I was feeling nervous, and anxious the whole day before and morning of. Our car battery started dying and needed a jump every time we turned the car off, so we had to jump it TWICE race morning. We picked up my Mom at 6:30 and headed to Aptos. We got there at about 7:45, and packet pick up ended at 8am.
I wasn't able to nurse Reece one more time before leaving my Mom and the boys. I was nervous about that but okay with it since he was sleeping. I left a little juice for him to hold him over, but my Mom didn't even need it. He ended up sleeping most of the race, Thank Jesus. We ran down to packet pick up, got our bibs, then stretched. We warmed up a bit then Stood in line for the porta potty (yuck) so I could pee one more time...glad I did because there was not ONE potty on the whole course!
Right after the potty stop we made our way up to the start line, and I headed pretty far into the front with my hubby. I gave him a kiss, the gun went off and all 171 runners headed out. I was passed quickly, and I only saw my husband for a few seconds then didn't see him again until I was almost done. The first part of the race was straight up hill for about 1/8 of a mile, which totally threw me off because I was not warmed up or ready for my heart to jump up to 180 yet. So I walked up the end of the hill, got my heart rate down, then started running. There was me, and another lady and we were already dead last. Wow! I wanted to keep up with her so I wouldn't be totally alone since I had no clue what was coming.
The first 3 miles was on a flat dirt road, called Fire Rd. with some hills around corners. I caught up to Jana (the only person I could see) and began to chat with her. We found out we both run about the same pace, and got distracted chatting for a mile or so. Around mile 2.5 (she had a gps) she said if I wasn't running with her she'd be walking already. I was glad we had found each other. We ended up running almost the whole race together. It was really nice.
Somewhere between mile 3-4 we turned off the flatish dirt road and headed into torture land. This was INSANE. The pictures do NO JUSTICE. Seriously, was not expecting this kind of a trail, or course. At times I felt like I was on an obsticle course! Jumping over logs, leaping over creeks, dodging huge tree roots, all on a 2.5-3ft wide trail. Jana and I could not run side by side. We were in single file the whole time. At first we thought, "wow, well this won't last long." Ha! We were just running deeper into the mountains, further away from the road and any people that would even be hiking. We decided to walk up the hills. Jana told me I could pass her if I needed, but I did not need to or want to!
My heart rate was dangerously high, it was at 185 pretty steady this whole portion, but on the really steep hills went up to 192!! At those times I stopped to lower it. Sometimes my heart skips beats and I get real light headed. I did not want that happening out there, were we were literally all alone. When I stopped, Jana kept going. This was the hardest part of the race for me. I was ALL ALONE. In the mountains. I kept praying that I wouldn't get hurt or fall off the cliff (yes very steep cliffs at times). I was sweating so much, but thankfully the trees provided shade. I prayed for my husband to do well and not get hurt. I couldn't imagine running this trail with a group of people trying to pass one another.
I tried to text my Mom sometimes but didn't get much service. I walked for probably 1.5 miles around miles 5-7. This was the hardest part, and I kept praying it would be over soon and I would see someone or make it back to the Fire Rd. I managed to get a text to my Mom 2 hours into the race asking her if Davey finished and told her it was so hard and I was dying. Haha. I'm sure that made her feel great. :) I ate my Sports Beans, which were amazingly delicious. All I could stomach that morning was a banana and some bread so I was starving.
Finally I heard people, a random aid station! Whoo hoo! This was at the top of the most grueling hills. The guy there was in a tux and encouraged me the worst was over. The lady there said the hills were done. But they LIED!! I started running again after I had two cups of water. I finally...FINALLY fell into a grove. I was in the ZONE. I was running and felt good, my legs were numb by now, which was a good thing, when suddenly, I see Jana! Yay! We had been seperated for almost 2 miles. I was so happy I caught up to her. She had been walking and was in a lot of pain, but trucking along. She was excited to see me. From here on we were like little soldiers, running single file, dodging roots, holes, branches, spiders, huge banana slugs, and jumping out of the way when the first marathoners passed us. We climbed a total of 2,000 ft in the first 7-8 miles of the race. Ouch.
Now we had a lot of down hill, but had to be careful we didn't hurt ourselves. When Jana's gps read 10 miles we thought we'd be close to the road again, but we weren't. Finally we saw some hikers and they said it was about 5 minuets away. Thank God! We were so thrilled to see the aid station at the start of the road. Jana's gps now said around 12 miles.
We stopped at the aid station and refilled our water bottles since we were out. I was so thirsty. I grabbed an orange slice, and asked them how much further, they said 2.4 miles. What! Remember I said, if you stop running it's really hard to start again? Well OMWord. It was like getting the tin man to run, our joints were screaming. Jana was in a lot of pain, this was her first half marathon. We were running so slow, so I said we should just walk fast for a while. Which was still painful, but we were happy we were almost done.
I still didn't get service, but somewhere on the last stretch a text came through from my Mom saying Davey finished and was coming back for me. I knew he'd be worried about me since the course was so hard. About 5 mins later I saw him and Shane walking towards me. I started crying and I ran over to them and hugged them. It was the best part of the whole race. I could not stop, if I did my stomach started hurting and my legs were becoming more and more crampy and stiff. My poor sweet husband, he finished the race in 2:01 (he finished 60 out of 171! & 6 out of 11 in his age group), and then walked a total of 3 miles there and back just to get me. I just love him. Him and Shane walked behind us, we were trying to walk fast to finish. My husband kept saying he was so proud of me and so impressed that I did it, he knew the trail would be so hard for me.
Once we were 1/4 mile from the finish we started to jog. I saw my Mom and the other boys and got tears, it was awesome having my Mom there! they were cheering and everyone started clapping for us. Jana's husband did it as well and was waiting for her, and he said, "Aren't you guys going to sprint?" I said, "We are sprinting!" LOL We crossed and were so so happy. We got our medal, then took some pictures.
I walked back to Davey and Shane and we hugged and took some photos. My husband made the mistake of eating everything in sight when he finished so his stomach was really hurting. I didn't eat anything until much later that day. After the race I had planned Davey a surprise birthday party with his family and some of our friends. It didn't go exactly as planned since we were in so much pain and we were tired as heck. We are still sore, and I feel for my hubby who has had to work!! Won't be doing that race again. haha! I forgot to stop my watch when I finished. But my offical time was 3:47! As you can see, Jana and I came in very last place. I really don't care though. It was a small race, and all I cared was I finished!!!! Whoo hoo! It was for sure harder than any race I've ever done. Here's some pics of Davey's party too. Thank you all for the support. :) Love, The Curvy Housewife