August 5, 2018
Leading up to Skyline 50K, I have been having trouble sleeping, sore back, sore knees, and feel that I am not ready for the race. (A note in my running log says that a previous occurrence of this set of feelings lasted a good four to six weeks before resolving itself (through more rest or what?).)
My goals for the weeks leading into the race were “less intensity runs on my knees,” “get more sleep,” and “try to make it through Skyline in one piece!”
I drove up Friday morning so that my sister and I could attend the opening night performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Woodminster. It was a better show than last year (average singing of South Pacific) and it was all we could do to not sing along because we used to listen to the Broadway recording tape in the car over and over and over again.
On Saturday, I took a nap, ate my favorite (Tao Yuen) dim sum, and saw Christopher Robin (wondering when MoviePass is going out of business so taking advantage).
My plan is to get up earlier Sunday so that I can avail myself of the early start, and have that extra hour to make it through the event.
There are a dozen or so of us making the early start. I think if you are a first-time ultra runner and tend on the slower side, you should definitely take advantage of any early start you can get. The extra benefit is that while people will be passing you, it isn’t like you get passed by everyone from the get-go and then are by yourself for the majority of the race… you never quite work your way that far back (unless you don’t finish).
The course is just about the same as last year, up by the suspension bridge (but not over, boo!), up Marciel Road, down by the golf course, and then working over to the Stream Trail and up to Skyline Gate.
This “new” course has the turnaround closer to halfway (usually Skyline Gate is about 14 miles in with a longer (17) return), so while I’m used to having up to 4 hours to get here, the new standard is 4.5 hours for 16.1 miles (with a shorter return). I make it here in 3:43, so plenty of time.
I am also gratified to see that Myrrh is here to join me for part of the run (or walk as I am eating and talking). Myrrh consistently does some of this trail for a nice hike (I have done it with her, too.) so she knows where to step and not stumble. It’s nice to have a “pacer” for a mile or so, before I turn off onto the French Trail.
From French Trail to all but the last 3 miles or so, is the section where I always seem to lose a lot of time and get bogged down, where I stumble and stub my toes, where I see few people (except those itching to get past me because I started an hour before them). The one good thing about this is my language is quite colorful, at its tamest asking for certain rocks to be smote by lightning!
At just about the last aid station, I ended up getting into a conversation with someone moving at a similar pace to me. Her name is Amanda Ferguson, 40, and she attended Miramonte High School (which is or was in my school’s athletic division), so we have a nice talk through to almost the end of the race. (If you look at the results, she did beat me by 1 hour, 4 minutes, cuz she started at the regular time.)
If you follow my results, you’ll notice that my time got slower from last year, but given how my knees and back have felt the past month or so, I am happy with 7:48.
The extra cool thing about this race was that some of us had chatted with the RD several months back when he had proposed maybe getting a medal for finishers (even though Skyline has never given out a medal) and many of us suggested something for multiple finishers.
So, they are still working on the higher quantities, but anyone with 5 finishes got a nice stacked “wood-le” (a medal but made of wood) with a promise to get whatever higher amount at the Christmas award ceremony (or next year, when I come back). Today was my 11th Skyline 50K, and I also met Joe Swenson who was finishing his 19th Skyline today.