Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Crewing and Pacing at Quicksilver 50-Mile

So Saturday I was on crewing and pacing duty again. I'm a sucker for this sport, I love all aspects of it. It was an early start though. When the alarm woke me up at 3AM I thought I had traveled back in time to the weekend of Miwok, that too was a 3AM rise. A little after 5AM, Zack, his girlfriend Geri, Larissa and I were already at Quicksilver park in San Jose and the race started shortly after 6AM.

For the first part of the day Geri and I had hiked up to two different aid stations to check on our runners. The second AS also served as the 3rd and 4th so we saw quite a bit of them. Zack and Larissa looked great, Zack was hanging back at 3rd overall for the 50-miler and Larissa was second female. The morning went by quick and soon it was time to head back to the start/finish area. The 50 milers accompany the 50k folk all the way to the finish before continuing through for the final 19-mile loop.

At the 50k mark Zach came through 1st! Yeah it was great, the only question was if he could hold it. I was told later by Brett, Larissa's guy, that his 50k split was also a PR - kickass! By then Zach's parents were there and they took off with Geri to crew for him. The parents are learning the ropes for Western States this summer. Not long after Larissa's projected arrival she came through and we were off. She looked great and told me she had saved some energy for a strong finish.

We see Zach on the course for the last time going the other way, he was at mile 47 and still leading. He didn't look so good however, looked like he was running on fumes. Nevertheless we were both excited until we saw Rob Evans 3 minutes later. I don't know about Larissa but Rob wiped the smile off my face. If Zach looked spent, Rob looked strong. His eyes were alert and focused, he looked like a predator chasing down game, chasing Zach. Not long after him was Troy Howard and Josh Brimhall and both guys also looked better than Zach. I feared for Zach but Larissa was optimistic, she said "if the last 2.5 miles is mostly downhill as you say then Zach has a chance because he is a really fast downhill runner, I mean really fast". We dwelled on it for a few more minutes but were soon back to our business. Larissa wanted to break 9 hours. Her PR for the 50-mile distance stood at 9:11 set at the Dick Collins Firetrails 50-Miler. Despite Quicksilver having more elevation gain she felt she had it in her to break the PR. I agreed, QS50 may have more climb but less twisty single track and mostly smooth fire road.

Around 40 miles she was starting to get tired, thankfully most of the big climbs were already done, just a matter of motivating her through what was left. The last 9 miles or so were pretty strong, she was cranking whatever gears she had left and was pushing through the fatigue and pain. In the end we missed the 9 hour mark but managed to sneak under 9:11, setting a new PR at 9:10. In retrospect I feel like I could have pushed her harder but such thoughts are easy to think about now, after the fact. I wish she got that sub-9 but very happy that she still set a PR.

At the finish Zach and Geri were there along with Brett and more of our friends. Zach gave us the big news that he indeed was able to hold on and finished first. Excitement and congratulations all around. 19-miles with Larissa was a perfect post Miwok long run. Such a good day for the both of them and I'm glad I was a part of it.

Larissa at the start.

Zach, 19-miles into the race.

Zach, Larissa, myself and Geri, shortly after Larissa's finish.

Me still very excited about Zach's win.

Larissa with Meredith Terranova from Austin, Texas, the female champion.

Trading race stories. As they say in Hawaii, "talking story".


  1. Talking story...I love that!

    Once again you out making your karma deposit, it's gonna pay in out in spades!

  2. Nice to meet you, Rick. Always cool to talk to a fast ultra runner like yourself. It was a great day to enjoy the trails and good company. I'll definitely see you around.

    --John Nguyen (Asian guy with pony tail)

  3. Thanks Stuart. Can I ask for my payout in speed? That would be awesome.

    John, good to see you out there. Dude you are always smiling when I see you no matter the pace, a great thing. Good luck to your future runs and I'm sure I'll bump into you at another run.

  4. Anonymous10:02 PM

    19 Miles the week after Miwok. I am impressed. Sounds like you will be back to racing yourself soon. Where will I meet you again at the starting line ?

  5. Wim, it was an easy 19 miles. Maybe I shouldn't have gone that far but it was worth it. Great race and a pleasant time running with a good friend. I am getting ready for the San Diego 100.