Friday, March 04, 2011

Down and Up

Picture 1
North of Mt. Tam at a spot called "Maker Maker". Photo courtesy of Carrie Sisk.

Back down week this week and I needed it! Easy, shorter miles this week, nothing crazy, well except the usual too early Thursday morning run. I always run that workout on the hard side, it's difficult not to when I'm trying to keep up with the faster runners which is mostly everyone else in the group. It hasn't made a morning person out of me but I'm still loving the camaraderie and workout and views of San Francisco on the return trip never get old.

That shot of me at Maker Maker was taken on Sunday when I ran with my friend Carrie. For three years we've talked about doing a training run together and it finally came about this past Sunday; kind of crazy considering I see her often enough, have paced her at a major race and have run several races together. Turned out to be a great day for it and she showed me trails I've never run on. We started East of Mt. Tam and ran around the base of it, visiting three lakes before returning to the car. There was a point on the run where I had no idea where I was. I couldn't see the ocean or Mt. Tam and couldn't have told you where North or South was. Frankly it was a great feeling - to be somewhere new in an old place. It was like discovering new rooms in your own home, a whole new section in your backyard. The South side of the mountain, facing San Francisco, I know well enough but I'm somewhat clueless on the Northern part. I really need to make more trips out there, maybe get Carrie to play tour guide a few more times well many more times. I learned new trails last weekend but mentally I'm still having a hard time connecting them mentally to the routes and sections of the mountain I already know. We took so many turns I couldn't retrace the route if I needed to. The snow that was supposed to come never materialized but there were a lot of blown down trees, we had to so some crawling and dodging. One tree, the top of it was right on the trail we needed to take. The rangers have been and will continue to be busy clearing those trails.

Sunday was a blessing after a somewhat rough Saturday. Early Saturday morning I was crossing the Oakland Bay Bridge with Brett and Larissa for PCTR's Redwood Park race. Brett and I were volunteering and Larissa was scheduled to run the 50k race. A friend, Tracy, was there was as well and she had signed up to run her first 50k race. While helping out at the finish line food table, serving chili and chicken soup, a runner came through asking for me by name and informed me that Tracy was injured and was in rough shape. She gave me detailed info on where she should be on the course. I didn't talk to her long enough to find out the extent of the injury since I went into action mode after hearing the part about "I gave her a stick to help her walk". Sounded bad right? I grabbed Alli who was also a good friend of Tracy's and we went out looking for her. Thankfully she wasn't that far, it only took us 15 minutes to find her and the trail was close to the road. While looking for her we ran into a guy who was also looking for another injured runner - his girlfriend. What were the chances of two female runners injured on the same part of the course? I know Tracy's boyfriend and that wasn't him. As it turned out the guy was the boyfriend of the nurse who was helping Tracy. With her was another runner who happened to be a doctor, Dr. Gary Bean, who was helping steady Tracy as she walked. Her knee had given out 10 miles into the race and even just walking caused a lot of pain. She was in bad shape; in pain, frustrated, embarrassed and worried about the injury. Alli drove up on the road that paralleled the trail and the runners picked her up and carried her off trail and into the car. She insisted on going back to the finish line to pick up her things and then Alli took her to the emergency room. She insisted on trying to take care of herself, embarrassed with all the attention, but no one was having it. Michael and Spencer of the PCTR Racing Staff was especially helpful in convincing her that she needed to take the help. Since I rode up with Brett and Larissa I volunteered to drive her car to the hospital, hang with her at the emergency room then drive her back to San Francisco. It was just like crewing and pacing but not as happy a time and emergency rooms are unpleasant places. I would like to say though that the nurses at the emergency room of Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Berkeley were very friendly and helpful.

While she was out on the trail, Tracy mentioned that countless runners had checked in on her when the injury first happened. Another nurse had given her a non-narcotic pain killer for the pain before those three runners had come to her rescue when it was clear she could barely walk. By the time Alli and I got there she was already in good hands. I'm like Tracy in that I try to do everything myself and easily embarrassed when I need a lot of help. Heck, I was embarrassed back in 2006 when I had to walk the last 30 miles of the Western States 100 and my pacers had to walk with me - "Save yourselves, run like the deer!" Well hopefully I never find myself in a similar situation but you never know and I'm comforted by the reminder that people will go out of their way to help. I haven't seen Tracy since Saturday but I hope she will continue to do well. She is now in better spirits judging from her latest Facebook posts. Physical examination and x-rays did not turn up anything so I guess more needs to be done to find the root of the problem.

Anyway in closing I'd like to share pictures from the event. I hope you all have a great weekend.

No snow as forecasted but a lot of frost race morning.

Alli at registration.

Mark Tanaka and Jon Gunderson enjoying a laugh before the start.

Starting lineup for the 50k/30k race. The 10k/20k folks had their own start.

Hanging out with the runners and Peter Duyan.

Dr. Mark in action with Colin Gardiner not too far behind.

A family outing for the Wyatts. Chaia in the middle ran the 10k while dad and Cassidy volunteered. Cassidy volunteered to eat a lot of food off the aid station and finish line tables. He'll probably be faster than dad in another 10 years.

Yours truly in my favorite volunteer spot - the chicken and chili pots.


  1. What an exciting weekend for you! When can I see running/racing? :) Cheers.

  2. Hi Rick,
    I LOVE that picture of you at "Maker Maker." And I THINK I know where you got that idea for the position you are in - from that picture I love of Jo Lynn (I seem to remember you liked it, too) where she decided to lie down like that in the middle of the Angel Island course and Teresa took the shot!
    Jo Lynn, if you read this, I stole that shot from your blog and still look at it sometimes :)--hope you don't mind--it always makes me laugh/smile. I think I'll steal your's, too. The surrounding view is beautiful!
    Sorry about your friend--hope she is dong OK now.
    I met you when you were manning those SAME chili & soup pots a the SAME place (Redwood Park) a couple of years back, remember?
    Luv ya for all of the volunteering you do :). See you soon, Ann

  3. Great photo at Maker Maker...oh and the Chilli pots too...been there done that!