Thursday, December 10, 2015

Santa Barbara Red Rock 50M (DNF)

Lunch stop in Santa Barbara
I have completed about 75 races ranging from flat road 5k’s to mountainous 100 mile ultramarathons, local sprint triathlons to one of the toughest Ironmans on the circuit, low key charity rides to challenging centuries and beyond. Previously, the only time I have ever failed to finish a race was once in a triathlon when my bike wheel collapsed and became unrideable. Until now, that is. The 2015 edition of the Santa Barbara Red Rock 50M defeated me. First legitimate DNF- did not finish.


Pretty cold, but at least it didn't rain
Originally a 40 mile race and extended to 50 miles in 2013, this course was already the most difficult I have faced. I love the Santa Barbara backcountry and was back for the third consecutive year. Race Director Luis Escobar had to change the course due to some trail closures and the result was to make it even harder. It featured nearly 15,000 feet of climbing.

I could make excuses for giving up, but the truth is that I was too out of shape and heavy to continue past the halfway point. I had the option of grinding out a few more miles for a ~50k finish, but after stopping for a while I got very cold and just couldn’t get moving again. Instead, I spent the second half of the day volunteering, tending to exhausted runners coming through that aid station for the second time after a huge 3,000 foot climb. It was fun to hang out with other volunteers who are all accomplished local ultrarunners.

Next up, I will prepare for a Spring half ironman in Saint George, Utah. I need to rebuild my cycling and swimming base entirely from scratch, as it’s been a long time since I trained in either discipline. I signed up for a couple of century rides to commit to a few long rides and am also planning cycling trips with friends.

The first half of 2016 is lined up. I don’t know yet what I’ll do with the rest of year. I’m considering another 100M run, ironman, or new marathon PR. A Boston qualifying time of 3:10 or better is beyond my immediate reach, but who knows? No matter what I decide to focus on, I need to drop a few pounds and gain strength. Towards achieving those goals, I am keeping a food log and doing different types of workouts than just endurance training.

On an unrelated note, I recently had the opportunity to visit Portland, Oregon. Here’s a couple of short videos of waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge area:




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