WHAT A DAY. Apologies for the delay in posting - has been nuts.
We got going at 5 AM - we were worried about the heat later in the day - and sailed up to Buena Vista (we got a whole bunch of segment golds on the way up - we were feeling great). The sun came up as we got to the mailbox below the telegraphs, and then we met up with Lillie at Telegraph Pass, shed some layers, and refilled water. Note that we wore all blue, because Gary in our run club always wears blue and he is FAST.
Smooth sailing from there to the halfway point at 43rd and Estrella, where John and Bradley were waiting to give us a change of shoes and some nutrition and hydration and motivation (the three most important -tions for a long run). Turned around ~9 am feeling great - it had been cool all day, easy running, cruising.
Met up with Ed to climb The Big Hill a few miles after the turnaround. Talked about some of his early 50k mishaps and crazy crossfit workouts that he and Julie do. We were worried about that hill, but we put it in a low gear and churned it out. Found Zach a bit after Goat Hill and they kept us eating and moving - still feeling great 75% of the way in.
Zach paced us until we saw John again after the hill under the telegraphs. Last 7 miles all downhill, mostly smooth, should be fantastic running, but this is where the wheels fell off for me. Got some bad runner's knee in my left knee and had to walk a lot of this section. I was very frustrated, Julie and John were extremely sweet, we knew that we would finish and get some ice at the bottom.
On the last big National downhill we started to hear cowbell (we also saw a woman meditating amid the running and the cowbell - hilarious) and saw Julie's mom waiting to cheer us on the last mile. So freaking sweet. We ran the last mile - there is a video and it was NOT pretty - this was big time pain cave but I got a spurt of energy/inspiration/adrenaline 100 yds from the finish and we "sprinted" in (as much as one can sprint without bending the left leg).
At the end of the day, the huge majority of the run was BEAUTIFUL and was an absolute blast with friends and community and blue gatorade and cacti. We looove this mountain.