October 22, 2013

How A Math Major Reviews For A Race!

Okey Dokey.

North Face FINALLY posted the updated course guide. Hallelujah! Now I can obsess for 46 days!!!

You think I'm joking, but I'm not.

Since realizing that it's been posted, I've already combed through the pages, drawn on the elevation chart, done some analysis (again, you probably think I'm joking)...

Race Start at 5am, 14 hr cutoff. Ouch.

So there's the course map. I understand that means next to nothing to most people looking at it who aren't familiar with the area.


And here we have it.

Yes, that says an elevation GAIN of 9,237 ft and a LOSS of 10,043 ft.

Here's some perspective:
Bear Mountian 50K Elevation

DC 50 Mile Elevation

So basically I'm in a for a world of hurt. I just hope those downhill parts are actually runnable so I can make up some time...and that I will actually be able to breathe on the uphills since I won't be at a million ft elevation.

Not going to lie...getting kind of excited. Regardless of how I do, this is a completely foreign race course to me. I haven't been able to practice on it or learn every little curve and bump, so I get to go out on race day and truly explore this area for the first time. It's supposed to have absolutely beautiful views as well, making the climbs (hopefully) worth it!

In case anyone is sooo curious, here is a breakdown of what I will encounter...aid station to aid station:

Start to Aid #1 (5 Mile Water Stop):
You will start the race in the pre-dawn and proceed through this first section, which is mainly road or fire road. Look back to see the other runners behind you snaking up Bobcat in the darkness. Enjoy the lights of the Golden Gate on Alta trail.

This section is 5.7 miles and from what I gather, it is mostly flat the first mile, 3 miles uphill, then one steep downhill mile.

5 Mile to Aid #2 (Tennessee Valley):For most runners, this portion of the race is still run in the dark.
They are talking about me here, haha. This three mile section is downhill for half a mile, one mile uphill, and the rest is downhill.

Tennessee Valley to Aid #3 (Muir Beach):This is a beautiful trail with a sweeping view of the coast, a beautiful single track that winds along high cliffs above
the Pacific.

This four mile stretch is downhill for a little over a mile, uphill for one mile, down steep for a bit, then up/flat/down. A little bit of everything!

Muir Beach to Aid #4 (Cardiac):Work on the Muir Beach wetland area means that the entrance in and out of the aid station is different in 2013. This section of the course has a number of turns at the start, but ultimately enjoys simultaneous views of San Francisco Bay, and Pacific while running along the edge of Muir Woods. At Cardiac take aid and congratulate yourself on having completed 1,500 feet of ascent. Don’t congratulate yourself too much though as you still have to climb thru Pantoll and onto McKinnon Gulch.
Fuuuun name, Cardiac. 5.2 miles consisting of 2 flat, and 3 long uphill miles.

Cardiac to Aid #5 (McKinnon Gulch):Run out along the ridge, out and over the famous, wrecked car on the Coastal Trail.
This is 4.8 miles of almost pure uphill climbing. And at the end of those miles is the first hard cut-off, which I have to be at no later than 11:28 am, which is 6 hours and 24 minutes from the start...and 22.7 miles.

McKinnon Gulch to Aid #6 (Stinson Beach):After running along through the rising thermals along the Coastal Trail, you’ll descend 1,900 feet to the cool ocean air of Stinson Beach.
Woooo hooooo downhill! That's going to feel nice after all of that climbing! This is 5 miles of rolling/flat terrain for 2 miles, then 3 miles of downhill enjoyment. I also get to pick up my pacer for the remainder of the race! Lucky him!

Stinson Beach to Aid #7 (Cardiac):
Run up the classic Dipsea Trail through the moors. Turn back to see a sweeping view of Stinson Beach and then focus as you continue to climb the Dipsea to the Cardiac Aid Station. * The new routing in 2011 means that you’ll have the pleasure of running through trees and up a long section of the famous Dipsea Trail steps before coming back to the Cardiac Aid station that you saw earlier in the race.
So this part makes me a little nervous. It's 2.7 miles of all uphill and the famous Dipsea Trail stairs. Dun Dun DUUUUUNNNNNN.

Cardiac to Aid #8 (Old Inn):
Prepare for a ride! This section has a winding difficult descent, followed by a challenging climb. Enjoy sweeping vistas along the Sun Trail, then rejoin the famous Dipsea Trail for a short time.
5.9 miles - down 1.2 miles, small up/down, uphill one mile, and down three miles. Also, the spot of the second hard cutoff. I have to be here no later than 3:18 (mile 36.3), 10 hours and 14 minutes after the start.

Old Inn to Aid #9 (Muir Beach):
This section runs you through the high grasses of the Redwood Creek trail, across two wooden bridges, and back to Muir Beach Aid Station, which you visited earlier in the day.
This is 3.6 miles, up and down for one mile, and a small downhill for three miles.

Muir Beach to Aid #10 (Tennessee Valley):
Exit Muir Beach, going up a hill you have seen earlier in the race. Then, enjoy the amazing vistas as you grind up the Fire Road, onto Coyote Ridge, up to the top.
Always so much fun to go up a hill and look forward to seeing it again later....not! This section is 4.1 miles of steep uphill for 2 miles and downhill for 2 miles. At least what goes up must come down!

Tennessee Valley to Aid #11 (Alta):
Just when you thought the climbing was over. This section will gradually ascend almost 700 feet over 2 miles of wide fire road.
What a bunch of jerks putting a hill so close to the end of the race! It's the last hard push though! Woo hoo, almost there! This section is just 2.9 miles, one mile uphill then the rest is rolling and downhill.

Alta to FINISH LINE!!!!!:
This is the last 2.8 miles of the course, two miles downhill and the rest is a slight up and flat chunk to the finish line where I can bask in glory and beer! And hopefully a tub of ice!

Okay so now that all of that is covered...who wants to come run with me for a little bit THIS FRIDAY?

I am doing my 31 miles and would love to see some supportive faces. If you don't want to run, you're always welcome to stand on 104 with a poster and a cowbell! You will be rewarded with my smiling, shimmering face! Because, what more would you want?! Nothing. You want nothing.

The plan from here on out is:

10/25 - 31 miles
11/2 - 15
11/9 - 28
11/16 - 24
11/23 - 16
11/30 - 10
12/7 - 50!

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