Experimenting at the Coastal Marin 50K

I had such fond memories of running the Coastal Marin 50K earlier this year, decided to go for it just a week after the Golden Hills Marathon. Organized by Robert Rhodes of Baytrail Runners, a small group of us met at Fort Baker, under the Golden Gate bridge on a wonderfully foggy morning. After the raffle and give away by Victor Ballesteros, we hopped on a shuttle to Olema and ran back to the start through spectacular Marin Headlands hitting all major trails: Bolinas Ridge, Coastal, Dipsea, Miwok Trails and finally SCA trail from Tennessee Valley to Golden Gate Bridge. Here’s my Strava activity for this not-a-race run.

Coastal Marin 50K

Chatted with Kenneth Clews on the shuttle, who ran the Dick Collins 50M just the week before. Andy Belk, sitting in front of me (seen him all over Strava) apparently was trying to set a CR on the first 11 miles. There were a few others running their first 50K and the mood was generally upbeat. I wrote a fair bit about the Coastal Marin 50K course last time around, so I’ll spare the details here. But I was trying a couple of experiments. This would be my first 50K with a pair of shoes (gasp!), the Merrell Trail Glove 2. Secondly, this was a no-gel run. I wanted to see if I can get through the run with real food. So I made a big batch of Okara Patties the day before and also packed Pita bread with Hummus and Olives. The second was possible because of the mobile aid station that followed us along the way.

  • Start of Coastal Marin 50K
    Start of Coastal Marin 50K

On the topic of shoes, I could totally feel my toes hitting the front of the shoes on the downhill. I think my footfall was also harder than when I’m on Luna Sandals, especially in the later part of the run when I was getting tired. As for the real food, it was so amazing and refreshing. Only downside is I ate too much at the first aid station and portion control takes a lot more discipline. 🙂 But was super happy to get through the whole run without any gels.

A few quick highlights: Listening to the fog horn when I got to Fort Baker. Running past cows hoping they weren’t going to chase us (like last time). Getting lost within mile 2. Taking a fall on (luckily!) the soft pine needle-covered trails while day dreaming. By mile 10, realizing that my legs weren’t completely back from the Golden Hills Marathon. The warm baking sun along Coastal Trail. The salty taste of hummus and olives at mile 20. Exchanging stories with Nile and Noriko while hiking along Miwok Trail. Sitting around Fort Baker after the long run, basking in the afternoon sun with a gorgeous backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge, while chugging an IPA. Priceless.

Huge thanks to Rob’s Dad, Pete and Jacob for the mobile aid station, the big greetz, pats on the back and checking in on us every few miles. And Ivan Hernandez, for following us for the first part of the run taking amazing pictures along the way. Met yet another great group of awesome runners and hoping to cross trails again with them soon.

I’m definitely looking forward to the next Coastal Marin 50K.