Friday, June 30, 2006
02. Image Links and Postrace Rant
03. More Ranting but not by Me:)
04. My All-Time Favorite Running Picture
So about 5 years ago, after another year of training for and running marathons and being injured at the end of it, I decided to call it quits with the marathon thing. They just hurt my legs - constant problems with my IT band. So I made the decision to focus primarily on trail running. I bought myself a book, researched the sport and aimed for the most popular event, the Western States 100 miler. I came up with a 3 year plan. First year I was going to run 50k's and 50-milers. Second year I was going to move up to 100k's and qualify for the WS lottery, get chosen and then on the third year run WS. Sound plan and everything was going well but I didn't get in to WS my third year, nor my fourth. Nevertheless I used those years to continue training and racing, each year I didn't get in I ran a different 100-mile race. Last count we have about 40 I00-mile races in the country. Finally got in to WS for the 5th year and the rest is history. It's been a long journey and a huge accomplishment. Kind of a crazy journey but oh so worth it, blisters and all:)
Before I go any further I would like to thank everyone involved with the race. Simply amazing! From registration to finish line to awards ceremony. Second I would like to give a huge shout out to my crew; Jason, Serena and Lisa. You guys gave up your weekend to support my race and I will be always grateful for that. You crewed, you paced, you put my needs above yours - priceless. Third to all the other folks that supported me; family, friends, and teammates.
Jason and I were sipping our Wienerschnitzel milkshakes, (my first, Jason's 2nd), laughing at how warm it was at 8PM. This is going to hurt tomorrow, I said to myself. Ladies didn't get in until 11:30PM. I know because I couldn't sleep. Managed to get 1.5 hours before I got up at 11:30 and stayed awake till 2PM, which was when I showered and got ready. I split my time with the bed and the balcony, looking at the hills I would soon Never been much of a sleeper the night before a race.
SATURDAY - RACE DAY
Started with an hour drive from our motel in Auburn. Got a chance to talk and hang with the crew for a bit on the drive over. Next time I will get rooms in Squaw then in Auburn for the finish, next time. It was fine for me but it was rough on my crew getting up an hour earlier than was needed. Start was very busy, met up with friends, fellow runners. Jason got busy talking to the other folks that he knew. Lisa was just talking it all in, absorbing everything. Serena was focused on me, she was on mother mode. She was excited, worried, proud of me all at the same time. I finally had to tell her to stop staring at me cause she was making me nervous:)
2 minutes to go, Lisa takes off to get a spot for a picture and Jason is nowhere to be found. I hand off my long sleeve shirt to Serena with a big hug and I'm off to find Georgia. I find her just in time before the gun goes off. We are both slow starters. Up and up we went, mostly a hike for us in this crowd. No one wants to waste precious energy this early in the race. We are just trying to survive and hoping for an under 24 hour finish. On the way up we chat with a guy from Canada, he had no heat or hill training - ooff. He picked a good race to test his perseverance.
Snow! So much snow at the top. I was told it was less than last year's but that means nothing to me since it's my first WS. It was tough going; slow, slippery and wet. It was a march. Lot's of slipping. Finally we summit, altitude didn't bother me but we were only there for a short time and I drove in just the day before. At the top we were greeted by photographers and run patrol. Took some pictures, got some pictures taken of me. Then down the backside we went, where we encountered even more snow. This time the white stuff was mixed with mud and water, soaking our shoes, socks and feet. The seeds of doom for my feet were planted here. Damn you Squaw, damn you.
Then the heat. As the day went on it got warmer and warmer but not as hot as I expected it to be, but enough to slow me down. There was a breeze that helped cool things down. I was very well prepared for the heat, but I wasn't sure until then. I tried entering some races that were historically warm and hot and to no avail. Our long winter season kept things cool. Ohlone 50k it was windy and rainy and Mt. Diablo 50k only got up to a measely 90 degrees. However since March I've been attending a spin class every thursday night that is just stinkin' hot. By the time my hour is up I am always completely drenched and would have consumed 50 ounces of water, not counting the 10-15 ounces I drink before the start of class. My body in short was used to drinking, sweating, drinking, sweating in warm conditions. I also choose to sit in the hottest sections of the room:), up front away from the door. Other things that I did to help mitigate the effect of the heat; took advantage of all the "sponge baths" at the aid stations, had my bottles filled with ice at every opportunity, used my bandana to soak up water in the streams, wiped my face constantly with cold water, wrapped ice with my bandana which I would use to ice the carotid arteries in my neck (thank you Lisa Bliss MD) and relentless drinking of H20 and Carbo Pro along with salt tablets(Succeed Salt Tabs, 341mg of sodium per tablet), once every hour initially then once every :45 minutes. Succeed is 4 times more potent than Endurolytes my triathlete friends, you might want to make the switch so you're not popping an E-cap 4 times an hour. Just a thought. In short I did very well in the heat, not bad for a guy whose idea of perfect running temperature is 60 degrees. As the day wore on I got faster and faster, my typical M.O. I'm a slow starter but a strong finisher, just like Olga, Georgia, Brian and Karalee to name a few. I know my crowd:) From mile 10 I started passing people. I was behind the 24 hour splits when I started and gradually gained time. Halfway through the race I was in my groove and on schedule for a 24 hr. finish. I was feeling very strong, not just on the downhills but also the uphills, where I am usually at my weakest. My nutrition was also right on. One bottle of Carbo Pro per hour, one bottle of H20, GU energy gel, and a small helping of peanuts...yes peanuts - not a lot just enough protein to slow down the digestive system. Carbo Pro unlike Accelerade has no protein in it's mix. I decided that my nutrition should be in liquid form to avoid any stomach issues in the heat. Guys it worked like a charm, energy was not a problem and hydration was not a problem. Coming out of the first canyon I dropped a bunch of folks. Heart rate this whole time was for the most part 20-25 below maximum, nothing crazy, a pace to get me to 100 miles under 24h.
