|Dean Karnazes & Mike Wardian at the pre-race Q&A|
So going in to this, I was pretty certain I hadn't put in enough long runs, and I was quite worried about my ability to get through 80km and 10,000ft of climbing in the Marin headlands.
I had 4 aims going into this one:
1. Hang with the front group for the first 1-2 km (it was a stacked field, the who's who of North American Ultra running). My son told me to kick Geoff Roes ass in a text as I was leaving! Mmmm, no fear of that!
2. Top 50 in the Men's field (too many fast girls to get top 50 overall).
3. Break top 10 in my age group (the old geezers over 40 class).
4. Catch my wife, who was starting the 50km race 2 hours after me. We figured if I had a great race, and she had an Ok race, I may catch her in the final mile or two.
For starters I'll say, this was an incredible race, on amazing trails, unbelievable scenery, warm conditions, great post race beer tent, and very well organized. If you are looking for a challenging 50 miler in December, this has to be it. And it's a sea level race!!! When you train year round at 6000, this is a total winner, and I was really hoping that the thick air would get me through this one!
The race started, as expected, at a ridiculous pace, being cheered out by Dean Karnazes - pretty cool.
We headed out at 4 min/km by headlamp. Yes, I hung with Roes, Wardian, Wolfe, Jones et al for about 1.5km. Hal Koerner passed me at about 1km. Goal number 1, check.
|The hectic start|
As the sun came up the true beauty of the trails became evident with incredible vistas across the headlands to the Pacific Ocean. The trails were never too technical, but continuously up and down and interesting. At about 18 miles we were out on the final single track out and back, and the lead guys and girls started passing us on their way back in. The pace looked incredible, and it was cool to run so close to the big guns.
By mile 25 I was feeling great, though the endless steps on Dipsea were fatiguing the quads somewhat. I had hooked up with an accountant from New York, Ben, and we pretty much ran the rest of the race together. Ben was descending quicker than I was, but I seemed to catch and pass him on every climb, so we were well matched, and the conversation was good.
I finished 60th in the men's field - goal no. 2, fail.
I was 10th in the old geezers over 40 class - goal no. 3, check.
I didn't catch my wife - she crossed the line in her 50km debut in 6h 40, 2 mins ahead of me. Chapeau, to you, Saira!
Thanks to The North Face for such a cool race. Thanks to the weather gods for being kind. Thanks to Ben for the chit chat miles 20-50, and thanks to Grandpa Rutter for watching the kids whilst we were off galavanting in the sunshine!
|Posing at the finish|
|First Ultra, in the bag.|