Over the last 3 months I have been training long and hard. I finally have my second 50 miler in the books. I had more lows during this training season than I have ever experienced and was definitely unsure how this race was going to play out. I knew I would finish, but I didn’t know at what point the wheels would come off.
Course background: It’s an out and back. The first 13 miles of the race is basically all up hill, then you hit some rolling hills though Mount Laguna, do a bit more climbing before you turn around and head back down.
My goals for this race:
- to be consistent with my pace so I didn’t crash and burn.
- not to fall because falling hurts and I don’t want to break anything.
- beat Robert (there is always friendly competition between us).
Below is my race recap with what went on in my head as well as a few side notes.
Miles 1-6.4: Be conservative, start slow and comfortable. Robert passed me just before mile 4. That is ok. I will see him again. Oh look Ricky, Marvin and Phillip! Awesome!
Notes: I took my first Muir Energy gel (cashew lemon) at mile 6. I ran the first 6 miles with our friend Mark, but lost him as I headed out of the aid station. We were pretty much keeping each other at a conversational pace. The race was off to a great start and I liked having the company to keep my mind off the race.
Miles 6.4-13.7: Crap, when is the next aid station? I really should have looked at the distances between the aid stations. I think this is the long stretch. It must be 7-8 miles. I can still see Robert. I feel good. Wow there is a lot of people still grouped together. Pretty awesome. I thought it would be more spaced out by now. I like running with people even if we aren’t/can’t talk. YAY 11 miles in, 39 to go. I should take another gel. Aid station should be close. There it is! Wow this aid station got busy fast. Grab a cup of water and get out quick. Don’t waste time.
Notes: I didn’t expect to see Ricky and Marvin there. It was great seeing their faces for a few seconds. I was the 3rd one into the aid station and probably had 10 or so people right behind me. I was the first one out of the aid station. I loving running with my camelback because I can get in and out of the aid stations much quicker!
Miles 13.7-17.5: Finally done with most of the climbing. I love running through Mount Laguna. Hmmmmm … next aid station is Todd’s Cabin, that is probably 4-5 miles. That’s not bad. OMGOSH is that a snake???? PHEW it was a pine cone. That was close. Just look at the trail. Don’t look off to the side. Ha! There is Robert making the climb up and out of the the aid station. I am closer to him than I thought.
Notes: As I saw Robert leaving the aid station he gave me a high five and said he was hoping to be out of there before he saw me again. This aid station had watermelon which was amazing. I saw Anthony and Cassey there which was a nice surprise! It’s always motivating to see familiar faces!
Miles 17.5-22.7: Ok 5 more miles to Penny Pines. I can do this. I still feel good. Just remember to be consistent. I think I will take a gel. Hey look that is Phillip taking photos! “Hey Phillip!”… iPod shuffle low battery already? It’s only been 4 hours. Ricky said it will last a while before it truly dies. Good thing I have a back up shuffle. Who is texting me? I don’t have time to look. Wait, it might be Ricky. I’ll wait until I get to an uphill so I can walk. It was Ricky!! Things are good with hydration so I won’t need my new bladder until mile 27. Text back: “I’m Good”. It’s getting a bit warm out. There is Cindy! First female! AWESOME! Dang I am only on mile 21 and she is maybe on mile 28? She’s flying. Just keep running. There is Robert leaving Penny Pines. I am gaining on him. Sweet!
Notes: I got in to the Penny Pines Aid Station grabbed some watermelon and a handful of potatoes and quickly headed back out.
Miles 22.7-27.3: Gosh I really hope the iPod doesn’t die on this stretch. That would really suck. Maybe I should have grabbed the back up iPod. Oh well, can’t do anything about it now. Robert it still in view. Way too early to make a move. Just hold back and stay consistent. I’ve run every inch of this course, but not sure exactly where the turn around is. Geez, where is the turn around!? Just keep running. There is Scott … YAY… Finally there is Ang! I’ve been looking forward to seeing them all day! I can finally turn around now. This is awesome. I am half way! Few more miles and I can run with Ricky. I can see Robert. He still looks strong. Don’t make a move yet.
Notes: This stretch was awesome because you got to see a lot of runners going the opposite direction. I made sure to tell everyone ‘good job’ or ‘looking good’ or something positive. Robert kept pointing at me on the switch backs and I would wave back, hehe. This stretch I was able to see all my friends which put a smile on my face!
At mile 27.3 (Penny Pines Aid Station) Ricky had a spare bladder so we could switch it out with my other one. It was filled with ice cold grape Ultima. I got my back up iPod shuffle, switched over to some caffeinated gels and grabbed a quick shot of soda, more watermelon and a handful of potatoes. I headed back out on the course with Ricky who was allowed to run the last 22 miles with me.
