Coyote Ridge 50k(ish) Race Report

So it was a day of the three times I thought about quitting and the one time I didnt…

The first was just before the .9 mile mark, coming through pirate’s cove the wrong way (well, according to me…it’s just different than how I usually do it).  I rolled my ankle, and it was pretty sore.  I spent sometime walking it out, and just decided to get to the aid station in Tennessee Valley, and reassess.  I got there, and it was actually feeling ok.  So, I continued up Marincello, and out towards the Bonita Cove turn around.  Such beautiful views along the way.

The second time was around mile 10, and I was feeling pretty good…I was actually ahead of the pace I wanted, legs felt good, and I was running down a gentle slope towards bunker road.  I got to the road, and didnt see any pink ribbons.  I looked down the road, across the road, and still didnt see anything.  The course had been really well marked, so I couldnt believe that there wouldnt be ribbons here….come to think of it, I couldnt remember the last time I saw a ribbon.  I knew where I was…..I just didnt know where the course went.  And of course it was the one area I didnt know very well.  But, I did know that the trail across the street would meet up with Miwok, which would take me to Old Springs, which is how I was supposed to get back to Tennessee Valley.  I confirmed with a cyclist, and was on my way…kind of like choose your own adventure, except it was choose your own course.  And really, who doesnt love an unnecessary climb up a hill over a mile long….

I got back down to Tennessee Valley and let them know what happened – I didnt really care about the distance, let’s be honest, it’s not like I was in it to win it or I had cut enough of the mileage to impact how I would finish.  But, I was concerned that there was some sort of check-in at the Point Bonita aid station, and they’d send out the emergency crews to find me if I didnt check in.  Of course, they had no idea if anyone was checking…just that they were not checking.  But I could ask when I got back to Muir Beach.

Then came the hot, slow, hike up Fox Trail…really slow.  Ugh…but, at that point, after rolling an ankle and getting lost, I was really just trying to get mileage in.  Hopefully I can work on the pace for the next two months and still be ok for North Face.

After Fox Trail came the long, steep, descent into Muir Beach…..pretty terrifying for some reason.  I’m not sure if I’ve always been afraid of that descent, or if this is a new development.  It got better towards the end, and I was able to run out to the bridge and across it, over to the aid station.  I asked the volunteer who was helping me about checking in at the aid station I missed….she didnt know either, but said I could work with the race director to figure out the distance when I was done.  I told her I wasnt as worried about that (my watch would give me the distance), I was more worried about being reported missing.

Then, began the long climb up and out of Muir Beach, and the reverse trek through Pirate’s Cove….and it was so hot…ugh.  There were three of us, and we all kept stopping and taking breaks.  But, one foot in front of the other does the trick, and I was on my way down into Tennessee Valley again.  The last time I thought about quitting would have been somewhere in Pirate’s Cove, when I realized that was technically another turn-around point.

But, I decided the miles were more important, and after a sandwich and a ton of liquids, began making my way up Marincello, around some random airport thing, and down a steep descent to Old Springs trail.  I felt pretty good on Old Springs and decided to jog….until I tripped down a step, and rolled my ankle again…..ok, maybe no jogging.  And then a second trip up Fox Trail….just as tough since I was tired, but it was far cooler and there was a bit of a breeze.  The trip back down into Muir beach seemed less treacherous the second time around, and I feel like I was able to run more of it.  Before I knew it, I was down and dodging people as I crossed the bridge to the finish line…..the time I didnt quit….

I had some water and animal crackers at the finish line, followed by a beer (amazing…), and hung out with the people there for a bit, before walking the mile and a half back to the car.  I opted for that instead of the shuttle since I lost some distance when I messed up the course.

And, now I’m enjoying a really bad horror movie and my favorite owl beer while my body contemplates exactly what I did to it today.  Though, I was able to enjoy some dinner, so I think I did better with the hydration since the roof of my mouth doesnt feel like sandpaper.  Other than that, I’ll be reevaluating the rest of my training plan….maybe look to spend an equal amount of time getting better at what I’m already good at and trying to get better at the stuff I’m not….and do some more long runs….


I love trail running….always  an adventure. I set out today to get in 25 miles, as a warm-up for my second 50k next weekend. Adrienne was planning to join me for the first ten or so through pirate’s cove.

We set out towards the first hill to Pirate’s Cove, and come across a group of people – mainly kids, looking at something in a meadow.  We slow down and Adrienne asks if it’s a coyote…the group told us there was a baby.  As they’re oohing and ahhing over its cuteness, my first question was – where’s mom….but then I figured, it was a coyote (not terribly dangerous) and I was pretty sure I could outrun at least one person in the mass of people…haha. It was pretty cute and seemed pretty oblivious to the fact that anyone was watching it.

