Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Totally awesome day at Way Too Cool!

We arrived in Cool at about 6 A.M. and scored a parking spot a stones throw from the start line.  The two hours went by quickly and before I knew it, we (675+ runners) were headed down the first mile of asphalt before entering the single-track of the Olmstead Loop.  The first couple of miles on this loop were slow going as there was a back-log at a creek crossing.  Some people, frustrated by the slow-up, bounded through the calf deep water.  As a mid/back-of-the-pack runner, I saw no need to run 29 more miles with wet feet so I patiently waited in the conga line for my turn.  As I read somewhere, "If more experienced people are doing something, maybe you should too."  The rest of the loop was spent trying to find a spot where I could run my pace, not on the heels of others nor getting run over by them.  I exited the loop, mile 8, 1 hour and 30 minutes after the start, and entered the first aid station.  With a full bottle of water and a brownie in hand, I thanked the volunteers and continued through the start/finish area to the second loop (23 miles).

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.


  1. Amazing job Scott! It always comes down to sticking to your plan. If everything else fails, always stick to your plan. Spot on with why it was a great day for you!

  2. Thanks for commenting on my blog today, I love that it lead me to yours. Great job, sounds like a wonderfully executed race day :) I'm like you are too with seconds being a big deal, glad you made it under 6 hrs!!