Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Headlands 100 - Race Report

I know I am super late getting this Race Report written but I was on the road and what not, blah, blah, blah...I will give you the quick and dirty first in case you don't want to read about a race at nauseum.  I did finish Headlands 100miler.  It was frickin ridiculously hard.  I was the second woman, 17th person overall, time was 26:56 and that is the 7th fastest time a woman has ever run that course. Each loop had 5,017 ft of elevation gain and loss multiply that by 4 and elevation gain was 20,068ft overall, HOLY CRAP! I DID THAT.  No wonder my quads hurt.
Jimmi and I getting my number

Oh dear was I praying already???
We left from Modesto at 3am on race day.  Jimmi drove since I was a basket case and wanted to try and rest.  Needless to day I didn't rest much but it felt good to just prattle on with Jimmi and Cathy.  Thank goodness another runner let us follow her to the course there is no way we would have found the starting line on our own.  We got to the race before they were set up so we just hunkered down in the car and waited.  It was cold outside.  Who knew San Fransisco was so dang cold in the middle of the summer.  I know I know, already heard the quote no need to leave me a commet.  After a while they set up the check in and we went and claimed my number and shirt (I had a picture with Cathy too but can't find it anywhere, errrr).  Next they had a prerace meeting 10 minutes before the start and then they sent us on our way.  I knew after the first 12 miles or so that this race was going to SERIOUSLY suck rocks.  Going up the hills wasn't nearly as bad as going down.  Each 25 mile loop basically consisted of climbing in and out of valleys and it was brutal. 
There were three spots on the course where we back tracked so I always knew how I was doing place wise.  That sort of rocked and sucked at the same time.  It was nice to know i was in second but sucked to see the first place girl charging up the mountains like she was part goat or something, lol.  I knew from the get go that the only way I would catch her was if she just stopped and she was a rock star so she just kept on going and won the sucker.  She was amazing. 
Ok back to my race.  We started off on a climb, ran over a ridge and down to Tennesee Valley, then back out of the Valley to the ridge and down to Pirates Cove, then back up to the ridge and all the way to the beach at Muir, then back to the top of the ridgeline and back to Tennesse Valley and then yep you guessed it, back to the top and over to the Golden Gate Bridge and all the way down to the base of the bridge and then finally back to the top and down the other side and around to the Start/Finish.  The climbing was no joke.  The entire trek down to the base of the bridge was single track and in some places stepping aside was stepping off the side of a cliff (that got dicey after dark).  I felt pretty great my first loop, I knew it was going to be hard but I was in great spirits.  I saw Jimmi and Cathy at the 12 mile mark and they quickly sent me on my way.  I cannot even express how much it lifted my spirits everytime I got to see the crew, it just made my heart happy.  I finished that loop with no issues. 

I met the crew (which now included my cousin Todd and his super star wife Kathrin) and we got me turned around quickly and off I went again.  With Todd there the crew could now navigate their way to multiple check points (they were tough to find but Todd was a navigation wiz).  I saw them at the base of the Golden Gate and then again at Tennesse Valley for both times I went through there.  I was feeling pretty good on this loop but dreaded right off the stupid climb and decent to the Golden Gate (remember I had just done that on teh last loop and then reversed course and immediatelly had to tackle it again, blechhhhhhhh). About half way through this loop I realized it was the more difficult direction of the two and knew I wouldl have to do it again during miles 75-100, that did bug me a bit.  I ran into some awesome folks on this loop and got to talk a little which was a nice change from the podcasts I had been listening too but, I have to say that if the other runners aren't talking like they plan to finish it can plant seeds in your head about that same sort of thing.  I ran into two of those types and tried to just push on so I didn't have to listen to anything negative.  I also was begginning to realize I was pretty dang good on the up hills, as we worked our way up the mountains, Ii would pass a few men but then they wouldl cruise by me by the end of the downhill sections (so I need to work on that).  As I climbed out of Pirates Cove (up a bajillion stairs and rocky slope) I was a bit freaked that I had to do this section again.  I got back to the Start/Finish and John (1st pacer) was there waiting.  We changed up my clothes (yes I changed right in the start/finish area in front of everyone, I just didn't care) and shoes and off we went. 

John was the superstar of pacers, oh man, he was amazing.  He has raced a ton of ultras and paced a ton too.  He knew just what to do and when.  I didn't have to say anything, he would just grab gear get it filled and meet me back up the road.  He knew when to bug me about eating, when to push me and when to just lay off.  He kept a constant flow of positive energy and focus.  I am not messing around he was extaordinary.  Even on this loop I was starting to loose focus on the 24hr goal and say it was ok just to finish.  I was letting myself be ok with being less, that actually kind of bugs me but honestly not sure if I couldl have given much more than I did at this race.  We ran into some issues getting down to othe base of the Golden Gate and back up.  People were no longer able or willing to step aside on the single track section therefore there was a lot of falling and slipping.  I was having trouble with my footing at this point anyway so, it certianly didn't help to have to be watching out for other runners.  The fog was brutal, our visability with multiple headlamps and hand helds was zero so, I just stumbled along watching every step.  Once I fell and twisted my bad ankle and I was freaked, it was throbbing but John got me up and told me to run and I did, he was right, I just needed to get er moving and loosen it up again.  We made it back to the Start Finish and I had plenty of time to make the 24hr time (I had just over 1 more hour than it had just taken me to complete the last loop so, everything should have gone great right???). 

