The Wood-Fired Blog

A 51.25 Mile 50 Miler

Sometimes 50 miles just isn’t enough.

Yesterday at the Headlands 50 Ultra I went off the course not once, but twice and ended up running 51.25 miles. Not very smart! I was running with an experienced ultra runner, and we just got talking, and well, there we were. I concentrated at the intersections a lot more on the second lap.

With my detours, I finished the race at 9:35, which was fast enough for 5th overall (I think that is right, they haven’t posted the final results yet) and I got an award for winning the 50-up age group. Wahoo. The last 5 miles were a grind and the last two hills were a killer, but I felt really good up until then. Now, as long as my knee holds up, it’s time to start getting ready for the winter marathons.

This was my first 50 miler and my second trail race, and the experience was just great. At one spot running across a crest with views of the Marin headlands and the bay, I crossed paths with another runner about my age running the other way, and he called out “Isn’t this great! We are so lucky to be here”. I couldn’t agree more. At mile 32, we were at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge, and running through lots of bikers, joggers and walkers out for the day, a young guy called out to me “you are having more fun than any of the runners I’ve seen all day”. I must have had a smile on my face.

Here are a couple of photos from previous years. The weather yesterday was beautiful.


Time to Taper

The Headlands 50 is in two weeks, which means it’s time to taper. I’m not sure whether I am excited, nervous, and just feeling stupid for signing up in the first place. You can only train so much for something like this. Unlike the marathon, where you can do lots of 20 mile training runs that give you an idea of your fitness level over a 26 mile race, 50 is a huge unknown. At some point, you have to hope that some lucky genetics (how will my body respond?) comes into play. Though I guess I learned a little from the CIM2LasVegas double, which was 52 miles, but with a gap in the middle, and on level roads.

My training cycle has been good, where I have run a little over 700 miles in the past two months, or roughly 12 miles a day. I have a 78 day, 833 mile streak going, without a day off. Wahoo. Tapering usually isn’t very fun. You tend to feel slow and lethargic, and you get a little stir crazy. It’s like having your hobby taken away for a couple of weeks — but it’s the right thing to do.

On the other hand, this race is just a transition, and my more serious goal for the rest of the year is to run a personal best time at CIM in December, and this is all building toward that goal. I am also running the NYC marathon in November, but that will just be a training run.

So, bring on taper madness.