After a few rollers, we started down to the river where we crossed highway 49. ..
|Scott in green. Photo courtesy of NorCalUltras|
After crossing the road, I stopped at the porta-potty before heading down the quarry road to the second aid station. I had my water bottle filled, ate a couple boiled potato pieces dipped in salt, grabbed a few M&Ms, thanked the volunteers, and headed down the road. The road is an old railroad bed that follows the Middle Fork of the American River. It is very flat, smooth, and a welcome reprieve after the quad-busting downhill. About five miles down the trail, we came into Maine Bar aid station. More of the same and I was down the trail. During this race I never really stopped at an aid station, but grabbed what I needed as I walked through. It was through this section that I really began to pass people on the climbs. One runner exclaimed, "Wow, I thought I was a fast walker!" as I passed him. With my leg not giving me any grief, I also concentrated on trying to run faster and "float" the downhills. This was definitely my favorite section of trail. I fell in with a group of runners and it felt like we were a train of roller coaster cars. Every so often there would be a change of position, and off we would go again-too much fun!
At Auburn Lake Trails aid station (mile 21) I split from the group I was running with and took off on my own. Five miles down the trail I made my way up Goat Hill (steepest climb of the race by far) into the aid station for the usual fare, before heading out for the final five miles. It was at this point that I had to make myself run because walking just felt so good. The ridge was also exposed to the afternoon sun and it was becoming quite warm. After crossing the highway at mile 29.6, I realized that I had an outside chance of finishing around 6 hours so I got some water and took off for the last 1.5 miles. I had to dig deep that last section. It hurt but I kept telling myself that in a few minutes it would be all over. I crossed the line with 6:00:14 on the clock (5:59:51 chip time). Kinda silly to be killing yourself for a few seconds, but also super important to try.
Once in a while it all comes together. The niggling lower leg injuries that have plagued me since January kept quiet the whole day. The weather was perfect. Today it is forecasted to rain up to three quarters of an inch with wind gusts approaching 38 mph, but not on Saturday. Saturday was a bluebird day. I took in calories every 30 minutes and entered every aid station with an empty water bottle. When many were charging from the start, I reined it in, reminding myself that no matter how you look at it, 31 miles is a long way to run. There was no 1st place finish or age group award for me, but I had a great day because I had a plan, I stuck to the plan, and had what for me, psychologically, was a great race.
|Me and my race crew with frog mascots.|
My second 50K is in the books. Up next, a 50 miler at the American River 50 Mile Endurance Run.