Then it started. It began as a hot spot, a little pain in the ball of my left foot, on the long descent to the bottom of the second canyon. My first thought was, "how is this possible with duct tape". Fall of last year I saw a fellow runner use duct tape on his feet at the Cascade Crest 100-miler in Washington. Tested it for my Grand Canyon run, used it for Miwok 100k this year and other shorter races and had no problems with my feet. I found my magic cure. So confident was I that I left my blister kit with my crew at the Foresthill station at mile 62. Luckily I had my pocket knife with me, so I made the decision to lance the blisters before it got any bigger. Sitting down by the side of the trail I found the extent of the damage. Duct tape was no longer attached when I pulled the sock off. My feet were all shriveled and white from the moisture, the tough outer layer of my skin was now soft and had the beginnings of other blisters - too small to lance but painful. Did what I could and moved on. Slicing with a the blade of a knife without antibiotic is NOT and ideal situation, but I had to make do with what I had. Never dwell on what you should/don't have, use what you what you've got. This applies for the mental and physical, the intangible and tangible. From here on out it was downhill for my feet which eventually took me out of contention for the 24 hour mark. The thought of which still makes me angry.
By the time I got to Foresthill aid station at the 62 mile mark I was in considerable pain but it was sooo good to finally see the gang. Not only were they a sight for sore eyes but they had my back pack which contained all my backup supplies. I also had fresh socks and shoes there. It took me awhile to leave the station. I had to do some blister repair and reloading of supplies. I was too embarrassed to seek medical help. My feet looked horrendous. Huge mistake, should have gone with the professionals who dealt with this all day. Leaving the station with fresh socks and new shoes did help though, for a bit anyway. What followed was some of the best running I did all day. My first pacer was Jason and we ran hard at first. In fact there were 4 sections where we went all out, at least I was. Flying down the single track, quietly with no one around, I would throw in sprints - swoosshhhh through trees, leaves, rocks, roots and dust, laughing as we went. It was getting dark and I wanted to take advantage of the remaining daylight. I was also just so high having a pacer, having the company of a friend after so many solo miles. Burn, burn, burn. Burn those carbs baby, I've got more in my pocket.
However as the sun set so did my chances at finishing under 24h. New blisters have formed, because of the existing blisters I wasn't able to reapply duct tape on my feet and they were left unprotected. My feet were also swollen which made things worse. New blisters everywhere. This time Jason knocked some sense into me and I sought medical help, 3 separate times! This was a low point for me, I felt like I had let my crew down, my pacer down. I never saw the race as "my" race but "our" race and I was no longer doing my part. By the time I dropped off Jason and picked up Serena my pace had dropped considerably. All the people I passed had passed me back and I knew deep down that while I had the energy to chase my feet were done. They were actually done 10 miles ago, now I just had to survive the next 20 with some dignity and deal with the guilt of doing so poorly later! Block out the pain, I said to myself. You are not going to DNF (did not finish), one day you will but not here and not now, I yelled silently to myself. Unless you break something you are not QUITTING this race, they would have to time you out to do so. You did not journey 5 years only to quit, move runner move...
Serena's section was 13.7 miles. I felt so bad that she had to babysit. It was a run, jog the whole way. There were moments where she only had to walk to keep up with me running. Sometimes she would lead, sometimes she would follow. At this point I stopped drinking, kept eating but not drinking. I was so bloated. I was no longer sweating heavily but was still taking in 20-25 ounces an hour. Weigh-ins pretty much confirmed my suspicion, I was over 2 pounds. So I stopped drinking for awhile and let nature take it's course, must have pee'd 5 times, eventually I felt better. Sorry Serena:) Nevertheless we had a good time. She had hiked at night before but nothing like this. Now this is the most memorable part of the race; feeling very exhausted and sleepy I asked if we could sit for a bit. We sat on the side of the narrow trail, turned off our lights and just stared at the stars. It was like being in the center of a storm. Here we were blissfully, quietly enjoying the environment in the middle of the drama and activity of the Western States 100. Didn't last very long though as other runners caught up to us. That break was well worth it however. It was here that Georgia and her pacer Brian caught me. This woman is amazing. Battling the after effects of a stomach virus she hung on and kept fighting. She would end up finishing a good two hours ahead of me, just plain impressive. The sun came up as we were finishing our run....beautiful.
Lisa was next, a measely 6.5 miles left on the whole race - took forever!!! Ughhh...feet in really bad shape now. Besides the blisters I had slammed by left foot into some rocks. I was no longer picking up my feet because of the blisters and as a consequence I nailed a few nice rocks with my left foot. My big toenail was throbbing, I knew I lost it and the pain was just so bad. Pain on top, pain on the bottom, pain on the back and pain on the front. This was the most painful ultra I've ever done! I could just graze a root and it would send waves of pain up my leg. Lisa led most of the way, several times I would call her back because she would pull away. Getting to "No Hands Bridge" took forever and a day. I was at my shortest here, a part of me just wanted to scream - "Where is this F'ing Bridge". Eventually, thankfully we made it to the bridge. Aid station volunteer thought I had shot quads, nope I said - shot feet. At the end of the bridge I had to sit down, world spun for a minute....whew what was that. It was here that Karen passed me, she was hurting at Duncan Canyon when I passed her on the first half of the race, now here she was charging like Georgia, inspiring. At the top of the climb we run into Mike heading down the hill looking for Olga. His question snapped me out of my stupor, "what do you mean where's Olga, isn't she up there?". Oh boy, a stronger runner having a worse day than mine's? It really must have been bad out there. The last mile is on pavement. Guys I have never ever been so happy to see pavement in my life and I told my crew so. Serena and Jason were waiting for us at the top. Pavement felt good and I punched it, muscles were fine it was the feet. Ran hard, my fastest most comfortable speed. Surprised myself, had so much left that I wasn't able to use earlier. Smile crept back to my face! I was in a groove as I hit the track. Another runner from San Francisco preceded me to the finish line. As I round the track, lots of clapping and hooting from the people who were left. Soon as I finished I am greeted by Brian and Georgia, such good sports they are. I love them. I hope I get to compete with them again soon enough. I got my medal, was weighed in and had my blood drawn. We didn't waste anytime at all. Took off right away, didn't mean to be anti-social but I had to attend to my feet asap.
