Saturday, May 19, 2007

070512 Quicksilver 50M - Love the Never Flat Course

Looking Fresh at the top of the climb. Thanks Alan

Date: May 12, 2007
Race: Quicksilver 50M
Location: Almaden Quicksilver County Park
Distance: 50 miles
Profile: 8,530ft gain/loss, highest: 2,000 ft, lowest: 360ft, start/finish: 5400ft (image/data courtesy of Stan Jensen's Run 100s and Quicksilver 50M)

Result: 9hr 8min, 22/76 overall, 17 drop, Complete Results
Photo: 070512 Quicksilver 25K/50K/50M, 2007/05/12 QuickSilver (Yuki Negoro)

Love Quicksilver

Quicksilver 50M has a special meaning to some of our Ultraholics. It is the third anniversary of ultrarunning to me and Yuki Negoro when both of us did the 50K in 2004. It is the second anniversary of ultrarunning to Rajeev Patel, who did the 50K in 2005. It is the first 50 mile trailrunning to our fast Ironman Alan Geraldi today.

Besides, why I love Quicksilver 50M run? I somehow like its Cytomax drink provided at the aid station - tasty but not too sweet. The juicy burger at the finish is also a motivation for me to get to the finish with all my best. How about its very affordable entry fee and convenient location with 45 min easy drive? I also want to mention its excellent course design to have a grand tour at every piece of the park. It may look like going back and forth from the course map, but they mostly on different trail or opposite direction of the same trail. I never feel bored. The infamous roller coaster hills near the start/finish shows its personality of ultrarunning. I first hate and fear it. Now I think I love it because it means that I can almost smell those perks at the finish.

I have been thinking coming back to Quicksilver 50M every year. I think maybe some years I can not go. This is because I found that Massanutten Mountain Trails 100, high in my wish list, happens to be on the same weekend as Quicksilver 50M. Hope there'll be better arrangement in future and I'll be happy to do both. Anyway, knowing there is a mining award for those done 10 times in Quicksilver 50M, I guess I need to wait for a few years until I get the same award before taking a leave to try Massanutten Mountain Trails 100.


I had a couple of hard ankle twists in Miwok 100K a week before. This is basically continued from those ankle issues in races early this year (see 070203 Woodside 50K - A Stumble Farewell PR and so on). Unlike the muscle soreness after running Diablo 50M, I don't know how to relieve the pains on my ankles and other joints in my legs. I guess I had to take rest. OK. No running for another week since I did not run a whole week a week before.

I was actually busy at writing Miwok 100K race report. It's kind of pressure because I don't have much time in writing. I need the time exclusive belonging to me so that I can bring up my recollections and every details in the race. I also had to give up thinking about the excitement of going back to Quicksilver 50M - just focus on finishing the Miwok 100K race report. I was happy to finally finish it (see 070505 Miwok 100K - Enjoy the Run among Ankle Twists and Missing a Turn) on Thursday so that I had less than two days to enjoy thinking to study the course and profile, which is part of the fun before a race!

On the other hand, I seemed a little tired in the race morning after weeks of tough ultra's. I almost slept through my alarm set at 3:30am until a few minutes later when I figured out I have a race today. Going through what I need to do for the usual race morning, I soon forgot all the nervous feeling but get ready for the whole day running.

Having been there for years, I was familiar with the highways to the race start. The traffic was always great in such an early morning. I thought maybe I left home too early and I could have more sleep. However, if I get there early, I'll have a nice parking spot near the finish. Yes, I did. The checkin tent is only 30 yards away.

Me at the checkin tent in the chilly morning. Thanks Anil.

I headed to the checkin tents to pick up my bib number. It was chilly but I knew it'd become warmer later in a day at south San Jose area. I met Rajeev Patel there. He looks so fresh and did not show any fatigue sign from his PR finish in Miwok 100K a week ago. Then I know later at the finish that he makes a PR again in 50K today. So is Anil Rao nearby. He made a Miwok 100K debut - a kind of PR. Now he comes for 50K and has another PR in Quicksilver 50K today. They have been making amazing progress these days!

When I get back to my car for some precious rest, I find out Chau Pham and Mylinh Nguyen just parked next to my car. They are a great ultra couple. They nearly ran every ultra together. They'll head for the great Tour du Mont-Blanc in summer. Yuki Negoro also parked close by. I can see his wife Miho still sleeping in the car. Miho always comes with Yuki in every race even she always feels sleepy in the morning.

Our Ultraholics - Me, Yuuki, and Rajeev

Alan Geraldi, an Ironman and sub 2:50 marathon runner, just arrives for the 50 miles as his first trail ultra after he finished the same in San Francisco One Day last year. Today will be his training for his first 100 miler - Tahoe Rim Trail 100M. He'll experiment all kinds of ultra varieties during the run.

Rick Gaston is there too. He has run a lot of ultra's but today is his first appearance in Quicksilver. He has a camera, so are a few other runners. Today there are many more runners willing to carry a camera on the run. Rick and I agreed that it is < href="" target="qs50m">Scott Dunlap who first popularize running with a camera and it brings us so much fun! Thanks Scott!

Mockingbird (Start) => Webb Canyon:6.4 miles , 1:01:49, 10:43 min/mile

The minutes before the race start is now getting shorter since I know more ultrarunners. There is hardly enough time to talk with everyone I know. As the race start, we will have to become more serious and focus on our running.

Race starts! Me, Alan, Yuki, and other ultra friends

Off we go. It begins with a steep downhill. Everyone is excited and is willing to run fast with fresh legs. Perhaps I forget my ankle issues among the excitement. I have a few very hard twists on my ankle within a minute. This is a bad sign, but I need to slow down and run in a gentle way. It's hurting, but the coming steep climb helps a bit because walking relieves the pain. Now I remember I planned to run with care on the first 6.4 mile section. It is single track with a lot of technical parts. But it's too late. I have to work on my ankle to avoid more twists and get away with the pain.

I pass a few friends - Wally Hesseltine, Rob Bryne. They are wise enough to run conservatively in the beginning. I just want to test my limit so I try to push myself a little. Yuki Negoro is not far behind. I also pass Michael Kanning, a nice young 15 year old ultrarunner. Very few teenagers are willing to spend long time in running. I love to see such a great young man there enjoy the run.

Wally Hesseltine (with a WS100 waist pack), Rob Bryne (in blue)

The course has very steep rolling hill, which I call "roller coaster", in the beginning. After a mile or so, we'll make a left turn where volunteer block the trail to show us the turn. I know going straight is the way to get to the start/finish when coming back. I'll get there twice a few hours later and finish....

As I feel better with my ankle, I speed up a little carefully on the single track. I run with Haiming Yu and we exchange our places a few times. He looks like a triathlete and is running 50K today. Since he can run better than his 5 hr 15 min training run on the same course, I let him go without burning myself too much.

