Stinson Beach Marathon, CA (7 Nov 2009)
                      http://www.envirosports.com/events/event.php?eventid=2638 
 ...
There were no distance markers on the trail, only orange guiding ribbons. The only estimates we had
were the four aid stat...
With the hard climbs behind us, we continued along an exposed ridge that snaked high along the
mountain curves. The sun sh...
3:45h by 20mi (32km). There was hope for a sub-5h completion, since the last stretch was essentially
downhill to the beach...
5 
 
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Stinson Beach Marathon Ca 7 Nov 2009

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Stinson Beach Marathon held in Marin County, across the Golden Gate Bridge in SF, CA. It was my 2nd overseas trail marathon, and offered a glorious view of the glittering ocean from the mountain ridge. Clocked a PB of 4:53h.

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Stinson Beach Marathon Ca 7 Nov 2009

  1. 1. Stinson Beach Marathon, CA (7 Nov 2009) http://www.envirosports.com/events/event.php?eventid=2638  http://picasaweb.google.com/simsps/StinsonBeachMarathon7Nov2009# It was my 2nd trail marathon in the USA. This time it was in the scenic cradle of Marin County and Mt. Tamalpais national park, across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The place yielded a special meaning for me. As a young student in Berkeley 13 years ago, my first orientation camp was in the Marin County Muir Woods. Coming fresh from tropical Singapore, I was totally unprepared and under-dressed for the cold and winds of the seaside campground. Yet I stayed outdoors and huddled next to a huge campfire the whole night. It was the first time I saw high waves hitting the shores, and a vast unbroken horizon of the ocean and city landscape from the trails. Thirteen years later, I am back on the shores, waiting for the start of a marathon. The Stinson Beach Marathon was a community event, limited to 300 participants across 7mi (11.2km), 25km and 26mi (42km) categories, with a course-wide 6h cut-off time. The route took us from sea level to 1,800ft (550m) where we ran along the mountain ridge with a spectacular view of the glittering ocean. The weather was glorious with clear skies and sunshine. Runners gathered as the race director gave instructions, and then headed for the beach where the start point was. That would be the only time we were at sea-level. The run began with a steep climb on the Dipsea Trail. We went up 1,500ft (460m) in the first 3mi (4.8km) on wooden steps, slopes and rocks. That averaged 500ft/mi (~110m/km). Brutal! A guy tripped in front of me and twisted his ankle. Ouch. It took me 50min to clear that section. Everyone was immensely relieved to see the water station at 3mi. 1   
  2. 2. There were no distance markers on the trail, only orange guiding ribbons. The only estimates we had were the four aid stations at the 3mi (4.8km), 11mi (17.6km), 17mi (27.2km) and 20mi (32km). Runners were encouraged to carry our own water due to the large and uneven distance gaps between the stations. I took my trusty Salomon hydration pack. The route descended to 200ft (60m) for the next 5mi (8km) until it was time to climb again. I ran and walked with 2 other runners as we tackled the unforgiving slopes for another 3mi (4.8km). I looked forward to the next station at 11mi and was having problems converting the measurements to metric. The climb seemed never-ending until I heard vehicles and figured that the road and aid station should be nearby. This time we reached the maximum elevation of the marathon at 1,800ft (550m). Each aid station had trays of nutty trail mix, energy bars, bananas, pretzel mix, Gatorade and water. I spent 3min at each station, taking my time to munch on the nuts and refuel. This was the only marathon where I did not consume a single powergel. I was totally enjoying myself and the cashew nuts. 2   
  3. 3. With the hard climbs behind us, we continued along an exposed ridge that snaked high along the mountain curves. The sun shone and the ocean resembled an endless soft flowing mirror. The breathtaking views and the gently rolling slopes made for a very pleasant run. I was distracted with my camera and almost fell flat on an uneven ground. It was difficult to keep my eyes down on the trail as the scenery unfolded by my side. Soon I reached the 17mi aid station and there was another 1.5mi to the u-turn point. The path narrowed considerably, with thick dry grass growing on one side, and a drop on the other. There was only space for my left foot to land flatly, while my right foot struck the uneven mound at an angle. After a few minutes, my right ankle was strained from the constant lopsided impact. We also had to share the narrow trail with marathoners who were returning in the reverse direction. We often had to stop, step aside and let the other runner pass through. The u-turn point was nondescript, with only an arrow signboard. It was a race based on runners’ integrity. We headed back on the narrow path to the previous aid station. I was making good timing, 3   
  4. 4. 3:45h by 20mi (32km). There was hope for a sub-5h completion, since the last stretch was essentially downhill to the beach. I picked up pace, motivated by that thought. Alas, going down wooden steps and rocks on the Matt Davis trail was more difficult than it looked. It was a zig-zag path that wound its way down. The flat section was paved with fallen leaves and provided a soft bouncy run. The challenge was to brake in time around the corner and not fall over the steps. I checked the time, 4:40h. Gosh! I had no idea how near or far I was from the end point. I literally made a mad dash for the last stretch, while trying to avoid hikers along the way. Finally, the tarmac came in sight. I kept an eye on the orange directional arrows and reached the Finish sign. A personal best of 4:53h! ☺ It was slow relative to the local runners, but a huge improvement from my previous 6h trail record. Gear: Trusty Asics GT-2130 Trail shoes Nike long-sleeved dri-fit shirt 2XU compression tights Polar HRM Oakley M-frame Salomon Raid Revo 20 pack Platypus hydration set PS @ Bay Area Nov 2009 ☺ http://psescapades.blogspot.com/2009/11/stinson-beach-marathon-ca-7-nov-2009.html 4   
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