Monday, October 29, 2007

Whiskeytown 50k

Friday afternoon, "Ocean Beach" Jeff and I headed north to Redding for the Whiskeytown 50k. This is one of the last races in the PAUSATF Ultra Grand Prix series. I didn't need the points, but thought it would be a great way to end the racing season.

This is a very low-key race. I think there was around 48 runners in the 50k, which is quite a small field.

I thought this would be a fairly easy course. I don't know why, but that's what I thought. Partly through the race, I turned to Jeff and told him I had found new respect for the race. I thought it wasn't going to be that difficult, but crossing a creek 15+ times wears one out quickly!

I rolled my left ankle...again...at about mile 11. There were a lot of leaves on the ground and the rocks were blending into the ground. My foot didn't bother me until about mile 18. That's when I hit a long downhill section and it kicked my butt. Jeff was in great shape at that time and took off. I was not eating well at this point and was getting dehydrated and low on my electrolytes. I started to crash. I was having a hard time moving forward. I forced myself to take another gel and popped a few more salt pills. Once I got to the next aid station, none of the food looked appealing and I just downed a few cups of coke and kept moving. I think if there was a vehicle that could have taken me back to the finish line, I might have taken it. Ok, probably not because I'm really stubborn, but I was close!

I forced another gel down about a mile away from the multiple creek crossing section (mile 23?). I was working really hard to avoid the water. I figured the last thing I needed was wet feet to weigh my already beat up body. On the fourth crossing, my foot slipped and into the water I went. It felt great to have ice cold water on my foot! Something about the water woke my body up and I came back alive! From then on, I took every crossing right through the water.

I finished the last of the creek crossings and finally saw someone ahead of me. Guy in the red shirt. He had been running with a partner and the two of them had been running with Jeff the last time I saw him. Either he was losing steam, or I was gaining. Since I had been down to practically a crawl, I figured this guy must be really slowing down.

I caught him on a hill and passed. We exchanged a few words (I don't remember anything I said!) before I continued powering up the hill.

I got up to the road and was told I had only 8 miles to go. Sloshing along in my wet feet, I slowly made my way along the fire road to the next aid station. As I got closer to the AS, I could hear Red Shirt Guy gaining on me. I got up to the aid station, filled my bottles quickly and just as I was leaving, saw him get into the aid station. The volunteers told me to hurry up and don't let him catch you! That's all I needed. I found my third wind with 7 miles to go. The next three miles I swear I could hear his feet hitting the ground behind me. I didn't dare take a look back, in fear that I would hit yet another rock and really mess up my foot! Before I knew it, I had caught up with Jeff. He looked back and as if he had known I would be showing up he said...hey there, I've been waiting for you. We took the next 4 miles easy and finished strong in 6:11:51.

What a low-key finish. You pretty much had to clap yourself in! We got our medals and went down to the lake to cool our legs off. The post-race food was unfortunately quite lacking. It was pretty much what they had at the aid stations, except for the minestrone soup. It was good soup, but not enough after 6 hours of running!

While we waited for our drop bags to show up, we had a great conversation with Lisa Huerta. In my mind, she is a powerful, consistent runner. Most races I finish within a few places of her.

I think after this race, it's safe to say I'm done for the season. My ankle is sore again, but not nearly as sore as it was after Firetrails. It will be weird not to have a race in November, but there is the Ocean Beach 50k in mid-December. November will be all about getting my ankle healed and my core strengthened. Also it's about other life changes. I'll be moving at the end of the month, plus I'm getting ready for a holiday concert.

That should keep me busy.

Whiskeytown 50k
6:11:51, 20th place (48 finishers)

4 Comments:

Blogger Jean Pommier said...

Thanks for sharing your own account of this beautiful yet tough and far run. And for stopping by own blog.

Good luck with your ankle. I too look forward to some rest in December. In the meantime, at least HK next week, then a night 42-miler in France on 12/2 (we start at midnight).

Farther Faster,

Jean.

3:57 PM  
Blogger Brian Hawkinson said...

Nice report! You make me want to get out there and run another ultra, water, ankle and foot problems and all! That is part of the fun.

I will have to settle for a marathon this weekend and then wait until the Woodside 50k in December...

4:18 PM  
Blogger Brad said...

Jean-
I love night runs. I held a night fun run this past September as practice for RDL. I'm planning on doing again in 2008.

Brian-
It is all part of the fun, isn't it? There's something about putting your body to the limit and seeing how far you can go. I also love the fact that I can go from on top of the world, to almost dead and back from the dead to finish strong.

2:27 PM  
Blogger Brian Hawkinson said...

So what did you think of the half mary at Silicon Valley? Wanted to read what you thought of it but... Perhaps the distance isn't long enough to warrant a race report? Hehe.

3:55 PM  

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