Along the trail, I can see clearly how the trail work weeks before has made the trail easily runnable. I planned to join them, but decided to do the trail work at Mt. Diablo (see Trail Work at Mt. Diablo - Knowing Ultrarunning Friends and Poison Oaks) because I found a way to get there without driving. I always want to find ways to reduce greenhouse gas. They remove a lot of overgrown plants.

We are running in beautiful shade, but we can see the city on the right hand side. The daylight just come in and is not enough to for the day. Under such a dim light, the city looks like sleeping but is going to wake up in any minutes.

The trail is rolling, but stays going down. It does not take much time before I feel the first aid station is just ahead. It is right at the lowest in the canyon, as it is called "Web Canyon".

Webb Canyon => Dam Overlook:3.3/9.7 miles , 31:22/1:33:12, 10:10 min/mile

Web Canyon aid station. Courtesy of Yuki Negoro

I was very hydrated in the beginning, so I figure I might be able to run a few more miles without drink. I skip the Web Canyon aid station and say "Thank you".

Leaving the canyon means the climb coming ahead. It will go all the way to the next aid station at Dam Overlook, where we'll visit three times in the run.

It still single track trail. It seems that Alan Geraldi running strong 20 yards ahead of me, but I'm not sure if it is Alan. I don't want to distract him here where there are some technical, so I do not call him. The trail becomes wide open and there are early volunteer standing there showing us the route. Thanks for coming here. We need to make a left turn and continue the climb. It becomes a fireroad, so I call Alan. We run together, well sometimes walk, as we have to save our legs in the beginning.

Alan heads for the Dam Overlook aid station

At the end of climb, we are able to see Mt. Umunhum (3486 ft) bathing in the daylights. The artificial structure at the top is very shiny by the early sun light. This will a wonderful day to come.

We get to the Dam at the corner and the aid station is on out left with a 100 yard climb.

Dam Overlook => Capehorn: 4.8/14.5 miles , 46:55/2:20:07, 10:24 min/mile

Dam Overlook aid station

This is my first stop at the aid station after running 9.7 miles. I have my empty bottle filled up and leave. Alan wants to put some stuff back to his drop bag.

The course is a rolling hills slight climb to the next aid station Capehorn. Without wasting much time, I eat a Gel while leaving the aid station. I plan to eat another one near Capehorn.

Although there are some runners on the trail, I feel running by myself but it is nice to enjoy the trail without any pressure from peer runners. Maybe this is more single track in the beginning and runners have thinned out after 10 miles.

When the course becomes a little open, the city can be seen at the left hand side down below. The course runs along the mountain at the right hand side. It also gets to our first mining relic - Buena Vista Shaft. I know the aid station is not far.

Alan is catching up after dropping 2 pound stuff into a drop bag

Maybe my legs are still fresh after 10 miles, this 4.8 mile section goes so easy with nice view of the city and trails. Near Capehorn, I can see Alan is catching up from behind. He looks like running his fast road race (sub 1:20 half marathon) after dropping a lot of extra stuff at Dam Overlook - 2 pounds worth. He easily passes me right before the aid station.

Capehorn => Dam Overlook: 4.5/19 miles , 45:54/3:06:00, 10:36 min/mile

Here the 25K runner will make a left turn back to Mockingbird and the job is done. We'll turn right and continue on the hill. I feel lucky to always run the longest distance in an event to get all the best of it.

Alan at Capehorn aid station

I stay longer after Alan Geraldi leaves. I'd like to make sure my food and drink are enough for me to skip the next aid station. This will be a 9.2 mile section for me. Bob Bryne also comes in when I leave.

It starts with climb so all of us are walking. I remember I ran this part last year, so I try to run as much as possible. The trail then goes down after a mile or so until the mining relic Power House. After that, we need to run on a steep uphill all the way to the top to enjoy the long downhill to the next aid station. And great views there!

I run most on the second climb, but Rob Bryne and another 50K runner are even faster. They pass me over there. A great volunteer (an ultrarunner) standing near the top of trail show the route and cheer for us. This is also the place when we come back from the Dam Overlook and need to make a turn to Englishtown aid station. He is also ready for the front runners arriving in any minutes.

A great volunteer showing us the routes with cheers

It's great to get to the top and start to enjoy the speed and the famous view of Guadalupe Reservoir. I speed up but not too fast to hurt my ankles. The front runners are coming with Graham Cooper leading the 50 miles and the other one for the 50K. They both look great and have over 6 miles ahead of me.

A grand view of Guadalupe Reservoir

Dam Overlook => Dam Overlook: 4.7/24.7 miles, forget to press the lap button

As planned, I skip the second visit to the Dam Overlook aid station. I'll stop at the next and last visit after I finish the 4.7 mile Dam Overlook loop. Immediately the second place 50 mile runner Jeff Riley is coming - 4.7 miles ahead of me. I also spot Alan Geraldi 20 yards ahead of me, so I am able to catch up with him. I am surprise that he has run without a water bottle, but he said he somehow does not need a lot of water. Amazing!

Alan Geraldi

The course continue the downhill and Alan and I are running with nice speed together. Rick Gaston also flies by. He usually gets stronger as more miles. This has been proved in my experience last year when he passed me in Miwok at the turnaround and he passed me at the last few miles in Firetrails.

Runners come for the nice climb

At the end of downhill, there is a steep quarter mile climb. It is so steep that there is no way to see where is the top of the climb. Alan and I simply power walk with patience and we finally get to the top. Now it becomes a quarter mile steep downhill to the mining relic Senador Mine. Alan needs to do some stretch, so I just keep running with gravity pull.

Then the course stretch another 300 yards on a nice flat dirt path all the way to another park entrance at McAbee Road. Since this is near the entrance, there are more visitors and better facility with a water fountain and a bathroom.

The course turns right to an over two miles long climb back to the Dam Overlook. It is shady in the beginning and I am still running. After a quarter mile, it becomes steeper and exposed. I start to power walk and know it is close to the place where we ran in the beginning on our way from Web Canyon to Dam Overlook. I run with Sean Lang for a while and know he has run a few other PCTR 50K.

Again Alan comes closer from behind. He seems lighter on his legs after his stretch. We arrive the Dam Overlook together. I'll stop at the aid station for refuel as my bottle is almost empty after this 9.2 mile section.

Dam Overlook => Englishtown: 3.3/27 miles (8.0 mile, 1:32:24/4:38:24, 11:37 min/mile)

Since I skipped the previous visit of this aid station, I am very thirsty after finishing this 9.2 mile section. I'm glad that I am fine right now. Alan seems to stay here for longer time to work on his stuff. I leave the aid station after I make sure I have had enough drink and have enough water in my bottle. I plan to skip the next aid station.

From here, I have to run back on the hill and climb back to the highest. Last year I was able to run all the way and meet Rajeev Patel and Anil Rao there. This year I don't see them. This means they have run much faster than last year. They eventually set their PR's at the finish!

Since there are more runners coming down, I have my camera ready. Thanks to Dave Combs telling me names of some famous runners - 10th finisher Dan Marinsik and Carol Cuminale, ever-present Barbara Elia, and Christina Brownsen. Dave, managing the Ultrarunning List, is running his first 50K after a few years.

