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...


Jo Lynn said...

Well POOP! I do hate flat pavement also. I'm happy you made the most of the situation.

Side note: my step-daughter is a waitress at Hoppy and her boyfriend is a bartender there!!!

Drs. Cynthia and David said...

Sorry it didn't go so well. "Bad knee!" (imagine finger wagging at knee) I thought about signing up for AR50 but remembered how hard running on the flats was at SF One Day. (very painful) At least you saved yourself from further injury. Hope you recover soon! (Enjoy those beers!)


Glorybelle said...

That knee issue sounds like my ITB issues a couple of weeks ago. That sucks, V. I'm sorry! But good for you for volunteering at the finish. You've got a heart and spirit of gold.

Please tell me you did not let those good beer samples go to waste. ;-) Chugalug, baby!

Donald said...

Ugh. Sorry to hear about the injury. Good luck with your rehab and getting back to the trails.

Ben said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Scott Dunlap said...

That's a bummer about your knee, but I'm glad you were smart enough to call it a day early. Thanks for volunteering!


Derek said...

Sorry to hear about your knee, but you are a great person by doing volunteer work at the finish. I hope your knee gets better so you can run the trails again soon; just stay away from flat concrete.

wcaitlin said...

Not sure if it would help any, but I teach Pilates and I've worked with runner's and rehab stuff... let me know if you want any knee advice. Hope you're back at it soon and glad to hear there is another fan of sea salt and chocolate :).

kelly said...

What a bummer about your knee. I hate having knee problems, but occasionally it does rear it's ugly head and I limp through a race in pain. I hope you are feeling good soon. Take care of yourself. I hope to see you out on the trails soon.

Andy B. said...

It was the second time that day that I was confused seeing someone I didn't expect to see at an aid station (and that's on top of my normal, general state of confusion). First was Jean Pommier at Beals - he had to drop due to asthma. Then you at the finish. I was so bummed to hear of your knee pain. I hope your rehab goes quickly and it comes back stronger, faster, better than before (queue the 6 million dollar woman theme music now)!!! :-)

Anonymous said...

You did totally right thing, Vicky. Flat sucks. I can tell you I lived in Holland for years and it reeeally sucked.
Un beso,

RBR said...

I am so sorry about your knee taking you out of the AR 50. I had a friend run it that said the pavement almost took her out too. She is a trail runner and did not train on pavement and it beat the hell out of her. Once she got on the trail she as feeling better, but it had taken it toll.

The lesson I learned at CIM this year was that while trail running makes you a bad ass, pavement will hand you that bad ass on a silver platter if you don't prepare for it.

Thank you for the hilarious comment and I will definitely be checking out more of your East bay trails. Once Summer hits my South Bay trails fry me like a bug under a magnifying glass.