Cleaning up was so painful! oof. Painful, painful, painful. We had two rooms but everyone was crowded in my room. By the time I got up Jason was out in his bed, Serena was out on my bed. As I was putting away stuff, Lisa came in and joined Serena and soon she was out too. I had a room full of tired crew! So I laid down on the floor and promptly slept for a couple of hours. My crew deserves the bed anyway, absolutely. If people come to serve you, they should have the best. The floor was just fine. After we finally got up we headed out to the awards ceremony. It was stinkin' hot. I was dehydrated, peeing very dark yellow. Serena was the first to fade, apparently she was dehydrated too. So I made the decision to take off as soon as I got my buckle. I would have loved to have stayed and socialize some more, watch other worthy runners get their buckle but I was fading and so was one of my crew. I was the last to leave, spent time looking for Olga but couldn't find her. Eventually I gave up and hobbled off the field in the middle of the festivities.
Late lunch was at Sizzler. The food and drink made us feel a whole lot better, so did the conversation. After a Mocha Frappucinno Jason drove my rental home. Serena drove Lisa home. After dropping off Jason I picked up Serena so she could help me with my bags. San Francisco is not a good place when you are hurting, ahahahah. With all our hills, stairs and no parking, you are ensured a painful walk. Serena was smart enough to anticipate my need and offered her help. I let her carry all the heavy stuff:) Evening saw me pasaed out in the middle of a movie.
It was an awesome, awesome race. Memorable! Your first you never forget they say, chances are I won't forget this one. I am eternally grateful to my crew/pacers. I can't say enough to convey my gratitude. I am disappointed with my effort, but disappointment only makes me work harder. I hope to be back. WS, till next time. It was a an unbelievably good time.
Folks you'll hear it here first. Jason wants to run WS as well...and Lisa and Serena is looking forward to running their first 50k.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
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Rick--Your sodium was 139 (normal 234-243 mEq/L) and that is perfect. Your CPK is 9500 compared to the average finisher which was 20,851. You had a little muscle injury which should resolve easily with some post-race hydration, ie 8-12 oz of fluids every 4 hours until the urine looks clear and the muscles feel a little better. Congratulations on finishing the WS100 in a really tough year and looking so good with the chemistries!! - Bob Lind, MD
CPK as explained by Tim Twietmeyer
(25 time finisher, all under 24 hours / 5 time champion)
One example of the load on the body is easily measured by blood samples at the finish line. For example, from a blood sample you can measure CPK a marker enzyme that's an indicator of waste products in the blood that has to be flushed by the kidneys. A normal reading of CPK would be between 100 and 200 but it's not unusual to see finishers in a 100-miler in the 25,000 to 100,000 range. We've seen finishers over 200,000 before at Western States. That gives you an idea of the load to the internal part of the body - internal loads of 250-1000 times normal. You better have solid kidneys if you want to excel at 100-milers in the heat.
A Brightroom low resolution proof of myself on the WS trail, this was around mile 30. To see the proofs from Brightroom's site click here.
Whoa I actually look like a serious runner here. I should buy this one, not getting any younger and leaner here:) I never ever buy photographs of myself, not in marathons, triathlons, or ultras. But this race is special, completion of a long term goal and all that, so I might just do it.
Seriously I actually look lean and mean on this one, ahahaha that's crazy. Me lean and mean, righhttt... I do love how you can get a sense of the heat in the background though...ooff it looks hot, did I really run in that?!
Time to write the race report, look through the pictures (again), enjoy the memories and to prepare for the next thing - my vacation and training for the Big Kahuna Half-Ironman.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
I, too, can't bring myself to write a report. yesterday I was running
a fever. Today I am bitterly disappointed. Tomorrow I want to run WS
It was a pretty fucked up day. However, it could have been done right
- Ronda did it. No-one to blame. Everybody suffered. It was hard to
watch people drop and been cut off, good solid runners, many elite. We
all had crazy look on our faces and same walk in the last 10 miles or
so - I could just feel their feet on fire.
Shit, man, you train whole year, all goes perfect - and then, bam!
Yeah, yeah, this year's finishers are all winners...but it sucks not
any less, almost like if I DNFed I'd be better off, more excused...
fucking crazy...really. I have no words. I will sit on it for another
day and then write something more cheerful. - Olga
My crew/pacers; Lisa, Serena, Myself and Jason. Prior to this year I ran all my races without pacers or crew, even my 100's. Going solo is harder but a lonely existence, I don't think I'll go back to doing them solo. Knowing these guys were out there, seeing them, running with them at different points on the course was an amazing and uplifting experience. For more images click here.
Finally the Images from the race.
It's been two days since I got back and I'm still beating myself up for doing so badly at WS. It just frustrates me to no end that I was taken out of my race for the 24 hour mark by something that could have happened at any other ordinary race. #@*!!! Blisters. My wonder cure for blisters (duct tape) was rendered ineffective by all the water. I have to go back! I'm going to enter the lottery again for next year's race. My finish at Miwok 100k and this years WS will qualify me to enter the lottery. I was actually thinking of maybe doing Bighorn 100-Miler in Montana or Ironman Coeur d'Alene in Idaho (races on the same month) next year but I'll only consider those now if I don't get in to WS 100 for next year. This is going to burn in me until I get a second chance.
Please don't get me wrong. I am very thankful and proud to be part of the 211 that made it to Auburn. Just deep down is this....huge disappointment...you athletes know what I'm talking about. I never got the chance to leave it all out there physically. Sometimes finishing is not enough no matter how prestigious and difficult the race if deep down you know you under performed. I'll take the finish and the brass buckle for now...
Thank you to all who supported me; before, during and after the race. Don't worry about me, this kind of whining, groaning and self-flagelation is all part of my training:)
Next time, next time WS, I'll be the one whipping your A*#! I think the race report will have to wait a few more days...still too angry:)!
Monday, June 26, 2006
My friend Serena and I at the awards ceremony, Sunday noon. Lisa and Jason were too busy paying attention to the ceremony:) Everyone got called up to receive their award. This race does an excellent job of recognizing everyone, from first to last.
A bittersweet race...more sweet than bitter. I spent a lot of time this morning responding to congratulatory emails. I also wrote an email to one of my coaches...this letter is the one I'm sharing with ya'll, it pretty much sums up my race this past weekend. No worries though, proper race report and images to follow.
