Monday, December 5, 2011

North Face 50K San Francisco

First, just the facts. 7:23 for 50K, a 2+ hour PR at the North Face 50K. I think the course was at least 2 miles shorter than when I ran it before, but I ran a smart race.

Smooth pace up Miwok, controlled descent into Tennessee Valley. When I'd walked to the start I'd seen the string of headlamps of the 50 milers climbing.

Picked up the pace down to Coastal Trail. Ran gently on Pirates Cove, strong into Muir Beach. After three runs on this route (Headlands Marathon, Headlands 50 Mile, and Coastal 50K) spent entirely in a fog bank, I enjoyed seeing the spectacular California coastline. I flew past two women who'd passed me on the uphill climb. Didn't spend too long at aid station.

Muir Beach to Heather Cutoff, and a quick porta potty break. Multiple people passed me on Heather Cutoff "ant hill" switchbacks, including one women who tried to get around me right at the only mud puddle on the whole course. I stepped square in it, soaking my left foot and dirtying my right. I tried to take it as a postive, that on a hot day my foot would be cooler. Everyone seemed to be in a hurry to jog up Coast View, I wanted to soak in the views and conserve my strength.

Cardiac to Old Inn. Not going in all the way to Pan Toll shaved ~1.5 miles off the old course. I loved Ben Johnson, and pushed it to the red line, passing back again the same two women. I was flying! I loved it. Then the pop of Lost, just as steep as I remembered. I stayed strong around the Tourist Club, resisting the urge for a brat & saurekraut, then tried to gun down the road to Old Inn. Old Inn was an 80s theme.

Old Inn to Muir Beach. The climb up Dipsea seemed far steeper and longer than I recalled, but at least it was mud free. At the top, I passed ~7 people, then flatted out at Redwood Trail Suddenly, I didn't have the hammer I wanted. "Just keep running, I don't have to be fast, I just have to keep running".

Muir Beach to Tennessee Valley. I was so thirsty, and the climb seemed endless. I wanted to curl up on the side of the trail and look at the waves, not labor to climb 1,000 feet to Coyote Ridge. EVERYONE seemed to pass me. I sucked on my water bottle and told myself just to keep moving. At the top of Coyote, three fifty milers passed me. I saw the descent ahead of me, and I DROPPED THE HAMMER, with ~ 8 minutes for 1.2 miles. Then I trudged up TV road, telling myself how many times I'd done this in training, and I couldn't walk.

TV to Alta. Most welcome of all, Greg & Karen were at TV!!! I refilled my Gatorade, and Greg walked me about 4 minutes up the hill. After Greg turned back, an out of town runner asked what he was seeing, and I gave him a brief audio tour.

"Across the Bay, that peninsula is Tiburon, a very wealthy community. Over there is the San Rafael bridge. Just below it is San Quentin Prison, where Death Row is. Probably over a billion in land value there, but it's occupied by a prison. You see, over there, that mountain peeking up? That's Mt Diablo, where other races are held, and you can look across and see Marin. The road we're walking up now, was built when this whole area was going to be a subdivision in the 60s.. They were going to build thousands of houses here, and supermarkets and churches. It would have looked like Daly City. Luckily, this was Marin, and after massive protests, the development didn't happen, except for this fire road. So we owe this scenic beauty to some 60s hippies."

"That tree right there is the top of Marincello (the failed development) fire road. This concludes the audio portion of your tour, please begin your planned descent".

Alta to Rodeo Valley. I didn't have the hammer, but I had the will to finish. I saw Nate Yanko, then ran across the finish line, spiked my water bottle at the end, saying "All Day". Karen claimed first hug, and Greg poured water over me til I felt less overheated. I caught up with Jim on course geekery.

Things I did well:
Even when hit bad patches, kept moving.
Electrolytes every 30 minutes.
Dressed appropriately--short sleeves, compression socks.

Things I did not well:
Got overheated at end. Probably should have dumped water on myself at Alta.

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