All Fogged Up At the Marin Ultra Challenge 50K

The suspense was killing me. In the two weeks preceding the Marin Ultra Challenge 50K, the weather went from all clear, maybe rain, scattered thunderstorms, torrential rain and finally just Karl the Fog. Even that morning, I didn’t trust the weather and packed rain gear expecting rain. But after burning up in heat training in the Fort Ord 50K last month, it was awesome to have everything just click. The Golden Gate Bridge had a ‘Caution: Dense Fog’ sign. 🙂 Here’s my Strava activity.

Marin Ultra Challenge 50K

After ski week a couple of weeks ago, the training for this race was a climb up to Black Mountain from Rancho, Hill repeats at Wildcat Loop (also Rancho), an 18 mile commute run to work and a bike ride (!!!!) up Montebello Road. The craziest thing about the bike ride is I’m about to start my ride up Montebello Road and see a runner coming down. Of course it had to be Jean Pommier, on his mile 28. 🙂 Anyways, I’m digging this bike thing, especially just focusing on climbing. It’s working entirely new muscle groups and I’ll definitely attribute that to my run today. I ran most of the hills (multiple PR’s) and my finish time shows that. Training, what a concept! I should try this more instead of just showing up to races after 15-20 mile weeks!

Sarah Lavender Smith caught up with me pretty early on and would go on to finish in 5:17 (and a PR to boot). It was also great to Scott Dunlap at the finish line (placing 4th overall). Ran with Dean Karnazes (running the 50M) a little bit and we were chatting & reminiscing the San Francisco Double Marathon from last year. 

Bryan Weathers caught up with me on SCA trail we chatted a bit before he lost me. The descent down on Marincello was a lot of fun, with the fog and the clouds flowing over the ridge into Sausalito. Said hello to Brian Mulholland at the aid station and pushed on without stopping. With the cool weather, I didn’t really need that much water or electrolytes. Was hoping to get to Muir Beach AS (mile ~15) in 2:45.

Got to Muir Beach AS in 2:39, my first real stop. Loaded up on Coke and potato chips and headed up Miwok to Diaz Ridge. Ran up large sections of these trails and back at Muir Beach AS in 3:52. One last push up Green Gulch and that would the last big climb, though Hill 88 would test my patience later on.

Rolled into Tennessee Valley AS (mile 26) in 4:50. With just 4.2 miles to go, a real shot at sub-6:00. Kept pushing and again ran a fair chunk of the hills leading up to Hill 88. The clouds were clearing and the ocean was beautiful. Yay, can almost taste the beer. Pushed pretty hard (another PR on the descent) on the last downhill, while hooting and hollering too. It was just too awesome to be out on these trails.

Pulled into the finish line in 5:40 and super happy how with how the day turned out. Everything clicked, the weather was amazing, lots of camaraderie both during the run & after and seeing many familiar faces.

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