Posted by: runwithgarrison | April 8, 2013

Oriflamme 50k Race Report

Aloha everyone,

This weekend i darted off island for a few days to run the Oriflamme 50k just outside of San Diego. It was my first of a nice 4 weekend stretch of races that are either 50k or 26.2 miles long–Let the fun begin! Before we get to the race report, just a quick update on my running in the 3 weeks since my successful run at the Hapalua 13.1…

The past few weeks has been a little rough on the training front. I picked up a small cold and then added a sinus infection into the mix so I have not put in any workouts/repeats but I have spent a few days up on Tantalus and even made a run back up Sierra Drive. My mileage for the 3 weeks were 54.71, 58.94, and 36 miles respectively. According to the plan I set up at the beginning of the year, I am around 84 miles short of where I wanted to be at this point of the year. Hopefully, I can stay healthy and start to get a few of those miles back in the next 9 weeks as I complete my buildup to the San Diego 100.

My mindset heading into the race was generally positive and I wanted to make sure that I finished in the top 10. But a top 5 finish was the result I wanted to chase. The course was an out and back starting around 5000′ elevation and following a nice and rolling single track trail for the first and last 5+ miles. The course then descended around 2500′ in elevation over about 4-5 miles to the desert floor. Once on the desert floor, we made our way out and back thru a nice highway of orange ribbons that marked our race course. Once at the turnaround, we made our way back thru the desert, up the monster climb and back to the start/finish–We had a nice little Saturday planned.

At race start, I made my way to the front and quickly established myself in 3rd place. 2 of San Diego’s best Ultra Runners, Igor Campos and Dean Dobberteen ran in 1st and 2nd. I was feeling focused and relaxed, hoping to just stay relatively close in case I had a chance to move up a spot. Thru the first aid station 5+ miles in, I was feeling good and started to drink on my bottle of Skratch Labs. I managed the rolling single track well and I was looking forward to running down the mountain and onto the desert floor.

As soon as I rolled thru the first aid station, the trail became wider and easier to manage. The run carved down into the desert and it was absolutely beautiful. I no longer felt the cold wind of the first few miles and I rolled along with a nice rhythm. As I progressed down the mountain, the trail became much rockier and more technical. I started to think that this thing as really going to be a beast coming back up. Steep and rocky—I would need my A game in order to successfully run back up this thing after a hard 20 miles. I hit the desert floor and immediately noticed a change in trail composition. I was now running in sand. It was all run-able, but it was definitely tough. I stayed focused and kept up on my fluid intake. I was still feeling good and I was wondering how long it would be until I saw Igor and Dean running back at me on their way back. I finally saw both of them and I guestimated that Igor had a bit over a mile on me and Dean had around .75 of a mile on me. After the turn I found a nice, steady stream of really strong looking runners chasing me down. Things were going to get interesting on that climb out of the canyon. Life was good with one exception. On the way back, I tried to move out of the way of a runner heading out and I wound up driving my left knee into a cactus plant—Please do not try and re-enact this at home—It was not fun at all! I do not recommend it. The fun really came when I stopped a few minutes later as I decided to pull out some of the spines. It turns out, I found the cactus that had the same color spines as my blond leg hair. I pulled out what I could immediately see and then hit the trail to try and stay away from the group of chasers.

Needless to say, that climb was a total BEAST and I was not. I hit a bit of a rough spot and spent some time walking my way up the thing–I was not excited about this but I was just trying to minimize my losses as I kept moving forward. On the climb I was passed by Aaron Keller of Colorado and San Diego’s Pete Riley. I reached the 26 mile aid station at the top of the climb in 5th place and I was starting to feel much better. I felt that I could crank out the last 5 miles and finish in 5th. Oh boy, I was wrong…

Things started to take a turn for the worst around 28+ miles. The wagon wheels just came completely off! I tried to run and then walk for a bit but I was finally reduced to just walking the last mile and change. Not exactly how I planned on finishing but I ran hard and put in a very solid effort for the day. I finished up in 5:08:28. Good for 9th place overall and 3rd in the 40-49 age group. I wound up losing over a half hour to 3rd place.

Overall, I am very happy with the trip. The race was solid and I will plan to run both the North Shore Marathon and Diablo 50k with a bit more patience and see if I can work myself into better spots in the closing miles. I was able to hang out with friends and eat some great food—Taco Surf x2 and brunch at Hash House-A-Go-Go. Hanging out with Pete & Eric in PB, Chris & Meghan at Brunch and Lou & Stacy in Dana Point was super cool. It looks like I will be putting together a crew to help me out at the SD 100. Pauline is still up in the air to help out that weekend so I will need some help. I am looking forward to the next trip to sunny San Diego.

Up next for the rest of April…

April 14–North Shore Marathon

April 20–Mt Diablo 50k

April 28–Krakow Marathon–for those of you following Pauline, she hit a little bit of a hiccup but she is back on track and will be ready for her first marathon!

Thanks for all the support and I will see you on the trails





  1. Another top 10 ultra finish. Well done, Mike. Seems like you go a taste for the sandy loam of SoCal high deserts. Good to note for the 100m.

    Observation: Don’t try to make up for those lost miles. Doing so will likely lead to injury or another bout of illness. Just get back on track for what you planned on putting in this time of year. You’ll be fine.

    • Aloha Cuz,
      You are right on! This trip served as a bit of a recon trip to prepare for the SD 100. As I get farther away from this past weekends race, The better I feel about things. I am so looking forward to all the racing I have planned in the next 2 months!
      I am starting to feel pretty good and I am excited to see what I can accomplish.
      As far as the mileage goes, I completely understand your point. I will be very careful. I feel rested and I just want to be able to maintain 70-85 mpw for the next 2 months. I will rest when I need it. Hope to see you soon–Maybe San Diego:)

      Much Aloha

  2. Hey Mike,

    I’m glad you’re shaking off that rough finish. I’m sure you’ll hit your stride again in your next few races.

    Go Pauline in Poland!

    Seeing that you have a crew forming for SD100, I don’t think I’ll come out for that. It’ll be better for me to save that card for when you have the opportunity to go to Leadville or such.

    • Thanks Cuz!

      Good call on waiting until Leadville. I am still hoping to run the grand slam next year. Hopefully, I get into WS100 next year. I will definitely need the help at Leadville. Hope all is well.

  3. Pauline and Michael
    Good luck in Cracow run, also enjoy history and great food.

    • Dziekuje Maria.

      The trip has been amazing. Thank you so much for the help planning the tours and trip!

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