What an absolutely amazing experience STORMY was. This event is superbly organized, from start to finish. Race director Wendy Montgomery, who organized the 10th anniversay of this race and has been in charge of the event for six years now after winning it three times, and her team are beyond fantastic.
You couldn't ask for more at the aid stations, the volunteers go out of their way to be helpful and supportive. The trails are stunning, with great views along the way, and the course is very well-marked. And you meet some great and inspiring people, who are either running, volunteering, cheering or any combination thereof.
I highly highly recommend any runner try this race, whether it is as part of a relay team where you can run a short distance and sample part of the course, or as a solo 50-miler or - I cannot even begin to imagine - doing two laps as a solo 100-miler. (Make sure you're comfortable running on trails and prepare properly for your distance / leg of course.)
I wasn't sure what to expect in terms of pacing or finish time and am extremely happy with my 10hr 15min, split fairly evenly I think, especially taking into account that my downhill trail running skills are, shall we say, somewhat limited.
For most of the race I felt great and was able to stay in the moment nearly the entire way. The final three hours were very challenging but in a way not as tough as I had anticipated. There was always something to look forward to, whether it was reaching the next aid station, a quick exchange with another competitor, or the next downhill, flat part or uphill, or simply taking the next step and realizing I was still moving.
Today I am stiff and the scrapes on knees and hands from a silly fall don't look pretty. But I feel good and very grateful for this experience.
As Tim Noakes recommends in Lore of Running, I lay down with legs in the air shortly after finishing for a good five minutes. Last night I wrapped my calves in Gladwrap with a healthy layer of Voltaren on them, a very helpful trick I learnt from a chiropractor three years ago.
Later I'll write more about race day but for now I'll leave it at having enjoyed the event more than enough to come back another year.