I have tried to take a picture for every runner, but later I seem to have some issue with my camera. This is first time to use it. I don't have time to figure it out. I think it's about battery, so I just put my camera back to the pocket and hope the battery will recover later (just like our running needs some breaks).

Rena Schumann and a 50K runners take a walk break after a long climb

As I work hard on the climb by patiently running it. Rena Schumann and another 50K runner catch up. Rena is running her 10th Quicksilver and receives the mining award at the finish. It's almost the top of the hill, so I am glad to switch to walk break when they also walk ahead of me. Shuffling between run and walk, I catch up and have a chat. I am pleased when Rena told me that the pictures I shot for Miwok 100K was put in Planet Ultramarathon. They run strongly, so I let them go and I just follow my pace.

When I get to a wide fireroad, I know it's about the marathon distance and the Englishtown aid station at mile 27 is not far. There are lots of pretty wildflower along the trail.

The wildflower lane at the marathon mark

Englishtown => Mockingbird (50K Finish): 4.5/31.5 miles , 42:58/5:21:23, 10:30 min/mile

Englishtown aid station

Since I have enough water in the bottle, so I just skip the Englishtown aid station. This is a bold move as I still have 4.5 miles to go, including some scary hills, and it'll getting warmer. Anyway, I want to give it a try about my thirsty limit.

It begins a downhill. Within minutes, the front runners coming and they already finished 50K! Jeff Riley leads the pace and Graham Cooper is only 1 minute behind. Mark Tanaka is about 5 minutes behind. They all working very hard on the exposed climb.

Mark Tanaka working hard on the climb. His 33 miles and my 29 miles.

Along the way I run mostly with 50K runners, including Erik Dube. I catch up with him at the roller coaster hill. I heard about his name for a while, but never saw him. It's kind of amazement that I can run with such a fast guy. Perhaps he is doing a training run for the Ohlone Wilderness 50K eight days later.

I catch up with Rena Schumann nearby. However, we can chat only a little at the roller coaster hill because we want to be more careful about running at such a steep hill. I remember I fell down over here when I ran Quicksilver for the first time. Now with trail shoes and good at downhill, I carefully speed up with gravity pull. Rena is more careful, so I pass her.

After passing a few other runners, I get to the place that we turn left in the morning, but we need to go straight. It is still downhill, but I know it's close to the 50K Mockingbird aid station. After easily run over a small uphill, the aid station is there. Some runners are happy to finish their run today. We 50 mile runners will stop the aid station for a while to continue the rest of 50 miles.

Mockingbird => Englishtown: 4.0/35.5 miles , 52:12/6:13:35, 13:43 min/mile

I think I'm slower than last year by about 10 minutes when I get to the 50K, but I feel better. I guess it is mostly because I have been running conservatively due to the ankle issue. I should be able to make it up later.

Rob Bryne has been there , so he is ready to leave. Kermit Curt Jr. is there too. I am excited to see him. He is very kind to help me a few things at the aid station. He is going to pace Linda McFadden and waiting for her. What intrigues me is that there is a free massage at the finish, as he said. I'm going to try it so I need to make my 50 miles finish. After drinking a can of Sprite and other fluid. Off I go. Rena Schumann just comes in when I take off.

The course re-trace the beginning run for a while - steep downhill followed by steep climb, i.e. pre roller coaster. I run carefully on the downhill, still remembering how I twisted my ankle in the morning.

I work hard on the climb. Rob Bryne and the other guy are about 20 yards in front of me, but I am getting closer. Different from the beginning that we made a right turn at the top of the trail, we turn left to re-visit the roller-coaster hills that we got there less than 30 minutes ago!

It's now a little bit crowded. We are going out after 50K, while there are runners coming back for 25K/50K finish or looking for the Mockingbird aid station at 50K to continue their 50 mile journey. Anil Rao is there, and he looks great and ready to finish around 6 hours and set his PR. I briefly check with him about Rajeev Patel, but he has no idea. Rajeev must be even faster and actually finishes under 6 hours - another PR! Amazing both guys keep making their leaping PR's in these weekly ultra's - American River 50, Miwok 100K, and today!

Obviously, a lot of runners are become very careful on the roller coaster hill. I no long fear about it, so I pass through it without any problem. It's noon time and Sun has come out high to greet us at the exposed trail. I pass a few runners, including Rob Bryne at the start of the last climb before the next aid station.

The triathelet Nan Nguyen takes it easy on her first ultra (50miles!) with her pacer

Since I feel better than last year right now, I keep pushing myself. Nan Nguyen is not far ahead running her first ultra (and 50 miles!) with her pacer. I catch up later and have a nice chat with her. She is a triathelet and would like to try some trail ultra's. This section is one of the toughest, but She looks amazingly great with smiles. We run together and arrive at the aid station.

Englishtown => Hicks Road: 2.0/37.5 miles , 24:10/6:37:45, 12:01 min/mile

I planned to skip Englishtown aid station but stop at the next at another 2 miles away. However, I have been a little torched by the climb from the 50K and wonder if I can keep the same strength for the next two miles, which is mostly exposed. I decide to stop and drink enough fluid.

Nan Nguyen and her pacer are gone, so is Rob Bryne. I soon follow them after I finish a can of Sprite. The course starts with a single track for less than a quarter mile. Within a minute, Jeff Riley just comes back fast. He has another 2.5 miles to go before the finish!

Jeff Riley comes back strong for his second place finish. 2.5 miles to go!

After the single track is an exposed wide fireroad. Mark Tanaka also comes back, but I am not able to take a picture this time as I had some technical issue with my camera (first time used). I hope I can meet him at the finish, but he is always fast and ready to go home at the finish.

I catch up with Rob and can see Nan at about quarter mile ahead of us. I run with Rob together till the quarter mile shady trail before the next aid station. Then he moves ahead. Rob and I arrive the Hicks Road aid station about the same time.

Hicks Road => Sierra Azul: 4.0/41.5 miles (3.61 miles, 44:27/7:22:12, 12:19 min/mile, No Battery!)

I quickly drink another can of Sprite so that I'll have better chance to complete the 4 mile climb to the turnaround. Rob Bryne is already gone and soon speeds away from me. I just stay with my pace instead of chasing him.

The course enter the trail once we cross the road and a small parking area. It is nice and shady with rolling hill and downhill from time to time. However, I know I need to face the exposed climb later on the trail. I can hear runners getting closer from behind. Rena Schumann and another runner pass me in minutes.

The trail slowly becomes climbing and I'm getting tired. I can tell by the fact that I mostly think about finishing the run instead of speeding up. In the mean time, faster runners keep coming down from the turnaround. I can tell the distance to the aid station at the turnaround by how fresh and happy they look.

Smiling after replenish at the Sierra Azul aid station

I envy them a little, but I'll be the same fresh when I finish the climb and get to the aid station. That's my hope. I also roughly count the number of them and think I probably at 20 something place, not better than the 10th place last year. I don't really care as long as I have always tried my best. All these thoughts bring me the image of finish area that I'll get to in an hour - icy drinks, chair, juicy burger, medal, going home, etc!

