by Lenny Garza
For those of you who did the fifty miler, the stars were out and the flickering lights of the city were in the distance as we made our way up Avalon Canyon behind Wrigley Gardens for our 100K. There were 95 who started the race, and by the time we got to the microwave tower above Avalon, the sun was coming up and the flashlights were discarded. We worked our way into Haypress, the first water stop. After some nourishment, we continued on to the airport along the paved route. I saw a buffalo to my right and I swear that he seemed to be planted there for our enjoyment, by the Chamber of Commerce. Leaving the airport water stop, we took the route through Escondido Ranch towards Little Harbor. The canyon to our left was emerald green and the stream that was so docile when we did the fifty miler was now swollen and rushing from all the rains. Flowers were blooming, enhanced by a clear sky at the time.
We hit our third water stop just above Little Harbor. It was a little cool but very comfortable as we worked our way up the canyon towards Two Harbors. There were more buffalo to our left. This time I suffered no spasm like I did in January, and I credit that to taking salt tablets and being better conditioned. Coming into Two Harbors, race director Baz was there to greet us. Running the west end of the island was our next challenge. It started out fairly flat and continued that way to Emerald Bay, which was the 31-mile mark. The climb ahead was an 1800' gain over one mile and I would swear a 40 to 45 degree angle of ascent. It was indeed a walker to get to the top of Silverado Peak. There were about ten runners around me at that point, and slowly I moved ahead of some of them as some others passed me. It was a slow descent into Cat Harbor and then on over to our main water stop at mile 37. We doubled back from that point.
They added more water stops on the return, which was helpful. My legs needed that extra nourishment to keep going, and while ascending the road to the airport, I fixed my eyes on one runner ahead and focused on catching him, to get my mind off my physical problems at the time. I hit the 50-mile mark just shy of the airport in 10:30, so I know it would be difficult for me to make it in under 12:00 to Avalon. I kept a steady pace and reached the microwave tower above Avalon at exactly 12 hours, which was five o'clock, and I was working hard to get in before sunset. I joined another runner and we paced each other to the finish in just over 13 hours. We all shook hands and were happy to finish. We laughed and felt pretty good, and we would definitely do it again next year.Back to story index page