Two Down, One to Go

If you read my previous post, you know I’ve signed up for three 50K trail runs over three consecutive Saturdays. This one started and finished at Muir Beach up in Marin County, and it had the most total climbing (7130′) of the three. My goals, in order from most to least achievable, were 1) to finish, 2) to finish in under 8 hours, 3) to finish in under 7 1/2 hours, and 4) to finish under 7 hours. I didn’t think I had much of a chance at that last one, but I did give myself an incentive to make the 7 1/2 hour goal, namely that I wouldn’t go have a pint of Guiness at the Pelican Inn (closer to the race than where I was able to park) unless I made that goal.

The weather was predicted to be marginal, with some rain likely, though the low temperature (mostly in the 40s, Fahrenheit) actually tends to suit me well. As it turns out, it only rained for maybe 15 minutes, though that was cold enough that I did take a couple of minutes to get out my windbreaker (and another minute at the 33K aid station stop to put it away).

I actually think the runners signed up for the 11K event may have had it the worst, at least on a per mile basis, because the two nastiest climbs were in that section. Of course that meant the 50K runners did both of those climbs twice. The worst of those had steep stairs (wooden steps fastened down with cables) followed by what seemed like an even steeper incline. The first time I went up that section I noticed that my GPS thought I was going at about 48 minutes/mile pace (3 times slower than walking on level ground). The second time, 33K later, I stopped after the stairs to catch my breath. Someone passed me at that point, and apparently I looked bad enough that he asked me, twice, if I was okay. That was probably the low point for the day, though my right knee hurting for several miles was a close second. Surprisingly, the knee just seemed to work itself out and seemed fine by the end of the run.

In the middle 6K of the last 17K loop, I was surprised to come across the Sausalito VOR, which is a radio navigation aid for pilots. As a former private pilot, that was cool to see. There’s a picture of it on Flickr.

In the last segment, which was 4.7K from the Tennessee Valley aid station to the finish, I knew I was going to make 7 1/2 hours and I was even pretty sure I was going to make 7 1/4 hours. After I finished the second nastiest climb (because it seemed to climb higher than you thought any of the local mountains could go) for the second time of the day and was on the final descent, I was actually torn between hurrying and slowing down. The temptation to slow down was to sandbag a bit so that the third 50K a week later could more easily be faster than the second. But when I saw the parking lot come into view and looked at my watch, I realized I had a shot at beating 7 hours, so I went for it. And I finished in 6:59:53!

Even with that time, which is my third fastest 50K only behind two with far less climbing, I was 40th out of 54 finishers and 9th out of 11 in my age group. But I did manage to push myself to an average heart rate of 146bpm for almost 7 hours, proving again that my old 140bpm limit no longer applies. And I think it’s also my best time as a percentage of the winner’s time (149%).

So not only does the plan to do three 50Ks in 15 days no longer seem crazy, I’m actually thinking that come 12/27 I’m going to wonder why there’s no race to attend. I guess I’ll have to catch up on my Oscar-hopeful movie watching instead. And I’m also scheduled to donate blood on 12/22.

Speaking of charity, if you can afford to and haven’t already, please see the previous post in this series and give to Second Harvest Food Bank. Thanks for your support on that!

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One Response to “Two Down, One to Go”

  1. Well, that worked out well « Random Musings About Movies, Running, and More Says:

    […] Random Musings About Movies, Running, and More Watch this space… « Two Down, One to Go […]

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