This time we decided to take the train from Fullerton to Sacramento.
Our adventure started at Fullerton catching the train to Los Angeles Union Station. From there we took the bus to Bakersfield and then the train again to Stockton. Last a quick bus ride to Sacramento.
Linda is driving me to the start which is about 1 hour away. She will leave then and pick me up the next day.
Arriving at the race start/finish area. RD Robert and Linda are in the progress setting up the area. Currently it was pretty cold as you can tell.
The first runners arrive and check in with Linda.
It's about 45 minutes prior race start and we're enjoying some time together before she leaves. I wish Linda could stick around but we borrowed our friends car and she needs to go back. Our kids are all with our friend too.
About 30 minutes before the fun starts. I'm as ready as I can be. Just 5 weeks ago I ran San Diego 100 miler and this race is my 4th 100 miler this year alone. I call it Jakob's Grand Slam of Ultrarunning :)
Five minutes prior race start we gather at the starting line.
Race director Robert gives out some last minute advise.
Three minutes prior race start. We will start running down the street you see behind the runners for half a mile, turn around and come back for a total of 1 mile. Then we start the Olmstead loop, which is 9 miles long, and we'll run it 11 times.
100 mile runners coming back from the half mile turn around.
This is MarathonManiac Tony "Endorphin Dude" Nguyen and one of the happiest runner out there. He's running the 24 hours and will complete 4 loops.
Almost all the trail was in perfect running condition. There were a couple of very short sections which were more technical.
This 9 mile loop has many different sections and about 900 feet uphills per loop.
There were also many creek crossings and they all were easy to navigate by safely except one. I called it the Evil Creek. That picture is coming later.
And the trail goes on. We were lucky and the weather never got really hot. The hottest temperatures were around 85 degrees Fahrenheit. I heard that last year it was 100+F hot!
Another easy creek crossing.
The loop is 9 miles long. The first aid station is 3.5 miles into the loop. Then there's a small unmanned water station at mile 7.5. And the end of the loop there's the main aid station with lots of great food. This picture is after the first aid station probably around mile 5.5.
Within the last 4 miles there were many open trails to run which were the hottest parts of the race. And that's why they added a unmanned water only aid station at mile 7.5.
I made the "Javelina Jundred Syndrome" error by going out way too fast. The first two loops I finished each in about 2 hours. Later on I died pretty good, of course, and the last loop took me 3.5 hours.
This was my favorite spot of the race because that wooden bridge is exactly 1 mile from the loops finish aid station.
There's the last small uphill section 0.8 miles before the loop end.
All in all this is a superb race, excellent organized and lots of fun. I, however, fully underestimated this race and it was tougher than I thought.
Ed Ettinghausen is my hero. He officially ran 135 marathons within 1 year making it into the Guinness Book of Records. He also just finished Badwater 135 only 4 days prior this race.
This is the small unmanned water only aid station 1.5 miles prior the loop ends on the hottest part of the course. RD Robert asked us not to leave any energy gels packages there, since they then have to pick it up, but of course runners did. A trash can right there would solve that problem.
This loop is very popular for horse riders and I saw many of them. On my few last loops I wished I had a horse :)
This is the 3.5 aid station. This guy (sorry I forgot to ask for you name) was taking care of this aid station during the whole race. Thank you for volunteering!
Dirty shoes but interestingly the right one is dirtier. That's because one creek I could not avoid to get wet feet so I used my right feet to pass through.
And here it is! The "Evil Creek"! For the first two loops I was able to jump over it at the very left side but afterwards I was just too tired. Twice I carried bigger rocks and threw it in the middle of the left side (as you can see inside the water) but it really didn't help. By loop 8 I really didn't care anymore and stepped inside the water with my right foot. This part was exactly 2 miles before the loop ends and I really disliked it.
Perfect running trail.
Ed is catching up on my on my last loop and together we sit at the 3.5 mile aid station for a bit. Within about 3 minutes I moved on since I was down to a walk and time was running out.
Ed caught up on my 3 miles prior the end of the race and stuck with me. I was so happy because talking to him distracted me from the blister pain I by then experienced. Here we approach the finish line and my wife Linda is taking this picture.
That's it! I'm so happy! 29:09:09. Slow but I made it. Just to compare by the end of the 2nd loop I was on a 22 hour finish pace. I went out way too fast and paid the price. But a finish is a finish :)
Uff, what an adventure. 20 runner started the 100 mile race and 7 finished it.
We did it! Posing our belt buckles with RD Robert. Robert is so down to earth and puts on an excellent low key race. I have not a single complain (well, maybe build a bridge at the Evil Creek LOL) and I hope I will make it back to this race again.
I sure was glad to get out of those shoes. The first 3 loops I wore Injinji socks but had so much issues with them that I switched to normal socks I brought along for after the race. Obviously, as you can see, those socks are history. I counted 10 blisters and I really start to believe that my feet grew bigger since it feels that I don't have enough space in the shoe anymore. I ran all my 100 miles in Brooks Cascadia but only start having huge blister problems in my last 3 100 milers. I will start running in a half size bigger shoe from now on.