This report is a mix of all sorts of information, a core dump so I can remember race details for Miwok and other future races, so others can understand some of the details and the attraction of ultra trail running either as an outsider, a road runner or at some current level of trail running. These are all my own photos, some with some photoshopping and you may download and use them if you like. I have reduced the file size of most to speed your viewing. Clicking an image in WordPress opens the image in the browser. In some cases I changed the link to open the full file size for some of the nicer photos. I have also created a few links for equipment and other things mentioned in this report. There may be some inaccuracies since I am from Dallas and reporting on this California race. Also, it is dynamic and I may ‘improve’ it over time.
This is my first time to play with WordPress. I think you can leave comments or corrections if you like. I will try and make updates if I have the time.
Thanks for reading!
Prelude . . . some info I had sent to friends pre race, included here for some background on the race.
Hi friends. Josephie and I are en route to the west coast for the Miwok 100k trail run in Marin county. Miwok100 is a 62.2 mi trail running race with out-and-backs and loops and around 12,000 ft of elevation gain. It has taken place since 1996. It begins and ends at Stinson Beach State Park along the coast, north of San Francisco. The course winds up and down the coast between several beaches and the coastal mountains and forests. I’m lucky to be in this race. It has a lottery for entry with about a 50% lottery entry success ratio. There are no specific race entry requirements other than . . . registration.
The Miwok 100 has in the past had a 16.5 hr time limit. Apparently the parks department now wants everyone off the mountain by dark so it has been shortened to 15.5 hrs. I have concern about making this time cutoff. There are also time cutoffs at 3 points on the course at miles 26, 35.5 and 49.2. These cutoffs translate to a pace of 15 minutes per mile.
Weather is predicted to be 50-70F and sunny, which is part of the attraction of a California coastal race. Miwok has 11 aid stations along the 62 miles. There are two such stations that allow personal drop bags, one of which, Tennessee Valley (TV), is hit twice at mile 13.8 and 26. Randall is the last drop bag station and comes up at mile 49.2. The other aid stations are ‘full service’ which I presume means water, sports drink and some choice of snacks. Soup is on the menu at Randall and that should be quite welcome prior to the last half marathon to the finish.
Lights are requested for the 0500 start at Stinson beach. I’ll either use a small handheld or my Black Diamond Sprinter headlamp. There is a courtesy flashlight drop off box at Muir beach, mile 8 but I’ll probably take mine to the first drop bag station so I don’t have to remember to retrieve it later.
As I start in Stinson beach, I plan to run in my Hoka Stinson trail shoes, Hoka’s fully equiped version in terms of stability, cushion and trail tread. I’ve thrown some vibrams into my 49.2 drop bag in case I need a change to push me to the finish. I ran in Vibrams for years and still sometimes enjoy the radical change to VFF for the final leg of a race.
There will be some sort of webcast of the race here:
And if you scroll down, I’m no. 426
Start time (Dallas) is 07:00hr and finish cutoff is 22:30hr.
Clicking on a runner’s number will get you their stats.
Should be interesting . . . cheers!
I don’t suggest purposely going into a race underprepared but it did add some excitement to this one. My usual state of training for a race is that I’m not quite prepared. But if I had let that stop me then I would have missed some of the best ultra trail experiences ever, well, all of them I guess. Planning in advance for a destination race adds a degree of monetary and mental commitment but is no guarantee that obstacles to preparation don’t show up.
Miwok is a tough 100K race with around 12,000 ft of ascent spread over many large climbs as well as rolling hills over the most of the course. The race takes place begins and ends at Stinson Beach State Park along the coast, north of San Francisco. The course winds up and down the coast between several beaches and the coastal mountains and forests. Josephie and I have done perhaps six of the races in this area with Insidetrail and others and are familiar with much of the course and the generally excellent weather for such an event.
