Last update February 14, 2018
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2nd Saturday in July, Skyline Park, Mt. Wilson, CA, 7:00 AM Start.
App and info: Click on Angeles National Forest Trail Race above.
Mt. Disappointment... it's Gettin' Better
Our race course offers a semi-wilderness Angeles National Forest experience that includes spectacular canyon vistas and old growth forest. Many Foothill Flyers run or volunteer. The Club works the Clear Creek and West Fork aid stations. It's a great day for the club on the mountain.
Mt. Disappointment 50k Endurance
I have done about 7-8 marathons over the years, but in the past I always made the mistake of running a marathon, then taking time off and losing all the conditioning that I had gained. This year I had set a goal to run more consistently and after doing the Catalina Marathon in March and the Green Bay Marathon in May, I looked for the next challenge. I knew that the Disappointment 50k was coming up, and I figured that if the Pittsburgh Steelers can win the Super Bowl, then I can do Mt. Disappointment. While I would not have assistance from the referees (sorry Gary), I knew that there would be fellow Flyers in the race and at the aid stations to help me along.
Race day seemed a long way off when I entered, and I probably should have done more long runs in training, but I felt good at the start. There were a large number of Flyers in the race, and at the start to help register and give encouragement. At the start I tried to remember to go slow to save energy for the end, especially the long climb up Kenyon Devore. The course is beautiful, which made it easy to go at a moderate pace. The first aid station was Red Box (mile 5.7), and even though I had my Camelback I made sure to eat and drink. Clear Creek (10.8) was next, manned by a team of Foothill Flyers, who gave me encouragement and made sure I ate and drank and refilled my Camelback. Then it was a long, slow uphill to Josephine Saddle (13.3) where I filled up with water, and after a short rest Flyer Nancy Tinker and I set off for Red Box #2, about 8 miles away.
I had forgotten how tough this section of the course is, so at first I pulled ahead of Nancy, then I started running out of steam and she caught up to me. It seemed to take forever to get to Red Box which is located on the highway, and as we neared it I could hear the cars going by. Traffic never sounded so sweet as Nancy and I ran into the station together.
It took me a little over 5-1/2 hours to get to Red Box #2 (21.2) and it was already tougher than any marathon I had ever run. The volunteers refilled my Camelback and made sure that I ate and drank, while Scott Cline squirted me with water to cool me off. About that time Mark Ryne came into the station and said that he has finished other 50k's in less time than it took to get to this point. Then Nancy took off while I was putting some mole skin on a blister. As I left the station Tom O'Hara admonished me to catch Nancy, but I knew there was no way. I was already in survival mode.
I left Red Box before Mark, but he caught me about 2 miles down the road. As he went past he asked if I was considering the AC 100 next year, stating, "If you can do this, you can do AC." I don't remember what I said, but I know that what I was thinking isn't printable. Even though it was downhill to West Fork I could not make up any time. My legs were sore and I could not keep a fast pace so I walked much of this stretch. It was getting hot by this time and I drained my Camelback well before I got to West Fork.
At West Fork (25.9) I refilled my water and made sure I ate and drank. At this station I had to make a decision. I had never gone beyond 26.2 miles before, it was a hard uphill the rest of the way and if I was going to drop this was my last chance. Even though my legs were tired and sore, I felt good otherwise so I pressed on. Plus we had been given a great Brooks technical tshirt and I wanted to be able to wear it in good conscience, so I had to finish. Going uphill felt good at first, it was actually a nice change of pace after the long downhill. After about a mile however the grade became steeper and I was more exhausted. Switchback after switchback, it just kept going up and seemed like it would never end. If you have ever done Mt. Baldy, imagine running a marathon and then doing that last 2 mile stretch to the peak. At least 3 people passed me (or were they hallucinations?) the last couple of miles, where it seemed I would walk 20 feet, stop, walk 20 feet, stop, until I could hear Gary on the PA system at the finish line. As I neared the finish a bunch of Flyers were there to welcome me into the ultra club, and I mustered up the adrenaline to jog across the finish, with a time of about 9 hours and 12 minutes.
I went to greet Gary at the finish, and having read my training report I think he was more relieved than I was to see that I had finished in good shape. All in all a tough race, maybe not the best choice for a first ultra, but there were a few other first timers who finished, including Flyer Patrick Tantrophol. Gary and his dedicated staff of volunteers did a great job of putting on this event, and it was big help to see all the Flyers out on the course and at the aid stations. I think every aid station except Josephine Peak had Flyers. It was a real encouragement to see familiar, friendly faces like Tom and MaryAnn O'Hara, Bob and Sue Spears, Sharee Allen, Scott Cline, Lonnie Beck, Teresa Sama, Pam Hilliard, Karen Johnson, Jennifer Harrelson, etc. (I hope I did not forget anyone, I probably have) at the start, aid stations and finish. Some of these people worked more than one station and were there from 4:00 a.m. until after the last runner came in. Special thanks to all the volunteers, they had a much longer day than the participants.
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