Monday, February 6, 2012

Avalon Benefit 50 mile run

This was my second run at the Avalon Benefit 50 miler on Catalina Island. I had not trained at all, and just got off the Florida Trail. My feet were stuck in walk mode, but I was going to give it my best shot. If I would not have bought my space monthes previous, I definitely would not have ran.
This year I brought my daughter Aaren, and her friend Cianna along for company. Together we took an early ride to the island, with my intentions of getting plenty of rest. After a good lunch/dinner, and the packet pickup, I did not waste time and went straight to the hotel room and went right to sleep. The girls however, hung out on the balcony in the Avalon lights, and played cards till late at night.
Waking up at 4am the next morning, I was ready as I was going to be, and walked on down to the start area shocked to see how many runners there were. The morning was clear however and it was not as cold as I expected.
As the race began, I just stayed in the back of the pack and began with a fast walk to the top of the first ridge, where I had plenty of energy to run down to the first aid station. This seemed to be the the way I did the 1st half of the race all the way to the turn around on the other side of the island. It felt as if my feet were frozen straight, and running was a bit hard on my entire body. A fast walk wasn't hard though and I took advantage of that quite often.
Nearing the turn around, I began to run for longer distances, and I then began catching up with a lot of people who passed me earlier or took off a lot faster than me. About mile 28, I just blew through the aid station and probably passed 20 people, and the next aid station at mile 36, I only filled my water, and grabbed a pocket full of food to pass another 10-15.
I was now running strong and had a fast pace to the top of the next hill and the next aid station, where I did not stay longer than a couple of seconds, and began the long hot canyon section. My goal was to run this long, hot, slight up hill, but my legs once again would not allow it. Some other runners came by, and I joined them for short runs/power walks to the top of the last hill, and last 2 aid stations.
From there, I took off on my own, and surged as fast as I could move down the long paved road to the finnish. The entire time, I was looking at my clock, attempting to finish before 10 hours. About the last mile, I realized I probably was going to pull it off and as I passed the last of several guy on that hill, I encouraged the guy to try to beat 10 hours. He then joined me, and upon the first visual of the finish line, began to pass me with all he had. For a short moment I began to race him, but then just let him go, due to the fact that I was burnt out from surging down that hill. I ended up finishing at 9:58.
This is always a fun race. It is very scenic, and can be hot, due to the fact that you are almost always on exposed dirt roads. It is not technical, and is consider a easy race.