Over the Hills and Everywhere – Miwok 100k

More like, Miwok 100K  90k.

To run an ultramarathon you have to be arrogant enough to believe that you can do it, and stupid enough to try – this is the message my good friend, Claudia Montalban, sent me, which I think has truth in it.  I must be really stupid, because I attempted to do my second 100k trail race, without success.

Yesterday, 5/2/15, I ran the Miwok 90k.   I didn’t finish the entire 100k race, but got as far the last aid station at Bolinas Ridge and missed the 6:30pm cutoff time. At that point, I have ran 55.+ miles, so I had about a 10k left.  I sincerely believed I could have still made it to the finish by 8:30 pm; I had a little over 1.5 hours to run the last 10k which was mostly downhill.  If the race organizers and the park rangers were not too strict with the time limit, my pacer would have wanted me to continue and I would have said yes. My nutrition went well.  I had no GI issues. I had record aid station stop times of 1 minute or less, I was self-sufficient with my food that I carried with me, and those that I left in my drop bags. I felt good, except tired towards the end especially when trying to climb back up the first 1 mile steep hill from the Randall aid station to Bolinas Ridge. I chanted, “Strong legs, Steady head,” the mantra I borrowed from my friend, Deirdre.

About the cutoffs, it’s ok that it is tighter this year, it’s the requirements of the Park Services and if the race director doesn’t comply then we might lose the race in the future years. It becomes more challenging for us, runners, to have these strict cutoff times. It would be nice if the front runners gave us, the back-of-packers, right of way at the single track out and back, as we are the ones running after the cutoffs and they just want a fast finish time. Those fast front runners were slowing us down at the out-and-back portions on Coastal trail, forcing us to go to the side of the trail so that they can pass. I encountered a lot of those runners, when I was starting to get my rhythm back, then had to stop for the front-runners.  I guess I should just train to be faster so that I can avoid those situations.

Overall, I felt satisfied with the race. I need to work on speed, as a back-of-the-pack/hiker, the new cutoff times for these ultra-races are just becoming very aggressive. During the run we had the perfect running weather – cool and misty in the morning, a little bit hot and sunny in the early afternoon when I was out in the open, then it cooled off again in the late afternoon and early evening. All the volunteers were very helpful with refilling the runners’ hydration packs. All our friends and supporters were awesome.  It all started with seeing my friend Loren Lewis at the start line; it was encouraging to see a familiar face for the send-off.  I am really very grateful for and happy with my pacer, Guy Herr, who tried so hard to make me move up those hills after 49 miles of running, to make sure I met the cutoff time at Bolinas Ridge. His encouragement, militaristic push, and pragmatic approach to think that I am a shark that eats up each person I pass/overtake — enabled me to pass 5 runners on the way to Bolinas.  They were the same runners who passed me on the downhill! I still had an awesome experience, with wonderful views of Mt Tam, tall redwood trees, and the Marin Headlands, who could complain! I’ll come back next year, if I get into the lottery, to officially finish what I started.  Running an ultra-marathon makes someone stupid and crazy, that we do it all over (and over and over) again.