On Sunday April 20, 2008, I ran the 50K course at Quicksilver County Park to prepare myself for the upcoming Quicksilver 50K Endurance Run. The weather was much cooler than the previous week around low 40s in the morning and it never got over 60s during the day. In fact, it was so cold in the morning I missed my original plan to get to the park by 7am because I was shivering under my thin summer blanket and could not wake up on time.
After fixing a flat tire on my bike, I finally arrived at Quicksilver Park at Mockingbird Hill Entry and started running at 10:00am. It was 47F.
I brought the following:
5 x 20oz. bottles of Gatorade and Powerade
2 x hand held 20-oz. water bottles (filled with Gatorade)
1 Powerbar gel
1 loaf of sliced cheese topped French roll from Andersen Bakery.
I'm not sure if the bread was the best choice for running, but I needed some solid food to settle my stomach during the run and I had just bought the bread the day before. I also remember I was craving something savory during the run last time.
Mile 0 - 6.4
From Mockingbird to Webb Canyon
There is over 400ft gain in the first 2 mile from the start according to the altitude profile. This was one of the steepest climbs in the course and also where I was sweating buckets. Then, I shuffled my way down the steep downhill on Hacienda. My knees started aching going downhill and I remembered I haven’t been taking glucosamine regularly. I turned left on to the single track trail on New Almaden. New Almaden is a narrow, winding trail where you hop over small creeks and rocky trails, cross bridges, and run through the woods. There are a couple of tricky parts where you have to jump to get on the trail, but it’s a safe and fun trail for the entire family. I got to Webb Canyon in 57 min and refilled my water bottles.
Mile 6.4 - 9.7
Webb Canyon to Dam Station
I ran the rest of the New Almaden trail for 2 more miles and turned left on Mine Hill. Mine Hill is a fire road, and there was another mile of uphill to the next aid station. The uphill was not very steep and there were a lot of hikers and runners here. I arrived at the Dam Station in 29 min from Web Canyon station.
Mile 9.7 – 14.5
Dam Station to Capehorn Station
I turned left on Randol trail which was one of the easier trails on the course. If I were in a shorter race, I would have sped up on this part to bank on some time, but since I knew I was going to be running for a long time, I decided to save my energy. My knees were still hurting on the downhill and I concentrated on maintaining my pace on the uphill. It took me 43 minuets to complete this leg.
Mile 14.5 – 19.0
Capehorn Station to Dam Station
I remember this trail from Quicksilver 10K Challenge from last year. This uphill is one of the toughest climbs as it covers 600 ft in 2 miles. I met an equestrian I saw on Randol trail and she yelled at me, Hom many more miles? I thought I finished about half the course, so I yelled back 25! Then, I realized that was in kilometers, not in miles. I tried to calculate in miles, but my mind couldnt process quick enough and the lady and the horse were gone. I meant to say 15 miles. After I reached the top at Bull Run, it was 2 miles of downhill to the Dam Station. Oh, the switchbacks. The downhill was killing my knees! When I finally arrived at the Dam Station, I set my backpack on the bench to fill my water bottles. Then, I got a call from my girlfriend Judy. As I stuffed my face with a piece of French bread and washed it down with Powerade, I told her Im in a much better shape than last week. There was a family with a dog next to me on the bench and the dog was watching me with a hungry look, so I asked the owner and gave him a piece of bread. This leg took me 42 min.
Mile 19.0 – 23.7
Dam Station to Dam Station
This part of the course was where I DNF’d last week due to the heat and dehydration. This time, I was determined to keep going. There were a couple of hikers and runners as I ran down Guadalupe trail along the dam. There was one climb and then it was downhill on Senador Mine trail until the park entrance. This is the lowest point of the course and from here, it was all uphill. This was where I stopped and started walking last week, but this time, I still had energy to keep going and I also had 2-3 bottles of Gatorade left in my backpack. I was not overheating either, since the wind has kept me cool. I turned right on to Mine Hill and I began a steady climb to the Dam Station 2 miles ahead. It took me 46 minutes to complete this leg.
Mile 23.7 – 27.0
Dam Station to Englishtown
This was another tough climb. What makes it so tough is that its the longest uphill stretch on the course. There were several times I almost stopped to take a rest, but my legs were not hurting and I kept going. It was a slow climb, but I knew I could finish this course today. This was such a challenging uphill I just love it in some masochistic way. It took me 36 min as this was one of the shorter legs (3.3 miles).
Mile 27.0 – 31.5
Englishtown to Mockingbird
I got lost a little bit around Englishtown, but Ive run English Camp trail before, so I knew it was going to be a steep downhill. I checked the map, fertilized the soil, and called Judy to tell her Im doing okay and I will finish my run in 30-40 min. Then, to my surprise, my dad was on the other line, so I talked to him and called back Judy. A 10-minute break! It was a nice break for my knees, though and I was able to shuffle down English Camp to Hacienda. On Hacienda, there are a couple of crazy hills that are so steep youd think you need to climb on hands and knees. These hills are tough to climb, but theyre short so its kind of fun when you have energy to tackle them. As I ran down Hacienda to the finish at Mockingbird Entrance, my knees were acting up and I was crying in pain and joy. I was almost done and this may have been the longest run Ive ever done. I was all teary eyed when I spotted a snake chillaxing in the middle of the trail and I got back to my senses immediately. I jumped over the snake and kept running. Phew, no harm done. I kept going and made it back to the parking lot. I was done and I just ran 50km in 5 hours and 25 min. Cool. Ill do it again on May 10.
57:57 (6.4 mi)
29:44 (3.3 mi)
43:07 (4.8 mi)
42:29 (4.5 mi)
46:47 (4.7 mi)
36:09 (3.3 mi)
39:42 (4.5 mi)
Total: 5:25:39 (31.5 mi)
After the run, I went for my post-run fuel up at Sonoma Chicken Coop nearby and devoured half a chicken.