An article I read about the Dipsea trail race a few years ago was a big inspiration to start trail running. It has a kind of insane pseudo-lottery registration, which is too complicated for my patience, so I had either the double or quad dipsea somewhere in the back of my mind as a race to eventually do. After covering most of the trail back in January, I started occasionally looking into it, finding no updates, but then signed up once Brazen announced they were taking it on. It wasn't timed well for a good speed run, but I'm a sucker for a lot of climbing.
I really like Stinson Beach as a race staging area, since there's a breakfast/coffee stand that opens early and very cold water to wade in after finishing. It's a handicap race, and I had none, so I had fun cheering on the oldest starters, some of whom started an hour before me.
Once starting, I took a sustainable pace out, switching between running and hiking to keep my heart rate steady. It worked well, and I had my fastest climb up to Cardiac Hill, with no muscle stiffness, unlike the prior week at Rodeo Valley. The run downhill to Muir woods was slower than I'd like, stability was still low. The climb back up to Panoramic Highway was also a good, steady-paced climb. The Mill Valley stairs were new to me, but scenic and fun.
Turning around, I had to climb them. I just counted and kept going at a steady, sustainable pace without stopping. Reaching the top, I could tell I'd feel them for the rest of the race, as everything tightened up in my legs. Despite this, I was able to jog a fair amount of uphill for the rest of the course, which I didn't expect, but downhills were even slower. Patiently toughing it out, I eventually finished in 3:43:09. Not very fast, but I had no clue what to expect with the volume of stairs on this course. Splits were 1:40:10 and 2:02:59--the stair effect.