The 16.5 hour time limit had been reduced this year to 15.5 hours by the California parks department apparently to get runners finished by dark. There is a 100 mile Marin headlands race in the fall that, of course, goes all night but maybe it has something to do with park permits.
The town of Stinson Beach is the start / finish for the race and is about 30 minutes of winding, two lane mountain road from Mill Valley or Sausalito.
Physical training was not so organized. It consisted of weekend long runs in the 20 mi range with the Irving marathon and most of the muddy NTTR Grasslands 50M run thrown in in the last six weeks or so. The social aspects of running with friends has been a very large motivational factor to training and I’m appreciative of that. Some stretch yoga has helped a bit with flexibility and I have found that a fitness class consisting of core exercises and high rep light weights adds a great benefit to trail running and general fitness. Perhaps if we had some tough trails in Dallas all of this might not be needed, but the added flexibility and strengthening seems to add quite a bit to all aspects of the run.
Mental factors in a long race are important. There’s not much I can recommend about specifically improving the mental component, but there are some things that I have found to give a mental boost during an ultra race. Physical or mental, little things add up to either help or hurt you. Knowing about the course gives a mental boost. Reading race reports is like mentally running the course as you read and as well you will pick up some general and specific tips for the race. Go over the race web site and read any race instruction that might help with navigation even though actual navigation is rarely dependent on remembering details of the course. I make a note of the important times and events and memos for race day, such as ‘wake up’, ‘leave hotel’, ‘arrive at parking site’, ‘pick up race packet’. I also have a spreadsheet that includes race start, aid station details (drop bags, crew, pacers, cutoffs, aid station details (pick up headlamp, add second water bottle, take meds, etc)).
All this may sound too detailed, but there is much to think about on and around race day. Everything that has been reviewed and taken care of clears your mind for enjoyment and completion of the race or attention to unforeseen situations that pop up before or during the race. Arrival to the city of the race as early as possible allows for less stress, better organization and earlier night into bed before the race.
I’m not a very fast runner but I did stay in the Mill Valley Holiday Inn Express. I think that is about as close as you can get to the Miwok race start unless you find a cottage in Stinson Beach. The HIE was very nice for the race with a large room to spread out race stuff. However, my hope for races is always to not have to arrange equipment the day before the race but that hasn’t happened so far. I think I’m progressing toward being more minimal with drop bags but it’s hard not to overdo it.
We were aiming for leaving Mill Valley at 0345 to get to Stinson Beach around 0415 or maybe a bit later if the mountain drive was foggy. We got off at a bit before 4 and arrived at Stinson around 0435. I had picked up my race packet at the San Francisco Running Co in Mill Valley on Friday and just had to check in to be ready to start. Thankfully Josephie was with me on this race and was able check me in and drop my bags into the respective aid station stacks for transport while I stood in the bathroom line – 4 portolets for 500 racers. Note to self for this an other such races – give more time before the start – I barely made it out of the bathroom before the race started and was in the back of a bottleneck to begin a climb onto the steep, mostly single track climb out of Stinson Beach. This certainly cost me 5 or more minutes although with a such a long race, this delay really wasn’t on my mind. The slow start was at least a gentle way to start a long race and the incline was mostly a walking grade for a mile or so. Many racers were still in the bathroom line at the 0500 start.
Weather had been about ten degrees warmer just a day and a half earlier and the 45 degree start in dry weather was about perfect. About 30 minutes into first climb, I chose to shed my outer long sleeve shirt and go with a thin wool Icebreaker brand undershirt, which, by the way is an awesome shirt for any kind of ultra event. I have learned to appreciate wool in thin layers for endurance events. As we rounded the open hill out of Stinson Beach, looking down the trail to the water below I saw trail of lights. I thought I was about at the end of the line but this must have been the bathroom line or other stragglers as I had not passed many runners up to that point.
