AR50 in the bag

AR 50 Results

American River 50 Endurance Run at EveryTrailMap created by EveryTrail:Share GPS tracks

AR50 was important to me because it was my first Ultra since a failed attempt at the AR50 in 2002. I was running that 2002 AR50 30 pounds heavier than today and on a bad ankle and I manged to tweak my knee that day which took me out of running for more than 5 years. I got arthoscopic surgery in 04 hoping to get back in the game, but never felt confident on the knee and just assumed I would stick to cycling. For some reason, last November in an insane whim, I signed up for the AR50. I might have been drunk, maybe a bit crazy, but the 100 miles I had run in the last 5 years would not give many a lot of confidence I could finish, or that this was a good idea, or that I might need a quick mental health checkup. I remember telling my cycling/running buddy Jason about my decision to sign up for AR50 and I could tell he thought I was a bit insane.

I studied as much ultrarunning literature as I could starting with the 19th century wobblers in their 6 day races, the Bunion Derbies of 1928/29, as well as stories about 24 and 48 hour track racers and concocted an extremely conservative plan to use a 3/2 run/walk. My thought was that I could survive the 50 miler best by saving my legs early on with the walk breaks and keeping just enough in the bank to survive the last miles.

It was a dark and cool at the start and with 500 runners at the start it felt like a big city road race. The first couple of miles flew by in sub 10 minute which is pretty damn fast when doing 3/2, but I figured it was due to the adrenaline of the start. I was running a comfortable 7:30 pace or so and walking sub 15. The first hour was pretty non-eventful and I covered 6 miles.

The second hour was also non-eventful as we cruised along the American River path and I hit 12 miles in 2:01. The pain in my lower right back/piriformis was bugging me so I popped 2 Aleve at mile 15. I hate taking them, but I did not want to anything to prevent a finish. The 3rd hour went well. There is steep but short climb near the Nimbus dam, but nothing to really slow me down and I hit 18 miles in 3:04.

Things start getting hillier in this part and I slowed down getting 22.5 miles in 4 hours.

I hit the marathon at about 4:40 which was right about where I wanted to be. Beals Point which was mile 27.4 had my drop bag and I decided not to change my socks because my feet felt fine. I should have stuffed them in my back pocket as a huge blister on the bottom of my left foot would raise hell in a few short miles. The trail gets technical at mail 30 or so and I really lost my tried and true 3/2 and started walking even the smallest of hills. I was thinking that breaking 10 hours was possible at this point, but I could not get any good speed in this section and had many miles in the 15-17 minute range during this section as I could not attack technical trail with 35 miles in my legs. I dropped an ibupofen to see if this would ease the pain. While deadening it a bit, I was definitely approaching survival mode.

I kept slogging along to the 40 miles mark and Manhattan Bar aid station. My feet were killing me and my quads were very tired and I found it hard to run for more than a minute or two even on flat terrain. I could tell I was in the place where I was going to pay later for this as I kept digging deep into the well for each and every step. By this point I was being passed frequently and many people asked me if "I was ok". I could not figure out how they could tell I was hurting so bad, but I seemed to be much deeper in the pain cave than the people passing me.

I had made the last hill from Last Gasp to the finish much bigger in my mind than it was. By this point I could no longer run, but could do the 80 year old man shuffle for a few steps and power walk at maybe a 17 minute pace. I knew I could break 11 hours if I just keep a steady pace. Slowly the hill evaporated and I reached the top. Managing a meager jog through the finish line I was very happy to finish. Breaking 11 hours was great, but being able to finish was great as I had many doubts over the last few months how this adventure would go.

Looking around, I seemed to be hobbling more than anybody there. I have never been this wrecked so long after a ride/run. 2 days later I am still hobbling around, but finally feeling a bit better. There was no doubt in my mind that I would be taking off work on Monday. I am amazed some people can run the day after one of these things.

I proved you can do a 50 miler with a few months of training if your stubborn as hell, focused and willing to suffer. Next time, I want to do one with more a bit more miles in my legs prior.

Anton Krupicka Crushing the Course


nrmrvrk said…
Nice job! You did what you set out to do. Nice detailed stats breakdown for those of us who are stat geeks. Congrats!
Catherine said…
Great finish Chris. Your run sounds a lot like mine. Had to really dig deep during miles 31-41. We must have passed each other because it sounds like you started a bit faster than me and I finished in 10:39. However, as the haze deepends in those last miles I seldom really look at the other runners. Survival mode.

I "tagged" you in a little blog game. You can get more info from my blog.

Again, congratulations. You've got the heart and will to accomplish anything you set out to do.
nrmrvrk said…
Go Woodside Cycling Club!! Best Kit ever!
GPS said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.