This was only my second time running a 50k and the first time was over 3 years ago! Stuart and I got up a hour and a half before early at 3:00AM. We had done a good job prepping the night before so we were in the car just a few minutes after 3:30. We had chose to not get a hotel to save some money and make it easier on the dogs. If we ever do this race again I think getting a room in Barstow would make a lot of sense! But we got there on time so it was fine…just really early!
My only complaint about the race was check in. It took much too long to check people in. An alphabetized list would have made things go MUCH faster. Once we got checked in, made a potty break, and finished getting ready we had about 2 minutes before the gun went off!
I had told Stuart if he felt well he should run his own race and not hang back with me. We ran the first 2 (downhill) miles together and then he started pulling away. After the first two miles you start to climb. It is very gradual but you can tell by your pace that you are climbing. The running surface was really hard for me. It was very sandy and it made the running hard. I wasn’t expecting that. Once you start climbing you are essentially climbing until almost mile 18. You get a little bit of a break here and there but it is essentially up!
The aid stations were amazing! Very well stocked and the volunteers were super nice. I managed to eat real food all day; potatoes, PB&J, and oranges. They aid stations were about 6ish miles a part for the first part of the race and then once it got tough they were more frequent. I am not sure that was intentional but it really worked well!
We hit the high point of the run around mile 18. We then ran down the craziest bit of running I have ever done. I heard some people ran down that section. I have NO idea how that is even possible. I scrambled my way down on hands and butt very carefully. The rocks were sharp and hard and I didn’t want to take a tumble there. I made it to the bottom and took a moment to empty the rocks out of my shoes. This had been a problem all day. Gaiters would have made a lot of sense for this run. I had rocks in my shoes all day long.
Once out of the steep bit we had a really nice 3+ mile down hill on reasonable surface. Of course this is where I fell! I was cruising along really enjoying the run when I just tripped over some rock and went flying. I scratched up my knees, hands, and arms pretty well. There was nothing majorly wrong with me so I got up right away and just kept moving. A few tears were shed but I just wanted to get moving so I could finish.
The next 10 miles got tougher and tougher. The terrain was hard and we had to climb a bunch again. I was pretty good until mile 24/25. I was passing a lot of people at that point but I was starting to get discouraged. It was a good thing I wasn’t running with Stuart because it kept my complaining to a minimum. The last 5 miles were brutal but I just kept moving forward. That was all I could do. I spent the last couple miles rehearsing in my head what I was going to tell Stuart when I finished. I had realized that ultra running is not for me. I am good for the first 20 miles but after that I am not enjoying it anymore.
I got to the finish and fell into Stuart’s arms in tears.
I am pretty happy with where I place in my AG. I got 4th and the first three women in my AG were the first three women to finish!
I don’t think I am cut out for this kind of running. It is so hard that I stop enjoying it. Maybe it will get easier the more I do it but I am not sure I want to keep doing it to find out.
Even with that said, I would HIGHLY recommend this race. The views were amazing, the support was incredible, and the people on the trail were so nice! The footing is difficult and the last five miles are extremely hard in my opinion. But it is a very cool race!
I am incredibly proud of my finish and I feel like I can finally call myself an Ultra Runner. But, I am not sure if I will continue to run like this. I have two more Ultras planned for this year, Sean O’Brien 50k and Leona Divide 50 mile. I am not sure I will be doing either of them at this point. Ultra running is WAY harder than Ironman training!
You can click here for the Garmin details.
Kit for this race included:
- Coeur Sports tri top, shorts, and trucker cap
- New Balance Fresh Foam 980 trail shoes
- Ultimate Direction Wink hydration pack