Where’s Waldo 3: In your face, Waldo!

Waldo: The Bitter Taste of Defeat
In which Waldo Kicks Kate’s ass and humiliates her in the process.
Score: Waldo 1, Kate 0

Waldo 2: Making the Grade
In which Waldo tries and is nearly successful at kicking Kate’s ass.
Score: Waldo 1, Kate 1

Waldo 3: In your face, Waldo!
In which Kate triumphs and kicks dirt in Waldo’s face (metaphorically speaking of course).
Score: Waldo 1, Kate 2

All the forces align this weekend to help me find a way to complete this race without feeling like death warmed over. The weather is predicted to reach into the mid 60s and there is a slight chance of rain late in the day/early evening or at least some good amount of chilly wind on the last climb up to Maiden Peak. Dress accordingly.

So I take the early start as usual only this year I have the ULTRAMOBILE to camp out in at the start so I get as much sleep as is possible right near the starting line. This makes the 3 AM start time, if not reasonable, at least not totally unbearable. It’s still really early and I didn’t sleep that well anyway. Probably from the elevation.

It’s dark and cool as we wait for the clock to hit 3 am and them off we go up the hill and into the woods. I feel like I’m working comfortably hard and cruise a wonderful section of trail to the first aid station which I hit in the dark, right on schedule. I peel off to use the toilets right inside the camp ground then make a quick stop at the aid station table for some food. So far I’m subsisting on donuts. They still sound good, especially when mixed with potato chips. Sweet, salt. Yum.

The run up to Fuji seems difficult and I’m huffing and puffing. It’s the elevation but I forget this point and wonder if I’m carrying too much of Western States in my legs still. Dawn breaks before I hit the next aid station and I grab a pie on my way through then up to the top of Fuji peak. I get a nice view of the rest of the course, greet the sun then head right back down. I’ve really grown to love this course because of it’s challenges and spectacular scenery from high vantage points.


Between Fuji and Mt. Ray aid stations I run steady and continue to try to run more of the up hill sections, twenty steps at a time alternating with twenty of walking when necessary. I get to the aid station right on time and grab another pie. The aid station volunteers continue to wait on us hand and foot. Very professional and helpful. It really keeps me moving in and out quickly.

Off to the Twins and I just try to keep moving at a regular pace and do as much run:waling as I can rather than just straight hiking. I hit the aid station at about the same time as last year and clear out after just a brief stop knowing that the next section is mainly downhill. It is and I enjoy it.

It’s not getting hot and my fatigue level is about the same so I concentrate on keeping the calories going in. After getting to and through Charlton Lake I start on the section of trail that’s usually quite warm but not today. Unfortunately I tart to get some side stitches and it slows me down. But by the time I get to Rd 4290 I’m still on my pace and I get through there quickly. This is the theme of my aid station stops for this run. I never sit down and get out fairly fast. The food is starting to look like a chore so I start to take some gels instead of solids. It seems easier.

Part way back to the Twins aid station I remind myself that I need to finish the pie I started and I force myself to do so. My side stitches disappear after a few stops in the woods and I feel not half bad. I keep walk/running the hills and get back into the Twins five minutes ahead of schedule. Then it’s off to Maiden Peak aid station. There seems like a lot more downhill running this time than I remember from last year and I’m happy for it. Before I know it I’m at Maiden Peak AS and I load up on food and head up the trail to reach the peak.

Last year it took me 1:35 to get to the top. This year I shaved off 10 minutes and didn’t feel like I had spent all my effort getting there. Never-the-less when I saw Kelly the peak monitor at the top all I could do was confirm that I had climbed up far enough and I turned on my heel and headed right back down.

The route from Maiden Peak to the next aid station always seems to take way too long and I thought I might have gone off track for a while. Yet I’m happy to feel like I’m running within my capabilities and despite the route seeming long I get to the last AS 20 minutes faster than last year. I grab some food, pack some gels and head out for the last 7.5 mile stretch feeling no ominous catastrophic symptoms.

I do swear, however, that this next section can’t possibly be 7.5 miles. This should take me about 1:30 but even though I’m pushing my pace pretty hard I still take 1:45 to come into the finish line. Regardless, I’ll take it and I’m proud to have received my hat!

Contrary to years past this year I am able to walk around and visit and even eat at the BBQ. My friend Karen finishes – with a broken hand. Even though I feel tough sometimes, enduring hardships of the trail, she wins the award. She fell coming down the trail between Maiden Peak and Maiden Lake AS and just ran in the rest of the way without even seriously considering stopping. That would certainly be a reasonable excuse. I guess the drive to get a hat was just too strong.

So, I think I have figured out the perfect training scheme for this race. Warm up by running Western States at the end of June.

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