I went out to Santa Barbara, CA last Friday to visit my new cute little nephew and got to fit in a 50k race in Malibu last Sunday. The race consisted of a 15.5 mi loop that you repeated once. Most of the first half of the loop was climbing up a mountain and the last half was coming down it.
I was nervous looking at the elevation beforehand because it looked like I would make a 2,000+ ft climb in the beginning, which I don't think I've done before. I was envisioning standing at the bottom of the mountain and looking straight up to make a vertical hike. Also, I was intimidated at the start of the race because I had never raced out west before and I didn't know how the other runners would compare to the ole midwest. I thought they may run straight up the whole mountain instead of walking it since they lived out there and were used to those hikes.
The race started at 8am (seems late) and so the sun was already out and it was getting hot. The course going up turned out to be on a wide dirt path that curved and rounded, so it wasn't a straight-up hike, thank goodness. It was a good climb that worked me but it wasn't too hard. Annd, it was just beautiful being up there at the top. I was somehow passing people on the climb and it made me a little nervous; I didn't want to be some rookie Hoosier going up too fast on the mountain. But, I just kept going. The second half of the loop was awesome because most of it really was all downhill so I just flew by.
I started the second loop and I was already going slower. The sun was hotter and my legs were tired. I learned that I was first female but I didn't know how long that'd last. Around mile 22 or something I was super slow because of the heat and my warm water didn't quinch the thirst at all.
When I got to the mid-point aid station I sat down for a second in the shade and right as I left, I saw a female runner coming in to the statoin. She freakin stopped for a few seconds and was already out of there. Since I was feeling crappy and I don't like the pressure of another female on me, I was going to let her have it. There was a big climb right out of the station so I was just waiting for her to pass me anytime- I didn't want to look back to see how close she was.
I finally hit the downhill and knew I'd go fast, but I figured she would, too, and would pass me anytime. I kept going and kept wondering how close she was and if she could see me but she never came. At the end I was walking a little more and I was basically giving her the finish and I didn't care.
I knew the heat was getting to me because I started getting goose bumps. I was afraid to drink too much of my water because I didn't want to run out (7.8 mi in between the aid stations are too far apart for an ultra in the sun). A quarter mile to the finish I started gagging and puked up a little water- yuck.
I made it into the finish in 6:04 and somehow was first female and 4th overall. There were only 34 runners in the ultra but I am still proud of the finish. The second female finished just four minutes after me.
I'm glad I got to experience a race out there and loved the scenery. I think I still prefer the trail courses that I've done so far to this race since they're more technical and such.