We woke up to a clear windless morning in Palmdale. Temps were cool but not cold in the morning, possibly forecasting high temps by the afternoon?
We got checked in and started out at 0610, a little late but making that all important porta potty stop.
To describe the course in a few short words...miles of gradual uphill and miles of downhill. Not too technical and not too steep(except a few sections)There were 2 sections of out and backs meeting at the 28/42 mile aid station. So, up and down we hiked/ran. At the first aid station everything was well, we checked in and moved on quickly. Rick, as always, was strong and amazing. Encouraging and patient he helped me through sock changes(no blisters this time!) and refueling. He kept the pace easy but made sure we stayed on track. He knew what the cutoffs were and pushed it so we would make them. We joked and laughed and enjoyed the beautiful day. The 35 mile turnaround point had a cutoff time of 8 hours and we had to push the pace a bit to make it. We arrived with about 20 min to spare, and a reminder that we had to get to the 42 mile aid station-7 miles away in just over 2 hours otherwise risk getting cut. Rick was confident we would make the cutoff, it was mostly downhill and 2 hours was plenty of time...but the push to make the 8 hour cutoff had taken it's toll on me. I was suddenly really tired. I'd been doing good, eating a drinking at the stops, but the 35 mile stop did nothing for me. I walked away from there bone weary. The temperature was probably in the 80's. The next aid station was 3 miles away...the luau group...some ice, and beer for Rick then onward. After a mile or so, Rick was getting concerned, I was really beginning to slow down. Even on the downhills, my pace dropped to 13 min/miles. We had to average 15 min miles to make the next cutoff. He fished around in my hydration pack and found some Hammergel. That helped alot. Being tired I'd forgotten to stayed properly fueled. 5 minutes later, gel working, we picked up some speed and finished with a strong downhill at the 42 mile aid station in 1.5 hours. SoCal Trailheadz were everywhere cheering on clubmates , taking photos and crewing. There was so much energy there, i felt refreshed and ready to finish. 8 miles left and 3 hours to complete them. It was the homestretch and we would make it. If we finished under 13 hours we would get our finishers medals. After that it would be an unoffical finish and no medal...well after all that, I wanted a medal!!! An endless hot uphill and then the final downhill we crossed the line at 12:34. Rick celebrated with a free beer, hot potato soup and a coke. And I took a nap in the back of his truck.
Thanks big guy, i wouldn't have finished without your neverending and unselfish support. Your smile and your calm voice kept me moving...and yes, I had a great time!