Finished #RodeoValley 30k in 05:10:17 yesterday! 📷 @kellyfuson #2018_174
My first 30k and the hardest #race I’ve run. First 2 hours felt great, powered up the Miwok ridge, then the heat slowed everything down to a struggle. Race write-up continues after photo summaries:
2 🌄 Marin Headlands sunrise
3 Dressed to race!
4 Ready 30k 50k start
5 SCA photo stop
6 Hill 88 view to Rodeo Beach
7 Race temperature over time
#run #trailrun #trailrace #insidetrail #latergram #nofilter
Always better participating in a race with friends. Kelly and I carpooled, and picked up our Inside Trail race bibs (different races), got ready, and had someone take our photo with Rodeo Beach in the background (photo 3).
The air was cool at the 30k & 50k start (photo 4), and the crowd started at a nice easy pace (in contrast to everyone bursting out of the gate at Double Dipsea).
The 30k course started with a gradual uphill. Everyone pacing themselves provided a good sense of momentum, enough to run up the first set of hills, all the way up to the SCA trail where I saw a few taking photos so I did too (photo 5).
Smooth run up and down SCA and Alta trails to Marincello, took off downhill without missing a beat, and somehow passed a lot of people who had passed me on the uphills.
Made it down to the Tennessee Valley parking lot in (personal) record time. Refilled my water bottle at the aid station and headed up Miwok, where the temperature got noticeably warmer the higher I went. It was a tough slog by myself. When another runner passed me who was also struggling, I found the energy to barely keep up, several paces behind.
We reached the turn onto Coyote Ridge and it had definitely heated up.
Weather forecasts had predicted mid 70s in Mill Valley, and 80 at Rodeo Valley. Clear, not a cloud in the sky.
I didn’t realize until after I synced the temperature data from my watch (photo 7) that since that 2 hour mark, temperatures on the course went from 80 up to 95°F (except for a brief drop to 75°F after hour 4 in Tennessee Valley).
When I felt the heat hiking up Coyote Ridge, I figured it was the predicted mid 70s, accentuated by the direct sunglight. With a full water bottle I pressed on, hitting the halfway mark at about 2h15m in, with over 2200' (much more than half) of vertical climb completed. I had started feeling the effects of the heat, my stomach would no longer accept any food, and I had to slowly sip from my bottle up the hill.
Ran most of the way downhill to Coastal, it was hot enough to slow down and walk a few times. Made my way down to Pirates Cove, without much difficulty. Then the real challenge started.
The climb up out of Pirates Cove was brutal and long. It was feeling hotter still, and I figured it had crept up to ~80°F (when it was actually closer to 95). I knew I had enough water to make it back to the aid station. I focused on my breathing, and watched my heartrate, pushing uphill only hard enough to keep it between 140-150bpm.
The hill seemed to go on forever. I kept pushing until a couple of times I literally had to stop, take a few deep breaths, and then keep pressing on. By the time I got to the top, I was exhausted, too tired go downhill as fast I normally would. It was still a morale boost to see the valley below. I knew I could make it back to the Tennessee Valley parking lot aid station.
Taking it slow back to the aid station, I was able to snack when I got there. Refilled my water bottle, and took off back down Tennessee Valley trail for the remaining 4 miles.
The final steep Coastal Trail south ascent was brutal. Just kept pushing uphill like I did out of Pirates Cove, hands on my knees when necessary. Every so often the plants alongside the trail were tall enough to cast a shadow, and I paused to restabilize my legs, focus on breathing regularly. Again it felt like 80 degrees when it was more like 95.
For over a year now I’ve been doing warm Vinyasa yoga (90-95 degrees) about twice a week. As I practiced more I was better able to reach a conscious flow, better able to think clearly despite the 95 degree temperatures. Only after my run (and seeing the temperature chart) did it click — all that warm Vinyasa had trained me to push sustainably even in that much heat, and still focus & think with a strong enough will to keep going.
Reached the Hill 88 crest (photo 6) where I could see Rodeo Beach (the finish) in the distance! As I started an easy run down the hill, I heard someone call out my name. I was so focused on finishing that I didn’t recognize his voice or face until he was much closer. Clayton and Kissie were running up the hill on their on Saturday trail run! They wished me luck and I kept trudging down the hill.
Eventually I picked up speed and passed one person who had passed me on the Coastal uphill. Knowing I’d finish in minutes, I focused on a swift but steady pace, on sure footing more than speed.
Finished (photo 1), saw Kelly cheering me in (she’d finished her half marathon about two hours before).
30k (18.6mi) done! (my Suunto watch only recorded 29.97km, clearly I should have ran it out another 30 meters after crossing the finish 😂) The farthest I have ever ran on trails.
3,780 feet elevation gain (secondmost during a run, only to Double Dipsea last Saturday) according to my Suunto watch / Strava.
And a 1 mile PR of 7:20, during my sprint down Marincello, finally beating my nearly three year old timed track mile PR of 7:23 (tantek.com/2015/188/t1) under totally different conditions (downhill vs flat, trail vs track, after ~7mi vs 1mi warm-up).
Thirsty & hungry, I refilled my water bottle, drank deeply, ate snacks, and picked up my finisher’s medal and t-shirt. We retrieved our bags from bag-check and headed to the beach.
Stripped down to my running shorts, walked into the surf, and dove in, fully submerged.
Best ice bath ever.