American River 50!

10:01 American River 50 (2009)

With 3 miles to go, I found myself doubled over with exhaustion and stumbled to a low fence post to sit down.  These ultramarathons, I've learned, are about nutrition, forward motion, and a series of cons.  I was down on all three counts.

My mistake came at mile 41 when I got it into my head that I might be able to dip under 10 hours.  We seem to be drawn to whole numbers for some reason (even though they are quite arbitrary).  I discovered a third or fourth wind (you stop counting and just go with it) as I made my way our of the Rattlesnake Bar aid station.  Julie and Daisy were there and I was feeling pretty good with 8 hours behind me.

So the con began anew.

I found myself running briskly on the twisty trails marauding up the American River knowing full well that at mile 47 I would be facing a 1000+ foot climb.  In fact, I had run it just two weeks ago.  I told myself that "you can only go so slow on the last part, why not steal some minutes by pushing now."

Those 6 miles were glorious, and then I hit the big hill.  Only, it was much steeper than I remembered, and despite my steady 200-300 hourly calorie diet, I was done.

I wobbled up the next mile to a final aid station for a Gu and some Coke and met Julie for the last 2 miles.  She took up the role as the con, and I tried.  Honestly, I tried.  But, my hamstrings were cramping, my hip flexors were cramping, and the hill just went on and on.

51 minutes for the last three miles.

I "sprinted" the last 50 yards and I sat down in the finish area with a very large grin.  10:01:10.  It isn't often you beat a prior time by 1 hour and 37 minutes.   I can chase 10 hours some other day.

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