|My amazing crew, Lauri Abrahamsen and Karen Peterson|
Kara Teklinski is running the Zion 100 next week, so she offered her sweet place in Mill Valley to me to stay at for the race. Dave Mackey stayed over too; he finally admitted to me that he was racing Miwok on Friday. We got up at 3am and I arrived at the start just 15 mins before gun time. It was a little hectic trying to get my bib in the LONG line at check in but I made it to the start with one minute to spare.
We were off and running through the dark streets of Stinson, heading to the trailhead of Willow Camp and the 1,800 ft climb in the first two miles. I settled into around 12th-15th place and alternated between running and fast hiking the steepest sections, making our way over to the Coastal Trail of lumpy, off camber single track. It's my least favorite part of the race with hip-high weeds bending over the narrow, gutter-like trail, making it impossible to see where you're stepping. I rolled my ankles every quarter mile until we finally reached the wooded single track leading to the first aid station at Bolinas/Fairfax Rd.
The next section of Bolinas Ridge offered up views of the deep orange sunrise that make me say to myself, "This is why I do this." I focused on managing my pace and taking inventory on how I felt. I concluded that I was feeling pretty dull with low energy but otherwise fine.
|Returning from Randall aid station. Photo Tanford|
My crew of Lauri and Karen were to first meet me at Randall aid station at mile 12.6. I switched my bottle out with them and was on my way back. After hitting Bolinas again (mile 19.5), Kevin Rumon caught up to me and I couldn't match his pace for long. I was into my first bad patch that lasted 3 miles, so I just focused on moving as quickly as possible and not being a pansy. Once I hit the top of the descent of Matt Davis Trail, I was feeling better and bombed the descent into the Stinson Beach Fire Department aid station at mile 26.2, 4:03 into the race and in 20th place. I saw and said hi to Gary Gellin and hit the trailhead leading up and over to Muir Beach.
I hit the 50k mark at 4:58 and shortly thereafter arrived at Muir Beach where my pit crew traded bottles with me and I was on my way out and over to Tennessee Valley.
At Tennesse Valley (mile 38+) I told Lauri and Karen that this is where my race starts. I passed Kevin Rumon while he lingered in the aid station and began the climb up Marincello to Bobcat. Kevin caught up to me and we shared the trail for probably 30 mins. The views of the Golden Gate Bridge and surrounding valleys along the CSA trail are stunning. About a mile out from Rodeo Valley aid station I gapped Kevin and caught a runner up ahead. At the aid station, Todd Shipman refilled my bottle and gave me some good info that Topher Gaylord and another runner (Owen Bradley) were just mins in front of me. I bolted out of there and bombed the descent, finally catching Topher and Owen just before crossing the road leading to Rodeo Beach.
When I reached the sand of Rodeo beach I glanced back and saw I had a 2-3 min gap, so I hammered the beach and road section leading to the next climb. Once I reached the top of Wolfe Ridge and Miwok, I looked down to see no other runners for a LONG way down. I dropped off the other side onto Old Springs trail and ran as hard as I could on the long descent to Tennessee Valley.
At TV, Lauri said I had moved up substantially and others in front of me "look bad". That info was confirmed by a photographer at about mile 52, who told me I was in 12th place. This section of the Coastal trail around Pirates Cove along the cliffs of the ocean are among my favorite in NorCal.
|Photo Peter Beck|
|My gut was all bloated from sloshing water and gels - big pot belly! Photo Peter Beck|
Reaching Muir Beach, I switched out my bottle and thanked Lauri and Karen, knowing I wouldn't see them until I was finished. Top 10 was all I could think about and I ran harder than I think I've pushed in a race in a long time.
I caught a glimpse of Jonathan Gunderson and his pacer up around the next turn on the Redwood Creek Trail, so I ate a gel, took a big drink and turned the screws tighter. I made the point to go by them as quickly as possible, so there'd be little chance of them jumping on. Once the adrenaline of passing them wore off, I had to focus on keeping a strong pace.
After the disgusting last long climb of 1,400 feet in three miles I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw Jean Pommier about 600 meters in front of me. Knowing what a fierce competitor he is, I thought it would be a big struggle to catch him but it was only a matter of 5 mins before I came up behind him in a full sprint. He graciously hopped off the trail to allow me to pass. I didn't bother looking back and just hammered the descent down the Dipsea trail. I was now in 10th and wanting the finish line.
With just under a half mile to go, I saw Kevin Shilling pretty far ahead. I ran hard enough to where my vision narrowed with stars filtering around the edges, trying to catch Kevin but the lead was too great and he crossed 35 seconds in front of me for 9th. Patrick McKenna took a short video of my finish. It's on my FB page.
Afterwards, I hung out with Lauri and Karen, ate some good food, and basically really enjoyed chatting with the other runners for a couple hours. The new Miwok course is a MONSTER. It came in at nearly 13,000 feet of climb and 63.6 miles long. It did serve to give me a huge (and much needed) confidence boost for San Diego 100 in 4.5 weeks. Tia Bodington and all the people involved with Miwok do a tremendous job with it. I'm very appreciative to be able to run such a great event.
Lauri and Karen were simply amazing. They did everything perfectly, not pushy but efficient and, most of all, incredibly motivating. I always felt a big smile inside when I would see them as I approached each aid station. After taking care of me all day long, they volunteered as sweepers, working to clean up the Miwok course late into the evening. I owe my whole race to them and feel incredibly grateful to be able to call them my friends.
|AND, they took care of Pippit all day!!|