After a very hectic last couple of weeks at work and otherwise, I was relieved to see Skyline 50K popup on the calendar. I was so looking forward to 5ish hours of just quietude running past redwoods through the morning mist. This is my third year running this race, though this time would be a slightly different course. As the story of my running this year goes, I’m lucky if I average 20 miles/week. So my expectation was pretty low. Just get out there, have fun and make it to the finish line in time for the BBQ and beer. Here’s my Strava activity from the run.
I dirt-bagged in my van (starting to become the norm now) and found a spot right outside the Lake Chabot entrance to settle in for the night. Turns out that this was a bad idea. I was woken up multiple times through the night with cars whizzing past me. Was too tired and lazy to re-park. Rolled out of the van around 6:00am and picked up my bib.
Was good to see Rida Chow and Jean Pommier at the start line. The morning felt a little warmer than I remembered from the last couple of years, though overcast. After the quick pre-race announcements, we started on the new course sharp at 7:00am. Here are the reciprocal pictures from me and Bryan & Adam! I was asking him to put the camera down. 🙂
The new course was, well, interesting. Took us through whole new set of trails I’ve never run before, kept a reasonable pace and passed the Marciel and Bort Meadow aid stations. This part of was more roller than before and as I would found later, apparently pushed up the average finish time by ~20 minutes. When Jean Pommier can’t run a sub-4:00 on this one, you know things have gotten a little harder. 🙂
Saw Joe McCladdie exactly at the same spot as the last year and of course, had to take a picture of him taking pictures of us!
We’d spread out quite a bit and I was mostly running by myself a fair bit of the course. I briefly caught up with Rida at the Skyline Gate aid station and noticed that I was about 15 minutes slower than last year. At this point getting a sub-5:00 or even close to that wasn’t looking like a thing. Besides I didn’t exactly have the greatest training to push harder. Just took it easy and descended down in the French Trail. The Peanut-Butterillas at the aid stations were awesome!
Last year I did the whole Diesel Mode on the climb out of Big Bear. This year, no such thing. Just an easy paced hike up taking my sweet time. Enrique and I had been running a few miles together. We stopped to take some pictures before the downhill to Bort Meadow. The sun was out now and was warming up. The first couple of miles towards Honker Bay always feels like a death march, until you see the lake again. 10 miles till beer and BBQ. Thanks William Dai for getting me out of the aid station quickly.
Took my time in Honker Bay (3 miles to beer), grabbed some ice under the hat and pushed a little to see if I can make a sub-5:30. Just because. Crossed the finish line in 5:29 and 8th in age group.
Thanks Brian and Adam for another fantastic Skyline 50K! I totally got what I wanted out of this race, which is just a few hours of silence and moving meditation. Nothing like a long run to blow out the stress. Hung out at the finish line with beer and a fantastic BBQ. Since I had the van with middle seat removed, took a little nap too before driving home.
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