Sunday, August 22, 2010

Notes from a Slothlike Ultrarunner - Part 1 of 4

PCTR Montana de Oro 50K--Aug 15, 2010

The night before race day went smoothly. I did my usual preparation of setting up my running outfits. I have decided to change clothes halfway so that I can be more comfortable running the last half. It was unknown what kind of time I will be sacrificing. It will be an experiment this time. I gathered all the essentials to ultrarunning: Vaseline, duct tape, Power Gels, Luna Bars, Clif Bars, 2 running caps, bandana, Garmin, 2 pairs of shoes, socks, arm sleeves, my cooler for my drinks and Gu Brew. I usually have a very hard time sleeping the night before a big race, but I slept well two nights before, so lack of sleep shouldn't hamper my performance.

The morning of the race, I usually like to get to the start about an hour early to give ample time to register, go to the bathroom, mill around a bit to talk to other runners. It gets me in the zone and makes me less nervous that way. But this day was anything but. I took too long to fill up my new hydration vest. I had other pre-race issues that had to be taken cared of at home. I got to the start with 1/2 hour to spare and I live 4 miles from the course. My nerves were a little shot. I was meeting my new friend for the first time so that added a little to the stress. We finally met and it was like we've known each other forever. We did not know this at the time, but we both ran the San Francisco Marathon some three weeks earlier. A co-worker knew about this commonality we shared so she introduced us. Since then we've been sharing running stories, ideas for a possible future 40-miler, which finally culminated to us deciding to run this 50K for me and 25K as her first trail run ever.

All week, the weather forecast called for warm weather leading up to race day. I anticipated for a much slower time for my 50K, accounting for the warmth. Fortunately, the running gods blessed us with mild temps; it was foggy and overcast about 90 percent of the time. The 8:30 start for all events 8K,12K, 25K and 50K went without a hitch. The 8K had to turn around before Valencia Peak, while the 12K turned around at Valencia. The 25K consisted of running two peaks, Valencia and Hazard's Peak (the old Ridge Trail) while the 50K consisted of two loops the 25K. The fog hid the otherwise astonishing views of Valencia Peak, for both two loops. The fog lifted on my second loop to Islay Creek Trail towards Hazard's Peak revealing the immensity of the mountain before me. I wished I had not seen that at all. It was where I was headed and running it in the second loop, seemed just too daunting a task.

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