(Contributed by Danni Baird. She joined the Pamakid Runners in early 2013.)
For those who don’t know me, my name is Danni Baird. I joined the Pamakid Runners Club early in 2013 and have loved being a part of the ultra team. I have also run a couple of the other races too but my passion lies with the ultras. I’m not a fast runner but I love the endurance aspect of pushing boundaries.
February 1st 2014 was a chilly early morning with an amazing group of 18 Pamakid teammates gathered together ready to take on the Jed Smith 50k. Jed Smith is the first PAUSATF race of the season. This race is also unusually flat for an ultra marathon, which presents a different kind of challenge. The course consists of one short out and back, followed by 6 loops. Being able to see faster teammates and cheer for them is nice, and also having a personal aid station of your stuff can be quite handy. We had our little Pamakid rest stop/aid station just before the finish area.
I’m not usually crazy about flat races because the repetition really wears on me and I start to get bored. I like hills — using the uphills to recover and the downhills to speed up. But I’m trying to become a more versatile runner and have some big races coming up that are quite flat so this was a good challenge and preparation. And I really love running with the team! So I jumped on the opportunity to run this race.
The first few laps went great, and the day went from chilly to pleasant running weather. The fourth lap was difficult mentally and physically as the miles were adding up, and I hit a bit of a wall. But I rallied, pushed through and kept it going. As I was nearing the end of that lap it dawned on me that I was well ahead of pace for my PR and it was possible to keep going and score a good PR, even if I slowed down some. The last two laps were challenging but exciting with the possibility of a PR, and knowing that the finish line was approaching. And then that amazing moment, I finished with a whopping 40 minute PR! And my previous PR had been a downhill trail 50k! Couldn’t believe it. Running with friends and teammates is so encouraging and it helps me push myself (and the flat course might have helped too!). The weather really was perfect — being cool but not too cold and warming up without being hot. To top it off we didn’t have drop of rain (unlike the Kaiser San Francisco Half Marathon the next day).
After the race there was a fabulous post race potluck of all kinds of great foods and lots of wonderful socializing. Truly a wonderful day!
Special congratulations to our Top 10 individual finishers:
- Charles Wickersham- 4th place Men
- Colin Alley – 8th place Men
- Kyria Wilson- 3rd place Women
- Noriko Bazeley- 5th place Women
Since Jed Smith had 91 finishers in the 50k and 18 of them were Pamakids, the course was quite covered in green! It was very encouraging to see so many teammates running, and fun to cheer for each other. GO GREEN!