|photo by Jim Stein|
Us fifty mile runners started at five in the morning which required us to wear headlamps for the first four miles or so, which I always enjoy. Then we were treated to a clear pristine desert sunrise. It was cool but warm enough to start off in shorts and a t-shirt. The landscape slowly transitioned as we gradually ascended up Guaje Ridge, from the desert to aspen filling in an old burned zone to tall pines in the mountains with little patches of snow from yesterday’s flurry.
This year’s race mostly followed the same course as it has for the last handful of years, except it was run in reverse, which was a nice change and made for better Hardrock training for me. This year we hiked up a couple steep sections that we descended previously.
This event is one I’ve done before and will likely continue to run in the future. It’s a nice tune up for Hardrock since you’re at elevation and climbing/descending for long periods of time. It also has some short fun cross-country sections. On one of these sections, dropping into the Valles Caldera, I spooked a couple big cow elk and ran through a bunch of wild iris, idyllic mountain stuff.
Not only is this a scenic mountain 50 miler, but it’s flawlessly organized by many volunteers and the group of people that tend to be running it every year are my kind of peeps. It isn’t a super hyped up race, yet it’s a very high quality event, which is an ideal combination. I don’t always want to run events that are ‘big races’.
The day was exceptionally smooth for me. I never went all out, but didn't have any bad low spots. Just steady running to a finishing time of 8:39 which was good enough for 1st place today.
Thank you Tom Stockton for excellent race directing! It can’t be easy coordinating 3 races (of different distances) on one day with so many volunteers running around, but you do it well and with a smile. If I ever tried to RD a race I’m sure I’d be a stressed out nut ball, not Tom, he’s always friendly and cool as a cucumber.
VFuel: I was stoked to have a good race at an event that VFuel was sponsoring. I only had one gel during the race, but I mostly drank Black Cherry Cola VFuel drink mix. My energy levels were more stable for this race than any other 50 I’ve ever run. I’ll continue sipping on VFuel drink mix slowly as my fueling strategy in the future.
Julbo: My go-to glasses, the Aero-Lites were perfect: extremely light, comfortable, lenses darkened/lightened in varying sunlight.Drymax Socks: I had absolutely no blisters or hot spots. Feet felt normal after nearly nine hours of mountain running in my nifty argyle socks.
|Best finishing prize ever, a hug from Penny.|