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….