Monday, August 13, 2007

A weekend of running- Part I: Mt Tam

This weekend was full of my most running mileage to date with an 18 miler followed by a 20 miler the following day. My friend Sarah is training for the trans-rockies run and wanted to simulate running on tired legs a few days in a row (she also ran 10 miles on Friday. I rested :) ) and invited me along for her training weekend. After this weekend, all I can say is that I'm glad her race is coming up soon and that I still have a few months of training left for mine!

Our first run was to be on Mt. Tam. I drove up to Berkeley Friday afternoon so that I would have time to get some work done, pick up an old paycheck (hallelujiah!) buy new running shoesSo clean and non trail like! My goal was to make them look more loved by the end of the weekend :)

and just do some other general Berkeley errands. I went to REI to see if there was anything I needed for the weekend and ended up getting a nice map of Mt. Tam. I suggested for our route that we loosely follow the Envirosports Muir Woods route, which would have us on some beautiful trails and crossing through multiple water points at Pantoll and Alice Eastwood camp. We spent the evening writing out step by step directions and studying the map to make sure we knew what we were doing.
After crunching the numbers we headed to the store to get food for dinner and stuff to make up some banana and pumpkin bread to bring to the race Saturday. We had delicious meatball sliders for dinner, as well as salad, and ended up staying up until almost midnight making the bread! Finally, it finished baking, and we threw it into the fridge before we headed to be ourselves. The alarm was going off at 5:30 and we had a long day ahead of us.
For some reason, I awoke at 4:45, somehow dreaming that I heard the alarm go off and Sarah tell me to get up. I jumped to attention and quickly began getting ready. As I was about to apply my sunscreen I glanced down at my watch and realized I still had 45 minutes! Back to bed :). In a short time, it was really wakeup time, and up we went. We somewhat lethargically moved through the morning, but were out the door around 6:30am on our way to Stinson Beach.

The drive took 45 minutes or so, and by the time we found parking and finished assembling ourselves, it was just a bit before 8am. Luckily, Mt Tam has so many redwood forested parts, we knew it probably wouldn't get too terribly hot during the run. It was still cool when we were leaving, around 57 degrees or so, and a small part of me was tempted to start with my long sleeves on. Sarah gently reminded me that I didn't really want to carry that, so off we went, dressed for heat.
Our course started by going up the Dipsea trail, so of course we were plenty warm 10 minutes into the course. "Aren't you glad you didn't wear the long sleeves?" Sarah asked? She was definitely right :) The early morning light was just beautiful, especially as we got higher and finally could see Stinson Beach below us.
Before long we were into the forest, and going up a few of the famed Dipsea Stairs. Immediately, my legs were burning, and I got a bit scared. I took off Thursday and Friday to be ready for the weekend, but still, my legs felt tired! As I was doubting myself, Sarah casually mentioned, "You know, its funny, I totally don't feel like I ran at all yesterday!" This weekend made me firmly convinced of two things: First, Sarah is going to kick butt in Colorado. Second, she is perhaps not quite human! She never seemed to feel the effects of the accumulating mileage, which is amazing, especially considering she had never done longer than an 18 miler before!

Soon we branched off Dipsea and onto Steep Ravine which, as the name would suggest, includes a fair amount of climbing. Lots of stairs and, more interesting, a 10 ft ladder! What other long trail run includes such an amusing obstacle :)

Steep ravine took us to Pantoll, and in less than 3 miles we were at our first stopping point. Of course, we didn't really need much, but Sarah filled up her bottles and we chatted with the people at the aid station setting up. Soon enough, we were off yet again, this time on Old Mine Trail, which was absolutely gorgeous. The racers, I think, came up this trail. Sarah and Wendell certainly picked an absolutely gorgeous course! We took this to Dipsea, and eventually got to Ben Johnson, which took us to the floor of Muir Woods. Lots of fun downhill that we knew we'd have to earn later. We took Ocean View up out of the floor (which, funnily enough, no longer features an ocean view). It was a nice, but uphill trail. There were lots of tourists about, which had us running when we could to keep up appearances :)
We accidently missed the connection to the Lost Trail (ironically enough) and ended up almost at Panoramic Highway before we realized our mistake. Luckily this meant that backtracking featured a lovely downhill, and before we knew it, we were back on track. We stopped briefly here to help two gentlemen who were trying to loop back to the park floor. I happily pulled out my new map, feeling very knowledgable :) We explained their route, and then took off, enjoying some more great downhill. At the bottom, we saw our trail, somewhat blocked off by a white marker and a few ribbons. The log bridge appeared to have broken, leaving a less flat log next to it to tranverse the gap. Sarah got over easily enough, as did I, but with a bit more trepidation. It wasn't super far down, but far enough that falling would be bad. But got over we did and we were on our way once more.

