San Francisco 50 Mile Race Report
By Alison Bryant
Last weekend I headed to California for what has quickly
become one of the most competitive ultra races in the world. I was on my own for this trip as Jason spent
his weekend at the USATF annual meeting.
Upon my arrival in San Francisco, I boarded the Marin
Airporter for the ride to Sausalito.
There I hiked into town to purchase some food and then hiked back out of
town, up and over the mountain to the Marin Hostel. It is a very nice hostel, located right at
the race start/finish site. I enjoyed
getting an extra $2 off my first night stay for hiking in.
Coming from the East Coast, I was ready for an early supper
and fell asleep before 7:00 pm. That was
perfect though since I had to get up at 3:30 am for the race. It was so convenient to use the bathroom at
the hostel and then walk out the door to the race start.
The starting line was like a running reunion, with everyone
wishing the others a good race. The race
started quickly and I knew better than to try to stay with the lead women. As it was, my split to the first aide station
was under 8:00 pace and that included a long climb with an equal descent. I caught Helen Cospolich up the next climb
and we talked about how fast the race had gone out and picking up the carnage
later in the race. Helen and I traded
places for a few miles, with me leading on the climbs and her passing on the
descents. After she had passed me on a
technical descent, she said “I know you will be back on the next climb.” Unfortunately not long after that I took a
hard fall. Why, I do not know. The trail was smooth and clear. Whatever the cause of the fall, it resulted
in a scraped right knee, bruised left knee, and sore right hand. It took me a few minutes to get back in the rhythm
of running, but the damage was superficial and I quickly forgot about it until
I got to the next aide station and knelt down to retie my shoe. Then I could see that the blood had dripped
down my leg. The aide station workers
volunteered to clean it for me, but I told them that I didn’t have time and
took off running again. Since the fall
occurred about an hour and a half into the race, I had plenty of time to show
off my blood. The early fall kept me
from admiring the views more; I think the Marin Headlands has to be one of the
prettiest places in the country. I managed
to stay on my feet for most of the rest of the race, only sliding off the trail
one time in an out and back portion when trying to avoid oncoming traffic.
With the dark start and competitive
field, it was impossible to tell what place I was in until I passed Bryon
Powell at the 18 mile aide station and he said that I was in eighth. This was reconfirmed on the out and back
section. From then on I only passed one
woman to my knowledge and was passed by two women, however I ran past a couple
of women while they were stopped at aide stations and another dropped from the
race, so I ended up in sixth place with a time of 8:03:45.
Some thoughts I had during the
Next time I need to do more stair training
before I return to the Marin Headlands.
Why don’t we run more 40 mile races instead of
50 mile races?
I would really like a Popsicle.
The second to last climb was VERY steep, much
more than I expected. Or was it actually
steep or did it just seem that way since I had already run 42 miles?
I wore my favorite La Sportiva
Crosslite 2.0’s again for therace. This
is my fourth pair of these shoes already.
They arrived at my house over Thanksgiving so I only had a chance to put
15 miles on the shoes prior to the race.
Still, I got NO blisters in the race, which is something that I could
not have said with previous shoes. It
was nice to end 2011 on a high note; I am now looking forward to a few easy
weeks before starting training for 2012.