December 2009. Brooke and Kouba, “So, we were thinking of running the SOB 50K in July.” Laura casually replies, “Ok.”
February 2010. Laura emails Clear Water Outdoor about the SOB 50K.
March 2010. Everyone is registered for the race.
July 10, 2010.
Time to wake up. Just another long run on a weekend right? Don’t get nervous. Don’t think about spending the next seven hours running. I could drive to San Francisco in that time. What am I thinking? Running for seven hours? Too late to turn back now. Get dressed. Stuff in a bagel, a couple of slices of turkey, a cup of coffee. Hit the bathroom. Lace up the shoes. Time to go.
Thankfully, I was not alone in my delirium. My husband, Aaron, was running the SOB 50K and Julie Nor, from Lake Geneva, was staying at our house and a part of the CWO team we had put together to run this race. Our boys had spent the night at a friend’s house (thank you Wittmers family!!!), the dog was at the kennel. It was just the three of us mumbling and fidgeting around the house, gathering our things.
4:40 am. We pull up in the Bauer family’s driveway. The sky is getting lighter, it’s a bit more bearable to be awake. Julie and I hop in Brooke’s car, Aaron takes off to pick up Adam.
4:55 am. We wait outside at Kouba’s house. Brooke heads in to make sure she knows we are waiting. The house is dark.
5:05 am. Brooke, Kouba, Julie, and I are off to the race start. Kouba had set her alarm to NPR. We now know NPR is not on before 6am. She woke up…oh the birds are singing….oh crap, the birds are singing, I’m late. Kouba tried to take a bite of her egg sandwich on the curvy road up to the race start… but that early in the morning, not hungry, nervous, on a curvy mountain road, still panicked about not waking up in time, it just didn’t go in well, or at all for that matter.
5:40 am. We arrive. There is a low murmur around us of nervous runners walking around to the porta-potties, picking up packets, pinning numbers on, and wondering how hot it will really get while we are running.
6:00 am. The most bizarre race start I have ever been a part of. We are doing the early start for the 50K. The “true race” doesn’t start until 7am. The best time that you can get when doing the early start is six hours. Meaning, if you felt great and finished at 5:50, your official time would still read six hours. The race directors are announcing the start. We line up between a few cones and everyone is moving backwards from the start line. No one wants to be in the front of the pack. It’s quite amusing actually, people saying “no you go in front, I don’t want to”. Soon, we hear the countdown and the word “go” and we are off. It ended up Brooke, Kouba, Julie, and I led the race. It was fun to take off and have no one in front of us – a first for me. Our pace was a bit faster than needed, but we led until the first aid station, just under three miles in to the race. We stopped, made Kouba grab a few snacks to get something in her stomach and then carried on.
Kouba, Brooke, Laura, Julie
I’m not going to describe the entire race or each aid station. Looking back, it’s actually quite a blur for me. I remember we ran quite a bit of the race on our own. Julie had gone ahead, and Kouba, Brooke and I were just out for another weekend long run. We were just thinking of when the 7am start guys would start passing us, and soon enough Eric Skaggs seemed to float right by us (who then won the race in 3:43). Soon after Steve Harding (part of the CWO team) come running by strong. Adam Cortell and Aaron Luksich came running past us just before the half way aid station. The aid station was actually over half way at around 16 miles. At that point, there was a rush of runners. The early starters mixed in with the 7am starters. We were getting passed, and occasionally, would pass a few others.
At this point, Kouba was turning in to a super hero. Brooke and I were feeling strong, no pain that we couldn’t manage (even with both of Brooke's ankles in braces and recovering from plantar fasciitis - I think she has the pain tolerance of, well, someone that has an extremely high level of pain tolerance), and we were smiling and chatting knowing we were over half way.
A little history on Kouba – she had been suffering from a cold the week and a half before the race. She saw her doctor on Wednesday before the race and got diagnosed with a bacterial chest and sinus infection and some antibiotics to go along with it. Dehydrated from antibiotics, exhausted from her cold, rushing to the start without anything to eat, she was somewhat miserable before the half way point even came. But, she was still running. As we ran, we would separate and re-group at the aid stations. Kouba was struggling, but always right there with us. I honestly, don’t know how she did it. I don’t know many that would have been able to push through everything I imagine she was feeling that day. By the last aid station – less than three miles to go, Brooke and I took off and started running to the finish. We knew she’d make it. We all wanted to cross together, but Kouba had told us she’d most likely be walking the rest of the way and to go ahead.
There it was. The trail ended and the last 0.8 miles of the race was in front of us. It was all uphill. Really, it was. It was the hardest 0.8 miles I have ever run in my life. Brooke was awesome. I told her I needed some help to not start walking up the last hill and she motivated me to the finish. Julie, Steve, Adam, and Aaron were waiting and cheering us in. And then, it was done. 31.07 miles. Seven hours and fifteen minutes of trails, slippery snow, rocky downhills, a forever-long FOUR MILE uphill (at mile 22), crazy-fun aid-stations, the scorching mountain sun… it was all behind us. We did it! Kouba finished just five minutes later. We really did it.
SOB 50K Course
We ate ice cream sandwiches, burritos, watermelon, cookies, and whatever else was in sight.
We were able to cheer Dave in to the finish – and then we were all done. The entire CWO team that started the race, finished it.
I’d have to say, that weekend was definitely a highlight of my life. Of course, the accomplishment for me of running a 50K, but we also had a blast the entire weekend – a trip to Crater Lake National Park, the pre-race dinner party, the actual race, the post-race dinner party, a trip to the Redwoods and the coast… I couldn’t have asked for more. It’s amazing what a “little” race can do to bring a group of fun-loving runners, families, and friends together.
Thank you Clear Water Outdoor.
Thank you SOB 50K.
Overall Results for Team CWO:
11th - Steve Harding: 4:46
18th - Adam Cortell: 4:57:03
20th - Aaron Luksich: 4:57:38
77th - Julie Nor: 6:11
104th - David Schuster: 6:43
128th - Laura Luksich: 7:15
129th - Brooke Bauer: 7:15
130th - Kouba Sayre: 7:21
The kids at a pre-race party. Crater Lake National Park.
Adam, Dave, Aaron, and Steve at the start.
The view from the start. A snowy section of the course. Runners on trail.
Yes, still planning to review the many flavors of gels, gu’s, bloks, and fun running foods.
The drama of a team registration.
More gear reviews.
Training for the Nike Women’s San Francisco Marathon – October 17, 2010.