Miwok 2013 didn't really follow the game plan. First, it got turned into a 60 km run(down from the advertised 100 km). Second, I ended up quitting at 26 miles.
I hitched a ride with Jean and Pierre, early in the morning. In fact I got up at 2:20 a.m. and we left Jean's house by 2:45. The race was supposed to start at 5 a.m., easily the earliest start time I have ever heard of. We got to Stinson Beach with plenty of time to check in and get ready to go, but as Pierre and I started towards the community center someone broke the news to us: The park had pulled the permits for the event for the northern part of the run the night before because of fire danger. The race management decided to just run the southern part of the course which is 60 km in length.
That was deflating news. Most runners sign up for an event like this because of the challenge of running 100 km on hilly, scenic terrain. Some of us use it as our "long run" in a buildup to a 100 mile race. This is such a popular race that people come from around the country to participate. Jean, Pierre and I just sat in the car for a while and contemplated the situation. The start time was moved to 8 a.m. with checkin starting at 7. We decided to go back to sleep. That was quite a feat, actually, considering Pierre is as tall as I am and we were sitting in a small toyota corolla. But we all passed out pretty quick and ended up getting a nice chunk of sleep in before we started hearing other car doors as people started heading in to check in.
My approach to the new race was to be conservative. I assumed that most other runners were going to tackle it from the perspective of a 50 km race and go pretty hard. I was planning on picking up the carnage as those that were too aggressive realized that this 60k had significant climbing involved along with an "extra" 10 k thrown in. Good theory. This didn't quite follow the game plan either.
The early running was nice. Basically while it was still cool I was having a blast. But then the sun started shining pretty good and the miles started piling up and the going got tougher. I was sweating really well early in the race and decided to implement my plan of taking on more salt to avoid the fate of the last race. I think this might have been a mistake. The combination of all of the salt and all of the water I was taking in might have been messing with me. I started feeling off a bit and I thought that my hands were swelling. And then I just generally felt really bad for a while. I ran down into the Tennessee valley aid station hoping to regain my composure a bit and try and go for a strong finish, but things weren't getting better. I headed out onto the slight downhill paved road before connecting up with the coastal trail. I stood at the bottom of the trail and looked up at the open, exposed fire road with the sun shining down and decided I couldn't take it anymore. I sat down for a moment and came to peace with my decision and then started walking back to the aid station to drop from the race. It was tough walking back and having all of the racers ask me if I was alright and trying to talk me back into continuing on, but I had already made up my mind.
There are potentially a bunch of things that lead me to that point where I ended up making that decision. But they just sound like a lot of excuses and I don't think it would be productive to future me if I want to try and learn something from this experience. It is a day later and I don't regret it. I am not a "finish at all costs" type of person, which may actually be a bad thing going into the 100 miler, but we will see.
Despite the race outcome for me I still had a nice day out in the hills with my friends and teammates. I look forward to more.