The next downhill section I didn't really feel very good. Temperatures were rising and I was soaked with sweat and my hiccuping and indigestion were back. Seeing everybody's happy smiles and encouraging words as they headed up to North Peak sure helped though, and once I was on a flatter downhill I felt a little better, but knew I needed more calories- I was starting to hit the wall for the first time at mile 23. I ate my last Honey Stinger waffle and ran through the next section with my arms tucked in tight. It was nearly impossible to run without hitting overgrown bushes and after all the poison oak I've gotten out here during training I was determined not to get more!
Then I saw her- the last female I remembered seeing at the mile 13 aid station. Is she in first place? Am I now in first place since she politely let me pass? Seriously, what is happening? And WHAT is this steep uphill doing at mile 24.5? I don't remember this being on the elevation profile?!
As I hit the 5th aid station, the volunteers there confirmed what I was kind of afraid of actually! They told me I was first female and cheered! No way! I glanced at my watch and had to laugh because last year Magdalena Boulet (Western States 100 champion) had been done with the whole race for an HOUR by this time, and I still had 5 miles left! haha! Though I was continually looking over my shoulder, I still stopped to snap this photo:
Finally, I approached the LAST AID STATION (!!) and they too yelled out that I was first female and were so great at making sure I had what I needed! I grabbed a gel- MUCH easier to force down. I texted my mom (haha) that I'd be done in 2.5 miles, emptied the rocks from my shoes, and continued to run tired, scared, and aware that I had just destroyed my toenail on the CRAZY steep downhill!
Huge thanks to all the amazing volunteers and big props to Brazen Racing, they always do a great job. The course marking was PERfect and as usual the aid station and post race food was great (though admittedly, I couldn't eat much!).