MIWOK 100K

Miwok100k Amerika’daki cok meshur 100km yarislarindan biri. Meshur olmasinin en onemli sebebi, kosu parkurunun gercekten pek bir sahane olmasi.  Okyanus kenarindaki tepelerde, inip cikarak (3600metre irtifa kazanimi!), sirtlardan sahane manzaralara doyarak, kah ormanin icinden kah calilarin kah cimenlerin arasinda gecen bu parkur bircok ultra kosucusunun listesindedir. Ben ultra kosularini uzun bir zamandir yapiyorum ve cok seviyorum ama cok cok ozel bir yaris olmadikca herhangi bir kosu yarisi icin uzun mesafelere seyahat etmeyi pek tercih etmem. Neyse ki bu yaris yasadigim yerde ve antreman icin zaten kostugum patikalarda oluyor. Bu yarisa cok fazla talep bulunmakta oyle ki katilimcilar kura ile belirlenmekte. Ilk defa 2012 yilinda bu kuradan sans eseri benim ismim cikti fakat o yil inanilmaz kurak gectigi icin parkurun gectigi arazinin bir kisminda yangin tehlikesi arzediyor dendi ve yaris basladigi sabah 100k’lik mesafenin 60k’ya dusuruldugu soylendi. Esasinda 1-2 tane loop eklenerek yine 100k kosulabilirdi cunku bir dolu insan sehir disindan sirf bu yaris icin gelmisti ve ben de dahil bir kisim insan da bu yarisi UTMB icin gereken puanlar icin de kosacakti. Yaris organizatorlerinin kararina saygi duymakla beraber neden boyle esasen cok da zahmetli olmadan yapilabilecek bir modifikasyona gitmediklerine hala sasiriyorum. Neyse. Daha sonraki yillarda 60k kosan kosucular direk olarak x2 hak ile kuraya alindilar. Ben bunu unutmus ve normal kosularima devam ederken bir email ile bu yilki Miwok’a girdigimi ogrendim. Ogrendim ama hemen pek sevinemedim cunku cok ciddi antreman yapamamis ve yapamayacaktim. Nisan ayinda annem ve yegenim 1 ayligine benim yanima geldiler, onlar geri doner donmez ben de Turkiye’ye uctum Turkiye inovasyon haftasinda konusmak icin. Dondugumun ertesi gunu de Miwok100k icin baslangic cizgisinde inanilmaz yorgun bir sekilde sirami aldim. Ilk 28-30 mili sorunsuz kostum ama daha sonra kasiklarimda ve ayaklarimda inanilmaz agrilar basladi – tek sebebi de antremansizlik. Normalde 100k gibi bir yaristan once en az bir 50k ve bir 50mil yarisi kosarim ama bu yil ikisine de firsat olmadi, daha dogrusu Miwok kurasinda adimin hala otomatik olarak oldugunu unuttugumdan ve herhangi baska bir ultraya yazilmadigimdan antremanlarimi normal mesafelerde yapiyordum. Neyse 30.mil'de cebimde tasidigim agri kesicilerden 1-2 tane aldim, 1 saat icinde kendimi daha iyi hissetmeye basladim, bir sonraki 25 mili de yine normal bir sekilde kostum. Ama son 5-7 mil'de yine agrilar basladi. Oyleki en son bir sirtta kosarken ta uzaktan gozume kestirdigim onumdeki 3 kadin kosucuyu yakaladim. Gecmek istiyor musun diye sordular ama gecebilmek icin takatim kalmamisti, o sekilde devam ettik ve bitirdik yarisi. Tabi ki bittiginde agrilar sizilar hala olsa da dusundugunuz sey onlar olmuyor. Iyi ki Turkiye’den 2 gun erken dondum, iyi ki bu yarisi kostum diyor insan. Cunku pismanlik kalici, agrilar gecici :). En cok aklimda kalan anlardan biri de sabah gun isiklari daha dogmadan, ortalik hafif gri iken, ormanlik bir kesimde sis icinde kafa lambalari ile kosarken uzaktan duydugumuz surreal tulum (Iskoc tulumu) sesi! Evet yanlis okumadiniz. Ormanin icinden cikip orada kosede bu yaris icin gelmis ve kosuculari desteklemek icin sabahin 5'inde Iskoc etekli bir adam, sisin icinde Iskoc tulumu caliyor… O muzigin, o anin hissettirdigi saskinligi, heyecani, ve mutlulugu unutamiyorum. 

