With Badwater approaching quickly, only two months away now, the month of May means a huge training month for Mark and I with some pretty epic runs scheduled for every weekend. Last weekend’s long run for us was the Whoo’s in El Moro 50k, which would be my third time running it and his second.
Now usually Mark and I are all about traveling to run races on trails that aren’t in our backyard and that we don’t run on an almost daily basis, but the Whoo’s in El Moro 50k has come to be my favorite 50k over the past three years. The course just has a great mix of climbing, single track, fire road and of course gorgeous views over looking Crystal Cove State Beach. Although it has nearly 7,000 feet of elevation gain for the two loop course, it is spread out enough to make the whole course runable and produces some fast times. The aid stations also have a great spread of food, although Ill I ever took was water and salt since I had my Vitargo with me, and there is a post race BBQ at the finish. Race goodie bags are also top notch and each racer got a single serve of Vitargo to try out as well. Race Director, Molly Kassouf, does an outstanding job year after year, and I am THRILLED to have her on my Badwater crew.
The race started on time at 6:30am. Barely a mile into the race we started our first big climb of the day going up a hill called, “I think I can,” which lasted roughly 1.2 miles. I climbed at steady pace and was already pulling away from the majority of the runners. There was one female slightly ahead of me, but I figured to just let her go and hopefully she would burn herself out by going too fast too early.
Last year I had an almost perfect race here and set a major PR for myself, finishing in 4:40. During the first loop, I started to calculate my pace and where I was in relation to last year, wondering if I could pull off another PR this year. Last year I finished the first 15 mile loop in 2:15ish. This year I came in at 2:16, so pretty much right on track. I quickly refilled by bottle of Vitargo and took a Fein and then was out in less then a minute.
Since the second loop is a reverse loop of the first, when I was coming down into the turn around point, I got to see how far ahead Mark and the first place female were ahead of me, which turned out to be not very far at all. They maybe had a 1/2 mile lead of me. I was wondering if Mark would slow down and wait for me to catch up and run the rest of the race with me, but apparently the lead guys started to slow down and so Mark picked up the pace. I was still hoping to catch the lead woman though and at each aid station I was told she was anywhere from 4-6 minutes ahead of me.
Miles 21-23 were at the bottom of El Moro Canyon where it got a tad warm. Then around mile 24 there was one last big climb up a hill called, “Slow and Easy.” Things were definitely slow here and I think this is where I lost some time. Once I got to the top of the hill though and out of the canyon, I felt better. I debated whether or not I should really kick it in or not since it seemed like I had 2nd place female pretty locked in with absolutely no one around me and since I knew I wasn’t going to break 4:40, but I decided that was a quitter’s attitude and so I ran as hard as I could the last few miles, hoping to not be too far off from last years time.
I ended up finishing the race in 4:49 for 2nd female, 6th place overall and 1st in my age group. Although I was slightly slower this year, I still placed better compared to last year and I was happy with my efforts. Since I won my age group, I won another pair of Oakley sunglasses! Mark ended up also finishing 2nd place and winning his age group as well. We spent the rest of the day being lazy and watching movies and of course eating. It was probably one of the best days I have had in a while.
It’s now three days after the race and I am very happy to say that I feel great! I hiked 7 miles on Sunday and ran 9.5 yesterday and my legs didn’t even feel like they had just ran a hard 50k, which I attribute to great training and excellent nutrition (Vitargo after runs and whole foods the rest of the time.)
This Saturday I will be racing the Bishop 50 mile. Last year I ran 9:59 and am hoping to go sub 10 hours on that course again… it is a TOUGH course!
Lastly, if you haven’t checked out my Badwater charity donation page, PLEASE DO! Everything goes to the Dreamchaser Foundation. Even small contributions are very appreciated 🙂