I did not have any pain, but I did not quite feel completely recovered from the recent racing at the River City Marathon and the Spring Run 10K, which made the Sports headlines in our local paper.
I also found some interesting YouTube videos on the Jenkinson Lake website, so I felt somewhat prepared. Based on what I had learnt about the course without actually running it, I concluded that breaking 4 hours would pretty much be impossible; it would probably be great to finish in less than 5 hours.
Rahlues (the eventual overall 1-lap race winner) took off like a gazelle. Nobody else made a move, so I settled in behind Shannon, in second place and soon lost sight of her.
We ran the first 4.5 miles (to the Hazel Creek Aid Station) on fairly smooth, but sometimes slippery single track hiking trails. After that, the course followed some much rougher and steeper horse trails to the Miwok Aid Station. The last 1.5 miles were run on a hiking trail again, and included a double creek crossing in which it was almost impossible not to get your feet wet. All in all, it was a great venue for a trail race and, surprisingly, there was quite a bit of shade on the trail.
Originally, the 50K was going to be slightly long with four 8-mile laps. Then, the course had been remeasured to be 9.7 miles and the race was shortened to three laps, resulting in the short 29.1-mile 50K. On race day, however, the marked course measured only about 8.1 miles long, resulting in something closer to a 24-miler, or 40K. Next year, RD Robert Mathis told me, the 50K will be adjusted to have four-laps. So despite my fast first lap, this was not the breakout performance that a glance at the results might lead you to believe it was!
Team Ultra Signup runner and Pollock Pines resident Rob Evans who was crewing for his wife Kate, informed me that Aaron had built up a three to five minute lead. I grabbed my water bottle, turned on some music, and started running a little faster. Aaron's lead was about the same when I arrived at the Hazel Creek Aid Station and it was unlikely that I would make up a lot of time on the steeper sections in the second half of the course. There were two steep climbs on this section that I ran on the first lap, but walked on the last two.
real 50K, and we would have had the opportunity to gain more points for the same price ;-)
Thanks to Robert, Linda, and all the volunteers for putting on this race and for the perfect course markings. I'll probably be back for four laps next year.
Next Up: The Auburn Trails 50K.