Sunday, December 30, 2007

Such an Idgit

So I nailed one of those bumpy things this evening. Yes J~Mom those things are squishy and soft; however if you nail one from the side, you will go down. The sun had gone down and it was starting to get dark. A kid of about 12-14 blew by me and I was admiring his stride and then WHAM. I was on the ground rolling before I knew it. I rarely fall, in fact I don't remember the last time I fell. I didn't fall once this whole season despite all the trail runs...that is until tonight, on a track no less - LOSER.

I was however impressed that I tucked and rolled automatically. In high school I participated in high school wrestling - I was just ok. Once a week our coach would have us do extended drills on agility and strength. He had these specific drills that was aimed to disorient us, a lot of rolling and twisting. Eventually you learned to be aware of your body position at all times. I had no idea I can still roll like that, it's not something I can practice now. The funny thing is, back in those days, I HATED running. I thought the 2.5 miles of track and stairs that we ran everyday before practice was sheer torture. I didn't even bother to get running shoes, I just grumpily ran my warmup miles in my wrestling shoes.

Happy New Year Everyone. Stay on your feet, on your workouts and the celebrating.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Round and Round

Round and round a track that has seen better days.

Been puttting time in the local track. The only place I feel safe and healthy for running. The streets are chaotic with all types of vehicle and foot traffic, there's the occasional loose dog and the fumes can be overwhelming. I hate going in circles but under the circumstances it is most welcome. The track itself is under repair, a new surface is on it's way from Germany. Must be the heat, humidity and rain that has caused all the bubbling and buckling. Adds a little excitement to my track runs, dancing around the tiny moguls like they were obstacles on a trail.

I find it hard to workout when on vacation, do you guys experience the same thing? Hard to start, difficult to keep going. As always however, glad to have gotten it done once I'm finished. Nothing crazy just 5k's around the track. Acclimating to the heat and humidity just fine, too bad I don't have any hot races anytime soon.

Why I feel safer in the track, ain't no local to be running around in these streets.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

On the Other Side of the World

Absolutely no workout related info whatsoever.

I am officially on vacation, the second part of my off-season and sleep has been in very short supply. Late to bed and early to rise, then there's that jet lag thing. Thank goodness for all the running, biking and swimming I've been doing, I can keep putting one foot in front of the other with the best of them. I finally had to wave the white flag last night, guys I'm sitting this one out - going to go zzzzz. Not that I'm complaining, it's all been amazing fun.

I'm in the Philippines, here to visit my aging grandmother (raised me till I was 12), relatives and friends. I enjoy being here, if money was not an issue I'd be here all the time. I've been catching up with family and friends, making new ones, playing with their kids, hitting the town, shopping for last minute x'mas presents, eating native foods that I've missed and a whole bunch of other stuff. I could go on and on but I also want to honor those who may not be having such a great time this holiday season. It happens.

I also finally caught up with my biological dad. He didn't have such a good year and recently I had to unload some truths that was hard to say and probably hard to take but it needed to be said. It was good to talk in person and keep the friendship going.

Today I leave Manila, the crazy mega city of 14 million people, for the small, quiet, slower paced province of my grandmother. Back in the day it was the sugar bowl of the country, acres upon acres of sugarcane fields. My father also came from this region and the family name is synonymous with sugar. This is where I was raised until I was a month shy of my 12th birthday.
Well if I don't log on before then, Merry Christmas! As my friend Jen would say; I hope it's a good one.

DSCN3151People watching and enjoying the native coffee (Starbucks)with my wingman, my cousin Ann.

DSCN3157Guy in the middle is my good friend Eric, one of the great graphic designers I got the privilege to work with - and they say nothing good comes out of Fresno:) We were junior designers for a firm a while ago, during the whole craze. Back then the only thing I piled on was the work hours, pints of beer and shots of tequila. He ended meeting up with an old crush, moved to Asia and married her. Isn't it usually the case with good friends, that a lot of time can pass between you but when you finally catch up it's like no time has passed at all. Good times, the only sour point was when we started talking about the sorry state of the San Francisco 49ers.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Year in Review

2007 Summary Poster.jpg
How it all turned out. Some of you guys will remember this poster from January.

The one entry I've been wanting to post since my last race. An overall summary of the whole year. Funny the races I didn't think I would do well in or races I designated as "training races" I did very well at and the races where I had high expectations I just made out okay. I am much more relaxed heading into a race I have no expectations at so that's probably key. The best run I had all year wasn't even in any of these events. All these races at all these venues and the most fun I had was here at home, in my usual training grounds, alone, without aid and chasing no clock. That was a sweet time, every time I think about it puts a smirk on my face.

