Saturday, May 10, 2008

Miwok 100k race report

Definitely put this race on your to-do list. This race embodies all of the reasons we like to run off-road. The course has just about every possibility you can imagine, sand, fire-roads, singletrack, stairs, pavement, ascents, descents, redwood forests, meadows, creeks and some of the friendliest aid station volunteers I've ever had the pleasure to be around. In a nutshell it would be hard to have a truly terrible day while running this course. Here are some race day photos from other runners, here and here.
I ended up running the first half of the race with Peter's brother-in-law Mike, while Peter decided to hang with his sister. Mike and I had similar time goals (10:30), but since this was going to be the farthest he had ever run he was wise in being a bit cautious. I didn't really think about it to much but it was the second longest distance I would be attempting, the longest being the Bear 100. The race started on the beach then immediately started climbing to an overlook of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge just as the sun was coming up (see the photo below from Peter). The course rolls up and down for the first 16 miles before hitting the first big climb of the day up to Pan Toll aid station at mile 21. While it felt like we were climbing it wasn't that bad compared to the climbs we do in the Wasatch. The next section was the one that started to take it's toll on me as we left the shade of the redwoods and made our through exposed grassy hillsides to the Bolinas Ridge aid station. Mike had a bit of a cramp through here and decided to ease off, while I pressed on. I could feel myself getting dehydrated in the sweltering 70 degree sun (compared to highs of 55 in SLC) so I tried my best to empty my bottles before the next aid station. After Bolinas aid the course rolled up and down through the redwoods for a good 5 miles before descending 2 miles to the turnaround and the next aid. It was here that Helen Cospolich caught up to me and we ran together for a few miles until I was stung by a bee on my forehead. I stopped for a second to make sure I got the stinger out and the gap had opened up to Helen. It was through here that I started seeing the leaders coming back from the turnaround. Mackey was a 15 minutes up by this point, Jurek looked good, but Hal was walking (I believe he started injured). I hit the downhill and found my groove again, catching up to Helen at the aid station. Filled bottles and we left together, tackling the 2 mile climb back up to the ridge. I felt like we were going a bit slow, but at the same time I knew I had to be careful. Sure enough I started to slow on the ridge and Helen pulled away for good. On the way I found Shane Martin who was having some GI difficulty, Mike who was overcoming some cramping issues, and Peter and his sister Leslie, who looked fresh as could be. By the time I got back to Bolinas aid I saw Hal climbing in a car, which was a little discouraging but everybody has issues sooner or later. On the way back I went through a couple of low spots but I was always able to run the flats and descents. However, I began to realize that 10:30 was definitely not in the cards so I focused on a sub 11. I hit the last aid with one 800' climb and descent over 3.7 miles between me and the finish. I felt really strong so I started to run up the climb and passed a few runners. I asked one guy if he thought a sub 11 was possible from where we were at and he replied it just wasn't possible. He did wish me luck in my attempt though. I powered up the climb, took a left at the top when I should have taken a right and lost maybe a minute or so. The thing I wasn't prepared for was that the descent to the finish was mostly pavement. My left knee was acting so I had a hard time pushing to much on the descent and came across in 11:03. No biggie, I felt great, I didn't puke and I had a great day running in the hills. Helen came across in 10:44 or so, Mike followed behind me with a strong 11:30 and Peter and Leslie made it through in 13 hours. Check out the rest of the results here.

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