Headlands 50M – All Day Party with Karl The Fog

By the time I looked at Headlands 50M, the 50-miler was sold out. I then registered for the Marathon in the morning and the Night Sweats Marathon in the evening, but Greg Lanctot was kind enough to add me to the 50M list. With Pine to Palm 100M canceled and the fact that the Headlands 100M was now a WS100 qualifier, we had 3x the runners on the trails! My goal for this one was a lot of me-time, a much needed time away from heavy work load and being drowned in breaking news. As is the case for me this year, showed up at the start line with very little mileage on my legs. Here’s my Strava activity.

Headlands 50M

I dirt-bagged in the car and woke up with Karl The Fog all around. Quite a few familiar faces running various distances, including Leigh-Ann Wendling, Steve Snyder and Jeremy Johnson. Also given that the run was laps in alternating direction, we kept running into each other all day long.

Was pretty awesome to share the trails with Ed “The Jester” Ettinghausen, who was running his 145th (!!!!) 100 miler. In 2014, he apparently ran a total of 40 hundos setting a world record.

Kept the pace very relaxed as the goal was to be in the now as much as possible. I was going to finish, whenever I finish. The climb out of Rodeo Beach, I was pretty drenched and it was hard to tell if it was from the sweat or because of the fog. Everything looked magical and the climbs felt easy in the cool mist.

On the way down to Muir Beach aid station, Bryan Weathers and Brian Mulholland caught up with me, both running the hundo (of course). Saw Donnie Kemp (also doing a hundo) coming back up Coastal with his poles, looking really strong.I was coming down from the top of Coyote Ridge, ran with Dean Karnazes for a little bit and then suddenly had a WTF moment. Like, seriously, what was I doing here running 50 miles when my longest run since the San Francisco Double was probably like 10 miles? This was only mile 10! A bit later, as I was working my way out of Fort Baker, my mind was like, “hey maybe when I get to mile 25, I can talk to Greg, run another 1.2 miles and quit after a marathon“. *sigh*. Shut up mind and let the body do its thing.

I made it back to the start (mile 25) in a surprising 5:15, still feeling pretty good. The WTF moment and the blues were gone now. Looking back at the first lap, there was no real muddy patch anywhere. After reloading on VFuel from my drop bag, did a quick shirt-change and made the best decision ever: switched to Luna Sandals. Figured if I was going to be out all day, might as well get comfortable and not have to worry about blisters and lost toe nails. The second wind was back and began power hiking and jogging up the hill back to Fort Baker. The phrase that kept repeating in my mind now was to break it down. Fort Baker, then down Marincello, up one big climb to Coyote Ridge, Muir Beach, back to Tennessee Valley and then just one more climb. One segment at a time.

I went through so much watermelon (with salt), it wasn’t funny. And potatoes. With the cool weather, never bonked, didn’t have GI issues and no cramps. Though coming down to Muir Beach on the 2nd lap, I felt a hot spot right under the shin. Probably wasn’t paying attention to my footfall, posture or maybe because I need to train more? Anyways, it was slowing me down a little. Up until then, I was running pretty much all downhills. Up on top of Coastal, I saw a sign that said 1.8 miles to Rodeo Beach and it looked like I could make sub-11:30. Tried to push a bit more, but rolled into the finish line at 11:33.

I was chatting with Saurabh Bhasin (who was pacing another runner through the night) when I heard my name. Apparently I was in 2nd in age group. That was a surprise. I’m pretty sure though there were only 2 of us running the 50 miler 🙂 It was also awesome to see Monica Maze and Jacob Massler, both running the Night Sweats marathon. Was too tired to drive back. Spent the second night in the car and headed back home next day. Oh yeah, H/T to Sam Fiandaca (Brazen Running) too. It was fun running down Marincello with Sam hearing stories of how Brazen became a full-time thing for him.

Also for recovery: Curried tofu with an onion, tomato gravy garnished with cilantro and macadamia nuts. Like a boss! In case you didn’t know, turmeric is such an awesome anti-inflammatory.

As cliche as it sounds, all’s well that ends well.  Now two back to back business trips (one international) and then Bay Ridge Endurance Run 100K. Yay (not) for jet-lagged runs. Happy trails!

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