Lest you think it is all bad, let me set you straight. It’s actually nice to be able to wear an extra layer for the first loop and easily throw it off. For spectators, they get to see you at least 6 times, and you don’t have to carry any snacks or fluids on you because you can keep some at the finish and keep grabbing them each time you go around.
Last month I ran the Jed Smith 50k in Sacramento. It is approximately a 5 mile loop course around the American river parkway, from Watt Ave to CSU, Sacramento. At the college, you hang a right and cross to the other side of the river and head back to Watt, where the finish line is. This race has a 50 mile, a 50k and a half marathon. The 50 mile started at 7:30 and then we stood around for about an hour waiting for the 50k start. It was a pretty chilly morning, probably in the 30s. Luckily, I had company and it went by quickly.
Our race started at 8:30. Since the loops didn’t quite add up to 50k, we first had to do a strange little out and back and then we started the loops.
Out and Back: 1.92 miles / 15:16 : Right from the get go the front runners got in place. It is fun to do an out and back because you can see who is ahead of you and who is behind you. I kept my windbreaker on for this section, knowing I would have many chances to leave it at the finish line.
Loop 1: 6.75 miles / 54:48: After the first loop, I ditched my jacket and felt a lot better, as I had warmed up a lot. It was fun to see the spectators again and everyone had set up tables with their snacks and stuff so they could just grab them each time they passed by.
Loop 2: 11.6 miles / 1:35: After the second loop, I thought, “do I really still have 4 loops to go?” I was already starting to dread it.
Loop 3: 16.55 miles / 2:18: After the third loop, I started to lap a couple of people. Funny enough, a couple people also started to lap me.
Loop 4: 21:37 miles / 3:00: A friend of mine passed me, saying that he had been trying to catch up to me for the last three laps. At this point I was just ready to be done. There was a guy behind me who shuffled his feet and it was pretty annoying but I did not have the energy to move any faster, nor did he have enough energy to pass me apparently.
Loop 5: 26.23 miles / 3:45: If you can’t beat them, join them. I decided to talk to the foot shuffler, who turned out to be a really nice guy. Also, at the end of this lap, I remember thinking that it wasn’t really a bad marathon time, really. Also, I was really excited that I only had to do the loop one more time. REALLY excited.
Loop 6: 31.26 miles / 4:31: I took the turn at the college and was very excited that it was the last time I would have to see that bridge over the American River. Shuffle feet (his name was Eric) and I stayed together the entire time, talking about how good a beer was going to taste at the end, and again, how happy we were that we were almost done (a reoccurring theme). And then we rounded the corner and were on the last stretch to the finish line. And finally, we were done!
After I crossed the finish line, a fellow runner told me that she wasn’t sure that I been counted, as they had not called my name. I went over to the finisher tent and she was right, I had not been counted. Luckily I had run in with my new shuffle footed friend, Eric, so they said they would manually enter me in at the same time as him. Later I learned that I had been the number 3 female overall!
The best part was the after party. I had a beer afterward with Eric and hung out and watched other people cross the finish line. It had warmed up a bit and it was really nice to just sit there in the sun, cheering people on, eating some snacks and drinking a brewski. It was a perfect end to the day. It made me forget how many loops I had run.
The verdict? I don’t know that I would do this race again. I am not a huge fan of the multi loop course. However, I never say never, because you can get into trouble that way! Maybe next time I will just sit at the finish line and watch everyone else run by 6 times while I drink beer in the sun.
Have you ever been to Sacramento? Have you ever run a multi loop course? What did you think?