Today's race was supposed to be a training run, to see some friends and get in about 31 miles of trails and 5750' of elevation gain. My main upcoming goal is Miwok 100K (62 miles), four weeks away on May 4, which is a beautiful challenging race and also a Western States 100 qualifier. I did not taper for today's race, having done a long slow 27 mile run the previous Sunday and a 10 mile tempo run on Thursday.
However, with the excitement of all the other runners, I knew that I would push the pace a bit, so in the end, I'm going to say that today was 80% race and 20% taking-it-easy. I successfully finished, without tripping or getting lost or struggling too much. The weather was great, the course was fun and interesting and well-marked, and the trails were great for running except for the frequent mud patches, but those were fun, too, in their own way. I covered the 30.8 miles in 5 hours 21 minutes. I started getting cramps with about 2 miles remaining, but I just slowed down and didn't have to walk. It was fun seeing a few running friends and so many other runners on the two out-and-backs.
I had one very sweet unexpected encounter. When I went to pick up my bib at the check-in tent, I gave the volunteer my last name and then when she saw my first name on the list, she looked me in the eyes and said "Ron Little?". I said "Hi?" but I didn't recognize her. "You wrote a comment on my blog." She grasped my hand. "You are such a special wonderful person and I love the ultra community so much." She started crying. I remembered her blog post being a loving race or run report, but with a very sad mention of the loss of a good friend of hers, so I think I reminded her of her friend. She wasn't there when I finished the race, so I didn't get a chance to really talk with her. I do agree, though, that we have a wonderfully supportive community amongst ultrarunners.
A short while later, I saw my friend Margaret from the Coastside Running Club. She was going to run the half-marathon and she was volunteering, too. Nice!
Shortly before the race to begin, my friend Rachael, also from my running club, ran up to me and gave me a hug. She was in the 50K, too, and it was fun seeing her along the course on the two out-and-backs.
The race started right at 8:30am and my allergies kicked in, and my nose was like a leaky faucet for the next 5+ hours.
I pushed a bit too hard heading up out of Purisima to Skyline Blvd, running nearly every step of the way uphill on the Purisima Creek Trail. Shortly after the aid station at mile 16.2, I felt extra fatigued, and I slowed down, and two runners passed me.
The first place woman passed me a bit later, around mile 20, but I was faster at the aid station at mile 21.6 even though I chatted with another friend there (Chihping!) and so I got in front of her. Then she passed me on one of the flatter sections, but I was more confident on the steeper muddier downhills, so I passed her again. I was feeling much better (having eaten a couple of energy gels and drank a lot of Tailwind sports drink and taken a salt pill and an ibuprofen) and so I really picked up the pace with about 5 miles to go. But then I started getting cramps in my calves and thighs. I was very close to not being able to run at all, so I slowed down and kept eating and drinking. The last two miles seemed to take forever and there was one final climb to the finish line, which I had to walk.
Finally, finally, I hobbled towards the end and crossed the finish line in 9th place overall, out of 71 runners, having taken 5 hours 21 minutes 4 seconds. Whew!
- Woke up before my alarm, at 6am.
- Arrived about an hour before the 8:30am race time, which was great for finding parking in Huddart Park and doing some stretches and chatting with other runners.
- I got some chafing on my thighs and nipples. I was drenched in sweat for almost all the race.
- I weighed around 171 lbs. Too much. :(
- There was quite a bit of mud, but I plowed through it with confidence in my Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 shoes, which worked great.
- I didn't trip or fall or get lost.