( Like 5 min's drive from hostel )
Where to start I ask? I guess I will just give you the full meal deal and break it all down for you. So go get that drink and settle in as here we go....
It was 9:30am on Friday December 2nd and I find myself sitting on the plane heading to San Fransisco for the weekend and the North Face 50 mile. It was to be my first and last ultra race for the year. I will admit I was a bit nervous as it was a big deal to me to give it my best effort. I knew that I had a pretty solid training block behind me. Not the best training block ever but still pretty good and I was happy. I thought to pass the plane time and to pump myself up I would listen to some Ultra Running podcast to draw some inspiration from. Boom 3+ hours went by and we where there and I felt even more excited about what was about to happen.
After checking out Muir woods then going to the hostel where we stayed, we headed into San Fransisco for the movie premiere of Unbreakable. It was fun to watch this great 2 hour movie with 350 other ultra runners while eating some pasta. After the movie Anton, Goeff and Hal three of the four movie's main players talked a little. It was pretty sweet. It was time to head back and get ready to go to bed and run.
Believe it or not I slept pretty darn good, something that does not always happens for me. After a little food and pre race prep it was off to the start and what was sure to be a super run.
As the start horn sounded I felt to huge amount of excitement rush through me. I was here doing this. My road to get back to racing was a long one but I was back. The first 3 miles of this race set the stage for what was ahead of me. Section after section of 1-2 miles uphill followed by 1-2 miles of downhill. It was a up/down race. Once the sun came up which was like 2 hours into the race I think the views where beyond belief. If you where not next to the ocean you where running in the huge redwoods of the area.
I felt good and in control for the all the way to the turn around of the short out and back section(mile 26ish?) not to fast but not to slow I thought. It was not until heading on the long downhill into Stinson Beach did my stomach start to be a problem. I started taking some salt and drinking coke at each station and that seemed to help some. On the climb up the Dipsea trail and mile 30 is when I could tell that my legs on the downhills where not so good. I guess it was time to hammer the power hiking up hills and try to keep a good pace on all the other sections.
My buddy Nick caught up to me at like 33 or 34 miles. He was having a great race I thought and this was a chance to challenge myself and try to stay with him. Over the next 8 miles Nick kept putting the hammer on me and I was proud that I kept fighting back. When we got to the beach aid station at like mile 42 we started this crazy big climb. It was at this point I pulled away from Nick as it seemed like I was climbing a bit better at this point of the day. Over the next 8+ miles I just kept pushing the uphills as hard as I could and try to do my best to not fall apart on the downhills to much. To think running downhill was harder at this point, kind of funny huh.
As I made my way up the final climb to the finish I was very proud of myself. Not because I had my best race time wise, not even close. But because I was back at it and that even though I was not at my best I kept on fighting. I know that with a year of solid training and racing I can come back and take off at least one and a half to two hours on my time. I guess we will have to see what happens. In the end for me it was not about time or place but about being apart of the sport I love with all my heart and soul.
Run= 51 miles in 9:48 with 11,604 feet of up and 11,591 of down!!
( Some of MN Race crew )