Malibu Creek (PCT) 50K – 2012

March 3, 2012

Another year when I didn’t get into Way Too Cool 50K.  Looking back at my other posts, it was pretty much a tradition from 2002 to 2011 to run it for my birthday weekend.  Now the race is so popular that there is a lottery and I can no longer get in (well, I mean, I have the same chance as anyone, but there are so many more people wanting to participate).

Last year, I did this event with Pacific Coast Trails, but did just the 25K (the day before my 40th birthday), and there was a diverse group of AREC folk doing the various distances.  But this year, it’s just me doing the 50K.  I am familiar with the course because it is most of the Bulldog 50K course (except two loops rather than some variety like they used to have), in the reverse direction.

The first mile and a half is through the parking lot, up some hairpin switchbacks and then back down to the level of Los Virgenes to the first aid station.  I run very modestly (walk the hills) and finish in about 20 minutes.

The next section is the creek crossing and then the start of the uphills.  The creek is fairly dry, though there is still water in it, so I do have to watch my step so I don’t get wet OR twist my ankle.  On the uphill section (which goes on and on and on), I just try and maintain a consistent pace without tweaking my back or pooping myself out (since I will be back here in a few hours).  I do the 6.4 mile section in 1:39 (right around 15:30 pace) and greet the volunteers at the top of the course.

Now I have 7.6 miles (the longest section without aid) all the way back to the start.  There is a sizable uphill climb out of the aid station (even though I am at the top) of about a mile, then about 2 or 3 miles of screaming downhill (!).

At the bottom of the hill, I make a right turn and head through the M*A*S*H site (they filmed part of the series here), along the dry creek bed (rocky), parallel the Malibu Creek, and then head back up the main park road to the end of the loop and halfway.  My halfway split is 3:44 (managed about 12.5 minutes per mile with the downhill assist).  That means I have a little over 5 hours to finish under the time limit.  I will probably need the extra time on the second loop (hopefully, not all of it).

On the second loop, the initial 1.5 miles takes me 27 minutes (lost 7 minutes, but probably walked all of it AND I included some of my aid station hanging out time).

The creek bed this time is all but dry.  Someone said something about releasing less water in the afternoon.  It’s also warmer and drier out (maybe it dried out the creek).

There isn’t a lot of shade on the uphill section and with more heat (especially as I move into the afternoon), it slows me down considerably.  I get to the top aid station in 1 hour, 57 minutes (another 18 minutes lost) and now I have the final 7.5 miles (mostly down) to the finish.

The last section takes me 1:45 (10 minutes slower) and I finish in 8:08:30, good enough for 34th overall (probably out of 40).

More importantly, I finished, I didn’t injure myself and this makes 8 consecutive months running an ultramarathon, and 3 consecutive months in 2012 where I have completed an ultramarathon.  Nine to go!

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