Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Not everything is cake and ice cream!

(photo by: Jean Pommier)

Full of mixed emotions about Miwok leaves me sort of blank. I am generally well intentioned when it comes to running. Be it to push myself or simply enjoy the day I have a plan and do a pretty good job playing it out. Leading up to Miwok I was tired. Ready for the short taper hoping it would leave my legs fresh. More importantly I hoped I would get fired up. Miwok is one of my favorite courses. It offers all the things I love about ultra running. The scenery speaks for itself and the trails are awesome. It's brutally touch with its 11,000 feet of climbing and descending. I like the mix of trails and gravel roads. I love the out and back section where I get to see all the front runners pushing and pursuing their day. It showcases the camaraderie in this sport that's unbeatable. Finally, I love the feel of Miwok.

The week leading up to race I began to feel some energy coming back. I happily reported that to Matt. My legs had some spring during a couple of my short runs and my overall posture began to return. No more slumped and wilted. I have come to embrace the fact that my butt is never NOT sore. The MTBing is really firing up my glutes especially the medius. This is a welcomed addition. My medius has generally been a weak muscle but I can now say it's stronger. With that growth is soreness and I have not get been able to get ahead of it. The benefits outweigh the discomfort. The additional strength is making me a better runner with a nicer gate. Let's face it though, being sore and running 100K makes you more sore.

Covered in Ivy Block in the darkness ready to hit the beach and begin this journey I was disturbingly at ease. I made a rough pace chart so Bill and Nico would know when to expect me. My main goal for the day was to stay on course. I am 4 for 4 at taking a wrong turn at Miwok and it's well marked. I wanted to keep a close eye on ribbons and not follow anyone blindly. Also, I wanted to run strong on the back half. I had no idea what to expect with regards to my pace. However, I wanted to not go over 12 hours.

The beach start is unique but bogs up with people as they make their way onto the single track. It took me almost 5 minutes before I could get onto the trail. I am blaming my 12:04 finish time on that! As the race began I felt really strong on the climbs. My uphill running has started to

benefit from my ever growing glutes, ha, ha. I kept it to a dull roar as the road began the steep and long ascent. It was the perfect temperature but the wind was a bit much at times. There was the occasional wind gust from behind and I milked it for the whole 5 seconds. The headwinds came more often and weren't nearly as fun. I arrived at Tennessee late and Bill let me know. I gave him a glance of disapproval. I didn't care, didn't he know that? I left with no real intention except to continue running by feel. On my way to Pantoll I had a good time chatting with runners. I wasn't focused at all but the occasional glance down at my garmin would reveal a 18 min pace! Crap! I would run then find myself again caught up in conversation and generally enjoying myself and the view. The sun was awesome! I fell in love once again with at area. I think I could live there. Arriving at Pantoll I got a very calm non expressional welcome from Bill and Nico. Perplexed by their lack of emotion I pulled my pace chart of my pack and looked at my time. I was horrified when I found out I was 35 minutes behind my plan. I had taken my run by feel approach too far. I am a total comfort runner by nature. I am also and experience junkie. I like to take in people, things, ideas, views and thoughts. I lose myself almost always in the experience. I wouldn't trade this approach for anything because of the enriching nature it has brought to my life. But, there comes a point when the experience falls off the curve. Being this laissez-fair does not yield the desired experience. Right after Pantoll is where the "run by feel" experience starting taking a nose dive. It was like I suddenly went from a leisurely coffee date with friends to being late for a really important date.

At this point (mile 20) I wasn't sure what to do. Emotions, mostly negative "you suck" ones took over. I moved a bit faster but was more focused on trying to determine how this happened. After my pit stop at Bolinas (mile 27) I decided to get over it and make a choice. There was two ways this could go. I could just continue at this pace and finish really late or I could not pull my

head out, focus and make the best of it. I chose door number 2 because I knew I would not be at all pleased with the outcome if I chose door number 1. The experience junkie would need rehab.

I was already sore. In fact by mile 10 my hips were tightening. This may have been part of the reason I was so blah at the beginning. Subconsciously I may have been trying to preserve my glutes. But, that is not the way it works. If it's sore early it's going to get more sore, then you deal with it, shut it out, move on to something else like your feet or whatever might hurt.

My decision to take door number 2 and push was the right one but it was hard. I ran well from that point on. Pushing really hard on the second half. I arrived at mile 34 at 6:50 ish. Making 12 hours was going to be a stretch. 29 more miles. Bill ran with me from Bolinas (mile 41) to Tennessee (mile 57.6) which was really fun but I dropped him about 2 miles before Tennessee. I had mixed feelings about that. Celebrating our 17 wedding anniversary on the trail was great. He waved me to go and when I stopped he yelled at me to leave. So like a loving wife

I did what I was told J. On the way into Tennessee I was halted by the awesome sight of a bobcat. He was just strolling down the road without a care in the world. That was pretty cool. Bill got a picture of it.

I left Tennesee in a hurry and anxious to be done and on my way to Napa with Bill for vacation. I tried my hardest to get under 12 but fell short by 4 minutes. Post race my legs were sore! Super sore! I don't know why I feel like I shouldn't be sore. A total screwed sense of reality I suppose. Overall, I loved the new course but climbing out of Pirates Cove near the end is not easy! At least it wasn't for me.

Post race vacation was great. Bill and I spent 3 days in Napa Valley. I was not big wine drinker though. Just could 't enjoy much wine after Miwok. My taste buds were rejecting it.

That's probably the internal governor saying, "You don't need to be any more dehydrated". We walked around a lot which helped my sausage feet and was good recovery. Most of all we got to spend time together with no interruptions or responsibilities. However, Alex called us several time wanting to know when we were coming home. Home now and back at it. Next up is a 30 mile MTB race in Sisters. Bill will be racing on his anniversary present so I am excited to see how he likes it.


  1. Way to negative split it! I also ended up absurdly sore. My quads are still stupidly sore.

    Wandering around Napa with your hubbie on your anniversary sounds like a perfect way to recover.

    Let's run soon!

  2. "I was horrified when I found out I was 35 minutes behind my plan. I had taken my run by feel approach too far." Love this. I did this at Promise Land! Didn't you love it while it lasted? Sigh...

    Great report as usual! AS they say in Willy Wonka, "Keep your eyes on the prize, Violet, eyes on the prize (Leadville)" and don't stress your time---you have bigger fish to fry this year!

  3. You got to take what the day gives you! Great job being true to yourself and getting back into the race. You could have decided to make it an easy race, but it's not in your nature. You are one tough chick.
    Congrats on anniversary.

  4. With the cross training you're going to be an overall better athlete but not as specifically trained. You are still awesome and sounds like a great trip. All that wine! So Bill drank it all? ;)

  5. I am thouroughly impressed with multy-sport training and your races. I need me some glut medius (right now, I need me some new lower back). And I hear you how it is to run by feel and chat to no end, only to look at the watch at AS and freak out. But - you brought it in! Taking door #2 is awesome! Besides, did I hear you did NOT get lost? :)

  6. Wow, now THAT is a negative split! Great job! I'm glad you picked door #2, sometimes that can one of the hardest aspects of a race. You covered a lot of terrain mentally and physically.
    What a way to spend an anniversary! Congrats on that as well.

    Good luck at the MTB race in Sisters!