So I am off today for a little holiday vacation. Pray that I don't gain anymore weight. It's the toughest time of the year for weight control for me. It's the holiday food plus I'm in a celebratory mood after getting away with another season.

Hope ya'll have a good one.

Pacifica 9k
January 20

Wildflower Training Weekend
March 23-25th

Wildflower Long Course Triathlon
May 5th

Quicksilver 50m
May 12

Volunteer: EFA Triathlon
June 3

Bighorn 100-Miler
For the Photos
For the Report
June 14-17

PCTR Angel Island 50k
July 7

Volunteer: Vineman Half-Ironman Triathlon
July 22

Headlands Hundred
August 11-12

Big Kahuna Half-Ironman
September 9

Big Basin 50k
September 16

MS150 Waves to Wine Bike Ride
September 29-30

Dick Collins Firetrails 50m
October 7

Volunteer: San Francisco One Day
October 20

Volunteer: Nike Women's Marathon
October 21

Volunteer: Treasure Island Triathlon
November 17-18

25th Anniv Quad Dipsea
November 24

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Rollin Again...Slowly

Stretching at the top of Mt. Tam, 20 mins into our trail run this morning. Look Jean no snow:) Just teasin.

So after 2.5 weeks of doing absolutely nothing athletic I slowly eased myself back to running this past week. Woof, going downhill (letting it all go) is always fast, the uphill (getting it all back) is the one that takes forever. Well I'm not looking to get back into tip top shape just yet, just doing some maintenance work. Funny I finished the season feeling pretty beat but it only took a couple of weeks to feel fully rested, should've ran harder and faster during the latter half of the year.

Nothing but slower and shorter runs for right now and they feel great, well except for the first one back. Today I was out in the trails with friends Jen and Ashli. Coach Neil extended an invitation to join his training group and we were more than happy to oblige. The run wasn't very hilly, it was on fire road which was wide and tame and my group opted for the short version but even then my heart rate got up there. Thankfully I wasn't the only one:)

Rick: Ed my heart rate is at max
Ed: I hit mines back there
Rick: Oh good

It was a beautiful foggy day. Cold but perfect for running.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Icy Hot Torture

Be careful with this version of BodyGlide.

Bodyglide is my number one choice for prevention of chafing and other skin irritation problems and I recommend it to anyone. The first time I came across it was in triathlon, triathletes would use it to on their neck to protect against the chafing of the wetsuit and on the arms and legs to aid in the removal of the wetsuit after the swim. It's also great for all those other areas prone to rubbing during the run. There has been variations on the original recipe, this one incorporates an ointment that warms the muscles.

Now I don't know about you but when I apply anti-chafing creams, lotions or whatever, I'm like my friends - we layer it on. Like a fair skinned tourist in the beaches of Hawaii with that stuff.

Race morning for the Quad Dipsea about three weekends ago, I did a full application of this stuff after showering. I layered it on; under my arms, inner thighs, nipples and chest (heart rate monitor strap chafing). Before I even got all my clothes on I tore them right off and it was straight back to the shower. At first I tried to ignore it, surely it wouldn't get that hot. Nope, I was wrong. I was tearing by the time I made it to the shower, that was the most pain I felt all day and that includes the cramping during the race. Some of it got into that sensitive area down there. Crazy strong stuff! It builds slowly then wham!

So unless you are the type who only applies a single layer of protection I would suggest you avoid this recipe. Unless of course you like icy hot pain. Thank God it was a home and not at the race. Thanks to J~Mom for the idea for this post.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Enjoying the Off-Season

2 seasons worth of trail shoes, washed and stuffed with newspaper for drying. The newspaper wicks the moisture and keeps them from smelling too. These will be donated to Goodwill, what they can't sell they'll recycle. They actually look nice now that they're not covered with mud and dust, they're still good for something. I get an average of 375-400 miles per pair, I'd get more if I didn't have to run so much road on my way to the trails.

I haven't done anything since the Quad Dipsea two weekends ago. Oh wait...that's not totally true, Saturday I had a haircut appointment and I ran three blocks - I was late. I hate to live up to the Filipino stereotype but I am almost always late. The woman who cuts my hair has been doing it for 14 years and she's also Filipino so it's all in the family, besides I have the sneaky suspicion she already compensates for my usual tardiness.