The start, although a significant grade, was non technical and my Black Diamond Sprinter headlight provided adequate lighting at this point. This is a great general purpose rechargeable headlamp with some great improvements over last year’s model including microUSB charging without the need for a cradle or special power supply. I prefer a hand held light for either more technical or longer runs in the dark as lighting from the hand creates visible shadows. By 0600, ambient light in open areas provided enough light to run safely although the wooded areas were best run with the light.
Muir Beach aid station, mile 8, came along pretty quickly, although with some slow startup miles only slightly compensated for on the few level areas en route. My time in was
I was using my Ultimate Direction Scott Jurek running vest and had debated using one water bottle in the front vs adding a reservoir. Paying careful attention to hydration and salt was high on my list. I had chosen the water bottle and the plan, as I had done in other races was to leave each station with a full bottle and arrive at the next with an empty bottle and supplement at each aid station by filling and drinking as many bottles at the aid station as I thought I needed. I was trading off two different time consuming operations, drinking and refilling a 22 oz water bottle while remaining at the aid station vs extracting, filling and repositioning my 50 oz Platypus reservoir in the back of the Jurek vest. I think that the Jurek vest can hold a bigger reservoir, but the 50 oz is tricky enough to position in the back compartment even with no other gear in the back. I would not want to have to do a quick refill of a larger reservoir, particularly if it was sharing space with any other gear such as a jacket. I chose the Platypus at REI one day just because I had always used Camelbak. I’m generally happy with it. Camelbak does have a better fill system with the big mouth quarter turn lid, but that thing is bulky and best fits their vest where the lid can be accessed from the outside.
I love the Jurek vest but I have not figured out how to do a quick reservoir refill on it. Once in place, the bladder in this vest performs well, however, the process of removing and replacing the bladder in the back compartment beneath the main storage area while routing the drinking hose is somewhat tedious. I’m afraid that the time saved drinking on the run with the bladder may be wasted by filling and installing the drinking bladder. So it depends on one’s preference for drinking an extra 50 or so oz at the aid station vs carrying it in the reservoir.
Although it was not a drop bag aid station, Muir had a box for depositing one’s flashlight for later retrieval. I had mine labeled but forgot to leave it. Somewhere in the dark I hear a sound like turkeys gobbling high up in the redwoods. Sort of strange, but it did indeed sound like turkeys. Later Josephie shows me this photo from Tennessee Valley aid station.
Leaving Muir, Tennessee Valley (TV) aid station would be the next aid 5 miles away, just over the half marathon point. I was using my phone as my GPS run tracker with the RunKeeper app. Runkeeper on the Android platform is buggy at best. I was using it on this run as an alternative to Strava, my other running app. I may elaborate another time about it, but Runkeeper on the Android platform is a total fail, especially for an ultra event where it has a known software failure after a certain time / distance. It also has the disadvantage of lack of configurability after starting a run. When your run is 15 hours, that is a problem. I used it because it offered better customization of voice cues. It has more parameters and the time and / or distance trigger for the voice cues has more options.
Here is my Runkeeper data (until mile 45 phone crash) that was restored by importing into Strava.
I was really just concerned with a couple of bits of real time running data – my average pace and elapsed time. The average pace for making all cutoffs was around 15 min per mile with some variation at each cutoff point, so I was hoping to see a consistent average pace well below 15 min / mi and hopefully below 14 for some time buffer.
We arrive at TV, mile 13.8 and the first drop bag aid station that we will hit again on this race at mile 25. My wife Josephie is there to welcome me and help with aid station details. At this point I am using the hydration scheme noted above, and consume two bottles at the aid station and one in between. My general formula for hydration is to drink about a 0.2% salt solution, inclusive of any salt supplements. This is a good formula for Texas races but may be a little heavy on the salt for this California race. In retrospect, I had a bit of ankle edema and was slightly overweight for a couple of days relative to a ‘usual’ race of this sort so I think I slightly OD’d on salt. Sports drinks are a little too concentrated in terms of calories and light on salt to use solely for fluids, calories and salt replacement. Diluting them 50 / 50 with water tends to give the right water replacement without too many calories yet is, of course, even more deficient in salt. Thus, my formula tends to be to do a 50 / 50 mix of water and the ‘sports drink du jour’ then add one to two S-caps per 24 oz water bottle.
