I have so much to say!  It's been a while since I've last written and I have quite a bit of ground to cover.

As I attempted to crank out my race report for the Miwok 100k, I found the first few paragraphs (more like three pages) were about everything but Miwok.

After getting to the end of the first draft, I looked at its length and I decided I didn't even want to read it because there was just too much. 
In an attempt to keep your attention span (and mine!), I will try to stay on topic and I will play catch up in another post or two.




Some background would be helpful --

Last year, I developed some pain in my right knee which eventually led me to the ortho's office and I got my first MRI.



After floundering around for nearly four months trying to figure out what was going on, and despite a small meniscus tear, I was eventually cleared for running. 
As you can imagine, very inconsistent (almost non-existent) training in the beginning of the year put a serious dent in my training.

Pondering my future goals, my focus moved away from Ironman and headed straight for trying to get ready for the Miwok 100k.  With only eight weeks, I jumped in head first with an almost self-sabotaging approach.  Honestly, I didn't care. 
I figured I was going to survive or end up back in the doctor's office but I didn't like the limbo feeling I'd been living and I wanted a definitive answer.

To my surprise, I survived the first week.  And then the second.  And the weeks after that.  Before I knew it, I was starting to feel like my old self again. 
I wasn't so thrilled about the short training period but I felt like I could get ready enough to survive, to finish in the required 16 hours and to check the first box required for entering the Western States lottery.

As you can imagine, eight weeks went by faster than I had liked but I felt strong.  My longest run was only 29 miles but I felt like it was enough.


The beauty of a running race is you only need to show up with running gear. 
I know it sounds silly but after carting around gear for all three sports, assembling and disassembling bikes, etc., running races seem very appealing.

We arrived at our hotel on the day prior to the race and despite feeling somewhat unprepared, I felt ready enough.

I'd like to say I ate dinner, went to bed, slept like a baby and woke up ready to race but the truth is -- there's a lot going on in my world right now and I slept like sh*t. 
Dinner was good though so if nothing else, I was fattened up for the slaughter.

Because of the location of the race start, we had to get up at 3:30am which I believe is the earliest I've ever awakened for a race.  Needless to say, I was unhappy but I shoveled food into my belly and caffeine into my brain. 
I think we left the hotel right around 4am and we arrived with a fair amount of time to spare.

Mind you, it's pitch black when we arrive because it's a 5am race start but with nearly 500 runners, all wearing headlamps, it's not too hard to find your way around.


A quick check-in to get my bib number and I start putting on my gear. 
Not long after, we're lining up and the race director sends us off.

A few weeks prior to the race, I previewed part of the course and I knew the beginning was tough.  It's basically a three mile ascent up a very steep hill. 
The first mile has an average grade of 16% and the three miles combined took me about 45 minutes to cover.

I'd read the race reports from the previous years and the authors talked about the long line of headlamps traversing the trail. 
It truly is something to see and it's very much like a string of lights on a Christmas tree.

Eventually popping out on top of the hill, the course turns to very narrow single track on a sloped hill.  It twists and turns and at this point, it's still pretty dark out and I managed to fall.  Trying to keep my eyes on everything but not doing such a good job, I manage to fall again.  My foot slipped into a hole and I managed to pull something in my groin. 
Fortunately, the handhelds are great for breaking falls so the only real issue was a nagging sensation in my groin area.

The pain wasn't impacting my run but it was noticeable and I was concerned that it might develop into something more than a nuisance in the back miles.

It seemed to come and go for the first 15-20 miles but then after that, either it went away or I got good at ignoring it. 
Regardless, it didn't present itself again until after the race.

What else can I say?  62 miles is a long way to run, it was a lot of pretty scenery and a lot of hills.






Continuing on...

Around thirty-something miles, I ran through the Tennessee Valley aid station where the Mrs. volunteered.  In the miles leading to her, I hit some dark patches and I thought about how happy I'd feel when I finally got to see her.  It worked.


I got to the aid station where she was busily working but I managed to get my second set of bottles. 
We said hi and goodbye and off I went.

After leaving Tennessee Valley, I approached the San Francisco part of the course.  Around this corner and that corner, I would get glimpses of the various parts of the East Bay, San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge.




Last year at Leona Divide, I brought along a camera and I took a bunch of photos but in this race, I kept the photos to a minimum because I didn't want kill so much time and I also wanted to take in the sites without the camera in front of my face.

Sorry, I guess you'll have to run the race to see all of its beauty. 
;)

After running around the north side of the Golden Gate, I started back towards Tennessee Valley
and another opportunity to see the Mrs.

The day was starting to feel long, my nutrition wasn't exactly on but I had my final set of bottles and I felt like that would get me back on track.


When I arrived at Tennessee Valley, I couldn't find the Mrs.  I looked around, I called out her name but it was really crowded with runners and volunteers.  I almost gave up but I really, really wanted my bottles instead of feeding off the course so I hung around for a few more seconds.  And then I spotted her.


With a new set of bottles, I left the aid station and I felt like I was on the final stretch.  That feeling didn't last long though -- I started having problems putting down calories, it was shutting down my stomach.   I probably went out too hard in the beginning of the race and I probably should have walked the hills instead of trying to run them or run / walk them. 
Regardless of what went wrong, trying to put calories in seemed to make matters worse so I did what I could but I spent the last 2.5 hours with very little going in.

The last seven-ish miles were really hard.  The ascents were tough but the descents were even tougher.  I felt delicate and not surefooted.  While I could have made up a lot of time flying down the descents, I felt like I could just as easily bust my ass in a bad way.  And the final descent is tricky, it's basically the ascent from the beginning which is steep and consists of LOTS of steps.  Quite a few people shot past me but I was determined to stay upright.


FINALLY! 
Back on flat ground, I popped out onto the road by the start, ran a few feet, made a right turn, ran a few more feet and I was across the finish.

It wasn't pretty but I got it done in 12:34.




It was a humbling experience to say the least and it's the longest I've raced in over six years!!

Gone are the days of the front of the pack Ironman adventures, replaced by a middle of the pack ultra runner.