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Your Spin class helped tremendously with the heat training. I didn't believe you when you first said it would but it proved itself out in the end. It was 101 on race day and I was not the least bit bothered by the heat. At the medical checkpoints I was consistently 1-2 pounds over my normal weight - I drank like a fish and ate. My fluid intake was comparable to the fluid intake in your class, about 60-65 ounces per hour.
It turned out to be a tough day and a lot of folks had problems, about 45% of the field dropped out. Of the 400 starters only 211 made it to the finish at Auburn. A lot of us who did finish, finished slower than expected.
It was a bittersweet race for me. It was everything I thought it would be and I had an amazing crew. However I had problems with blisters from mile 48 and it just got worse from there. By the time I finished I had 10 blisters on my left food and 6 on my right. From 70 miles onwards there was no step that I took that didn't illicit pain. Every rock, root and pebble just killed me out there. The beginning of the race saw us running through snow, mud, puddles and throughout the race we ran through streams. The moisture separated the duct tape that I used for protection and it was all downhill from there. By mile 70 I had blisters from toe to heel on both feet and I was forced to give up the 24 hour mark. The last 10 was pure torture, I have never suffered so much in an ultra. I was able to persevere and finished 27:31. I was very disappointed with my race until I found out how bad it was for everyone else.
Body feels fine. Blisters that slowed me down ensured a fast recovery. I wasn't able to reach my full potential, I've had training days harder than this. Let me put it this way, today I was able to run up the stairs to my apartment blisters and all. Don't be surprised to see me at track on Tuesday, frankly there's nothing to rest.
I sure hope the new spin studio will be just as hot. I'm just blown away how well prepared my body was for the heat, that has never been the case for me in the past.
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Friday, June 23, 2006
So this is it guys. I am off to Squaw Valley. Today is weigh in, registration and mandatory participants meeting. I meet up with Jason either in Squaw or at the Motel. The girls don't get in until 11PM. Lisa has a job that she can't get the day off from. Then we all leave for the start at 2:30-2:45AM tomorrow morning. My hope is to be at the start by 4AM. Race starts at 5AM sharp. It will be a bear to drive so early and so long but when I finish it will be a quick drive back to motel, when I need it most. If I do this race again, I will have a room at Squaw for the start and then another at Auburn for the finish. That a better way to do it. For next time if there is one.
Well folks, hopefully next time you see me I'll have some good news for you. I for one can't wait to drink coffee again. I switched to de-caf three weeks ago and no coffee at all this past week. It should have a good effect on when I start using it to keep me awake for the night section of this race. Anyway I'm rambling on...see you guys later.
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Last night I had my bible study group. After group I handed off some music cd's to a friend, she lived in the same house where we meet. Someone broke into her car a couple of months ago and among the things stolen was her music. Since then I've been giving her some of my mine's. What was supposed to be a quick drop off ended up becoming a one hour conversation. This friend of mine is a strong dedicated practicing Christian woman and some of the things she said last night cut right through. None of it had anything to do with running but just life in general. She made my head spin on a couple of issues and some of it I'll undoubtedly sort through on the trail Saturday. A bit of a gut check. Nevertheless it put me in a good place spiritually. I left bewildered yet laughing literally.
Physical = Check
Mental = Check
Spiritual = Check
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Okay enough WS for now. Too much...too much thinking about myself and the race. So after WS I have one week to finish up/hand off projects, pay bills, pack, recover from the race, celebrate birthdays (Serena and Janet), catch up with people, and a ton of other stuff before I head to the Philippines for a 3 week vacation. It's been 2.5 years since I've been back and it's time. I try not to schedule vacations in the summer, long ones anyway, they are so disruptive to my work and training. However I didn't think I could hold out for another year, thus the summer trip. My mother's family lives in a small province in the South. The trick will be to keep my training up. There will be lots of celebrating, lots of good food and a whole lot of doing nothing important. It'll be tough!:) The best perk? massages are cheap but be careful of the questionable places.
Anyway the pic is of my cousin Rose and her children. She and her siblings have been the closest thing I had to brother and sisters growing up. We were very close and we are closer now. Funny thing is Rose and I always fought. I remember very clearly the night I ambushed her in a dark hallway when we were kids. I waited for her to pass and I pushed a bunch of 2 x4's that were leaned up against the wall her way. Yeah I know, evil. She ended up crying and ice for the bump on her head. It still brings a smile to my face when I retell the story to her and friends, much to her chagrin:) She got me back in other ways.
When Rose found out I would be getting in to Manila at midnight and sleeping at the airport overnight to catch the first flight out to my home province she would have none of it. I will be picked up by a driver, shuttled to a nice comfy bed. Now I'm looking forward to a morning playtime with the kids, having a good lunch, maybe a massage to workout the kinks of a 14 hr flight, hangout in Manila for a bit then catch a more reasonable 4PM flight to my grandmother's. Nice to have family.
Golden Gate Tri-Club mate.
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Hey! Great hanging out at dinner tonight. Good luck this weekend! Send us your number so we can track you on the web. Have a great time out there and I hope you enjoy the experience. What an amazing adventure you're going to have.
In case you need a little inspiration:)
Works better with sound
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
70's seem kind of warm but I guess it's better than a 100 - this one is going to hurt. It'll be alright, I might not have the heat training but the other parts of the equation. Hope it's enough.
Naked runner coming through!!!
Monday, June 19, 2006
So I was thinking, I would love a set up like Batman's cave. Bikes and shoes on rotating pedestals lit from underneath, running clothes behind glass cases ready to go, miscellaneous gear hanging on a backlit wall, like weapons ready to go. Most of all it would be great to have butler to pick up after me, clean my stuff and wash everything.
Already my waist pack for WS resembles a utility belt; drink powders, blister pack, camera, salt tablets, back up energy gel, toilet paper, id, chapstick (doubles as chaff prevention), music, batteries, bandana and utility tool.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
So last Friday we had our crew meeting. It went very well. I had no doubt the girls would get along with Jason and Serena had no doubt that we would get along with her friend Lisa. And it all worked out. It was a bit of a late start because Serena and I were late coming back from our run, sorry J, that was the real reason. Thanks for being so gracious. We left late, had to pick up Lisa from the financial district, I had to pick up the food, there was a fire in North Beach in J's neighborhood and parking. It was a bit of a rush especially for me and the food. However by the time I got to J's apartment the ladies were already there and wine was already in glasses...sweet.
