Monday, March 17, 2014

The Inaugural ITR Marin Ultra Challenge 50 Mile

Marin Ultra Challenge 50 Mile, by Inside Trail Racing
Saturday 30 June 2012

Rodeo Beach, race start and finish (when taken) for the inaugural MUC.
This is La Sportiva country.
This was Inside Trail's first 50 mile race, and with a no-repetition long-loop going from Rodeo Beach past Stinson Beach, was extremely ambitious.  I had to be a part of it.  As a plus, it was a nice consolation race for a (then) six-timeWestern States reject.

The day before the race, I worked from home from 6 am to 10 pm, with a short late afternoon break to drive my family to the airport so they could spend the next few weeks with my wife's side of the family in the Chicago suburbs.  Race morning I was up by 4 am-- earlier than I'd planned.

waiting for the light at the bridge
no longer an issue for the persistently almost late since the race start was moved
During the first 8.5 miles (a loop that went back to the start) I talked with Elan Lieber, who would cruise ahead and come in 4th.

I am not sure if I have seen Elan since.  I suspect he moved to SoCal.

Around mile 12, while descending to Tennessee Valley, I started feeling sleepy.  My body was tell me "nice morning run, now go back to bed!"  I knew I would need to caffeinate aggressively to get through the day
The descent to Muir Beach used the new Dias Ridge Trail, which I'd never hiked or ran on before.

shhh, lifted from web
Most other races (including the original Talmapais Running Club's Headlands 50k in late August) have runners descend from Pantoll and the switchbacks of Heather Cutoff-- all runnable and quite fun.  In this race for the first time I had to run up this.  Since the grade isn't steep, there is neither excuse nor opportunity to walk, making the ascent potentially extra awful.  Jason Perez cruised past me during the climb.

Speaking of Jason, I hadn't run into him at any races in a while, though I would see facebook posts about mountain and motor dirt biking.   I suspected he went over to the other side!

So I just got tagged in a fb post by him a few days after I originally published this, asking if his stitches could wait 14 instead of 10 days.

Since he didn't pay me $500 up front for his personalized, state-of-the-art medical advice and care, I am going to hippo-violate him.  (Note: Most of the other comments and advice from his uninformed layperson "friends" have been omitted.)

3 hours ago 
So I was told I can remove my stitches in my arm after 10 days, so that'll be Tuesday the 25th. But I have a Mtb race on Saturday the 29th which is 14 days. I don't plan on crashing but then again its a race so shit is always possible. I don't want to have a simple front wheel tuck and open my wound just because its weak. So can I leave the stitches in till after the race or should I remove them at 10 days? — with Mark Tanaka.

Jason Perez I figured I could do like Brad Pitt in world war Z and duct tape a magazine to my forearm. Should protect my arm from anything from road rash to zombies.

Mark Tanaka Generally these become gangrenous and necrotic exactly at 12 days. So either switch your sport to curling ( more exciting ) or ( safer) prophylactic amputate.

Jason Perez So Mark pull them out at 10 days and protect the shit out of my arm? 
Curling is on Sunday so I can still do both.

Mark Tanaka Try not to shit on your arm. If there is shit in your arm, wash it out, don't "protect" it out. WTF is that?

name withheld, as she seemed nice  If you were a cat, advice would be keeping sutures in is fine as long as there is no new inflammation ( pus, redness or heat). Cover it w something tough enough not to rip just in case  Been there, done that......good luck!

Mark Tanaka Sorry, in bad taste. 14 is fine, pretend you are a cat. When I crawl out of bed and reach a keyboard I can give you more unofficial instructions and my PayPal account so this all becomes worth my valuable time!

  • Jason Perez Mark your killing me

  • Jason Perez Should I just go back to ultra running 

  • Jason, what do you think the answer is?
    Remember: this is what can happen to you when you turn your back on the cult of ultrarunning!

    If this happens to you, don't look to this blog post to figure out what to do.
    Call your doctor!
    (Who will tell you to go to the ER, duh)
    By the way, Jason, I'll give you $50 for you bike.
    On the shorter descent of the Dipsea Trail to Stinson my glasses kept fogging up and slipping off my nose, maybe because it was humid, or I'd just gotten them.

    At the bottom, newbie ultrarunner Greg Bruso from Santa Rosa caught up with me, and I think we caught up with Jason Perez. We occasionally chatted as we ascended from Stinson on Willow Camp Fire Road, another new trail for me.

    Thec climb is brutal, but gives very clear and great views of Stinson Beach and Bolinas.  Jason dumped us first, then I left Greg behind.

    After finishing the Willow Camp ascent I slipped and fell on Coastal Trail.  I then reminded myself that in a new race I don't have to have any hard-set goals--  just to have fun and not get injured or so beat up that I wouldn't be able to hike with a loaded pack on Monday and Friday near Mammoth Lakes with my brother and his friend.  I hadn't backpacked in over 15 years, so was a bit apprehensive.

    that week on the John Muir Trail, Mount Ritter or Banner, near Thousand Island Lakes, near Mammoth
    At aid station near Pantoll, a volunteer told me it would be 9 miles before the next aid station, but also that there would be a few spots where I could can get water.  I took this with a grain of salt, and drank an extra 24 ounces before having my bottle filled up again.  Actually I took a pinch of salt, not a grain.  Luckily no more than a pinch, because I never saw the water.  

    During this stretch and for the first time in a race I ran through Muir Woods.  There were people pushing babies in strollers, older people in wheelchairs or walking with canes. It felt like I was a running back, fairly surreal, but no one got hurt.

    It was quite warm and my bottle ran out with maybe 3 miles to go before the aid station at Muir Beach.  I made a mental note for the future to place a hydration pack at the start of the split, but with subsequent year's course changes, this would never become necessary.

    finishing 6th overall around 9 1/2 hours, photo by Allen Lucas
    An amazing, epic run, and a very  successful first attempt (talking about Inside Trail, not me)!

    My family out of town, there would have been no pressure to leave the finish but I had friends from out of town. During almost 2 hours hanging out at the finish, I tried to eat as much as possible to prevent making a pig out of myself with them.  Similar to how it can get dangerously costly to go out to sushi when you are starving.  Much more pleasant than hanging out at the end of North Face Endurance Challenge in December (too cold, too crowded, too impersonal.)

    my (married) friends Randy and Andra, from Brooklyn, in the city.  Andra was in town for a veterinary conference.
    Thanks for dinner!
    Thanks, Inside Trail and all the volunteers!!!
    I will try to post reports on 2013 and 2014 soon.

    my GPS recording
    my post-race photo album on facebook

    partial race schwag and
    my 2012 demo Ultra Raptors (now part of the official La Sportiva trail shoe lineup)

    winner and La Sportiva teammate Leor Pantilat beat me by more than 2 hours

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