Tuesday, March 3, 2009

my first 50k (Sequoia)


Life is unpredictable. Last week, I had about the craziest, most intense week of my life. Pre-week, my boyfriend and I started discussing the status of our relationship. On Monday, I got done with work with a message saying that my shit was packed and I needed to come get it. I lived out of garbage bags at my friend Jordan’s house for a few days, searching for a place to live, and occupying my time with work, running, and being around friends. I emailed a few people about places to live and the first place I saw, I fell in love with, a simple, quiet, and peaceful studio. By Friday, I was moved in.

The next morning, I woke up at 5:30 am to eat and get ready for my first 50k. The nerves started to settle in as I put on my pink shorts and laced up my shoes, La Sportiva Wildcats. Will Gotthardt helped prepare me for my first ultra. He started me with essentials like water, electrolytes (SaltStick Caps), and fueling (Clif Shot Bloks) and we spent the last six weeks running 2-3 days a week together. Will picked me up at 7 and we headed to the race.

It was cold and breezy at the start as we picked up our numbers. Goosebumps covered my legs even after my warm-up. The race started and as I headed through Joaquin Miller Park, I hoped to keep the splits that were taped on my bottle. I was aiming for a 4:32. I kept arriving places ahead of my splits and started to wonder if my pace was too fast. My body felt good though and I just paid attention to my breath and staying relaxed and in the moment. There were several times throughout the race that a huge smile would appear on my face and my heart would beat a little faster. Before coming into the 30k aid stations, I peed my pants for the first time while racing. So yes people, that is what you saw on my shorts as I headed off for the 20k loop.

The 20k loop was great and I continued to be well ahead of my splits. I got lost in my excitement and the redwoods. I passed a couple 50kers, Joel Lanz and Barry Smith on the French Trail and I caught up to Will with about six miles left in the race. He told me to keep moving forward and to not look back. I kept my pace and as I approached Moon Gate, my heart was beating even faster. I couldn’t believe I was almost to the finish. I was smiling ear to ear. My heart was out of control and the last 20 yards of the race I thought I was going to cry. Wendell and Sarah were right at the finish. It was awesome to give them a hug and see their excitement too. I ran a 4:22, taking 34 minutes off the course record! I came in second behind Jasper Halekas who ran a 4:08. Will Gotthardt came in 3rd with a 4:32. I am still in disbelief, but eager for more running and more ultras.

Thanks to Pacific Coast Trail Runs, Sarah and Wendell you guys are amazing! Seriously without your events I would never have raced a 50k. In fact, I would probably still just be out running in the woods by myself. And, Will thanks for the training and building my confidence (maybe you built it a little too much).

Looking forward to Way too Cool in two weeks!

10 comments:

Dave - Atlanta Trails said...

You kicked ASS out there! I remember seeing you right before (or, from your perspective, after the) turn around at 15k as well as on on your way to Moon Gate #3. You looked strong. What a start to a promising ultra career!

David Ray said...

Awesome! Congrats on the course record. That is *very* impressive. Also being so casual about peeing your pants. That's impressive, too. :)

I came over from Dave's blog. I'll add you to my stalker list. :)

willgotthardt said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott Dunlap said...

Wow, wow, WOW!!! There were many of us speculating you would do well at the longer distances. But this is simply amazing!

Enjoy the well-deserved recovery. And don't give that boyfriend a second thought.

SD

Synonymous said...

A breakup, new studio, and a 50k win? An excellent trifecta indeed. Congratulations on all three. Ooops, I crapped my pants.

Luis Velasquez said...

Had the pleasure to see you in the course a couple of times. Love the big smile... You rocked the course. Amazing..

Great run... Hope to see you in the trails soon..

yay...

Greg said...

Very cool, congratulations on an amazing race!

Victoria said...

Sounds like a roller coaster of a week! Great running and report (and 10 points for refusing to stop on the trail!).

Also-- doulas are cool.

Speedgoat Karl said...

Nice Caitlin, you have now made the odds list at Karlmeltzer.com :-)!! Check it out tomorrow morning. See you at Cool, -Speedgoatkarl

Jozsef said...

It's always an intense and special pleasure to read your thoughts, and the race account was an exciting experience. I'm so happy you did so well.:)

I can only hope that your ex is sufficiently enlightened to recognize that not everyone we might love is a suitable life partner and has assured you that he wants you to have the happiest possible life going forward. You deserve all the success in the world, my dear. :)