Oh poor Jimmi.  She got stuck with me at the worst time, she was such a trooper.  I just have no words...Off we went.  I told her right off I just wanted to keep moving even if it meant walking and walk we did.  I tried to shuffle when I could but dang my legs were beginning to reallly really really hurt.  We had to tackle the Golden Gate section right off and I was freaked because of the ankle on the last go round.  We stopped for every runner both coming and going and carefully stood to the side.  we were taking no chances with getting bumped or falling.  We made our way to the aid station and YET AGAIN there WAS NO COFFEE.  What the HECK!!!! Who doesn't serve coffee at an ultra?  It was the evil race director who made up the sadistic course, had to be, probably thought that would make it even more challenging and it did, lol.   Did I forget to say that the last time we were at this aid station there were police all over the place with guns drawn?  well there were.  Jimmin knew but didn't tell me at the time that they were looking for some guy who was on the loose, ahhhhhhhhh.  So we hit the aid station, don't get coffee, don't see the crazy guy and tried to get m&m's (I know I am a nutrition freak, lol) but, instead they gave us m&m pretzels, you should have seen me try and spit those out, I didn't want any morsel of taht gluten in me.  Oh and as we headed down the hill tehre was some guy standing around and I asked if he was waiting for someone, he said yes, me...oh dang, it was John (1st pacer) and I didn't even recognize hime.  Maybe that should have been mine and Jimmi's first clue I wasn't doing so well.  Ok so we head back out of the aid station me trying to comb pretzels from my toungue and Jimmi looking for a crazy man that might jump out and attack us and here is where I decide to take a nap.  WHAT!!!! a nap you say. Yep, I told Jimmi I just need a break and took off my pack and layed down on the trail, right there in crazy escape man territory.  Not to worry, I couldn't rest so we just got up and kept going.  We came up with a paln that we would rest at Tennesee Valley, get me warmer clothes and then tackle the last half of the loop wit hsome warm food and clothes.  So we pressed.  we got to the top of the ridge and worked our way onto the pink loop, or did we???? No that is right the psycho Race Director marked two gates with pink glow sticks both were to the left and so of course Jimmi and I headed off track.  I said "Jimmi this doesn't look familiar" but hey I was totally out of it so I am sure she was thinking why would I trust her.  We marched on and it only looked more and more unfamiliar.  We got to the top and there was a sign about bears and Jimmi immediately led me back down the way we came up as fast as my two legs would let us go.  So one mile later we were back on track and headed to Tennesee Valley.  When we got there I tried to nap but after a minute or two I got up and said lets just go finish this sucker.  we tried to change my clothes and we changed into my old Mizuno's (poor poor decision in hind sight) and off we went without enough lights and with some borrowed coffee(thank you to the volunteer who gave up his personal stash).  We trudged along just talking and trying to get er done.  Man, jimmi was a trooper, she just guided me along and kept the mood up beat

I learned a lot at this race.  I do now have a renewed sense that I can conquer anything I put my mind too.  I need to work on my downhill running.  I need to stop wearing Mizunos period, they clearly do not work for me.  I have to get a better headlamp.  I need ot pay better attention to the course at night.  But you know overall most of the race went right.  The crew and pacers rocked, every single one of them just did an amazing job.  My training is working for me and lets face it with my top priority being: being a mom and wife, I don't see me finding any more time to train.  So if the best I can get is 2nd with that, I am pretty darn happy with that.  I worked my butt off and dang that race was great. 

So what is next you ask??? A 24 hr race next month.  I know I know....I said Ii wouldn't do one again but well, I have to give it a whirl. 

Both feet were pretty badly bruised, yuck!

Awesome Rumming Mamas.  The day after the race.  Love you both and can't thank you enough.


mom27g said...

You rock, UltraTara. I can not even fathom running that much continuously over a 24 hr period. You are truly an inspiration.

Tracey Kite said...

Sounds like you had an amazing team and you did awesome. So proud of you that course sounds super tough and you did it, and came in 2nd. I would say that isn't too bad.

Nursing Stroller-Pushing Marathoner said...

What you learned a lot and yet u came in 2nd? :-O ;-) I totally know what u mean about trying not to let the negative people bring u down. i didn't include that in my race report but that's totally what happened to me on the 3rd loop. i don't know why i let it happen...just a stranger but it did. however u have to be way better on that based on ur record...anyway...i'm impressed...u r impressive. and what's that i hear about a 24 hr race next month?

Scully said...

One word, CONGRATS for gettin'er done! You are an inspiration! 2nd place is nothing short of amazing! I am so inspired despite the bad parts of the race.
I believe the biggest reasons you have the power to do these things is positive thinking. I have a lot to learn from you.
THANK you for doing this, writing about this and ROCKING it.

Marny said...

i am so so so so proud of you! you rocked it! also on the list for the next one: camping stove and instant coffee!

kelly said...

Bahaha @ the girl in first being part goat. Then as if the race wasn't excitement enough a mad man on the loose. lol yikes! You did fricking amazing. Such an inspiration girl. It was a fun day for all of us at home too glued to the computer or our phones for Tara updates. So happy it went so well for you!

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Mandie Hayes