Tap, Tap,Tap is this thing on…… Lets talk about Peer Pressure…..
Dictionary.com defines Peer Pressure as:
The social influence a peer group exerts on its individual members, as each member attempts to conform to the expectations of the group.
Ok, Ok it wasn’t that bad; and yeah..it was ME that brought the question of running the SJ50k up at the last minute. I procrastinated about signing up for awhile, with my running calendar filling up I hadn’t officially planned to run it BUT… by the time I seriously considered it the weather predictions had already been set. You see.. its easier to have signed up for a race prior to knowing that it’ll be raining rather than to stare at a computer screen with all forcasts pointing to rain falling on the day of the race (that you still need to fork out for)….
So.. me and my wisdom I sent the question of running the SJ50k out to my ultra running friends – P.S. this does no good if you are seeking a way out. Ok, now that I’m out of excuses…
I’ve run in the rain before, I actually kinda like it, so why not…besides many of my friends will be there; it could be a blast.
With peer pressure in place it was decided, anyway.. it would be a great opportunity to wear my INKnBURN “OUTNBACK tech shirt…… BAZ…I’ll be there in the morning rain or shine with cash in hand... the latest of the late registrations.
BZZZZZZZ! My cell phone screams and I slowly roll off the bed, its not the typical run anticipated bedside launch ;no, it’s the went to bed a 12:30pm I’m still tired and now I’m so comfortable bed separation anxiety. What’s that song….Blah, Blah, Blah ok let’s talk about SJ50k. Time check.. 5:00am
Gathered around Blue Jay we stood laughing and catching up with friends, Baz his typical self was loud and friendly….. well, “Baz Friendly” I looked it up but couldn’t find any real definition; you just have to meet him and experience it for yourself. Time check.. 6:50am
The SJ50k takes you down from Blue jay all the way to the Candy store off of Ortega, spins you around and shoots you back up, and up, and up through Blue jay again up the Main Divide, down Trabuco trail then up the Fun Fun Happy Joy Joy Horse thief trail then back to the start at Blue jay campground.
So with a 3,2,1 we were off… so much better than those pre packaged large marathons, we were off and running, not shuffling, running…..and it was supposed to rain, it was. But we lucked out and although the cloud cover was there we ran in cool air on soft trails (if you take out all the rocks) this run has a wide variety of conditions that reminded runners that I spoke to of PCT50, Noble Canyon and more! I love technical down hills and can fly down them fairly easily which helped me gain ground on many of the runners that kicked out ahead as we began.
Everything was green, moss on the rocks, ferns sprouting from moist soil on the trailside, this whole area is abundant with beauty…. Only problem is that you have no time to look as you bounce from one rockless spot to another. Up ahead I catch up to Carey Edge… shes amazing and I take in a very brief moment of satisfaction as I pass her… after I tell here that I will see her again on the uphill section and that moment comes very soon as she strides by me on an uphill….oh well, that half mile felt good anyway….
There were a few water crossings along the way, some with stepping rocks and some without…. It takes a split second of thought..then, SCREW IT! As you plunge through stepping quickly as if the water would be caught off guard and forget to get your feet wet ha ha yeah right! I was impressed by the trail markings, very bold and easy, and was really happy to see friends at each and every aid station!. Aid stations, friendly faces, assortments of goodies…very nice. I blew through the Candy store A/S even though I was being pitched water, Gatorade or food as I ran by ha ha ha. Technical down hills are much easier to sail down then to go up and at this point I hadn’t even finished half a bottle of water so I was feeling pretty good. I had decided to cut back on the salt as an experiment; just taking in Gatorade and food to supplement. In the end it did affect me negatively but I’m still working out the system that’ll work best for me, oh well.
This section is an out and back so you meet and greet as you share the trail with others still coming down, its great to see friends out there..we all know from being out there that many runs can be pretty lonely at times. As I was working my way up I noticed Keira Henninger, behind me and before I knew it I was greeted with her wonderful attitude, and beautiful smile, she looked so good out there!, I was happy to see here burning up the trails again.. she’s a trooper, the energizer bunny on nitrous; and off she went.
I continue climbing only then to feel this gust of wind called Angela Shartel go by, “Hey Larry!” then gone…. Obviously I’m beginning to slow down succumbing to last minutes and late nights. Another runner coming up … David Christof! Always a welcome site… he continues on strong as always. As I continued toward the top Michelle Barton appeared out of nowhere and before I could get a piggyback ride she also was gone……like a dream. Ok, this is getting ridiculous! Lets stop taking pictures and buckle down now……
Blue jay came quicker than expected and I was happy to again see aid station smiley faces.. BAZ was here and offered support (in his own way) to runners as they ran through, great guy.
Main Divide was as expected, exposed and rocky….oh….and up hill; depending on your direction of course. I wanted rain, didn’t get it yet; I remember running Chimera in the rain here and it seemed to take my mind off the run, I ran the whole thing that day. After awhile I reached the Trabuco A/S and was greeted by Keith Swiatkowski….again!, man that guy is kicking some ass out here volunteering..really cool to see him – go INKnBURN!.
I was looking forward to Trabuco Trail, it’s covered and oh…key point...DOWNHILL. Seemed very rocky this time though and once you reach the exposed areas it turns to shale, each rock seeking your ankle! I passed a runner that decided to turn around…a major victim of the WALL…. Not a good place to be. Checked if he needed anything…he had taken salt and had fluids left.. the A/S were notified by shortwave.
At the bottom after hopping over a stream we turned to tackle …. Horsethief Trail…. If you haven’t experienced this trail you should just … hmm .. cant even explain it, just think steep never ending rocky trail that seems to go on and on and on….. I actually said I’d try run the whole thing ha ha ha dumb ass! We’ll skip ahead to the top.
Marisa Willment met me at the top Horse thief A/S, It was great to see another InB Burner, she was in typical good spirits as she began her return down the Main Divide to Blue Jay. I chased her along the Main Divide, through the Trabuco A/S and caught her on the downhill to Blue Jay, I wanted to stay behind awhile longer (much better view that way) but continued on into Blue Jay to the finish! Immediately grabbed a beer and sat down to have a few more laughs with friends, that’s the great thing about trail running…..there are so many good people here, fast …slow it really doesn’t matter we’re all friends.
In Summary, there were many many friends that were out there and I apologize if you weren’t mentioned… your all great, but I go on and on as is. So….Great trail, Great Day, Great SJ50k put on by BAZ and his support teams…P.S you all know how valuable you are. I would definitely give this run a shot if you haven’t, it’ll be worth it; and I’ll drink a beer with you at the end…no problem.