We started with the WS movie "Running Madness" and finished up with our meeting. We went over lodging, driving, crewing, pacing, all those tedious details. All three are excited and all three want to pace, I'm a lucky guy. It was at the end of this meeting that I realized that this race was no longer about me. I've been thinking about this race for the last 5 years. I've been trying to get in the last 3 years. This season I've gotten support and respect from friends and strangers alike for attempting this race - most of them don't know I've done 100's before:) But in that meeting, watching their excitement, feeling their desire to be a part of the race I realized that this was more than just about me. Basically what I'm saying is that this upcoming weekend is as much about them as it is about me. As they support and worry about me, I will do my best to support and think about them. As they pace me, I will be pacing them.
I can't guarantee anything in the future but most likely I have many more 100's in me, a few more WS100's, but this time with my first crew will be unique. My main goal is to finish (under 24 hours would be perfect) and make sure we all have a great and safe time.
Yesterday was an amazing day for a ride and looking out my window it seems the same for today. I was supposed to do a couple of hours of trail running but I decided to save my legs and do a bike ride instead, the calf/achilles thing is still bothering me a bit. Besides it takes me an hour of running asphalt and concrete before I even get to the trail, I would make it to the bridge but then it would be time to turn back.
It turned out to be an amazing ride. It was warm but not hot, there was a breeze but it wasn't windy. There were also a lot of other cyclists out which I enjoy; clubs, teams and individual riders. The temptation to chase other riders was too much, I did a little bit of that on the way out :) but dialed it back down on the way home. My favorite moment was on a quiet road heading towards the Nicasio reservoir. The path was shaded by trees and I was on a slight downhill. Bent over my aerobars and nothing but the hum of the bike underneath me, legs and body at max and the speedometer reading 36 miles an hour, I was flying - swooosshhhh. Speed! I love going fast on my bike. A great day. All in all it turned out to be a 5 hour ride and 75 miles. Even got to see some friends doing their own workout.
This was followed by strectching and an ice bath. Since then t's been nothing but relaxation and escapism since then. More to come. This time next week, if all goes according to plan, I should be a physical wreck - but a happy victorious one.
Friday, June 16, 2006
3 Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse - Lily Tomlin
2 You look into their eyes and see if the soul is separating from the body - WS100 Medical Advisor, Dr. Bob Lind, commenting on when to pull a runner.
And the one that amused me the most...actually a tie.
1a When you are 99 miles into a 100-mile running race, your brain is not the same brain you started with - Paul Huddle
1b The thing I don't like about Western States is that you show up at the starting line in the best shape of your life and a day later you are in Auburn in the worst shape of your life - Andy Black
They are funny because for the most part they are true, at least for me. Well I've never had that "soul separating" experience happen to me, not yet anyway. There's time, this is only my third 100-miler and frankly there are harder ones out there. I think I ran one of them last year, so I'm told, but I'll know for sure if I finish this one.
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Today I was out photocopying pages from the WS manual for my crew. Tonight I still have to lookup and print Mapquest directions and a bunch of other miscellany stuff for our crew meeting tomorrow. We are meeting at Jason's on North Beach after work...very cool. Thanks J for agreeing to host. It still blows my mind that I have 3 people willing to help me. I've never had a crew and up until Miwok I've never had a pacer. The previous two hundred milers that I've done, those were all solo. I had drop bags (bag's of gear and supplies prepared by the runner that's delivered to different points along the course) and I made friends with the other participants. But now, now I have a crew and at least two of them want to pace. Wow, besides the actual physical help that they can give me with my gear, food and all that, it would be such a huge psychological lift to see them throughout the race. What really makes me laugh though is that they are all new friends...really. I've been at this ultra thing for 5 years but only now have I found people who are excited enough to come. Well I know it's not just me, it's also the race...yes, yes WS and all that. Let's see, Jason I've known a year. Serena I've known like 3 months and I've never met her friend Lisa. Also Jason has never met Serena and Lisa. Pretty crazy.
I hope they have a good time while helping me out. I have to think of an appropriate gift for all of them. Man, I really, really need to bring home a finish for this race, what with all the attention and help I'm getting.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Karalee: Well it was great that we got to run this together.
Me: Likewise, it just worked out perfectly today.
Karalee: I think I got first woman.
Me: Really, are you serious? (how can you be so oblivious:)
* * * * * * *
You know what I do best in ultras? Making friends. I always manage to make a friend(s) on the trails and I usually end up running my race with them. Until this year at Miwok, I have had no need of a pacer I've always found another racer to run with. However this year because of my focus on "racing" I haven't had the chance to be my usual social self, that was until Saturday.
On the Diablo 50k course you summit twice. On the way up the first time I was in a grumbly mood. It's one thing to pull back your effort because you're tired and worn out, it's another to go slow on purpose. Brian Wyatt goes by me, the urge to chase after him was overwhelming. "Training, training, training, it's only training", I yelled at myself - silently of course.
Day turned out to be warm but I didn't think it was hot enough. Soon as I completed my first summit I picked up the pace on the downhill, yup I started racing. Lucky for me however I came to my senses shortly after that, it was at this point that Karalee caught up with me on a downhill. I had said hello earlier and here she was descending fast
....crunch...crunch...crunch. The downhills on this race are for the most part fire road and steep enough on some parts that your toes get all smashed in the front of your shoes:) Going slow down these fire roads was just as much work as going fast. A good education though, I need to go slow on the downhills at WS. I ended up running with Karalee from that point forward, we stayed together for the rest of the race.
Seeing the finish only so you can go back out again for your second loop is kind of masochistic but not out of character for PCT runs. Seeing the faces of the 25k runners as you go back out is priceless. I was still feeling pretty good so there was no real draw to drop out or anything like that. Left late cause I lost my mp3 player (someone turned it in later), so I had to hustle up to catch up to Karalee. She had a sound game plan and the discipline to stick to it. Slow to the top for the second trip up then hustle but not go all out on the way down. It was a solid plan. Like I said in my previous post, hooking up with this runner was the smartest thing I did on the race. So that was it, we talked and ran, talked and ran. Ultra is such a social sport, on and off the trail. Got to the top with no major problems, hustled on the way down. On the way down we caught up with another runner who we've been trading places with, Dave Williams. Nice guy, after seeing him at Miwok and Ohlone I had to introduce myself. The three of us ran together for awhile until the last mile when Dave dropped back. Karalee and I crossed the line together at 7:14:06 with Karalee taking first woman.
