I did all of my specific training for this in Ashland, Or. The incredible access and ability to create training routes could not have been better. Early on, I had misread the race site and thought that the race had 7000 feet of elevation gain. Much of my specific training long runs and some moderate to easy runs had a lot of elevation gain in order to prep for all that gain in the race. I ran up to about 4000 feet of gain in well under 3 hours a few times, so finding out the 7000 foot approximation was really about total elevation CHANGE (meaning the ascent and the descent combined) rather than pure GAIN was actually really relieving. When I got out on the course during the race, I was pleasantly surprised by the uphill gradient being easier than many of my training runs. I'm just glad I misread the elevation profile to show more gain rather than less. Regardless the preparation went pretty great with some but overall quite minor hiccups.
After last summers issues with my foot injury and then knee injury from crashing a bike on top of it, it seemed like I hadn't been training in forever. I've always relied on my consistency and base so when that wasn't something I could fall back on anymore, I was forced to reevaluate how and why I train and what could make me successful. It took some serious months to get to the fitness I'm at now, but the most important part of those months was the slow volume progression. Partly due to being busy but also by design. In any case, I'm just glad to be where I am now in my training and racing fitness.
|During the last minute of the race! Thanks to my cheer section of my parents and Brian Wagner (the trabuco kid)!|
(Actual race report starts here)
I ran well within myself and that found me leading with a small group for the first hour or so. After skipping the first aid station and filling my 10 oz bottle in seriously less than 10 seconds at Maple Springs aid station(9 miles in), I found myself with a small gap ahead of the field as I made my way up Modjeska peak the first time (12 miles in). Just as we hit main divide after descending modjeska I moved into second place when eventual winner Jacob made a strong push to get to Santiago peak first (16 miles in and the turnaround point). I found out later that he just had a son and named him Santiago, unknowingly about to run to this peak of the same name just weeks later-pretty cool hu?! Over about 3 miles up towards santaigo peak, Jacob but about 3 minutes on me, he widened that gap by about 1 more minute but otherwise we maintained the same gap all the way to the finish. Maybe I should have risked a late bonk by sticking with him for the santiago assault, but ultimately I think he was just stronger than I and I made the right choice.
I had really done my homework and even memorized some splits in which Ben Bartley had run his course record in last year. I knew how long it took him to get to maple springs on the way out, modjeska peak the first time, and santiago peak, as well as maple springs on the descent. As the race played out, I was ahead of CR pace by 2 minutes, then 5 at modjeska, then somewhere between 2-5 the rest of the race. I lost a little time to Ben's incredible descent in the last 9 miles but went in ahead of pace so it evened out with me ahead by a mere 10 seconds or so (still waiting on official results). Regardless, this was all while Jacob was running about 4 minutes ahead of me. I would have loved to win and go sub 4 hours, but I am honestly so happy with my 4:01.
This was a PR by about an hour and a half from my first attempt at the 50k distance, and its a time I thought I could only run if everything went pretty perfectly. All in all, I ran faster than I thought was likely and my stoke level on my running lately certainly got a boost upward. That is really saying something too because I've been pretty happy about my running lately.
|Getting my recovery on post-race! I always wanted inflatable pants...|
A huge congrats to all the runners out there today! I only dealt with about an hour of bright sun and heat but I know those that were out there longer had a pretty different race and weather experience. It would have been a whole different story had I needed to take care of myself for another hour or more beyond what I did as it started getting hotter and brighter. I was extremely impressed with the toughness people showed coming in.
|This was a few feet off the fire road less than a half mile from the start/finish area. Gave my Dad a little rattling-hello from a closer than comfortable distance. Glad I didn't have to contend with this while running.|
Shout out to some Trabuco Hills XC alumni putting it all out there for their first 50K's, Mandy and Doe!
*Pictures to come, thanks (I think) to another THHS runner Drew who was out on course with a camera in hand.