|Me about mile 45. Photo by Brett Rivers of the new San Francisco Running Company|
I ran the Dick Collins Firetrails 50 miler in 2009 when I lived in the Bay Area (the first time). After exchanging the lead with the eventual women's winner, Rory Bosio, I was able to fight her off over the last 6 miles and finish just a min or so before her. It wasn't a fun way to end a hard race and took me 7:53 to do it. Firetrails runs much slower for some reason than it looks on paper, though it still has 8,700 ft of climb, so I guess it's hillier than I thought. Lots of really hard packed fire roads, some nice rolling singletrack, a little concrete, and a couple of big, gradual hills. All of it beautifully managed by NorCal Ultras.
In my current fitness (roughly at about 70% of peak, and dropping daily) and coming off some very light running with a sludge filled energy and motivation level for running and racing, I committed myself to a slow first 25 miles of 9:15-9:20 avg pace to the turn around. It was initially miserable to watch Leigh Schmitt, Victor Ballesteros and a few others bounding away at the start but soon I was content in my easy effort and enjoying the run in the predawn darkness (except for frozen hands!).
I only had one minor bad patch around mile 18-20 where the legs felt full of lactic acid and I couldn't stride out like normal, so I ate an extra gel (thanks Vi Fuel!) and gulped extra water and stretched out for a minute. Fifteen minutes later I was feeling better and ran the long descent to the turn around at 25 miles pretty well, catching a couple guys who passed me during the slower miles I had. I hit the turn around in 3:52 and jogged out to start the long climb with a couple guys, one of whom was Joe Z. from Colorado. I hadn't seen him since we ran the 26 mile Pawnee and Buchanan Pass Loop in Indian Peaks last year, so it was nice to chat with him for a bit. I was feeling really well after the long, easy pacing, so I pulled away and ran the entire climb well. At about mile 44 I saw lead woman, Jenny Capel in her La Sportiva uniform and timed my pass at the next aid station, which I ran through and she briefly stopped at. I knew it would be a big effort to hold her off, so I settled into a hard level and clicked off a bunch of 7:xx min miles (8 miles in the last 13 were 7:09-7:50). She stayed close all the way to the finish, coming in just 1:06 after I did. Thanks for pushing me, Jenny!
Though I enjoyed a well paced race and 17 min PR on that course, it paled in comparison to seeing so many of the athletes I coach there running so strongly.
Karen Peterson - first 50 miler finishing in 12:07.
Ellen Fletcher - 50 miler in 11:49
Patty Osorio-O'Dea - Marathon (4,000 ft climb) in 5:32
Ben Doyle - first Marathon ever (4,000 ft climb) in 6:33
Claude Gagnon - Marathon (4,000 ft climb) in 5:23
Jessi Goldstein - first Marathon ever (4,000 ft climb) in 5:27
Kara Teklinski - 50 miler in 9:31(!! - she thought it might take her 11 hours…)
James Ha - first Marathon ever (4,000 ft climb) in 7:55
EVERY SINGLE ONE of my tough and hard working athletes finished his/her race this weekend. Man, I'm proud of you folks.
I have to say that in all the hundreds of races I've done and seen, I've only been choked up twice (both Young brothers' first 100 finishes). Saturday was the third. I knew this would be the hardest thing James Ha had ever done and he suffered like crazy but jogging in with him and his big smile was one of the proudest moments I can remember. Thanks for being such a hard worker and a great guy, James!
Also, big shout out to another one of my athletes, Nic Giebler who thought his Glacial Trail 50k in Wisconsin started at 8am, which actually started at 7am, and rushed to the start, getting there 5 mins late but running anyway. He chased down everyone but four guys and took 5th overall in 4:20 (which includes the extra 5 mins). Guess he better make the trip to our Race Planning clinic next time… Way to go Nic!
Here are some photos from the Firetrails 50 mi and Golden Trails Marathon, all taken by the amazing Margaret Gagnon.
|Ben Doyle. He looked so strong when I saw him on the course.|
|Claude was cruising when I saw him at mile 20 of his marathon and is obviously feeling great at the finish. Great run!|
|Post race happiness with Liana, Chris, Kara, Claude, Margaret, and James.|
|Jessi Goldstein after rocking her first ever marathon (why not make it a tough trail marathon with over 4,000 ft of climb?!)|
|Claude, James, me, Chris|
|Now I see how James really finished.|
|Even after 26 miles, James can still make me laugh like nobody has in a long time.|
|I can't believe I got him to run it in for the last .1 mile. Amazing moment for me!|
|Kara Teklinski crushing her predicted time in the 50 mile, with pacer Liana wondering who in the world would celebrate in that manner.|
|Kara's a happy athlete|
|Karen and photo-extrordinaire, Margaret Gagnon playing bumper cars.|
|Claude, Ben, James ready tear up some trails.|
|Oh beloved rice krispies ball, worth every step of the 26.2 miles...|
|Tanford all smiles at the finish. Great run!|
|Victor Ballesteros and Lauri Abrahamsen announcing finishers (VB got a little carried away with the bull horn and had to be escorted out of the park.|
|Liana getting a well deserved hug after pacing like 80 runners and shuttling people around all day|