scenic view of waterfall in forest

Lake Sonoma 50 Miler 2023

This isn’t really a race report because I didn’t end up racing. But I think DNS (did not start) events deserve as much reflection as completed (and DNF (did not finish)) races do.

The Healdsburg Running Company put on a phenomenal race. I was so impressed by their trail work, given the muddy, drowning mess the trails had been in during the prior two months of heavy rain. And the energy on the course from volunteers, announcers, crews, and racers was palpable. Lake Sonoma is beautiful and huge! The race was only around one small part of it though, which was great for spectating.

The first big hill we stationed on to cheer. What a view.
The second hill I stationed myself on. It was steep!

I had debated about volunteering instead of spectating, but I decided to just spectate/support a couple of my friends who were running the race without being tied down to a specific volunteering job. This was fun, as I got to “run” around and catch glimpses of the pros and explore some of the trails and views. I had fun walking down to midway up a big hill so I could cheer people at what I probably would have considered a tough point in the race. One of my friends and I hung out there for a while, encouraging people and telling them how close they were to the top/aid station, playing music, and holding silly signs that read “just puke,” “you could be doing your taxes,” and “woohoo, you’re awesome.” I guess some people remembered us because when I switched to another spot on the course later in the day, people thanked me for my earlier cheering! Mostly, I spent so much energy cheering that my voice was sore and I forgot to be sad about not racing. Seeing my friends finish tired, hurting, and happy, with finisher-only wine bottles in hand (there were a lot of people who dropped out — the course was tough!), left me feeling a weird mix of proud and jealous. I’m lucky that I got to live a little through their experiences, and I cannot wait to get to race again myself.

At first didn’t know who this was, but it’s Gordy! I believe he originated the Western States 100. Seems like a cool dude (see bread bag in photo).
The start/finish line!

I suppose this entry wouldn’t be complete without a mention of why I did not start the race. I never actually got imaging, but given I still have shin pain if I try to run at all six weeks after totally stopping running, I’m pretty sure I stress fractured my tibia. Why? I got too excited about running hills and intervals and just did too much too fast in this ultra build. There’s a delicate balance between wanting to push limits and knowing when it’s safe to push those limits. I never took those few days totally off at the first signs of pain and just ran right through them… for a month. Rookie mistake, I know. And when I finally decided to take those few days off, I realized it would have to be more than a few days… hello weeks. (Hopefully won’t be months.) In the meantime, sending love to my tibia and to all peoples’ tibias that hurt. Gotta heal so we can run again so we can race again so we can explore again!

2 responses to “Lake Sonoma 50 Miler 2023”

  1. Larissa Connors Avatar
    Larissa Connors

    Ummmmm this is amazing!!! I also DNS the 50 due to an injury for being a novice at training for an ultra and it was soul crossing to not race. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. Also a mountain biker so learning the ropes of the running game! I hope you get to run pain free again soon!!!! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Endurance Baking Avatar
      Endurance Baking

      Wow, thank you so much for reading 🙂 I also hope you recover asap! It takes so long to adapt to training load with running compared to biking for me. I also love keeping up biking while training for ultras… it provides an outlet for the unfortunate times I am injured or taking days off running to prevent injury!

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