Monday, May 21, 2012

Ohlone 50K race report

Rules for Ohlone 50K
1) Don't miss the bus.
2) Don't miss the cutoff.
3) Remember the race is "more ups than down". 

I got to the Lake Del Valle parking lot at 6:10 AM for the 6:30 AM bus to the start.  I even got there before the busses!  Should I have cut it closer?  That's why I missed the bus two years ago!  Kevin Luu (another Endurable) and I caught up on our racing plans on the bus ride to Fremont.

Start to Laurel Loop (mile 5.43)
Two years ago, I had been DFL on the climb up Mission Peak.  Now I improved upon my position.  I was SECOND from DFL.  I thought I was climbing at a brisk rate, but everyone quickly became colored specks on the grassy hillside.  There was one 50ish runner behind me, and we exchanged encouraging smiles.

Oops 1)  I accidentally stepped in a cow patty (does one deliberately step in a cow patty)? 
Oops 2) In a huge puddle I stepped wrong and sunk my foot up to my shin in cow water/mud/muck. 

It was a beautiful day for the views, and I was soon up to the top and cruising down.  I passed a woman who I remember passing two years ago in a similar spot.  But now I knew it was Carol LaPlant, who'd WON the race 25 years ago. 

Oops 3) My hydrapak was catching my neck wrong, and I tried to adjust it while running.  I stepped on a gopher hole and fell down hard on my left side.  Hard enough that my shorts scootched down and I got brambles on my hip.  Ow!

Sunol (mile 9.11)
The aid station had the first cutoff at 10:45.  I picked up my speed on the descent and passed about 5 runners, including George Hall.  George Hall had #1 bib! as he was #2 in the inaugural 1987 Ohlone.  So I'm definitely faster than two 60 year olds.  Way to go Speedie! 
I was using my iPhone as my music source, and my headphones kept ghost-pausing my music.  I'd noticed this the last time I'd gone on a 2+ hour run--moisture got inside the contact, causing the iPhone to pause or skip tracks.  I spent too much time fussing with my iPhone trying to get reliable tunes.  I made it into the aid station at ~10:20, with time to spare.

Backpack (mile 12.48).
Now the climb started.  I treated myself to an outhouse break, then doused my head with water from an unpotable water source.  The day was getting really warm, in the low 80s (hot for the Bay Area) and direct sun.  I kept passing people though, even at my moderate speed. 

Goat Rock (14.96)
These 2.5 miles seemed to take forever.  I ran out of water about 20 minutes away from the Aid station.  When I got to the aid station, they said they were running low on all fluids, and only gave me 20 ounces for my pack.  In the good news! Melissa & Todd were at the aid station, resting in the shade.  They'd taken the early start! Oh, maybe THAT'S why I was at the back starting--slower people had taken the 7 AM start and gotten an hour jump. 

to Maggies Half Acre (19.7)

Melissa and I hiked together for awhile on the climb to Rose Peak.  She was not doing great, and finally stopped to bring down her heart rate. 

I was really, really thirsty. It was ~5 miles and a stiff climb.  I was so happy to see the tent for Maggies Half Acre, with "UNLIMITED" water, as they had a faucet.  I drank until my belly was jiggly.  Then I let a guy sponge my head.  It all felt sooo good. 

to Stewarts Camp  (23.6) This section has more up than I remember.  The "aid" was a non-potable faucet. About four of us came in all at once.  I dunked my head under the faucet (again).  After watching me do it, a guy did it too, muttering "Thank God, Thank God".  Yep, it was that hot. 

To Schleiper Rock (25.65) I continued to pass people.  I didn't think I was climbing any faster than I had at the beginning of the day--everyone else was slowing down.  Once again I pondered why people go out so darn fast?  I kinda like starting in DFL--I know exactly where I am in the pack, and I can only improve! I bombed down the hill into aid station.

To Stromer Spring- An overgrown single track switchbacking down the canyon, choked with vegetation and poison oak.  A group of 5 in a pack came up on me.  I tried to stay ahead, but it was too stressful so I stepped off and let them pass.  Down to the creek, then back up.  Everyone was moving slowly up the hill, when I realized that I felt GREAT.  I marched past them!  "Good job, young lady" said a guy in a QuickSilver T-Shirt.  "Thanks for calling me young lady!" 

At the top of the hill on the ridge, I started running again. I wasn't hammering it, but I told myself anything faster than walking was good.  Last time I had wanted to run this section and now I was!

To the finish.  The last 2 miles are a near constant descent losing 1,600 feet in 2 miles.  Steep, and not what my quads wanted.  On Wednesday I'd done mile repeats with Lane & Charles in the Presidio.  At about a mile, I decided to do a mile repeat, and picture Lane & Charles waiting for me.  I cranked the music and cruised into a 8:44 finish, 11 minutes faster than two years ago.

Things I did well:
Left plenty of time to make the start
Carried a pack instead of a bottle to stay better hydrated
Ate pizza for breakfast so didn't bonk
Caught up with Melissa
S-Caps every 30 minutes so never cramped up
Said thank you to the volunteers
Wiped down with Technu at home

Things to improve on:
iPhone not good choice for long races, spent too much time fussing with it. 
Make sure pack is full! of fluid on hot days, don't rely on the next aid station being there.
Should have worn compression knee high socks to protect from poison oak and other plants brushing legs
Forgot clothes to change into, so had to drive back in sweat soggy shorts.

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