I was a little nervous about doing my first 50K. My original plan had been to run the San Francisco Marathon the previous week, but I was still getting over a cold. Emmett had been giving me advice about running ultra (defined as “anything longer than a marathon”), but this was only his second!
Friday and Saturday night I stayed with Emmett at his parents’ house in Piedmont, a small city surrounded on all sides by Oakland. They have a huge, 2 story house with a pool. Saturday afternoon we went to the race expo. Well, actually, there was no race expo, but we went to an arts & crafts fair in Alameda and had some Mexican food.
Emmett’s mother wasn’t sure what we should be eating prior to the marathon, but she served us a nice dinner of albacore tuna, grilled vegetables and a big salad.
On race morning, Emmett woke me up at 5:30am, so I could go register before the 7am start. The weather was just right (about 55 degrees). I was trying to think of a theme song (like I do for all my marathons) and decided on Eminem’s Everybody Follow Me, but some Moby and Beatles’ songs also came into my head.
The race started out flat and paved, but soon moved to a few hills, and then a few more hills, and then a bunch of switchback steep hills. I HATE hills!
Unlike in a marathon, the aid stations were on average, 3 miles apart, but they had my favorite – peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. At one station, I stayed so long eating sandwiches that they finally had to kick me out!
Emmett’s parents made a few appearances along the course, and they let me know how much I trailed Emmett by (7 minutes, 2 minutes,…).
The course was very well marked and the volunteers were organized. They would get you the food you wanted at the aid station and send you in the correct direction. I also met lots of nice people, especially on the hills, where EVERYBODY was walking, because they were SO steep.
At mile 30, I finally caught up to Emmett who was walking because he had severe cramps. I was sore and a bit nauseous, but I finished in 6:05:19, and Emmett finished in 6:06:31.
Afterwards, I looked for my finisher’s medal, but Emmett explained to me that ultras are “too good” for that sort of thing, and we got a Coolmax shirt and socks with the logo and the event date. Neither of us got any awards, but there was a bunch of soft drinks, chili, hot dogs, and split pea soup. Many of the people I had run with or seen on the trail, came and congratulated me on a fine first run.
Will I run another one? Maybe if there aren’t so many hills!