Karl is sadistic! I could start and end my post with that line.
Here's how it went down. Friday night at the Clif Lodge....brutal. I ate a Subway sandwich and apparently it didn't jive with my body. I was up all night sweating. Got up Saturday morning and still not much better but I thought I took care of it. I got to the check in and the nerves started to kick in. Nerves and bad Subway really don't mix well.
At the start the stomach started grumbling even more, SWEET! The countdown began and we were off. It was pretty warm for a 6:30 start and I already predicted a long hot day was ahead.
We climbed and climbed and climbed and climbed (well you get the picture) and being a very poor hiker, it took its toll on me. I felt like a Yugo going up and I was in the slow lane. I kept trying to remind myself that this was merely a training run but competitive juices kept flowing and I battled those demons all day. Once we hot the tram at the top it was time to go over the Mt Baldy and then start our decent. Let me just say I do NOT like anyone named Mary Ellen anymore. We hit the bottom of Mary Ellen Gulch and it was hot!! Getting ready to leave the aide station, Roch Horton said "alright 3000' foot climb ahead so go get it!" Aw man, I didn't need to hear that. I knew it was there but just hearing it hurt. I started the climb out of Mary Ellen Gulch and just puttered along. We followed a little run off creek most of the way up and i took full advantage of the refreshing cold water. I kept dipping my hat and washing my face. I needed any help I could get. It took a good 2-3 days for me to get out of there but once I did, I felt pretty good. We hit another water only station then climbed up to the Peruvian Tunnel. I actually felt better here than I thought. Stop at the aide station and talked to Jim Skaggs (Antelope RD) for a bit I told Jim that I wasn't sure if my mom heard me or not but I kept crying out to her up Mary Ellen, he laughed and I disappeared into the tunnel. Made a nice little decent then up next was "the ridge" as I called it from last year. I hit the ridge with the hopes of doing better than last year. Last year it absolutely broke me down! I did a little better today but still lots of room for improvement. Once you hit the top of the ridge, Karl decided to sent us back down again. This part is difficult mentally because this is where you pass runners who are headed down to the finish. After following the snowy switchbacks and heading towards the tram, I caught up to my buddy Phil. There we were, 1 year later sitting at the last aide station and trying to figure out if our route down would be the tram or the trail. Last year we chose the trail and lived to tell about it so we took the trail again. We were both struggling but we were going to finish and we did just that. Only about 50 feet from the finish line, I saw my wife and Aspen and that was special. Crossing the line at 10:46ish (not sure official time...yet). It was over. By the way, Nate McDowell won in 5:43! I was so close but I couldn't catch him....
All in all it was another learning experience. Saw some familiar faces and shared some stories..to me that's what its all about. Congrats to anyone who finished. I just read a guy GPS'd it at 13,000 vertical feet CLIMBING in 28 miles. Karl is sadistic!