I am not a 50 Miler virgin ANYMORE!!! LOL
This past Saturday I was able to run my first 50 Miler at American River 50(AR50) up in Auburn, CA, and I enjoyed EVERY moments of it from start to finish. But what I enjoyed the most about the race were the aid stations!! I was always looking forward to one right after another, they definately made the miles went by faster. Sometimes I think I spent too much time at each aid station, but I dont really care because I just wanted to have fun and not worry about the time.
I picked this one as my first 50 Miler because this is the 2ND largest 50 Miler in the United States, I think the most popular one is the JFK50. Plus this one is semi-local so I dont have to travel too far, only 8 hours drive. So I think I have picked a perfect one for my 1ST 50!!
On my way to Sacramento!!!
Whatever that is on the mountain,looks pretty cool.
So after 8 hours drive, I finally arrived in a Motel 6 in Auburn, where the race finishes, to meet up with my Maniac buddy Eric, who was also running the race. We hit up the local family pizza joint down in Old Town Auburn for dinner and headed back to our room to watch some DVDs and called for the night.
I went down to the Fleet Feet Sports store about 20 miles away to pick up my stuff, since they didnt really have an expo, I was done in half an hour, but I did manage to picked up a few merchandises they had on sale outside the store. I got the AR50 cap, a sticker, a short sleeves tech shirt AND a pair of Moeben armwarmer from the event Way Too Cool 50K, although I didnt run that race, I had to buy them since they were only $10 A PAIR!! They are the polyester one, not the nylon one so they are extra warm.
I am SO glad that I bought the dinner ticket when I registered for this race, usually the food sucks at pasta dinner, but not this one, the penne pasta and the tortellini were very delisicious, they were catered by nearby The Old Spaghetti Factory, plus they had salad, cookies and brownies and some strawberries. And the ONLY reason that I went to this dinner was to listen to Dick Beardsley's speech. He is one of the most motivational speakers I've ever met, and his speech is always fun to listen to. I have recorded a few mins of one of his speech, I will post it later on.
Dick Beardsley telling his many running stories at the dinner party
Dick Beardsley was having a raffle, whoever wins, he will pace that runner the final 10 miles of the race. I didnt enter the raffle cuz I didnt want to win because I think I will be dying after 40 miles. lol
Eric and I went back to the motel after the dinner, watched the "Spirit of the Marathon" movie, did some last min packing for our stuff and went to bed around 10:30pm.
We got up at 2am and left at 3am so we could take the shuttle to the start at the finish line at 4:10am. We got to the finish line early since it was only a few miles away from our motel, so we just sat inside our car and wait, it was around 50's early morning.
At 3:45am, we made our way to the bus with our gear bags that we planned to be dropped off at the start, they actually 3 different locations for us to choose, one is at Beals Point at Mile 26.77, one is at Rattlesnake Bar at Mile 40.94 and the other one is at the Finish Line. We both chose Beals Points cuz we wanted to change into some fresh clothes for the 2nd half of the race.
On the bus, I met up with another Maniac friend Jennifer, we sat behind her and chi chat a little bit. Then a few moments later I saw a familiar face just getting the bus, it was Sally, she was also running her 1ST 50!! She is a fast runner, she eventually finished the 50 miler in 7:40.01.
After about an hour bus ride, we finally arrived at the start. the race starts at 6am so I still have a little time to stretch and get myself ready before I check my bag.
About 5:45am, the announcer suggested us to start making our way to the start, which is right by the Guy West Bridge, I wish I had a picture of it but it was still dark so didnt came out well. I bumped into a few familiar runners and decided to take our final photo op before we took off.
The first 19 miles was pretty much following along the bike trail on the pavement, I ran on the shoulder of the bike trail on the dirt area most of the time so my knees wont feel so beat up.