Miles 27.3-32.5: It’s kind of warm out, but it doesn’t feel too bad. I am glad I reapplied sunscreen. 5 more miles to the next aid station. Just 2 more major climbs to get out of the Penny Pines area. Robert looks like he picked up some distance. That’s ok. I am so glad Ricky is running with me! I love sharing this with him. I am feeling strong on the uphills. Remember to be consistent. 28.5, I think it is time to make a move on Robert. *High five* Robert! “You’re doing great!” Finally back in the Mount Laguna area again with some tree coverage. I am so glad my Ultima is ice cold. It’s a lifesaver. Feels good to be in the shade a bit. Finally the aid station. I need to climb back out of here before Robert gets here.
Notes: The watermelon was simply amazing at this point! I was able to climb back out of Todd’s Cabin aid station without Robert in sight. Phew!
Miles 32.5- 36.3: Time for a gel. Only about 4 miles to the next aid station. Is it getting warmer out? I got this! My feet are sore, but my legs surprisingly don’t feel as bad as I expected. Feeling relatively good. I need to pee. Just keep running, don’t think about it. I can see the aid station in the distance. YAY! Only 14 more miles to go! I got this!
Notes: At this aid station I grabbed a cup of ice water. I was bummed they didn’t have watermelon, but I grabbed some oranges instead. It was great seeing Anthony and Cassey there! They reminded me to get out before Robert came.
Miles 36.3-43.6: I didn’t think I was there too long, but my legs are a tiny bit stiff. Just keep moving. Time to take a gel. This stretch is the long stretch. You’re kidding, we’ve only gone 1.5 miles. This is taking forever! We still aren’t there yet? I still need to pee. Well good thing I didn’t pee, there was a hiker coming at us. Are we there yet? It is WARM! My feet hurt. I seriously don’t want to fall, pick up your feet! 40 miles of music and I can’t listen to the iPod anymore. I’ve had enough. “Ricky please put this in my pack.” I really need to pee. Well good thing I didn’t pee, just got passed by a runner. Seriously 3 more miles? This is taking forever! Now or never I have to pee. PHEW! No one passed me. If I keep running these uphills I can stay a head of Robert. I wonder if he is recovered and flying down the down hills. I need to keep running the uphills. Remember to be consistent. Don’t fall. Ugh it’s warm out! Gosh, where is this aid station?! Are we there yet? “Ricky how much further?” I should take another gel. FINALLY the last aid station in sight. YES! Almost there. These rocks hurt my feet! Why does it have to be so rocky. “Ricky do you see Robert?!?!”
Notes: At this aid station I recovered a bit with 2 cups of ice water and another shot of soda. Unfortunately, they didn’t have watermelon or potatoes which was a total bummer! It was great seeing lots of familiar faces though! Everyone was so helpful here.
Miles 43.6-50: I got this! I can’t believe I am running as much as I am. Two more miles until Kitchen Creek and I’ll be in the home stretch. No sign of Robert that we can see. Just need to keep running those uphills to make sure I can stay ahead. Be consistent. Take another gel. I love this part of the course. It is so pretty! YAY just under 4 miles left! I got this! SO close! UGH, well I kicked that rock off the trail. “Ricky I can’t talk right now, I need to concentrate. I don’t want to fall.” This is the longest 3 miles ever. Why do I do this? I am never running 50 miles again. Well maybe. Almost there! Just keep running. There is the last gate! YAY! Is it too early to sprint? It’s too early to sprint. Ok now it is time to sprint. I can see the road and hear people. HURRAY!!! I finished! OMGOSH I beat Robert!! YIPPY!!! I’m so glad he didn’t catch me.
I am elated to report the wheels did not come off during this race. Even though I struggled most of the training season, my commitment and hard work still paid off. Trying to be consistent with my pace the entire time helped me feel strong through out the entire 50 miles. Oddly enough I felt way better running this 50 miler than I did my first 50 miler, and this course was way more difficult and way more technical. I finished in 11:02:52, 6th female and 4th in age group!
My nutrition plan was solid and I was able to stay on top of it. No bonking! I fueled with Muir Energy Gels, Honey Stingers and hydrated with grape Ultima. I had zero digestion issues which is alway a bonus! My favorite aid station foods were the watermelon, potatoes and oranges. I really try to avoid any foods that are going to be hard to digest (cookies, candy, ect). At few of the aid stations I took a shot of soda, which is like liquid crack since I never ever drink the stuff. Generally speaking it’s terrible for you, but sometimes that sugar rush is just what you to get you though the next section of the course.
It was so great seeing so many familiar faces along the course and at the aid stations (volunteers and spectators). All the volunteers were extremely helpful. Thank You John Martinez (Race Director) for putting on such a well organized event and for all of the volunteers. With out them, these races wouldn’t be possible.
Thank You to all of our friends who came out to spectate and support. Lastly, a huge thank you to my hubby for all his support, motivation and enduring those last 22 miles with me. You’re the best!