American River 50 Mile Run

I completed the AR50 on Saturday. Click on the link below to see a course map and details. You can really zoom in and see the course details as it shows exactly where we ran. You can’t see much from the 50 mile view, but when you zoom in you can see every little detail.

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It was a perfect day for running. 6am start in the dark at the bridge to Sacramento State University. Race starts headed away from Auburn toward old town sac for 1.5 miles before turning around and heading upriver toward Auburn. I wanted to run near 10 min per mile in the early stages of the race since I knew that the later stages were much harder. From past results most people seem to run 2-3 min per mile slower on second half due to hills. Knowing this I figured 11 hours would be a good target time; but my real goal was just to finish. I felt great running the first half. I was about 4:45 to the halfway point which was right on target for my 11 hour finish. I knew, from our training on the course, that the most difficult part of the race was from mile 32 to 39. My plan was to take this section easy and I’d be able to run again on the other side. Everything was going to plan up to here but even running easy on this section my quads were slowly giving out on me. There are lots of steps 12-18 inch high both up and down in this section and stepping up and jumping down was really working my quads. Even while being careful. I was struggling into the aid station at mile 38. At this point I knew that 11 hour finish was not going to happen, but I also knew that it would be easy to finish in 13 hours (to get the jacket) even if I walked the entire way from here. I took some time here to really cool off and stretch, get a lot of food and water before heading out. It worked because I was beginning to feel better again. By the time I got to the aid station at mile 41 I was doing ok. I took some time here to use the restroom as I knew it would be the last one until the finish. I met a lot of trees along the course but this required a stop. I headed back out on course and was running again but I could tell I was running strange due to fatigue in my quads. It seemed I was pushing with my toes instead of stepping normal. I knew this would be bad for my calf so I tried to avoid it but it’s hard to do. A body does what it wants in this environment. This pushing off began to wear my Achilles and by mile 45 I was walking more than running due to fatigue. Nothing hurting, just fatigue. At mile 47 my friend Jeff caught up and passed me. It was here where the road turns straight up toward Auburn. I was struggling to walk up the hill so I stopped to massage my legs. This is when I really noticed how tight my calves and achilles were. The massage worked awesome and I was able to walk fairly normal again but not very fast. I decided that I would just walk to the finish at this point. It was fine for the first two miles but then with a mile to go the bottom of my feet were hurting and I just wanted to get off them and sit down. It was just then I saw Maggie and Melissa’s boyfriend Mike. We stopped to chat and said hello and that break was exactly what I needed. Mike headed down the hill to greet Melissa and Maggie walked to the finish with me. It felt sooooo good to sit down. I made my way to the car and changed clothes and got back to massaging my legs while we waited for Melissa to finish.

Melissa finished about a half hour behind me and I finished about a half hour behind Jeff. I finished in 11 hours and 50 minutes. Jeff was 11:20 and Melissa was 12:20. I lost most of that 50 minutes in the last 5 miles, and all of it in the last 10. I still feel good about staying under 12 hours. Just under half a day of running.

We all finished under 13 hours and got our coveted finishers jacket.

After the race we headed to Old Town Pizza for some recovery food. This place has the best pizza.

Here are our Race Numbers.

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Beal’s Point
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Waiting for Pizza…boy we got hungry waiting.
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MMMM
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Here is the Finishers Jacket.
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Dark at the start….
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Coming in for some food and water at Mile 21-22.
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