Thomas Reiss - Miwok Race Report

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Miwok 100 Race Report

By Thomas Reiss


Ok so 3 weeks have gone by since my completion of the Miwok 100k in the Marin Headlands, California and it is time I finally put a race report together. This was my second time to actually go beyond the 50 mile race distance in my  almost 4 years of running ultras. I ran at Miwok 100k very well 2 years ago (9:14 and 9th place overall).

At Christmas, when I set my goals for this year, I was thinking about having a chance to break 9 hours at this years Miwok 100k race. Unfortunately due to a couple of small minor injuries I lost about 2 weeks of training plus maybe another week or so of easy running versus real training. That said I had to adjust my goals going into the race from sub 9 hours to hopefully finishing without having problems with my injuries coming back at me. So that was the main goal, finish and get a good 62 miles in as preparation for my 1st attempt at the 100 miles in August at the Leadville 100. I was hoping if things go well that I could go sub 10 and maybe even sub 9:30, and then of course there is always the hope for better and I was thinking maybe I just have a great day and get around the same time as in 2008. Here is my race report from the 2008 Miwok 100k.

The trip started out great with my friend Benjamin Bruno from Santa Barbara picking me up Friday at 11:30 to make the 5 hour drive up north from my home in San Luis Obispo. After an easy drive we made it to the race hotel for number pick up right at around 4:30. We got caught up with some old friends and made some new ones. We went to an early dinner at the restaurant by the race hotel and afterwards made our way to the Hostel where we had reservations for the night. After a short drive with some sightseeing of the Golden Gate Bridge we checked into the hostel. The evening was pretty uneventful and we where just hanging out with the other Miwok 100k runners that stayed there. It was nice getting caught up with fellow team member Jenny Capel and people like Bev and Alan Abbs and the always funny Erik Skaden.

I went to bed early but could not fall asleep until almost midnight, oh well that's how it goes.

Thomas Reiss at Miwok 100k in 2010
Thomas Reiss at Miwok 100k in 2010

Getting up early, being nervous, force some food down, go to the bathroom all the usual typical ultra runner race morning. Got to the start, checked in met some more friends and soon almost 350 runners and myself where standing on the beach and ready to go at the break of daylight at around 5:40AM.

My strategy was to not go out to fast but I was hoping to stay close to my splits from 2008. In the first few miles on an out and back portion they had due to construction you could tell the guys upfront meant business. They started hard from the get go, especially Gingerich and Wardian. Anyway I took it pretty easy and was right behind the lead pack of women at the first aid station. I guess whenever you are seeing Kami Semik not to far ahead of you your doing pretty well.

On Rodeo Valley Trail up the hill to the intersection with Bobcat Trail I felt good and my split at the Bunker Road aid station at mile 6.2 was within a minute of my split from last time in 2008. I then caught up to my friend Brett Rivers and we stayed together for a long time, chatting about all kinds of things. Everything went right as planned with no complications. The climb up to the Pantoll aid station was pretty hard but it is a very steep and long climb. On the Bolinas Ridge I struggled a bit but that was the same 2 years ago so I was not to concerned.

Thomas Reiss at Miwok 100k in 2010
Thomas Reiss at Miwok 100k in 2010

At this point I was bout 4 minutes behind my splits from 2008 and thought that is right where I wanted to be. At the descent down Randall (an old, rutted fire road) through the forest for 1.7 miles I remembered how strong I felt coming up this climb 2 years ago. That was the strongest part in my last Miwok and set the tone for the remaining 26 miles form the Randall aid station to the finish in 2008. At the turn at the aid station I thought let's give this a try and run up as strong as last time. I went for it and ran the whole way up, leaving my friend Brett behind. Right after the top I caught up to another friend of mine, Joe Palubeski, who was having difficulties and later dropped. On the next 2 miles I caught up to a couple of other runners and jojoed (is this a real word?) back and forth with Jean Pommier for a while. With about a mile to go to the Bolinas Ridge aid station I got caught and passed by Brett again, I really tried to push and stay with him since I knew he had a great pacer waiting at the aid station. Unfortunately the race was pretty much over here, with still a little over 20 miles to go. I think I may just tried to hard on the climb forcing myself to have a better race then what was doable that day.

After that point I got myself into the mindset that I really need this as a long run for Leadville and this could be the last 20 miles in my 1st hundred miler at Leadville and I am sure that those last 20 will not be easy. That is pretty much what I did from here. I took my time and took it nice and easy and just plugged along slowly to the finish. I got passed by a lot of people but kept in mind how important this run will be for a finish at Leadville.

I finally made it to the finish in 10:05 and 31st place. All things considered not that bad, I guess it could have been a lot worse (full results). I ran in a pair of Crosslites that worked great, no blister and no other issues. I could have used a better pair of legs, that would have helped. The new Sportiva race outfit also got good comments and Nathan Yanko sure made the team proud with his great 4th place finish, awesome. It was also great to catch up with Jenny Capel another runner on the outstanding La Sportiva team.

Thomas Reiss at Miwok 100k in 2010
Thomas Reiss at Miwok 100k in 2010 on the Bolinas Ridge

After recovery from the Miwok race I started my next block of higher mileage training to get ready for Leadville. I am healthy with no aches and pains and training has been going well, so my chances for a finish at Leadville are going up. I am still looking for Pacer(s) for Leadville so if anyone is interested please let me know ( If training keeps going well and things go fairly good at Leadville on race day I think I have a chance to finish in the 21-22 hour range. The number one goal is finish and then worry about a time, we will see. It will be a completely new experience since I have never ran past the 62 mile mark.

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