This was my second Backbone attempt in 10 days. I started at 3:35 a.m. and ran the first 25.6 miles solo. It was a bit chilly and windy, quintessential LA winter running weather with those Santa Ana's. My first aid stop was at mile 18.3. I had one main crewer, the amazing Rhea Bothe, who helped me keep the stops short and sweet. I picked up my coach, Justin Torres, at Piuma, right before one of the biggest climbs. Teresita Gomez, another badass trail runner, joined us at Kanan (mile 38). I screwed up some electrolytes and was really sick from mile 28-53 and couldn't take in many calories, but my wonderful pacers helped me keep my spirits up. I picked up a new pacer at Mishe Mokwa (mile 52), a sweet, fast runner named Waldo, and started the climb up to Sandstone Peak. I then heard my name and looked up and realized that it was Mac McIntosh, one of my best friend's, run bud, and trail mentor (she recently set the FKT for women's unsupported on Backbone), was waiting for me half-way up. She was full of light and positivity. She advised my chug a Coke, and thank God I did. I was finally able to throw up (I am talking at least a solid minute of projectile potatoes. It was amazing) and I felt so much better. My head cleared and I was able to click in more to the trail and let go. I tested calories and they were sticking, so I opened up a little bit on that epic downhill.
The last few miles is one of my all-time favorite running experiences and I could not wait to finally turn on my music and dance my way to the finish. One of my other dear running friend's, Larry Miller, ran/danced with us the last 1.5 miles to the end. Mac showered me with champagne and the joy and elation were palpable. I feel so grateful and lucky to have such amazing friends and a running community who believed I could do this long before I did. Backbone is a beautiful beast, having grown up in the area, enjoyed beautiful miles on sections with friends, and it's where I ran my first-ever ultra at Ray Miller, I am so happy I finally got to run every single step of it. It's the best kind of "hurts so good."