Results: 8:34; 3rd female and 21st OA.
The stars aligned and I was going to be in San Diego for work the same weekend as the SD 50 miler. After debating signing up for the race (based on how quickly my body would recover) I bit the bullet and signed up for the 50 miler (There was a marathon option- but the 50 miler was only $10 more for 2x the fun!). FOMO= YOLO!
Date: January 17, 2015
Start Time: 6:30 AM- which to my East Coast body meant getting a full 9 hours of sleep before the race! There is also no need for a headlamp at the start.
Location: Escondido, CA- which is about 45-50 minutes North of San Diego Airport.
Cost: Marathon $90; 50 miler $100.
Cut offs: 13 hours, 14 hours if you took advantage of the early start. Very Generous
My goals for SD50:
- To RUN, NOT RACE. Having just winning Pistol 100 mile in 16:24, 2 weeks prior, I knew my body was NOT completely recovered and I knew not to expect anything spectacular.
- To run happy for as long as I could then slow down until I found my happy place again.
- Enjoy the scenery and warmth that SD had to offer
The course consisted of a 25 mile out and back on mostly single track trails. The course elevation profile makes the course look harder than it actually was. There is a climb at mile 4/46 and a HUGE climb going into the turn-around area. To me the rest felt flat to small rollers. This being my first west coast race- I understand why many people say that West Coast trails are easier running. The trail surface was this interesting mixture of dirt and sand. For the most part, I would give the technicality of the trail a 2/10, with a few 15 foot sections a 5/10. The course also had a plethora of porto-potty’s along the way.
As someone who is not from the area, it would have benefited me to know that this course is basically in the desert, with relentless burning sunshine- with little to no shade relief. It was also a “hotter” day for them reaching lower 80’s, that in combination of coming from 20* weather made the race brutally hot for me. Wear sun block!
The first few miles on the San Pasqual Valley trail breezed by and so did the top two females. Then it was me as 3rd female at mile 3. At the first climb, Raptor Ridge, I was the only person to stop and walk it in the group that I was in- miles 5-10 were rather flat and boring with few turns and little scenery but I was able to chat the miles with a first time 50 miler. Miles 10-15 were on a wider single track trail that really proved that this was an arid environment and at this point we started running next to Lake Hodges (I think!) AT Mile 15, it was time for me to refill my pack with water and Tailwind- the aid station volunteers were quick and efficient in helping me be on my way! I was still feeling good until mile 18 and then my happy running pace slowed a bit, I could feel the effects of running 100 miles, my poor legs were turning into lead. I was expecting a flood of women to come flying by, but that didn’t happen. That ended up just being a low point in my race- I was able to pick it back up. Mile 20-30 I think were some of the most challenging miles of the race course. There was a series of short uphill switch backs that I found rather pointless, you could have just had the trail go straight up instead of turn every 15 feet- followed by a stream crossing- which I happily went ankle deep through and then a steep uphill followed by a short downhill into the turnaround. 3:54—At the turn around- still shockingly in 3rd, I noted that the next two women were about 7 minutes behind me and another huge group about 12, however, I didn’t panic- I knew that the time to be passed would come soon. Going back down the switchbacks was annoying, you couldn’t get a flow, it was run a few steps grab the log rail and swing yourself around like 20 times.
Around Mile 30 I was kicking myself, “I should have just run the marathon- I would have been done by now!” When I was climbing near the Dam, a very cheerful woman gave me some wise advice and it’s the most politically correct way of saying there no way in Hell your catching second place. She said, “ The race is so spread out, just run your own race” And that I did.
At mile 35 I cheerfully ran through the aid station and restocked my water/ tailwind mixture. I also mistakenly grabbed a cup of sprite and dumped it on me. At least it wasn’t bee season 🙂 From here to the finish, I probably walked at least 7 of those miles. My legs were painfully dead, and what worse all of my alieve fell out and rolled down a hill at mile 20- never to be seen again 😦 , it felt like I was over 100 miles into a 24 hour race. My new goal was to consistently walk/ shuffle.
As the day grew hotter, I found 2 huge differences from East and West coast racing. On the East coast, the humidity keeps you sweating and wet (which is a huge cooling relief), while in this atmosphere, I doused myself with water and 5 minutes later I was totally dry. I tried to compensate for this by drinking copious amounts of ice water. This led to nausea and water belly. AT mile 43 my stomach had enough and I happily puked at least 2 liters of water and felt instantly better. From there I was able to reset my nutrition and actually run more!
With around 6 miles to go, I asked a biker if he saw another female behind me, he said about .8 mile back. It was then that I decided that I should earn my 3rd place finish and turn my walk/shuffle into a jog/shuffle. Coming into the last aid station (mile 45), they were so cute- “(loudly) the next section is in the shade, but (quietly) its all up hill!” Thank God, when my running legs are done, I know I can still count on my climbing legs to be there for me.
Mile 25- the finish– no one passed me (although I did yo-yo- for a while with a few), which shows that others were having just as hard of a time as I was with the heat and open course. I ran into the finish and finished 4 minutes faster than my previous trail 50 mile PR! And while I was a “distant 3rd” on IRUNFAR’s recount of the race, what I accomplished on barely recovered and dead legs was purely a miracle.
As always thank you to my sponsor: TSTARRUNNING
1 PB and Jelly Sandwhich (Pre Race)
20 scoops of Tailwind
4 saltines with PB
2 bags of Honey stinger chews- Fruit smoothie
1 5 hour energy