This was my first pacing experience and I wasn't sure what to expect. After studying the course description and reading online race reports, I struggled with my packing list.
The Headlands Hundred course consisted of a 25 mile trail loop and alternated in a 'washing machine' manner so the runners would switch directions each time they reached the Start/Finish.
There were a total of four aid stations throughout the course: Rodeo Beach (Start/Finish), Muir Beach, Tennessee Valley, and the Golden Gate Bridge Vista Point.
The runners had to complete the first 50 miles solo and then at the halfway point, their pacers could join them.
Barb was in charge of logistics so she scrutinized the course map and constructed the Team Hector game plan.
After we ate, we went to the hotel to start getting our stuff together for our respective legs before we headed back out to Rodeo Beach.
He stopped briefly to sip some warm soup from a paper cup, change his socks, and re-apply petroleum jelly to his feet before the first pacer, Natalie, headed out with him into the darkness.
Barb, Michelle, and I headed back to the hotel to try and get some shut eye while Kerri waited for Hector and Natalie at Muir Beach.
I ultimately decided to go with capri leggings, a thermal top, Zensah Arm Sleeves (for additional warmth), my Sole Runners t-shirt, a lightweight hoodie, and a windbreaker. I taped my right arch for extra support and slipped on my Dirty Girl Gaiters.
Pacers are not supposed to eat or drink from the aid stations so I knew I had to have everything on me to sustain me. I had 2 liters of water in my Nathan Intensity and 8 ounces of sports drink in my Nathan Sprint. I had 2 Soyjoys, 2 Honey Stinger Organic Waffles, 2 packs of orange caffeinated Clif Shot Bloks, and a Trader Joe's squeezable apple sauce.
I tried my best to stay warm in the car while I waited for Hector and Kerri. I napped and got out of the car to stretch my legs from time to time.
I was immediately impressed by how well he was doing. He was in good spirits and looked strong.
We ran through a section that Hector had nicknamed 'the rainforest'. The ground was sopping wet and we had to really watch our footing to avoid slipping. Running through puddles was unavoidable.
We really picked up the pace through a flat, grassy field.
We just made the 24 hour cut-off back at Rodeo Beach.
Instead of Kerri taking the next leg, a friend of Hector's, Elva, arrived and she offered to run with him back to Vista Point. Another pacer, Janet, also joined them.
Eventually, Barb, Kerri, Michelle, and Natalie joined me and we all waited for Hector.
Team Hector cheered loudly as Hector, Elva, and Janet arrived. Hector made a quick pit stop before I joined him on the next leg.
I tucked my compression sleeves in the hydration vest pouch, tied the hoodie around my waist, and slipped my windbreaker into the elastic bands across the back of my pack.
I mentioned I would probably not be able to keep up on the downhills so I let them know they could go ahead and I'd catch up with them. I've always been a strong uphill runner but really weak downhill.
Hector commented that I needed to engage my core and Elva worked with me as I went down some fairly steep hills.
I can honestly say this was the most challenging thing I have ever done in my life.
It was a team effort and I am proud to say that Team Hector got our man to the Finish Line of the Headlands Hundred!