The south end of the course is coming up next at mile 18.6. Some of the Marin county races descend entirely to sea level and use the Fort Baker area under north end of the Golden Gate bridge. Instead we will bipass that descent and continue along the ridge line west and we descend into the east end of a cove at the ‘Bridge’ aid station. But before that point is the glimpse of the Golden Gate and the expanse of the trail and ocean, quite a view! Now my glasses are fogging up again. I move them away a bit then take them off. Oh, that’s actual fog! You click the photos below for a better view. This is one of my favorite views on the Marin headlands trail system.
Up on the ridge for another great view of trail, bay and bridge.
This has been a slow segment for me and my average pace has gone from 12:23 to 13:49 as we come up and around a corner to the Bridge aid station.
The Miwok consists of some sections shared in two directions. This gives runners the chance to see leading runners coming the other way.
More climbs and decents along ridge lines bring us back to TV at mile 25.
Back to Tennessee Valley aid at mile 25. A familiar site, in many of the Marin races, we leave TV from this direction and are about 4.2 miles from the Rodeo beach start / finish at this point. But today there are other plans.
TV has the first official cutoff time enforcement at 7 hrs. This represents a pace of 16:15. I suppose that helps a runner has a problem with a delayed start, etc. After that the cut off pace is actually a bit below 15:00. I have arrived at TV with a elapsed time of 5:41 and I’ve brought my average pace back down to 13:07 for a small comfort zone. My thoughts are that I’ll certainly make the next cutoff, Cardiac, at 35.5 and that I might not have trouble with the big turn around cutoff at the north end of the trail at mile 49.2. I did not realize it at this point in the race, but Tia had emailed a race update reducing the Randall, 49.2 mi cutoff from 12:20 to 12 hrs.
Through the next 9.5 and two aid stations, Muir (again) and Cardiac I added about a minute to my average pace as it climbed to 14:08. Having covered about 2000 ft of climbing over this distance I wasn’t feeling too bad about the pace issue. The out and back to Randall was about 26 miles and the biggest climb had been completed. The complementary half of the race of the start was about an 1800 ft downhill into Stinson to finish the 100K at the end of this 26 miles. This last downhill appeared likely to be too steep to run without significant braking effort and I had heard warning of the technical aspects of the roots, rocks and switchbacks. It would probably be done in the dark as well if I was pushing it much past 8pm toward the 8:30pm cutoff at the finish. And there was a good bit of hilliness along the route to Randall.
Another issue might be the short section into and out of Randall which appeared to be about 1.5 miles of 15% grade so this would account for a quite slow mile on the return to Stinson at mile 49.2.
Much of Cardiac to Bolinas was on the sea side of the ridge and appeared to be sort of a new trail, still a bit off camber and narrow. Passing return runners on the trail was thus a bit of inconvenience. I ran with Linn Secreto for a short while along this route toward Randall. Linn looked pretty strong and passed me along this section and put about 1/4 mi or more of lead ahead of me coming as we approached Bolinas. I did not see Linn again but somehow got ahead of her, perhaps at Bolinas turnaround.
There were some fantastic views on this leg, further north and new to me from any of the other Marin area runs I have done.
Bolinas aid station (mile 42.5 and 52.9 on the way back) came and went. I didn’t spend much time there. Somewhere around here the trail becomes redwood forest. Not quite Muir woods but beautiful, shaded and cool with wide, pine mulched fire road. I was thinking I could run that all day . . . and night.
