Starting Miwok 100k at 5:40 AM wasn't as cold as expected, easy to get started, especially compared to the hail and wind fest of Pirates Cove 50K, which before the start I decided would be the Pirates Cove 30k a decision I didn't regret in overall terrible weather that day. Short line for women's room!
Saw Darshan at start, then quick dash cross beach! Bottleneck at beach, but not as bad as expected. Glad previewed course, I was ready for steep Conzelman climb. Greg lost his phone! at bathroom by Marin Visitor Center. I didn't see Chuck Wilson directing traffic, though Greg did. Chatted with Sandy, who said she was dropping at Pan Toll. Guy next to us said "Fast walk". Coastal around hostel more technical than expected (and poison oak), stopped to double tie shoes. Strong wind crossing back over the beach, but then back to Rodeo Beach to see Rick Gaston! I didn't realize he knew my name, but he said "go Edie". Greg was at the car, getting my phone so he could coordinate with his pacer. I grabbed an antacid and chugged my Gatorade. The car really was a perfect aid station, so I didn't go to the official aid station!
The climb up Hill 88 went by at a fast walk, then it was an easy float down into Tennessee Valley on Old Springs. Darshan passed me, then I passed him back. At Tennessee Valley I drank as much as I could and grabbed a handful of pretzels.
TV to Pan Toll was the longest section (8.9 miles) with two climbs. I'd glad I'd climbed Fox Trail the week before in hotter weather, the weather was actually cooler and more pleasant. Greg and I walked and chatted, then jogged a downhill before the final ascent up Coyote Ridge. Somehow I managed to lose my iPod!!! in taking it off to chat with Greg. Luckily, he had a spare one on him, so I was once again "tuned", though Greg's earholes are a different size than mine, so the earbuds kept falling out.
I prefer the new course--the climb up Coyote Ridge is steep, about 1,000 feet climbing, but after it, there's a nice 4 mile downhill on Miwok. This was all very runnable so I listened to my music and kept an eye on Greg in the distance. So far I'd been (roughly) on my pace chart. At Randall (34.5) the cutoff was 8:15, or 1:55. I'd planned to arrive at Randall at 1:40. I'd drifted about 7 minutes behind, but I still had 8 minutes, so wasn't concerned, but knew I couldn't dawdle. Again, my course previews helped me, I walked the steepest part of Deer Park, saving my energy for later. I looked at my watch, 10:20, and my chart had me getting to Pan Toll at 10:37. I picked up my pace, breaking into a jog. I could see Greg ahead of me on Cardiac hill and caught up with him, to his surprise. We were about 3/4 mile out of Pan Toll, and both of us were completely out of water. "C'mon, let's get to Pan Toll and get all our goodies!" We companionably ran together into Pan Toll, where Coach Ken was!
Coach Ken was a huge help. He knew how to fill my HydraPak, and got us in and out of there quickly. The aid station was hyper organized with the drop bags neatly arranged by race number, unlike the North Face races where Pan Toll is a confusing mess with 50 mile runners and 50K runners and their bags jostling for attention. I wanted to chat with him more, but there was NO TIME, we had to hustle the 13 miles to Randall in 2:20. We'd caught up to within 5 minutes of pace, but knew we still had to push.
I fell in behind Greg, and he set a good pace through the gentle forest shade of Coastal Trail, then out into the exposed single track. We kept passing people, which felt good. Greg turned around "I thought I lost you! I'm working hard!" "you're doing great, let's keep catching people" The miles went by quickly behind him, though he was not pleased I was keeping up with him. I stopped to tie my shoe and he put some distance between us, and I couldn't catch back up.
It was a beautiful clear day, with Stinson Lagoon laid out at our feet. The earlier fog had burned off, but it was still not as hot as the previous week. And now, the front runners were coming back, approximately 20 miles! ahead of me. Nathan Yanko was a cheery sight, and also Will Gotthart, who ran the Pirades Cove Soggy Aid Station. The highlight was a windblown Elvis (Ian Sharmian) stretching his legs.
I made it to Bolinas Aid station basically back on my chart, and decided to relax. There was no point in exhausting myself to get to mile 34.5! I took off my shoes and socks for the first time of the race and got all the crud out. An Oregon runner (Dave) fell into lock step with me, so much I called him my "shadow". He was worried about the cutoff, and said I was pulling him along. "nothing to worry about, we'll make it". The fire road was wide and shaded, and pleasant to run on. However, where was that darn gate where the 1.7 mile descent started? Right at 1:20 I got to the gate, and I knew the cutoff was mine. Other people pounded down, but I saved my quads and got there at 1:42. Greg! was leaving as I came in.
Dave (the Oregon runner) and I started the hike back up. At first, it was fun to see the runners come down and encourage them "it's close! you can do it!". Then I started to wonder if they would make it. At 1:54, about a half mile out, a girl ran by in tears. "I'd cry too if I missed it". A runner I'd flip flopped with earlier (in compression socks like me), knew she missed it but said to me "oh good, I'm glad YOU made it". Dave had done 7(?) 100s and said if I finished Miwok, I could do a hundred.