After we had gone a bit, we heard a voice call to us, "How did you get over there?" We looked up on the hill across from us, only to see the two men on a super steep thin unofficial trail etched shallowly into the dirt. We explain that that was not a real trail, and that they needed to go back and get to the log bridge. They left their very sketchy looking trail and eventually found the right one, hopefully making back to their start. We got to Alice Eastwood, which had relatively beautiful bathrooms. At this point I realized that I really wasn't drinking enough water. For some reason, I wasn't good about keeping up with my drinking this weekend. I had only had maybe 20 or so ounces for the 10 or so miles we had covered. Sarah admonished me to catch up so that when we got to Pantoll I could refill my water.

We took off on Troop 80 to get back to Pantoll. We hit some of the exposed trail sections, which was fun. Certain parts of Mt Tam are very distinctive and are always enjoyable to be on. In little time we were back, and this time the aid station was bustling. As we ran in, volunteers shouted to us, "What do you need?" We quickly explained that we weren't racing, and made sure to get out of the way. We hung out stretching and watching the activity for a bit, before taking of for the last portion of our run, Matt Davis down to Stinson, with a detour onto the Coastal trail to get in 3 more miles. Unfortunately (or fortunately) we found out here that the racers were going the same way!

We tried to be super conscious of the racers, always jumping out of way when they came from behind. We met a really nice runner named Leslie, who we were with for a bit while she was taking in electrolytes. We promised to cheer for her at the aid station, and cheer we did (though we didn't recognize her with her new shirt on!) She went on to be first woman in the 100!

As Sarah and I stopped for a photo opportunity, Rick caught up to us! Like a dolt, I didn't realize who he was at first, though he knew exactly who I was. He quickly got Sarah to snap a photo of us together, and then was off! He looked great (and went on to get a 100 PR!!!) and it was fun seeing him fade into the distance amongst the grass. There were actually a number of people that we cheered for as we ran along who recognized me from here, which was fun :D Thanks for reading guys!

It was just a spectacularly gorgous day out there. I had never been on the Coastal trail before and was blown away by the views.
After a mile and a half (what seemed like a long one at that!) We finally turned around and headed back. Unfortunately, at this point we were heading against traffic! The fun thing about this was that we became a mobile cheering section. Any time a runner came heading the other way we quickly shouted "Don't Stop!!! We're not racing!!!!" and jumped off the trail. We then clapped as they went past :) We stopped and took a break in the shade on some rocks on the side for some food about halfway back and cheered as runners came through. We also got to see a few of the speedsters heading back already. A few people initially thought we were lead women, which was funny :D

Soon enough, we were finally off coastal and back to matt davis, a trail nicely devoid of racers. It was fun seeing everyone, but we felt badly for being in the way.

With a great downhill (with an unfortunate amount of stairs) we were back to our car in no time, finishing our 18 miles in 4:33 and some change. An average pace of 15:10, which I was quite pleased with, considering the stairs and such!

We quickly grabbed our beach stuff and headed down to the water to iced down and get showered (well, in the outdoor showers, so we only got relatively clean). I realized I hadn't been in an ocean with waves in probably a decade, so that was fun! We were in a rush to get to the race though, so we didn't play too long. We wanted to get fish and chips as well, so we hurried over there after we got clean and put in a to go order. At this point it was a bit after 2 and we really needed to leave. They said it would only take 10 minutes, so we waited, enjoying the chairs available. However, talking with the bartender, we started getting concerned about the time. He told us it could take up to an hour to get to Rodeo! "Isn't there another beach you can go to?" he asked. Not exactly. We decided that I would grab the car while Sarah continued to wait, so that we could leave immediately. I hurried back, drove over, and Sarah jumped in with the food.

Now, to get to Rodeo, you have to get back over the mountain, which means lots of windy driving to reach the freeway. Sarah dipped pieces of fish for me in the sauce and would hand them to me during straighter sections, so that I could concentrate on not driving off the mountain. We got stuck behind one slow car, but made good time to the freeway, and drove as fast as we could (safely!) to get to the race. As we entered rodeo, we saw where we thought the aid station would be, but nothing was there. We worried that perhaps we were supposed to have gotten it set up already! What if racers were already coming through!

