This was my third Santa Monica Mountains 50k. My training felt pretty solid. I didn’t expect to be super fast, but wanted to be more consistent and strong on the climbs. I definitely achieved that goal, unfortunately the weather slowed me down a bit in terms of overall time. The bonus was that I got to play in the mud which is super rare for Southern California.
Nicole and Figgy (the Adventure Sisters) ran the 18k. They are pictured below wearing their matching rain jackets. This turned out to be a critical piece of gear and ensured they were able to stay relatively dry and warm for the duration of their race. They broke their goal time and still had smiles this big at the end, so that’s a huge success!
I started off with Stitch in the sea of 30k and 50k runners settling into a relaxed pace and played the pass and get passed game of the first few miles of climbing. Somewhere along there we got separated and I wouldn’t see him again until just before I finished. The first loop (orange) was the worst of the weather for the day. Most of the course is exposed and the wind and sideways rain forced me to put my windshirt back on for what ended up being the rest of the race.
I came through the first aid station feeling pretty good and climbed up the Ray Miller Trail for the second loop (pink). The run down into Sycamore Canyon was pretty sloppy as the rain had a chance to work its magic and make some great mud.
I went through the next aid station after grabbing a water refill but passing up the tasty looking pumpkin pie. The climb back out of the canyon was better in the cool temps than it has been for me in the heat. I was able to pass several people and felt strong all the way back to the fire road. Then back to the mud up and over the ridge. Back at the aid station Evan and Timmy hooked me up with water and I grabbed a couple of gels for the second time around the orange loop.
The weather had calmed down a bit since the first time through, but the trails were easily as messy. It was funny the first time around to see people trying to avoid the water on the trail and keep their feet dry. As you can see below, that was not practical or possible. I personally thought it was fun splashing through the water and even the mud – as long as I stayed upright. I saw a couple people lose it and wipe out, but no one was seriously hurt.
Half way around the second orange loop (mile 21 or so?) was the first that my stomach felt less than great, but thankfully I was able to keep it in check and it never became a real problem. Back through the aid again for water and gels, then back up and down the RM Trail for the last stretch of the race. I had barely seen any other runners for at least an hour. Now I got to see other runners heading down toward the finish which was pretty cool.
I hit the top turn around and began the last couple miles of downhill. Thankfully I had plenty left to push it pretty hard the whole way down. It was near the bottom and finish when I passed by Stitch heading up for his last out and back. The picture below as with several of the others in the post were taken from a variety of sources and people (if it’s yours and you want credit just let me know.) This was from hours before I saw him, but note the DIY Luna Sandals!
A few minutes later I got to the finish. After a few hugs and congratulations I drank my homemade recovery smoothie and grazed on some food. Our new friend Jerry finished a short time later in his VFF’s, followed by Stitch.
All in all a fantastic day with friends and family. Thank you to all the volunteers and to PCTR for putting on a great race. I’ll leave you with a couple of videos of the race. One from Billy and another from someone who was running it. They help capture a bit of the spirit of the day. Thanks for reading.