Monday, January 10, 2011

Sun, Smiles and Speedsters at Stinson Beach 50k

My last race three weeks earlier had been the drenching at SF One Day.   This weekend (Saturday November 13, 2010) finally brought beautiful, sunny weather.

I wasn't expecting too much-- running around Crissy Field somehow beat me up more than it did last year, despite doing fewer laps this year.  I was still pretty sore even two weeks out.  I was just looking to have, per the PCTR motto on the previous logo, "serious fun."

Coming from Santa Rosa, Bob Shebest graciously picked me up at my brother's in San Rafael.  Bob is a tri-stud.  He won the Full Vineman in 2006.  (He's also a triathlon training coach in addition to teaching middle school math and science, so look him up if you are looking to try or improve your tri performance.)   Bob didn't mention this, but he had just won the last PCTR race, Muir Beach 50k the weekend before in very cold, windy, wet and muddy conditions (results).   He was looking for some back-to-back short races to get back in shape after his recent honeymoon, in preparation for North Face 50 mile next month (technically last month, but pretend it's still before Thanksgiving).

Thanks again for the ride, Bob!

Had I not been still a little sleepy, I think I might have puked on tortuous Route 1.

I had run Headlands 50k two times and Quad Dipsea four.  All of these have aid stations at Stinson Beach. But during any of these races I'd never seen the beach.  You have to do a race that starts and ends there to walk on it.

course map

The climb up to Pantoll on Steep Ravine Trail is, as the name implies, steep, so the usual early conversations at a lot of races quickly ended.  A large horde of fast runners shot up ahead.  I was breathing hard and couldn't keep up to put in the top fifteen.  Had I been running a shorter race, I doubt I could've run faster or breathe harder.  Maybe over my heavy breathing I heard the sounds and sights of flowing streams and waterfalls.  In this section there were many fallen trees under which we had to duck.

John Mintz apparently missed the message about the staggered start, since he was running the 12k, but started at 8:30 with the 50k runners, rather than at 9:10 as he was supposed to.   I'm guessing they let him count his time.

I picked off about four runners on the outbound.  One was Kendall Wu (above) who then passed me on the climb up Deer Park / Dipsea, when we both passed Devon Crosby-Helms, the first-place women.  Any relief at unchicking myself was tempered by the fact that she had just placed 2nd at the Lithia Loop Trail Marathon the weekend before, so maybe this was a recovery run for her.  Another yellow Sportiva jersey approached from behind.

Nathan (Yanko), I thought, but it was Leor, running the 25k which started 20 minutes after we 50k runners.  He was on his way to another win and course record (even if it weren't the first year for this particular course, trust me, it would have been a course record) at 1:52:24, insanely fast.

with Leor, center, and Nathan (3rd in 50k at 4:49 flat), right

Brett Rivers in 2nd would finish in 2:08:36 at a faster pace than I probably could have run 12k, but Leor was the only 25k runner to pass me.

25k finishers Larissa Polischuk and Brett Rivers

On the final descent to Stinson on Matt Davis Trail, I passed Kendall again, but despite having raced down that same trail several times in my life, missed a turn and blew about 30 seconds.  After the Belvedere Point 25k aid station, Devon saved me again when I was about to turn right toward the Stinson Beach finish not far away, instead of left to head back up.

The second ascent, I knew I was going more slowly.  It was interesting that I was breathing less hard, yet was less able to think clearly.  Nonetheless, I think I appreciated the scenery more this time.

I caught up with another woman, whom I'd never seen before.  Talented rookie named Kristin Munson I learned from out quick chat.  I was able to pass her on the uphill to Pantoll.

At Pantoll, Jady Palko was leaving.  He saw me and took off.  I couldn't catch up, but was actually more motivated to not get chicked.

stud Jady with his ultrarunning fit mother, Barbara Ashe

In the last few miles, I sensed the increasing concentration of female pheremones from behind.  I thought Kristin was gaining on me, but as it turned out, it was Devon.

overall winners:  Devon 5:05:47, Leigh Schmitt 4:27:22

I finished in 5:05:41, 9th place overall and 1st in my age division, a mere 6 seconds before Devon who was gaining on me (whew, that was close!)  Kristin would finish 2nd woman, only a minute plus behind women's first (and me).

I'm never do those ice baths post-race.  Too much hassle, and even without the ice, I'm too wimpy about it.  But when you have this ocean right at the finish, there's no ecological impact, and it's easier to wade right in.

I stayed in the water until I couldn't take it anymore.  Plus I got hungry again...

Thanks to the many volunteers, including Monica Brennan.

Finally done blogging my 2010 races--yay!

1 comment:

Baldwyn said...

I have a ride report from that day! I even mentioned your race :) That was the most spectacular fall day I've experienced in recent memory.