The trail from Bolinas takes a left turn around mile 47.8 to descend into Randall aid. I had heard that it was a steep and tough descent so I was concerned for the potential fatigue between the descent and climb back up after the Randall turn around. It was a fair incline, around 15% I believe, but the surface was not too technical and the road was wide. For me, this degree of incline is a slope steeper that what makes for an easy downhill run. That is, you must use your quads to brake on the decent, burning more energy that with a lesser negative slope. A better runner might burn down that slope. But I did put some extra energy into the decent figuring this was the “smoke ’em if you got ’em” stage of this race, with cutoffs close and about 14 miles left.
Josephie was there to help me get quickly out of the aid station. She tells me that the cutoff is 1700, not 1720. It had been changed to satisfy the park department about getting everyone off the mountain by dark. I get out at 1648 and not been worried about the formerly 1720 cutoff but had been running hard realizing I would need the buffer for the finish cutoff.
I had already decided I likely needed everthing going for me not to get cut off so I had decided I would shed my running vest and hat. I only needed my water bottle and I had taken plenty of salt. My phone had died around mile 45 and was useless weight, hence no more photos until the finish. I needed to remember to grab my flashlight that I might need for the finish. Getting rid of ballast for the last leg of a long trail race is something I do at Bandera often and is probably even more of a mental than physical boost. Josephie and I begin to power hike the grade out of Randall. She had considered pacing me for the last 13 miles as this is where pacers were allowed. However we thought it might be best to have her fresh at the finish to help with post race life support. Even at steep grade, I felt a like I could run it a little but did not want to blow it at this point. I was really feeling pretty good somehow. Nothing was hurting except one toe on each foot. My energy level was pretty good, fluid status and GI system were all good.
I accidentally grabbed both my headlight and my Fenix handheld torch, more lights than I need. Maybe I won’t need any. Just extra weight I don’t need.
I see a pair of runners ahead on the trail and a triple ahead of them. They are running hard on moderate to steep hills and I’m having to duplicate their efforts to keep up. I decide that I should catch them at least to chat about the strategy to finish this thing on time. I am barely gaining on them but with considerable effort. The first group says we have 4 miles to the next cutoff at time-of day 18:30hr.
What cutoff? Apparently the memo I ignored about the Randall cutoff change also related an added 4th cutoff at the Bolinas station on the return. I had no GPS nor timepiece and from what they told me, we gathered that we needed to run under a 12 minute pace for the next 4 miles not to get cut off at Bolinas. I ease ahead of these two runners over about 3/4 mile catch up with the three runners. We conclude the same thing about our pace to the cutoff. I feel like I’m running pretty hard now with two miles to Bolinas and 8.3 miles to the finish. Things aren’t breaking down now that I’m at this faster pace so I continue it — It would really be sad to miss this final cutoff.
This was a bit of extra excitement. There had been one ‘surprise’ close cutoff at Randall that had been moved up and that I made by 12 minutes. Now, there were sort of two finishes to this race for me an a few others, mile 55.9 and 62.2. The word is that it if we make the 18:30 Bolinas 55.9 mile cutoff then we have “2 hours to finish the next 6 miles before 20:30hr end race cutoff”. However mile 55.9 might be a problem. What a bummer it would be to barely get cut off at mile 55.9.
Fortunately, we are on that nice redwood canopy covered wide fire road so in spite of rolling hills and a general uphill trend, conditions could not be better for this “sprint” (11 to 12 minute pace – I use that term loosely) to mile 55.9. Soon, I gain a couple hundred yards on the last guys and I feel like I’m finishing the race. I hear a volunteer yelling to a runner somewhere ahead of me. “hurry up, 4 more minutes”. I get to the volunteer who yells, “Cutoff in 3 minutes, aid station just ahead.” Immediately I ask “How ‘just ahead’ is it” because I can’t see an aid station. “Just ahead” can have a lot of different interpretations in a 62 mile race. “Right there”, he replies. Then I see Bolinas return aid station about 100 yards out.
