Double Dipsea! (and Woodminster)

Friday, July 05, 2013

                It’s been a couple of weeks. Woodminster and the Double Dipsea have come and gone, in the best way possible. I was fortunate enough to win both races. Woodminster was incredibly close, as I passed the last person (20yo girl who runs at Amherst) about 10 meters from the finish line. She didn’t even come into view until the last 200m or so. I had some people telling me there was someone out in front, but when one guy told me “She’s got a big lead,” it just bothered me more that he couldn’t tell me the time/distance gap, even approximately. A “big” lead is relative in running, especially for spectators, who generally have no concept of time or distance. I’ve been told someone is 5 minutes in front of me and passed them 2 minutes later. I’ve also been told someone is 30 seconds in front of me and never seen them. As a result, I’ve become completely untrusting of spectators shouting out places and gaps (both distance and times), because they are usually totally wrong. But back to the races…

                Woodminster was as fun as always. It was pretty warm and Gus, Matt and I started out together. We separated up on skyline, but not by much, as they finished 6th and 7th and were only a minute or two back. It was a good day and the afternoon was spent hanging out in the city with several SF full/half marathon finishers.

                The Double Dipsea was postponed a week (so it took place 3 weeks after the Dipsea, rather than the usual 2 weeks), which allowed for an extra week of recovery. I definitely appreciated that and felt better than I had the year before going into the race. In the extra weekend before the Double, I went down to SLO/Los Olivos to a wedding. I got a couple of nice runs in around SLO (up Madonna/Bishop’s Peak one day and through Cal Poly Canyon the next) and then a big climb (ended up being higher than Mt. Tam) at Gaviota State Park on Sunday. Tough but beautiful. I was rested when the Double rolled around the following weekend and was planning on taking a shot at my time from last year. However, when we got to the start line, the race director informed us that the Panoramic shortcuts were not allowed due to GGNRA regulations which mean we would be relegated to the Moors. Dammit. At least 1-2 minutes each way plus a bit more climbing meant that beating last year’s time would be a long shot. Still, I figured I’d take it out and see what came of it. I made it to the top of Cardiac in 23:18, just 20-30 seconds slower than last year, which gave me hope that my goal was still in reach. I was down to Muir Woods faster, and ended up in Mill Valley 9 seconds slower (49:09 in 2013 vs. 49:00 in 2012). I was ok with that, but knew that I would really have to work on the way back if I was to come close. Then, reality hit. Hard. My legs felt dead on the first flight of stairs back out of MV. I got to the top of the 3rd flight and was just wiped. There were several people still out in front of me, but I didn’t know how far ahead they were. The first person I had seen coming back was at the top of the stairs just as I was heading down them to the turnaround, but who knows how much that is time/distance-wise. So I did what every scratch runner does in these handicap races and put my head down and ran. I got down to Muir Woods in good time, but knew the climb up Dynamite/Hogsback/Cardiac would be rough. That was an understatement. Dynamite wasn’t awful because of the tree cover, but as soon as I got out on the fire road, totally exposed to the sun, I was cooked. Literally and figuratively. Thankfully Tomas popped out of the bushes (entirely appropriately for him, I might add) at halfway rock and gave me some much needed encouragement, but overall, the climb was awful. I passed the final 2 people (or so I was told they were the final 2) heading up the final singletrack before the stretch of road that leads to Cardiac and have never been so happy to crest the hill. It took me 2+ minutes longer than it did last year and ended any outside hope of eclipsing my 2012 time.

                I asked at the top who was still out in front and they said I was the first, so I didn’t take any chances on the descent. Even if I’d wanted to, I don’t think my legs could have handled it. They were pretty much rubber by then. I arrived at the beach completely spent and drenched in sweat. Gus ran really well too and finished 4th overall. I’m really glad he decided to race, even if it meant I didn’t have my pacer for Cardiac this year. Having him on the starting line always makes me run harder and I can’t wait for next year when we can get some consistent, quality training in together. But the heat made it pretty miserable this year. It was the first time I’d ever taken water at every water station and even wished I’d had a bottle at times. I was definitely eating my words about the Dipsea and wanting it to be as hot as possible. But now that I’ve had it be really hot, I think I’d still rather have it like that than cooler since the heat affects the people who start ahead of me a lot more than it does me. So while I was suffering, they were probably having a worse go of it and relatively, that plays to my advantage. I’m sure karma will come back around to bite me when I get a bit older, but until then, bring on the heat.

Splits: 1:42:16 total. 23:18 to top of cardiac, 11:19 to creek, 14:30 to mv (49:09 1st leg), 14:30 mv to creek, 20:15 to cardiac, 18:24 to stinson

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About afvarner

Runner. Donuts. Sneakerhead. Not necessarily in that order. Nike Trail Elite. Picky Bars. Gu. Vicory Sportdesign.
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One Response to Double Dipsea! (and Woodminster)

  1. Interesting splits, Alex. I love the matching 14:30 times from MW to MV and then back. I’m very impressed with your 11:19 down to the creek. Congratulations on two great races! And thanks for the report!

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