Monday, August 31, 2015

Tamalpa Headlands 50k - 2015

     Fact: the bounds of our own capabilities are severely limited by our minds.  In running, two specific occasions have served well to prove this fact to me; one being the first time I ran as a pacer at the Western States 100M where I planned to run 18 miles, but ended up running 46 (that was my first time running longer than the 26.2 mile marathon distance); the other being the 2014 Comrades Marathon in South Africa, where I was elated to have reached the finish line well ahead of the cutoff despite having missed the crux of my training due to injury.  With this fact accepted and those experiences under my belt, I stood my grossly under-trained (by my standards) self alongside a wonderful group of runners at the start line of the 2015 Tamalpa Headlands 50k with a smile on my face.

     I don't recommend running ultramarathons without proper training, but if you find yourself feeling confident enough to do so, by all means, take it easy out there!  This was my third time running this race, so I'm very familiar with the course and my goals for the day were simply to enjoy the trails with friends and not get injured.  My strategy to achieve that goal was to run slowly, hike often, and IF I found myself feeling peppy and un-hurt at mile 20, to run as "fast" as I wanted during the last 11 miles.

     It just so happened that after 20 enjoyable miles, I was feeling un-hurt and peppy (arguably).  So, I picked up the pace, slipping and sliding down the Matt Davis Trail to Stinson Beach.  I grabbed a can of soda and dragged it up the ~1,500 ft. climb to the last aid station and hustled off to the finish.  I was surprised to find that I managed to run my fastest split ever for the final 4 miles of the course (although my finish time was my slowest for the race).   For the 20th time (7th this year), I crossed the finish line of an ultramarathon.  It occurred with a smile on my face and no limp.  Mission accomplished.

2015 Tamalpa Headlands 50k finish.
I'll have a medal, hat, shirt, buff, and some food, please.

Tamalpa Headlands 50k finishers post-race at Olema Campground
A dozen 50k finishers!  Had a blast camping pre/post race with my Folsom Trail Runner friends!


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