Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Midweek Ramblings

RodeoBeach w:the ladiesGG Bridge
Top:Another nice Saturday. Sydney, Laura and Meredith at Rodeo Beach watching the waves and the surfers. Bottom:The view from the top of Hawk Hill.

Thanks, Thanks for all the well wishes. I may be the only guy running for the job. I'd like to tell you that it's highly contested and I will have to beat out so good folks but no, I think it's just me. What does a Run Director do in our club? Well the Run Director does what he can to promote running in the club. You know get people involved and excited. Right now we have our Tuesday track sessions and our Sunday trail runs.

So November is just around the corner. Amazing how time flies. Been thinking so much about races, events, volunteering, voting, holidays, trips, work and a whole bunch of other stuff that I forgot my birthday was coming up. I remembered the other day, forgot again and was reminded today by email from a friend. Crap another birthday if this continues I will be in another age group soon. Wait...am I already in another age group?! Well that's not so bad, maybe I can run Boston one day. I'm not fast enough now, 3:30ish, but if I manage to hang on to most of my speed as I get older I may have a chance. Anyway don't ask me the exact day cause I'm not inclined to tell. Besides these days I don't really celebrate my b-day anymore, I don't really need to since my life is constantly blessed. I am celebrated, blessed on a constant basis, by others and myself and I don't need another day to remind me of that.

Tired today. For a late night snack last night I had half of a large watermelon. My first thought was cookies so it was a minor miracle I went for fruit instead. I knew what I was doing but I did it anyway, I've never let a little common sense get in the way of my mouth. So I ended getting up 4 times during the night to use the bathroom! Nothing ruins sleep like having to get up. That will be the last time I'll do something like that...well until I forget and do it again, this wasn't the first time.

And finally the rain is coming back, supposedly minor showers but with the coming of November we know there's more on the way. Soon it will be darker, colder, foggier and windy. So it goes, need to get the rain gear out. It's already raining in the Northwest and other parts of the country already have had snow...winter is fast approaching. Maybe I'll spring for one of those lightweight ponchos, especially for cycling. My approach to rain is to wear enough layers to stay warm but never to stay dry. Get wet, get it over with and just deal with it was my motto. But these days the thought of being somewhat dry is more appealing to me, maybe I am getting older.

All good things, lots to be thankful for.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Rick for 2007

Stick a fork in me, I'm done! I sabotaged my own training this week by not sleeping enough...typical Rick behavior. Got 4.5 hours in today though, no walking on the hills either - ran everything. Got away with another one. So I'm actually here to ask for your help. I put my name in for the "Run Director" position in my tri-club. I have to write in 100 words or so my "platform". So I put one together and I thought I'd throw it out there to see what you guys think. I'm a bit uncomfortable about the last part, talking about what I've done in triathlon and ultra. Makes sense people need to know that I'm not all talk...Hmmm...undecided on the last part.

* * * *
As Run Director I would continue to work on the continued success of the track program and the Sunday trail runs. I would seek to get more people involved and excited about our club's great running program.

I joined GGTC back in 2003 because of the support and encouragement I exprienced from Golden Gate members who gave generously of their time volunteering (leading and mentoring) our triathlon group. I have since endeavored to follow their example. I've volunteered in races and mentored in training groups. I also helped out with this year's Fall TAG group.

As a triathlete I've participated in all the triathlon distances up to the IM. I'm also an experienced ultramarathoner, completing races from the 50k to the 100-mile including the Western States 100. I'm a regular at track and M2's spin classes.

I look forward to making our club an even better one for 2007.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Nike Women's Marathon

Only now do I feel recovered from the weekend...what are we know Thursday? Crikey. Well that's also because my weekend included Monday and Tuesday. After that great weekend with Nike I played tour guide Monday and Tuesday for family visiting from the Philippines. All great things, exhausting but fun. I ate a ton too, what else is new.

Speaking of Nike, that was a really fun weekend. I'm still thinking about it. The Nike Women's Marathon runners were some of the best I've ever served. They were polite, appreciative and for the most part clean - they didn't trash the course too badly. And most of all they were beautiful; sweat, running mascara, energy drink stains and all. It was fun having a ton of ladies running towards you as you tried to serve them Gatorade/Water. Well most of them weren't even looking at us, their gaze went right through into some point in the distance. Our aid station was at the 17 mile point on one side and the 25 mile point on the other. Runners see us twice, on their way to Lake Merced and on the way back to the finish.