My legs and body were sore coming in. I whined as much to Karalee. Huge kudos to her man, totally helped my race. I wish her the best at her next event, Ironman Coeur d'Alene!. Yup another triathlete. Snapped a picture of her holding her award with PCT's Wendell Doman (damn that corrupted memory card). Even got to meet her husband at the finish line. In turn I introduced her to Brian and Georgia.
So getting to the finish I see Brian chowing down at one of the picnic tables, just like in Ohlone 50k. But a bigger surprise was Georgia. Georgia was the gal that chased me for half the course on the Miwok 100k. That girl is another aggressive downhiller. She would gain on me on the downhils! ahaha. I had to run the uphills just to get away from her. That girl's gonna make an uphiller out of me...good stuff. Brian is going to be Georgia's pacer at WS. Anyway she was out doing her own training run and decided to meet up with us at the end. The weekend before she had done a double century on the bike (200-mile ride) and was feeling a bit tired this weekend. These people that I meet in this sport, they continually blow my mind. Yes Georgia, you should feel tired after a double century!
Tried out a couple of things and they worked for the most part. Tested out Carbo Pro. I got a sample from Olga during Miwok. Got my own batch to test Saturday and it was fine. Gave me a little bit of gas maybe but it didn't upset my stomach. I plan to switch to it during the hottest hours of Western States. The magic about Carbo Pro is that it doesn't have any taste, nice if you are sensitive to sweet drinks. I'm not all that sensitive but I did notice that I can't stomach sweetened drinks when it's hot. I also bought a camera pouch, tired of having the camera swinging in my shorts. For the most part it worked well, kind of tricky at times but not a problem. The camera however needs a new memory card.
So that's it. Stuck to my game plan with the help of a new friend, met up with old ones and had a grand old time. Felt like crap the next day but ya'll know that story already.
My work as a graphic design freelancer/contractor reminds me a lot about a trail race. Sometimes it's nice and steady, sometimes slow and grueling, then sometimes just absolutely friggin' crazy! Guess which part I'm on. I love my job but sometimes it's crazy. Not complaining just...well just taking a breath and exhaling - on my blog.
Back to the grind.
Monday, June 12, 2006
Last year the day after the Cascade Crest 100-miler, a 28-hour effort on my part, I was able to run/sprint from car rental return to the ticket counter and then again to my gate. I was really, really late for my flight but my body was just fine. This year I've been doing a lot of back to back hard efforts in the weekends. Say a 4-5 hour run on Sat, then a 7 hour run on Sun or maybe a 3 hour run on Sat then a race on Sun. Yesterday I felt sick after only having run 31 miles the day before and I'm peak shape now...boggles my mind. It must be the heat but really it wasn't that hot.
Something for me to think about I guess.
Sunday, June 11, 2006
I think it was the heat, maybe I was even a bit dehydrated but it wasn't all that hot during the race and I drank like a fish all day. Damn that Devil Mountain!
Did I keep my promise? Absolutely! Ran at 75-80% for most of the race. I ran 2/3 of the race with the girl who eventually came in first. Her pace was exactly where I needed to be and teaming up with her was the smartest thing I did on this race. We were the same type of runner; slow starter, average on the uphills and fast on the downhills.
Report to come, unfortunately no pictures. My memory card was corrupted and I lost all my images. Bummer but I'm glad to find that out now instead of Western.
Thanks to all who checked up on me!
Friday, June 09, 2006
Food = Check, Map to Start = Check, Rental Car = Check, Salt Tablets = Check, Clothing = Check, Gear = Check, Signed Up for Race = errr...
* * * * * *
Me: Hi Can I speak to Wendell or Sarah?
Wendell: This is Wendell.
Me: Hi Wendell, it's Rick Gaston, race is not sold out right?!
Wendell: Hey. Nah just come show up.
* * * * * *
I was very unexcited for this race until I saw the roster for the 50k entrants. My good friend Brian Wyatt will be there. I love chasing after Brian Wyatt, just like in Ohlone, Miwok and Quad Dipsea. Crap....NO RACING TOMORROW! This isn't going to be fun, but who said training always has to be fun right?
Jason Arth in Action at Escape from Alcatraz. These pictures are courtesy of Brightroom Photography. This is a low-resolution composite. To view/order actual pics please visit Brightroom's site.
You can get a sense of Jason's height by looking at how small his bike is compared to him, or how small the other folks look next to him. Or better yet click here:) Anyway here is the man in action. They usually don't bother with the swim photos, not unless you're a pro or a ranked age grouper like Kathy Winkler. Everyone looks alike in their wetsuits and the race numbers are hard to identify. Awesome job J!
Jason, Serena and Lisa will be crewing and pacing for me in two weeks at WS.
* * * * * * *
A few pics from my race last weekend.....and I have no idea why I was grimacing so much!
Maybe cause you were trying. Remember, we talked about this, it always hurts when you "try".
Thursday, June 08, 2006
knowing you, you won't go slow the whole way. I ran once with William
Emerson who pushed exactly 17 miles of the 50M race and then
half-walked the rest - that's was his workout for the day, and he
stuck with it. BTW, he is a constant winner, including well-known
country ultras." - Olga
Ah yes, good advice. Nevertheless I am going! I need the miles and some of that heat. I promise to go slow and easy. Seriously, slow and easy...slow and easy. Besides I miss those guys at Pacific Trail Runs - Sarah and Wendell. One last hard weekend workout before the taper.
Tonight's run was good. Ran with Serena, unfortunately she was having a couple of issues but nothing serious.This was a much better run than say Tuesday at Track. My pace group was led by Janet, J.P.'s girlfriend, that girl led us out hard and kept it going till the 10th 200m repeat. Somebody's been running with J.P.! That hurt a bit. Started out sluggish and it only got marginally better from there. Tonight's run was a lot better and it was followed by Spin class. I've always been able to put together a good workout in Spin no matter how sluggish I've felt. Tonight's workout started out slow but I rocked it. I hit all the target HRM rates and then some without totally exhausting myself. Sweet workout.