I feel as Marcy would say, fanfreekintastic! I feel rested, no more aches and pains. I'm having a great time doing things I normally don't do during the year. Last night I was with friends at a local bar for their happy hour special. The place was filled with kids who looked like they just got out of college, however the food turned out to be great and so was the beer. $2 beers and $2 dishes, hard to beat in this town. Instead of being out on the track, my usual Tuesday night thing, I was out drinking and eating - yup feels like the holidays.

In years past I've always enjoyed a complete break from athletic activities for 5-6 weeks during the holidays. Some years I needed all of it. This year I plan on breaking tradition and get in some easy workouts at recovery pace. Starting next week I'll start doing some easy runs and I'm back at the gym to strengthen worn muscles.

Hope everyone is having a great time, despite the craziness that comes with the holidays. This weekend I rented a car and I'm jumping into the fray. Gotta finish up the Christmas shopping; Costco, Target, Trader Joe's, etc, as well as trips to my storage unit and Goodwill. It's gonna be crazy, I might need my trail shoes.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


I didn't get in to Western States. This is the fourth time I've entered the lottery and the fourth time I've failed to get in. Thank God for the two-time loser rule, anyone who fails to get chosen in the lottery for two consecutive years gets automatic entry for the the following year. This was how I was able to run the race in 2006. I finished but the trail and the conditions beat me up pretty badly, well my feet anyway. I ended up with 16 blisters and eventually lost 9 toenails, I was already missing one heading into the race:) Since then I've vowed to return and make a better showing but it will have to wait until 2009. Unless they abolish the two-time loser rule, and there has been rumors of that, I should be guaranteed a spot for 09.

I now have the opportunity to run other races. I've been thinking about my schedule since this morning and I think I have my centerpiece races for next year. It's tentative but I've already had them lined up just in case I didn't get in again.

Massannutten Mountain Trails 100-mile run.
May 17th, 2008
At this year's Bighorn 100-miler, I had the pleasure of meeting a lot of ultra-marathoners from the East Coast and the bulk of them was from the VHTRC (Virginia Happy Trails Running Club). Those guys love Bighorn and they are the host for MMT 100. A great bunch of folks and they extended an invite to their race.

Tahoe Rim Trail 100m
July 19th, 2008
Friends who ran this race had a great time.

Angeles Crest 100
I've always wanted to run this race. I heard it's hot and tough. Besides I got lots of family in Southern California. I can visit after the race.

So that's what I'm tentatively thinking for my big races next year. Two of them are tougher than Western States from what I heard so I got a lot of work ahead of me. I've never done any of them so this is a great opportunity. Unfortunately two of them are already open for registration and MMT 100 will open on Tuesday. Money, money, money. I can't afford to fork up for all three races right now. If they are still open after I get back from holiday vacation then it's a go. I doubt they'll sell out that quickly but these days you never know. Ultra's have gotten more popular. If somehow I manage to pull through all three and remain in great condition I would consider throwing in a 4th 100-mile race. For now I'd consider myself extremely blessed if I can pull off just two of these.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

One More Time for 07

Elevation profiles always look worse on paper, same with this here Quad Dipsea Race. My legs tell me however "not by much!".

So there I was this morning, eager and excited to run but was fairly realistic about my fitness and goals for the day. It makes no sense to set up A level goals with C level training. After the last big race, I tapered my training considerably. I was feeling pretty whupped and I had all that volunteering stuff going on. I was ready for the season to end. I ran to maintain fitness but I wasn't training. I didn't do any hill workouts or training in hard technical trails, in fact not once did I venture across the Golden Gate Bridge into Marin. Did all my runs on the trails and streets of San Francisco - easy hills, smooth trails. This week I did two whooping workouts. However, like Donald at the Firetrails 50-miler, the moment I put on that number and saw my friends I was in race mode.

Is it okay to switch to unrealistic goals if you are realistic about the suffering, pain, possible injury and failure? My answer was yes. I was banking on residual fitness, experience, and don't laugh, God - Please let me put my body through this one more time while you keep it together.

