Sunday, August 9, 2015

Crystal Springs 50K

Crystal Springs 50K - 7:24, 6300 feet climb

Left plenty of time to get to start, as last race at Huddart huge backup to pay $6 entrance fee, and I started 5 minutes after start.

Hiked the early climb, fun to see Christy B and chat with Chuck Wilson. He tried at least three times to finish Hardrock, couldn’t, including getting pulled at mile 90 for missing cutoff after getting lost. He raved about Bear 100. Told funny story about thinking Skyline 50K is first Sunday in August, went to Lake Chabot on Sunday to have ranger tell him “it’s not today!”. So Chuck ran 50K in Point Reyes as just over the 580. Yesterday (Saturday) he was waking up, saw Chipfing’s photos on Facebook, and realized he’d missed it! oops. At mile 6 aid station Christy’s friend asked me about my buckle - she’d been at Last Chance Aid at Western States - great to see her! 

Rambled the first 12 miles, not stressing about cutoffs.  (Un)fortunately, got to mile 12 at ~11:17, plenty of time for the noon cutoff. Big lollipop loop 9 mile through Wunderlich - slightly paranoid about water but had plenty left. Walked almost all of the ups. Really fun to see Bonnie Porter killing it on the up on her way to a PR. Just really wasn’t feeling any urge to go fast. I’d run 7 miles on Friday, 18 on Saturday, I finished Western States in June - nothing to prove, right? The course was a little confusing but I tried to doublecheck the ribbons and compare to my mental map of the course. Tried not to think too much about how I wished I was running the marathon instead of gutting out a 50K. On the 50K lollipop, a marathon runner came back - she’d missed her turn. I felt bad as she probably added at least 4 miles. Coming back into Bear Gulch (21) Jennie L caught back up with me - she was ahead of me, so I was surprised to see her, but she said “I was behind a tree & you passed me”. She'd run WhiteRiver 50 Mile two weeks ago so we briefly attempted to sandbag each other. 

Ten miles back to finish - tried to run gently, enjoy myself. Flip-flopped with two dudes. Experimented with new nutrition - Stinger Waffles & PowerBar Waffles. I liked the Stinger more. No soda at any of the aid stations on the way back - all out :( Finally, descent, an annoying pop back up, then the final two mile descent on the road. 

At the end, the guys I’d flip flopped with chatted - they recognized me from North Face 50! I’d seen one of them go off-course, trying to climb a downed tree in Muir Woods, and I’d yelled at him to get back. Good memory on their part - it had been their first ultra. 

At the end, I was down on myself. I’d spent seven hours and twenty four minutes, and was an hour off my PR. I wasn’t in the top 3 for my age group. Why had I spent so much time and money to gut out a meaningless race? I’d spent the whole day rambling in the redwoods with nothing to show for it but a coaster, medal & T-shirt to add to my literal heap of medals and stack of t-shirts. I was envious of Bonnie and her awesome sub 6 PR. I’d run 25 miles the two days prior and was just trying to keep myself moving. After a good meal and some reflection, I’m happy I finished. Not every race is an “A”, “B” or even “C” race, some are long supported training runs in pursuit of a bigger goal. I had time on my feet to finish Bear 100. 

Things I did well:
Kept moving
Tried to say thank you to volunteers
Tried to say good job to the other volunteers. 
Kept pack full
Plenty of time at start
Copious sleep night before

Things to improve on
My battery pack didn’t work - I think I was using an after-market cord that barfed. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Montara de Oro 25K (+ bonus 2K)

Montara de Oro was a surprise addition. I’d planned to be in SoCal to see my college friends. While looking at the PCT schedule, I saw they had a race 1.5 hours from where I was staying, on the California Coast at Montara de Oro. New place? Coast run? sold! There’s an 8 K, 12k, 25K and 50K. By the time I went to register, online registration had closed, but over email the race organizers very kindly said “no problem!”, sending me instructions and a warning to bring cash as the credit card wouldn’t work in the remote area.

I budgeted plenty of time to arrive at the venue, a pretty location on the coast. The 25K was two loops and saw the most scenery, the 50K was two loops of the 25K, and the 12K was 1 loop of the 25K. I’d run Western States five weeks before and had nothing to prove…at registration I almost signed up for the 12K, then decided I’d spent so much time driving here I should get my moneys worth. There were ample bathrooms and I had plenty of time to spare - a rarity for me. 

The race had a low key start up the road, then we did a flattish loop along the coast cliffs. Then the first real climb began - up, up, up Victoria Peak. The fast 12Kers, who started 15 minutes behind us, passed me. The fog obscured the top. I stopped to take pictures and tweet. A nice downhill back to the start, as I tried to stay ahead of the 12Kers. 

At the aid station/start/finish the volunteer treated me like an elite - he grabbed my pack and quickly refilled it, then said “Go catch them!”. A boring section on a dirt road, then a turn and another sharp climb. In the distance I saw the peak we would have to climb. Up, up, up. Then down, I thought. But then another up. My Strava was ticking over 14 miles - and the end was not in site. I trudged along, finally reaching the end at 17.3 miles. I’d finished. 

Good: Took pack, as water was after 8 miles and then 9 miles
kept moving forward

To improve on:

Shoes are too small. Caused pain. Toenails felt like they were jammed.