At 3AM, after 4 hours of sleep, I'm driving down to the start of the race enjoying a beautiful sunrise. It promises to be a nice day.
Driving along the 110 acre Lake Cuyamaca at an elevation of 4600 feet in an Oak and Pine forest and surrounded on 3 sides by the 26,000 acre Cuyamaca Rancho State Park of which 52% is classified as wilderness.
The runner's check in at the Camp Cuyamaca Cedar Groove, which is the start/finish area, 30 minutes prior the race.
We were allowed to have drop-bags for every single aid station, 7 in total, along the course.
About 10 minutes prior the race runners started to get to the starting line. I recall that it was warmer than last year when the race has been held in October.
Professionally marked starting line LOL. We would cross this line 5 times until the race is over since two of the start/finish area serves as two aid stations within one loop.
Three minutes until the adventure starts.
And off we were. The weather was perfect.
I didn't know yet but this shirt of another runner very much describes my race.
Right at the beginning of the race I talked to Robbi who's an 2000 Ironman California finisher! Truly amazing! It is her first 100 miler.
30 minutes into the race and I feel good; however, we have a loooong way to go with lots and lots of good and bad surprises.
Power-walking up the first hill at 6:45 AM where the sun is starting to heat up the day.
First aid station (Sunrise) at mile 5.9, 1 hour 13 minutes into the race. I'm 30 minutes ahead of my planned schedule.
Just follow the arrow. This race always is exceptionally well marked and I never got lost.
Running a beautiful trail towards the PCT within my first loop. If everything goes right I'll be coming by this place again within 14 or 15 hours.
Every time I run on the PCT I can't help myself being inspired by David Horton's 2005 2,650 mile run on this trail.
1 hour and 7 minutes into the race and I'm taking things serious. I somehow start to feel that it was a mistake to run the San Diego marathon just 6 days prior this race.
Pedro Fages aid station at 12.6 miles. Last year my wife Linda met me here for the first time and I miss her a lot.
We saw a lot of burned trees along the way from the Cedar Fire on October 29, 2003 which was the largest wildfire in California history.
I really hoped that 9 locks will do the job LMAO
Back to the 2nd crossing of the start/finish line 20 miles into the run.
The 2nd big uphill to the Paso Picacho aid station was again happening when the day headed up. I rinsed my face along the way with the cool water whever possible.
There was a lot of green along the trail which I enjoyed a lot.
Our 3rd major 2.5 miles climb to the top of Middle Peak. I truly loved the smell of those white plants but, unfortunately, don't know how they are called.
Just before the 42.4 mile aid station (Sweetwater) we had to cross underneath an overpass. Luckily they added some way to cross this stream without getting our shoes wet.
Last aid station, Sweetwater, before the 50 mile mark. By now I start to feel hot-spots on my feet and I do my major mistake #2 and #3; I wear brand-new shoes on this race and don't take care of my hot-spots.
Yeah, it's a fake laugh. I do start to feel the distance and the going is getting harder.
You see a rabbit - I see dinner LOL
Just less than a mile before the 50 mile mark the sun is going down.
Another creek crossing right before the end of the loop.
I'm heading out for my 2nd loop. I did change my top and started to wear an ankle brace on my left foot. Since the last few miles that ankle is starting to bother me again.
Back to the Sunrise aid station the 2nd time exactly 14 hours later. I was there at 7:13 AM and it's 9:13 PM now. I'm 1 hour and 8 minutes ahead of my schedule.
By now I spend around 10 minutes at every aid station sitting down elevating my feet which helps me a lot. This hot minestrone soup made me so happy because the temperatures dropped quite a bit and there was some strong winds there.
Running along the trail at night I almost stood on this frog. Dude, move aside because you're on a dangerous spot.
A rather weird self-portrait taken exactly at midnight. The next few hours I will have to battle the will to fall asleep and I spend a few nice hours running and chatting with Chrissy Weiss. She'll do the Western States this year. What an amazing woman.
There's always a sunrise, which gives me new energy which I so much need. I'm close to the 70 mile aid station, where I'll drop but then change my mind and keep going on. 30 miles, I keep thinking, 30 miles! You can do it!
13.8 miles prior the finish line I asked to be dropped again because I was beat to death. However, Jeff and his pacer Joy came by that aid station and convinced me to keep on going with them. I did and came to the last aid station, as shown here, with 3 hours to spare for the last 7.6 miles.
Together we conquered the last miles where Jeff took the lead and pushed me along. It's his first 100 miler and he's an amazing guy. He had serious stomach problems at mile 50 but made a superb come-back.
After 30 hours and 17 minutes of constant forward motion I crossed the finish line. I could not have done it without my wife Linda and the many phone calls to her making her listen to my whining making her convince me to go on.
I also owe my finish to Jeff and Joy who where pulling me along the last 13 miles enduring my silence suffering and deathly stinky smell. Thanks Jeff. See you at your next 100 miler LOL.
Ending a though race with a bucket full of ice which wasn't as painfull as the last 30 hours. I did 3 major beginner's mistakes and I learned a lot at this race. Also a huge thank you for everybody making this day possible especially all the amazing volunteers.