Sunday, January 12, 2014

It's a Start: Avalon 50 Miler 2014

The Avalon 50 Mile is a solid ultra running event.  About 300 people run through mostly dirt fire roads across rugged Catalina Island.  The aid stations provide just enough support, and the course was marked just well enough.   The runners, race staff and volunteers are the typically scruffy, friendly and tough group that attend such events.  The weather was perfect.  We had wonderful views of the sunrise, the ocean and the typical Southern California chaparral which has been my home since childhood.

I should be satisfied with my race, but I'm not, at least not yet.  True, I've had just three 50 mile weeks since my heart procedure on June 11, 2013.  It is unreasonable to expect much with so little training.  Still, I felt pretty good going into the race, and in the back of my mind must have been expecting something more.

I started conservatively, walking much of the hills in miles 2-4.  From then on, for the next 20 miles, I gradually increased my effort, still occasionally walking the steeper uphills and trying to take advantage of the downs.  Around 25 miles I started to feel a bit weak, and by mile 38 or so I really hit the wall, and ended up walking about half of the final 12 miles, even walking much of the very runnable flat ground.  I was probably in about 15th place at Mile 38, and finished about 28th.  The last 12 miles were quite a struggle.

Even so, I know I was expecting too much and I know it is, in fact, a huge improvement from where I was just a few weeks ago and a good start to the season.