The Miwok 100k – Back on the home trails

Race Recap

Miwok.  Home trails.  A stacked field.  Friends running, pacing, spectating.  I was really looking forward to running the Miwok 100k but it always seemed like a date far out on the calendar.  That is until April finally came to a close and we woke up way too early on May 1 to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, ready to hit the trails of the Marin Headlands and Mount Tam.

Slapping 5 with buddy Gary Robbins while crossing the finish of the Miwok 100k. Photo courtesy of Jim Vernon

Without wanting to sounds over-dramatic, I was somewhat worried leading up to the race.  It had taken a lot longer to truly recover from the HURT100, and as much as I tried to put it aside I was definitely not all there for Way Too Cool 50k or the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile (they turned into additional learning experiences).  However about three weeks prior to Miwok everything finally came together and my body suddenly felt good, really good.  I had a solid final week and a half of hard runs, and then a good taper for another week and a half with shorter runs but pushing the pace.  Come race day I was ready.  I wanted to run a smart race, and if I had a good day I wanted to run sub 9:15 which I felt was a good round number time goal to personally shoot for.

Miwok starts off with about a 1/4 mile of sandy beach.  I settled in with an upper-mid group, not surprised to see that the front runners were already pushing hard, ready to keep that pace for the next 8-9 hours.  The two short out-and-backs during the first 5 miles provided a good opportunity to see who was hammering up front, as well as say quick hellos while passing friends also running.  I know these trails like the back of my hand so I really was just focusing on settling into a comfortable pace that I could hold for most of the race, including running pretty much all of the climbs up to the end.

At the top of Rodeo Valley Trail, the first big climb, my training partner Devon caught me and we ran together for a few minutes chatting until she pulled away pushing the downs a little harder than I wanted to early.  On the next couple rolling climbs I formed into a group with buddies Joe Palubeski (bitter rival!) and Thomas Reiss.  Joe too pulled away, and Thomas and I ran together for pretty much the next 25 miles.  I had a blast chatting with Thomas for so long, and together we knocked out the climb up Deer Park to Pantoll (not so bad when you can run it with a friend).

At the Randall Aid Station turnaround (mile 35.6) I was feeling good and knew that I had plenty left for the climb back up to Bolinas Aid Station.  Since it was the first big climb post-50k I hoped that I could also begin catching some of the runners who may have pushed it a little too hard too early.  Knowing the climb and having my calories dialed in made the climb back to Bolinas fine, and at the aid station I quickly refilled with help from aid station volunteer and ultra legend Scott Jurek who shared some good words of motivation.  At Bolinas I was also excited to pick up my buddy and pacer Will Gotthardt for the final 20 miles back to the finish, especially since I knew Will would provide great late-race motivation and since we hadn’t shared any miles for what seemed like way too long.

Over the next 20 miles Will and I cruised along sharing stories, laughing, and setting our sites on the runners ahead.  I ran conservative in the early going and used that to my advantage to pick off another 7 or so runners in the last 20 miles, including several buddies (sorry guys, but I’m sure you’ll return the favor soon enough, hahha).  Those 20 miles back to the finish were a blast.  At the gradual climb out of the Highway 1 aid station I knew that there would be several guys who would be able to see me on the long, winding, and exposed Miwok Fireroad trail.  I did my best to put the hammer down on this section to visually pull away from the guys that were chasing me, all of whom I knew were strong runners.  The plan worked and we also bombed down the steep descent of Fox to hopefully add some more distance and also try to gain on anyone that may be ahead of me as I knew the final climbs out of Tennessee Valley were next.

A goal of mine going into the race was to run the climbs after Tennessee Valley, namely all of Old Springs, and the 95% of Wolfback that I feel is worth running in a long race.  Heading up Old Springs I told Will to give me a shout if any mountain bikers came bombing down as I put my hat brim low so that I couldn’t see the ascent ahead of me.  I physically knew I could run the climbs, I just did not want to see too far ahead to mentally psych myself out.  Will kept up the motivation and I was really pumped at how well we banged out the final climbs.

The final descent down Coastal to the Start/Finish at Rodeo Beach seemed longer than I had remembered, but was a fun one and I really enjoyed the last mile+ laughing with Will all the way to the finish.  I let out a few whoops while crossing the finish in 9:14.22 (just under my goal!) and shared congratulations with friends who had already finished or were out supporting.  So many friendly faces it was great.

My friends I am fortunate enough to train with all had great races as well. Nathan finished 4th overall in 8:32, Bob was 9:23, Joel was 9:25 (first 100k), Devon was 2nd female in 9:36, Rick was 10:38 (PR), Brian was 10:43, and JB was 10:48.  My friends and house guests up from SoCal for the weekend Dom G. and Katie D. came through in 9:21 and 13:23 respectively.  Way to go everyone as well as to all runners at the 2010 Miwok 100k.  Congrats to Anton Krupicka. (8:02) and Kami Semick (9:10) on the wins!

A special thank you to RD Tia Bodington as well as all of the volunteers who make the race possible.  I was a volunteer in ’09 so I know firsthand the long day (weekend) required to make the race possible.  A huge thanks to Will G. for pacing me the last 20 miles, it was a blast, I appreciate the tangents, and laughs.

Full results can be found HERE

Nathan did a cool, short post-race interview with Bryon from HERE


Hopefully the lottery gods will allow me to be back in 2011 


Hanging out and celebrating with buddies Joel Lanz and Dominic Grossman post-race

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