Not wear a hydration pack. Drove me insane, ripped it off at Stinson. Coming from road background Not wear sunglasses. Hardly used them. Too much dappled light. Parts are gnarly. You really need to see with direct vision. Dappled light can be a foot trap. A responsive shoe again but with a tad more heel and a tad more cushion. Train more extensively on steady state uphill running now that I have a better idea of the vert.
Would I do this race again? Absolutely. It's rare a race captures you like this one did. There are a few races in the last 29 years that have stolen a spot in my heart. No words can describe exactly why. It's just a feeling. Certain races present a mystical aura. A sense of total loss of time. In the midst of the event one becomes enveloped in total. All thoughts of outside life diminish and fade. You are on point. On task. Completely focused yet totally drifting.
At the crest before the rabbit hole descent to Stinson I went eyeball to eyeball with Alex Varner.
It was fascinating to look at his eyes. They were looking at me but past me. In the present but in the future. Most of all in the moment. As Zac put it when I called into SFRC days after the race.
"Alex is very good at SUFFERING." Indeed. As is Chikara too. The make suffering look good.
To be honest. It blew my mind he was already down and up and on his way to Heather Cutoff? Sensational. The ZEN STATE.
These are moments that stand out in my mind, that I can see exactly right now as I type.
The bottle neck start. Did not see that coming. Running above the clouds at the top of Wolf Grade. Getting hit in the guts by long grass. Nettle. The pure OASIS joy of the Stinson Aid Station and the cold iced coke. The guy sitting in the dark glorious deep chest of Steep Raving ready to give up. Putting hand over hand on the ladder feeling ten and then five and then 50 again. Sharp, crisp, stupendously refreshing surge of marine layer after exiting 90 + heat to start the last descent. The faces of every extraordinary volunteer.
Finally the S bends leading to the finish that have one feeling a renewed sense of adrenaline as you charged each turn feeling like some sort of human hurricane looking for that finish line. Bring it to me.
The finish. Warm. Social. Real. Full of food and drink. Welcoming. Race Directors that understand the old school ways of care for each and every participant and who are in my mind running royalty of a rare kind.