Race Report: Way Too Cool 50K

Creek Crossing at 2010 Way Too Cool 50K

Mud, mud, mud, water, and then some more mud.

That pretty much sums up the 2010 Way Too Cool 50K.  Arguably the most sought after 50K in the country, 2010 WTC lived up to it’s reputation for a beautiful, technical course tackled by elites, first timers, and everyone in between.

The week leading up to the race was over shadowed by rain, including a downpour that lasted all afternoon and into the evening before the race.  This left the creek crossings full, the trail sloppy, and the runners a bit worried.  However, Saturday morning welcomed a gorgeous, cloudless sky, and perfect ultramarathon temperatures.

For me, the race was a bit of a mix.  I actually had a time goal in my head, between 5:45 and 6:00.  It was the first time I was running an ultra with a time in mind.  I ended up not even close.  Final time was 6:15 and change.

The good: I am happy with how I ran for the first 26 miles.  I was trying to stay sub-11:00 on all but the biggest hills or steepest declines.  I was pretty good at it until the end.  Also good, I loved the creek crossings.  Didn’t bother me at all.  They were fun, and it was a beautiful day! Weather was perfect.

The bad: I really got frustrated with the mud by mile 27.  It wasn’t that I was tired, I was just tired of mud!  My friend Craig and I were wondering how much extra energy we expended trying to pull our feet up from the mud step after step after step. Mentally and physically, it did get to me.   It just got worse as you headed back toward Cool.  At one point, the single track was just a sliver of muddy running water. You couldn’t run on the sides, so I just ran right through the middle.  The down hills were tough because it was slippery on top of being fairly technical.  I didn’t want to fall, and luckily I didn’t.  Many people were not so lucky, including my friend Stacey.

The lessons learned: I realized I had not run enough trails in my training.  While I did the hill work and hit trails as often as possible, the majority of my runs were road runs due to the constant rain.  You forget that road hills and trail hills are not the same thing.  And it’s been a while since I have run something that technical.  The trails around here are not nearly that rocky.  I could have gone up to the East Bay a couple times and reminded myself how to run that stuff.

All in all, it is a great race on a great course that is mostly run-able.  I had a lot of fun and it was an adventure!  Part way through yesterday I thought to myself, “I think I am quitting ultra running.”  Ha ha.  Today, I made my family’s hotel reservations for Tahoe Rim 50M.  It’s like child birth; you quickly forget the bad and only focus on the good.

The challenge ahead: Boston to Big Sur is in 4 week, and Quicksilver 50M is 2 weeks later.  Not quite sure how to train and recover at the same time.

As my friend Craig often says, running is an experiment of one.

The Start of the 2010 Way Too Cool 50K
My frequent running mates, Craig and Kim, already celebrating at mile 4. Apparently, Craig thought it was a 10K.
Mile 10. My favorite part of the course.
Ball Bearing Hill - or what I like to call, "You need to be a billy goat to run this" hill.
Wrapping up the miles. Over the river and through the woods, and your done!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. W.T.C. Is a cool race, will get out that way and do it someday. 6:15 is not bad, but I know what it’s like to shoot for a time and not get it. Nice pics of the race I like the hill climb!

  2. DavidH says:

    Still sounded like a fun experience! Time goals on an unfamiliar trail, with less-than-idea conditions, is a tough one…

    Besides time, how was the overall race execution (consistent pacing, happy stomach, etc)? That can often provide useful insight in the more controllable factors and useful feedback for future events.

    You are still rockin! 🙂

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