Stinson Beach Marathon
This was a challenging and BEAUTIFUL course. I still can't believe I did it! (Yes I can, because I'm totally sore today!) It was beautiful day to run and the weather was PERFECT! It had rained a couple days ago so their was some dampness and wet leaves on the trails. I'm glad I got some new trail shoes with extra grip. Wearing new shoes on a marathon is not recommended.
We started off in the sand of Stinson Beach after Dave delivered his pre-race meeting instructions and jokes (which is very entertaining btw). Then we headed straight up the Dipsea Trail and Steep Ravine for about 3-4 miles of steady climbing. It took me a while to warm up, and I was carrying a 7lb Camelbak full of water, so was a little out of breath. It was a relief to reach each downhill approach but then I remembered that downhill can be just as challenging and painful if not more than uphill. Some of the runners are very good at descending and were able to speed past.
Lot of lush switchbacks heading in and around Muir Woods. Every now and then there was a babbling brook or moss-covered bridge to cross, and at one point, a ladder! At times I would find myself running alone and stunned by the remarkable silence and peacefulness here. Even though the trails were well marked I would have several moments of - omg am I going in the right direction? Then I would see another runner or orange ribbon and be relieved. I stuck with fueling and hydration the way I trained. Take a sip of water every half mile, and gu every 45 minutes. They had salty snacks, gatorade and water at the aid stations. I unbelievably made it to 11.75 miles the first 2 hours, considering the elevations. In my mind I thought "whew, the hard part is over". NOT.
The Coastal Trail on the ridge seems like a cakewalk on the elevation graph but it is not. It is very rolling, which means, watch your step or you can roll down the mountain! Going north, my right ankle had the opportunity to become sore. Coming back, my left ankle. So, I feel balanced now. It's also baking. I was cheered on by the cry of the hawk that you hear in movies. There were other marathoners coming back on the same track and hikers! Lots of stopping politely to let others pass. Some of the hikers on the way back were stunned that I stopped for them and were complaining that other runners didn't stop. It gave me an opportunity to rest, though. But - I can understand why runners didn't stop. Some people looked like they were hanging on by a thread and were in zombie mode. Others were wild-eyed and in their zone. We would cheer each other on and others didn't say a word but I know how they felt. I was cursing to myself alot on this part of the trail. Remember all the pounding and work that had been done on the first 15 miles? I can feel it now. And I still have to get back down. I started praying to the Envirosports Goddess "Timing Chip" on my bib logo to help me. I thought of my wonderful support team, my family, friends and fellow bloggers, and how thankful I am that I can do this, all the training I put in, etc. I'm not going to make record time by flying down the mountain. Maybe if I hang-glide.
On the Matt Davis trail down I could hear the reassuring sound of the waves. I wanted to cry every time I came to another round of steep stairs, and walked gingerly down them. My feet at this point felt like bloodied stumps (hahaha new shoes). I can't risk falling and injuring myself because I'm doing another long trail run next month! Yes, I will forget about all this pain and do it again. The mental mantras kicked in. My "fresh legs" mantra that I used in the beginning was a joke now, and basically used humor to get me the rest of the way down. Somehow I finally made it to the finish line in 5 hours. Dave was there to shout our times and record them himself. A cold foot dip in the ocean never felt so good. Marathon #3. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
This year Mt. Tam, next year maybe Mt. Diablo!
Results: 5:00:25. 3rd in AG