Thursday, May 7, 2009

My 17:36 minute mistake!

How do you run Miwok 100K 4 times and take a wrong turn 2 out of 4 runs? This course is really well marked and there are lots of runners so in order for me to take a wrong turn I had to be in some special place in my head. I think that deserves a some sort of special award! Yes, I did it again....

The race went really well despite my mistake I ran strong all day. It started with an uneventful trip to Sausalito and an early rise at 3:15 a.m. Due to the parking restrictions Bill and I and our type A ways needed to be sure we had plenty of time. We pretty much succeeded in being almost the first car in the lot race morning. I got lots of time to relax in the car and watch the pending weather. It was going to be a wet day but that was perfect for me and I wasn't bothered a bit. I felt right at home except it was pretty muggy and warm when we started. The beach start at Miwok is special and this time the sand was wet meaning very little if any sand made it's way into my shoe. I started pretty conservative and as we made our way on the long road climb we started spreading out. I could have easily run the whole road but chose to be good this year and save myself a bit. I still made good time and arrived at Tennessee Valley (11.9) right on my schedule. I started out with a tank, my shrug sleeves and a vest. I lost the vest at Tennessee Valley but chose to keep my sleeves tied around my waist just in case. Folks were peeling layers big time since it wasn't raining yet and it was pretty muggy. The skies were ripe for a dump though. Bill was ready as always thinking I should be faster.....silly man. The race does another good climb on a dirt road which is mostly runnable for me but some of it is too steep requiring me to walk. Making my way to Muir Beach on time was great. I really tried to open up on all the downhills and make the most of them. The rain was beginning to fall but it was more like a mist amongst the thick fog. It wasn't cold but by this point everyone was wet from the dew anyway. On my way to Pantoll it started to rain for real and the temperature dropped a bit. I untied my shrug and put it on. It was still warm enough but the rain had a bite. The winds were picking up as well and on the open sections it felt cold. All the folks who left their clothes at Tennessee Valley looked cold and their skin was red. We were all soaked. At Pantoll Bill was bundled up like he was going skiing so that meant the air temp was not as warm as us runners thought. I chose to stick with the clothes I had on and would see him at Randall (mile 35).
I was quick in the aid stations barely breaking a step which was nice and helped me gain some minutes here and there on my 11:28 pace chart. My goal was 11:15 and I was smack dab in the middle of my pace chart and my goal. I felt good about this and my body was ready to run. All the Miwoks I have run have been warm. Too warm for my PNW blood. I always seem to suffer on this next section to Bofax. We run across the beautiful fields full of wildflowers and the occasional wild turkey. Today the fog, rain and wind kept the views of anything hidden. The trail here is narrow and generally full of day hikers but not today! I don't remember seeing a single person other than a runner. The weather kept them all home. However clear the trail was of people it was full of mud. This mud is the slippery stuff! No big deal for me....again I felt right at home. The winds were pretty nasty blowing rain at the side of your face. I pulled my headband over my ears. I made good time to Bofax but I was so wet. My clothes were stuck to me like spandex. Not a good look and my shorts kept falling down I had to tie the inner string tight to fight the weight of the water. The rain was not letting up and everyone was either bundled up or wearing very little. I was still in my shorts, tank and shrug. I wasn't cold but I was certainly wet. This next section to Randall is a mostly a dirt road. It rolls along a neat forest and is generally good running. The puddles from all the rain were everywhere and many times crossing the whole road. Most of the time there was a bit of room on the side to avoid submerging your foot into the water but it was annoying. The puddles seemed to grow in number as I went along. I was still right in the middle of my pace chart and goal when I got to Randall. Bill was waiting and I fueled up and he asked me if I needed a dry shirt. "No, I am fine"! I left with intentions of starting to push hard. I ran as much of the road back up as I could focusing on pushing my pace. I was making good time. Now on the rolling road heading back to Bofax the rain was relentless and the puddles were much larger. The sides of the puddles were mostly gone or so trampled and muddy I chose to stop trying to avoid them. Being a true PNW runner I went right down the middle. Some of them were so deep my knees got a nice cooling treatment. Since this is an out and back sections we see all the folks behind us. Nearing the end of this forested section I headed straight through a large puddle. Little did I know the puddle was rather deep taking my shorts down half way. I dropped down like I hit a sink hole. Fortunately I got them pulled back up before the folks behind me got a shot of my back side. I just rolled my eyes in stupidity. Sometimes I truly don't know where I come up with these bright ideas. I was soaked anyway but now I was super soaked.

