I did it! I successfully completed 50 miles in one of my favorite places and didn’t end up totally wrecked! I won’t bore you all with a long drawn out race report but have provided some thoughts I had at various stages of the race below.
I was supposed to do the 50 miler at The North Face Series in SF last year as my first 50 mile race but was still coming back from a debilitating fall and so I had to sit it out. In the end, I am really glad I got to do my first 50 at TRT because the race holds a special place in my heart. I chose TRT because the course is insanely beautiful and the aid stations are legendary and because it was where I completed my first ultra distance race 2 years ago. It seemed poetic to use the race for another first. And before you ask, no I will not being doing my first 100 miler here as many people suggested because I do not have the mental toughness for 2 loops of that course.
The day went about as perfectly as it could have and I ended with 5th place overall, 2nd female and 8th fastest female time. More importantly, I got to run with one of the people who inspired me to get into trail and ultra running in the first place who I admire greatly: Rory Bosio. We ran together for a couple miles early in the race and she went on to maintain that pace and take the overall win setting a new female course record in the process whereas I got slower and slower as the miles ticked by. I was nervous about the conditions (this is the year of fire and ice after all), the altitude and of course how my body and stomach would hold up for 16 miles longer than I have ever run before. In the end, I ran the best race I could with amazing support from my crew and the large contingent of Bay Area friends who were also up for the race. Without further ado, I give you: 50 mile stream of consciousness.
Pre-Race: 4:30 am: “Don’t gag while brushing teeth, don’t gag while brushing teeth” gags while brushing teeth.
Pre-Race 5:30 am: “Oh my god why can’t I poop? This never happens. Oh man this is a terrible sign. This is going to be a rough day.
Start line: “don’t go out fast, don’t go out fast. Mario will kill you if you go out fast. Definitely don’t run with Rudy: he’s running the 55k and you will die if you start with Rudy. Damn I still haven’t pooped.”
Mile 3: “Well I’m going nice and easy but why am I the first woman? This is definitely not right. Am I going to suffer later? Slow down, slow down. Seriously though where is Rory? Also why am I still with Rudy?”
Mile 5: Takes first Gu “aaaand there it is…. now I need to poop.”
Mile 8: “Oh there’s Rory, Hi Rory! No I don’t know your uncle PJ. I’m not sure why he said hi to me at the start line but he seemed nice so I said hi back”
Mile 10: “weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee. See ya Rory. No I definitely won’t be catching you again later but thanks for saying so.”
Mile 11: “I love downhill I love downhill I love downhill .. but don;t trip on a rock in front of the photographer like last time:
Mile 12: “MASHA!!!! Hi Masha! what happened to your knee? are you ok? Oh shit there’s Paul and Mario and I’m at the aid station. Give me a couple gu’s and a new grape roctane and I’ll see ya again in an hour…oh wait where’s the bathroom?”
Mile 13: Passing a bunch of 100 milers coming back up from Red House Loop “Good work, way to crush it, keep it up, good work, yeah buddy, woo hoo, on your left.. oh hey Jessi! Man I am so excited to see SFRC friends crushing the 100 miler!
Mile 14: “and here we go.. the long climb back up to Red House and Tunnel Creek. There don’t seem to be as many mosquitos as I thought there would be.. that’s sweet.
Mile 16: “This climb is way more runnable than I remember. It’s crazy how much easier moving is at 6,800 feet than 8,600 feet.”
Mile 18: “Ha.. this is the spot 2 years ago where a guy tried to pick me up by getting me to run the 50 mile loop with him and now I’m that person who has to head out on the 50 mile loop”
Mile 18.5: ” Rory is still only 90 seconds ahead. Next time I see my crew I will have run further than ever before. Louis is cramping but I need his old man power and experience to help me get through the next 30 miles.. Louis fix that shit”
Mile 19: (7,900 feet) Feeling gooood.. aww yeah this climbing feel A-ok
Mile 21: (8,400 feet) ughhhhhhh why am I still climbing? why do I live at sea level? why do my legs feel like lead? seriously why do I live at sea level???
Mile 21.6: “ooo watermelon! ooo oranges! ooo beer? .. not quite yet guys.. maybe on the way back”
Mile 24: (8,800 feet, where flat running feels like running up Marincello) “Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase Hakuna Matata! Ain’t no passing craze. It means no worries. For the rest of your days. It’s our problem-free philosophy
Mile 29: “Man I am blazing this downhill, this is awesome” (according to strava, my blazing downhill pace at this point is around 9 min/mile)
Mile 30.5: “This Diamond Peak climb isn’t that bad.. this is basically the same as Marincello. I can totally run this”
Mile 30.7 (turns corner): “and there it is. It’s not a hill it’s a wall and it goes on forever.”
Mile 31: “ooo a swarm of butterflies. Why don;t I have poles? Why does this feel like quicksand?”
Mile 31.5 (1,400 vertical feet later.. still climbing): “would it be bad to steal the poles off a hundred miler? Hey guys turn around. Check out that view” (sadly I did not have a photo taking device on me but the image of the Lake from just under 9,000 feet up is burned into my memory.
Mile 32: “Still not ready for a beer guys. Yes! only 3 more miles until I see my crew”
Mile 35: Hey Paddy!! Hmm I got no update from my crew how far off of Rory I am which means I am no where near her. Fuck the grape roctane, give me the summit tea. Give me jet blackberry gus. Basically give me an IV of caffeine.
Mile 37: “Ugh! this would be SO runnable if I weren’t above 8,000 feet. Why the fuck do I live at sea level?
Mile 39: “Oh my god look at Marlette Lake over Lake Tahoe. I’m not crying you’re crying”
Mile 40: “Is that a mister??” (I proceed to cut people off to stand right in front of the mister, realize I am an asshole, apologize and go drink some gingerale)
Mile 41: “one more climb, one more climb, one more climb”
Mile 42: “eat the Gu, eat the Gu, eat the Gu” (the 100 miler I was with at this point: “Just eat the Gu man”)
Mile 43: “drink some coke, high five boy scout, keep going. You can make sub 9:30 if you work it”
Mile 45: “own the downhill”
Mile 46: “ow, ow, ow, ow, ow, ow”
Mile 47: ” 3 mo miles, 3 mo miles, 3 mo miles”
Mile 48: “hammer time” (hammer time at mile 48 at altitude for me equates to 7:30 min/mile)
Mile 49: loud gaspy breathing “I can see the finish festival, I am so close and yet so far away”
Mile 49.5: “Fuck you Aspens”
Mile 50: “I feel no pain, I love everybody. Glory glory glory!”
Huge thanks to my coach and crew chief Mario Fraioli, last minute crew volunteer Paul Leak, & cheer gang extraordinaire Paddy O’Leary for making my day so much easier.
Thanks to George Ruiz, the Tahoe Mountain Milers and all the amazing volunteers for putting on such a stellar event.
Thank you Salomon for keeping my feet happy (no blisters or foot issues of any kind) and providing me with the best gear and support.
It was so awesome seeing so many of the extended SFRC family out on the trails in all capacities. The more races I run, the more enamored with the trail and ultra community I become.
Strava Data: https://www.strava.com/activities/1085380880