Monday, November 13, 2006

Stinson Beach 50k

From Rain and Fog to Sunshine before the race started. Runners came prepared for both but most were thankful for the views that came with the clearing of the fog.

My Turn. So after all those hours volunteering it was my turn to race. It promised to be a wet, muddy day but in the end it turned out to be a nice sunny day after all. There was mud on the trails but no rain, it stopped an hour before race start, the fog cleared and we were left with amazing weather. It was an excellent, excellent run. I did have my share of problems which forced me to concede my time goal but it's lessons that will help me for my last race in two weeks. I gave 110% and got more than I deserved...heck I'm still receiving the blessings, still walking funny.The course used part of the Dipsea trail and I saw several ultra runners training for the Quad Dipsea, familiar faces from past races.

During the race I was up to my usual tricks, easy on the uphills, bomb like crazy on the downhills. The race started with a 6k climb from Stinson Beach to the Pantoll Ranger station. All the runners were together for this first part; 12k (75 runners), 20k (45), 30k (71) and 50k (26) runners and the doesn't include race day entrants like myself. At the Pantoll station we split up according to our distances with the 50k runners joining the 30k runners on their loop. From the first downhill I started I went hard. I was confident I could keep up the output based on my performance at Firetrails what I failed to account for however was the condition of the trail. The downhills were really sweet on this course but some of it was quite technical; roots, rocks, fallen trees, slick wooden stairs and a bit of mud to make it just a little sweeter. Those of you who have run/hiked the Dipsea know what I'm talking about. I loved all of it, my heartrate was highest on the downhills. I did my best to flow like water over every root and rock and even hurdled a few obstacles. At the bottom of one long hill, about the 18-mile mark, after chasing down a handful of 30k runners, my right calf cramped up on me suddenly and stopped my progress in seconds. I don't think it was nutrition or hydration, I just pushed harder than my legs could take. It was one small specific spot in right calf. All the tippy toeing, dancing and hurdling took it's toll. I stretched it out, took water, salt pills and Ibuprofen for insurance and continued on but had to concede my time goal. I'm right leg dominant, I lead with my right leg, switching to my left is a bit like writing with my other hand. Worse, preoccupied with a calf that kept threatening to seize for a second time, I took a wrong turn and climb a steep hill, nearing the top before realizing I was lost. I started laughing at that point, sometimes you just have to laugh it off. With 10k to go the cramp completely went away and I was able to run the last 6 miles at the most speed I could muster finishing at 6:09:54 for 6th place. My time goal was 5:30-45.

I haven't been doing much training on the technical stuff so I'm not surprised but I'm thankful for the revelation with the Quad only two weeks away. That race has a bigger share of the technical down hills with 3000+ plus more elevation gain. I don't think I can do anymore major training to prepare. But a lot of stretching and some calf massages while watching TV would definitely help. I'm also going to re-evaluate my strategy for the Quad, I don't want to finish limping! One thing that also helped was a trick that I learned in controlling my IT Band soreness, something I picked up from Yoga. I would focus on the calf and mentally relax that area, every time I felt a twinge I would relax the muscle and the pain would abate. Worked everytime.

So I definitely got more than my money's worth Saturday. I was only looking for some company for my last long run and got an excellent training run instead. Had a good time, a weakness exposed and a lot of camaraderie. I'd consider running this race again in the future.


  1. WOW! I am so jealous, you have no idea!
    I wondered what Van is up to. Did she tell you she won Ron Herzog 50k on Sat? When the heck did she get to CA? Are you sure it's her? On her report it said she ran next day after the race. You might be mistaking, thus the smiles:)

    Awesoem run!

  2. You are definitely off, Van is running Seatle double marathon that weekend.

  3. Crap. Yes I just found that out. I've been wrong this whole time. Gotta go back and sweep a few words under the rug.

  4. Congrats! I am with Olga as I am jealous as well. Enjoy the trails for the both of us.

  5. awesome report.....I can almost see the trail now.....yum!!!!

  6. squirt5:17 AM

    haha i can just imagine you at the point where you laughed.'re getting better at these running reports =]
    keep it up.

  7. Hi Rick, I see you just finished another terrific run. Sounds like you really enjoyed this one.
    I'm beyond jealous..

  8. You lucked out on the weather! Glad you had an (overall) good run. : )