Bolinas Aid Station. Photo courtesy of Victoria Folks who came out to pace and cheer on friends.
I thought it was better on the hills because the water drained off the trail. The fog was like this for the majority of the run. No views but you felt like you were in an enchanted forest, a movie set for the Lord of the Rings. For those who came for the usually spectacular views, consider coming back next year. Photo courtesy of Victoria Folks.
On my previous post I declared that I was "ready" for the Miwok 100K, well the race was ready for us too. It treated us to all the mud, puddles, cold wind, heavy fog, slick rocks, slippery roots and rain that we could handle. It's the kind of conditions that makes the outdoors more fun than the usual, a run an epic experience if you're prepared for it physically and approach it with the right mental attitude.
There was an estimated 50 no-shows at the start and by the time I left the race at 7pm, there were 60 drops. I heard a lot of people dropped because of hypothermia. The start wasn't that cold and soon many were shedding layers, tying jackets around waists. Some of these folks may have dropped off their layers at the aid stations leaving them ill prepared when the conditions got colder later in the race. Maybe that's what happened. As we made our way to Mt. Tam and Bolinas Ridge to the eventually turnaround at Randall the weather got worse or better depending on your frame of mind. Bolinas Ridge was a particularly tough place to be, neither a downhill or an uphill climb, it is a tight, narrow single track that meanders on the side of a ridge for several miles. There is no cover here from the elements and the path covered with slick mud, churned by runners feet. It was tricky on the way out, quite challenging on the way back. You could see spots where people just plain slid of the trail:) A swath of mud and clumps of grass going downhill. Here it is on a good day, here too.
Well like I mentioned, if you're prepared for it, you can have yourself a really fun day with these conditions. Part of what makes the outdoors the outdoors you know. Several friends were doing their first 100k yesterday, had no big expectations except to finish and had themselves a grand time. It was however a bad day to try and PR. A smarter runner would have factored this all in at the start and made the decision to try another day. Not me boy - "We can still do this!! Just run harder, you are in your element with the cold, fog and rain. What mud?" Hahaha my own idiocy amuses me to no end sometimes. I'm laughing right now as I type and drink coffee. I was in the wrong place mentally for the first half of this race. Fortunately I had the presence of mind to chuck all goals halfway through the run and just enjoy the day for what it was.
Physically I was fine. I was at home in those conditions with nothing but shorts and a t-shirt. I shed my layers early and dropped off my gear at Jochen's drop bag. He was nice enough to let me do that. Just one of the advantages of living in San Francisco especially since I run after work in the evenings with the fog and wind. I was slipping and sliding all over the place though. Never fell. My strides are so short, I'm usually sliding with my weight centered above my feet. I was also careful around the rocky sections because they were slick with rain. It took it's toll sooner than I expected. After the 35-mile turnaround my legs felt heavy and stiff. They pretty much stayed that way for the remainder of the run. It was probably a combination of pushing too hard on the first half and not being fully recovered from the last race. No pain though, just fatigue.
My motivation flagged on the way back since I gave up on my goal for a big PR. Being passed when I'm usually the one doing the passing on the second half of a race wasn't helping either:) Thankfully Andy Benkert came along, we ran the last 15 or so miles together for the finish. He let me pace off of him, pulling me up the hills. On the last 6 miles or so, knowing that we still had a chance for a sub-11, I whispered on his ear - "pssst Andy, this going to put pressure on you but you can take it anyway you want. You have a chance to finish under 11 hours for your first 100k. You should go for it!" There was less talking and more hauling at this point. With a sense of renewed purpose my legs revved up for the last time and I returned the favor of his company by leading the charge home the last 4 miles. We hauled up the last hill and sprinted the steep downhill home. We got it! He did it! Andy Benkert pulled a sub-11 for his first 100k in challenging conditions. I'll be back again for a PR attempt when the weather is more conducive to it.
Andy and I hauling past Jo-Lynn at the last aid station in Tennessee Valley - "Thank you! We don't need anything!" Thanks Jo-Lynn for being out there all day volunteering. Photo courtesy of Jo-Lynn.
Pals Jessica and Samantha were there at the finish with an open beer at the ready. The finish was warm and welcoming after a trying day. It was good to see the mud in the other runners along with their tired smiles. Hung around for several hours at the finish enjoying the company of friends, sharing stories and joking around. Mark Lantz I will no longer be taking your advice about running through big puddles. I almost had to swim across the one I tried your technique on. I'll be back with more photos from the event.
It was a good day for a big run. I never stopped smiling and thanking my God for the privilege. Congratulations to all the finishers. Thank you to the race organization, volunteers and cheering spectators. Big thanks to my friends who came down.
San Diego 100-mile is next, June 6-7. Lot's of time to recover and wrap up final preparations. Scott Mills the race director ran the race and he looked happy about his day.
Approx. 10,000 ft. (3048 meters) of total elevation gain / Same for loss
Cold, foggy, windy, rainy, mud and puddlefest adventure.