(Note: Photos from Miwok100k's Facebook page)

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Miwok100k is one of the famous 100k races in the US since the course is on a magnificent terrain. It goes through the hills next to the Pacific ocean, up and down (11,800ft/3600m elevation gain!), through forests, single tracks, pastures, and ridges with fantastic views and makes the lists of many ultrarunners. I have been running ultras for some time now but I’d want to travel for a race only if it is really special. Miwok100k is one of those and attracts many runners all around the US and thankfully it is in my backyard! and I usually run on those same trails! Due to high demand however, there is a lottery system. In 2012 I was one of the lucky ones though the course got cut to 60k the morning of the race due to fire danger on some sections. I respect the decision of the race directors though I think they could have added a loop or two without too much trouble to make it still 100k as many people traveled from long distances and some (including myself) were going to use it towards UTMB points. Anyway. But they gave 2x entries in the upcoming lotteries which I completely forgot about until I received an email about my entrance! I was happy but not super excited as I wasn’t seriously training for a 100k. Usually I run at least one 50k and a 50mile race before a 100k race and I hadn’t done any of those. Plus, my mom and niece were visiting for a month right before the race and I had to be in Turkey for a presentation a few days prior! I managed all that and found myself at the start the day after I got back from Turkey. The first 28-30 miles I run ok until the pain started to carve deeply. I took a few pain killers and run the next 25 miles again in an ok shape. However, the last 5-7 miles, the pain made a big comeback. Although I was able to catch a group of female runners ahead of me on the last ridge, I couldn’t pass them. They asked me if I wanted to but I just didn’t have anything left in me to do it. Anyhow, at the finish, all that pain was forgotten and I was full of incredible joy. Physical pain is temporary, pain of regret is permanent! :) One of the most memorable moments of the race for me was to hear a Scottish pipe as coming out of a forest in fog in the early am with headlamps still on when it was still grey/blue around. It was otherworldly! At the end, I was so glad that I made it back from Turkey a few days early to make this race happen.  

50 MILES - THE NORTH FACE ENDURANCE CHALLENGE

Yillik The North Face Endurance Challenge kosu yarislari serisinin en son duragi her Aralik ayinda San Francisco’da gerceklesiyor. Golden Gate koprusunun hemen kuzeyindeki Marin bolgesinde benim surekli kostugum okyanus kenarindaki patikalarda hem de. Arka bahceme kadar geldikleri icin de son yillarda her sene bu seri kapsamindaki en uzun mesafe olan 50 mili kosuyorum. Yaz sonu Turkiye donusu sonrasi Aralik’a kadar haftasonlarim bu yarisa hazirlanmakla geciyor. Bu sene cok ciddi bir hazirlik programi takip edemedim. Oyle ki son 20 mili pacer olarak benimle beraber kosmasi icin de arkadaslarimdan hic kimseyi ayarlamadim. Pacer (tavsan diye cevirebiliriz herhalde) uzun yarislarda kosucuyu motive eden ve cok yavas ya da cok hizli kostugunda uyaran kisi. Avrupa yarislarinda boyle bir gelenek yok ama Amerika’da 50 mil, 100 km, ve 100 mil yarislarinda cok yaygin bir durum. Velhasil, ben 50 milin son 20sine geldigimde pacer’im olmadigi icin baya bir depresif hale burundum ve ozellikle son 10 mil acaip zor geldi. Neyseki tamami camur olan parkuru yine de hic fena olmayan bir derece ile bitirdim. Bu yaris, bir serinin parcasi ve son yarisi oldugundan, ayrica da North Face markasi sponsorlugunda gerceklestiginden butun elit kosuculari ceken bir yaris, dolayisi ile lokal yarislarda ara ara podyumlara ciksamda bu yarisi duzgun bir zaman ile bitirebilmek yetiyor. Ama bu yarisi ilk kostugumda maraton (dag maratonu) mesafesini kosmustum ve genel kategoride 3. kadin olarak bitirmistim. Sahane bir duyguydu.

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The last race of the annual North Face Endurance Challenge series takes place in San Francisco on the trails of Marin just north of the Golden Gate bridge. Since it is right in my backyard, I try to run the 50 mile race, the longest distance in these series, every year. At the end of the summer, after I get back from Turkey, I spend my weekends usually doing training runs for this race however I couldn’t follow a very strict program this year. I didn’t even arrange a pacer to run the last 20 miles with me. Having a pacer is not a common practice in the races in Europe at all but in the US in almost every 50mile, 100km, and 100mile race people have pacers with them. I wish I did too since I really got depressed the last 20 miles and dragged myself during the last 10 miles. I still finished with a decent time I guess given it was all mud throughout and given how this race is very competitive and attracts all the elite runners as it is sponsored by the North Face and is the last race in a series. Although I can have occasional podium finishes in local races, not likely in this one. Having said that though, the first time I run this race, I did the regular trail marathon and became the 3rd woman overall. That was a super cool feeling.