At Bofax I was in and out. It was getting cold now. Out of the forested area and back onto the fields. Every year this has been a rough patch for me. It's hot, open and HOT! Well, not this year! I certainly was not having any ill effects from heat. The mud in this sections was so much worse now then earlier. All the rain and runners had created a Hagg Lake mudfest. That was not big deal but the sideways rain and wind was cold and I was feeling it. I knew I still had a long stretch before getting to Pantoll and was starting to shake a bit. I had a brief pity party thinking why didn't I get a heavier shirt from Bill. Every time the wind would come up I growled or moaned. I felt bad for the guy behind me but then again he probably couldn't hear me because the wind had roar of it's own. After my very brief pity party I decided to use the cold to my advantage. The faster I ran the warmer I would be and the faster I ran the sooner I could get dry clothes. This worked. I actually had moments of disconnect with my was pretty powerful to me. To be able to not feel something awful and turn the situation into something of value was cool. I don't remember being able to do that before. I got to Pantoll (mile 45) faster than any other time by over 12 minutes! My legs were blue and it freaked Bill out. He helped me get a dry shirt on since my hands were not working at all. I left Pantoll shivering. It was a nice downhill section but it took me nearly 20 minutes to warm back up. Now down off the ridge line the temperature was warmer because the wind was being blocked. I think I could have run much better down that hill if I wasn't so frozen but I still did well. At the bottom we begin a traverse up some switchbacks to HWY1 aid station. This section took me 2 minutes longer than I expected but I still had a shot at 11:15 and I knew I was good for 11:20 and no slower than 11:25. At HWY 1 I waisted no time and headed out with some coke. After about 3 minutes the road makes a sharp left turn. Too focused on my goal at the sharp turn I see a pink ribbon on a trail post. I go straight up the trail. It's steep and I think hmmmmm....this doesn't look familiar but I am idiot with trail memory. I hear voices but with the dense fog you can only see for about 10 feet. I continue the climb and I know it's not right. I get to the top and look down and see the road with pink ribbons. I knew I had went the wrong direction. I was pissed, thought for moment on what to do? Run down to the road or back track. I had to back track or I would be cheating. I hit my watch and keep track of my time. It took me 17:36 to get back to my mistake. When I got back there I look to the left and see a sea of pink ribbons. I was so focused on the right side of the road and that one pink ribbon I didn't turn and look left. I beat myself up for about 2 minutes then got back in the game. It actually made me run quite fast at this point. I was hell bent and started laughing at myself because it really does take a special kind of tunnel vision to take a wrong turn at Miwok. When I got to Tennessee Valley Bill was worried. The poor guy had walked half way up the road wondering what happened to me. Since the last time he saw me I was blue and shivering I had him all worked up. When I told him I took a wrong turn his sympathy went out the window and the wild turkey he spotted on the hillside trumped my story and he was gone to get a picture.

From Tennessee valley home it's only 3.7 miles. A 2 mile climb then a blasting downhill into the finish. I ran as hard as I could. Coming in at 11:43 was not what I had planned but given my error I am pretty happy with my run. There are a few things I did right on this race. I didn't get any blisters! I kept my head in the game the whole day. I ran has hard as I could never giving up. I let go of my mistakes and turned them into fuel. I should have taken clothes at Randall and I should have NEVER made that wrong turn. I got lazy with marking since it's so well marked. Big lesson for me in that. There is a ton of poison oak on the course and when I got done I scrubbed and scrubbed my whole body with Tecnu....even my face. I knew with the wet conditions it was all over me. I ended up with quite a bit. 3 huge patches that actually look like burn patches now. The evil oil stuck on my wet clothes made for some nice flesh eating. It was an amazing weather day at Miwok. I would have never expected it to be so rainy but I think that helped me have a great run.

Vegas was a blast and I recovered really fast. Bill and I actually did 2 workouts while we were there. That probably helped my recovery. We sat at the pool and soaked up the heat, got over stimulated with all the Vegas roar and slept in! It was so fun.


  1. Wow! Amazing. You are an inspiration Rooster. I think I saw you- you were heading back up toward Bolinas while I was still heading down (so slow). You looked like it was easy!

    I tried doing the downhills faster, and I almost hurt myself! haha.

    Sorry you missed your turn. At least you figured it out quickly.


  2. Ronda you're funny. Nice job there and maybe you need smaller shorts!

  3. When I saw the time, I blamed the weather. Most people got slower times due to the weather. You're right, coming from PNW, it's not all that scary - but still, knocks some energy out. But getting lost on the trails you ran 4 times at over-marked Miwok...oh, boy. Well, it just means that on a good day, with weather that has about 10 degrees up and no horizontal wind, you are good not only for 11:15, but 11 hrs sharp. Glad you're laughing. What else can we do? :) Happy anniversary!

  4. Good race in some ugly conditions...even for us NW folk.
    Bummer on the Poison Oak! Hate that stuff

  5. but I am idiot with trail memory
    LOL i am one too :-) remember I got lost at Grand Tetons, the only difference is it mentally crushed me and ruined my race (my lesson learned)

    Glad you kept focused Ronda...Congrats on a Tough Day, way to CLOSE it out!!

  6. Dude,

    You're slacking...It's been a WEEK! What's going on ...a little track workout with your friend that doesn't even know how to run anymore still got you laid up on the couch?? Come on! I want more blogging. :) Looking forward to our next day of pain. :) K