I’ve now had the good fortune of racing in the stunningly picturesque Marin Headlands on two occasions. Interestingly, both races have been thwarted by freak weather conditions on both ends of the spectrum. Last December, racers including myself were greeted by some appallingly wet weather that forced last second course changes and, ultimately, a lot of confusion at the front of the TNF 50 mile championship. Ironically, it was the exact opposite kind of weather that stymied our race on Saturday. The weather was so nice that it was literally dangerous.
I’ve now been a Bay Area local for about three weeks. Since then, I’ve met a lot of new people who have all had the same words of advice: “Don’t get used to this weather.” Seriously, It’s been beautiful every single day. Had I not been at TNF50, I might not have believed that clouds could form over this area of the country. Unfortunately, this unusually hot and dry weather meant that there was a very real fire danger in the Headlands, which ultimately effected our race. Thankfully, Tia was able to salvage 60k of runnable course on the trails south of Stinson Beach for us to enjoy. Being a Coloradan, I fully understand and support the decision of the park. There is no such thing as too cautious when it comes to wildfires.
After idly killing time in the back of my Jeep, we finally got started at 8am – three hours later than scheduled. The race was really a blast and the weather was idyllic, if a bit on the warm side. I ran with Gary Gellin for the first twelve or thirteen miles before building a small gap climbing out of Tennessee Valley the first time. Luckily, I was able to hold on to win the race in just under 4:50. Overall, it was a really solid effort and a fun day of running. From what I’ve heard, the statistics ended up being about 37 miles with roughly 8,000 feet of ascent. Not bad, but I’m really looking forward to running the full course someday.
Thanks to Harmony, Emily and JBo for the cheers and hugs! It’s always nice sharing these days with the good people in your life.
Of course, the shortening of the race means that a major wrench has been thrown into my Western States preparation. I was really banking on an eight or nine hour day at Miwok and now have to figure that into my schedule somehow. Luckily, there seems to be something developing at the moment. Turns out, there are a few fast people not running Transvulcania, Quad Rock, or Ice Age this weekend. It’s not quite official yet, but it seems likely that a speedy contingent of West Coasters will descend upon the Grand Canyon for a double crossing this Sunday. I’ve yet to run the route, so I’m obviously jazzed about the opportunity. The climb back to the south rim will be a good place to gauge the benefits of sleeping at altitude so far. Should be a great time.
Gear/nutrition used at Miwok:
Pearl Izumi Trial N2 Shoes – The best shoes in history. In the “sweet spot” between minimal and maximal.
Pearl Izumi Ultra Split Shorts – The best shorts in history. You can seriously carry 15 gels or 3 flasks sans bounce in these puppies.
Pearl Izumi ELITE Tall Wool Sock – Crew length all day, baby.
Pearl Izumi Fly Visor – One of my favorite pieces. Wear it every single day.
Smith Pivlock Sunglasses – Also an everyday accessory.
UltrAspire Nerve/Atom Waist Pack – Got this in the mail on Monday. Loved it. Becoming more of a waist pack guy. Definitely using this at WS.
First Endurance EFS Liquid Shot – I had probably 10-12 ounces of the Kona Mocha. Solid energy all day. Smashed some Ultragen after the race as well. My full First Endurance nutritional plan can be viewed here.