Sunday, September 16, 2012

Folsom Point 50k: One HOT 50k! (September 15, 2012)

The Folsom Point 50k: Mathis Memorial Run.  One HOT 50k!  

I have decided to try to qualify for Western States this year and have signed up for my first 50 Mile Race, Dick Collins Firetrails 50, in October.  Needing to get some long mileage training in, I signed up for the Folsom Point 50k.  The race is put on by Elemental Running.  I had enjoyed the run with them before, the Auburn Trails Run, so thought it would be nice to do another one with them.  

The race was small (in size, not distance).  Kind of nice to do a low key, local race.  Way Too Cool 50k and TRT 50k had much bigger crowds.  Those can be fun but sometimes, I like the smaller races too.  

Before the race, I saw my friend Paulo setting things up.  He is working for Elemental Running now.  So, it is nice knowing one friend will be out there.  

Folsom Point to Brown's Ravine

The race starts and I start running from Folsom Point towards Brown's Ravine.  We get up on the levee and run a flat stretch for a few miles.  I am running a pretty good pace but trying not to run too fast.  A few fast folks go flying by.  A couple ladies and I are run together and we chit chat about upcoming races.  After a bit, one woman just takes off at a smoking pace.

We get off the levee and hit the single track.  The other woman I was talking to is right behind me.  We run along at a decent pace but it makes me a little anxious having her right on my heels.  I ask if she wants to pass and she says this pace is good.  I keep going and feel like I am running a tad faster than I would prefer to run at this early stage in the race.  

We cross the road at Brown's Ravine and I wave the woman to go ahead of me before we start climbing.  She hesitates but I tell her go ahead.  She does.  I know there is a bit of climbing coming up and I don't wnat to out run myself or slow down another.  

Brown's Ravine to Salmon Falls

From Brown's Ravine, I run (and hike a little) on the trails.  As I am running, I look around at these trails.  I have run these trails many times but on night runs.  Not so much in the daylight.  They have a different look in daylight yet a familiarity.  It is kind of fun to do a run on such familiar terrain.  And, I am liking this is not nearly as hilly as Tahoe.  Fun to be able to just run.  

As I run along, I see a few fast fellows start running the other way.  There a few shorter distances in this event and these are the front runners.  They go flying pass me.  Then, I see the woman I saw on the levee go flying pass me in the other direction.  Looks like she's just running the 25k.  

There are not too many women out here and I think I am second.  I think Bridget, the woman I let pass me at Brown's Ravine, is the only woman ahead of me.  But, I haven't seen her since then and I wonder how far ahead of me she is now.  

I come out to an open field area and see another aid station.  Paulo is there and gives me some encouragement as I continue one.  I am keeping a pretty good pace to run a sub-6 hour 50k.  

Through the trails I go, a few guys pass me.  But, I have not seen another gal for awhile now.  I just run along. But, I can feel that the day is warming up.  I sense it is going to be a warm second half of the race.  

I arrive at New York Creek bridge.  I eat some snacks and head on my way.  Still making good time. 

After a bit, I start seeing a few of the front runners of the 50k run pass me in the other direction.  I look at my Garmin and estimate how far ahead of me they are.  I have only a little farther before I hit the turn around.  

About 1/2 mile from the turn around, I see Bridget running the other way. We pass each other and we cheer each other on.   Now, I know I am close.  And, I can see that I am not too far behind Bridget.  But, I can tell I am getting a little tired.  The heat is going to make it tough to keep this pace up.  

A few turns through some trails with tall, dry grass, I come down into the Salmon Falls Aid Station.  The volunteers give me a can of fruit.  I drink the juice and eat the fruit.  This hits the spot.  I fill up on water and start making my way back to Folsom Point.  

Salmon Falls Bridge to Fitch

The day is getting hot and I am slowing down.  I am still able to run okay but definitely have slowed down my pace.  I don't pay too much attention to how far Bridget is ahead of me and keep running.  But, I do notice that the next girl behind me is quite a ways back.  So, I feel like I might get 2nd female in this race.  That'l be cool.  

