Recap, Run!, Slacker

SLO Ultra 5K Recap

A part of me almost upgraded to the half during the week leading up to this race. Now, I’m so glad I didn’t.

Race morning came and my stomach was being a total asshat. Not too unusual so I just got ready like normal and hit the road. While I drove, I had some ginger mints hoping to calm my stomach.  I thought it helped.

The race was held in a combo of El Chorro Regional Park and Dairy Creek Golf Course, parking was across the highway at the community college.   It was stressed heavily that we either had to pay for parking during registration or have cash on hand on race morning.  I paid during registration.   Yet on race morning there no sign of anyone to take cash, so half the runners didn’t pay.  Grrr.  I ended up talking about it with with a couple.   I spoke with a volunteer as I left the lot, chatted with another as we waited to cross the highway.  Actually, this was the most I’ve ever talked at a race and some of the friendliest people throughout.

The start was about a mile away and I arrived in time to see the delayed start of the half marathon.   Turns out the inflatable arch had a little issue.  The 50K had started at 6:30.  I got in line to use the port-a-potties which is when I had my sad sunglasses incident.  Boo. After some announcements and the National Anthem, we were off and running.

Mile 1-11:07

Oh, god, I’m nauseous, why am nauseous? Where did that come from? And I’m breathing like I’m sprinting but I’m not. What is going on?? The first mile wound up a back road away from the park towards a ranch. It was paved but in poor condition and you were dodging cow dung along the way. It was a tiny incline but all of this would have been fine had I not been feeling like I needed to find a bush to throw up in. I slowed to a walk about 3/4 a mile in and tried to walk it out. I wasn’t upchucking in public!

Mile 2-10:48

More walking. Still nauseated. The road had switched to dirt and the incline picked up a bit. Part way up the road was blocked by a gate- it wasn’t open. We had to climb over it. Single file. Surprise! I think the complete stop I came to while I waited for my turn helped a bit because I picked up the pace on the other side and ran a bit. Then walked a bit, then ran. We had a little downhill and I was able to pass a few of the people who had passed me previously. Truthfully at this point, I didn’t care.

Mile 3-10:46

I’m still not feeling right but I just want to be done. I take water at the one aid station and hustle on. The next 1/4 mile was the “trail-iest” section of the whole race. We climbed a small hill and could see the finish line a ways off- across the golf course. My watch was already at 3 miles. Grrr. I ran past a few people (even sick, I’ll take advantage of any tiny downhill) then it was sidewalk and golf course running to the finish line.

A little boy and I had been playing leap frog for 2 miles- he’d pass me every time I’d walk. We were both powering to the finish and it’s sad that instinct is telling you to win. 😂 I pulled up and let him cross first.

Finish-36.23   Garmin Pace-10:49*3.4 miles    Official pace- 11:44

For once in the numerous times I’ve run races by this organization, water and snacks were easy to find at the finish.  Yay!   I grabbed a bag of salty chips thinking they might help with nausea.  I chatted with some other runners and we helped each other take finisher pics.  Then I started the trek back to the car.

*I am normally never one to say the course ran long; I know I suck at tangents.  However, I really couldn’t go wrong during the first 2 miles and mile 3 was more of a follow the leader with no course markings.  Plus, thanks to Strava I know that I am not the only one who measured it long.  All the public users did- so I am going to call the course long.   Doesn’t change the official pace though, it is what it is.

This wasn’t a bad race.  I really wouldn’t call it a “trail” race, I know the other distances were.  It wasn’t the great views of last year and I missed those. The organization was better than previous races and the medal is a good one.   Bling makes everything better right?😀

Race Day, Recap, Run!

SLO Ultra 5 Mile Recap

I say my legs love hills but this tested that theory.

I didn’t look at the elevation chart until the Friday before the race.

Walking to the start line, I could see the half marathoners on the first climb– no one was running.

At one point during the race, I heard a woman huff out- “rolling hills, my ass”.

At the end, a woman wearing a Leadville jacket is talking to another 5 mile finisher asking how she’s feeling.  She then says she would never do these races because if you are under trained  they’ll wreck you.  Ummm, what??!

