Just when I thought I couldn’t be more inspired by trail running and ultra-marathoning, yesterday happened.
My training partner Jojo had her first 50 miler Saturday – the Lake Sonoma 50. I was lucky enough to get to be a part of her big day and try to return some of the amazing support she gave me last weekend.
This was a very different scene from American River 50 the week before. This was a much smaller, all trail race, that also had a lot of hard core, talented ultra-runners. It was a grueling course, with never ending hills, over 10,000 feet of elevation gain, but all on beautiful trails surrounding Lake Sonoma. Yes please!
I rode up with Jojo and her crew on Friday night where consumed a yummy dinner and got to bed early. We were all up by 4:30am the next morning, ready to drive to the race start at 5am. After a very rainy week, it was set to be a beautiful day for a long run on the trails, although a little wet and muddy.
We were there to see Jojo off on the start and then drove to the first crewing spot, which would be about mile 12 for the runners. We had to park and walk in a ways, but were rewarded with some amazing scenery which definitely had me itching to put on my trail shoes and go for a run.
We got to see the leaders come in which was really fun to watch, especially since this race was stacked with top runners! Runners continued to come in, already wet and covered in mud, and then right on time Jojo came in looking so strong and happy.
We had the infamous “box” from last weekend ready to go with anything one might ever possibly need in a 50 mile race. Candy, Band-Aids, sunscreen – you name it, it’s in the box.
Oh and I forgot to mention, we also might have been getting a few smiles and laughs out of the runners during this time with some ridiculous wigs we had on.
We were able to meet up with her at multiple more spots along the way to help her with whatever she needed, whether it was fuel, shoe changes, water refills or just a smile. Over the course of the day, we made it to miles 12, 17, 25, 30, 38 and the finish, definitely a successful day of crewing!
As the day progressed, We started to get to know the other runners around her and got to watch attitudes and body language change. Watching runners over 50 miles is truly a journey of emotions. From excitement at the start line, to hope at mile 12, to the beginnings of exhaustion at mile 25, to fighting through pain at mile 38, to the look of pure simple joy at the finish line. For lack of a better word, it was simply inspiring.
Congrats to all the runners yesterday, but especially my friend Jojo. She truly put her heart and soul into her training and was able to have the victory lap she so much deserved. She makes me want to run further, run faster and run for the pure simple joy of it and watching her yesterday made that even more apparent.
I took a ton of pics of runners while I was out there, so if you ran or know someone who did, check out my picasa album!