Coming through Pirate’s cove was more gnarly than I remember, but then again, I haven’t been there since the end of August. It was pretty foggy, but still a great view.  We descended down the massive hill into Muir Beach, and at the bottom, we had a couple of hikers with dogs tell us they ran into a women in front of us that had seen a large mountain lion, with pointy black ears.  Awesome…exactly what I want to find on the trail. But, since it sounded like it was headed in the direction we came from, we figured we’d head up the route we planned.

We start up Middle Green Gulch, and at some point come across somewhat fresh mountain lion poo…we hope it’s from when it was heading away from us, and decide if we keep talking, we’ll scare it away if there is anything there. We go up a little further, and find pee….at that point, I’m walking up the trail with my arms above my head, yelling “roar”, “roar”.  Of course we’re on a brush-filled, pretty much single track, trail.  I’m just waiting for something to jump out and eat me. I don’t think I’ve ever been more relieved to be at the top of a hill.

As we made our way back down to Tennessee Valley, we ran into a couple with their dogs, we warned them about the mountain lion, and they told us about one they had seen too. They did tell us that the thing with pointy black ears was a bob cat, because they have pointy black ears. That’s relieving….

As we ran down the last bit of trail, we heard some god-awful animal noises…we of course asked what it was, and someone passing by told us it was a mountain lion eating someone. Really?? Who says that??

We get back, Adrienne heads off on her way, and I head out towards fox trail.  I end up coming back to fill my water, but got a glimpse of the steepness I will encounter next week. Then I head over towards the visitor’s center….having decided to stay in populated areas for the rest of the day.  At that point, I was feeling pretty tired….being sick all week was starting to set in.  I got to the top of marincello and made my way down bobcat.  I stopped for a few minutes to enjoy the air-show and get some photos of the blue angels as they popped up above the hills.  Half way down bobcat, my lungs started to burn….kind of like a cramp, but more of a burn. Stupid congestion…..but I had to get to 20, or I really wouldn’t be able to do the race next weekend.

I crawled up miwok, noticing all of the people perched on the peaks watching the air show.  At this point, I was pretty much walking, but was glad for the downhill brought by Old Springs.  I was able to pick up the pace, but the lungs were still burning.  At some point, I looked up and saw something up on the ridge above me….at first I thought maybe a person, but then I realized it was an animal. My first thought was coyote, but it was pacing and I found out later that coyotes don’t pace….only mountain lions do.  My first thought was to bomb down the hill as fast as possible, but then I realized I was sick, and I’d probably fall…and if whatever it was did see me running, it might decide to chase me.  So I backed away….and kept turning around. Watching it pace…..a mile from Tennessee Valley….a mile never seemed so far away.

At one point there were four people coming up the trail towards me….I warned them about what I thought was the coyote, and one of the guys asks, “only one”?  Ummm….yeah….I don’t know, I didn’t stop and ask his party size.

I got down and got the rest of my 20 miles in….I’m still concerned about next week’s race, but, I did get to the 20.  Hopefully I’ll be feeling better and have more energy in another week. I need that to go well.

Once I began the drive home, I thought the adventure was over.  But, not yet…..I drive over the bridge and end up pretty much in gridlock….but then my lane and the one to the left were moving….the one on the right – pretty much at a standstill. As I near the end of the bridge, I see the issue….more deer on the bridge?  Nope.  A super slow car?  Thought so, but no.  Wait for it…..there’s someone riding a bike….across the bridge… the traffic lane. Seriously??  I mean, I’ve done some stupid stuff on my bike and ended up places I shouldn’t. But how do you mess that up?  How do you end up on 101?

I continue making my way into the city, now stuck in some air show traffic, when I notice there’s still a United 737 flying through the bay, putting on a show as best as it can. Then I look over  to the other side of the road and realize there are cars pulled off the road, on the approach to the bridge, so the people could get out and watch the united plane….I’m imagining how the conversation in that car went….’honey, honey, pull over on 101 so we can get out and watch the 737, because, well, we can’t see that at the airport’.

Then, when I’m finally on divisidero, heading home….and it’s bumper to bumper traffic all the way up.  Of course, the car doesn’t like that and is all sorts of beeping at me. Transmission hot….speed up. Awesome….ok car, I know you don’t like this….I don’t like this, but unless you’re going to turbo charge through the SUV in front of us, you’re just going to have to deal.

And….finally home.  Showered, fed, and ready to enjoy some wine. Over and out until next time…..