CHAMONIX

Everest 2014 takim arkadaslarimdan biri olan Kat Follows, Chamonix’de yasiyor. Everest sonrasi surekli beni yanina davet ediyordu en azindan yazin kalanini daglarda gecirmek icin. Alp’leri daha once hic gormemistim ve bu teklif bana cok cazip geldi. Chamonix’de gecirdigim 16 gunun 14'unde ya dag patikalarinda saatlerce kostuk, ya da tirmanis yaptik. Sadece 2 gunu dinlenmeye ayirdik, onlardan birini de jaz festivalinde gecirdik. Patikalarin ve buzul manzaralarinin guzelligine diyecek yoktu gercekten (Bir de bir aksam Kat’a Kackar’lardan bir fotograf gosterdim, Isvicre sandi ☺ o ayri). En guzeli de etrafta buzullar gormekti!!! Kat nasil mutlu oldugumu gorunce yanina tasinmam icin baya bir israr etti, bakalim belki ilerde. Kat’in evi Killian Jornet’in evine cok yakin, hatta ortak arkadaslariyla bir aksam yemek yedik, Killian sehir disinda imis tanisamadim ama kopegiyle tanistik koklastik ☺ 

Planimizda Mount Blanc, Eiger, ve Matterhorn vardi fakat Temmuz ayi boyunca bu bolgede hava baya kotuymus/kotuydu. Her aksam detayli hava tahminlerine bakip plan yapmaya calistik. En sonunda bir gun 5-6 saatlik bir aciklik bulduk. Kotu kosullarda Mount Blanc tirmanisina basladik ve Gouter siginagina kadar ciktik ki havanin guzel olacagi saatlerin hepsini zirve icin kullanalim. Cok keyifli bir tirmanistan sonra inise gectigimizde hava yine bozmaya baslamisti bile. Daha sonraki gunlerde de kotulemeye devam etti ama tabi ki kotu ve yagisli hava bizim icin kosmaya engel degildi. Daha sonra Alplerin Italya tarafinda havanin daha kuru oldugunu ogrendigimizde (Matterhorn ve Eiger olasilik disindaydi artik), tirmanis cantalarimizi hazirladigimiz gibi Mount Blanc’in altindan gecen ve Fransa’yi Italya’ya baglayan tunelden 2.5 saatte Italya’ya gectik (Bu tuneli belki yillar once bir yakit tankerinin icerde patlamasi/yanmasi ile ilgili haberden hatirlayabilirsiniz) ve Italya sinirlari icindeki en yuksek dag olan sahane Gran Paradiso’yu tirmandik. 

Alplerde gecirdigim gunler boyunca en cok hosuma giden seylerden biri, birgun bir kayak teleferigi ile yukarilara cikarken teleferiktekilere soyle bir baktigimda gorduklerim… Iki tane 80 kusur yaslarinda yasli bir cift ellerinde batonlariyla, bir baba ve emekleme asamasinda olan cocugu sirtinda, bir tane dag-inis bisikletcisi, dirsek ve dizlerindeki korumalarini duzeltirken sisman lastikli ve oturaksiz inis bisikletiyle, bir de sirt cantalarinda kramponlari ve buz kazmalari ile biz… ve hepimiz ayni yere gidiyoruz… herkesi davet eden ve farkli hedefleri olan herkesin erisebilecegi sekilde tasarlanmis bir zaman ve mekan… bundan guzeli var mi.

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One of my Everest teammates, Kat Follows, lives in Chamonix and she has been inviting me to go spend some time with her. I have never been there before so was very tempted. When I finally made it there, we spent 14 of the 16 days either on the mountain trails running or climbing. One of the rest days, we checked out the jazz festival in town. I loved the Alps! (on a side note, I showed Kat a photo from Kackar mountains and she thought it was Swiss Alps :)). The best part for me was the glaciers around! They were visible almost from everywhere and so dramatic. Such a contrast. When she saw how happy I was there, she insisted that I should eventually move. We shall see. She lives close to Killian Jornet and actually we had dinner with all their friends but he wasn't there - I only got to meet his dog :)

In addition to trail running, we planned to climb MtBlanc, Matterhorn, and Eiger - the three mythical mountains of Europe. However the weather in July was very stormy and not very stable. When we finally saw a weather window of 5-6 hours, we made our way up to Goute hut in bad weather and managed to summit MtBlanc during those nice hours. Then again it was snowing on the way back down. Bad weather changed our climbing plans but didn’t stop us from running. When it looked drier on the other side of the Alps, we packed our packs, got in the car and drove to the Italian side in 2.5 hours through the tunnel underneath the MtBlanc massif (This is the tunnel that made the news a few years back when an oil tanker exploded inside). We drove straight to the base of Gran Paradiso, the highest mountain within Italian territory and made a super fun climb to the summit. There is just so much to do in the Alps! One thing I loved the most was a scene I could not forget: in a ski tram at one of the resorts, going up, surrounded by an 80 year old couple with their poles, going hiking; a father with his toddler on his back, a downhill mountain biker adjusting his knee and elbow pads next to his fat downhill bike without a seat, and us with ice axes and crampons sticking out of our packs as we were going ice climbing - all of us at the same time going to the same place, a place that invites and accommodates all kinds of people with all kinds of goals!