I had managed to injure myself in February while training for this race, then gotten the flu and a crazy emphysemic cough that lasted for weeks. Then, basically, I just lost my mojo. So Kam trained for her Leona Divide 50M race while I ate chips. I think I made the right choice.
On race day, I was there to say encouraging things and then pick her up at the end. I did some car-parking volunteer stuff, which was surprisingly enjoyable, then drove off to Palmdale for coffee (yeah, it’s not close). I then came back that afternoon to meet Kam at the San Francisquito aid station. It’s like San Francisco, but with mosquitoes.
I walked up the trail to the ridgeline saddle to wait, then further down the trail. As runners passed I’d say something positive like “Good Job!” or “Almost There!” or “I can hardly tell you’re sweating!” It was still about 90. It peaked over 100 earlier that day. As I waited, I anxiously checked my watch. It was getting close to the cutoff time.
To see if could help, I walked another mile or more down the trail and watched the cutoff time come and go. No sign of Kam. It was really a bummer. The year before she had dropped down to the 50m from the 50k due to a knee injury. I assumed the same thing had happened this year, so I started heading back to the aid station.
A few yards later, I caught up to a guy who looked a wee south of happiness. I followed him for a bit and tried to chat to distract from the pain. This lasted until he started throwing up / dry heaving and then sat heavily in the dirt.
I spent the next hour or more with him as we moseyed back to the aid station. At some point we picked up another straggler, this time a seriously dehydrated 16 or 17 year old. Runner one volunteered some of his water to runner two, and we slowly made our way up to the saddle. At the top, the younger runner took off an I walked down to the station with the first guy. It was a great conversation. I was sad that he’d missed his cutoff, but it was good getting to know someone new and feeling a bit useful. I ended up driving him back to the starting line, and hope to see him again in future races.
I met Kam at the start and we took off. Turned out she had been kickin’ butt then eaten too much (odd for her) and ended up throwing up and bonking. So she had to drop down to the 50k again. We’ll get this race right some year…