A Very Introspective 2014 Mt Tam 50K

Maybe it was a crazy Friday filled with back to back customer demos and meetings. But from the get-go, Mt Tam 50K was an introspective run for me. I wasn’t necessarily thinking about anything profound, nor was I grumpy or moody, just felt like being quiet. Could’ve been the gnarly technical trails and the 3 big climbs up to Cardiac Hill that needed my fullest attention. Anyways, Mt Tam 50K turned out to be an amazing run. See below on what happened to me on the last 3 miles. Here’s my Strava activity from the run:

Mt Tam 50K

Hung back on the very first 1,400ft climb up to Cardiac on Steep Ravine Trail, hiking most of the way. A little muddy, slippery and lush at the same time with a creek running by our side. After what seemed like eternity made it to the first AS and started the descent on Ben Johnson trail. The technical descents were definitely slowing me down and couldn’t really make up time. Picked some gels at the Deer Park AS and continued on. Have been on Miwok Trail a few times before and for the first time was able to run up the whole thing without walking. Made it to the Muir Beach AS at mile 15 in 3 hours, still on target for a possible 6 hour finish. Slowly trudged up to Cardiac again on Coastal Trail. 60 seconds of running, counting 1, left, right, left, 2 left, right left and then 30 seconds of hiking. A little PB&J, potatoes, water refill and slowly worked my way through the last loop and the 3rd climb back up to Cardiac Hill again in 5:53. Okay, so no sub-6:00 for me, but it felt like I could definitely make sub-6:30 at this point.

  • Stinson Beach
    Stinson Beach

Something magical happened during the last 3 miles from the top of Cardiac Hill to Stinson Beach and I was flying. I’m craving for that feeling so much now. Even though the Dipsea Trail has tons of stairs, I had second wind after 27 odd miles and 6,800ft of elevation gain/loss. Every footfall was perfect, pre-meditated and yet I wasn’t thinking. I could see my strides auto adjusting to the width and depth of the stairs and I know this wasn’t a conscious thing. The world around me disappeared, I was incredibly alert yet relaxed. Everything felt at ease, the way it was supposed to be. Maybe this is what Steven Kotler calls seeing lines in the Rise of Superman. In this state, there was no way I could’ve tripped or slipped and I know it. If this was flow, I want it again, so badly. I’m also pleasantly surprised that seeing lines and finding flow is not just for elites. Even mortal runners like me can see fleeting glimpses of it. I finished strong and came in at 6:24 and 9th in age group. Two big take aways from this run: I’ve got to get better at running uphill and need more practice with technical descents.

Have you ever felt flow? What was your experience like?