Postcards from Marin
The race started from Rodeo Beach at 5:40AM - an incredibly beautiful way to start the day with a very special start directly on the beach. Everyone was cold and shivering except for yours truly, this Banff girl was already enjoying the warm temps and feeling half naked, clad only in a sleeveless jersey and some army warmers to take off the chill.
We started off from the beach and started climbing immediately. There was already enough lights that no headlamps were required! We climbed up some single track before joinig up with a small section of a few kilometres of road. Normally, this might cause me to bitch and complain and bemoan the fact that ROAD = EVIL, but in this case, the road was very, very, very good.
Stopping to smell the Flowers - er, Lupines
After the tour of the scenic highway, we jumped back on the trail and everyone was moving pretty quick as we descended on some great singletrack. It was already warming up, the sun was coming out and the singletrack was easy and cruisy through the ranch country. From there it just kept getting better and better. We made our way back to the coastline and got to enjoy views of crashing surf and steep hills dropping right to the ocean. Before you knew it, we had travelled 16 miles and reached Muir Beach.
Checking out The View
My race was going good - apart from nursing what felt like a hangover from a lack of sleep the night before, I was enjoying myself, some good company on the trails and the awesome views.
From there, it was all kind of a blur in to Pantoll and Bolinas. We climbed a fireroad as the day heated up and then got some sweeeeet rockin' singletrack with more views of the ocean.
On this stretch I got to tag along with a group of 5 runners and together we rocked the single track as it wound it's way across the hillside. For many kilometres I followed a massive flowing mane of BIG HAIR which I thought was pure California. When I finally caught the Man with the Hair, it turned out he was Japanese and told me he lived and trained near Mount Fuji!
Behold the hair....and Ricka Fukuda!!
After the rolling singletrack, we headed back into a shaded cedar forest for a loooooong stretch on some doubletrack fireroad, all the way to the turnaround at Randall Trail. It was on this long stretch where we got to see all the other runners and see the faster super-studs in action. We also got to swap smiles, grimaces, words of encouragement along the way for a little welcome distraction.
Me and the Boys - my new best friends
Olga V, still smiling and working it up the hill!
Even though it was shaded, I was hot. I kept hoping, looking, dreaming of a creek crossing, a puddle, any bit of water to stick my sorry-hot-flustered Canadian head in. Around the same time, for whatever reason I had neglected my fluids a bit and the next thing you know, I was finding myself a wee bit nauseous with a big bloated belly. At the turnaround, I didn't even need to refill the Camelback because - oops - it wasn't anywhere near empty. So I fueled up and started drinkin' lots on the next 10k.
I was feeling really rotten, so it was good to have the company of Debra through the forest and we babbled nonsense for a few hours. Debra and I got onto the subject of age when she revealed she was 52. And I thought she was my age! Damn, I've got to keep running my way through the next decade...'cause Debra, you look gooooood.
I wasn't moving too quick, but I was still moving. Unfortunately, the aliens had taken over my small intestine and I developed a bad case of the poo belly which would remain with me all the way to the finish line which was many hours away. I stopped taking pictures and sucked it up and kept moving.
Dark times in the Dark Trees
When I finally hit the last aid station, I had been walking on and off for a few hours. Nancy who I had met in Diablo blast right by me at the aid station looking strong and determined. In Diablo, I was the one reeling in runners for the last 10 Miles, but here, I found myself being the one that was being passed and rapidly falling off the pace. The aliens were still in my gut. And they wanted out.
I hooked up with big Jim McIntosh of Florida for the last 4.5 miles. It was great to have the company and distraction and we chatted all the way to the finish. Jim had enjoyed some quality time in Banff on holidays a few years back and remembered it fondly. Being an ultra veteran of 25 years, he also had a bottomless supply of Tums to feed me!! Thanks Jim!! I had been flirting shamelessly with him on and off for hours - everytime I came up behind him I would whistle at his great legs.
The Sun is Setting
One Big Descent - Jim with the finish line and Rodeo Beach below
As we crested the hill up and over, the finish line and Rodeo Beach came in to view. This was just such a special way to end the race - to finish in such a beautiful place! I'm sure the views inspired more than a few runners to hammer that downhill and pick it up right down to the finish line. It was an awesome and inspirng way to end a great day and a great run!
Rodeo Beach and the Finish
This little beach we passed not even a minute from the finish line as we descended. The Miwok course had delights to reveal, right to the end! I was a pretty happy girl when I crossed the finish line and it was great to have Jen there to share the fun and excitement. Thanks to all for another great day on the trail!
Some photos from the finish line...and Race Results!
The lovely and charming Erin of Oregon
Julian and his Arrogant Bastard Ale
On Rodeo Beach Post-Miwok
Thanks to all for another great day on the trail!