Race Report: 2013 ITR Fort Ord 50k

Back when I was scouring the Inside Trail site for what races I wanted to run in 2013, this race very much jumped out at me.  I had never been running at Fort Ord, and really had no idea what to expect in terms of terrain, but new trails always sound like a good idea to me.  Add to that a 50k course that didn’t do multiple loops or cover the same trails a number of times and I was sold.  To make it even better, Jojo and Jessica signed up for the 50k also, and Alyssa and Erin were in for the 25k!

50k course 
Fort Ord Route

Another point of excitement for me, is that at the beginning of January I was asked to be an Ambassador for Inside Trail Racing!  I have been a big fan of theirs, ever since I ran their very first race in January of 2012, and am so excited to be a little part of the team.  

We decided to make the trek down to Fort Ord, which is between Salinas and Monterey, the morning of.  I met Jess down in San Jose and we carpooled the rest of the way.  It was about a 2 hour drive for me, which made for a long day, but it was completely worth it.  We got there with about an hour to spare (standard Aron), and had time to get ready in a relaxed state. 

It was a lot foggier than we had anticipated, so I was happy I had thrown in some arm warmers at the last minute.  The 5 of us girls had planned on wearing some form of red and gold in support of our city’s team in the Superbowl the next day.

We ran up to the start line with about 5 minutes to go, heard the race announcements, and we were off!  The 50k and 25k started together and ran probably the first 10 or so miles together.  The first 3 miles were all downhill, so I was pretty surprised to look down and see how fast we were running.  I made a comment but knew the hills would be slowing us down soon.

Jess, Jojo and I planned on sticking together.  None of us were out to set any personal records or anything, we were just out to enjoy the day on some beautiful new trails together.  The miles were flying by as we talked and caught up on the last couple weeks, and enjoyed the new scenery.

The terrain changed from fire roads to single track to exposed to tree covered.  I loved being on these new trails and constantly wondering what was going to be next.  I think it was around mile 10 when we split off from the 25k and said bye to Alyssa and Erin.

50k this way!

We were all pretty good in terms of energy at this point.  We knew we still had a long way to go, but were fueling well and running along.  I had been eating Shot Bloks, drinking water and had taken a salt cap by this point.  At the aid stations I was eating boiled potatoes dipped in salt and had a small Clif Bar.  Pretty standard fueling for me.

Jan 216 

We had a couple good sized hills in these sections and I was reminded of parts of Diablo.  You could see for miles and miles with endless trails wrapping around.  The fog had burned off a bit so we could see further, but it was still really overcast which I was appreciating.

Jan 217 

The course would take you from these rolling fire roads onto some fun single track trails.  Jess and I were getting a little disoriented at this point.  We really had no idea where we were or where we were going, and we both are typically very map and direction oriented on our runs.  It is really nice being on new trails and letting go of that part, but it may have caused a little bit of crankiness and mental frustration around the 20 mile mark.

Jan 220 

We wound out of the trees onto more beautiful open single track.  I was so thankful for the cloud cover right here, I can see it getting really warm without it!

Jan 225

We went through the last aid station around mile 23 and the course took us along some neighborhoods and we saw a lot more people.  We were asked a number of times if there was a race going on and a received a number of comical reactions when we said 50k. 

Then we started going back up and were definitely rewarded the higher up we climbed.


More incredible views and more trails that went on forever.



We were getting down to the last few miles at this point, and this part of the race was so fun.  The single track that wrapped around these hills reminded me a lot of the Coastal Trail above Stinson Beach, but without the ocean.  We were tired, but were definitely pushing the effort at this point.  We were running consistently and passed a few people over the last few miles.


At some points over the last 2 miles it felt like we may never get to the finish, but eventually we wrapped around a corner and saw it up the last hill.  We all ran in together with lots of cheers from our friends and happily crossed the finish line together.

Jojo, me and Jess.

Garmin: 30.9 miles/6:02:38/3,825’ gain

Fort Ord Elevation

This was such a fun day and I am so glad I did this race.  The volunteers and race staff work so hard to put on these races and it makes these days even better. 

I didn’t really know what to expect from myself, this is actually my first 50k not training for a 50 miler.  My legs were definitely tired towards the end, but I am really happy with how it went.  I have a number of planned 50ks this spring, so this was just the kick off to “the year of the 50k” for me.  If they all are this fun and beautiful, it’s going to be a really fun spring.

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15 Responses to Race Report: 2013 ITR Fort Ord 50k

  1. runinboise February 3, 2013 at 9:37 am #

    What a fun day. I could see myself doing this course one day because of the trails look so nice!

  2. Jen February 3, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    Nice recap! Though I think you meant “race announcements” not “race accouchements”? ;)

    • Aron February 3, 2013 at 10:17 am #

      hah thank you :) fixed!

  3. Cathryn February 3, 2013 at 10:18 am #

    I can’t get over how there’s no one else out there on those trails. You mention passing a few people but the trails are empty! Crazy for a race! Congratulations on a great run.

    • Aron February 3, 2013 at 6:05 pm #

      Well there were only 55 50k finishers with finishing times ranging over 4+ hours. You definitely don’t see as many runners in these small trail races :)

  4. Solana Klassen February 3, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    Looks fabulous! I’m excited you are coming up to BC for the Squamish50! I did the shorter course last year, and am doing the 50K this year. If you haven’t been to Vancouver/Squamish/Whistler, you are going to love it! If you have been, you know what I mean – welcome back!

    • Aron February 3, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

      I haven’t been before so I am really excited!

  5. Tina@GottaRunNow February 3, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

    What a great kick-off race! Congrats on the great finish time!

  6. Tia @Arkansas Runner Mom February 3, 2013 at 2:44 pm #

    As always- beautiful pictures! The one of the three of you (waist & below) running on the trail is so cool!!

    And that was some crazy elevation change you had going on! Great job!!

  7. greengirlrunning February 3, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

    After swearing that I’d never want to run farther than 26.2, I’ve now decided that I want to run a 50k at some point, maybe this year! Your recaps and blog are a huge inspiration :) That’s so exciting that Inside Trail Racing asked you to be an ambassador! They’re such a great race organization. glad you had such a fun time with this race!

  8. Joanne February 4, 2013 at 6:11 am #

    Great race. Super gorgeous looking course. You never cease to amaze.

  9. Naomi February 5, 2013 at 11:34 am #

    I always love seeing your trail photos. This course looked so open with so much possibilities. Love the red and gold too!

  10. Jamie @ PistolPackinMotherRunners February 23, 2013 at 7:05 pm #

    LOVE your pictures and your blog. You are absolutely inspiring!

  11. Kelsie February 27, 2013 at 7:35 am #

    That’s so awesome! I love your blog! I started mine about 2 months ago based on my goal of running a thousand miles this year.

    Hope you check it out!

  12. Adam Heiser March 1, 2013 at 8:13 am #

    Great race. You 3 are great to keep up with, and the pictures are killing me with the views you have

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