The first crossing went very well and my split was good, surprised me because it felt easy. All my maintenance runs were hard, sore and labored. The extra rest had done it's job I guess and I was running on race day adrenaline. Second crossing was even faster and I felt great. For the third crossing the hammer came down. I was on pace for an even faster split. My body however was not on board with the mind and spirit. Right calf starts to cramp. I stretch, relax, do a little massage, back off the pace, change my running gait, whatever I could to prevent a full blown cramp. I had to keep stretching and I took down some extra salt tablets and energy drink. Spasms back off but return halfway through the fourth and final crossing. This time both calves are starting to cramp, left glute and hamstring is sore and right knee starts stiffening - the lack of proper training caught up with me. Even my left foot was cramping. I've cramped only once in a race and never at this event. As they say in the Bible, "the Spirit is willing but the Flesh is weak.

On the last set of stairs leading to the finish my right knee sends a jolt of pain. I laugh, I felt like a car losing parts as it goes - a bumper here, a tire there. Came in at 5:39, after all of that I missed my PR by only 3+ minutes. By ultra standards it's a short event at only 28.4 miles but the hills are wicked. Had that race been any longer it would have been ugly, for myself and the other folks who were suffering cramps - I was in good company.

Considering what I brought to the table this day, I was more than happy with my results. Pulled another one out of my you know what. Sure I'll suffer for it, suffering now, but my season's over and I finished well.

Special shout out to my friends who came out to visit. Jen came at the start to wish me luck. Jessica and Sammy cheered for me at the halfway point and again at the finish. They also stuck around to hang out for a bit. I also saw Geoff and Kim who were at the Stinson Beach side. I was spoiled today.

At the start with Marisa and Lem. Lem finished his first Quad Dipsea.

With pal Jennie at the start.

With Sammy and Jess, my cheering crew for the day.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Treasure Island Triathlon

My really short movie of a group of pros getting on their bikes. So fast! Damn their flying starts. Shoes are already attached to the pedals, they strap their feet in once they get up to speed.

These are images from the other weekend's Treasure Island Triathlon. No swim, just the bike and run because of the oil spill. The volunteering gig went very well although it could have been smoother. I was in charge of manning the post race food tent. On the first day, Saturday, we kept running out of either pasta or the pasta sauce. The food was cooked in another building and we had to keep ferrying food and empty containers back and forth. The route we had to take also crossed part of the race course, we were consistently delayed at the crossing because of race traffic. It's not an efficient system. They need to either add more burners or swith to pre-cooked items. I made my points with the tri-cal staff, we'll see what happens for next year. Many athletes had to wait or go without, not good. Sunday was a lot easier because we had breakfast items and no cooking involved. It's a shorter race and they get done way before lunchtime. The selection and quality was better overall and no athlete had to do without.

Like the volunteer gig at the Nike Women's marathon, the area leads like myself got set up with some great schwag. Avia was the new sponsor for this year. From what I heard they faded but are now fighting their way back into the market. I certainly haven't seen an Avia running shoe in years. They got us clothes and a pair of shoes, much like Nike but the Avia shoes are actually trail runners. Too much stuff! Soon as the season is over I'm gonna sort over all of it and figure what to keep and what to donate.

Enjoy the pictures.

Coach sandwich. Coaches Neil and Laura Fraser with one their athletes - Ivy.

Joehleen showing off her colors while Jan looks on. A very fast swimmer, she was bummed about the swim being cancelled.

Club volunteers; Jim, Karen and Julia. Jim is the new tri-club pres for 08.

My area, post race food tent, a much happier place on Sunday.

Club mates Brian and Dana. Brian was in a bike accident earlier in the year, this was his first race back.

Club mate Jessica taking 2nd in her age group. We sort of met at this event last year. I body marked her for both of the days that she participated in this event. Now look at her.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Go Bobby!

I was just about to finish a post about last weekend's volunteer gig at the Treasure Island Triathlon when I got a call from Bob. Tired but happy he was on his way home with friends from the JFK 50-miler, finishing the race at the unofficial time of 11:29. He also wanted to make sure that his friend Tony got some credit for pacing him in. Tony also ran the race but turned into Bob's pacer towards the later stages of the race. Congratulations Bob on your 2nd 50-miler. He's got more work to do before his day is over, waiting for him at his friends house is 4 bags of ice for that post race ice bath. Mmmmm ice bath, almost makes you want to the opposite direction. Smart Bob, perfect way to end a good day. Only painful the first few minutes.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


Hanging with my good friend Jen, fellow blogger and the club's new Social Director.

Well I've got bad news. I ran for the President spot and lost. Yeah kind of a bummer. I hate losing, who doesn't right. I was very disappointed but I'm fine now. It's really not going to change my involvement in the club. I'll still be out there participating in the club workouts, helping out with our beginner groups and volunteering for races. I will have more time, not having any club responsibilities for next year. What bothers me more was the lack of candidates vying for the other positions. We are a club of about 500 people, more people need to step up.

Anyway we have a good board assembled and I'm already excited for what the new year may bring, both in tri's and ultra's. My name is in the hat for the Western States lottery and I've got a couple of back up races in mind just in case I don't get in. Getting in is harder than the damn race! Physically I'm beat and I can't wait to get to "off-season" mode but my mind is already exploring possible events and races for next year. Will this be the year I finally travel East and try one them ultras over there? Hmmm....maybe. Will this be the year I finally race the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon after having volunteered for the event 5 times and having a guaranteed slot this year?...maybe. Like Western, entry to Escape is also by lottery but I got my guaranteed slot for volunteering as an area lead this year.

So life goes on, up and down, up and down, always hilly but I'm still moving forward.

I'll leave you with this question. Why do some great races have bad event websites and worse, bad t-shirts?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Playing in the Dark

Wow another crazy wonderful weekend. Exhausting but amazing.

The volunteering went very well despite a couple of issues. More on that later though, wanted to share a really great run I had over the weekend. I hadn't had much sleep so there might be some fuzzy sections. That and I'm drinking a glass of wine.

Saturday, I was at the triathlon race from 5AM - 3PM. It was a full day and I was tired for sure but I was so inspired/excited from watching, talking to a couple of the pros. My particular duties and my pass got me close. I don't follow triathlon close enough to know who's who but I was awestruck anyway. Felt dumb feeling that way, it's just a sport after all but I wasn't able to help it.

I got home exhausted yet motivated. Instead of my planned one hour maintenance run, I geared up for three. I left a little after four. It had been raining and the fog had rolled back into the bay. By 5PM it was dark, I was soaked but grinning ear to ear. I started at a good clip and there was no signs of weakness or the exhaustion I felt earlier. I thought for sure the initial surge of energy would have burned off and I would have been left with my real self. Nope, lucky me.

The real fun started with the coming of darkness. My planned route took me through the trails and dark streets of the Presidio, Baker Beach and Land's End Trail. These are relatively tame trails with no technical sections and I'm quite familiar with them. My real concern was not having a light for the necessary road sections. I had no device to warn motorists of my presence on the road and there wasn't always a sidewalk. I just ran like crazy on those sections:)

Running in the dark on trails without a light is a beautiful thing, the rain and mud was gravy - bonus items. However I don't recommend running light-less on routes you are not familiar with or on a truly moonless night. Light has a way of amplifying the darkness. Instead of a bright spot moving through the dark, I was the dark. I was the shadow swiftly moving, the ghost fleeting through the trees, the watcher in the woods. My senses felt sharper and more in tune. My eyes were constantly scanning, straining for every bit of detail. Where it was too dark, my memory served and I simply picked up my feet higher. Despite the radio tunes piping in on my left ear, the silence was deafening on my right.
I would move in and out of these trail sections, moving in and out of the dark. This was my second experience with this type of running, the first time was for the same reason - I forgot to bring a light. It was exhilarating!

One particular section has stayed with me. I was on my way home, returning the way I came through the Presidio. I was moving through a relatively straight section of trail, amidst tall wispy trees. The fog hung low but it wasn't thick and the rain was still falling. The ground was dark and looking down didn't make a difference. The trail was tame however and I stole upward glances, watching the tops of the trees disappear into the fog. It was breath taking. It wasn't until I was back on the city streets that I felt tired and ready for home. By the time I got back to my apartment I had clocked 4 hours.

This ranks as one of the best runs of the year. Well anyway time for me to turn in, gotta zzzzz to make up for all the sleep I lost this weekend. Club elections tomorrow, wish me luck!

Friday, November 09, 2007

Bad Weekend for a Triathlon

Diagram of the oil spill. A view from the Marin side of the Golden Gate Bridge.

So I spent my birthday Wednesday evening at a volunteer's meeting for the upcoming Treasure Island Tri. There was pizza and sodas afterwards and lots of friends in attendance so really it was like a regular b-day party. If I was 8 it would have been perfect:) Turns out that it was also Meredith's b-day. She's one of the Tri-California people, the organization who puts on the race. I've volunteered for enough Tri-California events that these guys have become friends.

