I had a solid run at the Fort Ord 50K race, in the pretty green rolling hills east of Monterey. I managed to slightly improve my time from last year, covering the 30.8 miles and 4500' of elevation gain (according to my watch's barometer) in 4 hours 42 minutes 58 seconds. I didn't get lost or have any significant problems, but I did slip and fall in the mud once around mile 28. The weather was great -- cool and overcast most of time.
There were eight of us from the Coastside Running Club there, doing three different races -- a 100K, 50K, and 25K, and we all finished! Seven of us got together for the above photo before our races started while one of us, Gary, was out running the 100K. We were, left-to-right: myself, Pete, Margaret, Omar, Mor, Norm, and Doug.
The race started about 5 minutes late and I tried to take it easy early on, but with so much downhill, I couldn't seem to help going a bit faster than 8 minutes a mile. Pete, Doug, and I stayed together and chatted and enjoyed the morning for the first few aid stations (around mile 8.4) at which point Doug and I pulled ahead of Pete.
It was comforting being somewhat familiar with the course from the prior year. I was careful to not miss a turn and run a couple hundred extra meters like I did last year.
When I arrived at the aid stations, I tried to remember to check my time against my time there from the previous year. (I had the aid station distances and times printed on my water bottle.) My goal was to run a little bit slower early on and hopefully not struggle as much towards the end. I forgot to check at the first aid station, but I was about 2 minutes behind by the midway point.
Doug and I chatted as the miles went by. I crossed paths with an acquaintance, Mark Tanaka, who was in the 100K and who had run Mountain Lakes 100 with me last year. Hi, Mark!
Somewhere around here, I was feeling a bit sluggish and Doug pulled a few seconds ahead.
Eventually I felt better and I soon started running every step up the short steep hills and I started pulling away from Doug. We had run 22 miles together!
Gary Lindberg! I passed our 8th running club member who was doing the 100K. He seemed to be in great spirits.
I drank extra at the final aid station and was soon on my way, with one last huge climb remaining. I ran almost every step and I appreciated the cooler weather compared to the previous year. I increased my effort but I was starting to feel like I was on the edge of cramps.
The trail looped around a valley, offering a look at those in front of us and behind us. I saw Doug. "Go, Doug!" I shouted and he hollered back.
Not too long later, while crossing a gully on to a slick patch of mud, I slipped and fell on my butt. "#@*&!" I had mud everywhere, including on my water bottle's nozzle. A guy in front of me asked if I was OK. "I'm fine, thanks." "You'll look good at the finish!" he said. Good point, haha!
Around mile 29 I was getting tired and ready to be finished. Soon... soon... I recognized the trails and the final blessed climb to the start/finish area! Woo hoo! I crossed the finish line, hands in the air, and was soon completely disabled by cramps. It was worth it.
I managed to come in 2nd place in my 40-49 age group. The overall winner of the race was also in my age group -- Giles Healey, at age 47, finished in 4:04:37! Amazing! Inspiring!
I soon saw Doug come in. Way to go!
And then Pete. Good job!
I managed to get my phone out for Mor. He was sick and was slower compared to the previous year even though he was probably in better shape.
What went well
- I had a solid run that never got terribly difficult.
- My equipment worked well.
Things to improve
- I need to find better trail racing shoes. I slipped around too much in my Hoka One Ones.