Monday, April 6, 2020

Salmon Falls 50K Race Recap 2/29/20

Salmon Falls 50K Race Recap 2/29/20
I ran my first 50k (31 miles!) over a month ago. I am so bad about doing my race recaps right after the race but with what is going on in the world right now, I can't say that I don't have the time to write this up. I hope everyone is being safe and staying home with Covid-19 out there. 

As to my recap, I ran the Salmon Falls 50k and it was a great first ultra marathon! I finished so I'm happy.

PACKET PICKUP: Packet pickup was on Friday, the day before the race. It was at a running store, Gold Country Run + Sport in Folsom. Pickup was available from 3pm-7pm. I really wish that it was open earlier because I wanted to beat traffic. It's around a 45 minute drive from my house, so it isn't close but me and my sister headed out there and got our stuff. It's not a huge store so it was a little crowded when we got there but it didn't take long to get our bib and our finisher hoodies. Here's my bib. 
RACE DAY: We had to get up pretty early for this one, I think it was 4am! The finish line is at Folsom Point which is about a 40 minute drive from my house. That is where we are to park and take a shuttle bus to the start area in Pilot Hill. The parking area at Folsom Point Boat Area opened at 5:30am and the buses left at 6:15am, so me and Sherry were out the door before 5am. I had my usual breakfast of a bagel with peanut butter and ate what I couldn't finish on the way. We got to Folsom Point not too long after they opened, as there weren't many cars parked when we got there. We did have to pay $12 for a parking pass before entering. Getting there early, we had time to hit the restroom before the bus took us to Magnolia Ranch. Here we are on the bus.
The race start was 7:30 and we got there around 7ish. Enough time to hit the bathrooms and meet up with some friends.
It was a little chilly, I think low 40's but it wasn't too bad. There were some heaters you can stand by before lining up at the start. So happy it wasn't raining. I also heard it was a lot colder during last year's race.
Here's a fun shot of us with Kristine as we headed to the start line. We were pretty excited to run this 50k. :p
 The race started right on time. 7:30 am we were off and running.
It was pretty crowded in the beginning. 
 And it was difficult to pass in the single track sections. 
I didn't really have a time goal for this race because it was my first ultra but I was hoping I could stick with my sister for a while, or at least keep up with her but that didn't last long. She is just way too fast and the hills killed me. 
I think the below shot was the first major hill that I walked. Trail running is a lot different from road running in that it is actually ok to walk the hills. Also with trail running comes a slower pace. 
 The thing that I love most about trail running is the beautiful scenery. 
 I gave up trying to keep up with my sister pretty quickly.
But I did run with my friend Kristine for part of the run. We would actually piggy back each other. I was good with the downhills but she was better at the uphill so we would run together for a while and then one would take off and then we'd meet up again. Eventually the hills got me and she passed me for good.
 We did manage this fun shot together. :)
For a lot of the run, I was on my own. Whenever there was someone on the course cheering, I couldn't help but smile. I was pretty happy to see the camera guy here. :)
Here is the bridge we crossed around 13 miles in. 
At 16.9 miles was where I stopped at my first aid station. There were some prior but I had everything I needed in my hydration vest. I stopped at this one because the next one wouldn't be until 8.1 miles later and I needed to refill my bottles with water. The race did a great job of stocking the aid stations. They were stocked with a bunch of goodies - Coke, Sprite, gels, bananas, oranges, pretzels, gummy worms, saltine crackers, and jelly beans. The later ones had peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, potato chips, pickles, trail mix, cooked potatoes, and Oreos. The volunteers were really nice and asked to refill our bottles for us. It's nice to take a little breather and I even took a few jelly beans. In the later stations, I even took some coke which helped a lot for energy.
Then it was back to being on my own for the most part. Below is the one big creek crossing along the course.
Around mile 20 is where my knee started to feel funny. It has happened once before, on my long 20 mile training run. I don't think it's a cramp because you don't get cramps by your knee, whatever it was, it's by the inside of my knee, it just didn't feel right. It was at this point that I just took it a lot easier. I walked a lot more, even on some flat sections. Mentally, I was checked out but of course I still had to keep at it.
I just thought to myself to just keep going and chip away the miles, and that’s what I did.
From there on out, the highlights on the run were the people that I saw along the course. We all were going through the same things: we were struggling, we were walking, we couldn't wait to finish, and we kept on going. The aid stations were also awesome since they were so encouraging and uplifting during the long miles. The aid station at Brown's Ravine, I think the volunteers were from Fleet Feet Folsom and they were amazing. They were all clapping and cheering as I ran through. They really made me feel special. One lady even ran with me to show me where the trail went from there. Such great people! It really helped boost my spirits.
The below shot is the levy. About a mile to go from here and it was the longest mile but I pushed it more here knowing that the finish was near. 
Finally the finish!!
 I was so happy to be done. I finished in 6:23:06. 
Here's a shot with Kristine and my sister. They both did awesome! Sherry even got 3rd in our age group! Amazing!
There was a bbq for the finishers and I got myself a burger and a beer. :)
 Here's a shot with my sister and we are sporting our finisher hoodies. 
 And a close up of the medal.
I will leave you with a video of the GoPro footage I took during the run. Also in there is my finish video that my sister took when I crossed the finish line, a moment I won't ever forget. Thanks Sherry for catching that! Overall, the Salmon Falls 50k was a great first ultra for me. Despite the knee problem, its a beautiful course and well organized. It is one I could see myself doing again. :)
Happy running!

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