The trail is now totally uphill and exposed. Somehow my Forerunner watch has gone dead. It ran out of battery after 7 and half hours into the run. My previous experience is it can last over 12 hours, so I turned it on when I left home at 4:30am. This means the battery lasts only 9 hours today. I remember I fully charged it the day before. Anyway, I'll find out why; otherwise I'd rather carry my 150 laps Timex watch next time.

On the other hand, I can only counting the runners in front of me as an estimate of the distance. As I keep counting, I excitedly spot the aid station.

Sierra Azul => Hicks Road: 4.0/45.5 miles

Sierra Azul aid station

The aid station is the turnaround of the 8 mile out-and-back course. It's at such a nice and shady spot. It's kind of reward to take a break after 4 mile climb in the afternoon. Runners are stretching or fixing the feet.

I feel fine, so I take off after quickly finishing a sprite and have my bottle filled. It's great to turn around and enjoy the downhill. When going out to the turnaround, I did not feel how it will be so nice on the coming back. Perhaps I was suffering, or perhaps I was still in good shape to feel it like a rolling hill. Anyway, it is true that it's downhill right now and I am enjoying the speed.

One good thing about this nice out-and-back section is that not only can you enjoy seeing the speed of front runners, you can cheer the rest of runners when coming back. I can see runners coming up and happily tell them the distance to the aid station. Alan Geraldi also comes in a pack of three with Lon Monroe and Mario Jackson. Lon is in the film "A Race for the Soul". He claims stretching in the creek under the Deadwood Canyon before the dreadful Devil's Thumb climb is "better than sex" and it's worthy to lose 5 minutes (to stretch) in a long run. I am glad to see Alan get to this point. It is tough but I have confidence that he's going to finish it no matter how. Yes, he finishes his first 50 miles trail ultra. I have not seen Yuki Negoro and worry if he got some issues. I know later that he had to stop at 50K to avoid more injuries.

At the end of the long downhill, I expect a creek, but there is a small water flowing across. After this, it is a slow uphill. I am actually happy to see this because I know the aid station is not far.

David Jordan catches up and asks me how far it is to the aid station. My Forerunner is dead, but I have some memory about this trail. I say "half mile to go". He passes me. Within a minute, I can see the road and the entrance only 100 feet ahead. Hope he is not mad my wrong answer, but more glad to see the aid station not far away. Although I was wrong in telling the distance, I guess both of us should be happy to know the aid station is far less than "half mile".

Hicks Road => Englishtown: 2.0/47.5 miles

David Jordan prepares himself for the last few miles to the finish at Hicks Road aid station

I arrive the aid station seconds after David Jordan. He seems very tired and is grabbing food. I take a picture of the aid station. They are surprised and excited about me carrying a camera in running. Anyway, all of us have fun!

While David keeps staying the aid station, I decide not to stop because I have enough water for the next 2 miles. I know it'll be mostly exposed and uphill in the next 2 miles except the last 200 yards single track trail. Right now, I seem to have recovered and been "Running Through the Wall". I am able to run all the hills. Within a minute, Mylinh Nguyen comes strong and seems ready for the 8 mile Sierra Azul out-and-back. I see a few other 50 mile runners coming over the hills, including Barbara Elia, Carol Cuminale, etc.

I patiently run all the hills and feel fine. I am glad to get to the single track downhill and know the aid station is only 200 yards away. Suddenly, there is an engine noise roaring behind. There is actually a truck forcing through the single track from behind. With more fun over scare, I run faster and imagine that a truck is chasing me. Perhaps this is an easy way to maintain the single track trail from plant overgrowth.

Roaring truck forcing me to run faster from behind

Englishtown => Mockingbird (50M Finish): 2.5/50 miles

I could have passed the last aid station at Englishtown as it's only 2.5 miles to go and I have some water left in my bottle. But there is no hurt to have a quick stop and get myself ready for the coming roller coaster hills and run strong to the finish. Again, I ask for a can of cold Sprite to make sure I'll deliver my best where most of the next 2.5 miles is exposed and warm, although I can finish only half of it.

My Forerunner 305 is dead, so I check the time with a volunteer - 2:56pm. I am a little disappointed that I can not break 9 hours, but I am happier to get to this point and ready to finish the run.

Off I go with a victorious shout. One nice thing about Quicksilver run is 50 mile runners come back to the start/finish twice but on different route, so we never get bored but feel better that the finish is not far. The second time is shorter with said with breathtaking downhill. This motivates us a lot. However, newcomers may be fooled with this but forget some heartbreaking climbs. With four years in the run, I have mindset for this. Since I am going to finish, I'm not scared and ready to take whatever difficult trails ahead.

It starts with a nice shady downhill right after the aid station. After about than half mile on this Mine Hill trail, it gets to Capehorn Pass with the exposed climb that can be seen some distance away. I'm not scared and nor upset, but to run or power walk on it with patience. It's time to take one Gel to get some power.

There are no other runners around. I can run without pressure. I simply cover the climb with patience since my legs are not sore. I need to only be careful on the steep and slippery downhill for fear of ankle twists.

Imagine this roller-coaster hill. Or come to see it next year!

I take a picture of a climb, but my picture is still not good at showing the steepness of the climb. You have to be there to be awed by the climb.

It's great that I'm familiar with every scene along the way in the last stretch to the finish. I know how far it is. I finally pass the place we made the right turn in the beginning of the run. I am excited to know there are no more climbs.

Since I have run slowly, I expect that I'll spend 20 minutes on this 2.5 mile, 2 minutes slower than last year and my finish time will be like 9hr 15min based on the time given at the Englishtown aid station. No pressure on 9 hours, I run gently with gravity pull. With joy, I don't feel the time passing by and I get to the place we made the left turn to a single track trail in the beginning. I know it's a quarter mile steep downhill to the finish.

There is a final small climb before the finish. I don't push myself and easily pass it. Yuki Negoro is waiting there

I'm done and, most importantly, smiling! Courtesy of Yuki.

