50K turned Marathon Skyline to the Sea

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What a crazy but fun race! I was really looking forward to this 50K even though I wasn’t mentally or physically prepared.  I realized at the last minute I didn’t buy a bus/shuttle ticket and had a mini freak out 2 days before the race. Luckily I have a large group of amazing ultra runners who stepped up and offered me rides, it was so amazing for me to see and feel the love. I was really humbled by the amount of people who offered to help me out. I am so very lucky!

I have been running for just over 3 years and this would have been my 4th 50K. This was not to be the day for me however. I started off strong and felt great! I was nervous because there was a 4 hour cut off to reach the first 16 miles. I decided to push really hard to get to that cut off and was keeping a great pace for the first 9 miles. All of a sudden my stomach started acting up. I had to make quite a few “pit stops” and lost quite a bit of time.

I tried to keep on pushing but I missed the cut off by an hour.

during-stts

The race directors require everyone who misses the cutoff to drop down to the marathon distance; I was completely prepared for that once I realized I was going to miss the cutoff.  I got some extra love, help and ice (due to the heat) from an amazing friend at that aid station. I decided I was going to try to beat the cut off again for the finish and really push myself the rest of the 10+ miles to the finish. I was at mile 16 at hour 5 and there originally was an 8 hour cutoff but the race directors changed it to 9 hours. I still wanted to beat the 8 hour cut off for myself.

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Off I went into the hills of Saratoga and Santa Cruz. The next 5 miles were the most difficult portion of the course for me. A lot of down hill, single track and loads and loads of roots. During a past 50K in Muir Woods those roots got the better of me so I wanted to be extremely careful but push myself at the same time. It felt great to be able run 21 miles and stay strong and know that if I dug deep I could finish within my allotted time. I got to the bottom of the canyon with 5 miles to go and realized if I didn’t step up my pace I wouldn’t make the 8 hour cut off. So…I stepped up my stride, hunkered down and really found what I was made of. I kept an easy but consistent pace and made it to the last aid station in plenty of time. I had 3 more miles to the finish and I knew if I kept up this pace I would be fine. So off I went, feeling stronger than I ever imagined I would. I think I had 1.5 miles left when I could hear the finish line with people crossing, cow bells and lots of cheering. It really energized me and helped me finish strong.

I crossed that finish line in 7:34:26!!!

I beat my goal of finishing in the 8 hours!

I was so proud of myself I didn’t even care that I didn’t complete the 50K. There are always more races. What a beautiful course, wonderful race directors and amazing aid station volunteers (too many to mention). I’ll never forget this experience. EVER!!

What a glorious DAY!

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With AMAZING FRIENDS!

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Completing my First Ultra Marathon ——- 50K in the Books!

It has been my goal since I started running almost 2 years ago to become more fit and strong. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would ever complete a marathon, let alone an ultra marathon.

In August of 2013 I joined The SF Marathon Training Group or Run365 as it is affectionately known. I knew immediately that this group was for me. They gave me such a well-rounded approach to running. Being a complete beginner over the age of 50 I needed a lot of extra coaching and support. I needed help with not only how to increase mileage, but the best way to fuel, how to make sure you are hydrating correctly, how to stretch before and after a run plus much more.

What I didn’t realize is that once I started running I didn’t want to stop. I mean I NEVER want to stop running ever. I love it, I really and truly love it. I feel more like myself when I am running, especially when I am running on the amazing trails of Northern California.

1 month after I started running, one of my coaches told me about Brazen Racing and how wonderful they are and what an amazing job they do putting on trail races. My first 5K trail race was Bear Creek at Briones Regional Park.

http://www.ebparks.org/parks/briones

Briones

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http://www.brazenracing.com/bearcreektrail.html

It was so wonderful, I felt great and was so proud of my accomplishment. This year, I will be running the Bear Creek HALF – I am so excited! I have attached the map and elevation chart for you just in case you would like to have a peek.

Bear Creek Half Map

So, now to my major accomplishment! Starting and completing my first 50K. I set a goal for myself to run Brazen Racing’s Dirty Dozen 12 hour race and to complete a 50K in 10 hours or less. If I could do this then I would sign up for the North Face Endurance Challenge, which take place in the Marin Headlands at the beginning of December. Not only did I complete the 50K, I did it in 8:37 minutes. I know by Ultra Marathon standards – the time isn’t that impressive but for me it was outstanding. Not only did I run 33.7 miles which is more than a 50K (31.07 miles) but I did it under my goal time by an hour and 1/2.  I am so proud of what I’ve done and in the time I’ve done it. If anyone that reads this, is over 50, has never run before and thinks they can’t do an ultra marathon – I am here to prove otherwise! Anyone can do anything if you put your mind to it! Be smart about it though, use all the resources you can; read any and all books and videos. Find a good running group or a running coach and just start. That is the hardest part, starting. Maybe you’ll be like me, once you start you just won’t want to stop! Below is a picture of me crossing the finish line of my first 50K!

50K finish

Below are more links for races in the area that are worth checking out:

Inside Trail Racing

http://www.coastaltrailruns.com/

https://www.thenorthface.com/get-outdoors/endurance-challenge.html