I got to the first aid station at Mile 5 in 48.41, I was suprised how many food they have on the table!! I only grabbed some oranges and bananas since the rest of them didnt seem interested to me. Just before I left I saw Cantra standing on the side, she is an ultra runner, so I stopped and ask to take a picture with her. After each aid station, there was a sign telling you how many miles to go until the next aid station, I think that was awesome cuz that's what I am running for!!. =-)
I got to the 2ND aid station at Mile 8.16 in 1:17.54, the volunteers were great, they asked me if I want my bottle to be refilled, they were really helpful. Again I only took some oranges and bananas and I was on my way to the next one.
Before aid station #3, we had to make our first climb up to the hill, along the side of the trail, they had a few motivational quote to keep us going.
I got to the 3RD aid station at Mile 14.61 at 2:26.28, I always go for the oranges!!
I got to the 4TH aid station at Mile 18.1 at 3:06.54, still feeling good, gotta be the oranges!!
I got to the 5TH aid station at Mile 22.4 at 3:57.17.
I FINALLY got to the half way point at Beals Points at Mile 26.53 at 4:46.40!! I saw Dick Beardsley standing on the side and decided to take a pic with him before I headed over to grab my bag and change into another shirt and new socks for the half of the race.
I took some oranges, bananas and some chips and cookies before I took off
When I got to the aid station #7 at Granite Bay at Mile 31.67 in 6:10.29, I noticed they even serve soup!! So I just HAD to try to them out, I ended up taking like 3 or 4 cups of noodle soup, yes they WERE THAT GOOD!! Plus a few cups of Coke before I took off
After a tough 3 miles, I got to the aid station #8 at Buzzard's Cove at Mile 34.67 in 7:01.23. At this station they even have ICE CREAM CONE!! I took like 3 of them, although I never had ice cream in a race before but they didnt bother me at all.
I got to aide station #9 at Horseshoe Bar at Mile 38.14 in 7:54.08, again they had soup and coke, and I drank a few cup before I took off.
The next aid station is at Rattlesnake Bar at Mile 40.94, I got in at 8:40.23. Then I saw this lake before I took off, so I asked a lady nearby to take a pic for me.
I got to aid station #11 at Manhattan Bar at Mile 43.92 in 9:16.20, Again I gotta have my soup and coke and oranges before I left, those volunteers were awesome, one of them even in custom!!
Just before Mile 47, there was this long steep hill which they call the "Dam Wall", I tried to walk diagonally just to get up to the hill, at one time I even had to put my hands on my knees to take catch my breath. Once I got up to the top of the hill, I notice a very encouraging sign.
I still have 800 feet of elevation to climb after this point, but just when I got to LAST aid station at Mile 47.56, I saw one of the volunteer actual RAN down the hill to ask me if I want my bottled to be filled, I gave him the bottles and he just ran back up the hill to the aid station and refilled them for me, those guys were in pretty good shape, around their 20's, there were only a few of them working at that station. I grab a few coke before I tackled the final 2.44 miles.
The rest of the way was pretty much walking pace, I felt like I was finishing Badwater and I am walking up toward Mt. Whitney. lol Then there was another encouraging sign I saw and I REALLY had to take a picture with it.
I AM ALMOST DONE!!!
The last mile was the longest mile ever!! And when I was about to make a turn into the parking lot where we park in the morning, I saw people on the side were cheering us , and knowing that the finish line was ahead of me, I started running again and felt great that I am actually finishing a 50 mile race, with no runner infront of me nor behind me, I crossed the finish line in11:08.46. (missed the qualifying time for lottery for the Western States 100 by 9 mins!!) I actually stand underneath the clock so the photographer can have a better picture of me, I can't wait to see how that picture come out.
They gave me the finisher's jacket when I finished, but I eventually bought a better quality one for $25 at the booth. They had hamburger, hot dogs and ice creams for us, not a lot of post race food, but I didnt complain, I had a blast overall and I am very looking forward to run this race again next year!!
P.S.: My Garmin died on me after 44 miles!!! =-(
Next Race....................Ragnar Relay So Cal, April 23rd-24th, 2010