Went out to Coto de Caza, CA to do the Rocky Road 100. My sister doesn’t live far from there, so I figured, why not. I’ve never been to California so what better reason to go out west, see my sister and run 100 miles.
This course was more different than anything else I’ve ever done. For starters it was done in one of these exclusive gated communities. There was a guard shack at the entrance. Had to give them my name just to get in the gate. Yes, my name was on the list. Kind of surprised they let us grubby Ultra types past the gate. The course was set up like this. It was on a horse trail, a very well groomed, smooth horse trail. Didn’t even see a horse print on the whole thing. We did 7.5 miles out then the 7.5 back for 15 miles. We did that 6 times for 90 miles. Then did a 5 mile out 5 miles back for the last 10 miles. Aid stations every 2.5 miles with porta johns at every one. Talk about roughing it. Using a porta john in an Ultra, OH the humanity. Standing in the rain before the start I recognize a couple of familiar faces. Eric Clifton, who’s been a big name in the Ultra scene for years and Catra Corbet. She’s the tattooed, pierced runner with the popular Blog site, dirtdiva and a staple in the California Ultra scene.
Lap 1 started with the temps in the low 40s and raining. Kinda chuckled to myself on how everyone was so bundled up and I’m here in my shorts and long sleeve shirt. The first 5 miles had some hills, nothing too bad, runnable if you wanted them to be. Not for me though, I walked them. From mile 5 to 7.5 got a bit hillier. Definitely not a flat course. It had some course markings, couldn’t get lost anyway, all you had to do was follow the white picket fence that lined the whole trail. Lots to look at as well. On this smooth non-technical course it was alright to check out the lush landscaping, big expensive homes and a mountain range in the not so far distance. On the way back from the turnaround my right foot was already hurting. I came into this race with foot issues, mainly the right heel, so training has been very minimal. So what else is new, right? Just getting into this thing and already wondering about making it through. Got a pick-me –up on the way back seeing my sister Carrie on her way out competing in the ½ Marathon. End of the first loop I made some shoe adjustments to hopefully alleviate the pain, added gaiters because of the sandy surface getting inside the shoes. Better to take care of this stuff early before it gets bad.
Out for lap 2 got to see Carrie again on her way back to finish the ½. She ended up being satisfied with her race, finishing in 2 hr. 30 min. By this time the rain had stopped and was getting warmer. Took off the gloves and eventually the arm sleeves. Finished lap 2 got rid of the extra clothes, grabbed some supplies and was out of there.
On lap 3 I recognized a face. It was Mimi Ko from Chicago. We had a quick chat and moved on. Met her at Frozen Otter this year. Her father lives in the area so she was out there to do the race as well. Even in California I run into someone I know. Crazy. My pace was slowing but the foot was holding out. 45 miles down.
Decided to head out on lap 4 without my light. Judging by the time and my pace I figured I could make it back before or close to dark. I need to come up with different formula because my guessing was off by a couple of hours. Was alright though we were out in the open and there was enough light from traffic, houses and the occasional street light. Was also getting cold with the sun going down. Guess I should have brought my gloves as well. Hands work better when there not frozen.
Headed out on lap 5 with extra layers, gloves and light. This lap had some head issues. My pace had slowed quite a bit because my feet here hurting by now and I couldn’t keep warm. Just had to keep moving forward. With all the lights on the trail we started to spark some interest in the residents of the area. Heading back from the turnaround I was stopped 3 times by people asking me what was going on. No problems with them, they all thought it was cool and crazy that we were out there. Even the group of teenage girls that pulled up in a brand new BMW.
Heading out on lap 6 was a little better. Knowing that this was the last full lap was good motivation to keep pushing forward. Pace was slow and limping a bit with my sore feet. Still having trouble keeping warm with the slow pace.
Lap 7 was the final 10 miles. Mentally I was good again, knowing I had just 10 more miles to go. About 3 miles into it, it was light enough to get rid of the light. Hit that turnaround and it was homeward bound. 5 more miles to go. Time to get this damn thing done, so I put my head down and pushed the pain away and push for that finish. What was walking the last couple of hours turned into a run again. Ran everything I could. Hill what hill, I’m running it. At 2.5 miles to go I took 1 more gel and pushed for home. Coming up to the turn for the finish Carrie was standing there waiting for me. She couldn’t believe I was running at this point and joined me to the finish line. Finally finished and glad to be done in 25 hrs. 15 mins.
It still amazes me how much these things take mentally and how mental you have to be to keep doing them. So, if anyone is looking for an “easier” 100 out west this would be a good one. Well run and nice people.
Actually kept track of my times. I pushed the lap button on my way out for the next loop. Kinda came in handy for keeping track of laps.
Lap2/ 15 mi; 3:10
Lap 3/15 mi; 3:10:07
Lap 4/15 mi; 3:53:02
Lap 5/15 mi; 4:39
Lap 6/15 mi; 4:52:22
Lap 7/10 mi; 2:39:42