Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Marin Ultra Challenge 50 Mile-- 2nd edition

Marin Ultra Challenge 50 Mile by Inside Trail Racing
Saturday 22 June 2013

Race morning I woke up before 3 am, couldn't get back to sleep.  I had been sleeping poorly the previous three nights.  If this were a 100 miler, I would be screwed, but being "only" 50, I figured I could once again caffeinate my way through it.

The portalets were way far from the start area, this year moved from Rodeo Beach to Fort Baker closer to the Golden Gate Bridge.  I actually drove my car closer to the toilets avoid a pre-race partial mile bonus.  As often happens, I missed the pre-race talk.

I had printed up the race map beforehand and the turn by turn directions, but since the printer I used lack color, the map and therefore the directions made no sense.  The course had to be changed from last year's.  Although RD Tim Stahler had procured the race permits long before, the State Park officials revoked them, due to some fundraising event that came up (and didn't actually overlap the race geographically).  So the race was limited to the Golden Gate National Recreation Area trails-- no Muir Woods, Mount Tam or Stinson Beach, and there was more winding of the course back onto itself.  We would run the Coastal Trail through Pirate's Cove twice.  I had initially been a little disappointed in the course change, but I couldn't say the repetition was boring-- the scenery was still awesome, and there were several sections of trail I had never run before.

In fact, the beginning of the race going to Rodeo Beach used a single track trail, Rodeo Valley Trail, that I had never been on before. This was fun, but there was a lot of poison oak and the trail wasn't trimmed.  Even if I had thought of applying Tecnu post-race, it probably was too late.  Many of us would be quite itchy for the next couple of weeks.  I made a mental note to offer to trim this for a future trail work requirement, but Mount Tam would come back in next year's race.

can't remember where this was but I like it, even my gaiters
photo by yiles Smythe, Michigan Bluff Photography

about to descend Coastal Trail to Pirates Cove, I think the first of two times
Repeating a loop with this trail is far from monotonous torture.
My gaiters match the blue of the water...
Thanks again, Myles Smythe, Michigan Bluff Photography!
This caused some confusion and angst at times, as in a few places, I was seeing too many pink and orange ribbons. Again, I was in the bathroom during the pre-race meeting.   I was never confused about eating.

photo by Sam Hsu

courtesy of and featuring Sean Curry
I got to run with Trace Bee, from SoCal again.  I had run with her 1 1/2 to 2 of the 6+ 15-mile loops at Javelina Jundred the previous (2012) November before she left me behind.  I then had felt pleased to be so useful -- after Jenn Shelton dropped that race early, Trace was going to win that race decisively.  However, her shoes were too tight, so she developed bad blisters and would end up dropping around mile 90.  link to my Javelina report   Today, she was looking great, and her shoes fit properly.

by Miles Smythe, Michigan Bluff Photography
So this year, it was satisfying to help her run a smart race (hanging back with middle-aged me) off and on for 35 miles.  Usually I went ahead on the uphills and then she would catch me on the downhills (sort of).  After leaving Muir Beach aid station the last time (about mile 39) ahead of me, she kicked into a higher gear and I didn't see her the rest of the race.  She was nice to call me her "rock" posting this post-race photo on Facebook.  Trace, you rocked it!

 with Tracy Bowling, women's overall winner, finished 6 minutes ahead

Volunteers, once again, big thanks!

GPS recording

photo courtesy Sean Curry
Although it was pretty warm throughout the race, at the finish it was windy and then got pretty cool.

actually managed to eke 3rd in my age group
RD Tim Stahler handing me my medal


Scott LaBerge, Clare Abram, me, Chris Eide


canvas bag, shirt, La Sportiva Helios
Same as last year, my family was already in the Midwest, but I had taken some work hours from home, so couldn't stay long and didn't try to take a bunch of photos.  Instead of another backpacking trip with my brother, this year I had a fast-packing adventure coming up-- the entire 220+ mile John Muir Trail in a little more than a week.

with my 2013 JMT buddies: Sachin Sawant, Toshi Hosaka, Baldwyn Chieh, Pierre Couteau
I was the only one to start and finish the whole thing.

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