Saturday, June 27, 2009

a pr day at san juan trail 50k

This is going to be part of a series of “catch-up” posts, one of a few ultra late recaps. The race was held on March 14, 2009, but sometimes life gets in the way of blogging which partly explains the gap of entries...


When the week of the race came I was pretty excited about it. I wrote on my Facebook status that I was "looking forward to kicking off the ultra season with the SJT50K." Well wishers who knew what I was talking about sent me some cyber good luck.

I met Alexa at the Starbucks cafe on Ortega Hwy so she can follow me to the race start. We arrived in plenty of time to get our race bib, do some warmups and mingle with some of the runners we knew. We saw Lori S. who was running her first ultra with her friend, Rick. We took some pictures and after Baz's pre-race briefing, we were given the signal to start.

The first part of the course starts with the 9 miles to the Ortega Candy Store for the first aid station looping back to the campground for a total of 18. I was taking it easy for the first part of this run. By the time I reached the first aid station manned by Dawg and Annie, I caught up with rePete who was on a mission to have a "perfect" pi race, that is finish the race at 2:59pm. Race day was March 14. Of course math geeks would immediately make the connection that pi is 3.4259. Pete's just funny that way.

On the way back from the candy store, I was shadowed by another runner who I recognized to be Bud P. I was going faster than I'm normally accustomed to and in hindsight, I think this is where I may have let the race get away from me. I'd let myself forget that this was a long run and should've done a better job of pacing myself. Also I normally take an energy gel every 45 minutes of running but because I was so concerned about the runner behind me I neglected to do so. I could not keep the pace and had to let him pass me. By the time I got back to the campground for aid station 2 at mile 18, I was feeling pretty tired.

The next part of the race was essentially a repeat of the WTRS 21K. There was the climb up Main Divide, the drop down Trabuco Trail, and the hated crawl up W. Horsethief. It was nice to see T-Headz Keira, Jamison and Robert Schipsi working the aid stations cheering the runners and offering their support. During this part of the run, I also met and ran with Thomas K. who will be running Leona Divide 50M. This is also where rePete caught back up with me saying that he can make it. I said something to the effect of "He's inspired by math."

I usually save some kick for the end of the run for a strong finish, but on this day, I was pretty spent. Baz had already handed out top dog awards and was in the middle of doing his "world famous raffle" when I crossed the line.

21 y.o. Alexa told me of her 6:00 finish. Wow, she kicked my butt by almost an hour. I was impressed and wondered, what could her parents be feeding her, because I want some of that.

I did set a PR time of 6:52:32 going under 7 hours in a 50K. Then why did I place in 49th place out of only about 80 starters? I like to think that this was just a strong field which from the looks of many of the runners, it certainly was. But I also think that the course was shorter by at least a mile or so, at least according to my Garmin.

Race lesson:
Next time I really need to do a better job at sticking to my pace and my fueling schedule. Hydrate often and take my gels before I'm hungry to keep myself from bonking. Aim for a strong second half of the race–it seemed to have worked for me in the past.

Click here for my race day photos.
Click here for official RD recap.


Gingerbreadman said...

Congratulations on your 50k PR :) I just completed my first 50k ultra yesterday and I can just imagine how difficult a 50k trail could be. TAke it easy and thanks for sharing!


Anonymous said...

wooow! congrats eric! despite the super delayed post, im sure hte novelty has not faded.

bring me to some nice trails like this when i get there, will ya? ;-)

e-rod said...

thanks, luis! congrats on finishing your first ultra. try some trails next time. it's fun.

bangggi...salamat and for sure i'll show you some of my favorite local trails. pm me when your plans are more definite.