It started from the point at which I realized that I had left my waste pack at home. I started the race with a single bottle, without my gel flask, sans ibuprofen and without my electrolyte tabs. I made the decision to just drink more at each aid station and to eat as much salty food as I could. I ended up grabbing a second bottle at Pantoll even though I had no holder for it. I hit a bad spell on the way out on Bolinas Ridge with the heat and cambered trail messing with my mind and body. Despite all of this I finished and finished strong.
The main things I learned last year:
- Be flexible
- The main thing I learned last year was that all my upfront planning could go wrong and I could still make it through a long race. I am able to survive nearly completley on aid station fare if necessary. Since Miwok, I stressed a lot less about getting everything together before the race.
- Start using handhelds
- Before Miwok I never liked using two handheld bottles preferring a single bottle and a waste belt. Since that race I have now gone to using two handhelds and enjoy the feeling of having less on my body. I now use a pack only for 100-milers and then mainly at night.
- Electrolyte pill are not mandatory
- I still use S!Caps as they make it much easier to monitor salt intake, but they are really a modern luxury and the tried and true salty foods can work just fine. I do recall dipping both watermelon and a PB&J into salt at one aid station!
- Limit those pain meds
- At my first 50-miler, I really suffered from foot pain and only managed to feel better after hitting some ibuprofen in the last 5 miles. I started relying on it more and more in my races after that. I realized at Miwok that, while it is still sometimes necessary, I could get by for much longer on much less of it. After that I focused on limiting my use of "vitamin I" as much as possible.
- I can and will recover
- At Dick Collins I had a really bad spell, but never really recovered until maybe the last 5 miles. At other races I really only had shorter bad spots. Perhaps the biggest lesson I learned at Miwok was that I could have an extended bad spell in the middle of a race and still come back and run strong in the end. Since that race I have had much worse and much longer bad sections and recovered. I have found myself running (sometimes hard) at the end of 100-milers where I expected continued degradation. More than anything else Miwok taught me patience and perseverance.
Despite feeling less than fully prepared for this race, I am now really looking forward to Saturday morning. I look forward to an all day run and I especially look forward to seeing what new things I may learn in this year's race.