Sunday, November 25, 2012

Folsom Lake 50K (10/28/12) and Outdoor Outreach Endurance Race (11/3/12)

My second trip to northern California this year was a quick one to take the opportunity to jump into a 50K at Folsom Lake, just northeast of Sacramento.  After Cuyamaca, I had been feeling good and doing more road/flat runs than I had all summer.  Running was going well, but with all the hilly/mountainy trail running I'd been doing, the notion of running a 'fast' race, like a road marathon or 50K or one on a flatter trail, seemed rather daunting.  I still can't imagine myself touching my marathon PR.

The Folsom Lake Trail Run was an opportunity to run a 50K on a faster course than anything I've run since coming out to California.  With only 2,000 some feet of elevation gain, this course would be an out-and-back on rolling single track.  To be honest, I expected to run a 50K PR with relative ease and break 4:00, which I've never done in an actual race.  I was a little surprised, then, when I reached the turn-around at about 1:58.  I was feeling pretty good, but felt like I'd been running faster than that.  On the way back, probably 3/4 or 2/3 of the way through the race, I started feeling pretty drained and began to slow.  I had decided not to run with a water bottle for this race, which was probably a mistake and may have affected me a bit.  By mile 25 or so, I was very tired and slogged my way in for the remainder of the race, the return trip being about 19 minutes slower than the way out.  I think it was a combination of not being used to running long on trails like this one, and just not being on my game that day.  It was still a fun morning though on a nice rolling trail along Folsom Lake.

the end of the race. Photo: ITR
The race was put on by Inside Trail, a group of folks that puts on a bunch of races in Nor Cal.  They were a bunch of really nice people, enthusiastic about the local trail running community.  It was fun to hang out around the finish area for a while after the race and take a bath in the lake before heading back to the airport.  

The San Francisco/Sacramento area is amazing in terms of trail running.  There is an ultra quite literally almost every weekend, it seems.  They are organized by any of a handful of fun-loving, close-knit groups.  This all fosters an extraordinary and deep running community, which I am quickly becoming a little bit addicted to.  

The following weekend was a little race I stumbled upon called Reach the Peak at Black Mountain, just outside San Diego.  There were a bunch of race options, including some mountain bike races and an adventure-type race.  The event was put on by a charity organization called Outdoor Outreach, which strives to change/improve the lives of underprivileged children by means of increased outdoor activity.  I chose to run the "endurance race," which was a 3 hour race, the first time-based race I've ever entered, to see how many times you could run to the top of Black Mountain and back.  It sounded like a lot of fun, and definitely a good way to get a good training run with a good bit of elevation gain/loss.  I ended up getting five laps in about 2:55, for roughly 19 miles and something in the ballpark of 4,000 feet of gain, give or take.  The other really cool thing about this race, was that there were a total of five people in the 3-hour event.  One of those was my roommate John who I came to the race with.  Another of the five was Jason Schlarb, an elite ultrarunner and totally cool dude who just got out of the Air Force.  It was awesome to meet him and very unexpected to see an elite runner at such a small race.

I had a lot of fun running this; it was a really cool idea for a race.  It was also surely a great training run, spending 3 hours always either running uphill or downhill.  Assuming my legs would recover easily enough, this would be a nice way to prepare for the following weekend's run at the Mount Tamalpais 50K back up in NorCal, where I would undoubtedly be spending a significantly longer amount of time doing the same thing.

1 comment:

  1. I can't believe how fast you've been running lately. You're my inspiration!