The week after WS, I head back to the Philippines for three weeks. I get back just in time to cheer friends for the Vineman 70.3 Half Ironman on July 30th, then it's back to full time training for this race. Big Kahuna is the second week of September. I'll think about the rest of my season while I'm on vacation. I do plan on doing some light training while I'm out though. I doubt I'll go after another 100 mile ultra once WS is done. I could do it physically but I'm just not motivated. Probably enter just the shorter races; 50k's and 50-milers. I have more fun racing those shorter ultra distance races anyway. I'm also getting the itch to do another full Ironman race, probably next year. We'll see, it's tough bouncing back and forth between these two activities, so much time, so much training - it's keeping me single! So many good races, only so much time.
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
• Fatigue that lingers. Last week, Monday and Tuesday I woke up exhausted despite 8 hours of sleep.
• Nagging soreness and tightness, in this case my calves/achilles on both legs but especially the left side. They go away and come back, go away and come back. Left ITB is sore now too.
• Sudden drop in weight. In the past I've seen the reverse.
• Momentary loss of appetite related to the above. I've actually skipped meals. This past Sunday I ate half a sandwich for breakfast and ate nothing until 7PM that night. I didn't starve myself, just wasn't hungry.
• Lingering sluggishness. Recovery run yesterday was slow and sluggish. Track tonight was a little better but it felt difficult and slow and I was only running at 80-85%!
One more hard weekend and I'm off to my taper, although I've already started to cut back already. Last Saturday's long run was replaced by a long hilly bike ride. Friday morning I had a good 3 hour run with Stephen but by the afternoon I was getting that "clicking" noise in both calves/achilles again, along with soreness and tightness. Crap. Nothing painful but your tendons shouldn't be making that noise right, thus the bike ride on Saturday. I'm confident they'll heal during the taper. I just have to get to taper in one piece.
Actually I get a kick out of playing mechanic with my body. 3 more weeks!
Monday, June 05, 2006
First Woman on the Bike, heading back to the Bike Finish Line. Click here for more EFA pictures.
Yes, yes I know, it's been EFA this EFA that...I know. Please humor me just one last time. So Sunday morning I met up with my friend Charlie for the ride to Ocean Beach, the bike aid stations. I was originally scheduled to volunteer on the run course but I heard that the bike really needed more volunteers so I switched. I got a call Saturday afternoon from the bike coordinator, ironically while I was on my bike, instructing me when and where to meet. Okay the bike coordinator, I've never met him, but he wasn't very good. No show Sunday morning. The parking lot we were supposed to meet at doesn't exist and he didn't respond to voicemail messages. After walking from the Cliffhouse to the beach and back a few times I resigned to join Charlie and his Tri-club at the Legion of Honor Museum. Imagine an aid station outside an art museum with genuine Rodan sculptures on the lawn over looking the bay, quite nice. However, they had enough people and I felt like I was wasting my time there. On the way over I saw my friend Jen, aid station captain for Seal rock with only a handful of volunteers, so I walked down and volunteered there.
It turned out to be a super cushy job with an excellent view of the race. I was on a street intersection guarding a barricade, my job was to make sure that cars didn't try to move past the barricade to get on the street. Now about this street, imagine a nice long sloping uphill about an 1/8 of a mile long. Athletes coming out of the Legion of Honor park grounds turn right on this street and up the hill on their way to the Cliff House, Ocean Beach and the Pacific Coast. They do a loop in Golden Gate Park before returning, going downhill this time back to the Legion of Honor. Not many cars wanted to run the barricade so really I ended up just watching the race and cheering friends. Some folks from the neighborhood showed up, had a great conversation with an old lady which eventually ended when she came to the aid of a downed racer. Ugghhh road rash is never pretty, he must have been pretty exhausted and lost control on the downhill. This is a mild downhill by the way, think bunny slope. He must have been really tired. The weather went from beautiful to cold and foggy. A heavy fog bank rolled in right before the race and caused some chop for the swim but cool conditions on the bike and run.
Other things I saw:
• 1st and 2nd woman on the bike duking it out right in front of me on the hill.
• People messing up their chains and gears going up the hill (ka-chunk, chunk).
• One racer really messing up his chain, took him 10 minutes to fix and only with unofficial help.
• Female racer cursing the hill:) Any hill that slows your progress is a pain - I can relate.
• 2nd man on the bike on the way back, pulled over by the officials right in front of my barricade. It was for a penalty and he had to serve it on the spot...sweet. He didn't argue much so either he knew he was guilty or didn't want to piss off the officials: "take your feet off the pedals and firmly plant them on the ground while I tell you what you did wrong".
• Cameraman almost falling off the motorcycle as he tried to get back on. Driver drove away without him. Falling would have been bad, what with all those high powered cameras dangling on his neck.
• Fallen male racer at the bottom of the hill, whew those are gonna hurt more tomorrow.
• Dave and girlfriend riding together on the way back...touching.
• Seeing Jason A. in his "prisoner" get up.
• A ton of people smiling and enjoying their race.
Got done early and I met back up with Charlie who even hooked me up with a volunteer shirt, they're nice this year cause it actually fits. Made it to the finish line just in time to see some of my friends finish. Called Serena who was just making her way down, wasn't hungry but I was grateful for the coffee she brought. Met up with a bunch of my club mates, those who raced and those who volunteered and spectated just as I did. Met up with other folks that I knew, Serena's club mates for one my old YMCA Presidio club mates is another. Caught up with an old training partner of mine, Annie; she had a great year last year but didn't take time off and was burnt by March. I warned her, I so warned her. Jumped into Triathlon last year and progressed very rapidly but didn't want to rest. She was also pulling 7 day workout days. Live and learn, we've all made our own mistakes. Hopefully she can get some rest and recover part of her season. Strong swimmer, strong cylist, great on the run - I would love to see her recovered and kicking butt again.