One woman in particular helped make my day and I was already having a blast. I won't mention her name because she's a lurker on this blog. She came through the aid station, called me by name, introduced herself and congratulated me for my finish at WS. Thank you, sorry I couldn't be more excited. I was totally taken aback and in shock. There was a moment there where I was speechless trying to figure out where I had met you until you explained that you were a lurker on the blog. Whew...for a moment I thought I lost another pound of brain cells. Congratulations on Nike.

I would volunteer for this race again if given the chance, it was a blast. I thought Tri-California did a great job with the logistics. I didn't really get to see the entertainment part of the marathon having been at the aid station all day but I heard no complaints, only that chocolate is the last thing most people want to eat while at a marathon - chocolate stop was mile 19. Kristin Sasser was an excellent partner, she was cool, calm and organized. 45 minutes before the first runner was supposed to come through our station was only at 50%. Of the 30 volunteers we were supposed to have we only had 10-12. I wanted Kristin to get on the horn and ask for help but she was confident that we would be fine. She moved folks around, allocated our resources in the right places and we were golden. Speaking of which we owe a huge thank you to the Medical volunteers. They numbered about 7 and helped out when they saw we needed help. While I'm at it, huge thanks to YMCA Triathlon and their group leader Mario Duarte. They were the volunteers assigned to our station. I got involved in triathlon through the YMCA and it was nice to see some old faces.

My only regret about this whole event was that we couldn't stay out longer on the course. After we were given the OK to tear down the 17-mile side first, we had to move quickly. The roads were going to be opened to traffic and more importantly we were losing volunteers as the day went on. Kristin and I didn't want to reload the truck by ourselves! The 25-mile side came down a couple of hours later and we just about got everything in the truck when the CHP pulled up to tell us that the roads were about to be reopened. However the approval to tear down was given before the last set of runners/walkers was off the course. We had people coming through a torn down aid station. How disheartening it must have been to be in the last group and seeing things being torn down while you were still on the course. That doesn't happen in Ultra. You get timed out first before someone will tear down an aid station in front of you. That's my only regret.

After packing the truck, Kristin and I drove it back. Originally we were also supposed to unload it, thankfully that didn't happen. Besides back at headquarters they actually had forklifts and pallet movers, we had neither. We got cold pizza and all the Cliffshot Energy Gel and Cliffshot blocks that we could carry. I think I have enough energy food to last me all of next year! Sweet.

Overall a great and rewarding experience so much so that the next day I threw my name in for "Run Director" for our tri-club next year. I was asked twice and I turned it down. I got to thinking that since I'm going to be involved anyway I might as well go big. No guarantee, there might be others that want the job, more power to them. One thing I noticed about myself, if given the option to lead or just help out I would always just help out. I get all the fun without the responsibility. A bit of a chickensheet I know. Well I'm trying to change that. As the old Nike slogan used to go: Just Do It.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Nike Marathon


Is now a memory. Up the whole weekend, feels like one day. A lot of fun, much excitment, hard work but very rewarding. I was so excited about it I went down to the start line to help out at 1AM and just continued on till it was time to meet Kristin at my apartment at 4AM to start our shift. The work was definitely hard but the runners...they were so nice and thankful. Thank God for no accidents or major mishaps. At least in our station things generally went well. Zzzz...need a nap.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Schwag + Shoes

Tonight was meeting no.3 for the Nike Women's Marathon. Three entities are involved in making this happen, there's of course Nike, then there's Tri-California and an entertainment company who's name escapes me at the moment. Tri-California is race directing and responsible for bringing the majority of volunteers. Our tri-club has a tight relationship with Tri-Cal, providing volunteers for a couple of their races. Tonight was more details, more discussions about duties and responsibilities. So far I've been impressed with the level of enthusiam and organization by the organizers. This is going to be a good race. It's only on it's third year but it's quite popular. This year's race sold out in a month, if that.

At the end of the evening we got our crew tags as well as a big ol'bag of schwag from Nike; cap, long sleeve shirt, track jacket, and shoes. Sometimes you get schwag for volunteering. I didn't need the clothes but the shoes... I need new shoes. I wore out 5 pairs this year including my last two pairs of Montrail Leona Divides (rip). Need to replenish that quiver for next year. Why several pairs? I like rotating through different types. Makes me wonder how many pairs the pros go through....I wonder how many pairs Dean goes through or Scott, good thing they are sponsored. Hmmm....

