San Diego 100 is a race that Sean has run the past 2 years and since it is a local race it’s nice and easy for to crew.
For 2016 they moved the race from Sat-Sun to Fri-Sat, so I took the day off work to crew & volunteer. For the most part, we had cell service, except at Pioneer Mail so I could have worked remotely, but with all the driving from place to place it’s easier just not to deal with it.
This year I decided to volunteer as well as crew so I asked my friends at Running Skirts if I could be a part of their team at the first aid station, at the Paso Picacho Campgrounds.
So Sean & I got up early on Friday morning to head over to Lake Cuyamaca for the start of the race. We got there in plenty of time, got one of the last parking spots in the lot and then walked over so Sean could get his packet.
Along the way we chatted with other runners who either know Sean from other races or us both.
We said Hi to Cindy & Fern, Cindy would finish 3rd female in her first 100 mile race in just under 23 hours!! We chatted with a bunch of our other runner friends and then eventually it was time for the race to start.
The race director, Scotty Mills, talked a lot about how it was going to be extremely hot, up to 108 in some areas, and how important it was to be hydrated and to take it easy. He really stressed that they wanted everyone to get back safely. And then after a few more comments it was time and they were off!
And then Fern & I headed quickly over to Paso Picacho to join Christy and the other volunteers to get things set up for the runners. Christy & Cindy own Running Skirts and they generously gave all the volunteers full outfits to wear, as well as giving their cooling buffs to all the runners. Sean wears their buffs every race so we can attest to how well they work.
Not too long after arriving, our friends Kat & Matt came over as well, Kat & I got a few photos and then got to work.
The first aid station is a busy one because it’s only 7.5 miles from the start and everyone is still relatively close together. The cut-off is 2.5 hours.
We got the food set out, we made PB&J, cut up salted potatoes, watermelon, frozen grapes, etc. We filled containers with water and tailwind. And then took the tags off the cooling buffs and put them in a cooler full of ice water.
Not long after that the runners started coming. It was slow to start and then Bam! they were coming fast and furious. I was filling water bottles and directing people to the other side for Tailwind & ice. We were all moving like crazy trying to get everyone out and on their way.
It went pretty smoothly and we got everyone off quickly and safely, with the last runner leaving 10 minutes before the cut-off. The sweepers came, we got them some food and then we all packed everything up and headed back to the lake to go crew. Christy & Fern were crewing for Cindy while I crewed Sean.
The next aid station that we could be at was at Sunrise. By this point it was getting really warm. Sean came in looking really good. He got a lot of ice and then was on his way.
I headed out to see him at Pioneer Mail, mile 28ish. Crew wasn’t allowed inside the aid station for the first pass. They set up the aid station very differently than last year, with 2 huge RVs taking up a lot of space and really blocking off view of the runners.
When Sean came through, he filled his buff with lots of ice, took a water bath and refilled his bottles. It was weird not being able to help him but he finished up and then we chatted for a minute before he headed out. After this I wouldn’t see him for 20 miles.
Since I had a while until I saw Sean again, I drove out to get gas and some cold water before picking his pacer up. Eric and I headed to Meadows (one of my favorite spots to run out there). We chilled out for a while before hanging out with Christy & Fern for a while.
Fern asked me to take photos for them when Cindy came in so I was the official photographer 😉 lol. They are a well oiled machine, with one person taking off her socks & shoes, Christy putting some cream on her legs, then putting her socks back on, all the while she is eating, someone else is massaging her shoulders and using the Inov-8 on her legs. It was actually quite fun to watch.
She got on her way and then we waited a bit longer for Sean. He came in all smiles. It would only be another 7 miles until he could pick up Eric for the next 45 miles.
We headed over to Red Tail Roost, which last year was a much bigger aid station. This year it was pretty much just for pacer pick-up, which actually was nice since last year pacers had to be dropped off at Penny Pines and there isn’t enough parking for crew cars.
Sean came in looking strong, he and Eric would head out to mile 64, a new aid station for us, Cibbet Flats. Kat & Matt were running this aid station. To get to this aid station you need to continue on Sunrise Hwy to the 8 heading towards El Centro, go 2 exits (I think) and then then drive towards the Cibbet Flats campground. The aid station was in the campground.
I hung out with Kat checking people in and out while I waited for Sean to arrive. He was pretty much right on schedule. We got his bottles iced up, I gave him a Monster and pretty much sent him on his way. It would be 20 miles until I would see him next and he was still on pace for a sub-24 hour race.
By the time I saw him next at Pioneer Mail, he was walking and not in the best of spirits. He and Eric along with another runner had gotten lost leaving one of the aid stations, the aid station even saw them go the wrong way and never said anything, which seriously affected his mental fortitude at that point.
They would continue on, however without a time goal the goal shifted to just finish and would include a lot more walking than he normally did.
I would see them again at Sunrise, they got there just after the sun actually rose and had the opportunity to see a spectacular sunrise. But even at 6:30am, I could tell, it was getting hot, I gave him my extra buff and we filled it with ice so he would keep cool over the last 9 miles.
Incidentally, due to the heat, a surprise aid station popped up right when they needed it at mile 95. Sean & Eric were the first to go through and really appreciated it.
I headed back to Lake Cuyamaca to wait for them to finish. Having a bit of time, I cleaned the car up, got coffee, chatted with some other crew/spectators and waited for them to come in. I was hoping that with the sun coming up, Sean would get a little boost and finish faster than expected, like he has done occasionally, but he was pretty tired by that point and with it getting so hot, he made the decision to take it a little easier.
A couple with a pair of binoculars allowed us to borrow them periodically so we could see if our runner was coming. After a bit, I finally was able to see Sean & Eric on the other side of the lake.
I ran over to the finish so I could get some photos for him as he came across the line. He got his medal, buckle and a bag full of swag, bag, sweatshirt, coffee cup & hat. This is in addition to the shirt, orange mud bottle, injini socks & drawstring bag he had already received at check-in. I have to say this is one of the best swag races I’ve seen. And he’s done a lot of ultras.
We hung out chatting with other runners, eating and relaxing for a bit before heading home. We still had to go to the Rock n’ Roll SD race expo.
A huge Thank You to Christy at Running Skirts for giving me the opportunity to volunteer with the Running Skirts crew. And to both Christy & Cindy for the Running Skirts outfit. I can’t wait to wear my Keep it Chill shirt at some races this summer. To Christy & Fern for sharing their cookies and ceviche with me. To Paksit Photos and Regina for the photos. And to Kat & Matt for the hamburger at Cibbet Flats, I needed that!