Saturday, 07 May 2011
Several days have passed since the 2011 Miwok 100k that is held in the Marin Headlands of beautiful, sunny, and warm California. A couple friends have been asking me what's up with the race report that I usually get up on the blog shortly after my races. Well, my friends, sorry but I have been dealing with some "issues" that I'll get to in a minute.
Miwok is notorious for attracting fierce competition and large crowds of runners due to the beauty and challenge of the course, and the fact that the race is part of the Montrail Ultra Cup series. I knew that, much like the 2011 Chuckanut 50k that I raced, a top ten finish at Miwok would involve a pretty spot-on day of trail running.
The race started on the beach just at twilight and the wind off the Pacific was enough to have us huddling together whether we knew each other or not. The race director Tia didn't take long to get us started because of this and before we knew it we were off! Even though I've run three hundred milers in my career this was actually only my second race at the 100k distance. I was excited to get another good one under my belt. I ran Waldo 100k in 2009 as my first 100k in 10:16 so I knew I had a prominent chance for a p.r. on this faster Miwok course.
The Miwok course was changed a little from previous years and had us climbing pretty much right from the start. I found myself toward the front with the usual suspects. As we were climbing some of the steep road ascents the sun was shedding light on the pristine area just north of the city and afforded us some amazing views.
(climbing the steps with some nice views all around....Photo: Diane Forrest)
Despite the climbs the first several miles felt very easy to me. Maybe this was because some of it was on paved road, or maybe it was just a barometer foreshadowing a day of solid running. By mile 11 I found myself in the lead heading into Tennessee Valley aid station where I dropped my long sleeve shirt to Mike Wolfe's girlfriend Steph. From there we headed up Coyote Ridge and on to the next section of the course. At around mile 15-ish I had to stop off into the bushes to relieve myself. As I did so I saw probably eight fleet-footed runners sail passed me and out of sight. After a couple or three minutes I got back on the trail and was moving forward again. I decided that I was going to mix some Perpetuum into my empty water bottle before I got to the Pan Toll aid station. When I pulled the baggie out of my pouch I must have ripped it because it poured all over my hand, my bottle, and the wind then blew it all up in my face and on my clothes. I probably looked like a drug dealer or addict when the D.E.A. kicks in the door with a search warrant! Right around this time Scott Jaime and Phil Kochik passed me and I think they could sense my frustration. Despite the annoyances I kept moving forward and ended up passing these guys back shortly thereafter.
(Dropping my shirt at mile 11)
Finally I made it to Pan Toll aid station and I emphatically told the volunteer to bathe my hands and bottle in water and fill the inside as well. That person did a great job relieving me of all the stickiness and discomfort I ran with for the prior two or three miles. Thank you..the volunteers were wonderful all day!
As I was leaving that aid station Sean Meissner was there crewing and pacing and he told me that Lewis Taylor was 30 seconds ahead, and that the rest of the guys were only about a minute ahead of him. That fired me up and I just started hammering. Before long I saw Lewis and came up behind him. I passed him and moved on for the rest of the pack.
We hit some gorgeous wide open fields with narrow single track and I could see the lead pack way off in the distance. I could recognize Timothy Olson's hair flying in the wind so I would pick a landmark where he was currently and look at my watch, and then look at it again when I got there. I was about 90 seconds back from Olson at that point and probably another 30-45 back from the rest. We started hitting some climbs through some redwood forests which totally got my attention, but another thing that got my attention was some tightening in and around my calf. I stopped at a tree to stretch for a minute and then looked over to see Scott Jaime passing me. At this point I was just trying to play it conservative...I mean we weren't even at the half way point yet!
I got back to running and eventually made it to the point where Mackey, Wolfe, Dakota, Hal, etc. were coming up the hill. We exchanged some smiles, words, high fives and then it was onward bound. I could tell that they put some distance on us down to the turn-around, and I knew that going back up being the stellar climbers that they are they would put even more time on me. At that point I decided just to get into my zone, run my race, and to not worry about them. If some of them come back to me...great...if not...oh well!
After wolfing down a nice lunch-on-the-go while power hiking a bit toward Bolinas Ridge I started running the incline and seeing friends in the process. Jason Hill, Topher, Meghan, Pam, Krissy, Amy, I even thought I saw Elvis Presley....must have been a little dehydrated! ;-)
I started running pretty well at this point and felt really consistent leading up to now except for those few little hiccups. When I arrived at Pan Toll aid station at mile 47-ish I saw Phil Kochik walking toward me telling me that he had to drop, and then I saw Dan Olmstead standing there telling me that he was feeling dizzy and that he was going to take a rest. I was starting to see some casualties, and Dan O. told me that Scott Jaime was feeling pretty rough too and he wasn't far ahead. I sponged myself real quickly, grabbed some food and charged down the trail a little tired but motivated.
