Saturday, April 23, 2011

Ruth Anderson Ultra Races 50k

When I crossed the 26.2 mile mark of my Sunday Labor of Love race, I let out a sigh of relief.  I was just happy to reach that point.  However, there was no dance of joy, no release of endorphins, and no I-like-to-thank-the-Academy speeches.  That's because there was no finish line in sight. Unfortunately, that Sunday race was a 50k, so I still had another 5 miles to go.  I remember muttering a string of expletives to myself as I asked over and over again why I would choose to go beyond the marathon distance.  It's tough when you reach what should be the end of the race and you realize that you're just not quite there yet.  The final five miles of a marathon is tough, but the final five miles of a 50k, well, that's even tougher.  I vowed never again to run that distance.

Endorphin Dude crosses the finish line of the Ruth Anderson Ultra Races 50k.

Well, that vow didn't last long.  Two weeks after that Labor of Love 50k, I returned to the distance that I so dreaded.  I registered for the Ruth Anderson Ultra Races 50k at Lake Merced because I just couldn't pass up a local race.  The conditions for this race were much more favorable than Labor of Love as well: no altitude, no Antarctica winter breeze, no scary mountain. Plus, I had 11 hours to circle Lake Merced seven times.  What really sealed the deal was that this race took place 8 minutes from my apartment, so I could easily have the doggie nanny take the Epinephrine Pup out to run a few laps with me! 

I came into this race with the same mentality of my last few.  I needed to milk the clock for all it's worth.  With 11 hours, I knew I would have no problems.  I showed up at 6am to pick up my bib and goodie bag.  I was pleasantly surprised by so many familiar faces out there.

I was shocked when I saw my buddy Charlie!  This guy will be running Western States in a few weeks.  For those who don't know, this is the guy who got me into running.  Charlie finished his 50k while I was still plugging along at mile 12!  He finished third over all with a time of 3:45:26.  Amazing!
Fellow DSE member Noe was there.  Noe ran over 100 miles at the New Year's One Day.

Here's fellow DSE member and Marathon Maniac, Bill McCarty.  Bill continued his streak of running every day by running this 50k.  I believe he's run every day for the past three years.
And of course, there's fellow Marathon Maniac Valerie Hower.  I've been seeing a lot of Valerie lately!  That's definitely a good thing!

The race director walked us to the start line, which was about .5 miles from where race headquarters was located.  When the clock struck half past 6am, he announced, "GO!", and all of us took off.  Some runners sprinted, others ran.  I stayed behind the pack with my steady power jog.  There was no way I was going to run this one, especially with the generous time limit and a double marathon scheduled for the following week!  I needed to rest my body and take it nice and slow.  By doing so, I got to enjoy the scenery and reflect on my progress up to this point.  We're approaching the end of April, which marks a mile stone in my quest for Titantification.  I am one third of the way through and I am still on track!  Thinking like this always get me pumped up.  The first three laps went by pretty smoothly, as my mind and legs were still somewhat fresh.  I got to see more familiar faces as well as some unexpected ones on the course.

At about my mile 9, Ragnar Van Mom and Fellow DSE and Marathon Maniac Elizabeth McKay texted me and said that she needed to squeeze in a 10 miler, so she was going to head out to Lake Merced with the boys.  I got to run with these three for about a mile.
I had a mini melt down at about mile 14, but Ultra Woof came to my rescue!  Thank God my running partner in crime came out to pace me!
Chris Bliss came out to Lake Merced a little bit later with The Epinephrine Pup!  For the first time ever, Endorphin Dude got to run with his side kick at a race!

The final three laps of this 50k were actually a lot of fun because I was in good company.  Ultra Woof, Chris Bliss, The Epinephrine Pup and I plugged along for the final few miles.  The side kick, however, was carried most of the way.  It's hard to run with that Chiweenie because she stops every four minutes to sniff the grass, pee, and bark at bicyclists.  My two pacers switched off with the doggie diva carrying duties.  There were times when I got to carry her, but I had to keep that to the minimum because after 20 miles, that little rat dog felt like a German Shepard! 

Geez, you're suppose to be the side kick!  I ain't got no energy to carry you!
Sure enough, I scooped up the chiweenie and ran.  Like I said, after 20 miles, she felt more like a German Shepard!  I had to give her back to one of my pacers after half a mile or so.

When I hit mile 26.2 miles, I let out a sigh of relief.  This was the same sigh of relief that I let out at Labor of Love.  The only difference, though, is that this time it was accompanied with a smile.  Yes, my legs gave out on me and the blisters that I picked up at The Western Pacific Marathon the week before continued to nag at me, but it didn't bother me that I had one more lap to complete.  I was in good company, I had plenty of time, and my dog was loving all the attention.  I continued to plug along, and when I reached mile 30, I cheered!  I picked up the pace and ran in that final mile!

Endorphin Dude & The Epinephrine Pup flies into the finish line!

Guess what?  Not only did Endorphin Dude get to fly into the finish line with his side kick, but this marathon caped crusader scored a gargantuan two hour PR!  It was a long day out there on Lake Merced, but once again I got the job done.  Along with my pacers and my superhero side kick chiweenie, what got me through this race was the awesome support of the race director and all the volunteers.  I'd like to make a special shout out to Race Director Rajeev Patel.  Thank you for making this 50k both painless and fun for Endorphin Dude!  The aid stations were always full stocked and boy oh boy, that finish line soup was the best thing I've ever had!  I may have to return year after year just for a bowl of that piping hot curryliscious soup!

Thank you Mr. Race Director! 

I am very happy that my third ultra marathon is now in the books.  If you had told me two years ago that I would be running marathons, I would have laughed in your face.  Now I'm running ultra marathons.  What's next?  A 50 miler?  100?  We'll just have to wait and see!  Titanium Scoreboard: 15 down, 37 to go!

Geez Louise, I don't know why you do this every frickin' weekened.  Dude, I'm tired.  Can we just go to sleep now???  Oh wait, I forgot, you still have to take that stupid bubble bath with Mr. Bubble.  Geez!

6 comments:

  1. Get Chewie a cape and she'll be unstoppable (except she'll want to stop twice as often to brag about the cape and will probably actually catch the bicyclists - maybe the cape isn't such a good idea). Have fun this weekend - hopefully it goes as well as this one went.

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