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Screenshot of the GOTR website. To visit the site click here

Last night I ran, walked and walked backward on the track. I also crawled, laid and rolled on the grass. Somewhere in there was also a pretend picnic where small leaves represented H20 and lemon juice. I lucked out, my 11yr. old partner, Chelsea, was an out of the box thinker. It was a touchy start at first. She wasn't comfortable with me because I was a boy but she warmed up eventually. Besides I told her the truth, "Chelsea boys are scared of girls too".

Girls On The Run is a non-competitive after school program for young girls that combines a physical activity running with learning. If you click on the link there's more details there. They are one of the charities that is connected with our tri-club. Besides monetary donations, tri club members are also encouraged to get involved. It's not a big commitment, the current request is only for two Weds. The program itself runs 10 weeks at a time and they meet twice a week.

It was a lot of fun! The girls were full of energy. It was us, the triathletes who were the anxious, shy ones. In the beginning my friend Alyssa and I kept looking at each other with that "what did we get ourselves into look". Thankfully there were three teachers there, they made sure everyone was ok - especially the grownups. The lesson for the day was Alcohol, Drugs and Smoking and all the running exercises we did that day kept touching on this theme.

That was a good time and I'm actually looking forward to next Wednesday.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Lunch Run

Wow, it should be like this everyday. Almost makes me want to switch my evening runs to lunch runs. Been so busy lately, today was the first day I've been able to run this week. Eh it's okay my body needed the two day break. It's gorgeous out there, sunny blue skies, very clear and no wind. Low 70s. We are nearing the end of our Indian summer, soon the rains will come. Too bad I couldn't stay out longer. Legs were predictably tight and heavy but they should be better tomorrow after today's recovery run. I really should stretch more.

This weekend is the Nike Women's Marathon and it looks like we are going to have similar weather. That's going to be a long yet exciting day. I'm co-lead at an aid station with my friend Kristin. There's the set up before the race, clean up and tear down. I already volunteered Kristin for driving duty, driving the big white truck full of supplies to the aid station the morning of the race...yeah that was nice of me. However in turn I have to be the palette mover guy, with the help of some motorized gizmo that they will teach us to use Saturday afternoon...fun stuff. Our biggest worry is where to get Peet's coffee in that part of town since we have to pick up the truck at 4:30AM, a couple of hours before our local Peet's opens. Hmm...very critical that coffee thing. Anyway back to work and some food. A nice break, I'm glad I carve out some time in the schedule to get out there even though it wasn't very long.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Still Recovering

Wow that run beat me up a little, 3:20 later I am back, sore and tired as hell. I guess even though my muscles recovered from that 50-miler my nervous system hasn't yet. I made the right decision shortening the run. What seemed like "slacking" was actually the correct action. This might seem like a no brainer to some, run a 50m don't expect to come back right away. Well it's possible, it's all relative of course so I should say it's possible with me. Initially I left the house with a lot of energy, in fact I had to slow it down. I crossed the Golden Gate bridge and did two hill repeats of Hawk Hill, a nice 20 minute climb for me. The hill ain't that steep and dodging tourists and cyclists is a huge plus - keeps me focused instead of drifting off. The climbs were good but the downhills weren't and on the second downhill heading home my energy was down for good. After that initial pop and good energy levels for about 2 hours it went slowly downhill from there. The last 6 miles from the bridge to my apartment was a bear, hard and slow. Overall it was a good workout, even though the last part was hard I made it home before I had to resort to walking. Perhaps another low mileage week for me this week.

Return of James

James and his new bride. He's looking great.

Yesterday I was planning on a 6 hour run, which became 4 before I went to bed last night and is now tentatively 3. If I feel better out there we'll see about longer. No pain, no fatigue, just feeling gray...like a valley between hills and mountains. Been dragging my behind around since Friday.

The perfect mood for a surprise. I have a step brother we spent part of our childhood together. We met when I was 12 and he was 9. I love him lots but I haven't seen or spoken to him in 4-5 years. Before that we were only together for one evening after not having seen or talked to him for 3-4 years before that. Basically in the better part of a decade I've seen him once. Last I saw him he was in the middle of a divorce, had just been stationed in South Korea after 3 years in England and was facing an unhonorable discharge from the Air Force. He ends up leaving the Air Force, goes right back to South Korea after spending a month in the states and has kept his distance from the family since then. Any news I hear is from his sporadic emails to my stepdad. Oh once or twice I got drunken messages on voicemail with him apologizing for being a bad brother and all that. Amusing. Both he and my stepdad are the same way, they have that ability to shut people out. We all do it well, putting ourselves first before other people but these two have mastered it and it's unfortunate when you are the side being shut out. I on the other hand am my mother's son, we tend to fight fire with fire. You put the two together and there's a whole lot of non-communication going on.

