Race Review: SD 50 Trail Marathon

For our first race of 2016, Sean & I decided to stay local.  We had been discussing running this race for a while and then finally in November we pulled the trigger and signed up, the 50 miler for Sean and then marathon for me.

The SD 50 & trail marathon is put on by Offroad Pursuits and is held in Escondido about 45 minutes from our house.  Soooo nice to get to sleep in our own bed the night before a race.

We were able to pick up our packets the weekend before at Laces Running Company, a local running store near the race.

The week of the race, I was in Phoenix for our first work event of the year and then I unfortunately spent Thursday with a fever and feeling really sore.  Friday I was feeling a bit better so I figured that I would be fine to run.  Sean & I had pizza for dinner, I took my obligatory Flat Jenny photo with a Munchkin photobomb and then went to bed because it was going to be an early morning.

SD 50, trail marathon, flat jenny, altra running,orange mud, we run social, procompression, lululemon

We set our alarms for 4:15am and had a plan to leave the house by 5am, which of course didn’t exactly happen ;), I think we finally left around 5:20am and made it to the race starting area at 6am ish.

The 50 mile was starting at 6:30am and the marathon at 7:30am so I had plenty of time to get ready.  I saw Sean off and then headed back to the car to stay warm for a bit longer before my race.

About 7:20 I got out of the car, I was planning to run in just a tank top and shorts but it felt a lot colder than I was expecting so I kept my light long sleeve shirt on to start.  I headed up towards the start and ran into one of our friends, Fern.  Fern would end up as the overall winner of the marathon.

Pre-Race Fun with Friends

And then it was time to run.  It was pretty low-key, I think there was a horn or something but I’m not entirely sure, lol.  Fern & I were chatting until I pushed him towards the front so he could go do his thing and we were off!

One of the nice things about running a local trail race is that you can run the course before the race.  I’ve actually run/hiked, etc this course a few times before, mostly when it was 5000 degrees out in the middle of summer lol.  The race had 2 course preview runs and I convinced Sean to get up early one Saturday in mid December and we ran the first and last 10 miles of the course.  We came out a few other times and by the week before the race I had run the entire marathon course.

Training run, Marathon,, SD 50, trail marathon, san diego

One of the big things I learned from Sean about running trails is that it’s best to break up the race into aid stations vs. thinking of the race as a whole.  For the marathon there were 5 aid stations, 2 of which we would visit twice as this was an out and back course.

The first aid station was at mile 5.7 and right after the biggest climb of the race.  I started the race just doing my thing because I knew we were coming up on the climb around mile 4.  I’m super proud of myself for not walking at all during those first 4.25 miles.  I felt like it was super humid during these first few miles, I eventually took my long sleeve off on the climb up Raptor Ridge.  I finally made it up and then just flew down the hill as my reward for the climb.  At the bottom of the hill was the aid station, run by the SD100 race director, Scott Mills.  I chatted for a minute, got a few orange slices, got told to drink more water during the next section (I had barely drunk anything in almost 6 miles – oops) and then was off.

The next section was approximately 4.3 miles and I knew I would see some of my friends there so I was just kept moving along, slowly but surely.  I chatted with a few other runners and then fell back a bit running with a few walk breaks here and there.  I was waiting to see Fern because I knew with the time he was shooting for he would pass me before I got to the 10 mile aid station.  And then right around 9 miles I saw him coming towards me.  I got a few photos and continued on.

As I was coming into the next aid station, my friends started calling my name and cheering me in which was pretty cool.  I had a cup of water, a few more orange slices and had my bottle filled with water.  During this section I drank almost the whole bottle so that was good.

lake hodges, aid station, san diego, sd50, trail marathon

Kat took my photo, told me they’d see me in 6 miles and off I went.  This next section when Sean & I ran it the week before was super muddy.  Fortunately this weekend it was mostly dry, I walked a bit of few of the hills, ran the flats and downhills.  This part of the race was a lot of fun for me because I was seeing all the other runners coming back and I was able to cheer them on.  One of the best things about trail running, everyone is so nice and supportive of others.  Finally I made it down to the turn around point.

