Diablo Marathon 2008

I did the majority of my training runs for the Honolulu Marathon on trails, and I prefer trails to roads, but until this year I hadn’t been on any organized trail runs. Then I found Pacific Coast Trail Runs, and did my first run with them in January (the 21K in Pacifica). I followed that with a couple of 30K events, and started branching out in my training runs as well, rather than sticking to the same trails over and over again at Rancho San Antonio. I saw they had a trail marathon at Mount Diablo, but the elevation gain of 7950 feet was intimidating. Finally, on the last day before the price went up, I decided that even if I had to walk the whole thing, it was worth a shot, and I signed up.

So a couple of days ago I got up a bit before 4am in order to make it to the start on time. The event had sold out by then, with 200 total participants. They said that 90 were doing the marathon, which means that 110 crazy people were signed up to run (or more accurately, cover) 50 miles. Worse, I overheard at least one of them saying that they had done a 50 mile run the previous weekend. Wow.

Oh, and it was hot, getting into the middle 80’s in the afternoon. Before I knew about the temperature, I had thought that I would be glad to finish it in under 8 hours, and one calculation I did led to a prediction of 8:53. So given all that, I’m not complaining about my 8:35.

I know I didn’t have much more to give at the end. At one point late in the race I was on a gentle downhill fire road, with no traction problems. And still the fastest I seemed to be able to jog was at about 14 minutes per mile, and mostly I walked. I also found to my surprise that a heart rate of only 135 got me as out of breath as I normally would have been at 25 beats higher. I guess after 8 hours there just wasn’t much left in the tank.

Speaking of which, that was literally true. I miscalculated on fluids and ended up without any for the last 5 miles. Given how good I still felt at the last aid station around the 18 mile mark, I think this significantly affected my ability for those final miles. I’m sure glad I had my new water pack, which held twice as much (64 vs. 32 ounces) as what I used to use, or it could have been even worse.

I learned recently that anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen can lead to increased risk of cramping, and I had experienced some minor cramping in long events before this one. This time I used acetaminophen and had no problem, so I guess that’s tentatively confirmed.

I also finally learned to use a hat so that I didn’t have to put sunscreen above my eyes, which was a major improvement over the extreme burning in my eyes that I experienced in other events. And lastly, the toe socks from Injinji seemed to be an improvement over conventional socks. So, yes, running is yet another excuse to buy stuff.

I hear this course is harder than many 50K trail events, which is cool, since that means I should be able to do one of those this year and call myself a beginning ultramarathoner. But next up I may try a 6 hour event, where you see how much distance you can cover in a given time. That could be a very different kind of event so long as I don’t get bored going around the same 3.1 miles over and over. But the fact that it’s flat seems like it might be a nice change.

Note that my GPS data indicated “only” 25.66 miles and 7131 feet of climbing. I don’t think I missed any of the course.


2 Responses to “Diablo Marathon 2008”

  1. Ultramarathoner in training « Random Musings About Movies and More Says:

    […] and I had covered 30.3 miles in a flat fixed-time (6 hours) event in May, the former of which I wrote about in this blog. But I hadn’t technically completed an ultramarathon, especially under the hilly trail […]

  2. Fifty Miles! « Random Musings About Movies, Running, and More Says:

    […] daughter Keturah, who I had exchanged some e-mails with and who had a pace similar to mine for the Diablo Marathon. I also finally met Marrissa Walker, one of my online coaches, in […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: