Monday, November 27, 2006

Scott Dunlap's Race Report

Scott not only ran a great race at 5:10:19 but he also wrote a great race report and as usual was filled with great images. Always thinking about his readers.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Race Inside

Another successful Quad race.

Scott Dunlap Race Report
Quad Images

Move! Move that fat as*! Your friends are way ahead. You'd beter start chasing now! It's only the first leg! Right, meaning there is only 21 miles left on this race. I know you can start chasing from at least 26 miles out. You did it at Firetrails 50-miler and at the Stinson 50k two weeks ago. This ain't no regular miles. And this ain't new to you. My calf is not 100% You're not 100%, just lay it on the line. You're what, 10 pounds over race weight, 6 pounds over normal. Nevertheless you have the strength and endurance to go for a PR. Screw the plan, go all out, that's the new plan. Look they are pulling away and I think they're even laughing at you as they go. No one's laughing. I'm laughing. Hey I'm ahead of Georgia this time, that matters. She raced cyclocross last weekend taking 2nd place in her division. I bet she catches you with all this jogging that you're doing. She's amazing. You can be too, if you just move your as* Jogging? I'm 12-15 heartbeats below my max. Then make it 5 below, go hard like the last 2 races. I'm gassing. Straighten out your posture, open up those lungs. I am. Okay camera in 20 yards. Look fresh...suck in that gut...put your tongue back in. Give him the Blue Steel*. I don't think I'll catch those guys today. Loser talk. Downhill. There you go, that's what I'm talking about! yea! yea! yea! what I've been saying all along. Now run this hard for the rest of the race. Whoa she's cute. FOCUS! I am. 2 runners up ahead and you're gaining fast. Take em but be courteous, shout a warning so they know you're passing. Passing on your left! Nice, keep going. The ride will be over soon, uphill just around the corner. Okay I said "gas" not "brake". Rocks or roots which would you prefer I fall on. Of course I'm going to stinkin brake on a technical downhill! Match your speed to your downhill skills. Sprinting and braking is wasting your legs. Like water remember, just like water, flow between or up and over everything. Be fluid, stay on top of your legs, watch the mud and only go as fast as you can handle. Too much braking wastes quads. I've got quads for days. Not on this course, not if you run hard like I'm telling you to. These miles are special. Amen. This loungey electronica stuff you got playing is too soft. Relaxes me. You want cool, calm and collected. You need fire, some Foo Fighters or some Mettallica even. None of that stuff loaded. Two more runners up ahead. Sloping downhill, your favorite, put it in overdrive.What car do you think you're driving?! I've run out of gears a mile ago. You just think that. I'm inside your mind and believe me when I say you've got more. My heart begs to differ. You are not your heart. So look the runners are close. Look at them, like bunnies they are on an open field. Pretend you're a mountain lion about to have them for breakfast. Those are grown men. I'm pretty sure they wouldn't like being called bunnies. They'll never know, besides they're playing the same game. Here we go. Chomp! Chomp! Chomp!, that's what I've been yelling about! Now make sure you stay ahead. I almost slipped on that one. Good catch but you should have warned them you were passing. I'm beyond polite at the moment. Besides I'm a loud runner, I couldn't sneak up on runners even if they were sleeping on the field snoring. They knew I was coming. You know behind that easy going exterior you can be really competitive. Besides had you warned them they would have given you more room. Ha. Reap what you sow. There goes your friends again, on to their 3rd leg. You didn't gain much on them. They are running very well as I thought they would be. You're also heavier than you were in the summer. That's a lot of us today. The game remains the same, spend it all, there's nothing to save. What are you saving the energy for? the bus ride home, the Niner game in your couch tomorrow? Off-season starts today, save nothing for tomorrow. I feel like praying. Go ahead but remember God loves your competition too. Just to say thanks. Say thanks by doing your best. Start line up ahead. So that's one roundtrip done, last half to go. Here's the real race. Aye, exactly. Get ready for the pain. Here we go, what's 14 more miles(eyes rolling).

I did end up going a bit too hard on the first half but not too much. I slowed down a bit on the uphills for the second roundtrip but my downhills felt the same. Finished strong, no cramps, no pain, just exhaustion which was quickly remedied by two sausage dogs, one bean soup and one soda, plus two hours of socializing.

Unofficial time: 5:34
Unofficial PR of about: 10 mins.

*For the Zoolander fans

Friday, November 24, 2006

Turkey Day

Top:Jason (6) and Sarah (8), creating the centerpieces for the tables. Bottom:Raisin and Fudge, Fudge is the rowdy one, obvious in this pic. favorite holiday and it didn't disappoint. Mine was filled with; mouth watering food, good friends, active kids and rolling dogs. It was a great time. I traveled South to visit my friend Rozanne, her husband Brian and their two kids, Sarah and Jason in Sunnyvale (20 minutes from San Jose). From there we traveled another 1.5 hours to Carmel to spend the holiday with their family. I know the whole gang but it's been awhile. I used to visit often but with all the running and triathlon stuff, not to mention work, it's been difficult. I've been slacking with the visits.

I used to work for Rozanne and she was the person that inspired me to run. She was an instructor of mine's at the Art Academy and along with my friend Dennis, would later take us on as interns then later as a part-time design staff. One day we discovered a picture of her and her identical twin sister Suzanne at the Honolulu Marathon. The thought about running a marathon crept into my mind that day but it seened so preposterous at the time that I quickly chased it away, "No, I ain't doing no crazy marathon". It just seemed so crazy back then. However the seed that was planted never went away and four years later when I returned to my faith, running became an important part of my reformed life. Is she surprised that I run ultras now? You betcha.

It really was a great time, my only regret is that I ruined my appetite a little by eating too much of the snacks that were put out. They were good. The kids were non-stop as usual, I knew these guys since they were babies - Sarah I held when she was only 5 days old. Growing like weeds these kids or maybe it just seems that way because I don't seem them often. The dogs were no different, there was 4.5yr old Chocolate Lab that kept jumping on the 8yr. old Black Lab. Now and then the old black one will slap down the brown kid to calm it down but the kid forgets too quickly. Anyway I think I have enough food in me to power me through four Quad Dipseas, hasn't stopped me from eating though. The off season starts as soon as I'm done with the race tomorrow and I'll deal with my diet then. I won't need all the calories during my off season but it is the holidays. I think I'm getting See's chocolate from one of my printers. This is going to be hard. One challenge at a time.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Partying Like it Was 1999

Top:I think the man with the camera has had too much to drink, actually it was just really dark. In between bars at SOMA. Bottom:Waiting in line outside El Farolito in the Mission at 2:30AM. The best burrito place I know in the city and apparently open all night.

It was a very busy week, work has been slow lately but everything else has been crazy. My friend Ange asked me if I wanted to do the slideshow for our Tri-Club's year end party. I jumped on the chance and it ended up being a 20 hour project, one that I was only able to work on at night. I had never done a slideshow but I've always wanted to and it turned out well. Next year I'll take it a step further and use a movie program, thinking of incorporating sound and video clips. It will be new territory.

But from Friday on it was celebrating time. Friday evening was steaks and red wine as we celebrated Stephen Goldmann's birthday and drinks at our Tri-Club's year end party last night. I hardly party nowadays and to do it back to back was exhausting...I don't think I'll make it through the holiday season:) I definitely was moving a lot slower today but I did get to sleep in. Happy Birthday Mr. Goldmann, I didn't even know.

The club party was great, I dare say that we clean up well. As I've said before, the guys look pretty much the same but the ladies with their hair down, dresses and makeup looked amazing. There was less talk about stuff we've done during the year and more excitement about the next. The slideshow was well received despite 1/4 of it was off the screen and the challenge for next year is to get more people to send in pictures. I got an award for "most inspirational" which had mostly to do with my running WS. The attention was flattering and it came with a $50 gift certificate to our favorite local discount sporting goods store. Much appreciated, I could buy a good pair of trail shoes with that - sorely needed. I also spent part of the time talking to folks about the run program and possibly leading some of my Sunday Trail Runs. I forgot to mention, I got the position I was running for. I'm the new Run Director for the club. Fun stuff but work like the slideshow. One of the things we discussed about in our first board meeting was to have more one on one talks with members we'd like to get more involved. Sending a general email on the email list asking for swim, bike and run leaders is one way but there's more that we could do. I've got a roster of about 10 members so far who are willing to lead, I'd like to grow that to a dozen or more. Bike Director, D'Anza, was out doing the same thing. People are excited, I'm excited. She doesn't know it yet but I will lead a bunch of rides for her this year. I personally plan to integrate more biking in my workouts for the new year, it will save my legs from some of the pounding and give some stronger quads.

So the party ended at 10PM and I ended up joining a group of folks to another bar/club for a b-day celebration and then yet another bar after that. We had a good group, marrieds (no kids), couples and single folk like myself. It was good to see some of the serious athletes, let their hair down a little bit so to speak. The night ended with my friend Mike and I getting dropped off at the Mission district for some authentic, no holds barred burritos - as big as your arm and with a calorie/fat calorie ratio that will make you freak. It ain't for the weight conscious. Mike is now my new Track Administrator, the person in charge of checking people in on Tuesday Track and collecting the necessary fees if needed. I didn't talk him into it, he volunteered and he was sober when he committed...honest.

So I cancelled my Sunday run in lieu of more rest. I can always do it tomorrow on my rest day, just switching things around. Since last week I've been on taper, 40-60 minute runs. I'm one race away from another great season and rest. Such a firm believer in time off and I've been preaching that to my friends who are willing to listen. I was even going off about it at the party; "so big plans for next year huh... gotten some downtime yet?". No burn outs.

Well I hope ya'll have a great Thanksgiving week. Personally it's my favorite holiday and I've got three options for dinner. Right now however the thought of a Turkey sandwich in the privacy of my own home seems more appealing. Maybe I'm just partied out. Time to rest.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Like a Wild Dog

I apologize if this whole sea lion thing is not your thing but I'm fully...what's the word? I'm interested in the developing story. So now they are saying that sea lion has bit 14 and chased 10 people out. No one has been seriously hurt but no one quite knows how to deal with this. Apparently this has never happened before. Here's a couple of my favorite quotes from todays news.

"Biologists are at a loss to explain the eccentric behavior that has forced the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park to close the lagoon to swimmers until the marauding mammal moves on. Experts say the animal could be protecting his harem of mates or might have brain damage from toxic algae."

"The sea lion followed her out of the water and then bit her again. They couldn't get out of the water fast enough."

Kind of crazy, I'm sorry for the victims but at the same time I'm amused about the whole thing. I'd rather take a sea lion swiming than a dog anyday. Here is the link to the full story, they even got pics. My money is on the harem theory.

Holiday Blues?

So the word on the grapevine is that it's one sea lion but multiple attacks. Now rumor has it that the swimmers that got bit were triathletes who refused to take some downtime for the season. Ha! Joking aside, tri-club member Malik posted a warning on the club list, the gist of it is; 6 people attacked so far, no swimming at Aquatic Park until further notice.

It's a good thing it's the end of the year with a lot less people swimming.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Sea Lions!

A sea lion attack in my favorite swimming spot. Since the swimmer was a member of the Dolphin Club there's a good chance she wasn't wearing a wetsuit when she got bit. This is the first I've ever heard of an attack by a sea lion. Pretty crazy, makes you just want to jump right in.

Sea Lion Attack

Monday, November 13, 2006

Stinson Beach 50k

From Rain and Fog to Sunshine before the race started. Runners came prepared for both but most were thankful for the views that came with the clearing of the fog.

My Turn. So after all those hours volunteering it was my turn to race. It promised to be a wet, muddy day but in the end it turned out to be a nice sunny day after all. There was mud on the trails but no rain, it stopped an hour before race start, the fog cleared and we were left with amazing weather. It was an excellent, excellent run. I did have my share of problems which forced me to concede my time goal but it's lessons that will help me for my last race in two weeks. I gave 110% and got more than I deserved...heck I'm still receiving the blessings, still walking funny.The course used part of the Dipsea trail and I saw several ultra runners training for the Quad Dipsea, familiar faces from past races.

During the race I was up to my usual tricks, easy on the uphills, bomb like crazy on the downhills. The race started with a 6k climb from Stinson Beach to the Pantoll Ranger station. All the runners were together for this first part; 12k (75 runners), 20k (45), 30k (71) and 50k (26) runners and the doesn't include race day entrants like myself. At the Pantoll station we split up according to our distances with the 50k runners joining the 30k runners on their loop. From the first downhill I started I went hard. I was confident I could keep up the output based on my performance at Firetrails what I failed to account for however was the condition of the trail. The downhills were really sweet on this course but some of it was quite technical; roots, rocks, fallen trees, slick wooden stairs and a bit of mud to make it just a little sweeter. Those of you who have run/hiked the Dipsea know what I'm talking about. I loved all of it, my heartrate was highest on the downhills. I did my best to flow like water over every root and rock and even hurdled a few obstacles. At the bottom of one long hill, about the 18-mile mark, after chasing down a handful of 30k runners, my right calf cramped up on me suddenly and stopped my progress in seconds. I don't think it was nutrition or hydration, I just pushed harder than my legs could take. It was one small specific spot in right calf. All the tippy toeing, dancing and hurdling took it's toll. I stretched it out, took water, salt pills and Ibuprofen for insurance and continued on but had to concede my time goal. I'm right leg dominant, I lead with my right leg, switching to my left is a bit like writing with my other hand. Worse, preoccupied with a calf that kept threatening to seize for a second time, I took a wrong turn and climb a steep hill, nearing the top before realizing I was lost. I started laughing at that point, sometimes you just have to laugh it off. With 10k to go the cramp completely went away and I was able to run the last 6 miles at the most speed I could muster finishing at 6:09:54 for 6th place. My time goal was 5:30-45.

I haven't been doing much training on the technical stuff so I'm not surprised but I'm thankful for the revelation with the Quad only two weeks away. That race has a bigger share of the technical down hills with 3000+ plus more elevation gain. I don't think I can do anymore major training to prepare. But a lot of stretching and some calf massages while watching TV would definitely help. I'm also going to re-evaluate my strategy for the Quad, I don't want to finish limping! One thing that also helped was a trick that I learned in controlling my IT Band soreness, something I picked up from Yoga. I would focus on the calf and mentally relax that area, every time I felt a twinge I would relax the muscle and the pain would abate. Worked everytime.

So I definitely got more than my money's worth Saturday. I was only looking for some company for my last long run and got an excellent training run instead. Had a good time, a weakness exposed and a lot of camaraderie. I'd consider running this race again in the future.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Let the Heavens Open...

The weather forecast for tonight and tomorrow.

And turn the trails to mud. How much fun is this going to be. I hope it pours. My old Vasque Velocity's should be perfect for the job. Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain.

Of Women and Cheap Beer

Before heading out for my lunch run today I got an email from some of the guys at church organizing an after work burgerfest. I said sure if I could make it since I had work commitments in Marin. So I go for my run and I come back to a number of emails on the matter. Apparently a couple of the girls found out and wanted to see if the guys would rather join them for a drink instead and have dinner later. Both ladies are members of the San Francisco Chapter of the Elk Lodge and rumor has it that not only is it a great, cozy, manly place to enjoy a brew it is also very cheap - forget happy hour. So what do you think happened next? If you guessed that the promise of cheap good beer by two young ladies was enough to derail the burgerfest of the men then you would be um...wrong. I know, I know, I was surprised too. The men will have their food and if their is time to hang with the women then so be it. Good to know there are some men who can keep their focus:) As one of the guys put it "one can’t be very suave with the ladies if one is famished…"

I think I will join them for some burgers, maybe a Turkey one for me and no beer at all. I'm racing tomorrow, alcohol the day before slows me down further.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Treasure Island Sunday

Keep Still
Keep still Barbara! Body marking my friend Barbara who is a TAG participant.

Treasure Island Saturday

Today was the Treasure Island Sprint, the shorter, smaller race. This event had a number of kids in it, they even had their own start. The youngest one I saw was 9 years old. Kids come in two sizes I've noticed, those large for their age and those who look like kids. This 9 year old was the latter, she was adorably tiny. One of my strides was probably two of hers and I'm short. Ah but she was inspiring to watch, I believe she was the last one to head out on the run. Her form was good and the look on her face was one of control - cool, calm and collected. She was great.

It was a much more laid back day and these were the newest of the new which resulted in some comical moments and a lot of rule breaking. A lot of leeway was given however, fun and enjoyment was paramount. First there was the one mom who entered the transition area to help her daughter transition from the swim to the bike. Mom was standing on the sidelines when she saw her daughter having a hard time taking off her wetsuit. So she rushed in there to yank the wetsuit off and help her with her things. Her daughter by the way is a grown woman. This went on for like 15 minutes before someone finally had to tell mom to go. Second there was the participants who had flats who didn't know how to fix them...seriously. Some of them probably racked their bike without checking their tires. I personally helped two participants with their flats during the race which is a big no no. There there were also the folks who go on the run with their helmet still attached to their heads, sometimes the helmet is even on backwards. I caught one with his helmet on and sent him back. The start was funnier, I had all these people who didn't want their age in their calf or looked so embarrassed. Sorry gotta put it on. One woman told me 29 to which I replied, "no seriously".

Ah it was a funny day but there were inspiring moments too like watching those kids race. I saw a father and son racing together. I met a Mom who was volunteering while her 12yr. old daughter was participating, something they do. I witnessed a single leg amputee with a prosthetic head out for the run while being cheered on by friends some of which were also single leg amputee's. The crowd went wild when this 18yr. old girl finished. And from yesterday, during the Pro race which started at 12 noon after most of the participants have finished, I saw the last regular participant finish along with the Pros. The elites were so fast that they caught up to this athlete towards the end of her run. This finisher, a member of team in training, comes down the final stretch with two pacers in tow. Most of us had been cheering the pros and were not even aware there was still a regular participant from the mornings race. As the purple jersey gets close the crowd goes wild again. One female pro had to swerve around her and her two pacers just to get to the finish. That was just the best.

Great day, great day, maybe I'm just easily pleased but I don't think so. These are truly good times and they have been inabundance lately like our weather. Remember that run I wanted to take today? I took it this evening under a full moon, it was so bright I could read the numbers on my watch. Clear sky and no wind with the bay glassy, the light of the Golden Gate Bridge reflecting off the water. Warm temperatures, my two layers was too much. I enjoyed myself so much I did a double loop out on Crissy Field before heading home. The weekend was home baked apple pie good and this evening's run was like pure genuine vanilla ice cream heaped on top, none of that low-fat stuff. It was the perfect activity in perfect conditions to unwind, release and think.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Treasure Island Saturday

Sasser Again
Sasser again, ran into her at Volunteer's Lounge. I had pasta in my mouth, thus the sour smile.

So I was up early, on my feet for about 9.5 hours followed by an 8 minute run and a 20 minute walk after I got home —so that's worth at least a 10k for effort right? Ok you're right, maybe even more say 15k. 15k run it is. Again volunteering was a lot of work but amazingly fun. After getting home, despite being tired, I went out for what should have been a 9-mile run. Tired but was eager to unwind outside with a nice run. Unfortunately my left achilles started to bother me and the pain didn't go away so I called it. Pushing forward with a run while tired with some nagging pain seemed like a recipe for an injury. I think I know how I did it too. At 5:30AM it was warm and the skies were clear, by race time at 7:30AM the fog rolled it and it got cold, even had some drizzle. To keep warm, because I didn't bring enough layers and was dressed in shorts, I would jump in place - think jump rope. Also while "body marking" I was constantly standing up and squatting down, even manuevering around people while in the squat position. I'm pretty sure those activities strained that area somehow. The good news is that it's minor and will probably clear up by tomorrow. Sunday will be a shorter day and I hope to get in a 3hr run when I get home. If the achilles is fine I shall be out.

Body marking was not as fun as I thought it would be especially when it was only me doing it at first. Luckily the long line was soon spotted coming out of the transition area and reinforcements arrived quickly. Marking people's arms are not a problem, having to get down to mark their legs is a pain, especially when you have to maneuver around them. Numbers with curves is a pain, more angles the better. I did get a compliment on my penmanship from one of the athletes, she said my numbers looked better than what she got. After all the body marking was done I was moved to traffic control in the transition area. We were constantly clearing the main path that the bikers and runners used, directing the bikers and runners and keeping them from running into each other.

So now it's off to a shower, a meal and a home movie. Turning in early tonight to do it all again tomorrow. Got lots of pics, will combine with tomorrow's before posting. Probably going to ice the achilles just in case...ok not probably, WILL ice the achilles.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Here We Go

Night Before
A toast, for great races this weekend. Everyone's so serious, that's non-alcoholic sparkling juice. Well except for Jan on the far right, he's having his beer no matter what.

One last meal before the race. So remember the TAG (Tri and Give) triathlon group that I've been hanging out with? Their race is this weekend. Most of the folks are doing the race on Saturday which is the Olympic distance (1.5k Swim, 40k Bike, 10k Run) and some are doing Sunday's Sprint distance ((0.5k Swim, 20k Bike, 5k Run). Not all are pictured, some have decided to be with their families. Noah the host, he's the guy standing making the toast, actually had a bunch of his family come down for the race; mother, nephew, aunt, and grandparents. A family event. It's a spectator friendly triathlon, great for family and friends to see you race. The swim area is visible to everyone, the bike path loops around six times and the run course loops twice. It's a pain for the racer but great for the fans. Treasure Island triathlon is unique in this way.

Sadly not everyone who started the program 10 weeks ago was able to make it in the end. We had a couple of people drop out because of injury. We got one who's sick. Actually this past week we've had a good number of them get sick. Were they licking each other's water bottles I've no idea. But the majority of the group is in. For most of these guys this is their first big triathlon, a few weeks ago they did a shorter smaller one for practice. They look good.

I'll see them all tomorrow hopefully. I'm doing the volunteer thing again. Originally I had planned on just coming down and taking photographs all day but the club really needed the volunteers. Volunteers are harder to come by this late in the year, lots of begging and cajoling from the race directors to get people to come out. I'm working in the Start/Finish/Transition area. We have to get there before the racers get in and do the final set up. I'm hoping to do "body marking" how fun would that be. Race numbers on one arm, one leg and age on the back of the calf. Maybe I can sign my work. The age thing is for the competitive folks and it works, I tend to chase harder when I spot someone in my age group. If not body marking maybe I can be one of the volunteers who help swimmers out of the water. Again another unique thing with this triathlon. Swimmers finish their swim at the bottom of a ramp, there are rocks that slow everyone down and volunteers help pull them out of the water to help expedite the whole process. How fun would that be. I don't have a lot of upper body strength but if I plant my feet just right I should be able to use my legs to do most of the pulling. We'll see.

At 12noon, after most of these guys are done the elite start their race - 15 Pro Women and 25 Pro Men. That'll be something, I'd like to see those guys loop around. Anyway time to chill a little bit before getting some zzz's. Another early day tomorrow. Graduation day for this fine TAG team.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Season's not quite over and already I'm filling up an application for a race. Well at least it's a whole lot better than trying to get into an Ironman. Those things, like the New York Marathon, you have to make a decision on a year in advance. Anyway I'm filling up my application for the 2007 Western States, I'll send it on my birthday for good luck in the lottery. Oh wait I don't believe in luck. If I don't get in for next year it won't be a big loss since I already have a backup race in mind. Bighorn 100-miler in Sheridan, Wyoming, another June race. The course description and elevation profile makes me want to stay home....but they all do that anyway. The great thing about this race is that it has a 30k/50k/50m/ along with the 100m. You can bring friends who may not neccessarily want to run the 100. I saw photos from a story Trailrunner did, might fine place for a race. My only trepidation about it is that there's a lot of running between 7000 and 9000 feet. Altitude, based on my experience at the Grand Canyon, affects me when I go past 7500 feet. On the Grand Canyon's North Rim last year my heart sounded like a drum and I started to feel a little light headed. This year at WS there was no effect I could discern since we were only at 9000+ for a short time.

Anwyay I want to go big next year, do more races, get involved and all that, it might be my last for a while. I've been thinking about my work situation lately and I think I am only going to do this freelance thing for another year. Next year will make 6 years I've been on my own and I'm ready for a change. Time to rejoin the collective. Resistance is futile (for you Trekkies out there)