Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dumb Ass 50K

It's sort of like a Fat Ass 50K only unplanned and stupid.

OK, so I actually did plan to run at least a 50K today. Astute readers will note, to the right, the date listed next to the Sequoia 50K in my 2009 Plans. I am not an astute reader. Apparently, not even of my own writing. That's where the "stupid" comes in.

My plan was to get in at least 40 miles on Saturday by repeating a stunt I pulled last year of running to the start of a 50K race and then running back to my car afterward. I did this at the Skyline Ridge race covering 49 miles in the process. This year I was going to do the same at Sequoia which starts in Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland. I'd never been in that park before, but I know the adjacent Redwood Park (also used for the race) quite well. Sitting with the trail map, I had worked out about a half dozen different options for pre- and post-race distance ranging from under 4 to more than 9 miles.

Being so familiar with the trails, I decided I would just play it by ear deciding on a final route based on how early I managed to get up and get myself there. I ended up waking pretty early and arriving along Skyline Blvd by 6:30am. I decided I would head out along my favorite Golden Spike Trail which hooks up with the West Ridge to cut all the way across the park. This would give me at least 7.5 miles including the route down to the race start. I'd printed out maps, but, as I often do, I forgot them at home. I figured by the time I arrived at unfamiliar trails, I would have course markings to help guide my way.

It was about half way along the West Ridge where I first began to wonder. I knew I was on the course, but saw no little colored ribbons. I thought that maybe they were just marking the course this morning. Perhaps I'd even bump into someone along the way. It wasn't until I ran right passed Moon Gate (and had to do my first backtrack of the morn) that I first became suspicious. From there, I was lost. Leaving Redwood, I had no idea in which direction the trailhead leading into Joaquin Miller lay. I ran one way, then the other only to finally confirm with a local resident that the first direction was, indeed, correct. By the time I found something that looked like a trail entrance, the race start time was already past. However, at this point, I was pretty sure something had gone wrong on my part. No markings. No Moon Gate aid station. Maybe the race was on Sunday?

I found the criss-crossing trails in Joaquin Miller quite confusing. They were beautiful, to say the least, but confusing. Despite the lack of any evidence of a race underway, I was still rushing around in a near panic trying to find where it was supposed to have started. The idea of taking it easy had been put temporarily aside. I eventually found the area, deserted as it was. I decided to take a short break and pull out my Blackberry to fire a quick message to Sarah at PCTR. She not only confirmed that I showed up a week early, but sent me the info copied right from this here blog. Ah well. It was an amazing day so I decided that I would just run as much as I could. Luckily I had my pack with me and at least enough electrolyte and calories for a few more hours.

I decided I would follow the path of the main race loop as much as I could recall and try to get in a full 31 miles after exploring this new park a bit further. I'd already logged more than 12 in my wanderings. So once I headed back into Redwood Park I would just have to head back to the far side of the park and could get the miles in by taking the long route back to my car.

In the end, I had a great day and managed my supplies very well returning too the car a half hour after slurping down my final 100 calorie gel. One extra little lap near the parking area rounded my mileage out to just over 31. It wasn't quite the 40+ that I had planned, but I did get an extra 1000ft of climbing beyond what the race listed and still finished in around 6-1/2 hours. Sure, that wouldn't normally win any 50K race, but, hey, I finished an entire week before anyone else!

Views of the wondering:

Satellite View

Street View

Elevation View


Rick Gaston said...

I was laughing from the first paragraph. Unfortunately or fortunately a Dumb Ass 50k is not something that can be planned in advanced. I guess they are truly rare as they are funny.

Drs. Cynthia and David said...

Pretty funny story! But you had everything you needed to finish anyway, so not such a dumbass after all I'd say!

Glad to hear that training is continuing well.


olga said...

Steve, I loved it! I think it's so much better, I mean, it sucks, but afterwards it's so great to have done it, especially when you felt ok, and the time was nice:) Well done! Still up for 50k on this weekend?

Eudemus said...

Yes, in the end, I was definitely glad I did it. In some ways, running a 50K solo is even more satisfying than doing it in a race. I don't know if I will be able to join any/all of the actual race this weekend as my son's basketball game won't be scheduled until tomorrow. If it is too early in the day, I won't be able to join the 50K. So, in that way, it is really good that I ran it last weekend!

Catra said...

I love it!!! Showing up a whole week early..You better get the dates right for C2M 100..

Running long for fun is my favorite think to do. We had a blast running 100k Friday..We were out for 18 hours..But it was fun.

miki said...

Hilarious Steve. Thank goodness Sarah emailed you back or you might have stayed out there all day just looking for the race runners. :) Nice write up.

John Austin Reynolds said...

So who came in second? What kind of hardware did you get?

Did you run the real race the next weekend?

Hope you are doing well,