(Mile 51....feeling the heat!...Photo: Doug Bond)
By mile 53-ish and before I saw Scott Jaime I see Nathan Yanko coming into the aid station behind me. He gives me a pat on the back and tells me good job and that we only have nine miles to go. Being that he knows the area so well he briefed me on the last climbs that we would face, and then disappeared up the mountain side! Then Dan Olmstead reappears! Here we go again Dan...how's it gonna finish this time? Dan and I ran/hiked together for a bit and eventually passed Jaime but Dan started turning it on and pressed on ahead of me. I couldn't believe how quickly Yanko but distance on us though...he was moving!
The last five miles were all about gutting it out....like most longer ultras. It was getting hot although there were times of gusty winds in your face. Pirates Cove had some awesome views and at one point I said, "are you kidding me?", because it was so surreal and picturesque looking.
Finally made it up to the YMCA and finish line but not before seeing the spectacular view of San Francisco, all the buildings, the Bay Bridge, etc. and after running 60 miles it just all looks so much cooler! ;-)
Tia was waiting for me to put a medal around my neck and to give me a much need big bear hug! I was happy to be finished with a time of 8:51 (a huge p.r.)...and 8th place overall. Satisfied with my strength and consistency throughout the day but always room for improvement... :-)
The guys ahead of me ran a gutsy race from start to finish. They pushed the pace but in the end Dave Mackey was able to squeak away from Mike Wolfe. Hal was hot on Mike's heels which was quite impressive....This year's Western States 100 should be another fun one to watch. On the women's side it was the women from the Pacific Northwest stealing the show....Pam Smith won in a blazing fast time w/ Meghan not too far back, and Krissy rounding out the podium. I was pleasantly surprised to see Amy Sproston come in not too far back of Krissy given that she strained her calf recently. Lots of hugs went around post race and as usual it was a great vibe of camaraderie. Thank you again to Tia Bodington and all the friendly and helpful volunteers...this is a top notch event for sure!
OK so back to my issues that I talked about at the beginning that delayed this blog post so much. Well I got back to Portland Sunday morning and took Erica out to brunch for her first Mother's Day and afterwards started feeling a little itching on my leg. I noticed some little bumps and I just kind of chocked it up to a prickly heat bumps because I wasn't really used to all the sun and heat being from Portland, Oregon. It wasn't long until it tripled or quadrupled in size, areas, itchiness, and burning. I started doing some research and quickly realized that I had gotten a nasty case of poison oak. Long story short it spread to all areas of my body except, thankfully, my head and face but is a miserable thing to deal with. The swelling and discomfort even got so out of control that I had to go to the hospital for some Prednisone, and antibiotic. I've been taking oatmeal baths and it still hasn't alleviated too much. I've never had this that bad and after theorizing I think that when I gave up the lead around mile 14-ish to visit the bushes I must have had the poison oak oils on my shorts, shirt, and legs already. I may have spread it around to "other" areas and I just had a major allergic reaction which didn't kick in until 24 hours later. Whatever happened....this sucks!...and I'll definitely take precaution if I go back to Miwok or any other trail run where the stuff is prevalent.
All in all I still had a wonderful experience and I keep telling myself that this is part of the gig of ultra trail running. I always thought that I was never allergic to it...WRONG!
Here is a well put-together video of the course and race at the 2011 Miwok 100k in the Marin Headlands...Enjoy the video!
Full results can be found HERE
Shoes- Inov-8 F-lite 220- *worked well for the hard-packed terrain and fire roads...much more breathable than when I wore them for White River 50 last summer. Probably had to do something w/ the socks too.
Socks- Drymax hyper thin- black- very breathable...These are basically like having a women's stocking on underneath...allows maximum breathability.
Amphipod- Endurance Airflow Pouch- This worked great...very flat, bounce-free, easy to access for gels, block shots, etc. I also used an amphipod 20 oz. hand held.
Thank you to all my sponsors (Inov-8, Drymax, and Udo's Oil) and very nice to see the Oil the Machine tent there at Miwok being manned by Shane and company. On to the next adventure....peace
Next race: San Diego 100-miler on June 11th
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@NorahMackenzie I know, it was a tough way to go out, for sure!