AVALON 50 (Miles that is)
I came into this race undertrained by last year's standard, but hopeful that I could run a smarter race and therefore beat last year's time. To make a long story short, I was about 15 minutes slower this year but finished 3 places higher in the overall standings (10th) and received a nice little plaque for 3rd in my AG. I think I was 5th or 6th last year, once again proving it's all about who shows up.
Now for those interested, here's the long story. The main reason I ran this race this year is because last year Blake felt undertrained so only ran part of the race and wanted to do the full thing this year, so we signed up a couple of months ago to do it together. An injury about 6 weeks ago made it so he couldn't run, so I went to the race by myself. Although I met a lot of runners and had a good time, it was definitely way more fun with Blake along last year.
On Friday, I drove the 5 hours to Long Beach, took the hour ferry ride to Catalina Island, checked into my hotel, did the bib pick and drop bag drop off thing, had some dinner, and was in bed falling to sleep about 8:30 California time. I had my alarm set for 4:15 but I woke up at 2:30 after sleeping soundly for 6 hours and couldn't go back to sleep, so about 3:00 I got up ate, took a shower, got dressed and ready to race. I left my hotel room about 4:50 and walked about 2 minutes to the start and we were off at 5:00 sharp. It was dark so everyone had on head lights. The first 4 miles climb about 1500 feet so it is really cool to look back down and see the long string of lights going down the mountain behind your. I started off very conservatively and was at 55 minutes 5 miles into the race. Then all the ups and downs started. I had a bunch of miles in the 7's (Miles 8, 9, 15, 17, 18, 24, 25, and 34) but also a lot of miles in the 11s or higher (2, 3, 4, 20,29, 30, 35, 36, 37, 39, 40, 42-45, and 47) with my 2 slowest miles being mile 3 and mile 45. I even had a couple miles in the 6's (14 and 50). It's just such a crazy race that is dictated by the elevation changes.
Through 28 miles I was exactly on 9 minute pace to the second. If I could have held that I would have finished in 7 1/2 hours. Unfortunately at mile 41 my calfs started cramping mildly so I had to back way down and do a lot of walking for a few miles until I could run without cramping. After I knew I wasn't going under 8 hours I started just finishing with easy running in the 8's for the last few miles (downhill) and right as my watch hit 49 miles the #1 female caught up to me and excitely exclaimed that she was the first female. I gave her some congratulations and told how amazing she was doing and then, like any gentleman would do, dropped the hammer so I wouldn't get chicked. :) I ran as fast as I could just hoping that my legs wouldn't cramp up and turned in a 6:53 last mile. To her credit she finished just 6 seconds behind me. I couldn't believe she had kept up with me. After they took her picture she came up to me and thanked my for running hard to the end because it helped her finish faster, so I felt less of a jerk for not wanting to get chicked.
Anyways, I don't think I will do that race again. I would like to run 50 where elevation changes are not so much of a factor and where I don't lose my toe nails. Until I ran this race last year I had never lost a toenail running and I'm going to lose another one this year. Darn steep downhills. Now it's time to recover and to start to think about Boston.