Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Miwok 100k

A race of firsts: First 100k I've ever run, first race in California and first time I've been poison oaked.
Marin is beautiful in pictures, even more so in person. Trying to take in all that beauty while simultaneously trying to not pass out is a trick I may have mastered last Saturday.
     I came to Miwok 2 weeks after totally wasting my legs at the Yakima 50k. I felt recovered and excited to run my first 100k on this famous course which was rerouted this year to include two extra climbs adding 2-3,000 more feet of elevation and an extra mile or two. The race started at 5:00AM which is brutally early. Allen and I stayed the night at Victor Ballesterros's house in San Rafel which is 45 minutes away so the alarm went off at 3:00AM! We drove to the start at Stinson Beach, parked, I got in line to check in, got my number and pinned it on while walking to the start line. The next thing I know we are running through the dark and up a steep hill like a congo line of fireflies. The pace was way too fast and continued that way for the first 12 miles. The terrain was wind swept hills, cantered with grass covering the trail, very treacherous and at about mile 4 a scrubby tree yanked my ipod wires off and my earbud clip disappeared into the grass. I spent the next 20 mile fighting the knot of wires dangling from my arm as well as the pack of runners ahead of me running at a 50k pace. I fell in with Adam Lint and we chatted a while, saw Victor twice at the Bodega ridge aid station and tried to find a comfortable pace on the 13 mile out and back. We descended back to Stinson where Allen was waiting with a chocolate croissant. I gave him my headlamp and my ipod and took off. He said, "Don't you want your ipod?" I yelled back, "No! I'm mad at it!"
     Out of Stinson the trail heads back up to the ridge as you can see by Glenn Tachiyama's picture here. At this point I could see Jean Pommier ahead of me and set my sights on passing him. The day grew warmer. The trail peaked then descended a long way to a horse trail leading to Muir beach. I snuck up on Jean and when he stopped at a water crossing to wet his hat I passed him feeling smug, then stupid for not stopping myself to cool down my overheated hat. At the Muir beach aid station I caught back up with Adam Lint then passed him on the climb out. I started to feel good. My hydration felt right, I wasn't hungry as I was eating at each stop and I had legs. I continued up and around the Marin headlands passing two more runners, a deer and a turkey. I started to feel the heat and the fatigue at the Southern most aid station which is called Bridgeview as it overlooks the Golden Gate. I ate a little and ran off to a trail which was lined with poison oak. I'd never seen it before but it was unmistakable (shiny, three leafs, oak shaped leaves, evil smirks on it's awful faces). I tried my best to avoid it. But.
I been poisoned 
     The rest of the race was a blur of trying to catch the guy in front of me, seeing really cool birds, climbing intense ridges, and slowly wearing down. With about 20 miles to go the guy in front of me picked up a pacer and I could see them talking and having a ball. I knew I wouldn't catch him. I was in a funk and felt hollow. I hoped to hang on to my spot but saw runners behind me. Crap! I picked up the pace and flew into Muir aid station again. When I hit the horse trail this time I started to freak out. There were patches of light and shadow and each time I hit a light change my eyes would adjust too late and I couldn't see right. I felt like I was going to faint. I wasn't super dehydrated, or hungry, I was simply empty of energy. I kept on, longing for the last climb. When I came to it I was met by Gary Gellin who offered to pace me in the last 5 miles (he had already paced in winner Dave Mackey and had come back out to help me in). I was glad to have company though you wouldn't have know it by my sour attitude at having to walk the uphills while fending off the white light in front of my eyes. We finally topped the climb and started down when from out of no where came Adam Lint! He blazed past us looking fresh. I yelled "good job dude" and I meant it. I wasn't going to catch him but Gary and I tried. I put everything into the final 3 miles to the finish but still came up 1 minute short of 5th place and 2 minutes short of 4th place.
my hosts Victor and Gary
Finish line
     In retrospect, Yakima was special. I'm glad I ran it again. I also feel like I could have put in a better showing at Miwok if I'd have had fresher legs. These are the things we do to test our limits. I was pale faced and blue lipped at the finish until I got a guava juice, v8 and chicken sausage into me. I soaked in the Pacific, watched friends finish, napped a bit then drove away from Stinson beach and Miwok to start the recovery for SanDiego 100. 

1 comment:

  1. Nice work Adam! Really impressed that you pushed so hard through the low points to grab a great finish time, especially after the Crackima 50. And with only a few minutes separating you from 4th and 5th place runners you earned it! Bummer on the Poison Oak, but better than having to listen to Poison for the whole race.