Other Reports

Rajeev Patel - Quicksilver 50K, Quicksilver 50K (May 13, 2006). Both have a poem each.
Dave Comb - Quicksilver 50K race report (need Ultrarunning List subscription)
Rick Gaston - Quickie at Quicksilver 50M
Scott Dunlap - Racing the 2007 Quicksliver 50k

Friday, May 11, 2007

070505 Miwok 100K - Enjoy the Run among Ankle Twists and Missing a Turn

At a "mobile" aid station. Courtesy of Mike Hoffman

Date: May 5, 2007
Race: Miwok 100K
Location: Marin Headlands
Distance: 100K
Profile: 9,500ft gain/loss, highest: 1,600 ft, lowest: sea level, start/finish: 20ft (image/data courtesy of Stan Jensen's Run 100s and Miwok 100K)

Result: 12hr 12min 25sec (run 11hr 53min 12sec, pause 19 min 13sec), 74/200 overall
Photo: 070505 Miwok 100K, 2007/05/05/ Miwok 100K (Yuki Negoro), Miwok photos 2007 (Tropical John), Miwok100K-2007 (Jean Pommier)


I have waited for this run for so long, well, since it was sold out within the first 5 days this year. It was a great run last year - epic-like course, wonderful venue, and my first 100K. I had to resist the desire to pin the bib number, which had been on my desk for the last ten days. I needed to be patient and complete Diablo 50M first 6 days before the race. Yes, I safely completed Diablo 50M without injuries, but have stayed with sore legs since then. It was mainly because I have not done any trail training so far this year. Running Diablo 50M became my trail training and very tough (See 070429 Diablo 50M - A Tough Footrace I'll Ever Love but Never Quit)

For the past six days, I kept massaging my legs whenever I could - stuck in the I-880 south bound traffic, thinking at my job (I write software), meetings, and daily walking. Just like my scratch wounds from the fall in running Diablo 50M healing so fast, my legs amazingly got better a lot every day. This must be the intensive ultrarunning that helped the body work at the higher level.

While massaging my legs, I also found out my time split last year and thought about the pacing strategy this year. Partly motivated by the honor of having been the 1st place in the age group of USATF Pacific Association Ultra so far this year (see Ultra Standing), I eyed at Greg Nacco, who was close behind at 2nd place. Based on his sub-10 hr time in Miwok 100K last year, I set my 10 hr goal time. I knew this is nearly impossible, but why not giving it a try and see how it goes and how close I can do.

Of course, my rare 1st place standing will soon disappear after today's run because there are so many super fast runners on the entrant list. I have saved a snapshot of the page for myself,

Master Men 40-49
Plc, Points Name Age
1, 99.20 Chihping Fu 41
2, 93.40 Greg Nacco 47
3, 83.00 Mark T Lantz 41
4, 71.00 Jean D Pommier 43
5, 58.60 Paul A Brunner 45
6, 49.60 Yuki Negoro 46
7, 40.60 Bob A Gilbert 44
8, 40.00 Roy A Rivers 49
8, 40.00 John R Mintz 40
10, 38.40 Kenneth E Gregorich 48
11, 35.40 James Barstad 42
12, 34.40 Eric R Ellisen 45
13, 32.00 Karl K Hoagland 42
14, 31.00 John R Blue 43
15, 30.20 Tim Ruffino 44
16, 25.60 Jeffrey S Barbier 42
17, 24.00 Tim Wallen 43
18, 20.40 Bob G Tabler 47
19, 17.60 Rob Byrne 49
20, 16.00 John K Nichols 42
20, 16.00 Donald B Lindsey 46
22, 14.00 Kevin Sawchuk 41
23, 12.80 Jim K Schollard 40
24, 12.00 Mark R Murray 44
25, 11.00 Mark E Grismer 48
26, 10.00 David Leipsic 42
27, 8.00 John P Feeney 47
28, 6.00 Wendell Doman 47
29, 3.00 Stephen M Itano 47
30, 2.00 Eric L Vaughan 47
31, 1.00 Eric J Bohn 40
32, 0.00 Christopher E Craig 41

As of now, 6 days after the race, I dropped to the 3rd place after Miwok 100K is considered in the standing.

1, 163.00 Mark T Lantz 41
2, 141.40 Greg Nacco 47
3, 111.20 Chihping Fu 41
4, 103.00 Jean D Pommier 43

Getting to the Race

Thanks Steve Ansell for offering a ride to the race. According to Tia Bordington (the RD), there seems to be some privilege to carpool. It's also nice to have a chance to chat with Steve. Steve picked me up at 4am. We eagerly went for the race and had great time along the way talking about our running experience.

Steve Ansell at the checkin area

Along the way, there are not many cars in such early morning. Right after crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, we have to take the first exit. We are in a long stream of cars after going through the tunnel. Is it like runners at single track trail? These are the runners for today's race. Right in front of us is the car for PCTR Wendell and Sarah for I can recognize by their vanity license plate.

We spot the small checkin area about 200 yards away (near the restroom). On thinking about whether we should just pull over and get out of the car right away, a volunteer lets us move forward and park close to the start. Perhaps cars with the single driver will be asked to return to the parking area here at 200 yards away from the race start/finish. Yes, it seems we have some privilege by carpooling. This is great because we won't be able to walk that far back to the car after running 100K today.

Stan Jensen (in blue) and the other volunteer helping at the Checkin Area

The pre-race moment is always the social time. Ultrarunners from all over the country probably only meet right here in a race. We can see all the runners. Once the race starts, we'll be at different place in the course according to our pace. At the finish, those very fast runners may have left, while sometimes we can not stay for too long to see the rest of the runners. The situation at the pre-race conversation is that we can feel the nervousness, which is often disguised under laughters. However, the excitement of meeting friends does relieve our nervousness.

I chat with Jon Olsen and agree to take a good photo for him. Unfortunately, I still get a blurred one like last time (see 070217 Sequoia 50K - Barely Finish with a Screaming Ankle). I think I have a lot to learn and practice in sports photography. I also spot a glimpse of Scott Jurek. Hope he can stay longer until I finish. I promised my kids that I would like to chat with him and take a picture with him.

Mike/Karyn Hoffman are coming. It was Mike to run, Karyn crewed and paced him last week in Diablo 50M. Today, Karyn is going to run, while Mike will crew and pacer her. What an ultra couple! Yuki Negoro is there too. He is training for the Western States 100M this year and I'll pace him after I finish the safety patrol.

Race briefing at the start

As we move to the start half mile away on the beach, I am walking with Linda McFaden and wish her good luck. She'll be in the prestigious Badwater 135M again this year among her amazing ultra's. It is still dark and we'll start before sun rise. Walking on the soft sand, I can feel a lot of excitement in everyone more than anything else. We are nervously waiting for the start of the run. There are professional photographers shooting the race, while Tia is talking about race and trail etiquette. I thought they come for TV or documentary film. Or since they look like Japanese coming for the Japanese ultrarunning star in this race, 石川弘樹 Hiroki Ishikawa.

Rodeo Beach => Bunker Road: 6.2 miles , 56:58, 9:29 min/mile, last year: 58:32

Everyone is excited on the Rodeo Beach. It's dark and a little cold. We are eager to take off.

Off we go right at 5:40am. After 100 yards of running on the soft sand, we begin the first climb immediately. We have to follow each other in the stream up on the narrow single track climb. For most of us, we don't need to speed up in the beginning, so everyone is patiently walking up on the trail.

Patiently streaming up on a narrow single track climb

After half mile or so, we run on the paved road. Around me are Betsy Nye and Paul Sweeney. Both are Wasatch Front 100M veteran and, like me, ran Diablo 50M six days ago. Rena Schumann is a few yards in front of me, while Karyn Hoffman is 30 yards away. All of them soon move away.