I continue on, paying careful attention to my hydration.  It is hot.  I see a tiny little stream crossing with a tiny bit of water and dip my handkerchief in it and use it to splash on my face, neck, and arms to try to cool down a little.  It doesn't take too long for my handkerchief to dry off in this heat.  

20-21 miles in, I am trudging away in the heat.  I am moving okay, though slower than before.  I see a couple guys that had passed me earlier.  They look to be dragging themselves in this heat.  I slowly get closer and eventually pass them.  I guess we are all slowing down in this heat.  

Around mile 22, I spot Bridget.  She is hiking up a hill.  I come up behind her.  I hike behind her up the hill.  We complain about the heat.  I tell how I did not think I would catch up to her.  She says she knew I would. We hang together for a little bit.  She asks if I saw two guys.  I said I passed them a little bit ago.  They are not too far behind.  At the top of the hill, she lets me pass and looks to be hanging back for the two guys behind us.  

I then head down to the aid station.  I ask the volunteers to fill up my bottle with water.  I can feel my legs are nearing cramping so ask if they have s-caps or something like that.  They say they don't but they have salt.  A girl pours me a handful of salt.  It sticks to my sweaty hand.  

I walk out of the aid station licking salt off my hand.  Hopefully this works.  As I drink my water, I detect a slight flavor to it.  I think it has Heed in it rather than water.  I don't like this at first but I guess it is good I am drinking extra electrolytes.  

Back To The Levee

I continue on in the heat.  I run a little bit and walk some.  I can feel the tightness in my legs.  How they are just on the brink of cramping.  I run a bit until I feel I am coming a wee bit too close to cramping and walk some.  I keep moving along.  I check behind me here and there and do not see anyone behind me.  

I find a couple more tiny streams to soak my handkerchief in.  I feel like after I soak it, it dries up within minutes.  But I do what I can to keep myself from roasting too much.  

I follow along the trails and eventually pop out at Brown's Ravine.  But, I pop out in not the same place I had run up.  I run up the road a bit to the aid station.  I tell them I think I missed a marker and came out on a wrong section.  I hope I am not in trouble for not running the exact course.  They say it is okay as others have missed a turn also. It ends up being about the same distance.  

I take a moment at this aid station (it is shaded).  I fill up and snack a little.  Then, I head towards the finish. 

I am walking/hiking moreso than running.  I keep trekking along.  As I near the levee, I hear a runner approach.  I see Loren, a runner I had met at Run on the Sly.  He runs by and gives me some encouragement.  He then disappears ahead of me.  Then, I am all alone again trudging my way towards the finish line.  

I then wind my way down the trails back to the levee.  

The Levee

I remember Cathleen telling me yesterday that the levee will feel like the longest stretch ever.  And, it seems a far distance to cross this levee back to the finish. 

I hit the levee and am tired and hot.  The levee is all exposed in the sun so that makes it even harder.  I run a little bit but get tired so walk a bit.  I look behind me and see no one.  I decide I will walk until I see another runner behind me hit the levee, then I'll run it to the finish.  

What seems like eternity passes and I am only halfway across the levee.  Good grief!  I trot a little bit here and there but am mostly walking.  No one behind me has hit the levee so I keep walking.  

A couple walkers with dogs walk by me and sees my bib pinned on me.  I must look awful as they give me a geez-she-is-crazy look.  I don't mind them as I drag myself towards the finish.  

I finally cross the levee.  Then, I head down the trails along the lake.  It is a bit sandy so a little tricky to run on.  I walk and run a bit.  Then, I see the finish line.  Only a hand full of people are there but Loren is there cheering me.  But, I pick it up a little and run into the finish!  Done!  Thank goodness!  

6 hours, 23 minutes.  

First female finisher!  (out of 10 females)

Reflections Afterwards

It was kind of neat to be a first female winner.  It is only possible due to a small field.  I knew I could finish towards the top with a small field.  

All in all, it was a tough race to do in the heat.  Kind of nice to run on very familiar trails.  The levee part was definitely tough at the end.  

Though the race was small, the volunteers were great and aid stations were good.  Eating straight salt was different but I guess it worked.  I had near cramping legs but the legs did not fully cramp up so I think I managed the heat well.  

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