We arrived at the Start/Finish at 2:59, and Sarah rushed out of the car while I parked my illegally in the red zone. Arriving in a rush, we headed over to Sarah (of PCTR) who quickly assuaged our fears, explaining that the first 100 miler hadn't even arrived yet, and that we wouldn't leave to set up until he came though. Much calmer now, I parked my car legally and hung out, cheering for the first 50 milers as they blew through. Here I finally got to meet Flora, a woman who I had emailed with briefly, as she's doing Dick Collins as well and is now living in Berkeley. I also met Kevin, a guy from Yosemite out vacationing a bit. We helped out a bit, but mostly just took in the atmosphere while we waited.

After a while Kermit, the frontrunner, came through looking great. He ran around the aid station for a bit collecting what he needed, before he took off again. Finally, it was time to get set up. Most of the supplies were already in Flora's car, so we just loaded the conquest in our car, and headed over. Flora explained where everything went before taking off. We set everything up and then waited.

And waited....

Sarah showcased her favorite aid station fare, the organic ginger, while Kevin featured the infamous (at least for us) self-proclaimed "mexican cookies".

Finally, Kermit came through. We were excited to have a "customer" and helped him as much as we could before he took off again.

Then we waited some more. A few family members of runners showed up, waiting for their people to come through.

While I was waiting I decided to walk down the trail that the runners would take to get here, just to see if I could see any. It was a beautiful evening and a beautiful location.

A few more runners trickled through, including Leslie and Rick, which was fun. Unfortunately, it started getting late. We had planned to only work until 7pm, but no one was showing up to relieve us. Of course, we didn't want to abandon the runners, so we kept hoping the relief would show. Sarah drove back to the start and found out that we were supposed to get someone to cover us, but they hadn't arrived yet. Runners kept trickling in, and it seemed wrong to abandon them, but we did need to get home. Sarah and Wendell suggested we see if we could get one of the family members to watch the table for us until the relief came, but no one seemed eager to help, as they were all focused on their runners (understandably).

We made sure the station was set up so that it was self sufficient (placed signs for the soda cooler, the conquest, and made sure everything was out that needed to be). Finally, a wonderful woman showed up. We asked if she was here to replace us and she quickly laughed and explained, "No! I'm just a mom". Ah, just what we needed! We quickly explained the situation and pleaded that she please watch the station for a bit. She seemed a bit unwilling at first, but totally jumped into the role after she warmed up to the idea. I just realized I never even got her name, but a huge thank you to go out to here for being so awesome. Kevin agreed to drive back down to the start to let Sarah and Wendell know we were leaving and see if we could steal someone from down there to come help. We felt truly horrible for leaving the station alone, but had already stayed almost an hour past our plan and really couldn't afford to stay any longer. Hopefully it ended up okay...

The lonely aid station...

By the time we finally left, we were in such a rush that I left my hydration pack and my camera! After about 5 minutes, I realized my mistake and we hurried back to grab it and head out again. The drive back ended up being a bit shorter than we realized, and soon we were back in Berkeley, finally getting dinner and real showers. By the time we got cleaned up and started planning our run for the next day, it was after 10 and we were exhausted. We were both a bit nervous about the next day, as Sarah had never done a 20 before, and I had never done a back to back before, so we weren't sure what to expect. As soon as we finished getting situated we hopped into bed, commited to getting 8 hours that night before the run on Sunday.

With dreams of PCTR races floating through my head ( I dreamed I was running a 1/2 marathon but accidently ran the 7 mile course and got disqualified....guilt about leaving early perhaps?) morning came too soon Like it or not, we had to get out there for part II of our weekend adventure....

To be continued, since this is far too long already :D

**********************Pictures Here!************************************


Sarah said...

You're the best running buddy ever a gal could ever want! Thanks for planning the Saturday run and for spending the whole weekend indulging our whims together. Amazingly enough I still have half a pint of ice cream left...we forgot to finish it! PS How many times have you listened to Hairspray since we parted?

Journey to a Centum said...


Looks like a really fun weekend of running and volunteering. The ladder is a classic! We have one section of the CC100 that requires you to drop down from one trail (PCT) to another (John Wayne)using a rope to keep you from falling. Rope up and run! What? These are nice diversions from the task at hand.

Great job to both of you on your 18 miler. Look forward to hearing how it went on your 20. It's good to run with trail animals like Sarah. She will really help your conditioning. Sounds like you complement each other well.

