Delightful Disappointment


Lately, my PRs come when I least expect it.

I didn’t feel like I tapered well.  Busier with cycling this summer, I felt like I didn’t have enough long runs in.  I didn’t really care about what I ate before the race.

Even though the Mt Disappointment 50k didn’t fall into my calendar well, I wanted revenge from my experience with it last summer.

2008 Race

Last summer, I came out of a technical part of the trail and snuck a view of the scenery. Y’OUCH!!! I twisted my ankle. Stupid, stupid, stupid! I walked so slow, initially hoping just to make it two more miles to the 10mi aid station so I could drop and get a ride from there. Walking a lot of downhills, I ended up finishing my first ultra-marathon (50k) in 7:11.

2009 Race

Toeing the line, I was cold. I had memories of heat, like real heat. I had expectations of hills, big ones with long climbs. And the last five miles. . that’s not a climb. That’s a 2300′ torture.  Why did I sign up for this? I just want this to be over.

Fortunately a “cold front” came through.  It was just regular old heat that I experience in the OC.  Making Dawn Patrol a regular Tuesday morning activity, those hills didn’t seem like anything!  I felt relatively full of energy, even getting to play around with e-rod on the course.  Thanks to dre, volunteering at an aid station, I dropped off a water bottle at mile 21.  I finished with a 50k PR of 6:32.

Taming the Course

Here are my notes, if you want to visualize the 50k.

Starting Line to Red Box (5mi)

This year, we didn’t get run up Mt Disappointment, in the first five miles.  Last year we did; it is a great part of the course. If the course has the Mt D section (with a tunnel!), jockey for position off the starting line so you don’t have to walk the gradual uphill section.

Red Box to Clear Creek (10mi, cumulative)

Get in a groove, and take it easy in this section.  It’s nice single track.  There’ll be some passing. Just yell, “TRACK!”  People love that.  If you’re feeling good after this section, eat lightly at this aid station so you can run the next uphill 3 miles.

Clear Creek to Josephine (13mi)

The climb isn’t too bad.  It’s similar to No Name Ridge in El Moro.  The view along this section includes Strawberry Hill, which is close to the Josephine Aid Station. Hang the eff out at this aid station.  Drink, drink, drink. Eat. Drink, drink, drink.  The next aid station is 8 miles away, after some exposed (hot) trail.

Josephine to Red Box (21mi)

This is a good section to cruise along.  After a slight ascent, you crest a pass.  From there it’s about 2 miles to Red Box, and also from there it’s about 7.5 miles until the next (and final) uphill.  Wooooo.

Red Box to Westfork (26mi)

Nothing really to note. Enjoy the downhill.

Westfork to Finish (THIS SECTION IS 4.75 MILES)

During the race, this is the most talked about section.  Many people say this section is a 5k; many say it is 4 miles; many say it’s 3 miles; many say it’s 5 miles.  On a 2300′ foot ascent after running a marathon, I want exact dimensions. It’s 4.75 miles!  I have data.  The first mile is runable.  From there, try to run as much as you can and just get it over with!

Advantage of finishing at 1:10pm:

. . . a high-five from Smokey the Bear at the finish line!  He’s there to chear on the kids run.  The race director is great; he likes to yell. It’s a fun type of yelling.  The aid stations are stocked really well.  The scenery is great. Do it!

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    […] this year, set an Absolute Personal Record (APR) in the 50km, as well as PR in the marathon and the 50km.  Not to name drop, but the group constantly gets visited by such incredible people like the […]


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