Training Run, Lake Hodges, SD 50, trail marathon, san diego

They had a little water station, where the volunteers had generously brought some oranges and a few other snacks.  They were super nice, I chatted for a few seconds, ate another orange and headed back.

During this section I walked a bit more, I was feeling a little pain in my chest (related to my asthma and the cough that I was developing) and I was a little concerned because every time I ran I could feel it.  I was also starting to get a lot of pain in my hips at this time too and my calves were cramping.

Training run, lake hodges, san diego, sd50, trail marathon, marathon training

I ran/walked until I finally made it back to the aid station.  I told them my calves were cramping so they filled my water bottle with CarboPro and I took a few salt pills to see if that would help.  I think I lost a lot of salt in those first few miles when I was sweating profusely and I didn’t eat as well as I should have in the days before the race because I wasn’t feeling well.

Side note about the CarboPro – Sean loves it and uses it religiously, but there is something about it that I just can’t do.  I think it’s because when I take a drink, I want it to be refreshing and with the extra calories, it tastes thickand that really doesn’t do it for me.

A few more orange slices, a cup of ginger ale and I was off again.  I ran/walked this whole section using the run to the tree or my calves cramped too bad and then you can walk mentality.  I would use this method to finish this section.  And finally I made it to the last aid station.  I emptied out what was left of my bottle, got plain water, a few more orange slices and then headed up.  I’ve done this section several times so I knew that I would need to walk up.  I just kept going, one step in front of the other until I got to the top.

Training Run, Raptor Ridge, SD 50, trail marathon, san diego

I ran down the backside of Raptor Ridge, thinking to myself once I got down I would only be 4.2 miles from the finish.  This section I would just continue to run/walk until my calves needed a break.  I passed one lady not too long after getting down the hill, then I was passed by 2 very speedy runners (who I found out later were just out for a run not in the race) and could see 2 other runners walking ahead of me, I would eventually pass these 2 ladies about 2 miles to the finish.

The whole time I just kept up my run to the pole, run to the tree, run to the pink marker, etc. method until finally I could see the finish line!

And then I was finished! Yea!! I was given my medal and a logo’d glass.  I’d beaten my goal – to finish in under 6 hours (which I based on the time it took me to finish the 20 miles when we did it back in December I knew that was a good goal for me.  I was especially happy because I had been not feeling so well in the days prior to the race.

The next day though, I woke up with a very sore throat and I still don’t have a voice so we’ll see what that means for race #2.

Race Medal, Marathon,, SD 50, trail marathon, san diego

And now for some more specifics on the race.

Price – I paid $100 for the marathon and we signed up in early November.  I don’t think the price went up

Pre-race communication – We received an email about 2 weeks prior telling us about the packet picket-up at Laces Running Company. And then the week before we got an email with all the race details.

Race swag – We received long sleeve white logo’d tech shirts, there were different ones for the marathon and 50 mile.  I’m not sure exactly where mine is, I think Sean wore it while I was in Phoenix.  He didn’t realize there were different shirts for each race and they were unisex sizing so we both got the same size.  We also received a medal and a logo’d pint glass.

Parking – There isn’t a huge amount of parking at the start but we were there a bit earlier since Sean was running the 50.  I’m not sure where you would park if you didn’t get a spot in the lot, but a lot of people did get dropped off for the 50 so there were people coming and going.

Aid stations – Such amazing volunteers and well stocked with water, CarboPro, sodas and snacks.  Like I said earlier there were 5 stations for the marathon.  The 13.1 station was supposed to be water only but the fabulous volunteers brought some extra goodies (but I wouldn’t count on that just in case).

Finish line – After the race there were containers of cold water, ice, subway sandwiches, chicken chili & tomato soup with chips and pretzels.  I had a cup of chili and a bag of chips and I felt pretty good while I waited for Sean to finish the 50 miler

Photos – There was one photographer on the course around mile 11.5.  We haven’t seen any photos yet so I don’t know anything about cost, etc. I do know that the guy who was out there took some awesome shots of Sean at HURT last year.

All in all it’s a great trail race and if we aren’t in Hawaii next year for Sean to run H.U.R.T. again we’ll more than likely be out there!





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