I ran the Club Fat Ass Pure Satisfaction 50k yesterday in conditions that were ideal for migrating salmon as recent rains and run-off transformed much of the Baden Powell trail from Lynn Canyon to Deep Cove into a swiftly-flowing creek. Despite the rain and sloppy conditions, there was an eager crowd of 40 or so out at the Lynn Canyon suspension bridge parking lot for the 9:00 am start. The smart ones ran the 25k, but there were five of us who showed up to run 50k.
This was the eighth running of Pure Satisfaction and this year event organizer Craig Moore reversed the usual route to have runners follow the BP Trail from Lynn Canyon to Deep Cove and back (and out and back again for the 50k).
With Western States on my dance card for next year, I need to hit the trails every chance I can so Pure Satisfaction, with its reported 9000′ of climbing and descending over 50k seemed like an easy choice to test my fitness one week into official Western States training and to try a few things out that may help me in June.
I had severe muscle cramping during the two 50-milers I ran this summer and have since attributed the problem to pacing and nutrition so I went in to Pure Satisfaction looking to test my theories. At Stormy, I dropped Dario on a major climb before the halfway point, only to see him blow past me with less than 5k to go while I hobbled along Smoke Bluffs looking for anything to give me enough leverage to stretch out the cramps in my calves. I ran most of the uphills in that race, including that climb above Quest University, and it came back to bite me. Hard. Dario’s advice to me later was to walk or hike the uphills. I’d heard it a million times before and machismo always clouded my judgement, but my Stormy experience underlined the point. Effectively hiking the uphills will be critical to getting me to through Western States in one piece, so the plan was to powerhike most, if not all, of the climbs at Pure Satisfaction.
I’m also convinced that I haven’t been getting enough calories, and possibly enough liquid, during my long races. Tim has also served as a lab rat in this informal study, during which mere rehydration has shown huge improvements in his on-course condition. With this in mind, I packed a buffet of leftover stuff collected from other races and wore a Camelbak of water in addition to carrying a handheld with a combination of Gatorade and VegaSport.
Eat more and run less. It may have been a winning combination though I don’t think I can touch another shot of CarbBoom Raspberry gel any time soon. The menu:
CarbBoom gel, Raspberry (5 shots)
Gu gels, Jet Blackberry and Mandarin Orange (1 each)
Sharkies (1 bag)
Honey Stingers (1 bag)
Gu Chomps (1 promotional pack)
1 Bonk Breaker bar
2 bananas — thanks Dario!
2 handheld bottles of lemon lime Gatorade/VegaSport
2 litres water in the Camelbak
Hmmm… that doesn’t seem like that much for nearly seven hours. If that’s more than usual, I really haven’t been eating enough.
The run had the usual ups and downs (some literally — see elevation profile below) but I got through it without a single cramp. My right hip stiffened toward the end — though not much more than the left one — but felt stronger than it has in a long time, so I am pleased with that. I ran all but the final three or four kilometres with Dario, who really pushed me down the Seymour Grind when I felt like packing it in, and we ran most of the first half with David Crerar, who is also running Western States next year. I finished in 6:52, about six minutes behind the first 50k finisher, Jonathan Heinz, and four minutes behind David Crerar’s old course record, set last year. I never thought I’d say I enjoyed a 50k that took nearly seven hours to run and I’m sure I’ll be feeling it for a few days to come, but Pure Satisfaction was a lot of fun and a great test.
First Half: 1:34:43 + 1:42:52 = 3:17:35
Second Half: 1:41:48 + 1:46:07 = 3:27:55
Halfway Pitstop: 6:45
Total time: 6:52:08