We went into the meeting knowing about the accident that caused the oil spill but as far as we knew the race was still on. Initial reports stated that only 140 gallons of oil leaked into the bay but we found out after the meeting, during the evening news, that it was more like 58,000 gallons. Quite a big jump from the initial estimate. A container ship had hit one of the supporting towers of the Oakland Bay Bridge, rupturing one of it's fuel tanks. The oil traveled North and West, then out the Golden Gate Bridge, soiling beaches along the way. Once outside the Golden Gate it continued North soiling more of Marin's coast.

For the report at SFGate, click here.

So the swim has been canceled for the triathlon but the race will still go on. It's now a duathlon, a bike and run. I'll be there all weekend. Saturday AM is the Olympic distance race and the Pro race at noon - folks will get a good look at the really fast guys. Sunday is the Sprint distance event. This time I'm working at the finish line food tent. We are serving pasta, salad, water and who knows what else. I always try to do different jobs at these races. I hope it's a good day despite the race being shortened. At least in our club no one's been bitchin or complainin. People have been cognizant of the fact that there is more at stake here.

Shout out to my friends doing PCTR's Stinson Beach 50k. I wanted to do that race but I found out it was the same weekend as this triathlon.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Another Year

You know I've never really been one to make a big deal about my birthday. I'll have a beer, a good meal whatever. If my friends want to celebrate that's great, if not that's cool too. Since I got into ultra-marathons and triathlons I found even less need to celebrate the day. This will sound corny but since I've gotten involved in these sports I feel like I'm continually celebrating my life. I sure spend enough, what with all the races, gear and food.

Nevertheless acknowledging the day is good, not just for myself but also for my family and friends. As a good friend once told me, "it's not all about you". So there, 36 years ago today, another ultra-marathon geek was born:)

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Made It

I had a dream that someone complained there are no pictures in my blog. It was probably just me, so to appease myself, a photo from my Florida trip.

Interrupting a late afternoon cable tv workout by the couch potaters. That's Ed the family dog, also known as Eddie, Eduardo, Edgar, Edmund and Ed-licious. The last one makes him nervous I think, Filipinos have been known to eat man's best friend. Then it's Hoku the mild mannered cat and my mom.

It's been crazy busy since I got back from Florida, work mostly. Kind of piled up while I was gone, you know how that goes. This past weekend I ended up working about 18 hours. I hate working in the weekends and I try to keep it to a minimum but sometimes it's unavoidable. How I got my workouts done this weekend is a minor miracle, especially that 3 hour run on Sunday. It was supposed to be 4 hours but had to cut it down to 3. First I almost talked myself out of it so I could stay home and work. When I did start I felt like I already ran and a mere half an hour into it I already wanted to turn back. It was more of a mental workout than anything else. Got er done though and even managed to enjoy myself after the first hour. Sat on an ice bath as soon as I got home. It was like dousing a fire. I stepped out of that tub like a new man, ready to tackle...more work.

Well I made it. Today's presentation went very, very well. Website concepts for an interior design firm. They were pleased, no small praise coming from fellow creatives. I'll be back on regular schedule starting tonight...should...keeping my fingers crossed. Can't wait to read up on what everyone else was up to.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Looking Towards 2008

I can't believe we are in November already and that my season is almost over. Where did the year go?! I should do a year in review post. Alright that's one for the idea bin. Meanwhile I'm going to share a bit of good news I got this past week.


You have been nominated by your fellow GGTC triathletes for the positions of President and Design for the 2008 GGTC Board of Directors. Since you are nominated for two, you will need to select one position to run for. Please let me know if and which nomination you would like to accept by Friday, November 2nd at 3pm.

Please note that if you accept this nomination, I will need a “platform” by Wednesday, November 7th at 5pm. This “platform” is typically one to two paragraphs about yourself, why you are running and why you see yourself as a good fit for the position on the GGTC Board (250 words max).

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Jill K.
GGTC Elections Official

Kind of cool huh. I knew it was coming but still felt flattered when the official email came. I actually advocated for the new "Design Director" position. Being a Graphic Designer by trade I saw the need for it and filled in while also doing my Run Director stuff.

Yeah sure I'm down for another year of volunteer service to the club. I wasn't going anywhere anyway. Guess which one I'm running for?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Simple Pleasure

I just got back from a run and it felt absolutely AMAZING. It was exactly what I needed.