Betsy Nye (won 4 of her 8 Wasatch. just finished Diablo 50M six days ago)

There is a biggest deer that I've ever seen hopping across the road right in front of me. It was too fast for me to take a picture. The deer seems awakened by us on one day in May of a year, so it goes out to show who is the master of the hills.

I chat with Julie Arter nearby. She is pleased with the weather right now. It's clear sky unlike the foggy day when she ran Miwok 100K a few years. She is from the same town as the queen of Badwater 135M Pam Reed - Tucson, AZ. She actually has run a lot of 100 milers, including Leadville 100M, Wasatch Front 100M, Wester States 100M. She will run Leadville 100M this year and next year. I plan to do Leadville 100M next year as well and love to celebrate her 10th finish.

Julie Arter from Tucson, AZ

Those fast runners speed away. I'm getting to run by myself and enjoy the view and joy coming out from myself inside. This is the precious moment that I can run all on my own without pressure - no body fatigue, no pacing strategy, no finishing goal, no pushing pace from behind. It's the steep climb on the road adjacent to the Bay, one of great highlights in Miwok 100K. The climbing is not difficult as my legs are still fresh and the view is awesome. As we get higher, we enjoy more on the Bay and the beautiful San Francisco that seems still in sleep a few miles away.

Yuki Negoro catches up with me. I'm very excited to see him in the run. We are wondering not finding Rajeev Patel and Anil Rao before the race like last year. Out of his wonderful positive personality, Rajeev has a very distinct voice usually with joy and excitement, which can be easily recognized within the crowd. Rajeev comes for his second time in Miwok 100K, while Anil is on his debut after successfully pacing Rajeev last year.

Yuki also carries a camera. We can't miss such a grand view at beautiful San Francisco and Golden Gate Bridge, so we are busy at taking pictures.

Yuki Negoro taking a picture of Golden Gate Bridge

Yuki mentions he has some leg issues and may drop later, so he carries a cell phone as well to call his wife for pickup. I encourage him not to quit but run safely to the finish and build up the training mileage for Western States 100M. I also wish him not to miss a turn like last year. Unfortunately, both in turns happen to me later in today's run.

We start to run on the dirt trail after the 2 miles sightseeing on the asphalt. Yuki bid me good luck as I speed up a little on the trail. Within 100 yards, I have a hard twist on my fragile left ankle immediately after a slight twist on my right ankle. The trail is not technical at all. It is probably that my legs are not fully recovered from Diablo 50M six days ago and has not enough control over my footing. This is a bad sign in the beginning because I have such hard twists on my left ankle over ten times in next 10 miles.

The dirt trail after the sightseeing paved road climb
Paul Sweeney at the back

Each ankle twist is so hard and painful that I am afraid to get injured seriously. I have to scream a little and slow down for minutes. Climbs become a welcome treat because the slow pace or walking on the climb relieve the pain and recover my ankle a bit. I start to be very careful about my footing and slow down my pace. I start to think this is not a good day for me. There is no way to run 10 hr or fast time. Maybe finish without getting injured badly is my only best wish since dropping from the race has stayed in my mind for a while.

Along the downhill, I can see front runners far away down in the valley. They have passed the first aid station. I can not imagine their fast pace, but they must have run all the way up on our first long climb at the asphalt, while the rest of us simply took a stroll and enjoyed the view. Maybe I can try to run the whole climb next year to test my strength. Why not?

When I get to the Bunker Road aid station, I still have faster time than last year even I have slowed down for sightseeing and ankle twists. I have made 3 minutes faster

Bunker Road => Tennessee Valley: 5.7/11.9 miles, 54:48/1:51:46, 9:52 min/mile, last year: 57:18

Bunker Road aid station (H2O only)

The first aid station is water only with volunteer standing along the trail. I decide to skip it and test my thirsty limit since I have hydrated myself before the race. It starts with wet and soft trail after the aid station. I'm happy that there are no muddy water spots to wet the feet at early mileage like last year.

On the wet trail right after the aid station

At about half mile, we start a one mile climb. I run or walk and finally get to the top . I can see Yuki not far behind. Hope he has a good day. Then I switch to the trail and crest high on the hills. The view is great as I can see the green valley wide down below and far away. Sometimes it becomes wooden paved trail to prevent erosion. There are lots of giant wild flower absorbing the rich moist at the coastal area.

At one left turn, I notice that this is place on the returning course. After long hours today, I'll visit it on coming back. Before the next aid station, there is a steep downhill for about half mile. I pass Julie and continue to go fast but carefully about my fragile ankle.

Tennessee Valley => Muir Beach:
4.1/16.0 miles, 45:25/2:37:11, 10:49 min/mile, last year: 44:02

Tennessee Valley aid station

At Tennessee Valley aid station, Thanks Stan Jensen (in blue jacket) for filling up my bottle. Karyn Hoffman is also there with his husband crew Mike Hoffman.

Me at Tennessee Valley aid station. Stan Jensen (in blue). Courtesy Mike Hoffman.

I quickly take off to continue on the paved road for half mile. Paul Sweeney passes me (forever). Wally Hesseltine runs towards me. He seems working as a mobile volunteer on the trail. I met him last year when I was struggling around Pan toll going out. He is an ultrarunner that I have admired since beginning.

Karyn Hoffman (in green) and runners far away

There are other visitors on the trail and even on the climb that comes at the end of the paved road. Karyn passes me on the climb. We will climb until we are higher than the nearby hills and see the ocean. A few others pass me, but I feel great to stay at the back to selfishly enjoy everything at my own pace. I take a lot of pictures about Karyn along the way as she is ahead of me at such a wonderful place of ocean view. This is yet another great moment in
Miwok 100K.

WOW! Only after hard work on the climb.

We run along the coast at a few hundred feet high above the ocean until we run on a downhill to the next aid station.

Muir Beach => Pan Toll:
5.7/21.7 miles, 1:08:25/3:45:36, 12:54 min/mile, last year: 1:03:13

Muir Beach aid station

Leaving the aid station, there is a quarter mile section along the paved road in a small neighborhood. Karyn Hoffman is about hundred yards in front of me. As the course turns to a narrow trail at the left side of the road, I can no longer see Karyn. It is now single track trail in the meadow and trees. There are some wooden bridges. One of them is very bouncing, feeling like a hanging bridge. I'm not sure if they can hold well after hundreds of us stamping on them every year like this.

Running on this trail for a mile, we need to cross a small paved road and start the climb. It's more exposed and we can feel the heat on the climb. Near the top of the climb, the course stays close with Quad Dipsea run. It becomes wide open. It is still uphll and we can see ocean after a mile. Then we turn to redwood forest.

Fast Andy Black catches up and I am able to see his bleeding wounds after a hard fall.

Fast Andy smiling after a hard fall

At one point, we have a giant fallen redwood across on the trail. I just climb over, while Andy and some other runners walk around it from the right side.

Need to tackle this fallen giant redwood tree

We also see Tropical John on the trail taking pictures (See his photo at Miwok photos 2007).

