I wanted to laugh this morning at 5:30 am. There we were at the parking lot on the Northeast side of the Golden Gate Bridge for our weekly early morning run in the Headlands, waiting to see who was going to get out of their car first. It was dark, raining, cold and windy. The walk to my carpool was with an umbrella, the drive to the bridge was with the heater on and I had three layers - the last thing I wanted to do was shed those layers and head out into the rain and muddy trails. Thank God for the group because I would not have done it on my own. Roughly five minutes later we were off, a smaller group than usual but joined by three new runners. Two of them I knew of by their reputation. They were sisters, twins, one of them won the female race at my first ultra - Headlands 50k back in 2002. I remembered her because she was local and ran for the club who hosted the race - Tamalpa. I didn' t remember the name of the male champion except that he was from Idaho and also broke the course record.
Headlands 50k what a blast. The website then clearly stated that it wasn't recommended for a first 50k but I signed up anyway. It was less about courage and confidence and more about ignorance about what seven hills and over 7000 feet of climbing really meant. I showed up to registration in my super baggy college jeans, hoodie, knit cap and deer in the headlights look. I must have looked so green and painfully new. The guy who parked next to me was surprised I finished the race, he actually said "oh you finishted?!" I don't blame him, not at all. I wouldn't have bet money on me either.
I didn't know what to expect but I finished and came away wanting more, the rest is history. Until that day at the Headlands I had no idea the place even existed despite having lived in San Francisco for nine years at that time. Seeing Mary Fagan made me remember that day all over again. When I got home I pulled up the results from the run and was blown away by all the familiar names on it. Wow! So many friends, so many people who inspire me now. I didn't know them then but they were there. The name that jumped at me the most was my pal Carrie Sisk's, 5th female with a 5:01. Back then she ran for the Vasque Ultra-Running Team and she was quite the ass kicker! I've seen pictures when she used to race competitively, focused with great form. I wish I had known her then but I would not have been able to keep up anyway. She's pacing me at Western this year, one of two pacers. I paced her in 2009.
It was a busy day today work wise but in the quiet moments in between I've been thinking about that first ultra. Nothing like your first right? When I started running in the gym treadmill I never imagined it would come to this. Glad to be here!
Headlands 50k 2002 results.