Sunday, May 18, 2008

Ohlone 50K

Ohlone 50K
Fremont-Livermore (Del Valle Reservoir)
(31 miles)

Good Things about today:

1) I finished.
2) The course is beautiful.
3) People came to see me at the end!

I can't say that I actually spent that much time thinking about #2, because I spent a lot more time being very hot and wanting the run to be over. However, when I *did* get a chance to look up, the Ohlone wilderness is stunning. Hot, harsh and steep, but stunning nevertheless.

I'm not going to go into a long description of the whole race (it felt long enough as it was!) but here's a quick high/low light summary. 

Going up to Mission Peak (picture to the right) I held back more than last year, where I ended up running with Rena Schumann, who has run oh, a TON of ultras and is a) really experienced and b) fast. This should have been a clue for me last year, but I ignored it. This year, I was trying to hold back more at the beginning, thinking that I would have more power for the climb to Rose if I didn't leave it all on Mission Peak. (Click here for an elevation profile of the course. It's a little insane.)

I felt absolutely great going into Sunol from Mission Peak. There are some amazing views as the trail descends, and I felt relaxed and loving the race. When I stopped at the Sunol aid station though, my legs seemed suddenly much more tired than I thought they were, which was my first inclination that I might not breeze up the hills to Rose Peak. 

I will say this: I think the training run we did a couple of weeks ago really helped, because it felt like I got to the Backpack aid station and the Goat Rock aid stations much faster than I expected. (Having the Garmin helped, too.) The really long and painful slog came after the Goat Rock station up to Rose Peak. It felt like the trail went on and on and up and up. And it was hot. Did I mention that yet? Very, very hot. (There were actually two people who needed major medical attention (helicoptered out) due to heat exhaustion, and more than usual who did not finish because of the heat.) I did a lot of walking on this section. 

One of my favorite moments in the whole race came at the top of Rose Peak (picture at the start), where I had just picked up my "no-cheating" plastic bracelet and snapped the above picture. The man passing me (probably just a couple of years younger than my dad) asked if I wanted him to take a picture of me, and I said no, that I wasn't really looking my cutest. He stopped and said, "Well, I think you're looking pretty good right now!" Thank you, sir, for making me smile at the top of a hot and grueling climb!

After that? Well, let's just say that I spent a lot of time a) being mad that I had forgotten how much uphill was still left after Rose Peak and b) wanting the race to be finished. 'Nuff said. 

The other great part of my day was being met at the finish line by a support team! I think the last time I had people come out to see me finish a race was in 1996-- and it made such a difference! Thanks to Chelsea, Louis, Ella, Kyle (who brought the pups), Jenn, and Alex, who biked from El Cerrito to Livermore yesterday, for coming out to see me finish. Eating great food in the shade and hanging out with you guys was the best ending to a race I've ever had!

And from a trail perspective--this area is definitely worth more exploration. I've said before I would love to come back and run more of Sunol, but Del Valle Reservoir is full of stuff to do after a run, like swimming, kayaking or barbecuing next to the lake. I think it would be fun to come out, do a run before it got too hot, then spend the rest of the day lounging around in and out of the water. 

Not sure how many new trails I'll be doing this week....


andyb said...

Hey Victoria,

Again, great job out there at Ohlone on Sunday, you did awesome! I enjoyed meeting you, and hope to see you at other races soon.

I also recognize your dogs, as your support crew were hanging out at a picnic bench near where I was all day, and I couldn't stop looking at your pups and admiring how cute they are. If you couldn't tell, I'm very much a dog person and Lori and I have a dog of our own. They are the best!

See you soon,
Andy (runswithslugs)

GB said...

Victoria, your attitude was so happy and bright when I saw you out there and afterward! I am so glad I'm not the only one that thought the climb to Rose Peak was never going to end... and then it got worse AFTER we left. Ugh. But all in all, we survived! Please tell me that my feet will feel better soon. OMG, they are thrashed and feel just awful. I can't even stand the thought of putting on socks, let alone running shoes.

Great to meet you and I also hope we will see more of each other on the run! We're not too far from one another. We should try to hook up for a trail run a few times this summer. :)

Jennifer said...

Congratulations Victoria! An amazing feat in grueling weather. You ROCK. (Love reading the recount - honest, serious AND funny!) xoxo :P