I know this section is not easy as we need to complete nearly 1,800 ft climb and get to the ridge. I start to feel nauseous but not serious. I think I am a little dehydrated as it gets warmer and I have only one water bottle. Apparently, I should have drunk more. I finally get to the next aid station.

Pan Toll => Bolina Ridge:
6.7/28.4 miles, 1:14:23/4:59:58, 11:43 min/mile, last year: 1:10:58

Pan Toll aid station

I look for Addy but did not see her. I guess she will be there on my way back. There are a lot of people around and it seems to be the main spot for crewing and pacer. Actually, the pacer is allowed from here on coming back. I quickly leave the aid station and go into a shady narrow trail under redwood trees. After a mile, the course goes to the beautiful narrow single track trail along the coast. We can see Stinson Beach far away and unbelievable 1,500 ft below. This is another great view in
Miwok 100K.

Ocean is 1,500 ft below and far away is Stinson Beach

I run along with Fast Andy. As usual, we pass the junk car. Andy says it used to stay away from the trail. My faint memory from last year seems to agree with this. Perhaps some geological factor has been working through the time. Fast Andy speeds up and moves away from me.

Fast Andy looking above to see how the car fell to the trail

Later during a quarter mile section of dense forest, Jeff Barbier catches up after getting lost somewhere. We met in a few other races. One is
Diablo 50M/Marathon. He ran Marathon, while I did the 50 miler.

I run ahead and turn around to take a picture for him. I then trip and fall to the ground right away after taking the picture. I can not get up even with Jeff's help until a second try. I have a bleeding 2 inch cut on my left inner elbow and two longer 3 in bleeding cut next to my heart right at the center of my chest. Perhaps the heartbeat belt protect me from more cuts. I am scared a little and hope these not are serious. Luckily, I seem to be able to keep running.

Jeff Barbier catches up after getting lost

This is a long 6.7 mile section. Some part are exposed with magnificent views, but it does not help my feeling of dizziness. I maybe need to drink even more at the next aid station.

Bolina Ridge => Randall Trail:
7.2/35.6 miles, 1:08:54/6:08:52, 10:30 min/mile, last year: 1:17:27

Bolina Ridge aid station

The aid station is crowded with runners. I quickly drink a lot and leave. We'll run 7.2 miles on this trail to the next aid station, which is the turn around. Unlike last year, there are a few wide water spot. All except one can be run around without getting wet feet. I have to run through the water at only one water spot. The fun is more than the anxiety. My feet get cooler with the water, but the Vasque Lightspeed shoes dry my feet very quickly that I don't feel any wetness within minutes.

I know it's time to watch the front runners coming. It is a nice thing to have this out-and-back section. I have my camera ready at my hand. Unexpectedly, the leader Lon Freeman is coming at such an early time. This is my mile 28 and his mile 42. Wow! He has been running 50% faster than I! He must be on the record setting pace because I spotted the front runner far later in this section last year. He finishes it at 8 hr 9 min, breaking 8 year old record 8 hr 22 min set by the ultrarunning legend Carl Andersen.

The lead runner Lon Freeman at his mile 42 (my mile 28).
He sets the course record 8 hr 9 min 52 sec.

Following behind is Greg Growler. He just won 50K and 100K USA championship a few months ago this year. Today he seems to be some distance behind Lon Freeman. It's great to see those elite ultrarunners in running along the way -
Scott Jure, Kami Semick, Nikki Kimbal, Jon Olsen, Mark Lantz, Bev Anderson-Abbs, Alan Abbs, etc. Also 石川弘樹 Hiroki Ishikawa, strong and smiling. I call his name and he looks a little surprised that someone recognizes him on the trail.

When can you run up close with Kenyan or Ethiopian runners in Marathon road race?

Bev Anderson-Abbs flyies by.
She finishes 9 hr 47 min 7sec, 14th overall, 3rd women.

I recognize Wendell Domain by his PCTR T-shirt and he looks fine. He mentions Sarah also runs today. Another wonder ultra couple! I pass him but think I'll see him later coming up as he also shows his better endurance in past races.

After the long rolling, we need to make a left turn to the 1.5 mile steep down hill all the way to the aid station. Here I see Brian Wyatt coming back. He is now 3 miles ahead of me. He has been running so fast within the past year. No wonder he is at sub-10 hr pace.

I try to be careful on this downhill for fear of getting ankle twisted. I can see all those runners ahead of me, including Rob Bryne (the Ohlone Wilderness 50K RD) and young Michael Hayden at the age of 17.

This is really a long downhill. I enjoy the speeding , but am thinking that I need to pay the downhill later on coming up.

Randall Trail => Bolina Ridge:
7.2/42.8 miles, 1:27:39/7:36:31, 13:34 min/mile, last year: 1:24:17

Randall Trail AS (the turnaround)

It's great to get to the turnaround, although there is still over 25 mile to go. Wendell Domain comes in as well. I quickly drink a lot and leave. Somehow I am able to run part of the 1.5 mile climb. After about 10 min, I see Yuki Negoro. We talk about how we will meet
石川弘樹 Hiroki Ishikawa in future.

With patience, I finally finish the climb. Right there Penny Beeston just comes in enjoying the downhill. I'm glad to see her as we met in other races a few times.

Perhaps thanks to slow pace in the beginning, I seem to be able to run most of the hills right now. After a while, I see Marrisa Walker running with smile. Soon being a personal trainer like the fast Brian Wyatt, she has kept running more and more ultra's with him. This is her first 100K after she finishes her debut American River 50M three weeks ago. I greatly admire her spirit and effort.

Bolina Ridge trail on my way back

I also see
Rajeev Patel and Anil Rao running together. They look so great right now and ready to make a blast today. Rajeev finishes nearly an hour faster than last year. Anil completes his first Miwok 100K only a few minutes behind Rajeev. Both have a great job and a wonderful day!

Bolina Ridge => Pan Toll:
6.7/49.5 miles, 1:23:34/9:00:05, 12:54 min/mile, last year: 1:22:51

Great view but has to work hard with tired body to come back

Leaving Bolina Ridge aid station, the course gets to exposed but with great view rolling single track trail. I'm slow and have trouble with the narrow trail because the trail is tilted to one side. It seems I can easily get my ankle twisted. I have to run carefully. I am a little tired and a few runners pass me. However, as time goes by, I feel better with my legs. When entering the woods a mile before the next aid station, I feel like fully recovered.

Pan Toll => Highway 1 Crossing:
5.2/54.7 miles, 1:01:40/10:01:45, 11:14 min/mile, last year: 1:07:51

I see Addy at the aid station. I quickly swallowed a slice of watermelon. I leave after my water bottle is filled. I don't see Kermit either because He has left for pacing Michael Hayden, who is ahead of me.

Wendell Domain comes in. This reminds me that he gets stronger at later miles and starts to pass me. I have all I need at the aid station and take off. Betsy Nye is a few feet ahead of me and waiting for her pacer. I feel reluctant but to pass her because I know she is faster. I feel great at this moment. It begins with the trail in giant redwood forest. I get to the fallen tree again. I don't climb over this time but walk around it. Soon I leave the nice forest and get to the open area that is shared by Quad Dipsea race.

