Bees! On the section of the Quad Dipsea known as the Hurricane, about three miles into the race, I got swarmed by yellow jacket wasps, getting tangled in my hair, stinging relentlessly.
I had been training for this run all season. I ran the Golden Hills marathon, the Sacramento Blerch Half, and the Berkeley Half marathon, all in preparation for the Quad Dipsea. I was in form to do well, and then at the beginning I got swarmed. I wanted to run this strong, but after suffering 7-10 stings on my scalp and neck, I blew up.
I had to fight the urge to quit and get an ice pack for eight and a half hours. During leg four my right hip started cramping up, so for the last seven miles I had to fight both the wasp stings and the muscle cramps.
But I finished. It was sad and pathetic, but I finished.
There were moments of joy. Bob found portabello mushrooms in John Muir woods and picked them during the third leg. Alex Varner passed me on the bottom of the staircase on my leg two and his leg four. The weather was picture perfect, no wind, sun, cool temps, no mud. But wasps. Lots and lots of wasps.