I stayed for the awards ceremony. I rarely do this. I didn't even show up for the award ceremony for my first and only Ironman. I stayed for the award ceremony for my first 100-miler only cause it was the only way to get my finisher's award. However I was with friends I was hanging out with who were staying and I really wanted to meet Kathy Winkler. I promised Ellen at EQ Swimwear that I would try harder to meet her, I was supposed to do that at Wildflower. By the time we left most of the athletes had already gone home. Serena bagged her ride to walk back with me, which was sweet because I enjoy her company and she bought another coffee. Oh yeah, I lost my wallet prior to arriving to the finish line. Didn't even know it was missing, the bulge in my shorts was my camera not the wallet...du-oh. The good Samaritan who picked it up called me and we scheduled an time in the evening to pick it up. Actually I had to no choice but to walk back, didn't even have enough for bus fare. The afternoon was beautiful. The fog that rolled in right before the race finally lifted.
Made the decision to go to church, which was a good thing because I got to see folks I haven't seen in awhile - a couple of people who moved away and were back for a visit. With the help of my good friend Lori I also made it to the guy's place who had my wallet. I didn't even have money for a cab. Ah what would I do without my friends. Then it was off to Pizza Orgasmica for some home brew and really good pizza. The club had a party scheduled but I was not really in a partying mood. It was time for less "ra, ra, ra" and race talk and more "chill" time.
Then it was home. Eschewed a home movie for some active relaxation activities; writing, reading, cleaning, you know...constructive chill time. Calves/Achilles are better, going for a recovery run although I do feel worn-out...no worries, just an easy run. I'll be ready for track tomorrow.
Just a quick summary for now and more stories later. It was a great, long and fun day. It was disorganized in the beginning (not my fault) but it all worked out in the end. I had a great spot volunteering on the bike course where 99% of my job was to watch the racers. Got to cheer a lot of my friends and got a ton of hello's in return. Got done early and got a ride back to the start. Met up with my pal Serena who brough me coffee! A friend with coffee is a friend indeed. Met up with fellow club mates, met up with Serena's club mates as well - met them at Wildflower. Tons of hugs and hand shaking. And I finally got to meet Kathy Winkler, the one athlete EQ Swimwear sponsors. Kathy had another successful race, placing first in her age group (40-44) and her 14yr old daughter also won an award. It was a great day for the family. Both Mom and daughter had matching race suits.
This was followed by Serena and I walking home but not before stopping by the Union Street Fair. We actually didn't care for the fair but the Starbucks that was located on the street:) She had to buy my coffee again because I lost my wallet. Not to worry the guy who found it called and said I could pick it up later in the evening. God was determined not to let anything ruin my day. After walking Serena home I went to church, picked up my wallet (with the help of my friend Lori) and decided against the Alcatraz after party in lieu of spending time with my church friends. About 18 of us went over to our favorite pizza hangout for some good pizza and micro-brewed beer. I was pretty hungry at this point, my only meal was half a sandwich at 8AM before I started my volunteer shift. Bagged on the after movie plans and was home at the sweet time of 8:30PM. Time enough for some R&R before hitting the hay. Not bad, not bad at all.
So I got some stories but it's now past midnight, so I'll have to come back later. Just a quickie.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
At this moment all the athletes are catching a bus which will take them to the ferry. This ferry boat will then position itself just outside Alcatraz. Once the gun goes off everyone jumps off the boat and swims to San Francisco and the race is on. Too bad I won't be there, I will be on the bike course 10 miles away.
Well I should be off, time to catch that cab. Have a great Sunday everyone.
Friday, June 02, 2006
Anyway the calves/achilles are not doing well. Did that super early run with Stephen this morning. Felt the right this time then followed by the left. Just sore and tight and now they're making that funky "creaking" noise up and down stairs. Doesn't help that Stephen is fast. This morning's run went really well though. You know, for runners, running while catching up with a good friend is like...for lack of better words, just a super great thing. I cursed the clock when the alarm went off, cursed it six more times everytime the snooze was up but once I was out there with Stephen it was all good.
Nevertheless I think I will have to abandon the majority of my long run tomorrow. However there is still the bike, right like I was going to not workout. It's too critical to let up now, too close to the race. I was planning on biking early anyway then doing the long run, now I will have to do a long bike. Tricky, my bike rides have been short. Oh my legs could do it, it's the other muscles involved; the neck, back, especially the back. If the biking doesn't bring on the tightness and soreness then it will have to be a long bike ride followed by a short run. If the bike aggravates it then I'm out. I'll have to do like Kim and sit in an Ice Bath for most of the weekend. Probably skip Tuesday track again too.
I'm gonna need these legs healthy for next week. Garett informed me last week that there's a Mt. Diablo 50k next weekend. Today I've decided to enter the race as part of my last long training run, it'll be hot which I need. I hate that damned Devil mountain in the East Bay. I've done that 50k before, it was my second ultra in fact and I've never gone back. I hate the damn mountain. I hate the fireroad leading up to it, I hate the heat, I hate the bare top that has no shade and I hate the downhill trail they make us use which is filled with dust and loose rocks. When I did this I got so delirious from the heat I started running downhill 2 miles shy of my second summit of the top and thought I was still heading up the mountain:) The next runner behind me turned me around. I remember running out of water a couple of miles from the top and I would stop in the what available shade there was to cool off. I drank 60 ounces of water when I finally made it to the top and drank another 20 ounces before I reached the next aid station. Yes I was only carrying one water bottle at the time and yes 50k runners have to summit twice. Damn that race. I'm stronger and smarter now but damn I hate that race. Well like I said, I need the heat. I have no heat training whatsoever. I anm worried about the two back to back canyons in WS where the temperatures can rise to 110 but I'm prepared to suffer. No racing this time for Mt. Diablo though, really, just a training run. Then I'm off to taper and if it were up to my calves/achilles, taper would start right now.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Speaking of training partners, I was feeling psyched and agreed to run with Stephen tomorrow morning at the crazy time of 5:30AM! What did I get myself into? Even he was surprised when I took him up on his offer. Well it's been awhile since we shared a run together. The last time I ran with Stephen was when he paced me at Miwok, it will be good to catch up with him. He's hard to run with though, the boy is fast. He has to slow down for me. I have no problem giving charity but I have a hard time accepting it - a personal problem. Hopefully Jason can join us, those two usually run in the morning. I've got 4 hours of running tomorrow, might as well get it done early. Because I'm volunteering at the triathlon on Sunday I have to move my workouts one day forward - doable cause work in slow, besides I should be back by 9:30AM.