Monday, October 11th, 2010
I have never been in such a morose mood during a race as I was around Mile 26 in my first 50-miler, the October 9 Dick Collins Firetrails 50. The race starts at Lake Chabot in Castro Valley, traverses the glorious East Bay Regional Park District greenbelt, turns around at Tilden Park’s Lone Oak picnic area in North Berkeley, and heads back to the lake, with 7800 feet of elevation gain along the way.
See the middle part of this elevation profile, where the course plummets between the two peaks? That’s where my spirits plummeted too:
My body felt like a punching bag with every step on the descent to the turnaround point. My toes erupted with blisters that felt as big as cherry tomatoes. I kept looking at my watch and obsessing about how I was missing my goal — I wanted to reach the turnaround in as close to 4 hours as possible, and it was, what, 4:17? That’s not what I was hoping for. And I had to take a break at Lone Oak to spend a couple of minutes in the portapotty. I felt physically lousy and mentally wrecked, the polar opposite of the share-the-love-and-grasp-the-meaning-of-life runner’s high I felt during recent running events. (more…)