Monday, November 17, 2014

Race Report : ITR Mt Tam Half Marathon, Nov 15, 2014

Before you remind me...I know I said I would never run Dipsea again and this year I sorta did.  However, Inside Trail Racing's 'Mt Tam' race isn't the entire Dipsea down to Mill Valley just the Stinson Beach side.  So, I only half lied!

This particular half marathon is by far the most scenic, most lush, challenging and fun I've run to-date. Period.  I had so much fun on this run that I think I'll just run this next year instead of Dipsea/Double Dipsea for the following reasons:
  • Registration was $45 for the Half Marathon
  • Half, 30k, 50k to choose from
  • Weather was cloudy with temperature range from 45-65; low 50's on course
  • Course limited to just 400 (as opposed to the 2000 that get crammed on Dipsea).
  • Lush course across babbling brooks, redwood trees, lichen/moss and Ferns
  • Challenging workout over rocks, exposed roots, steps and one vertical ladder.
  • Lots of volunteers at well stocked AS 
  • Fast finish
 I took several shots before the 30/50K went out at 8:30AM but didn't realize my iphone was down to 1% battery and didn't have enough time to charge; so, no on-course pictures!! Ugh!

Matt going out on his 50k adventure

 The half marathon has more than 3000 ft over vertical and runs the Stinson side of Dipsea and Muir woods.  You go out on yellow ribbons, left on orange loop, then back on Yellow return.  I never thought I was lost and there were even stripped ribbons for important and/or sharp turns.  And Tim marked the wrong paths in blue ribbons.  I remember one AS that you hit twice.  For those of us that used hyropacks that was more than fine.  If you ran with a handheld that might have been a bit tight.

Elevation Gain: 3,458 ft
Elevation Loss: 3,441 ft
Min Elevation: 26 ft
Max Elevation: 1,493 ft

 I wish I could have taken some pictures or had better command of English to describe the beautiful canopied single track we had the pleasure of running through.  The brooks were actually babbling and the smell a mixture of salted air and forest.  The floor was covered with needles, etc but those running in minimalist shoes were having a tough time with all of the small stones.  The air was crisp and cool with a slight breeze.  I couldn't image better running conditions.

After you crest a tiny hill at 11 miles you run down towards the finish - a fine feeling.  After passing the finish line the finishers table/beer was right there.  Parking was a bit off but a nice cool down to change clothes, walk along the beach then back to the finish area to welcome others back.

This was the best half marathon I've ever run and plan to be back next year.

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