Friday, April 08, 2011

Headlands 50

Last Weekend… Janet, Abe and I went to the Marin Headlands and ran our very own 50 miler. We were registered to run Lake Sonoma 50, but it got cancelled. They said it was the weather, I was disappointed, and apparently the Lake Sonoma Gods were not going to have us run that race this year. In any event, we were pissed. What to do? What to do? Within an hour of the cancellation we had plans... We planned our “un_Sonoma” trail run. Abe, Janet and I decided to go run 50 miles in the Marin Headlands. We followed the course I know well from Headlands 100.

If you want to see the course, click on the picture above, this is a link to a google flyover.. Pretty impressive..

This course is pretty steep, we were planning to do 2 - 25 mile loops “washer machine” style (reverse direction each lap). Each lap consisted of approximately 5000 feet of elevation gain, which is definitely a challenging course.

Got up really early and after a quick stop at Starbucks, I was on my way to pick up Janet. Like always she was ready to go and excited about this little adventure of ours. This time, we picked our third amigo, Abe. He is currently training for WS100 so he was motivated to get this 50 under his belt.. The weather was awesome, it promised to be a great day.

Nutrition prepared the day before, GU, coke, bananas, chips, coffee, avocados, canned fruit, pickles, water and power juice.

Abe an I after the first 8 miles.. ready to tackle the next 42

We arrived to Tennessee Valley and got our gear ready, we knew there was a race that particular day so we tried to stay away from the area and took the smaller loop first, an 8 mile loop. We did it no time, and just like that we were back at Tennessee valley. We refilled our bottles, took some nutrition, I thought I forgotten my second water bottle, so I got my hydrapck filled with water and electrolytes and we were in our way for the first 17 mile loop. The day was glorious… it was beginning to get a bit hot. And it had been raining for a while so there were many areas where the water had accumulated and the only way around it was to run through it… which we did. Of course this might be horrible for blisters, but I was lucky and did not get one until the end of the day.

Abe feet after finishing the run... ha!

We had been running for 20 miles+ and all of the sudden I started to feel my plantar fasciitis acting up, I adjusted my stride, and just like that, it was gone. I forgot all about it until the end of the day. Janet asked me for ibuprofen and I swore I had some, but couldn’t find it. We ran for a mile or so then I remembered that I might had some in my hydrapack, I slowed down, took my hydrapack off and found the little plastic bag with ibuprofen and salt pills… score!!. She took some, I took some and we were rejuvenated. We came back to the car, mile 25 or so and ate in earnest.

I had brought pickles, coke, avocado, tortilla chips, gels, larabars, bananas, oranges, and I cannot believe I was eating all of it. I even drank the pickle juice Abe left for me. J We ate plenty and after we were satisfied, we took off for the next 17 mile loop in opposite direction. There are a couple of sections in the loop that are pretty steep. They are murderous on your quads coming down, and horrendously hard and demoralizing going up. Coming down from SCA trail I realized that one thing I will never be able to do, keep up with Janet on the descents. She is an awesome downhiller. Going downhill form the SCA trail, I felt my left toe slamming against the end of my shoe. I knew that mean trouble, I knew I was probably going to lose a toenail, it was painful and at one time I had to stop for a few seconds because the pain was really sharp. I had taken ibuprofen earlier, so I didn’t want to take anymore, but the pain was really bad so I decided to take another dosage I took it and once it kicked in, I could run with no problem. Janet and I kept the same pace; Abe on the other hand was always going ahead and then running back to get us. He didn’t seem to have any issues… I guess, I am just getting old.

The downhills were really hard on my poor feet... :(

And then after 17 miles we were back in the car again. This was a very short break; just enough to get our lights, eat some and get ready with the night gear including a long sleeve or something else. We also ate some more. The last 8 miles were glorious. Simply because we got to see the sunset form the mountain, it is an amazing sight. We also got to hear the crash of the sea and I realized once again how lucky I am of being able to be there and having such wonderful friends. Definitely something we all should experience.

People asked me what do you do and talk during such a long run, Janet and I know each other pretty well by now. Obviously I couldn’t repeat many of the things we have shared during these trail runs; it is great to have a friend whose interest aligns with yours so intimately.

Janet at mile... look at that big smile... I guess we were close to finish.

At the end of the run, we gave each other a hug, changed and when we were about to get ready to go, I realized that the car battery was dead. Yep, there was no way we were going to start it. We were in the middle of nowhere. Two things we were thankful for, a cellphone that had signal and Janet's AAA card. We called the tow-truck and I even took a little nap in the car waiting for it. The tow truck finally arrived, we started the car and we were on our way home. It was a great day... can't wait to do it again.
Now I feel ready for Miwok 100K in three weeks or so... wooohoo!!

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