Wednesday, April 11, 2007
i f*&%!^g did it
I actually ran and finished my first ultra--the 2007 San Juan Trail 50K--on Saturday, April 7. I was so worried about the 8-hour cutoff time that I figure I'll just finish the race and take whatever time I do it in. I was also concerned about the weather, since the previous years have been hot, and I have a hard time in heat. The day before the race, I received this text, "35% DNF rate of 2006 SJT50K. Are you sure you want to run this 50K?" WTF, I thought. Geez, thanks for the encouragement. That increased my anxiety even more, but I've already registered and committed, so I figured it was better to DNF than to DNS.
Fortunately, things turned out for the good. The forecast earlier in the week called for highs of about 76 deg. F, but the day of the race, the fog took over and never left. It completely cooled the course, and if I had stopped long enough I would've felt the chill. I was having a hard time finding my rhythm in the beginning. I felt like I was going too fast at the start, and rolled each ankle. I had to stop and rest my bad ankle before I resumed running again. I caught up to a couple of runners who passed me earlier when I was resting, Tom Wilson and Dina Aman, who I ran with for a few miles. That really worked out for me. I had someone to talk to, and their pace was just right. My brother also came out to cheer and lend his support. Seeing him at the aid stations lifted my spirits more than the drinks and goodies did. He even came out with a "cheer poster" made by Karen.
The race had about 55 starters including a late starter--Jorge Pacheco--who eventually won the race. That guy passed me up and I just watched him fly up the hill. Wow!! I was too slow to get my camera out. Some OCTRunners were there too--Robo, Chaz, Rob100K, iMichelle, and Lori. iDad was also on hand marking out the last 12 miles, and Xena, the Trail Goddess came out to cheer, but this slow one missed her. I didn't see Maz man, but apparently he was there as well.
I finished the 31 miles in 7:12:50 and very pleased with it. I could've done better if I'd had at least another month or so to train on hills. I cruised out of the Blue Jay aid station (mile 19) at about 4:06 way ahead of my projected 4:45. The last 12 miles were a killer which featured about 3400' in elevation gain including Horsethief Trail which climbs about 1355' in 1.4 miles. Hill, hill, and more hill training--that is something to remember for next time.
But for now, I'm just savoring the sweet accomplishment.
Click here to see more photos.