Thursday, June 04, 2009

NorCal to SoCal

Mom: So I'm here at Walmart and I know you said you only want a cheap styrofoam cooler but there's one here that's a soft bag type and I'm thinking you should invest in one of these since you can bring it to other races.

Me: How big is it. Will it hold a 6-pack?

Mom: Dang Rick is that all you think about?

Me: No, no, just wanted to get an idea of space capacity of the cooler
(lying through his teeth).

A part of me is still out there in Del Valle Park, the finish of Ohlone 50k, drinking beers, chatting it up with fellow runners, volunteers and spectators, watching people finish. I'm in a super relaxed, summer vacation type of mood. That's a good thing, as opposed to being anxiety ridden and totally stressed. Not my style anyway. I get to go to this one big, self-contained trail party where people are cheering for me and taking care of my needs. They even provide food. That's a big step up from my usual solo long runs where I have to take care of everything myself and there is no clapping when I finish.

Maybe I mentioned this already. It's my mom's birthday this weekend too. I'll spend the night with her tonight, borrow her car for the weekend, back to spend the night with her Sunday night and celebrate her birthday with her on Monday with some of our relatives. I'm also bringing empty tupperware containers which I will fill with her cooking and take home. I'll never be too old to borrow Mom's car or enjoy her cooking.

My trail mom, Olga, sent me an excel spreadsheet with her predicted splits for me. If it was anyone else I would have said they were crazy. I mean I always tell her she's crazy but not when it comes to predicting splits. Am I right about this Larry? Your fiance has a special gift when it comes to this. Without having been on a race course she can do a pretty good job predicting her splits based simply on the elevation chart and the type of terrain/trails. Fortunately for me she has been to SD100 before, crewing and pacing in O7 and running the race in 05. Although it was a different harder course then. And she knows me very well. So I am willing to give it my best shot. I have those splits reformatted, printed and taped to my water bottles. I'd like to tell you but I'm not that brave. Not sharing the overall time she has predicted for me. I don't need the pressure:)

Chris Marolf sent me a link to a great race report he found on the web from a guy who ran the race last year. Great pics and a nice video. On the video, the crew is amazingly efficient! Watch them move in and out, feeding him and taking care of his fluids. Like clockwork. Not only does he have this tremendous support but he also paces his race nicely. I will paste an excerpt from Active Toby's report. This is exactly where I want to be mentally and physically come the 100k mark/mile 62.

"...With the Anza-Borrego desert vista to the east and the sun setting over the mountains to the west, I was beginning to cool off and could feel my core temperature leveling out. Soon we ran out of daylight and switch on our headlamps and hand-held flashlights. From somewhere deep within, I felt my energy surge and soon Rebekah and I were kicking fast. We passed a whole bunch of runners during this stage and surprised our support crew at the next aid station by our prompt arrival.

This is when the tempo changed for me--62 miles and 15 hours into the run and I felt better than I did when I started that morning. I also ran this section faster the second time through. This is when I realized that I had prepared for this race correctly. I still didn’t want to push too hard but I could see the relief and the excitement in the eyes of my support crew. They were supporting a runner who was still very much in the race and gaining strength."

My friend Jessica is coming to crew for me. She's no slouch. She's an Ironman athlete who has been around many races. She has never been to one of these though and she's been wanting to help crew since last year. Considering that the last four 100-milers I've done have been without the help of crew or pacer this is a major treat. Given a choice between pacer or crew I would always choose crew. Why? Because a crew person(s) can carry extra gear/food for you. A forgotten piece of gear doesn't have to be a major deal when you have the chance to retrieve it from the back of the crew vehicle at the next aid station.

Alright then. See you guys on the other side. Keep your fingers crossed for all us. May everyone have a great time, regardless of results.

Rick Gaston has left the building!


  1. "Will it hold a 6-pack?" LOL!

    Rick, all the best to you in San Diego! I hope the race goes really well and that you have an outstanding time. Stay safe, have fun, and I look forward to hearing how it goes!

  2. GOOD LUCK!!

    You want a case large enough to hold a 6 pack AND your running fluids.. gotta have that beer after.

  3. GO RICK!!! Think of the beer that awaits! Seriously, have a great run....

  4. Run on, Rick! Olga won't steer you wrong. You'll have a great race!

  5. Happy birthday to Ricky's mommy. Good luck Rick. Stay safe. ;)

  6. Go for it, dude. Have a great time. Run like a rock star.

  7. Yes. I can attest to Olga's ability to predict splits on a pace chart down to the minute. It is scary. I don't know how she does it. Probably one of the mysteries of the universe that will never be solved! ;)

    All the best this weekend!!!

  8. Happy Birthday to your Mother!

    Good luck!

  9. Good luck Rick ! My prayers for a strong and safe finish. Looking forward to your race report after.

  10. Have fun and be safe. I will be following akong on the webcast.

  11. Sounds really great! I hope you have a wonderful time before, during and after the race, and with your mom!

    Stay safe.

  12. Godspeed my friend. Godspeed!

  13. Umm, really? Only a 6 pack? :)