Sunday, June 11, 2006

Mount Diablo 50k race

Where: Mount Diablo State Park,
Clayton, CA

June 10th, 2006

Time: 10 hr 44 mins
This was one of the unplanned 50k's. I had run nisene marks marathon a week back and was planning for a Mt Whitney climb via mountaineer's route with Pavan and Girish, my Climbing buddies ;). But this climb didnt materialize.

After few email exchanges with Rajeev decided to signup for this hilly 50k, also thought this would be a great training run for the upcoming Tahoe 50 miler in july.

Race Day:
Rajeev had just landed from New Zealand on friday evening and he decided to run inspite of his jet lag. I was supposed to him up but due to his jet lag he got up early and picked me instead.

We reached the start at 7:30, and after small chat with Sarah, Wendell/Sarah(Race directors) decided to start early at 8:00am(being a optimist had thought of driving to Santa Barbara after the race)

Total Elevation Gain: 8900 ft

Elevation profile:

Pretty much we run/walk course to Mt diablo summit twice. We started with a easy pace,
first couple of miles were runnable, soon we start 2 mile steep climb on a narrow trail, the first view of valley:

After the initial steep section we have a downhill section, which allowed us to catch some breath,
1 hr 20 mins into race, lead runners catch up(we started early) with us. 50 k was lead by Garret and Rod.

Followed by Ultramarathon man Dean Karnazes
, 4 miles into the race he seemed pretty strong and I was hopeful of him completing this tough 50k. Incidentally after a brief chat with him realized he was again doing the double Ultra this year (Western states followed by Badwater Ultra).

We soon hit another steep section, and my favorite steep, as it opens up the view of entire east bay region:

1 hour 45 mins into race, we hit Juniper campground aid-station, manned by 3 friendly volunteers:

After about a mile of shaded flat section, we again start the last climb to summit, by this point mid-pack runners catch up with us. The steep section wasnt as tough as it seemed and soon we were at the summit, which offered great views of the east bay region, we could see Silicon Valley from the summit:

After a short break at the summit, we start our 7.5 mile downhill. Interestingly we follow different trail way back which is lot gentler on the knees, and the last few sections are covered trail besides a creek, making this section lot pleasant and easier on qauds.

First loop was all about enjoying the course, taking pictures and just appreciating the Nature's beauty. On the way to start point, did my usual quad, calf, hamstring check and all sounded in pretty good shape.

4 hrs 40 mins into race, we were back to start line, we quickly re-fueled with ensure, potatoes, PBJ,chips and succeed. Both of us were feeling good, Wendell convinced us to take steeper section going up as our way back would be lot easier.

2nd Loop turned out to be lot tougher than I thought mainly because of following mistakes:
- re-fueling between start and juniper aid station.
- carrying less water for 5 mile uphill on a hot day was very naive.

After 8hrs 10 mins into race we reached for the 2nd time summit, Rajeev was in great shape, he was waiting for me at the top, Micheal (aid station volunteer) handed me a much needed enegry bar. I was on a all time low on sugar at this point, Rajeev handed out another gel, but I kept thinking I am doing fine with refueling. About 5 mins break at summit gave me a break and we started our run to base.

One of the best pictures of this run was taken by Michael:

Running with Rajeev was a big support, he kept my mindset upbeat and we followed a steady run/walk routine to the finish point. I cannot comprehend how Rajeev managed this run after his 12+hr flight and jet lagged state, he is one tough Athlete, extremely strong physically and mentally.

Thanks Rajeev you made this finish poissible, I owe you one.

After a good break at the finish, Rajeev and myself headed to Anu's place for sumptuous saru/anna and sabjeee. I was never so tired, my legs were cramping every moment due to extreme fatigue, I was just waiting to go home and sleep for few hours, before my drive to SB, which turned out to be next day morning.

In the book "A Step Beyond" one of the article mentions, each ultra is different, every ultra teaches a lesson and if you dont remember then the lesson is repeated untill you remember.


Scott Dunlap said...

Wonderful pictures, Anil. Diablo lives up to its name on ultra day...congrats on conquering it!


anil said...

Thanks Scott, All pictures courtesy Rajeevtherunner.

Yep it was tough run, but worthwhile.

Rajeev said...


You are a very tough cookie too. Whether your blood sugar was low or not, you still had to move your legs! I did not carry you on my shoulder, did I?

I still maintain that you have enough training and races under your belt to take on RDL in September and triumph!


anil said...

Thanks Rajeev, doing it together made this run lot easier.

RDL is a different beast, lets see after aug 12th.

rashmi said...

Nice pictures, I agree and understand what you mean when you say ..ultra is one way you can be so close to nature unlike the road marathons,it is evident from these pictures.

Anna saaru after a run, yum yum!.

I was truly truly kidding when I said Diablo doesnt look all that tall ;) ...I can only imagine how hard it would have been on that hot hot day!. Hats off to all you runners out there.Keep chugging

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miki said...

Hi Anil, just found your blog. I ran with you and Rajeev at Mt Diablo this year. I have wanted to tell you for a while that you really made my day on that race. I was on my last descent from the summit and you were coming uphill and yelled "Number 5-1-6!! Where have you BEEEEN!!!". It totally cracked me up and never fails to make me smile when I remember it. Hope to see you and Rajeev on future runs.