Redemption at the Eldrith Gosney Pure Ultra 36K

After dropping out at mile 16 of the Coastal 50K, I’ve been itching to get back to the Marin trails and finish a run strong. My weekly mileage continues to hover around 20 miles with much of that on lunch runs around the office and my treadmill. Not exactly great training. With that I showed up to the Eldrith Grosney 36K the night before and dirt-bagged in my van on a cold night at Muir Beach parking lot. Woke up at 2am burning up in my sleeping bag while my brain was going overtime on the Heathens Song. And from there I was alternating between shivering and sweating trying to find some semblance of sleep until the alarm went off at 6:30. My strava activity from the run.

Eldrith Grosney 36K

In case you don’t know about Eldrith, she’s 74, completed 148 ultras, four 100-mile races, fourty-four 50-mile races and more runs that date past beyond when ultra-signup started recording this stuff. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen her on the trails without a smile. This was a celebration of her continued trail running with a gnarly course that included a double back-to-back climbs up Cardiac Hill. The 36K course is essentially Double Dipsea with another loop over Dias Ridge in the beginning. Was great to see William Dai, Leigh-Ann and Makiko at the start.

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At 6:30am, fog and mist were everywhere with a semi-starry sky and a beautiful moon ring. With staggered starts, the 36K started out at 7:40am. We headed up to Dias Ridge and within the first few miles, I went down and got up with a bloody knee. One for the trails. The descend down Miwok was a bit congested until we got the Aid Station. On to the Dipsea Trail and the million steps. Double Dipsea (twice now) was always crowded and it was nice to tackle the steps without that crowd.

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Back up the steps and started the ascent up Dipsea Trail toward Cardiac. Vaguely remembered it has always taken me around 35 minutes to get to the top and I was right on time. The weather was cooperating with highs in the upper 60’s. Got to the turn around point in 3:20. Mostly walked back up Steep Ravine. More Heathens stuck in a loop. “All my friends are heathens take it slow”. Water trickling everywhere. “Wait for them to ask you who you know”. Waterfalls, green lush fern. I was kinda lost in time, but mostly just happy to be “hurting” again. Not pain, but just knowing I was pushing past my comfort level.

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Top of Cardiac in 4:15 and I was determined to fly down Heather Cut-Off descent. Lunch-time asphalt runs and treadmill doesn’t even come close to this sense of flying and the intensity that comes from having to focus. Seriously fun. Must’ve passed 6 or 7 folks in this last stretch. I was coming down the last bit of switch backs and took my eyes off the trail for just a second and WHAM! Went down hard and saw my left wrist bend at an awkward angle. No breaks, but was definitely hurting bad.

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Pulled into the finish in 4:45 and 3rd in AG. First 22 mile run in what feels like many months. The redemption from the DNF continues as I’m back at the Marin trails for the Mt. Tam 50K. I think I know at least 5 folks that are running that. Going to be an awesome party.


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  • It was a treat to see you turn on the “diesel mode” and moving steadily uphill.

  • See you at Tam50K!