Running close to the Quad Dipsea course

After a while, it's a long steep downhill, where I passed Scott Leonard and Ken Ward from Oregon. They have run with each other all the time to the finish. As I cross a road, the trail becomes winding in forest with wooden bridges. I paid more attention here because the instruction mentions this is some runners easily missing the turn. Basically we have following the same course on coming back, but there is a left turn going to another trail which gets to the Highway 1 Crossing aid station. I pass a gal there, who is listening to music and scared by my voice. I want to tell her to notice the turn nearby.

Within seconds, I spot the left turn where there are lots of ribbon. The trail becomes switch back up along overgrown plants. Amazingly I am somehow able to run all the way up with feeling sore on my legs. At the top, the trail leaves the trees and becomes exposed. It goes up but not that steep as the switchback. It winds around hills. The area is wide open. I can see Betsy and her pacer about 200 yards behind and a runner 100 yard ahead.

At the REAL top, there is a volunteer telling me the aid station is within 100 yards. This motivates me a bit, but I later find out it's more than that. Before I get to the aid station, I just pass the runner ahead of me.

Highway 1 Crossing => Tennessee Valley:
3.7/58.4 miles, 40:46/10:42:31, 10:47 min/mile, last year: 47:05

I quickly leave the aid station after refueling at the aid station. It begins with a long slow climb, winding along the mountain up. On the left side, Sausalito lays down below. I think this is the first time I see a city after I saw it in the early morning.

Long slow climb right after the Highway 1 crossing aid station

Along the climb, there are a few runners walking slowly, while I do not stop running. I am glad about it because I was walking last year and got passed by a couple times. I pass them (Sy Vu, etc) one by one. After I pass them, they are motivated and start to run. I talk to Martin Fagan who is recovering from stomach issue. I encourage him to speed up once he feels OK. Within a minute or two, I am glad he starts to run.

Martin Fagan is recovering from a stomach issue

Looking back far away, I can see Betsy Nye and her pacer working hard on the climb at about 150 yards behind. At the top, we are running on the rolling ridge. Then it goes steep down hill. It becomes very rocky with lots of hard soil at the end.

As I can see the Tennessee Valley AS less than a mile away, I am speeding on the rocky steep trail. Thanks to the protection from my real trail shoes, the footing is hard but I feel fine. Betsy Nye is also catching up. I have passed a couple of runners, but Betsy Nye always gets closer and closer from behind. I am happy that the duel is finally over when she passes me. With so many tough 100 milers under her belt, Betsy Nye demonstrates her strength at the later miles. I express best luck to her. Her pacer and crew also comes by, although I though she is a runner, too. We soon get to the aid station after a quarter mile on the asphalt.

Tennessee Valley => Rodeo Beach:
5.8/64.2 miles, 1:10:42/11:53:12, 12:47 min/mile, last year: 54:04

At the aid station, there is Kevin, with whom I shared the same shuttle bus at the
American River 50M. Betsy Nye does not stop but keeps walking to pass the aid station. Her pacer does everything for her at the aid station and catches up. Now I know what a good pacer should do for the top runner. This will be helpful when I pace Yuki in Wester States 100M this year.

There is another runner there earlier than I. He takes off but walks slowly. After quickly drinking enough fluid and filling up my bottle, I leave the aid station with full prepare on the final stretch.

Long ridge trail leads to the finish at the beach

I run and pass the runner at the stable right before the switch back climb. This is where I ran down fast in the morning.

I can see Betsy Nye about 100 yard away. There is no way for me to catch up. Looking back, I also move farther away from the runner behind. I'm alone running so I focus on my pacing. My running at the coming back course has been excellent and far beyond my expectation so far. The only exception of being passed by Betsy Nye is also acceptable.

I carefully follow the course, but still can see Betsy in blue running ahead. I am running at a wide trail over the rolling ridge. After I get to the top, I enjoy the speedy steep downhill. Then I miss a right turn to the Wolf Ridge trail but stay at the Miwok trail all the way down. I am simply enjoy running 8 min pace until I feel suspicious that I seem to run alone. And, most importantly, I have not seen ribbon markers for a while. There are no one around, nor can I see Betsy in blue ahead.

I keep running downhill, but slow down because of this concern. After a mile or so, there is a group of visitors ahead. When they do not see a female runner in blue or any other runners, I know I have missed a turn. I have go to back to where I made the mistake. The thought of keeping going down and get to the finish easily soon disappear. This will make me disqualified!

All I have to do is work on this one mile climb back and continue the race. I am a little disappointment, but I let it replaced with the runner's high that kept me all the way back. After I patiently run or walk for over 20 minutes, I spot the turn. There are some people sitting there. I wish they could have yelled to me earlier.

Now I need to overcome the dreadful climb ahead of me. It's the hill that looks so scary at the end of such a long run, but I know I'll get to the top after a few minutes. I have the final view in mind. At the top, I'll see beach, ocean, and finish tent. Therefore, the climb is almost effortless or I simply ignore the pain.

When I get to the asphalt at the top, I feel great to finish the long run with such a beautiful view. I look for the finish tent.

The finish area down below near the beach

There is still 1.5 miles to go, but I feel relaxed with no one behind to push the pace. I ran casually and carefully without hurting my injured ankle. There is small uphill taking me 20 second walk. Otherwise, I cruise down the winding paved road. Sy Vu, whom I passed earlier, seems to be in pains and walks very slowly on the stairs, shortcut for the winding paved road. I pass him again here. I think he also has the finish in mind and is willing to tolerate anything for a few minutes.

The cheering noise gets louder, I finally cross the finish line without any effort. I have spent
12hr 12min 25sec. This is the longest and my first time over 12 hr in any sub-100 mile run! I learned a lot from the run and look forward to next year as I can do it better.

At the finish, I saw a lot of friends, who arrived earlier than I. I answer a bit about how I missed a turn when they have a question why they did not feel passing me.

Scott Jurek is there, too. I patiently wait until he finishes his conversation with others. I introduce myself and have a chat with him. I feel like staying so close with a celebrity for the first time in my life. I'm excited. I have a picture with him and have my race T-shirt signed.

Me and Scott Jurek at the finish

Another great ultra couple, Mark Lantz and Rena Schumann, also come over and we have a nice chat. I'll see them in Quicksilver a week later.

While I am taking a cold shower,
Steve Ansell also finishes. He has a great run today and runs strong at later miles while others are struggling.

Other Reports

Rajeev Patel - Miwok 100K, Miwok 100K in 2006. Both have a poem each.
Steve Ansell - Recipe for Success
Jean Pommier - Miwok 100K 2007: farther, with breathtaking views
Kelly Ridgeway - Running friends at Miwok, Satisfied at Miwok 100k
MarinIJ -
Freeman sets Miwok 100K record
Jakob Herrmann - MiWok 100 Race Report - Jakob (need Ultrarunning List subscription)
Greg Crowther - A Day of Surprises