Saturday, November 9, 2019

Mt. Tam 50K: Nov 09, 2019

Pre Race Photo
This was my final race of 2019.  After Kodiak 100 back in August I took it easy as I wanted to rest and enjoy life outside of running.  Shaun convinced Ram and myself that we should all sign up and run this race.  Ram and I were out of shape but Shaun had been getting some good training in while on paternity leave.  Also, Jessica Meeker, an ultra running friend from back home in Ohio, had moved out to Northern California and she signed up for this race as well.  I was excited to run the race since it takes place on trails that I have spent a lot of time training on along with some trails that were new to me.  Of course, the views are great from everywhere since the race takes place in the Mt. Tam area.  I was signed up for this race in 2018 but it got cancelled due to wild fire smoke so it was a relief that we got to run it this year.

Steep Ravine Trail Ladder Climb
The four of us were in a group when the race started from Stinson Beach but there were a lot of runners bunched up and we were starting to get spread out.  Jessica was moving quickly at the beginning and I was doing my best to keep up with her.  Shaun was moving along with us but Ram had somehow got caught in the pack behind us.  It was difficult to keep the group together in the crowded trails as we climbed up steep ravine trail to get to Cardiac Hill, the first aid station.  I stopped briefly at the first aid station, Shaun was feeling great and he decided to push on.  Jessica and I were still running together but I could not see Ram behind us.  It was nice to get caught up with Jessica as I had not seen her since she had moved out here.  We descended down to the Muir Woods area and then climbed back up to Deer Park Fire road.  Then we dropped down to the Miwok Trail where a long gradual climb awaited us.  This is one of those climbs where it's hard to know if you should spend the energy to run uphill or power hike and conserve the energy.  At the top of the Miwok Trail climb was Dias Ridge Trail which was a really fun and fast downhill to Muir Beach, the half way point aid station. Upon leaving that aid station Ram was coming into it.  I waited for Ram and ran the rest of the race with him.  

We went up the "donkey kong" trail, this nickname came about due to a bunch of mini trail
Fog Hovering About The Area
switchbacks, when at the bottom of the trail it looks like people going up it are in the video game donkey kong.  Then we did the long climb up coastal trail back to Cardiac Hill.  After that we had one more loop down to the Muir Woods area and climb back to Cardiac Hill.  Finally we descended down the Dipsea Trail back to Stinson Beach for the finish.  Shaun had a really solid race as he felt good all day.  Ram and I picked it up toward the end even though we were both feeling pretty trashed due to being out of shape.  Jessica had forged ahead when I waited for Ram at Muir Beach and we ended up passing her on the second trip down to Muir Woods.  She had a strong finish as well.  After the race Ram, Jessica, and myself hung out for a little while.  This race is put on by Inside Trails and once again they did a great job of hosting this event.  This was a tough but fun race with over 6,300 feet of climbing and some beautiful scenery I will definitely be back for this one in the future.  Also, this 50K is the kickoff for training as we have a tough race coming up in early February!

The Course
The beast of a course