Well this morning checking emails over coffee I got an email from my brother - wedding pictures. I almost deleted it thinking it was spam. Good morning Mr. Gaston should I put this bomber right next to your coffee? And my mobile has three missed calls and one voicemail, you got it. If you're looking for a conclusion to the story, well I haven't got one for you (not yet). I'll share when I get there.

Nice. Just like the terrain over here, it's never flat for long.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Just Like a Race

"Hello PreK Team, Great news - we found our "1"! We are so very happy to report that Rick has stepped up and will be joining the PreK Sunday School team. Wahoo!"

Good God what did I get myself into?! I'm getting the same anxiety and butterflies that I get when getting accepted for a 100-mile race. I touched on this before, my church has shrunk considerably because of a not so smooth head pastor transition, so now to keep things going everyone is recommended to pitch in. In the past I've been involved, even going as far as being a bible study leader for a couple of years, but I've always skirted around helping with the kids, which is strange because there has never been a time in my life when I didn't like kids. I think it's because I'm not confident about my ability to control more than 3 at at time:) Those guys, some of you know, run on Energizers. It's truly a different kind of "shape", I can travel 100-miles at a time and they still tire me out.

This time around I tried to run from the job again, haha, even when asked a couple of times by good friends to get involved. Instead I signed up for the "Social Committee", you know the committee that organizes get togethers, dinners, hikes, etc. I was totally copping out, hey I'm good at running. Alas, while I can outrun my friends I can't outrun you know who so here I am. I won't bore with the details as to how I know.

So here I am, fortunately to my relief I will have a partner, there's a tutorial meeting and I have Pre-K kids. Besides while I'm anxious and worried I am also excited, just like a race.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Ultra Faces at Firetrails 06

At the finish with Wendell and Chikara. For the images click here.

Pictures of ultra friends at Firetrails.

Monday, October 09, 2006

A Nice Surprise

Firetrails pictures click here

I actually came in at 9:03:28, 35th out of 150 that finished out of 162 starters. Wow I was much closer to breaking 9 hours than I thought. Where did I get 9:12? Had I known at the time....what's 3:28 over the course of a 50-miler? If I had upped the pace earlier, took less pictures, chatted less, ran harder on the flats, enjoyed the scenery less, walked less...So close! Alright shut up! shut up in there! It was a great racem, the final time will not change that.

I was chasing three friends and never caught them. Brian Wyatt at 8:46, Vladimir Gusiatnikov at 8:56 and Kevin Swisher at 8:58. I've never raced against Vladimir but I have against Brian and Kevin and I am inspired/impressed with their performances, especially with Brian. Last I saw him was at Rio del Lago 100 while pacing Olga. He was struggling to stay upright and according to Georgia, his pacer, cut his losses and dropped at the 83.5 mile mark. Well 2 weeks later here he is with a great time at Firetrails. I might see Brian and Kevin again at Quad, hopefully Georgia too.

Firetrails Unofficial 2006 Results

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Semi-Short and Sweet

Where's the fireroads?

I got my behind whooped by a lot of people yesterday, some of them friends. I in turn passed on the good deed and kicked some behind of my own:) en route to a PR on the course. But as mentioned, this was my first 50-miler and I had not run it since. I've come a long way since then and it would have been incredibly disappointing had I not beaten my old time. What I am ecstatic about is that I finished faster than I hoped. After an honest appraisal of my current shape, I predicted a 9:30-10 hour finish. I wasn't going to repeat my blow up at the Big Kahuna Tri with more unrealistic expectations. I crossed the finish line at around 9:12ish ( I forgot to turn off my timer after I crossed the finish line, exact results will be posted later). Considering I'm 5 pounds heavier and on a pared down training schedule I was more than happy. Moreover, I finished in excellent shape, it did mean however that I could have gone harder. I've come back from shorter training runs feeling a lot worse. I was overly cautious for the first half and on the second half my heart maxed out before my legs did. I was "redlining" from miles 40-47, running at lactate threshold and loving it but my heart couldn't keep up. When I crossed the finish line I felt great overall. I was able to run the 100yds to the car with no discomfort and this morning they feel fine. I could go a run today if I wanted to...but I won't:) Today will be a walk to the edge of the bay to watch the air show and the last show of the Blue Angels for Fleet Week. Lot's of walking and hanging out.

