Here we are approaching the aid station.
I was stoked! I wasn't expecting them to be anywhere on the course, because I didn't want them to be waiting around on me or getting lost trying to figure out where we'd be and when. They had ended up hiking part of the trail we had just ran!
I was trying to talk to them, but the aid station worker was all business. He was telling me to eat (dude, TRUST me, I will) and he was unzipping the pouch on my handheld, telling me that I have some shotblox in there still (dude, I KNOW). Seriously, though, I understood that a lot of people who came into the aid stations weren't feeling as great as I was and I appreciated the one-on-one attention. It just turns out that I was rocking the race and didn't need the extra attention!
I stood around and chatted with my parents, who I think were both surprised and relieved that I was looking so good and feeling so good.
Double thumbs up and a lovely shot blox-filled belly sticking out, there.
It was awesome! I loved seeing them and I think it really boosted April and I even more! We stood around and ate and picked up our drop bags. I had a snickers in mine and ended up eating that along with some pretzels and I drank some HEED.
They even had a bathroom here, so April hit that up, while I continued to chat with my parents and munch. Eventually, the guy that we had chatted with at the earlier Aid Station came over and was telling us how awesome we were and how we looked about 100x better than the other runners coming into that station.
The guy reached down into his pockets and pulled out two handfuls of pills. One had advil and the other had tylenol. Need any? He asked. I wasn't experiencing any pain or fatigue, so I said no. April said no as well. After a few minutes, it was time to hit the trail and finish up this bad boy. 19 miles down and 12ish to go. Everyone says that the real race at Stumpjump starts at mile 19.
(thats the guy in the grey shirt!)
And neither one of us were really listening, I don't think. We were just ready to start running! And just like that, we were back on the trails with a new pep in our step! We started talking about how awesome it was that my parents were unexpectedly there! And we started talking about the guy in the grey shirt and how nice and enthusiastic he was. April came up with a great nickname for him: Fanclub! We weren't on the trail for 3-4 minutes when all the sudden I heard April say a loud OW! I turned around and she was grimacing. Somehow, in a freakish way she jacked up her IT band and her knee was starting to hurt her. We stopped for a second to walk and the walking was even hurting her. We stopped for just a moment to assess the situation. Neither of us had any pain killers, she was obviously in some serious pain. We were about 5 minutes away from the previous aid station. We were also getting ready to head down some really steep rock steps. We walked down those (hurriedly, since a guy had yelled up at us that there were some yellow jackets) and April decided that she felt like she could continue on through the pain. I felt bad, cause I knew the pain she was experiencing, I had jacked up my IT band in my first two marathons and I know how shitty it feels.
Fortunately, though, the aid station at Indian Rock House was still set up and we were there within a few minutes! Bonus! She was able to take some advil, which seemed to help pretty soon thereafter and we were off on the trails again. Running when it was flat and walking up the hills.
It was a beautiful day and I was feeling awesome. It didnt even feel like I had been running for 5.5/6 hours! We kept on going, knowing that the next aid station (and the last aid station of the day, we thought was in 4.5ish miles). At one point in this section, I ended up slipping on a rock and landed in such a position that I was sitting down and for special effect, I crossed my legs at the end, to attempt to make it funny. We both laughed, it hurt, but no serious damage done. It's clear...I'll do anything for a laugh.
We kept saying to each other things like... I wanna say something, but I'm going to save it till the end, or... I wanna tell you something when we finish. We both knew that we didn't want to jinx how awesome we were feeling, but we also both wanted to express it!
We caught up to a couple of people on this stretch and I asked one of the guys if he knew how much further to the aid station. He answered with a much shorter distance that I was expecting, but he was kinda grumbling and wasn't attempting to let us pass (usually, whenever someone comes up behind someone, the person in front ALWAYS says... just let me know when and if you wanna pass and I'll get over. It's like trail law or something. And the person in back usually says... no, man, you're keeping a good pace. And then they eventually pass them and say, I'll see you again soon when you pass me.) This guy was having none of that, so I passed anyway. I didn't like the mojo he was throwing. He didn't budge to let us pass either. I can only assume that he wasn't an asshole, but just suffering from Ultra-Brain. Where all you can think about is putting one foot in front of the other.
We hit the aid station and were pleased to find out that there was another one in about 2.8 miles! Yay! All we had to do was tackle the hardest part of the course. Two steep hills and then we'd hit the aid station and have around 4 miles till the finish! Mentally, it was huge knowing that we had another aid station.
We fueled up and headed back to the trail. The hills were very steep, but we just walked up them. And surprisingly, I had a lot of energy still. (The nutrition plan worked!). By the time we hit the end of the first hill, we had caught up to a woman. It seemed she was struggling. She was taking her sweet ass time going up and down and I really wanted to pass her, too. Although this section was a little more tricky of a trail to do so. Eventually, I asked her how she was doing. And she wasn't doing well. I knew she wasnt a bitch at that point and knew she was suffering from Ultra-Brain as well, so as we started to climb the second hill, she swung out on a switchback and I made my move and cut her off on the inside and passed her. We climbed the rest of the hill and made it to the last aid station! The hardest part of the trail was over!
I felt great, too! No major feet or leg pain. In all honesty, I could have kept going, if I had to. (Though don't get me wrong! I was glad to be done and to rest).
I hugged my parents and thanked them for giving up their saturday for us. And we stood around for a bit... talked to Fanclub for a little bit and got in the car and headed home.
Clearly I was sweaty and gross, but my dad still hugged me.
Yes, we ran 31ish miles only to have our picture taken staring directly into the sun.
I was told that if we switched places, then the sun would blind the camera.
I was too tired to argue.
Next up: The Aftermath.