With over 300 miles, October was my most intense month in terms of preparation for NF50. And thus, I was not just physically but also mentally tired going to the final big weekend before starting my taper. The plan was to run a 50k on Saturday and 20+ miles on Sunday. The abundance of trail races in the Bay Area afforded me to use races to get in most of those miles.
Stinson Beach Marathon
I drove to this race a bit tired. Tired of running a lot of miles. Tired of spending time away from Mrs. Golden Trails. The training was wearing on me. The end was in sight though and all that stood between and my taper was 52 miles of running this first weekend in November.
I ran an easy 2 miles before we lined up and began our climb up to Pantoll. Not feeling much like racing, I settled in somewhere behind the lead pack but ahead of the peloton. As a result, I ran alone for most of the first 10 miles. The race was pretty uneventful as a whole. We ran a lot of what would be the NF50 course, so this was as much a fact finding mission as anything else. The experience of running along the surprisingly challenging Bolinas Ridge (looks easy on any race profile) would help a lot on December 4th.
Oh, in the end I really surprised myself with a marathon PR of 3:32. A few more miles on Miwok after that and it was time for me to head home and get ready for Sunday.
Muir Beach 33k
I have had ‘bad’ luck with weather during the 09/10 winter with four straight races featuring massive rain storms. However, nothing like what we experienced at MB this year. Howard called me as I was negotiating ridiculous road conditions on my way to Marin. He was hoping I would pull out of the race and thereby give him an excuse not to run. Heck no! I know a simple formula: mud=fun! (He would later have a splendid time).
With limited parking, my car was about a mile from the start line. 10 minutes before the gun went off, I got out, ran to get my number and essentially ran across the starting line. I enjoyed Pirates Cove somewhere in the middle of the pack and steadily moved up throughout the race. It was hard to see or even stand up straight at times, but who cares? I had a ball! Eventually, I crossed the line in a surprising 6th overall. Not bad given how tired my legs were from the previous day’s effort.
And with that, I had a pretty good feeling about NF50…