This morning I managed to slow Will down enough to keep up with him for almost four hours, a substantial achievement by any standard.
The race started off from the beach, and started with a pretty steep climb over the first three miles up to an aid station at about 1800 feet. Most people were pretty restrained on the ascent, which helped keep Will from going into a bloodlust and charging off so I couldn't keep up. This part of the trail was really cool-- there were a few little waterfalls, lots of big mossy trees, and a ladder. My special friend Rachel was waiting for us at the aid station at the top of the climb, and we convinced Will to pause and enjoy a gatorade, instead of charging through. Heading out of the aid station, we passed a group middle-aged female hikers; one of them looked at Will and exclaimed "nice bod!" We were all thinking it, somebody had to say it. Then we headed down into Muir Woods, a great national park with huge redwoods and tourists, dropping almost the full 1800 we climbed, then heading right back up to the same aid station at mile 11. Rachel was there again, and supported us while we ate some ultra Cheeze-its.
After mile 11, most of the run was along a relatively flat out and back. We passed some delightful wildflowers, and then some fog rolled in, temperature dropped, and a little rain started. Will's tiny frame almost got blown off the mountain. The weather was actually fairly awful-- much worse than Birkie! weather. Our fingers had a tough time with the snacks we brought along. We made it to the aid station at mile 17 feeling great, the flat part went by really nicely, and the fan cheered us in. From there it was just a mile and a half to the turn around, so we got to see who was ahead of us. Other than one dude who was absurdly far ahead, we were pretty pleased to note only a handful of folks ahead of us, and Will got a little fired up for a top ten finish. I was feeling good, so I let him take the lead (in the run and the conversation), figuring I would try to hang on as long as I could.
We kept up a good pace through the flat return, then Will let loose on the descent to the beach. Truly terrifying. I think we were moving so fast the poison oak couldn't stick to us. The just a short trip through Stinson Beach to the finish, and one marathon done.
All in all, a pretty awesome race. Great trails, nice people, and an huge chunk of uncut WillGT time. Will's got an intense summer schedule of running, but that will be important to get him ready for Birkie! 2011. He's going to rock it in Boston with D'Fitz and Jersey with his dad, then get back to his absurd long runs. The amount Will runs is crazy, but after today I can definitely see the appeal.