The rule for cutoffs is not just to get to the cutoff at the cutoff time. You must exit the aid station by the cutoff time. I fill my only item, one bottle, drink it and then refill and leave with 90 seconds left. About 50 yards up the hill out of Bolinas I hear more frantic yelling for the runners just behind me to get in and out. I’m glad they made it and figured they would. Once again, I’m sad for the ones that won’t make it but maybe half a minute later I hear some more yelling and I think the next group got through.
I’m still energized from this near cutoff and proceed to move at a pretty good pace, but I do take it down a notch and walk a few hills. Here is where I really appreciate the mantra “Do Nothing Fatal”, a sort of play on the term DNF (did not finish) used to designate such runners. There are more rolling hills out of the redwood forest and then the rolling, off-camber narrow ridge line trail. There are a couple of pairs of pacer and racer that I encounter and this helps to keep me moving at a steady pace. I’m thinking that with the ‘end of race energy’ and net downhill of this section I should finish by 15 hrs or 8pm. I am passed by an Indian gal and her pacer and I try and keep up. I can’t catch them, without violating the DNF rule. It is starting to get a little dark and even with a fairly non-technical surface one could trip and do some damage. Would be ashame to push a little too hard at this point and get hurt and not finish. This pair are the only runners that pass me on the last 13 miles and I pass a few pairs on the way to the climb then final decent into Stinson.
As it darkens, the scenery is amazing as fog fills the draws to the sea 1000 feet or so below. I wish I had my camera. There is an amazing sparking fog that is rising from below. But I notice it from every direction, in front, above and behind so I’m not sure if it is a real atmospheric phenomena or artifact of my tired eyes at this stage of the race. But I get dizzy looking perpendicular to my direction of motion off the narrow trail and down the steep, grassy hillside to appreciate the scenery so I choose to stay visually focused ahead only.
There is one more bit of vertical gain around a mile from the final turn and decent into Stinson. I passed a more folks here that were looking a bit worn out. It is starting to darken and I know I’ll need my light whenever we leave the open fields. I don’t a recommendation for lights for this part for the near-cutoff finishers but Iglad I had thought about it and I can say it may have been essential to my finishing in time.
Next, still at 1500 ft above sea level and one mile or so out from the finish at Stinson beach, we turn right and leave the narrow trail for the decent. I don’t have a clock but feel good about the time. I turn on lights. This path to the beach is loaded with switchbacks and loaded with roots and rocks. I’m now glad I have my hand held lamp as well and I get it out. DNF is important here. The incline, around 28% by calculation as well as the darkness, technicality and turns makes for some slow going. I figure a steady effort should get me to the finish in time. I know nobody will pass me and I don’t see anyone to pass, so DNF is the rule. Then I hear voices a couple of switchbacks below and see a light. I make my way by these runners. Then this process occurs again and again for about one dozen runners. Not that I’m moving so fast, but these runners are being quite cautious and many don’t have lights or are sharing a light.
I hear the ocean. THAT is exciting. I speed up. No, wait. DNF. But one more group of runners ahead. I pass a group without a light and give them my handheld and tell them I’ll pick it up at the finish. I remove my headlamp to use handheld to cast better shadows. More switchbacks then more. The ocean, I can still hear it. I wondered how far away can one be and hear the ocean. Umm, pretty far, it turns out.
I finally hear some yelling and cheering. Maybe 100 yd out I see lights and hear more noise. I see the Stinson community center and brilliant red lights on the timing clock. I look for my Josephie and I’m so glad she is there at the finish.
15:22:23 is my finish time.
Without a watch, I cannot believe I am that close to the cutoff when I thought I would be in around 15:00. The last section was 6.3 miles instead of 6 miles and the last mile although a huge drop in elevation was really slow in the dark. I wish I had logged the whole race per GPS to look at the details but as mentioned, my phone died around mile 45.
