Saturday, November 24, 2007

One More Time for 07

Elevation profiles always look worse on paper, same with this here Quad Dipsea Race. My legs tell me however "not by much!".

So there I was this morning, eager and excited to run but was fairly realistic about my fitness and goals for the day. It makes no sense to set up A level goals with C level training. After the last big race, I tapered my training considerably. I was feeling pretty whupped and I had all that volunteering stuff going on. I was ready for the season to end. I ran to maintain fitness but I wasn't training. I didn't do any hill workouts or training in hard technical trails, in fact not once did I venture across the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin. Did all my runs on the trails and streets of San Francisco - easy hills, smooth trails. This week I did two whooping workouts. However, like Donald at the Firetrails 50-miler, the moment I put on that number and saw my friends I was in race mode.

Is it okay to switch to unrealistic goals if you are realistic about the suffering, pain, possible injury and failure? My answer was yes. I was banking on residual fitness, experience, and don't laugh, God - Please let me put my body through this one more time while you keep it together.

The first crossing went very well and my split was good, surprised me because it felt easy. All my maintenance runs were hard, sore and labored. The extra rest had done it's job I guess and I was running on race day adrenaline. Second crossing was even faster and I felt great. For the third crossing the hammer came down. I was on pace for an even faster split. My body however was not on board with the mind and spirit. Right calf starts to cramp. I stretch, relax, do a little massage, back off the pace, change my running gait, whatever I could to prevent a full blown cramp. I had to keep stretching and I took down some extra salt tablets and energy drink. Spasms back off but return halfway through the fourth and final crossing. This time both calves are starting to cramp, left glute and hamstring is sore and right knee starts stiffening - the lack of proper training caught up with me. Even my left foot was cramping. I've cramped only once in a race and never at this event. As they say in the Bible, "the Spirit is willing but the Flesh is weak.

On the last set of stairs leading to the finish my right knee sends a jolt of pain. I laugh, I felt like a car losing parts as it goes - a bumper here, a tire there. Came in at 5:39, after all of that I missed my PR by only 3+ minutes. By ultra standards it's a short event at only 28.4 miles but the hills are wicked. Had that race been any longer it would have been ugly, for myself and the other folks who were suffering cramps - I was in good company.

Considering what I brought to the table this day, I was more than happy with my results. Pulled another one out of my you know what. Sure I'll suffer for it, suffering now, but my season's over and I finished well.

Special shout out to my friends who came out to visit. Jen came at the start to wish me luck. Jessica and Sammy cheered for me at the halfway point and again at the finish. They also stuck around to hang out for a bit. I also saw Geoff and Kim who were at the Stinson Beach side. I was spoiled today.

At the start with Marisa and Lem. Lem finished his first Quad Dipsea.

With pal Jennie at the start.

With Sammy and Jess, my cheering crew for the day.


  1. Rick, You always look so good after a grueling race..How do you do it?

    Congrats on a great 2007 season.

  2. Rock star Rick! Little training and look at you! It was so fun to see you at the start and to know that you had a good day, minus the cramping. You looked ready to go this morning!

    Congratulations on an amazing season. I hope next year is even better!

    I am hoping with all my might that you get a WS lottery spot. : )

    Will, it was great to see you and I hope you too had a great run!

  3. Stephen: Smile. Relax the jaw, neck and shoulders. Let the tension out, celebrate the accomplishment. Waist down is a different story altogether.

    Jennie: Can I get a copy of that image someone took of us at the start? Thanks for coming down.

  4. To answer your question Rick,
    They think I have a screw loose for doing what I do. But, they can't blame this last episode on a marathon because I didn't get sick till 3 weeks after.

    Congrats again on your recent victory!

  5. Congrats Rick.You can now have a guilt free vacation....until next season.Get some herbal oil,relax at the farm house and let Cita do the work on those overworked legs!
    Don't forget to snack on those boiled homegrown peanuts and sweet potatoes yummy.

  6. Ok you've gotta dish . . .how the heck can you look so happy before running for that long? LOL Where is the look of fear? ;-)

    Killer job homie!! ;D ;D

  7. Holly cow, Rick!!! What a great race! Man, you totally rocked this season, especially at 50M and shorter. That speed is awesome you gained by pushing oyur limits...may be I'll try it one day:)

  8. I like your quote about having unrealistic goals if you're realistic about the suffering. But you really pulled it out! Congrats! Now you can enjoy your down time.

  9. Good stuff Rick, as always.

    Wicked course...I was exhausted yesterday afternoon/evening, but feel decent this morning (Sunday), off to the gym to ride the stationary bike for an hour or so.

    Hello Jennie, excellent to see you again looking sporty...went well, thanks.

    Will G.

  10. Hey Jennie-

    I noticed you have a Garmin Forerunner on in the photo...I'm gonna suggest you try wearing it on the inside of your won't rub against your wrist bone and is way easier to glance at, both while running (where they trend tend to roll back when worn in normal fashion) and when you are in your bar drops while cycling.

    Will G.

  11. Excellent job, Rick. My training has also been in a tailspin since Firetrails, and I couldn't imagine doing another race this season. Good for you to crank one more out, and finish with such a solid time.

    Good WS lottery vibes to both of us this week!

  12. GEESH that elevation profile LOOKS very ummmm can I say it?? can I ?

    Ok I will friggin' DIPSEA - lol

    Awesome Race RICK, you have had a fantastic race year between the Ultras and those Tri's ...

    very impressive Bro ! Hope u get in WS!!

  13. Will, Thank you for the suggestion regarding the Garmin! I will try it. I haven't ever flipped it over before, but it makes sense and will be a LOT easier to see when cycling. Thank you!

    Rick, I was totally channeling you today. When I went to pick up my mountain bike yesterday it wasn't done being fixed up from my last crash. I took it as a sign that I wasn't meant to ride today. So, while the boys all rode off I went for a 2:45 trail run up at Annadel! I LOVED IT and took photos the whole time. Jake seemed to have taken my place as the the token crasher... he looks like he was in a bar fight. Wait, I might have just blown his cover...

  14. Way to finish out the season, Rick! I wish I had that much residual fitness left in me.

  15. WHOA! Look at the profile! There is no way I could get up one of those hills! Sweet job!! Way to wrap up the season!

  16. Wow, that elevation chart is crazy! :)

    Way to go Rick, and what an incredible season you had. It has been a lot of fun and quite inspiring to read your stories and recaps. Absolutely awesome!

    Congratulations, and I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving! :)

  17. Congrats on finishing up a fantastic season! What a run to finish things up with.Enjoy the break :)

    Can't wait to see what's up for you next season!

  18. Great job Rick. Seems like you've recovered pretty well since Firetrails. See, you should of gone and done Javelina as well :-).

    It was great seeing you at the Quad and so many other races this year. I'm sure I'll see you more in the coming year! Have a happy and restful holidays.

  19. Great finish, congrats! I love how most of us are long overdue for an off-season, but we just gotta do one more. Have a great holiday season, see you next year!

  20. man, do i envy you.

    i only read about a race like dipsea and here you are doing the quad. i got fascinated with this race after seeing the running movie "on the edge" which they say was based on the race.

    congrats! you really rock!:)