I ran this race last year on a considerably lower training base (I averaged ~20 miles per week less during the 4 months leading up to last year's race) and figured I would be able to run significantly faster this year, with the same effort. To find out if that would indeed be the case, I gathered up some things, brought myself to Healdsburg where I grabbed my race bib, enjoyed a nice pre-race dinner, went to sleep and then to the start. Oh, I also bought a shirt at HRC because I forgot mine.
Rain was featured on the race-day menu. It fell for the majority of the day, mostly in a gentle and soothing way. I will spare you the details of every single one of the fifty miles I ran and instead just mention that this course is beautiful, like really really good looking. The trails navigate through several zones. Miles of old growth oak groves, then redwoods, steep open grassy hillsides, and pristine views of Lake Sonoma around every corner.
|At the start. Photo: Chris Jones|
As needs to be done in something like a 50 mile race, I ran and ran and ran. I hiked up hills and ran down them. At mile 23-24 during a ~2 mile, 1,000+ ft. climb, I started hitting a low spot. The feelings were familiar and I quickly credited the lull to a lack of and need for calories. I was hoping to hold out until the mile 25 turnaround where I could access my drop bag and chug some Vitargo (something I've been experimenting with for Western States). I decided the risk of having a full-blown bonk were too high so I chomped up a gel. I started to feel better quickly. I arrived at the 25 mile aid station, drank my Vitargo, ate maybe half a cantaloupe, hugged Chris Jones, and started the LONG journey back to the finish.
I was happy to find that my buddy Jerry (who I ran with for a while in the first half, but beat me by almost an hour!) had brought my truck close to the finish. I hopped in there, grabbed my post-run protein shake, then started chowing down on vegan tamales. Until next time, Lake Sonoma!
|50 mile run done! Photo: Chris Jones|
|Lake Sonoma 50 Mile course and elevation profile.|