Way too cool 50k,
March 10th, 2007
One of the most distinctive features of this race:
"the 2002 race filled in three days!
the the 2003 race filled in three hours!
the 2004 race filled in 30 minutes!
the 2005 race filled in 15 minutes!
the 2006 race filled in 18 minutes!
the 2007 race filled in 7 minutes, 33 seconds!"
Its getting crazier day by day to get into popular races like Cool 50k, I am a rookie in the sport of ultra-running but can see clearly the popularity of ultra is on the rise. More and more people want to go out and test their limits and every year they take on tougher challenges, be it in terms of longer distance or tougher course!!
Since the past year the competition to get into Cool 50k puzzled me, so this year Rajeev and myself were very well prepared to into this race.
Right at 7:50am on Dec 10th, my cell rings , Rajeev "Anil log into active.com, Cool registration is about to open"
My parents and Rashmi are puzzled at my enthusiasm to login into active site, as if million $ lottery results are gonna be published, anyway I am logged into active like a geek refreshing every moment for the registration to open, and there it is, it opens we hurridily signup for the race and get confirmation from Rajeev and Anu's registration as well.
All excited, blessed , fortunate to get into this coveted 50k, which fills up 450 entries in 450 seconds. Talk of computing power! well I am very curious to see why so much for this race!
Pre race thoughts:
I couldnt read much about the course as I had a busy week at work, school, but knew it isnt one of the hillier 50k's. when rajeev told me it is about 3000ft + total elevation gain, all kinds of thoughts which are are more associated with road running came into my mind. PR, splits etc. I was dreaming about doing 6:15 or atleast 6:30 at worst considering I had done a 50k at woodside in 6:45 a hillier course.
I was totally blinded, and forgot my real motivation of getting into this race, which is to enjoy the course, in the process forgot my new camera.(gift from Rush :))
I managed to get some good sleep, we reached race start in time and Cool 50k had resemblance of a well managed, high profile race, with lot of volunteers, a well manned expo and checkin station, typical of a big marathon.
Don and Gillian were helping at the checkin, other ultra regular's like Linda, Barbara, Yuki were all geared up for a fun filled 50k. I settled into my easy pace, the start had a slight downhill section, which leads into a auburn canyon trail, the intial 6 miles was almost as wide as a fire road, pasing through lushing meadows, the day promised to be a very nice running weather.
I reached the hwy 49 aid station in about 75 minutes, so far looked like right pace for me, from this point we run besides American river almost the entire 8 miles, this section was my favorite section, it was fun running in a pack of runners each of trying to push each other, since it was single track we had to stop by for elite runners, who were already at mile 20+ when we were at 12 ish.. about 2hr 50 mins I reached the 2nd aid station on auburn lake trails, as we crossed the stream towards the aid station, one of the runners Steve (whom I had met at Helen klien) had a nasty fall, poor guy he sat down to get his bearing for a while and luckily it seemed he didnt have any major issues. Running through the streams and just taking timeoff was one of my favorite parts of the course.
From aid station 2 we follow another 6 mile loop which consists of 1 steep downhill followed by steep uphill(but short), this is the only tough part of the course. Most of this section I ran with Chuck who shared some of his multi day running adventures at Costa Rica and Peru. That enthused me to consider the race for 2008.
Goat hill aid station seemed to be the most fun filled of all, Norm posed like a playboy bunny and seemed to entertain some select runners.
From this point to finish was just another easy section. I was glad to get a good run through the scneic sections of Sierra, Rajeev was waiting at finish. He had a very good race, doing his PR 50k in 6:00:48, he deserved and was capable of doing this. Way to go Rajeev!
Overall, I think Cool 50k is one of the finest races I have run. Very well managed, enthusiastic volunteers, great course and very refreshing post race soup. No wonder year after year runners are desparate to get into one of the most coveted 50k races in the country. I would like to run this course again and next time with a camera!