Lake Sonoma 50 was a beautiful way to start the summer of racing ultras. Get your feet wet, soak up some sun and let it rip. Here are a few photos on how the day unfolded.
The first 30 felt like this…walking on water
Photo: Glenn Tachiyama
The middle 10 felt like this…humbling yet invigorating.
Photo: Glenn Tachiyama
The last 10 felt like this…ripping the trails wild and free.
Photo: Glenn Tachiyama
Every run is a chance to explore, test your will and embrace what will be. I love waking up every morning and going for a run through the great outdoors. Some days longer then others, but the freedom to gulp down some fresh air and ride some tasty trails seems to be a nice way to awake the day. Then some days, I like to gather with other like minded beasts and blast through some trails together testing each other’s fitness and determination early in the spring. Saturday brought this on and it was fun.
The first 10 or so miles were relaxed. It gave this band of trail runners a chance to catch up, joke around a bit and let the legs warm up. 5 miles in was the first of about 12 water crossings and this one sunk in almost waist deep. If that chilly water didn’t wake you up, climbing through a couple downed trees did. The race was now officially on and it was time to start cranking out some miles.
I scooted around a few runners and found myself in the lead. I was feeling fresh and wanted to see if my legs could handle the burn. It’s a race and i believe you need to push your limits and take some chances. I knew we were going a little easy and i wanted to put a bit of a gap on the pack. A few miles down the way, Dakota and Jorge caught back up swapping the lead as we pushed the ups and downs, enjoying the beautiful country-side of Lake Sonoma’s rolling hills.
Turn around. Photo: Drymax
As we approached the two somewhat “big” climbs of the day (around miles 19 and 22) i could tell they were both more comfortable then I was flying on the flatter parts which tells me i should probably try some more tempo work in training. Climbing allowed me to get into a better grove and catch back up with them. I wish those climbs lasted longer because i could have kept climbing strong for miles. I guess that’s what i do back home in Ashland and it’s what I enjoy the most on my daily run. But as the climbing came to an end, way to quick, we were to the top and Dakota went BOOM! Dude is strong and it was inspiring to watch him fly off leaving me in his wake.
On my way back down. Photo: Gary Wang
After the turnaround (mile25) I could see Dakota, but knew he was feeling good. He went hard after the bomb back down and after some switch backs i lost site of him which bruised my confidence to pursue. These next miles, as i maneuvered my way through everyone racing to the turnaround, i received lots of feedback and compliments which kept me going strong even when feeling a little weak. THANK YOU, to everyone giving me encouragement along the way. It means so much to have fellow runners push me on and show me love. Y’all are inspiring and make me want to give it my all.
Passing some Cali Poppies along the way home.
Photo: Glenn Tachiyama
Dakota kept creeping away, but i wasn’t giving up yet… So far, one of the best parts of being a father to be are the times through the day when i have a chance to talk to my son and feel him kick his fast little legs inside his mom. Mile 33 was the last time i was able to see my wife and she told me that every time i was close to an aid station our little boy would kick inside. This brought such joy to my spirit. I couldn’t run much faster at the time, but even with a little pain, life felt so good. I am so excited to be a father and am looking forward to this journey of fatherhood, which is approaching soon. I feel very connected to my family when i run and ask for their help when i’m feeling depleted in races. So during the run this past weekend i would feel my heart and connect to my son’s and say Tristan (possibly my sons name), here i am, here i am. I felt his response was, “come on pops, your being a wuss, keep pushing”. This feeling inside led me to keep pushing and not give up even when moments were tough. I couldn’t catch Dakota this time, but i live to run another day.
After a good ol’ ankle tweak and some hobbling, strength returned to my body, i knew i lost my chance for the win, but i also knew i had quite the crew of speedy folks behind me hunting me down. Those last miles kept winding to no end, but i was really enjoying the experience and that my stomach felt solid. I was not putting down tons of calories (about 200 ph the first half of the race and 100 ph to the finish), but i could tell that my body was burning fat and the fuel i was using really efficiently. You can put in a ton of calories, but will your stomach accept them and use them properly? The low carb (mostly paleo) diet i prefer and Vespa (amino acid supplement) really helps my body use the calories (First Endurance EFS Liquid Shot) and not have excess sloshing around causing chaos.
Almost home! Photo : Holly Harris
It’s always a good feeling to know you’re close to the end still feeling strong, then the opposite when things just start falling apart. I was really taking in the last miles. It was a gorgeous sunny day in a beautiful area that I’d only visited once before (my first 50 mile race in 2010, time of 7:41). Wild flowers were out, I saw the biggest Banana slug i’ve ever seen and each river crossing was soothing relief to my cranky Plantar Fasciitis (which has been plaguing continuously for 8 months now). Yes, good and sore, but still living in the moment, breathing in deep, inJoying the freedom of running wild and taking it all in.
2nd place Finish in 6:36:52.
Tropical John and his amazing crew of volunteers put on a phenomenal race. Seeing the 1 mile to go sign, I knew the race had just minutes left and then i could spend the next hours celebrating a fantastic day filled with sun, sweet potato, molasses and hops GF beer (Thanks Bryon!) and hanging with a bunch of really good people. Ultra running is the bomb and i was glad to be apart of all the fun in Sonoma!
Top 10. Photo: Karolina Wyszynska
Links for the race
- Race results
- My irunfar post race interview
- Pearl iZUMi kicks used
- First Endurance - NEW Kona Moca Liquid Shot (around 100-200 cal ph)
- Vespa Power products (I take before race and every 1.5hrs, helps metabolize fat and is amazing for recovery too)
- First Endurance Ultragen recovery drink
- Followed by tons of good food (kids, eat your greens!)
- Spent the next few days doing lots of self massage and some sauna sessions to massage and stretch.
- Back to running and feeling good
- Leona Divide 50m is next!