Greg was adjusting his pack at the gate at the top of the hill, and we started walking. "8 hours to do 26 miles…we can walk this in". This was perhaps, the absolute worst or the absolute best thing for Greg to say. All motivation to "push" left me, and I walked almost all of this section. "why push? why work hard? walking is fine…" Runner, including a blond lady and her tall boyfriend, passed me as I ambled along.
Greg picked up his pacer (Brian) at Bolinas, and I stopped at the portapotty for 3 minutes, then started off the potholed half-track. This was the ugliest section of trail, with bad footing and gopher holes. I saw Greg way off in the distance and thought "well, I'm not seeing him again". As always, I was happy I knew the trail. The condition got better, and much to my shock, I was bored of walking and WANTED to run. So I did. And all of a sudden I was right behind Greg and Brian again! My opinion was that Brian was pushing Greg too hard, as he would run for 100 feet, then walk. And I was catching up to his run! I passed him. He passed me. I passed him, and he tried to keep up, but I was having too much time running. We kissed goodbye, saying "see you at Pan Toll".
I really did feel better than I should. Running felt good, and I made myself walk the uphills.
I'd mentally divided the race into the tough first 20 miles (with four tough climbs), the "Bolinas Ridge Marathon" (the 27.8 miles out and back) and then the last 15 miles on the homestretch from Pan Toll to the YMCA finish. At Pan Toll, this was the last drop bag for 14 miles. I changed into my long sleeve, refilled my pack with scoobies, and grabbed my headlamp though it was still light at 5 pm. I started down Old Mine and my iPod had technical difficulties (repeating the track information over and over and over). I gave up on that one and switched to my spare after 4 minutes and 5 people passing me, the same people I'd worked to pass on the way INTO Pan Toll.
Here was my chance to rock down Deer Park! Except--I didn't much feel like rocking. All my energy from Coastal was gone. I mustered a light jog down the downhill. I'd hoped to do well on the 3 mile flats of Redwood, but all I could think about was how sad it was when Coach Ken thought he was running fast downhill at mile 80 of Headlands 100, when I could barely NOT pass him with a slow walk. Ok, ok, a walk is okay. I decided I might be low cal and started eating a scoobie every 5 minutes instead of 10. Also, I was at mile 49 of a race--maybe I'd earned the right to be tired?
Along Redwood a guy said I was at mile 51. Cool, I'd broken my 50 mile PR, as it was roughly 12:40 then, and my prior PR was 13:23.
At Muir Beach grabbed pretzels for the next to last climb. I HAD been low cal, I felt better with more cals in me, and even ran well down past Pirates Cove on Coastal. I wanted to run all of TV road, but decided again, not to push it. I had in the back of my head that I'd like to finish in 15 hours, but I ALSO didn't want to wreck myself--I'm running Comrades Marathon (87K) in 3 weeks. I was disappointed that there wasn't a Pirate at Pirates Cove, I'd heard in other years he came out there to chat with people.
The people at TV aid station were sweet. "How are you feeling"? "About as well as can be expected for having fun almost 60 miles. And I get the fun part, you guys do the hard work!" There were only 5 miles left…I knew I could do it!!! It was harder and harder to chew, my mouth was tired. I'd bite a scoobie with my front teeth, then swallow it whole.
Running down Miwok was awesome, the sun had set but I had just enough night vision that I picked off people ahead of me by their head lamps. I remembered Greg running up to meet me with Gatorade during a training run, a sweet memory. I barreled down the hill, and crossed the stables to find…a very poorly marked trail. It was completely dark, and there were painfully few glow sticks. A guy was adjusting one, and he said he'd come to set more. "Which way do I turn on the road after the trail?" I asked "no turn, stay on the trail".
Well….I stayed on the trail, along with a woman with a brighter headlamp who caught me. We got up to the road and turned right, and went about 5 minutes, without more glow sticks. I started to get very nervous. Where was the finish? Were we going the right way? I had an hour to get to the finish, was I going to get lost in the Headlands AND MISS THE CUTOFF?? I talked the woman into turning around to find someone else, which she did. We walked the 5 minutes back, and a New Zealand dude PULLED OUT A MAP (cool) and showed us we were on the right way. I stayed with him as we went into the finish. When I saw the finish line I started to pass him, but then decided it would be tacky to beat someone who'd stopped to help me!
I was done!!! 100K BABY BABY
Things I did right:
It really, really helped me to preview the trail. I knew the trails and the terrain.
The pace chart helped me. The tough climbs were budgeted for, but I also knew when (and where) to push it.
Coach Ken helped as an impromptu crew at Pan Toll
My drop bags had everything I wanted (long sleeve, snacks, extra salt, extra iPod, headlamp)
Running back to back runs on the course gave me a good feeling of how tired legs can keep going.
Compression socks protected my calves/shin from poison oak, and gave me a cool knee high tan
Things I wish I'd done better
I didn't preview the last mile! and psyched myself out in the dark
losing an iPod (sigh, trail casualty)
haven't figured out nutrition on such a long race. If I'm moving up to 100, have to eat more than scoobies and Gatorade
Relaxed and didn't push for "a better time"--I knew I would finish under the cutoff. If I didn't have another big race in May, I would have pushed harder.