Sunday, April 14, 2013

American River 50 Mile Endurance Run

Monday - Our last full day in Hawaii.  Snorkeled with manta rays at night!

Tuesday - Ended an incredible vacation.  Flew in to SFO and got back to Folsom around midnight.

Wednesday - Back to WORK!  :(  + Kings game :)

Thursday - rest day

Friday - rest day... YIKES!  To many of these in a row.

Saturday - I got dropped off at the start area at 5 am.  I sat as much as possible, chatted with friends and other runners, and made my way to the start line at about 5:45 am.  I felt that my fitness wasn't quite where it was at this time last year and planned on starting out even more conservatively than I did during my previous AR 50.  I lined up at the back of the pack.

The starting horn sounded and I jogged off into the darkness, with 1,000 other like-minded individuals.  I spent the first 6-8 miles running at a 10 minute/mile pace and taking a 30-60 second walk break every 8-10 minutes.  I chatted with my friend Marc, who had a great race, most of this time.  Right from the start, I wasn't feeling fantastic.  I never had that springy bounce, that any runner welcomes in a race, in my step.  By mile 10 or so, I was feeling tightness in my hamstrings and hips.  My mind tried to entertain negative thoughts at this point, thinking "I felt so much better at this point last year" or "I feel bad now and it WILL get worse.  With 35-40 miles left, I may not finish".  After a minute or two of this type of negativity trying to take hold, I put an end to it.  I told myself "this is not last year, this is now" and I immediately went to the bread and butter of the ultra-runner's mantra... "I can make it to the next aid station".  From this point on, I took note of the distance to the next aid station and focused on getting there.

I passed the marathon mark in a little less than 5 hours.  I rolled into Beal's Point where I was happy to see Candace and Joel.  I told them, in an exaggerated way, I was feeling great.  I drank a 24 oz. protein shake that I had made in the morning and kept on my way.  My "nip-band-aids" had fallen off a few miles back, so I dropped my shirt here.  I didn't want to add chaffed nipples to my list of things that were uncomfortable.  Last year I picked up my first of two pacers here.  This year I continued on alone.

As I made my way onto the single track, I continued to feel bad, press on towards the next aid station, and tell everyone I saw how great I felt.  The last 20-30 miles of this trail are stunning.  Green grass, wildflowers, oak trees, and partly cloudy blue skies compliment Folsom Lake perfectly.  I saw Candace again at the Horseshoe Bar aid station, this time with her brother Vincent and niece Kathryn.  A few miles later, at Rattlesnake Bar, I started to smell the finish line.  I knew I would finish.

The last few aid stations started to feel ridiculously far apart.  Time was not passing by very quickly, but before I knew it, I was climbing the 3 miles and 1,000 vertical feet up to Auburn, to the finish.  With a very steep ~1.5 miles to go, I realized that if I ran a sub 10 minute mile the rest of the way, I would finish under 10:30:00 (gun time).  I ignored the pain, looked at the ground in front of me, and pushed.  I crested the last climb, made the right turn onto the grass and into the finisher's chute.  Lots of people lined the chute and were clapping and cheering.  I gave a modest fist pump and the cheers grew louder.  My eyes watered up lightly, I was there, it was over, I finished.  I accepted my finisher's medal and jacket (the real prize at AR 50), hugged my parents and Candace, and enjoyed the post-race party!  SUCCESS, American River 50 Mile Endurance Run number two... complete, 10:27:37!

Sunday - rest day

Weekly Totals: 51.74 miles, 5,164 ft.

Capped off the Hawaii trip by snorkeling at night with manta rays!

Around mile 15 I think.

Mile 38 maybe?
Official finish time was 10:27:37

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