Wow, 5 days...Yosemite, Hot Air Balloon, Napa and the Miiwok 100k, oh my, what a vacation/adventure.
April 29th, 2008 Joe and I headed to San Francisco on a mini vacation that we planned around a race called the Miwok 100k. This race takes place in one of the most beautiful parts of California. The race starts at the Marin Headlands/Golden Gate National Park and travels through the magnificent redwoods to the shores of the pacific. Three weeks earlier i took a pretty hard blow to my head during the North Face 50, that left me with a concussion. I felt that i was feeling OK... OK enough to participate in the race and since it was pre-planned so i thought I'd give a shot.
The race started at 6:00 a.m; a welcomed late start considering most of my races start at 5:00 am or earlier. With 300 plus runners all gathered on the beach awaiting the start, with nervous chatter filling the air you felt such a surge of energy. I caught a few glimpses of the winners of previous years sprinting to the front of the pack. Its always quite exciting for me to travel out west because this is where the best ultra runners compete regularly and the ultra community is well established. I bumped into a couple of friends who traveled from Washington for the event, its like an ultra-runners reunion in a way. Its fun because people know me out here, more than on the east coast. I feel like I'm a part of a crazy family heading on a group run through the woods.
I felt great at the start, i was a little worried because i took a bit of time off between races and wasn't sure if i was going to be in the condition that i wanted to be in. There were 300 runners bottle necked onto a single track trail at the start so finding the right position was pretty important. I didn't want to get caught up in a slower group, so i sped up until i had enough space to slow down a little. Of course the start is a 4 mile climb, as we began the race the sun started too rise in the distance. I can't even begin to explain the beauty of this course, the Golden Gate in an orange glow, the 360 views of rocky shores and ocean views the feeling of being swallowed by giant redwoods; truly amazing!
I got to the top of the first climb, still feeling pretty good...A man was running next to me who happen to be one of the race directors for the Vermont 100 he was wearing a GPS so he started calling out our splits, well that was a 7:00 min mile, when he said that i was startled; 7:00 min. miles in a 62 mile race I better slow it down.. the trail had lots of long climbs and long descents which takes a toll on your quads. I was feeling pretty good so i continued running at that pace.
At mile 17 or so, I always tend to feel a little weak, my mind hits a little bit of a low. I headed into the aid station where i was greeted by my very own paparazzi. Joe there to fill my bottles and aid me in anyway he can. Joe was all over the course on sat. taking awesome pics and video. I would think I was in the middle of no where and i would look around or look up and there he is on the top of a mountain or set up alongside a trail; pretty amazing. At 17 I told him I'm just not into this today and he encouraged me to get to the next aid station, so I continued with a buddy of mine who seemed to be in the same predicament that i was. I grabbed my shuffle and a whole banana and took off.
Between mile 17 and 33 I felt amazing, my pace picked up, i left my buddy and past at least 4 others. I made it too aid station; mile 27 and grabbed my favorite sandwich. I was told that it was 7 miles to the next aid station. During the next 7 miles I really didn't feel like going any more my head started aching and I just didn't feel like pushing anymore. I could careless if i made it to the finish line, and that never happens to me so i knew I should listen to myself and bail. So I got to 35 with a smile on my face and said to Joe I'm finished, I'm just not into it.
I don't feel any disappointment I had nothing to prove. I finished the race last year. I think I'm just a little burnt out after last years epic achievements with my back to back 100 milers with top finishes and the intense push at the North face 50 after my bump on the head, which had me running 43 miles with a concussion and a head bandage to keep the gash on my head from opening up.
I just need a little break, so I'm glad I listened to myself and leaned to the side of caution. My game plan for the rest of the season is to get back into tri's do a late season ironman, crew for a buddy of mine at the Badwater 135 Mile ultra in Death Valley and maybe a 100 miler because I too would like to do Badwater next year. Also I may think about competing with Joe in a 24 hour Mountain Bike Endurance Race and the Wilderness 101 MTB race. I have to get back to my roots and I am more motivated than ever to do so! Enjoy what ever journey you may be on and continue to explore your limits.