ten minute mile to get under 4:20 and that will not be easy. So I work hard, but do not struggle all out. Look back too many times. Finally there is the finish line. Cutting it close I just get in under 4:20 ( about 40 seconds faster than last year) and am pleased enough with that.
Change clothes, get some soup and quesadillas and sit and hang around the finish area longer than I have at maybe any race. Over an hour of just enjoying the company of friends, cheering runners in and relaxing the tired body. Super nice day, I really hope that this event will continue in some form.
13th of 56
Marathon or Ultra#133