Monday, June 30, 2008

The Pacifica 50k

DSCN0107.JPGWith 50k race champ Will Gotthardt. That mug says "First Place". Now is it just me or is there more fat in my head alone than his entire body? No seriously look again. Yes I'm wearing my "Western States" finisher's shirt. I just wanted to fit in you know, let people know I also ran trails. Yeah ok I was showing off a bit, that's allowed occasionally right?

DSCN0106.JPGI really need another pair of Vasques to go with the three pairs I have now. Since Montrail dropped the Leona Divides I've been wearing nothing but Vasques.

For the photoset, click here.

So this was the race last weekend. Not this past but the one before, ok just wanted to make that clear. It turned out to be a hot day. When I left at 6:30AM for Pacifica it was already warm, no wind and no fog to speak of. Folks who are from here or are familiar with San Francisco know how rare that is. I could have walked to my car with my shirt off and be ok, no don't visualize that, only my legs look good. Visualize me in shorts. It was going to be a hard day and it was.

My first job was manning the registration tent with Jon Olsen and Flora Krivak-Tetley. A sweet post because I got to catch up with some of my friends. I also finally had a chance to talk with Jon Olsen. I've heard of his accomplishments, seen him in a couple of races but never met him in person. It was a busy morning. There was a big turnout for the run but many people were changing their distances. The 21k folks wanting to drop to the 9k, the 30k to the 21k and the 50k to the 30k. Very few wanted to move up. There were also a lot of no shows. The race consisted of a 9.3k loop and an 11.6k loop, the loops you did and how many depended on the distance you signed up for.

After registration we set up the aid stations, there were two and both were at the start finish. One aid station catered to the finishers, the other for the runners. There was no need for an aid station out on the course because of the loop format. I worked the aid for the runners. It was the usual duties; preparing food, snacks and liquids. Because of the heat we also had the extra duty of managing the ice. We ran out of our initial supply quick but volunteers got more. We also had runners like Miki and Jean who after finishing their race put in some volunteer hours. Miki went out on an ice run and came back with 21 bags!

Seeing the finish line so many times definitely messed with some of the 50k folks, a good number called it a day before they got all their miles done. The heat wore on everyone. My friend Ed didn't look so good from the very first loop but he hung in there. He didn't look any better as the race progressed but he didn't look any worse. He suffered not being trained for the heat despite having trained on the course, he lives in Pacifica. He persevered and finished however and he'll never look at those hills the same way again, haha. Welcome to ultra Eddie, you did great.

Lots of other stories that day, some I already forgot but here are a few.

A young runner named Josh who sprinted hard and wild for the finish after completing 21k, we cheered. One problem, he signed up for the 30k. When he came to our aid station he had an incredulous look on his face, couldn't believe he wasn't done. Took a lot to rally and go back out but he did it.

A 50k runner who ran in surfing shorts and a thick long sleeve shirt, almost like a sweater. Older gentleman built like a fireplug. I was gonna say something but thought the better of it, maybe he was heat training. Guy turned out to be Josh's dad. Josh after finishing his race gave his dad his finishers t-shirt to change into. Dad went on to be the last official finisher, it was his first 50k and was super thankful to his son for the shirt. He was like "man, what a difference that shirt made!".

A female runner who came to us with a bloody knee. She was very tall and very soft spoken. I'm 5'-4" and had a hard time hearing her. Damn my short legs. We patched her up and she went on her way but we left the blood on. We never saw her again and presumed she dropped. Guys when you drop from a race, tell someone, don't just leave. Anyway there were lots of bloody knees and hands that day but it's not a technical course. It was probably the heat.

There was the case of two female runners, young, probably mid-20's. One of them gets our attention because the other was not doing so well after the 11k loop, they signed up for the 20k. The runner was dehydrated and a bit dazed. It was her first trail run and the hills plus the heat beat her up a bit. Friend continues and asks us to keep an eye out on her. Dazed runner is laid out on one of the picnic tables and we give her fluids and ice. 20 minutes later dazed runner is a new person, "un-drops" and goes back out on the course and finishes the race.

A 50k'er named Brian who couldn't believe his second 50k finish came at over 8 hours. He said his first only took 6.5 hours. So I shared with him the story of my first two 50ks. My first was the Headlands 50k, touted as a very hilly, hard race and not recommended for first timers. Scroll down to the elevation chart. I finished that baby in 5:45. Two weeks later I show up all rested and confident like at PCTR's Mt. Diablo 50k and finished sometime after 8 hours. I couldn't believe it either. Welcome to PCTR Brian, it won't be the first time you'll leave one of their races shaking your head, hahaha. Come back! They are just really good at dishing out some tough love.

Well there you have it. Another great day on the trails and I didn't run a single mile.


  1. Wow, those are some stories!! Must be a nice break to be in with all the action and not have to run ;-)

    Don't worry homie, we'll get you a hearing aid :P LOL JK!

  2. That last story made me chuckle as well! I have one of those...don't we all:) Great to see you back at the "post", as always, you are a fixture in local scene, and we all love you!

  3. Great stories! I would feel so bad for the guy that thought he finished. UGH!! You should wear that shirt with pride anytime!!

  4. What wonderful stories :) Sounds like it was a tough day out there and I'm sure the runners were super thankful for your support!

    That poor guy...triumphantly finishing, and then learning, in fact, he didn't :(. Did he sprint in the 2nd time around?

  5. You are so good about volunteering and giving back, Rick.

    What great pictures and stories. You see and hear so many interesting things at races, and every individual has a different and unique story about their journey. Good stuff! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Rick,

    If I had a WS 100 finisher T- Shirt, I would wear to church, wear to weddings, wear it making sales calls, wear it to my children's graduation...

    Great Stories...


  7. Luv the stories! I'm sure all the runners appreciated you being out there. Doesn't matter that you were having almost as much fun as them. : )

  8. Marcy, I think a portable stool would be a cheaper solution. I think they have them all WalMart.

    Olga, ah yeah don't we all have those stories. Fun looking back with a just a touch of cringing deep down.

    J~Mom, thanks. Most places I wear this shirt to people have no idea what it is. They probably think it's a joke:)

    Addy, I don't he sprinted the second time. Haha, he was pooped. He hung with us as he waited for his dad.

    Jean, always fun stories at the races. It's fun being a volunteer cause it's easier to just walk up and talk to people.

    Dave, I'm gonna need a new shirt soon. I just don't take care of white clothing very well but yes I've worn it to church.

    Sarah, it's always fun seeing other people go at it. We appreciated all the runners as well.

  9. You captioned the first photo with a discussion of your body fat versus this other guy's? Seriously!?

    Sigh. Such a girl.


  10. Great Stories ...bummer on the guy that thought he finished :-(