Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Way Too Cool 50K 2011

Ran this last solo last year.  Was such a pretty run, signed up again for 2011. Was lucky enough to get picked again.  Running partner Rick was also selected, so we set about getting the time off from work and trying to get in a few miles before the March race day.
Getting the weekend off was almost as hard as trying to get in training miles.   Working the graveyard shift with minimal staffing leaves one with limited possibilites when it comes to covering days off.  After some complicated trading, I did manage to get the weekend off.
Now, the training...
We entered tthe SJT 50K as the training run for WTC.  30 miles the weekend before another 30 miler...And we tried to run SJT with very little mileage under the belt because of all the rain and trail closures.  We managed to crawl through the first loop-19 miles, before calling it quits.  Could we finish WTC?   Doubts started to fill my mind.

The week of the race, we anxiously googled the weather for Cool, CA daily. hourly...
Rain predicted for the drive up, and even on race day.  Highs in the 50's, lows in the 40's.  brrrrrr....
Started packing by throwing in whatever cold weather running gear I could find (Chimera-ish).  Tights, fleece, gore-tex, drymax etc.

Friday morning, as I drove to Rick's house, I listened to the radio, tuned to a news station to get traffic updates.  Tsunami warnings?  Earthquake in Japan??  Whats going on??  I call home and warn Matt about some tsunami warnings.  We'd gone to bed early, and missed the evening news on Thursday night.  As I  listen to the radio, I miss the turn off to Ricks street, and drive around a bit lost for about 15 minutes.  Finally arrive and ask him what he knows about the earthquake.  He's in the dark too, and wonders if he should wake up Karen.  We decided to start out and monitor the news, get more info before getting too worried about this.   There were tsunami alerts for parts of the OC coast.  Waves were expected to be small, and of no real consequence to us.  My thoughts turned to my coworkers-we work for a hospital on the coast of Newport Beach, I think we are one of the official tsunami shelters-I give the lab a call to see whats up.  Happily Benny reported that nothing much is going on.  Business as usual.

Saturday morning, is beautiful!  Perfect weather for a run!!  Mostly blue skies with starting temps in the upper 40's.  Most runners start with jackets and long sleeves, but peel them off during the first mile.
The new course had us running an 8 mile loop back to the start.  We hit  our first water crossing there.  Remembering last year, I didn't want to waste time keeping my feet dry, so plowed through the middle of the creek while others tiptoed across stones.  Drymax socks are the BEST!!
This race has some of the prettiest trails.  We ran on singletrack that passed along waterfalls, creekbeds and the American River.  Rick didn't think he took many pictures, but after he downloaded them, found he'd taken almost 100.  Every bend in the trail led to another picture perfect treasure.

one of many waterfalls along the course

31 miles of muddy fun!
After getting through the half marathon point at round 2.5 hours, thinking we may get finish under 7 hours, we hit the first set of hills.  The first hill was a killer, even more so because we'd just finished a nice long gradual downhill, running almost all of it. It was like hitting a wall.  Literally.  It went straight up.  My muscles didn't know what to do.  Calves started to cramp.  Hamstrings took notice too.  I took an endurolyte.  Then another endurolyte.   This helped a bit.  We saw an aid station worker after what seemed like an eternity.  she shouted out encouragement and said the AS was just a little farther up.  I asked her if this was the last hill.  After a pause she said yes, there would be other hills, but by far this was the worst.  So, somewhat energized I used whatever reserves I could find and finished this "mountain" .   At the GoatHill AS we refueled and continued on. To another hill.  and another hill.  and yet another hill. So much for finishing under 7 hours.  We are now just looking at making the 8.5 hour finishers cutoff!!  Luckily the last mile was pretty flat, and we crossed the finish line smiling and running. Our time 7 hrs and 48 min.

A successful end to what was a pretty eventful week.

Rick has Old Goats 50 miler this week.  He ran so easily at WTC, I think he will have a great race.

Oh, Congrats to Lauren on completing the SJT 50K!!  You're one tough lady!!

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