Ok, backing up.  SLO Ultra is a trail races that offers a 50 mile, marathon, half marathon and 5 mile.  I had originally planned on running the half but then conversion month and the stupid antibiotic non running episode derailed me.  I figured I would downshift to the 5 miler.    I’ve done multiple trail races, how could this be worse than the 25K? I could handle 5 miles.


Then I checked the website the Friday before and saw the elevation profile.  1500 feet and change over 5 miles, WTF?  Combine that with the abnormally busy Saturday I had ahead and I almost considered a DNS.    But I followed through.


The race was run on trails on private property out by Avila Beach but they all had staggered start times so my race didn’t start until 9:30.   I was able to still get parking on site about an hour before the start and slowly made my way the 1/2 mile or so further in.   As I said, I could see the half marathoners on the first real climb and it was not reassuring.    Hanging out near the start didn’t help.  I saw runners coming back through the start and they looked rough so I figured they were the marathoners finishing a loop (didn’t have enough gear to be 50 milers).  Nope.  Just the half marathoners finishing mile 3.     Oh crap.  Then it was time, so we all lined up.   Only to be warned the first 3 miles were Hard. Yay.

Mile 1- 16:37

We were off!  And we ran for all of .25 miles.  If that.  I take consolation that 95% of us slammed to a crawl.  There were still some speedy people out there (Pepe, Racheal I’m looking at you) but us mortals all were struggling just to power hike the damn mountain.   Like hands pushing down on knees trying to get leverage going up the hill.   We were all breathing so hard, it was a symphony of wheezing and gasping.  But the views halfway up?  Awesome.  But damn that thing was steep.


Mile 2-11:41

Does this climb ever end?!  Oh damn, I think something is in my shoe.   Oh look, downhill!  I shouldn’t run fast but, on your left!  Hey, this woodsy part is cool, let’s take a pic.  While running down a hillside.  Looks at watch- at a 9:20 pace- living dangerously.  😛  Oh- my first water crossing!  Ok, it was tiny but it still counts!  Then there was a portion of single track where some people didn’t have the best trail etiquette.  Stay on the trail!  This is why we can’t have nice things.


Mile 3-16.53

Another climb.  Not long but steep.   I made friends.    We were commiserating.  One woman asked her friend is she was doing the mountain bike races the next day, (same course) she was no longer sure.   Another asked if these hills were worse than those of the San Francisco Marathon, 3 of us shouted out Yes!  I cracked a joke that I don’t think this is what my doctor meant when he said to return to running slow and easy.   We had a downhill and I ran on to the flat and back to the start to the aid station but I was noticing a problem.  I couldn’t run the flats.  My legs were shot.  My Achilles’s were the tightest they have ever been and the flat surface felt like it stretched them out too much, kind of like they were going to tear.  So I backed it off and walked.


Mile 4- 17:02

Ok, maybe I backed off too much.   Yes, there was another big climb in this mile but I think I lost the most time on the flat section truthfully.  I chatted with a man I had been yo-yo’ing with most of the race.  My GPS had also been off since the tree covered section in mile 2 so I really had no idea how far I had left in the race.  Oops!


Mile 5- 8:40 pace

By mile 3.8ish I could see the turn around point at the aid station and I was done.  I jogged up to it, grabbed a cup of water, drank and then decided my legs had wings.   I almost ate trail in a section that was like running through a sandbox.  I hit the flat section and my legs suddenly felt ok so I kept going.    Slowed down so as not to face plant over the rickety bridge over the stream right before the finish line- almost did anyways- and ran through the finish.

1:09:43


So much slower than I would have liked but I survived!  And I was still in the top half of the pack so that’s how damn hard this freakin’ course was.   I am also having trouble walking 3 days later.  😛     Good thing about slower?  I never got misdirected like more than a few of the lead runners did.  Oops.

I will run this again, stronger and faster.  I think I can, I think I can.  Plus, that’s the only way I can get back on those trails.😊