American River 50 – DNF – Race Report

I know that there is a list of things out there in the world of running that are the “do not do this” before a race. Well I pretty much did all the things you should not do…so let’s get recapping.

The day before the race which I think is crucial to getting off on a good foot I made some mistakes. I did not properly hydrate the day before. I think I drank a liter of water the whole day tops, not really my brightest idea. But we were in the car for a very long time and packet pick up and finding the hotel were in the forefront of my mind. That night we also stopped at Walgreens to purchase a knee brace and throat medicine. The whole week prior my throat-to-ear area were feeling something, I know not what. By the time we settled in that night I was not hungry and not drinking water. I should have eaten, but I didn’t. Also, I was very anxious about my first ultra; I checked, and rechecked everything, eventually getting some shut eye around 1 am for a race that starts at 6am, smooth alex…smooth.

Race Morning
I got up, and put everything on…had laid it out the night before. However, as prepped as I was I was still running around doing last minute things. For example, I wore KT tape to support my left ankle area. I knew I was going to do it, but I did not shave it so the tape would stick. So knowing it would not stick I still put it on and hoped. Over the next few hours the errors would keep piling up.

The morning went off without a hitch in regards to arrival and “getting “to the start. The hotel was a few miles from the start and early in the morning only the crazies were out in full force. We drove to the start and…no breakfast, not even a bite. It was a mistake. I should have had something either the night before or 3 hours before the race…I knew it but I was just too nervous about the start.

Start was awesome. The nervous energy was everywhere and obviously being the gear nerd I am I started checking out the latest styles and what everyone was wearing. Ultra runners are a very colorful bunch, I saw more color there than at the LA marathon.

Starting Line
Knowing I was in trouble I knocked down a Clif Shot (espresso)…I needed the caffeine and the pep since I skipped the most important meal of the day. We ran a loop…out and then back onto the road. The knee braces started bothering be from the first step on. But I still took off with the pack.

Miles 1-6
This part is the story of the knee braces. You know that whole don’t wear anything new thing they say. There is a reason they say it. By the time I got to the 10k mark I could not feel my feet. The knee braces were brand new and had not loosened up at all. I loosened the braces up and it helped some, but not enough for a sustained effort.

Miles 6-14
At mile 9 I took off the knee braces, they just bothered me way too much. After feeling my legs free up did I notice I had not freed up. I had not used the bathroom yet and I only now figured that part out. I usually would have gone to the bathroom a few times by this point in the race, but I was jovially running around being dim witted about my hydration. Thus the saga of the non-participatory bladder began. I finally forced myself to go and it was not a good thing. I was dehydrated and although I did not feel it right away I knew I was paying for my shockingly bad prep the day before.

Miles 14-22
I took these very slow, painfully slow. After not having used the restroom I went at mile 20. I had to wait in line for a good 10 minutes because two runners had gotten to the John ahead of me. I went, felt great, but started drinking water like it was my job. I tried to get water in me, but the combo of that and GU made me feel worse. I was trying to do a patch job during the race and that was stupid. Let’s face it. So I went slow, deciding that going 110% knowing I was not well hydrated would do way more harm than good. So I got sick.

Mile 21-22
I struggled this mile. A lot of runners passed me…a lot. I am not even joking there was a train of people blowing past me and I could not do a thing. I met a guy from Florida, also running ill. He was really nice and we talked for a little bit before he took off. I would see him again at the cut off, we both had long days. Every time I tried to get a jog going my stomach gave me the bile reminder. So I walked into the mile 22 aid station.

Mile 22 – Beal’s Point
I was a wreck at this point. My crew was awesome; they gave me some stomach meds and Ginger Ale. I threw up a couple more times. But I felt better. At this point a race volunteer said that I better hurry if I was going to make the cut off time at the next aid station!!! My brain went into panic mode. I thought the cut off was at the 50k mark, not the 26.6-ish mark. So I put on a fresh pack and headed off. I passed at lead 10 people in my mad dash to aid station. I was running up hills and just trying to get it going. I did not make it. I knew it about 1 mile from the station I was not going to do it.

Regardless of not making it I was so happy I felt better that I ran the last bit knowing that it was the end of my day. The crew was awesome and really helped me out. This race I was a victim of my own lackluster prep but even then I made it past the marathon point so I can’t get too mad. Later this week I will post pictures of the trail and my train wreck approach to running it.

Garmin DATA



  1. Sorry to hear that it didn't go as planned, but there are always the things to learn, both to eliminate and replicate the next time round.

    I have no doubt you'll we wiser at the start line which will always help you get to the finish line!

    Hang tough and we'll see you on the trails!


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