Photo from Mount Royal, Frisco, Colorado.

"That is happiness; to be disolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep." - Willa Cather

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Angel Island 50k

Today SR and I ran the Angel Island race. He did the 25k and I did the 50k. It was a beautiful morning and my mom was nice enough to come along to watch the Lorax. She coordinated her trip to visit her sisters with our trip.

The check in was at the Tiburon Ferry dock. Then we took the ferry over.

Let me explain the set-up of the race. There is an island perimeter loop, an inner island loop and then an ascent to the peak and winding route back down. You do all of these twice to equal 50.6k.

I started out in the lead and was excited every time I came to the bottom of a loop to learn I was still in the lead. I felt great and was thinking that only some heart arrhythmia would prevent me from getting first. I finished the first 25k in 2 hrs and 23 minutes. At that point I was a good 5 minutes ahead of the next woman according to SR (who had finished in first in the 25k!). The fourth loop was steady, but I was slowing down. The fifth loop was rough. I started wobbling. I could hardly run. I felt nauseated and hungry. I had eaten peanut brittle, peanut butter sandwiches and drank sports juice at each aid station except for the first. But I hit a wall. I was hardly making forward motion when a blonde strong woman in her 40's passed me. I think there is something about breastfeeding while running an ultra that takes calories out of you so quickly that it's hard to keep up with calorie intake (even after you've eaten the most decadent Yemeni food the night before).

When I made it back to the bottom and the aid station, I stood there for a few minutes downing sports drink and eating everything in sight. My stomach expanded so rapidly that I had to take off my drink belt. I convinced SR to run the last lap with me as a pacer. Being the romantic guy he is (who also kind of likes to run), he ran behind me, encouraging me the whole way. One more woman with a French accent passed me, but I kept it steady until the end and wound up in third overall, first in the age group with a time of 5hr 18 minutes.

It was a really beautiful race. Just when you needed it, you'd run into a cool pocket of fog. And most of the race was on dirt trails overlooking the bay.

I'm really happy with how we did overall. SR pointed out that had I run last year, I would have won by over a half an hour. This was, however, a different race and a different year. I had a lot of fun and can't wait for another ultra.

The bonking did make me rethink running a 100 miler. I guess I need to eat a lot more and probably work in more long runs if I'm going to do one of those.


Heather said...

They do say nutrition is a huge part of ultra events...
I'm sure it's a trial and error for a lot of people starting...
You have the strength, now it's probably the experience.

Good race!

Danni said...

You may have simply gone out too fast. Dunno. Good job though!

The Chapples said...

Keep in mind that you can't rely on nutrition just from the night before and the day-of for a race that long. Part of training for a race is also eating consistently well ALL of the time. Also, I can imagine that breast feeding during an ultra creates a huge energy depletion. You did well, though!

Michelle said...

I'd say you did pretty darn well!!! ;-)

I guess the good thing is now you have more of an idea where to focus your efforts before and during an ultra. Don't write off a 100-miler just yet! I think if anyone can do it, you can.

Hope you're still enjoying your vacation!

Lisa said...

Sea Legs....I still think you are a Rock Star.....Hope you are enjoying your vacation!!!!

Heather said...

Oh and I came back -- I forget if I asked, have you read Pam Reed's "The Extra Mile" before? I can send it to you if you want.

Meghan said...

Congrats on third, Sea Legs! You should be proud of this fact. Sounds like you put your heart into the race and raced hard!

Whatever food/liquid calories you fancy, 200-250 kcal/per hour in shorter events (50km and such), more than that in longer events, taken in even, steady, roughly continuous dosages. The experiment of seeing what kinds of calories your body will digest whilst running is almost as challenging as training one's body to run a long ways. (I am so far not an expert at either. :)

I hope you guys enjoy the rest of your time in California. Congrats also to SR for his win!


sea legs girl said...

In retrospect and reading what all you guys are saying, it seems like it was probably a combination of starting too fast and getting hungry and thirsty that really slowed me down at the end. Learning how to get the strength to do 50k's well is a fascinating subject to me. Thanks for all of your advice.
Heather, I've not heard of Pam Reed's The Extra Mile. I'd love it if you could send it to me! You can reach me at

The Chapples said...

Although I think Pam Reed is amazing in a lot of ways, I also think that she struggles with her eating disorder more than she lets on (says that she thinks having been anorexic has benefited her ultra running because it taught her to run on empty, essentially). Keep that in mind when you read it, SLG. Just my two cents.

olga said...

Girlie, congrats to you and SR! The comments are valid and obvious, so I won't join in, yet I was just talking about you to Mike at HR100 and how I really like you and relate - it's much more about joy...long story, but I am just happy I got to "know" you:)