- Mud. Lots of mud.
- Water. Lots of water. Calf-deep pools water. Knee-deep pools of water. Ankle-deep stream crossings. One waist-deep, fast-moving river crossing requiring rope!
On one occasion, I stepped into a pool of water that I didn’t realize was some three-feet deep… Felt like I had stepped into the shallow end of a swimming pool.
- Did I mention mud? There was at least 20 miles of mud, mud, mud. 10 miles of that was mud deep enough to swallow my shoe, and would’ve if I stood still. Some mud was so sticky I thought a shoe might come off.
- And of course, the climbs. I had some anterior calf muscle issues on the Hill 1 (of 4, as the race name describes!). Hills 2 and 3 were fine. Hill 4 killed me.
Because of these climbs and how different people handled the mud and water, there was a lot of yo-yo-ing that happened. Overall, I’d pass people on the downhills, they pass me on the uphills. But even on the flats, some runners seemed to handle the mud better than I did (I might’ve been too timid?)I was almost never alone (unusual for a long trail race); there was almost always someone I can see ahead of me, there was almost always someone I could see or hear behind me.
- My goal today was 5 hours. Around mile 21, I thought I could have a chance with some 80-ish minutes left, though that’d require a very demanding 8-min trail pace with another hill left.
But by mile 27, I was feeling gassed, despite all the fuel I had consumed. And at mile 28, I couldn’t tell if my legs were barely moving because I was bonking or because I was on the final hill.Even worse, I was starting to feel a minor “crick” (not sure how else to describe it) in my left hip flexor. I was pretty sure it wasn’t a cramp. But moving my left hip up became uncomfortable enough that I knew that even I could use cardio to make a final push, it’d be for naught if my leg wouldn’t follow.Anyway, I finished with my second-worst, non-DNF 50K time today. But given today’s conditions… eh. I’ll take it.
Next ultra? At this time, Skyline 50K all the way in August! But next trail race? Probably the Tilden Tough Ten in May! Might have to find something in April.