Monday, 10 August 2009
After having done the Skyline 50K at Lake Chabot in the Castro Valley (not far from San Francisco near Oakland) last year i had been in a quandary as to whether i'd do this event again, i'd already entered the SF Marathon the week before and the Mt Disappointment 50 Miler the week after so really questioned whether three successive weeks so closely after Badwater was going to work. Ultimately i decided (one day before online entries closed) that i really needed a trail run before the 50 Miler as after all i wasn't travelling with my falling apart destructing Nike Frees.
During the week i'd been having a great road trip down the Californian central coast, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Carmel and areas down to Big Sur, heaps of hiking as well as a bike ride from Monterey down past Sand City (one of my favourite places) so was either going to be ultra fit or worn out. Had made a motel at Monterey our base for 3 days and returned at dusk on the Friday, not quite sure what the problem was (microwaved soup or microwaved pasta ??? or the fact i'd got very cold before my return - always a problem warm days and always out just that little too long and then i feel the cold), long story short went to bed at 9 and at 10 the next morning i was told horror stories by my travelling companion of me doing "Exorcist style" projectile vomitting, couldnt remember anything at all but vomit covered shoes and very sore carpet burnt knees (from trying to make my way to the bathroom) gave evidence of the night i'd had.
Ultimately i turned our 11AM checkout to a midday checkout (takes that little more to return from the dead), but the thought of a 100 Mile drive to the race area was my idea of hell. Ultimately we made it to Lake Chabot, first thing i needed to remember was "where is it ??", so satisfied (and still braindead and weak) checked into a nearby hotel, my biggest wish being a good nights sleep and to wake up in the morning feeling "normal".
Ultimately i did wake feeling normal, and things fell into place, leaving at just after 6 (continental breakfast wasn't supposed to start till 6 but we got some early things) was at the race area by 6:15, plenty of time to pick up my number and check out the weather as i was planning to wear my AURA singlet (as well as gloves and Buff Bandanna) and only carry one handheld.
Pleasant conditions at race start, off hand in the 60's and pretty clear but as we moved out of the flat ideal running conditions towards the hills before Grass Valley i found it was getting quite foggy and the cold was biting into me.
Real good trails, nothing too thin and technical (an issue for me in my Badwater ASICS DS Trainers) but i was beginning to feel that cold, so had minimal liquid at the first aid station (think the handheld was going to last the whole way on the one fill), bit of a downhill into the valley and then some steep uphill towards Boort Meadow, a few runners in front of me but ultimately i was holding my ground well.
A very nice run down to Big Bear but then a long haul up to Skyline Gate, main issue being the many cattle on the track (i like steaks but being surrounded by them can be worrying). Once at the top we had done the hardest parts but in some instances downhills are harder and this was one of them, by now at least i was regularly passing runners (including the second place lady who'd already fallen twice), so adrenaline was kicking in and finally i was getting warm as we got out of the fog of the highest sections.
Incredibly well stocked aid stations S Caps, Mini Brownies, Fruit and plenty of other goodies as well as coke, mountain dew and sports drink just had to make sure i didnt waste time chosing.
Back towards Bort Meadow and it was just like a day on Aussie trails as we were surrounded by Gum Trees, had chatted with a few runners as i went along even finding a fellow a minute slower than me at SF Marathon, and just like last year was just picking out people in front and then "nailing" them.
Once past Honker Bay (maybe named after all the geese there ??), it was an easy couple of miles alog mainly sealed tracks and plenty of opportunities to run down people, although hindered slightly by the number of people now having a day out (very popular area as evidenced the day before).
Ultimately i ended up 12th in 4:40:49 shaving 9 minutes of last years time (although missing out on an age group placing by less than a minute - could see two runners turn just in front of me).
Pretty happy with that, no effects from the previous day and now i could enjoy the BBQ.