Come Saturday morning, before many readers to The 6th Floor are awake and sipping their first cup of coffee I will be off and running, participating in my first 50K. The race sponsored by Brazen Racing is the Diablo Trails Challenge, which begins in the Round Valley Regional Preserve and makes its way up and across the hills of Mt. Diablo ending at Castle Rock State Park in Walnut Creek. This is my first venture into a race of this distance, only completing a half marathon last August in San Leandro.
This isn’t a race so much as it’s an adventure, a measure of just how far I have come since taking control of my health and fitness at the end of 2011. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think, “yeah, what the hell let’s run 31 miles today.” I was contemplating the California International Marathon last December before I was sidelined with shoulder surgery in late October that prevented me from any exercise, including running.
Now fully healed and healthy I am ready to tackle this challenge headlong. I won’t be alone in this adventure, as co-worker Otto P. will be joining me. Hopefully together we will conquer this challenge and end up crossing the finish line sometime Saturday afternoon (8 hours is our goal). While I probably haven’t put in enough miles leading up to this challenge, I have run some hills, including about 18 miles of the 31 mile course we will be facing.
More importantly, the mental aspect required to keep pushing your body past the point it wants to quit. I thought I knew what that felt like on two previous runs, but this 50K is an entirely different beast. I know I can run 20 miles, which puts me two-thirds of the way there with only one last climb at milepost 25.5 and mostly downhill starting at milepost 28.2. Hopefully running with a partner we will be able to push each other and stay positive when the heat is beating down and there seems to be no end in sight.
Much like the half marathon I am going to fuel myself with Medjool dates. During that race it was one date every mile, probably overkill, then again it was my first distance rce. For Diablo I might eat one date every 2 miles. I will also be wearing a hydration pack that hold 72 ounces of water with more available at the 4 first aid stations separated by about 8.5 miles. I might also pack a few bananas, even though the aid stations will be stocked with water, sports drinks and snacks for all 50K participants. Not sure I really want to eat processed snacks I have not trained with previously.
The weather is a bit of a concern as temperatures have climbed over 80 the past few days in Oakley. The weather in nearby Walnut Creek seemed to be similar. For Saturday there is a planned high of 73 degrees, with any luck we will have some scattered clouds that could keep the temperatures in the mid-60s up through about noon. In relation to where we will be that should put up just past the halfway mark.
The goal of this adventure is to finish. Regardless of total time, finishing is winning! I intend to win. Much like Otto P. did a few weeks back, I might drop a few video/image updates on Facebook or Instagram as we make our way over the trails on Mt Diablo. Looking forward to getting on the mountain!