I'm very happy with my finish and my excellent condition after the race. In retrospect I could have gone harder, could've started attacking the course a lot sooner but overall I came away with a time that was much faster than I expected. Since my body feels so good I can go right back on training for my last race, the Quad Dipsea, without any downtime. I'll be a little slower for a few days but nothing more than that. Only one blister! After experiencing 16 at Western States, I'm pretty confident I can bully this one to do what I want.

The trails on this race were awesome. With a name like Firetrails you would think it was mostly fire road, nope. Lot's of beautiful, tree lined, soft single track - the type you encounter in Marin. The course was extremely well marked. 8000+ total elevation gain. Excellent post race bbq with enough picnic tables for tired runners to sit on. Chikara Omine won the race with a 6:54 beating his time of 7:04 from last year. Ultra legend and race director Ann Trason personally handed me my goodie bag at the finish, as she did for all the finishers - unbelievable.

Full report and ramblings later. As well as pictures.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Good Morning

The part I hate about races, getting up early - up at 4:00AM. I don't know how Olga does it year round, she gets up at 4:30AM just for training. Lady it's a good thing I don't live anywhere near you:) So I'm ready, feeling heavy cause I am but what the hell, it's fall. I'm well on my way to my "holiday" weight in October, just getting a jump on the holidays.

Well I'm ready to roll out. I smell like sunscreen and my feet feel funny from all the duct tape. Just checking the internet for the distances between aid stations. I didn't bother printing it out and taping it to my water bottle, I only do that for my A races, when I'm actually trying to PR. As long as I come in faster than 10:25...I think. I shouldn't be slower than my first 50-mile time. I'd like to be finished by 4PM at the latest, car rental needs to be back by 5PM. Keep your fingers crossed. I think I'm just going to go with one bottle today. The average distance between aid stations is 3.5 miles. Besides the weather is supposed to stay cool.

Great. Have a great weekend everyone, shaping up to be a great one here. San Francisco will be crowded with all the Fleet Week festivities which includes an air race and the Blue Angels.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Brian's Shot

Ah but Brian did snap a good one. Check this out. Just in case you missed the link he left on the comment section. I've seen them go even lower. Thanks for sharing Brian.

Thunder in the Sky

Blue Angels are in town and they are out practicing for Fleet Week. Brutal:) They fly low and over downtown, scaring the crap out of a lot of people. It's the noise, sometimes it comes out of nowhere even though you know they are out there. I had to run an errand to the post office and the bank. As I was leaving the post office I almost jumped out of my skin when a loud thunder came out of nowhere - real close! Can't be much fun to the anti-war protesters downtown.

I actually have a special place in my heart for our military. I spent time growing up with them in Honolulu. I went to a high school that was primarily made up of military dependents from three bases; Pearl Harbor, Hickam Air Force Base and Crater Marine Base. Every year we would lose and gain new students. My stepdad himself is a 23yr veteran of the Navy. So even I got to enjoy a part of the military life; hanging out at the bases, shopping at the commisaries and getting stitched up at the Army hospital. In fact my freshman year in high school, I was part of the Hickam Air Force Base waterskiing team. I wasn't very good but I was light enough to be one of the climbers when they did those pyramids. You've seen them, skiers on the shoulders of other skiers waving to the crowd...that thing. Eventually I quit in lieu of high school sports, besides the 6AM Saturday morning practices were killing me. Ah I could go on and on.

Anyway those guys are flying low and loud. I'd snap a picture if I thought my camera was fast enough to capture them over the rooftops.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


3 to the Bridge
Janet, Myself and Vladimir heading towards the Golden Gate Bridge. Photo courtesy of JP Sulpizio.

Just another day at the Headlands. Went out for another long run, met up with some friends who were doing theirs in Marin. Went shorter than planned but felt so good that I've decided to go ahead and enter this weekends race in the East Bay, the Dick Collins Firetrails 50-miler. Planning to do it as a training run. A little long for a training run considering the Quad Dipsea is only 28 miles but it'll be alright. Been itching to do a race. This was my first 50-miler back in 2002 but I've never been back since. I remember that the BBQ was really good or did it just taste good after 50 miles? Anyway I think a lot of first timers for the 50 mile distance do this race. Looking at the roster I'm surprised at the number of people attempting their first 50-miler. More power to them. It should be a nice day.