Wow!! Devil Mountain 50 miler was mean! I couldn't decide whether I should do the 50K or the 50 miles so I figured I would wait until mile 23, aid station 4. Gecko, organizations of the race, are really nice about it. If you signed up for the 50 miler and want to drop to the 50K at aid station 4, that is totally fine. You are eligible for awards and a finisher medal.
So, I made it to the aid station and still felt really good. I had been running back and forth with a woman in my age group for a while. She was going on; of course I would go on. Little did I know what would befall me at this same point on the way back (ominous music in the background).
The two of us continued for many miles together. Made it to the turn around and took a page from the book, to prove we had been there. Headed back, still talking and laughing. Continued to aid station 6 and knew we had a tough 8 mile stretch to our next stop, which had my drop bag with food, warm clothes, and lights. Eight miles but it was only 5 pm. Plenty of time to get there before dark. Plenty of time....
Where did all that time go? Seriously, how could it take that long to get to the aid station? It was getting dark, I was out of food, I was wet, and the aid station was missing. The woman running with me had a small flash light so she took off. No way could I stay with her, since I couldn't see the trail. Where is that aid station? I was finally convinced that we had by-passed it (later found out that we did indeed by-pass it....the trail to the aid station was like an exit ramp and we stayed on the freeway, missing the ramp).
Not funny anymore. Hungry. Cold. Tired. DARK!!! Seriously dark. I could see just well enough to follow the trail from one glow stick to the next. And then I couldn't. Each time I headed out from the last glow stick, I tripped over something and fell on my face. Went back to the glow stick, put on my emergency rain poncho and hunkered down to wait for the next runner. The next runner never came. I WAS the next runner; I was DFL at this point. OK, time to try out my emergency whistle. Turns out I was very close to the road, but I couldn't know that. One of the race directors came out to retrieve me and we walked a mile or so together. Got a ride back to the finish. The good news: I had a bunch of friends waiting at the end. So nice to have friends.
Next morning, got up and went to the pancake breakfast and then drove home. The kids (all four grandkids and Jonas and Alexis) flew in that evening. I was exhausted but determined to keep up with the young'uns. Not an easy task. Did a short run with 9 year old Avery on Monday and again on Wednesday. He has a really nice, easy stride.
All the kids left today. The house is quiet. Too quiet. Way too quiet. Sigh.