We watch with excitement at the final official finishers of Miwok 2015 come in over the next 7 minutes. There were quite a few but still maybe a few that did not make the final slow decent in time in the dark.
I make my way into the community center at the finish where Josephie reintroduces me to some runners we had met at the car rental in San Francisco. Mick Jurynec, left finished in 10:04:54 in 7th place and Kirk Thomas, right, finished in 14:43. Kirk and Mick are cell biologists at University of Utah.
In retrospect I was well volume repleted but I chose to forgo some of the good food at the finish to take in some more water and salt. I have been volume depleted before and chosen to eat a regular meal right away. Solid foods have to be digested (hours) before any appreciable liquids can be absorbed so its best to get some fluids down first of all. But I did take a food plate back to the HIE for later.
I did get the expected chills quickly after finishing as I was still radiating heat although the heat source had been turned off. A post race recovery bag is really important with dry clothes, a warm coverup and windbreaker. I had forgotten to add a chocolate ‘Silk’ drink, something that makes a really good recovery drink. I think I had one at each of three drop bag aid zones. They are a quick, palatable and digestible 100 or so calories and seem to work well in a race. Chocolate milk is also a good choice.
Incidentally, I picked up packs some Electro-Bites at the finish area. I thought they were just some sort of gummy electrolyte snack until I opened a pack a few days later. They are a sort of salty and savory snack that I now look forward to trying in a future race. They contain potato starch (a low glycemic carb) and coconut oil (medium chain triglyceride), both of which I had discussed with others in the last 6 months as possibly good running fuels. Interesting . . . click on the link above and read Michelle’s blog and the rest of the site about fueling for ultrarunning.
I really liked the electro-bites and played around with some ingredients and have come up with a pretty good facsimile of them. You can make and add your own savory or sweet flavorings. I’ll post my recipe and experience with making them.
We had perfect weather and and an amazingly run 20th annual Miwok 100K trail run.
12 year Miwok race director (RD) Tia Bodington worked extremely hard as did other organizers and countless volunteers to plan and execute a trail race for 500 runners over 62 miles of California coastal mountains inclusive of deploying 8 aid stations, marking (and unmarking) every bit of the 62 miles of trail as well as cleaning up trail and aid zones. Tia is an accomplished ultrarunner and former managing editor of Ultrarunning Magazine and has kindly had time to respond to many emails regarding this race. Race results were updated continuously by amateur radio (I presume) to the ultralive.net web site for friends, family and others to follow. Tia reports that there were 391 racers who checked in on race morning. Looks like 309 runners finished on or before the 15.5 hr finishing cutoff time.
Some post race thoughts . . .
The 15.5 hour time limit shortened from 16.5 hours . . . a good thing or not? For me at my level of ability / training this shortened time made for an very exciting race that made me push harder in every way possible just to finish – running hills I didn’t want to run and taking shorter aid breaks.
Quick aid station turnover . . . I’m realizing that this can be done quickly. It saves valuable minutes. It is easy to spend 5 minutes in an aid station but that is about 1 minute per mile if aid stations are at around 5 mile intervals. I would rather make a quick turn around and have that extra time as a buffer or to go slower if necessary. It’s best to have a plan for the aid station before you arrive. These are some categories I think of.
Fluids – finish any bottle or reservoir before you arrive. What is your fluid status? How much will you need to supplement at the aid station if you are just carrying one bottle in my case, for example.
Electrolytes – Salt, Ca, Mg – take them before you arrive. Do you need to restock from a drop bag?
Calories – what will you eat from your drop bag or from the table and what will you take with you? Are you using a sports drink for some of your calories?
Clothing – do you drop or pick up anything? Getting too cool or too hot?
Medical – any meds, band aids, etc.
Electronics – pick up or leave lights as needed. Battery charge pack for phone would have been useful for me on this one.
Trash – dump trash from your pockets – empty gu containers, etc.
Thank and hug your volunteers and crew!