Sunday, April 22, 2012

Ruth Anderson: 50 fast miles!

This Saturday marked the beginning of my Spring ultra madness: 5 ultras in 5 weekends! Not to mention or forget the business trips...

I flew back from Madrid (a couple of great training runs there last weekend) on Friday evening, in time this time to get some sleep before the race and get to the start on... time. If you recall, last year, we were supposed to come back from a family trip to Florida but missed our connection in Phoenix where I was still on the tarmac when runners were getting to the start line. I managed to started 2 hours and 15 minutes late and run a 8:05 100K (see the whole story and experience of Did Start Last...).

When I walked out of the airport this Friday, I was surprised how hot it was, especially coming back from Madrid where the weather was not so nice. Indeed, the forecast was for a hot day this Saturday and it was great the race started at 6:30 to take advantage of the cooler temperatures in the morning. I started with Victor who was going for the 100K distance after running his first marathon at Napa last month in an impressive 2:37. I had decided to go for 50 miles given my race calendar and "just" improve the age group course record I had set here 2 years ago (6:07). Having ran a 5:43 at Last Chance last November, I was confident, yet I was a bit concerned of the recent asthma incident at American River 2 weeks ago.

We started slightly under 7 min/mile pace and, after a couple of miles, I actually accelerated, running one lap just under 6:30 min/mile pace which was aggressive. My first 5 laps were in the 29-30 minutes range and my 6th lap was 30:01. I felt good and actually excited to now be on a trajectory similar to the Last Chance race, in the 5 hours 40 minutes range would I be able to maintain that pace for the remaining 5 laps. The views of the lake were gorgeous but it remains an urban race with all the surrounding noise (cars, trucks, motorcycles, sirens, shooting range, ...) and many joggers on the bike path. As we approached mid day, the shady sections of the course were disappearing and I was glad to be able to go fast to get done before the peak of the heat.

My pace went over 7 min/mile in laps 9, 10 and 11 as I was feeling fatigued, more mentally than physically actually, lacking motivation and real challenge to keep going hard. I pushed the pace in the last out and back, rushing to the main aid station to clock a 5:49:59 finish time (right on 7 min/mile!). (Photo, Keith Blom)
Not a PR but more than 17 minutes shaved off my course record and 2nd best time of this race history (granted, a low key event). I was actually thrilled with this performance after such a busy week in Madrid and 4 5-hour nights there. I'm home for a week now before driving down to the Leona Divide 50-mile next Saturday then flying straight to Vegas for another super busy week there, flying back a few hours before Miwok then flying the next day to Riyadh, phew!
On the 100K, Victor took first in 7:32 after passing the 50-mile mark faster than his PR at that distance! Like many other runners, he started suffering from the heat after 1 pm but managed to maintain an amazing pace, 7:16 overall.
Speaking of 100K, it is here that Joe Binder and Jon Olsen qualified for the 100K USA team last year in 7:00 and 7:12 respectively and they were competing in the World Champ even in Italy this Saturday. They did incredibly well, Jon taking 7th overall in a blazing 6:48 and Joe 10th in 6:54. David Riddle was the first for the US, in 5th and 6:45, and Michael Wardian 8th, 7 seconds behind Jon! In the Women, the race was actually won by Amy Sporston of USA in 7:34, with Meghan Arbogast placing 4th, at age 50! (She slashes her own age group world record from 7:51 to 7:41!) Team USA took second to Italy and ahead of France in the Men, and First in the Women with the top three times clocked by three Oregon residents! See's report for more details.

We had a great contingent of our Quicksilver Ultra Running Team this Saturday, so much that Greg was happy he didn't have to run himself after Lake Sonoma last week. With 3 distances (50K, 50-mile and 100K) times 3 categories (Men, Women, Mixed), it was quite a task to strategize and keep track on what was going on on his brand new "paper iPad!" ;-)
Actually, Captain Greg had a lot of  fun seeing us going through the aid station and, from time to time, playing Glen Tachiyama or JB Benna, mixing pictures and videos...
Yet an amazing event put up by Race Director extraordinaire, Rajeev Patel. Dave and Stan spent a long day keeping track of all our splits, hundreds of them, including transmitting them to the live webcast, the old fashion radio way!
I posted a few pictures in my Picasa album but I recognize the mix of bright sunny light and dark healthy shadows around the aid station made it difficult to get good shots with my simple and aging PowerShot.

From 14 to 77, there was a great representation of our passion for ultra running!
And here is Bill Dodson, our Pacific Association Mountain Ultra Trail running committee Chair, recovering from his 50K run (no, not barefoot this time!):
Warm thanks to all the runners whom I passed and provided encouragements! A special thank to the volunteers who kept the two aid stations perfectly stocked. I carried 2 bottles the whole way so I only stopped once at the mid-way aid station but it was great to get encouragements from you guys! Fueled by Vespa and all the fat from the rich food I enjoyed in Madrid, I took only 3 GUs and a handful of small cups of Coke (about 500 calories intake for a 5,000-calorie effort). I didn't cramped and I'm now going for a recovery run before tapering again this week before Leona Divide. Using racing as training...


Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) said...

Another awesome performance. Can't wait until you hit 50 and start destroying a bunch of age group records.

Photo of Greg with his clipboard is priceless.

Anonymous said...

Bravo, Jean chéri!
Agnès saura exploiter cette magnifique photo de ton arrivée.
...bonne poursuite des courses suivantes...

Scott Dunlap said...

Wow! You are so fast these days, even with all that air travel. Nice work!!!