It was a perfect day for a 50k. Up with the 5:00 a.m. alarm for a cup of tea and a bowl of oatmeal. Then a warm shower loosening muscles still wishing this was all a joke. (I’m never up at o’dark thirty anymore.) Kathey was up early to drive me to the race start then off to watch grandkids play lacrosse in the rain before returning in time to see me at the finish (ultra-running isn’t really a spectator sport, especially in the rain). (Elena’s team won their last game of the season. Yippee.)
Pacific Coast Trail Runs in Armstrong Redwoods State Park, near Guerneville, California, held yesterday’s spiritual gathering (at least it was for me). 50 kilometers (31.1 miles) of 300-foot tall redwoods and beautiful oaks, grassy sloping hills; miles upon miles of single track dirt trails, emerald green mosses, and ferns,
tiger lilies now in bloom; and my least favorite, poison oak, scads of it. Oh, I love trails. Foggy, drizzly, bouts of rain the entire race. Such beautiful cool weather in which I love to race. Just like my weather app said and I had hoped for the last week would be the case. Thank you thank you thank you God!
Last Sunday I ran a 10k, the Lake County Milers Spring Has Sprung 10k. It was getting warm as we finished and I sadly pondered a 50k, with hills miles long, in the heat. But, the Gods were with us for Saturday. Oh yeah, it was fantastic. Sure, the creek crossings were deeper (12 crossings in all, but who’s counting) and the trails slickery in spots. Fortunately, those spots didn’t overlap.
Preparation leads to—success. I usually say, “preparation leads to enjoyment.” And that still holds true, but for this race in the redwoods, all my trips to Guerneville to train on those long hills paid off. I was sure if I had a good day, an excellent day, I’d manage the course in seven hours, eight if it turned out more like I feared. But yesterday was one of the days when the Universe conspired to put strength in my legs and air in my lungs, all was good—at least in my little bubble. Due to the cool drizzle, great volunteers, and helping hands—and all those training miles over the last few months, I had an outstanding day with a finish time of 6:30. I love it when a plan comes together!
And, another second place in my age group. Not a bad thing. Of course, it was a smaller race, and I am getting older—the age group is getting smaller.
Maybe there is something to this preparation thing, to this training concept, to not just winging it when we have a goal in mind. Perhaps we’ll start a prep series here at Grandpa’s Gone Again? and maybe help others with their goals, whether they be physical, fast or slow; logistical getting where you might want to go, and back again; help less experienced folks decide what to take along, and what to leave behind; answering some of those nagging tech questions, like a SIM card or prepaid phone versus an international travel plan; oh so many things to help with and to encourage others to travel this big (but not so big) blue marble we call Earth.
There’s more to come on these various subjects. Please stay tuned.