Another Saturday morning, sitting in my car in the dark, waiting for light and a race to start. Left home at 5:30AM to get here in plenty of time for the 7:30 start. It rained a little on the way here and there has been a lot of rain lately, but it is dry now and will stay that way all day. Cooler than it has been, I'll wear a jacket the whole way and a hat for most of it. Trails are in great shape.
6th time here for the 50K, if you include the two years it was put on by Pigtails. Speaking of Pigtails, she is here and so is Monte, the third week in a row that I have raced with them. Much smaller crowd this year, what may be the last year for this race. It has been a great January option for me, but after 18 loops of this lake, I won't be too sad to have to find another race.
$20 entry fee and no frills, but there will be a second aid station
Loop 1 (1:41) - Off we go and I am almost in last in no time. There was a one hour early start, so many of the slower runners took that, in the dark. I am in no hurry, so I just mosey down the steep hill and gradually catch up. Nice to not have that big crowd all herded together on the steep down, like in previous years. Take my time and eventually start passing people. Just when I decide that a 10:30/mile pace would be a fine first loop (and pace to finish) my autolap vibrates and I see that I just ran the first mile in 10:30 even! Walking the steeper uphills I keep getting passed by one young woman. I pass her on the downhills. Over and over this happens. Until now I had not felt much like running with anyone, but finally my social side comes out and I ask which race she is doing. Too bad its only the one lap race. And it is her first ever race, which is so fun for me. We chat a little and then I pull away and the rest of the lap is uneventful.
Loop 2-end - Leaving the check in station to start the second lap I hit the "lap" button on my watch. I always compare lap times here. But alas, my new Garmin was set to autolap, so all I did was make a short lap and in a few minutes it will complete another mile. By the end of the race I will have 31 laps to look at but not the three big ones that I want. I really don't want to see them anyway. Midway through lap 2 I start slowing. I did stop to give a horse half of a fig newton. Back to running, and it is not so bad, but my overall pace is pushing 11/mile when I finish lap 2. Time wise you could call lap 3 a disaster. Worried that Dan Sherman, somewhere behind me will catch up I try to keep moving along. I do get to run with Deb and then Monte for a bit before pushing on. Now all alone and not too motivated. This is where a running buddy would be great. My legs are so tired, but there is no pain. I have not gone 50K since October and I think my mind is telling my body to ease off as we have not done this in so long. After one walk break it is super hard to start running again. I am afraid that I will have to walk the rest of the way, but I find a low gear and then pick it up and I can run for a while before walking. Oh I so do not want to do the "short" out and back after loop 3.
Ending the third loop I am somewhat surprised to know that this will be my slowest time here by far. Surely I suffered like this in previous years. It may be that I am just slowing down in general, and/or the five races in five weeks including Capitol Peak last week and the Loop the Lake Marathon two weeks ago are taking their toll. Other years there have been more people to pace off of too. Today the out and back are not so bad. Yes it seems forever long, but for a lot of it, I can run faster than I was running an hour ago. I think my brain knows how far to the finish and is letting me get it done.
Finish - 5:49:39 - No pains. Of course I will stiffen up and have little trouble spots later. Side of right foot and lower bit of left knee. Nothing a few days rest and easy come back won't heal. Nothing particularly exciting today, just a long long run, getting my exercise in and a great feeling of satisfaction to complete another ultra.
Race#377, Marathon or Ultra#135