7:00 AM July 17, 2010 @ Marin Headlands, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, San Francisco, California (USA)
The lure of mountain trail running had been planted in my mind when I had my recon run barely two weeks before I participated in the Bulldog 50K Mountain Trail Run in Malibu Creek State Park in Calabasas, California in August 2008. Since then, my visits to the United States/California would include trail runs in Mt Wilson, Griffith Park Mountains & Elysian Park in Los Angeles, California. I found enjoyment and fun plodding my feet along the trails where the scenery is beautiful, the air quality is clean and unadulterated, and the dirt & dust that cling on my running legs are simply nice to see and wash off after my workout.
But at the back of my mind, I want to experience and finish the “ultimate” mountain trail race distance of 100 miles (160 kilometers) in the United States. It could be in San Diego, San Francisco, Texas, Vermont, Leadville, Pacific Crest, Arizona, Oregon, or in any of the 100-miler races available where I could participate. But first, I need to train and prepare for it. So, I started to research on how these runners, who finished 100-milers. prepared for their races. I found out that these runners took them years (yes, minimum of two years) to prepare and train for these challenging trail races by starting from lesser-distance races to marathon trail races, then up to 50Ks, then 50-milers, 100K runs, and finally confident to finish a 100-miler trail run. However, in-between these races, they spent a lot of positive attitude, patience, determination, discipline, balance, moderation, and focus (and of course, lots of money!) It does not mean also that these runners only finish one or two of the lesser-distance ultra races before they jump in to participate in 100-miler races. They join lots of these trail run races (< than 100-mile) before they embark on 100-mile races.
This is the reason why I was always running towards “Brown Mountain” for the past months and considered the last 34th MILO Marathon Manila Elimination Race as part of my preparation for something “bigger” in my Race Calendar for the year. I think my preparations paid off and I am satisfied that I finished the Headlands 50-Mile Mountain Trail Run with a time of 12:10:35 hours and ranked #56 among the 89 Finishers, without any “issues” during the race and any injury. I was ranked #6 out of the 12 finishers in my age category of 50-59 years old. The race has a cut-off time of 15 hours. I heard almost 120 runners started the 50-mile distance run. The course elevation of the whole race has a total ascent/descent of 11,040 feet (which is considered as “very basic” among the toughest guys (elite) in ultra trail running).
My Race Report of this race will be posted soon! It will be a detailed report where the reader will be “transported” to the actual place where the race happened with the hope that one or two of my readers will be inspired to experience what it takes to run the trails of Marin Headlands.
For the meantime, good luck to those Pinoy runners who are joining the San Francisco Marathon this coming Sunday. If you have time, visit the Marin Headlands and see for yourself the mountain trails around the place. Have fun!