Norbert said...

even though I don't think you have recognized me when we saw each other, I start to believe it's me on the picture on the coastal trail(white shirt, red hat) ;-)
Thanks for "jumping" aside - but that wasn't really necessary.
Great blog - keep writing.
PS: Actually I wanted to talk to you about the mouse in your house, but had no time really ;-)

Addy said...

Sarah- You're super awesome, especially getting me to run the hills when I"m feeling oh so lazy :) Can't believe we didn't finish that ice cream! And on the hairspray front....yeah...probably too much :D

Eric- How great to have a rope! That sounds like so much fun, but definitely a bit of a challenge :) Good distraction though!

Norbert- it is you indeed! I realized it was you after you ran past (it took me a few seconds to connect people on the trail) so I thought I'd snap an action shot of you. I actually have one a few moments later when you started running that I can get you as well! Awesome job out there. You looked strong!

Norbert said...

best would be to get all your pics ;-)
Will you upload to picasaweb or email me the personal ones to
Up to you - I always like your stories and photos!
Norbert (currently in Seattle on business trip)

Your Father said...

Hi Adelyn,

Great report. Always enjoy reading about your doings. I especially liked the photo of you reading the map and the great shots of Stintson. Would be fun to go on a Mt. Tam run with you sometime. Love you. Dad

Jessica Deline said...

yikes. and I thought I had a tendency for long posts ;) Sounds like it was a great weekend. Doing 2 long runs like that is some good training too!

Anonymous said...

Hey Addy,Great job at the aid station- to both you and Sarah! Wish I'd had the chance to hang out with you both more this weekend, but I look forward to running together soon!

hao said...

hi addy,

great report on your run. awesome job at the aid station, too. if you ever want to do some runs here in san jose, email me. there are some great trails out here in san jose. quicksilver, rancho san antonio, alum rock, ohlone wilderness. lots to explore. and it's closer to you. :)



Gretchen said...

Sounds like it was a great weekend. I love the planning and prep with the trail map, and it sounds like it paid off. Sometimes planning the adventure is half the fun! Nice job with the back to backs, hope the 20 miler went as well.

Brian said...

you are amazing. and the pictures - breathtaking. congrats!

rick said...

Hey thanks for coming out again. It ended up okay. The next time I came through your aid station there were three guys manning it. The 100 folks are pretty hardy anyway, as long as it's there they'll serve themselves.

Cool that you met Leslie. She was whoopin our butts for most of the day Saturday, had problems with blisters though at the end of the first 50-mile loop. Turns out she's a trauma nurse and is quite at home with the tape, scissors, and blood. She even lent me some of her supplies which was very cool of her.

Addy said...

Norbert- I've added a link to my pictures at the bottom of the post :D Congrats again on your awesome run! Do you think you might do the 100 next year?

Dad- we should definitely run mt tam together sometime! You'd love it :)

Jess- I know, I know...I gotta work on being more concise !

Flora- it was so nice to finally get the chance to meet you! We'll definitely see each other sometime soon :)

Hao- I would definitely love to explore San Jose sometime! Potentially not for a bit as I really need to start spending some weekends here in Santa Cruz, but I'll let you know. It's definitely closer than berkeley at least :D

Gretchen- The planning was super fun, and I felt so on top of things reading the map and everything. It's the first run that I've really done that

Brian- aww, thanks :) Glad you stopped by!

Rick- Of Course! Glad to know the aid station was manned when you went by later. Leslie did seem incredibly cool! Being a trauma nurse would definitely garner some skills that'd be helpful in these ultras :)

Josh said...

18 and 20 back to back is some serious running!! I think that is the best training you could do for Dick Collins. You got your first taste of a hundred. Are you ready to sign up yet? :)

e-rod said...

wow, what a full weekend you had, and you're not even done yet :) i've heard about those pc trail runs. might be running my first at big basin with you and skip.

looking forward to part 2 of your weekend.

Addy said...

Josh- I sure hope so! Definitely nervous about tackling 50, but, yes, I'm totally fantasizing about doing Headlands Hundred next year! We'll see when it gets closer :)

Erod- it'd be great if you came up for big basin! It should be a fabulous race :D PCTR races are the best!

Norbert said...

thanks for the photos and the congrats!
I like my running photo! Good shot!
As for the 100M, it's definitely in my planning!
My next stops:
8/20 Pikes Peak Marathon
9/16 Big Basin
10/13 Firetrails 50

See you at some of them! And then I want a picture with the two of us! ;-)