|Running among the redwoods|
I took Saturday off completely just to make sure everything was OK and to give myself a rest day before the Coastal Train Runs - San Lorenzo River 50K that I was already signed up to run on Sunday morning. I was planning to play it by ear depending on how my legs felt during the day and evening on Saturday. Everything seemed fine, so on Sunday morning I woke up, slipped into my running gear and drove up over the mountain from San Jose to Santa Cruz.
|Crossing the River|
I didn't really have any personal aspirations for this particular race other than to finish without killing myself or pushing too hard. With my 100 miler coming up in just two weeks, I basically just wanted to get in one last long(ish) training run before the big day. Considering my recent cramping problems, and having just raced 50 miles the previous weekend at Rancho Cañada del Oro and Calero Park, I just wanted to run smart and easy today.
Although I had planned to go out slow and conservatively, I somehow found myself tucked in between Quicksilver Ultra Racing teammate Adam Blum and Über-triathlete Lauren Swigart (both of whom were doing the shorter 30K event). Adam and I stayed together for much of the first half of the race, taking turns doing the work. Running as a team we managed to successfully follow the course markings while many of the other front runners apparently took a wrong turn and ended up running part of the course backward.
Anyway, somewhere around mile 13 I started to pull away from Adam a bit and found myself running alone. I knew there were still a few runners ahead of me, but I wasn't sure how many of them were doing the shorter distances (1/2 marathon, 30K and marathon) and how many (if any) were doing the 50K. So I was pleasantly surprised when aid station volunteers informed me that I was the first 50k runner to come through the aid station. Sweet!
Now the pressure was on. I had the lead, but could I keep it? And if I could hold on for the win, would I also be able to better the course record of 5:07:21 set by Mark Dowds in 2010? Suddenly my plans to run conservatively evaporated. I found myself ratcheting up the pace ever so slightly and running some hills that I would have probably otherwise walked. I wasn't sure how much of a lead I had, but based on my rudimentary calculations (OK, based on my trusty Garmin Forerunner 310XT ; I suck at trying to do math while running) I was pretty sure I would take at least 10 minutes off the existing course record if I held my pace.
Congrats to second place finisher Jason Serda came in shortly afterwards in 4:57:41. And congratulations also to 64 year-old Quicksilver Ultra Racing teammate Jim Magil who finished strong in the middle of the field -- running on a torn miniscus! Man, you're a stud Jim.
Here's a link to the official results, and here are my Garmin stats.