Saturday, April 07, 2012

American River 50 mile trail run.
AR50 April 7th 2012:

Story of my life, I 'qualified' to put my name into the lottery for Western States 100 mile run for 2013! The first time I've qualified for anything in life and guess what!? It was to enter a lottery to possibly run the 'Boston Marathon' of Ultras! Ha! High point in a life of mediocrity. ;-)

Thanks to some prodding from Martina and Rajeev Patel I made it to the AR50 start. Martina, Harry, Chakri and I drove up on Friday. The drive up was an exciting experience with Martina in full F1 mode. Zipping down exit ramps and up merge ramps to avoid the traffic, she is one feisty driver! After a highly salty Chinese dinner and a fitful nights sleep, we were up early. I had decided to run with Martina as long as I could and then fall back to a slower pace. As the race began Martina was not feeling very well but she stuck it out and kept up the pace, she is one tough cookie. We ran at a good clip along the flat bike path, once we hit the trails and the hills she found her stride and around mile 35 she began her 'roller coaster screams' on the down hills :-). That is when I knew she was feeling fine. I too was feeling surprisingly good, the words of encouragement from Harry at the aid stations were like a shot of energy. The 'you are looking really strong' comment coming from a veteran ultra runner was really uplifting (thanks Harry).

At mile 35 I decided to push the pace and run a bit harder. The single track trail was a bit of a problem, but most runners stopped and let me pass...a few with headphones were the problem ones, I had to tap them to get their attention. The hills were fun and the aid stations were just superb. Given that I had run this section with Rajeev Patel a few weeks ago helped a lot. I finished pretty strong - surprisingly, no blisters, aches or pains (did not trip and fall either).

This is a great race, extremely well organized and very popular. The start was almost like a marathon...lots of people.
Some highlights:
1) Seeing Rajeev Patel in the morning with his broom, he was the sweeper. :-)
2) Running with Martina and being told I talk a lot! (Imagine that!?)
3) Seeing Chakri finish and overcome unfinished business from last year. Congrats Chakri!
4) Seeing Ankita and Murali finish - they are tough runners. Congrats to both of them.
5) Meeting Steve Mackel from - he was a carrying a camera and filming parts of the run as his video blog. His detailed race report can be seen/read here: Steve Mackel race report [we are in the video too, around 4 mins and again towards the end].
6) Martina and I qualifying for the WS100 lottery.

Thanks again to Harry, Martina and Chakri for the driving, cheering, company and hotel room!

Finish time: 10:21:17 (10 hours: 21 minutes: 17 seconds)