Sunday, April 5, 2009
AR50= Annoying Race
American River 50
(morphed into DNF American River 18)
Well, as you can see, you do not see a picture of me in a snazzy finisher's jacket. Yesterday was both irritating and lots of fun.
Well, I suppose I should start with Friday. Phyllis and her husband picked me up after work and we headed up to Sacramento. By the time we arrived, we were definitely hungry-- and fortunately, Phyllis had scouted out the Hoppy Brewing Company, which as you can see from the picture, advertised "Great Food, Awesome Beer and Cool People." Being cool people ourselves and fans of the other two categories, we went in. THEN they had a "beer sampler" where you could try ALL the beers for the extremely reasonable price of $6.75. Being cool people who know a bargain when we see one, we of course opted for the sampler. All three of us. When the beer came, we spent a good 20 minutes laughing at how ridiculous our table looked, considering two of us were supposed to be running 50 miles the next day.
Then it was back to the motel and to bed for us, getting ready to rise at the ridiculous hour of 4:15. I made some coffee and oatmeal for breakfast and by 5:15 we were in the car, headed for the start.
It was very dark at the start. And there were a lot of runners. And very huge lines for the toilet.
They shooed us all up on the levee for the start, which seemed to happen pretty fast. I've never been dropped off for a race before and usually I get to races early because I HATE dealing with parking and worrying about time.
The first 27 miles of AR50 are pretty flat. The first 15 are ridiculously flat. Pancake flat, even. I don't remember the last time I ran a race on such flat terrain. Phyllis and I were trying to hold ourselves back and all I could think after mile 2 or so was how bored I was. Yes, there was a sunrise and we were running alongside the river and that was nice and all-- but I was trying to run really slowly, which is not so interesting either.
However, when we hit mile 5, things started to get more interesting. But not in a "hey, cool trail!" interesting way-- more in a "uh-oh-- what's THAT?" kind of way. My stupid knee started to make its presence known, and by mile 8, I was in full-blown pain. I could stop and stretch it out a little, which would help for maybe 1/4 of a mile, but it was not getting better. Phyllis was running with me, but as I could feel myself needing to stop for stretch breaks, I told her to go on ahead-- which she did. (She ran to a great sub-10 hour finish for her first 50 ever! Rockstar!)
I limped on for another 10 miles, but by mile 18, I was not having fun. Quite literally, it hurt every step, and this was not the way I wanted to spend another 32 miles. I dropped at the aid station at mile 18, and then got a ride to Beal's Point, where I was supposed to meet my safari-barbie-pacer in crime. Needless to say, Suzanne was rather shocked to see me walk up from the parking lot. She let me cry on her zebra sleeve for a minute (and posed for this fabulous picture), and offered to hang out with me for the rest of the day while we waited for Phyllis, but I told her that was silly-- she came all this way, she might as well get a run in.
I took Suzanne's car (and two other runners who had dropped) to the finish line, where I spent a good four hours volunteering at the finish line, taking chips off peoples' shoes as they came in. As at Firetrails, volunteering lets you see the fast people come in, which is not an experience I will ever have if I'm running the race myself. It was also a little bittersweet, because it definitely added to the "I want to be a finisher, too!" vibe, but I was definitely having a better time than if I had sat around all afternoon. Plus, I got to give people I knew hugs as they came in, like Andy, and then Phyllis right as she came over the finish line. (I also confused people, with a "but aren't you... what happened... I thought...") Considering Andy ran a sub-8:00 finish, he probably would have eaten his hamburger and taken off to find a post-race beer by the time I had arrived. So DNFing has its silver linings, I suppose.
Up next? Well, back to the PT, I suppose. And no more flat concrete. Now I'm off to ice my knee and then take the dog on an outing, possibly with a post-race libation included...