Location : Marin Headlands, Marin County, CA
Race : Marin Headlands 50K
Finish Time : 7:40
I woke up at 3:50 am. Made tea and ate 4 slices of sourdough bread with peanut butter and jelly. Popped a couple of Immodiums and left at 4:55 am to pick up Anil Rao from his place. We hit the road at 5:15 am and were in the
Both of us were wearing gaiters.
(http://www.backcountry.com/store/TNF0444/The-North-Face-Scree-Gaiter-II.html). Gaiters prevent dirt and gravel from getting into one’s shoes.
The gun went off promptly around 7 am. The first 0.25 miles were on the beach, gravelly in places. We finally climbed 30 feet or so to run by the lagoon. Crossed the road we had driven on to get to the start and started up the Miwok Trail (the inspiration for the annual local ultra classic, the Miwok 100K). The trail went up the hillside to our left and we could see a line of runners disappearing around a corner over a hundred feet up the mountain. This was the Wolf trail. Anil and I walked as soon as the trail started climbing (just past the signs in the picture). That’s where we met the race director of my first ultra (the Quicksilver 50K), Tom O’Grady. We chatted for a bit and then Anil and I dropped back to a slower pace. This hill kept climbing for a bit more.
We then descended down the Old Springs trail to the
I refilled my bottle with Gu2O. We started climbing Miwok again. This was one brutal climb, pretty steep at the top. That’s when my right Achilles tightened up a bit, giving me a bit of a scare. I could feel it and it was just over 5 miles into the race! I tried to stretch it a bit. In the meantime, me left hip flexor was acting up, causing tightness on the inside of my left knee. Luckily we had started to descend by now and it took some pressure off the Achilles.
Passed through a couple more aid stations (at mile 7.23 and mile 9.7) before reaching the Pantoll aid station at mile 12.3. We had to climb the Dipsea trail (famous for the Dipsea and double
Left the aid station to climb a quarter mile to meet up with the Matt Davis trail. We were at 1550’. Started running down the trail and it was the most brutal trail I have run on.What seemed like a million switchbacks and irritating steps every 20-30 feet, right where the switchbacks curved back on themselves. A picture of what the steps looked like is below.
This trail descended like this for the next 4.5 miles or so, down 1550’, to the
We finally reached the same aid station (mile 20 this time around) where we had seen the winner many hours earlier. We then descended along tortuous switchbacks for the next 4+ miles back down to sea level J
Finally made it to the 25 mile aid station (
Had to control our descent using every possible means at our disposal because 0.1 miles were spent on constantly shifting rocks and shale under our feet.
Finally made it round the final corner and ran arm in arm towards the Finish.
A word about Anil: He is the strongest runner I have ever run with. He is a rock, both mentally and physically. I swear that I think of him as the Energizer bunny – wind him up and he goes on forever. Thank you for helping me through the middle miles when my blood sugar had fallen and it took 20 minutes or so for it to come back up. I’ll run with you any day, any place. You ROCK!!