Wonderful Indonesia

Miwok 100k

I was talking to Lisa the other day and she said something along the lines of how my next 50 mile race will be my second, but actually it will be my fifth. I realized that I have been very, very lax about posting my race recaps, and I do want to get them down on paper now so that I will remember it in years to come. So, here is the first of several very late recaps. I understand if you want to skip it and go read about something important, like Syria.

I put my name in the lottery for the Miwok 100k with the high expectation that I would not get in, and therefore would not have to run it. Little did I know that if you volunteer for them, you get preferential treatment for the next year’s lottery. In 2013, I volunteered. In 2014, my name was picked for the lottery.

I had a good base of miles in early 2014, but then in March, I was injured (Achilles). I took about 4 weeks off from running leading up to Boston, and then had a really crappy race. Miwok was two weeks later. My goal was to finish, naturally, which seemed doable. The cut off time was 16 hours, which would mean I had to do about a 15 and a half minute pace the entire time in order to finish. However, I was still feeling the Achilles a little, and Boston had also kicked my butt, so I really was not sure what to expect. My plan was to stick with a friend of mine, Kelly, who is usually in the back half of the middle of the pack. This way, I would have moral support, as well as hopefully not overdoing it physically.

Approximately 12,000 ft of climbing

Miles 1 – 10:It started off with a pretty gradual uphill on a single track trail, where we all did the conga line for a while. This went on for about three miles and then it leveled out on the Bolinas ridge trail, which was good, except that it was still a very narrow and rutted single track through tall grass, and it was still pretty slow going, due to the conga line. It didn’t spread out until maybe about mile 6 or 7, when it became a fire trail. The good part about this, is that it was an out and back section, so from mile 7 to the aid station (and turn around) at mile 10, you could see who was ahead of you and then afterward you could see who was behind. This often means cheering for a lot of your friends and/or fellow racers.

Bolinas Ridge Trail

Mile 10 – 20:There was an aid station around mile 10, where we got sunscreen and cheer from our friend Jenni. The aid station was also back at the bottom of a small hill, so afterward we hiked back up the hill, and back along the fire road. I remember talking to my running buddy about everything under the sun: her parents and their wacky ways, life in general, the price of gas when we started driving. At this point, the guy hiking up the hill next to us, who was wearing the craziest Hawaii printed swimming trunks, said gas was about .24 cents when he started driving. After that it was a really long uphill trek along the Matt Davis trail to Cardiac aid station, which is at the top of the hill. I was already starting to feel my Achilles and I wined to Kelly but she was not having any of that. She basically told me to shape up and get over it, and that there was no way I was going to quit this race. So I shut up and got over it (mostly).

Mile 20 – 30: After Cardiac, it is downhill to Muir Beach. This was one of my least favorite sections. The downhill was not too bad, but after the big downhill, you get to the highway, and have to run along that for a couple miles to get to Muir Beach. I was not a fan of the highway. After the highway, you reach the Zen center, but at that point, I was not feeling so zen. At Muir Beach, Jenni once again was there for moral support. We loaded up on watermelon and potatoes and started the climb up the Miwok trail.

Mile 30 – 40: At this point I was feeling okay. My Achilles was aching a little and my muscles were definitely reminding me that I was under-trained. At this point Kelly and I were not really saying too much to each other anymore. We had pretty much chatted non-stop for the first 30 miles, but now we were focusing on the path ahead of us. Of course it was another big uphill and another long down to get to the place I was most looking forward to, which was the Tennessee Valley aid station. Here is where I had my drop bag with lube, sunscreen, extra food and best of all, an extra pair of shoes and socks.

Changing my shoes and socks at mile 36 (TV) was the best thing I think I have ever done in my life. I felt refreshed and my toes felt happier. I resupplied my pack, threw away my garbage, grabbed a hummus and pita from the aid station and we hit the road again. Jenni was there again, which was mostly because her husband, who she was crewing, was running at about the same pace as us. I was even more glad to see her this time, as my spirits were starting to flag a bit by now. The fact that she was wearing a super woman outfit and a sparkly tutu was probably a big plus.

Trail angels

Mile 40 – 50:  The last section was a 11  mile loop around the coast and back to TV before heading on the final stretch home. This included one of the most beautiful parts of the course. First you go around on a bluff overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and the city. Then you head back around to the TV aid station at mile 47. At this point, I was pretty tired. I recovered my drop bag and was fishing around for more food when I ran into Dennis, an running friend of mine, who was pacing someone else. He told me to stop lollygagging and to get a move on. I was a bit bummed by the remaining aid station food, which consisted of jelly beans and cold pizza. I was feeling kind of hungry though, so I ate a few jelly beans and we headed out. Joining up with us was Kelly’s pacer, John.

View of the city from the Coastal trail.

Next you go up, up, up the Coastal trail and then down to Pirates cove and then back up to the top of the hill again before heading to Muir beach. On this section we caught up again with Hawaiian shorts dude, whose name turned out to be Bob. We had been leapfrogging him for quite some time and as we headed up the hill on the Coastal trail, we chatted with him once again. I was really dreading the downhills more than the uphill.

Pirates Cove

Mile 50 – 62:Around mile 51, we got back to the Muir beach aid station. At this point I was pretty ready to be done. I knew what I had left: the paved section again, then back up the Cardiac hill to the Cardiac aid station. I knew that once I reached this, I would be fine. However, I was dreading the final downhill from Cardiac, as I remembered it as quite steep and my quads were pretty mad at me right now. Also, I was not sure if we would make it to the finish before dark, but I really wanted to try. We headed out. As we hit the pavement, my mind said, “screw this, I am going to move as fast as possible in order to get this over with” and I left Kelly and John in the dust. Okay, not really the dust, since (a) we were on pavement and (b) I was only running a few seconds faster than them. I passed about 10 people on this section, as many of them were walking, but I did not want to slow down; I just wanted to be done.

Next was the hill to Cardiac. This was not as bad as I thought it may be. I plodded along, passing people, getting passed, until I reached the aid station at the top of the hill. At this point, the sun was halfway down and it was getting  bit dusky. The aid station only had dry PB&Js and warm sports drink, so I left without getting anything and headed down the hill. The good thing was that it was not as steep as I remember it being and I actually ran down it the entire way. The other plus was that the sun was going down and I had a beautiful view of the sunset and the ocean as I was coming down the hill.

Dipsea trail to Stinston beach

I crossed the finish line with a time of 15:11, just as dark was beginning to fall.

The Verdict?Was this my fastest race? No. However, it was all in all not as bad as I thought it would be, having gone into it with a minor injury and not enough training. Would I like to do it again? Probably, because I know that I can do it better. Was I proud of myself? Definitely. This, to date, is my longest distance ever and I finished the race before the cutoff. That is something to be proud of. And actually, I was less sore in the days after Miwok than I was in the days following Boston.

Now the question is…since this is a Western States qualifying race, will I put my name in the lottery for WSER next year? I think I have to. Don’t I?

What is the longest distance you have ever run? Do you ever post recaps really late just to have a record or would you say, “forget about it” after a certain amount of time has gone by?