Monday, September 26, 2011

Inaugural Coastal 50K

I signed up for the inaugural edition of the Coastal 50K a point to point run from Stinson Beach to Rodeo Beach as I thought it was a cool idea and was worried the race would sell out.

As Saturday got closer, I got less excited. I wasn't 100% from running 32 on Ragnar. I'd cut my running back to 3 miles on Tuesday and 4 miles on Wednesday, and took Thursday and Friday off. On Friday, I wanted to go to happy hour and see a movie, not go to bed early for an early wakeup to catch the 6:30 AM bus from Rodeo to Stinson.

I pulled up to Rodeo Beach at 6:29 AM along with 3 other cars, as the bus started to pull away. "Hold the bus!", I cried. "You're TOO LATE", was Wendell's reply. Uh-oh. But I bought a ticket! Wendell unloaded cartons of bananas and water and stuffed me and two other guys into the race van. n my hurry to hop in the van, I left half of my scoobies in my car. So I had ~540 calories for 31 miles.
His crankiness was actually because 10 people had shown up without bus tickets, overfilling the bus. Wendell said yesterday it had gotten hot in the middle of the day. "No, I ran Headlands Marathon and Headlands 50, and we never saw the sun for the fog".

Wendell explained the course, including a short out and back on TCC where we had to grab a hair elastic to prove we'd done it. "I'll start the race in one and a half minutes." I thought I had enough time to go to the bathroom and come back. When I came back, all runners were gone and they shooed me up the course. Well, at least I knew where I was…DFL.

Stinson Beach to Cardiac: I took about an hour for the hike up Dipsea and Steep Ravine. A quick pit stop at Pan Toll, then out and back on TCC. On TCC I passed my first runner, and was now AFL. On the out I could see how far runners were in front of me. A quick lung bust up to Cardiac, and I passed another runner. I refilled my pack at Cardiac.

Cardiac to Muir Beach: All downhill. I passed 4 more runners. My biggest annoyance was my constantly fogged glasses. At Muir Beach, I asked the volunteer if the course went over Coyote Ridge as I thought it did. "Just follow the flags". "But does it go over Coyote Ridge?" "It goes to Tennessee Valley". The runner after me asked the volunteer "What's your next race?" and got a snapped reply of "TENNESSEE VALLEY".

Muir Beach to Tennessee Valley: Ok, this section is much harder than it looks on paper. Up Coastal. Down Pirates Cove. UP Pirates cove. And then, up the thick fog to ~1300 foot Coyote Ridge. I wished there was a 30K option. I thought about DNF'ing and cutting down to Rodeo. Why was I here? What was I doing? Then I told myself I was getting mentally tough for JFK 50. Finally down Miwok to Tennessee Valley. Tennessee Valley had only one cup of Coke left, which I downed.

Tennessee Valley to Rodeo Valley: I walked Marincello, then cruised down Bobcat to Rodeo. Larry was the aid station volunteer. "Wow, you passed a TON of people since you started last at Panoramic Highway (by Stinson)". "YEP!" They'd run out of Coke so I drank Sprite.

Rodeo Valley to Golden Gate: I walked up Rodeo. I'd been flip-flopping with Jason--I was faster on the downs, but he was a stronger up. When I got to Golden Gate, they were out of Coke. If one aid station runs out of Coke, why do all the others run out?

Golden Gate to Rodeo Valley. I started caring about time. If I busted it, I could finish at 7:30. I walked up the first part of the hill with Kate, who's son had taken second already! I was on my home turf, and I slammed out a 15 minute time on the 1.7 miles from Coastal to Rodeo Valley

Rodeo Valley to Rodeo Beach: I've run this section in practice so many times. It's hard to stay mentally tough for the last road stretch. I trundled in at 7:29:58.

Lessons learned:
1) I can talk myself out of rough patches
2) I need to leave 15 minutes earlier than I do for races when there's a bus so I'm not frantic.
3) 50K isn't that far (quoting Karl Meltzer).

M time rough pace
5.8 1:38 0:16
5.1 51:03 :10
5.2 1:29 0:17
4.6 1:07 0:14
4.6 1:08 0:14
4.2 56:02 13:20
1.7 17:22 10:12

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