Friday, June 11, 2010

Mount Diablo 50K

So last Friday I was making plans to have a mellow weekend.. I thought.. a nice easy ride on Saturday, probably a 12 mile run on Sunday but other than that it was going to be an easy mellow weekend… or so I thought..

I got a Facebook invitation from Janet to run Mount Diablo 50K with her and Abe.. Abe is Janet’s friend currently training for Western States 100. I saw the wall post and I had my mind made up…huh… thank you.. but no thank you.. I just have reconnected with some friends from elementary school and junior high. Some of them my age are already grandparents… I mentioned to this “friend” that was trying to get me to run Diablo with her. S he said…. "Well prove you are not a grampa… come run with us"… and that is all it took. All of the sudden I was frantically trying to sign up on line, I got a friendly reminder from Sara saying that registration had been closed, but I could still sign up on site.. I went home and found my running gear. All I needed now was a good night of sleep and some carbo-loading. Friday afternoon was beautiful so I thought.. I should go somewhere I can sit outside and enjoy the fine sunny afternoon. I joined Rujeko in Redwood City and we went to the only place that it had available outside sitting outside, Milagros a Mexican restaurant. Now… bear in mind, I was trying to carbo-load for a long run the following day… I ended up eating lots of avocado, chips and salsa, corn and beans and other Mexican delights.. NOT necessarily a good pre-race meal.

The day of the race I woke up early… the sun was already up and I couldn’t help but smile of the crazy thing I was about to do.. I dressed; put Vaseline in “certain” locations to make sure I was not going to chafe, and I even had enough time to put a load of laundry. For breakfast, a banana, a power bar and a glass of orange juice was on the menu, and I was on my way to pick up my running buddy.

We drove to Mount Diablo, it had been a while since we saw each other so we had time to chat about the new developments in our very sedentary lives. And then I could feel my stomach doing something that it shouldn’t be doing, not on race day anyway. Just before arriving to Mount Diablo Janet spotted a Peet’s caffee and I made a really fast turn to get in there… it was a relief to have found that place, not necessarily for the coffee or tea but for its “facilities” . Thank you Peet’s coffee.

The start, picture by Alan Geraldi

We arrived at the race start and it was great to see all of the ultra peeps. I met Janet’s friend, Abe. He is training for WS100. And of course it was great to see Sara from PCTR. Like always, in every ultra, everybody was smiling and feeling optimistic about the day which by the way it promised to deliver a nice warm weather for us. Mount Diablo did not disappoint. I haven’t run a single Mount Diablo when it isn’t hot. I mean, is that why they call it Mount Diablo, cuz it is always hot?

Janet and I just before the start of the race.

After listening to the instructions we were off. We knew it was going to be a long steady day so we stay at the very back of the pack… a Million people passed us and we were totally unconcerned about “racing”, we just were happy to be there and running that mountain. The morning was already hot and humid and I just coulnd’t imagine how much hotter it was going to get. I started taking in water pretty fast and took salt pills with earnest. I knew I was going to need them if I wanted to have a good day in the mountain. My tummy was making noises and I was afraid that eventually that Mexican food I had for dinner the day before was going to catch up with me… thankfully it didn’t at all.s the day went by I completely forgot about it.

Now going up in Mount Diablo is not easy, there are places where even footing is a challenge. Running is Not an option in many sections as it is very steep and very technical with many loose rocks and…. well… it is very steep.. I said that before right?. Abe caught up with us and we ran together until the first aid station. We stopped, we drank, and we ate, we chatted and continued our run toward the top. The day was already very hot and Janet and I were overheating. We remember that there was an aid station at the top; however this aid station was missing. This is the first time we do the 50K, so it is possible that the aid station at the top there only on the day of the 50Miler. Thank God there was a water fountain where we could actually refill our water bottles and be on our way once again.

We reached the aid station at Juniper campground where we made another quick stop and put our hands on that delicious fruit they had there. Watermelon and melon dipped in salt never tasted so good, and bananas too.. And of course, the coke… what a life saver coke on race days is. I never drink cola except on race days, it is awesome. Heather Van Ness managed to pour cold water on us and that was a nice touch. We said our goodbyes and we were on our way… As soon as we reached Mitchell Canyon Road which is the flat section of the run, we kept seeing people walking and some had children. So we kept assuming that the finish line was just around the corner… but it wasn’t. We finally made it to the end. We ate and drank some and we were back for seconds..
Janet and I finishing the first 25K

Now running in this mountain is always something special, the views are amazing. Unfortunately I did not bring my camera this time so I did not have many pictures, so I’m “stealing” some from different places and friends that took them on that day. The second loop was obviously slower, hotter and harder. However, I was in good company and we knew it was going to be a long hard day.

What is next… I don’t even know.. It could be another 50K… or a ride or something. One thing is for sure, I am so blessed to be able to do this and most importantly to have friends that challenge me all the time. As people, our lives are influenced and shaped by a bunch of factors... and relationships are definitely at the top of the list. I have been influenced by my parents, brothers and sisters, teachers, friends etc. My values habits, behaviors, passions and attitudes are definitely learned through association with others. I am so glad to have found great friends that inspire and encourage me… for that.. I am very thankful.
Happy kids... the start of the second loop...