The title of this post should really be called "Pig's Delight 50k" as the ENTIRE 31.07 miles was a mud pit (except for the first 2.25 miles which was on a road. Let me back up. Unless you lived under a snow drift you probably heard that the Washington DC area got a Winter visitor. Translated that meant the trails were not an option to run on. Now I actually enjoy running in the cold weather (running a 100 miler in 95 degree heat will quickly make that happen) but running on blacktop makes my body hurt. I had a very painful 20 miler Feb 13. Pain that caused me to think (and write) "Pain like this deserves a medal. Or at least a crappy T-shirt."
Getting to and around CA was a bit of a challenge. I am BEYOND thankful for a few people that came to my rescue. I have to thank Ron for giving me a ride to AND from Sacramento. Hey, 2 punks are better then one:) Seriously though, thank you Ron. It was great to hear your tales and oh yeah, that little thing called running American River 50 miler with you next year! Don't kick my butt to hard!
So at the chilly starting line a whole month later, I was wondering how in the world I was going to run 31.06 miles. I think the fact that I was in Northern CA made me forget about not running in an ENTIRE month. Ha. Who am I kidding. The view was not helping matters.
8am, gun went off & like a herd of cattle we started running. The first 2.25 miles were on a road. My legs were not amused in the least. Finally reached the trail. Or what used to be a trail. It rained the day before, so it was more like a mud bath course better suited for pigs, not runners. But that didn't stop us, did it? We trail runners are tough like pig.
I tried to avoid the early mud pits and standing water, but after a few detours, I gave up & just sloshed through the slime. The course was hilly (that's what you get when you run in CA dork!).
The chilly day gave way to sunshine and the most beautiful sky. EVER. Awesome. Passed through the first aid station, crossed Highway 49. The only dry patch on the course from here on out.
Ran past the memorial marking the death of Barbara. A mother & ultra runner who was killed by a mountain lion during a solo training run in 1994. (Yes, I knew this when signing up. And yeah, I was breathing a little harder then normal).
Basically I just ran all day. In the (damn) mud. Up the hills. Down the hills. Through small rivers (ice cold by the way). Past aid stations. Did I mention MUD? It was the word of the day. And also talked with runners in front of/behind me. Another perk of ultra/trail running.
Part of the course was an out & back. Which meant the lead runners were passing us. Talk about feeling demoralized. It was also single track. I got to display some rather record breaking gymnastic moves in order to avoid being run meat. Seriously. These runners were FLYING. I was just glad to become part of a bush & watch them.
I was running down a pretty steep mountain (hills aren't a word here apparently) when my left ITB locked up. When I say "locked up" I mean it took the key & wasn't giving it back. Sigh. I had no idea how I was going to make it down. Other runners started passing me. Nice. Despite the god awful pain, I made to the bottom where a waist deep ice water bath waited for me. Sweet.
Crossed that & started up a little incline. Ah, so much better. Started hearing voices & thought I was close to an aid station. Yeah, in my dreams. The voices were hikers about to climb up the hill we had to run up. AFTER running 21 miles mind you. They call this climb "Ball Bearing". I called it Ball Busting. **side note, insert the counter part name & you'll see why I didn't call it that name:). It was .7 mile vertical climb. VERTICAL. My only goal was to make it to the top. Wherever that should be. By nightfall.
I finally reached heaven. AKA, aid station. Lovely sight to behold. I probably lingered too long, but I didn't care. You have to enjoy heaven right?!
Then heaven kicked us out & a group of us started running again. About this time I start to find some mojo & start passing people. Slowly. This was the name of the game till the finish line. Oh sweet finish line. Crossed it 6 hours, 58 minutes later.
I made my goal. Which was not to die. I felt pretty good. Very sore. I could feel the mountains. And the 10 extra pounds of mud. Hosed off my shoes. Stripped (yes, that's what you do after a muddy run!). Fresh (and dry) clothes felt oh so wonderful! As do flip flops.
A friend emailed later with the stats. Ascent: 11, 096 feet. Descent: 12, 412. We both questioned the data, but that's what it said. I'm sure our legs would agree with it!
Drove my butt back to Sacramento. Thankful to be alive. Blessed to survive. Thrilled to sit. Ecstatic for a shower. Happy to run.
Photo by: miyukiutada