Monday, October 17, 2011

Running treat at Firetrails 50m

Firetrails 50m,
Oct 8th, 2011
Lake Chabot, CA

Since the beginning of the year I was hoping to do a late fall Ultra (once we settle into baby schedule), since I wasn't sure about my training, I was hoping to log at least 2 long runs before commiting to signup for FT 50m. I was blessed with two beautiful runs at Missions peaks.
  • Tripeat Mission peak, Fremont,CA.
  • Double Mission peak, Fremont,CA.

I felt strong both of the runs and I was confident of completing FT 50M. I signed up in August, hoping to do a sub 11 and probably signup for WS100 2012. my motivation for signing up as always been some form of a trigger to go out and train, sometimes during odd hours. Especially with little Ahana around I have been more flexible with my runs and happy to work around her schedule.

I got some very good training until middle of September, then things got very busy, we had family visiting us, I had cataract surgery, work got busy and icing on the cake we all got flu/cold. All 6 at home. It was one of worst and took forever t recover. It was very tiring to say the least.

As the race got closer I got nervous to start a 50M, a distance which seemed to be in my comfort zone seemed daunting the previous week(partly my illness, partly lack of ultra specific training). easy to loose confidence when you take a break from a regular activity. I was wishing race was another week away. But time waits for none and race was at my doors right on time. I hardly got sleep the previous night with all the coughing.

Race day:
Race day, starting point was hustling and bustling with activity, new RD Juli Fingar was busy with last minute instructions, day promised to be sunny and low 70s, ideal conditions for a good run. I met few of my running friends, Karen Bonnet, Nattu, Jim Mcgill, Chuck Wilson, uber fast Jean Pommier. I decided to just jog along Jim as long as I can. Its always fun chatting with him. We settled into a good pace, enjoying east bay hills and beautiful open vistas as the race progressed north. We managed to tackle Wasp stings along the way, my wasp count was 3 this time and it still itches after 2 weeks. Thanks Jim for taking the lead, I owe you one. I reached 26mi AS in 4:55hrs and after a quick refueling, headed back up on a longest climb of the race.

On way up ran with Adam Blum we shared our experiences past summer and plans for future runs. caught up with Jim running down, apparently he took a wrong turn and got few bonus miles, but he did look like a happy camper. At that point I felt very strong and was planning for a sub 10, considering last 20miles is mostly downhill. I met up with Vinod almost at the top, he had rolled his ankle so was unable to run downhill, he called it a day. He seemed quite contended with the effort and was in good spirits.

After about .5 a mile from Sibley AS(mi 33.5) I got into a nice rhythm running downhill a set of switchbacks, all of a sudden I saw a black and white snake crossing, I was quick enough to stop about 5 yards away from it and let it cross the trail into forest, one of the runners mentioned it was Cal King and non-venomous. It was a breather to know that !

I reached Skyline gate AS (37mi) in 7:37hrs. I was getting slower and given up on sub 10 by then. Next 8 miles fatigue set in and my lack of long runs caught up with me, I just sloughed through and hit Bart meadows AS in 9:25hrs. Last few miles by the lake went by very quickly I could sense the finish and started planning for a good soup overloading, which is one of my favorite part of the race. As I got closer I felt so lucky to be running at such a beautiful place, I was thanking my family(Rashmi, MIL) for their support. It must have been a very tiring day for them.

Crossed the finish line in 10:34:40, quite a surprise, I was contended with the effort. It was sweet to get a WS qualifier. Ultra goal for the year achieved and now I am focusing my energy on a PR race at CIM on Dec 4th.

It was a superbly organized race by Julie Fingar and Mark Giligan. Thanks to all the volunteers made this race a memorable one. Race swag was one of the coolest around. Post race was mainly spent catching up with Diane, Karen and Nattu, they shared all the gory details about UTMB 2011, that sounded like one must do race, probably in next 5yrs. I got home very tired, had a quick dinner and after few chores got into bed quitely. Rashmi was extremely patient and supportive, I am sure she had a very long day her self with 2 kids. I owe this race to her. Hats off girly.

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