Disclaimer: I don’t do “race reports” in the typical sense. I don’t always remember details and definitely don’t take a lot of pictures when I’m running a race. This is just a summary of some random thoughts regarding this day. It is by no means thorough, but hopefully a little informative and a little entertaining
This weekend I ran the Cinderella 50K which took place at Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful course. The 50K course consisted of 3 loops: two 13.1 mile loops and one 4.8 mile loop. Loop courses are great but also suck at the same time. They’re great because you know you’ll have access to the bathroom before and twice during your race. No need to get poison ivy on your bum because you couldn’t hold it 7 hours. But loop courses suck because after each loop, other people are finishing. After the first loop, all the half marathoners drop off. “Woohoo!! Time for some BEER!” they yell. After the second loop, the marathoners finish. “Dang that was a long time to be out there!” they say, as you see them plop down in relief. And after the third loop, the five miles that take longer than any five miles you know, you are so relieved to be done! But no one else is there to celebrate with you.
Fortunately, Tony and his sister were there to pick me up at the finish so they cheered me on. There were also some marathoners who I had met on the course (and forgot their names! but they were super nice) who remembered my name and cheered me on the last few yards. It’s cool when people hang around after their race to cheer for us stragglers. (Or to enjoy a well earned beer. But at least they were there!)
Overall the course was pretty great. It was under shade for about 75% of the time which was good, since the temperature was in the 80s for most of the day. There were a few steep, steep climbs in the first two loops, but in general the course was very runnable. The bummer for me was that at the end of all 3 loops, there was a pretty rocky and steep downhill section. If you know me, you know I’m prone to falling. Fortunately, I’ve stayed upright for my last 3 ultra trail races so I take it as a good sign. But I’m still unsteady and not too confident on the downhills. I keep picturing my face meeting the rocks at an intense speed. And the moment I begin to feel confident and relax is the moment I stumble and almost trip. Reality check.
This race was a training run for me and it served its purpose well. I got the miles in for the week and got to practice a lot climbing and descending on some technical parts of the trail. Next up I will be participating in a training run for the Western States 100. I am NOT running the race, but the training runs are open to anyone. The Western States 100 is one of the most popular 100 mile trail races in the world. It’s one of the first ever 100 mile races and it’s been hyped up by many ultrarunning-celebs, most notably Dean Karnazes. Despite this, it still seems like a cool race. It has a lot of climbs and a LOT of descents. The race puts on a weekend of training runs which allows entrants and non-entrants to experience the course. I figure it will be a great experience for me to run a challenging course (or at least 30 miles of it) and rub elbows with some more experienced ultrarunners. I will need all the training I can get to conquer TRT.
Since I didn’t take any pictures of the 50K course, here are some pictures of my outfit this weekend:
Anyone out there going to WS training camp???