Got back last night after midnight but I was still on vacation mode today. Wanted to sit on the couch after work instead of going for a run. I kept delaying and delaying but finally I kicked my butt out the door at 8PM. I usually run in the evening but not this late. Once I was out however, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The darkness made it peaceful and quiet, not many people were out.

I needed that run, head's back in order now. One more race to go before holiday break. Can't slack now. Besides I have to work extra hard to burn some of momma's cookin:)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Where's the Remote?

Like the family dog I've just been laying around for the last two days. Been eating and watching cable tv. What is it about being in Orlando, Florida that makes me want to do absolutely nothing? I turn into an instant couch potato the moment I get off that plane. Took the red eye out Wednesday night and I'm here till Monday. Just a little break to check up on the family and fill up on my mother's cooking. She fed me so much food Thursday I didn't feel like eating until dinner time on Friday. Not that I'm complaining or anything.

Anyway the weather is not too bad. It has been overcast with a little bit of rain. I bet it's still warm and humid to run in but I'll try to get out today. No, no, I will get out today. Just soon as I find that remote:)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Nike Women's Marathon

Brian August, my co-aid station lead, doing a dry run with the troops; "alright guys hold out your drinks, call them out so they know what it is and don't step out too far - don't narrow the lane.

We had to pick our Enterprise truck, laden with supplies, at 5AM in Crissy Field - just across from SF One day. Eager to check in on the PCTR and the 24-hour runners I came in at 3AM. My friend Katy, who was also a Nike volunteer and my ride, agreed to head out early with me. She was reluctant to leave once she got herself settled at PCTRs race tent but she was needed at Union Square for Bag Check duty. 2 hours passed quickly and soon I was leaving for the truck depot but not before having some breakfast at the tent.

I and my co-aid station lead Brian was at our aid station by 5:30AM, an hour before we were meet our volunteers from Stuart High School. Red Cross was already there, the same folks who worked this station last year. The lead guy, Steve, turned out to be an ultra-marathoner. He did the marathon distance at Firetrails and was planning to do his first 50-miler at Helen Klein.

Amelia and Mary, bike escorts to the front runners.

It went like clockwork and the experience was a whole lot better than last years. We owe much of it to Stuart High School. They were a fantastic group. High schoolers are a funny lot. Focused, they get a lot done. Unfocused, things start flying all over the place. It was only a matter of time before they started playing "light saber" with the Gatorade mixing sticks. The adults leading them were on top of things however and they kept those kids going, no one was sitting around doing nothing. If Stuart High comes back to work this station, I could be convinced to return for a third time to lead it. They were a pleasure to work with. Thank you Stuart High.

It was a warmer day than usual and we ran out of water at the end of the day on the 25 mile side of the station. They hit one side going out for their mile 17 and came back the other side for their mile 25. We got resupplied quickly but it should have never have happened. We at least had Gatorade to serve them. I was keeping an eye out on the water so it was totally my responsibility. Brian and I put the call in for more before we totally ran out but because of traffic it took some time to get to our stations (the aid station before ours also ran out).

Cleanup and packing the truck went even smoother than set up and we were back in the yard 2 hours faster than last year.

I came home and crashed for 4 hours. From the door straight to the couch. I didn't do a single workout all weekend, only ran a single mile (one loop at the SF One Day), but felt like I had just come through an ultra. A great weekend of volunteering, I wouldn't change a thing.

Yours truly. It was a beautiful day...and yes I'm addicted to the visor - I don't like the sun in my eyes.

Monday, October 22, 2007

E-mail Postman

Handiong out emails at San Francisco One day. Photo courtesy of Leslie Antonis.

Another great thing about this race was all the folks visiting from the PCTR community. PCTR has quite a following and we had runners pop in to say hello. Leslie and friend Anita were in town for the Nike Women's Marathon and they stopped by to cheer on friends and runners. Leslie snapped this picture of me. Handing out emails was a tedious job since I didn't know all the runners but it was great to connect names to the faces.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

San Francisco One Day

SF 12/24
Today was the Pacific Coast Trail Runs "San Francisco One Day". A 12 and 24 hour run. It was held at Crissy Field where runners ran a loop that was just a bit over 1-mile.

My first job was giving directions and parking. That started roughly with me directing runners to park at an area that was roughly 100 yds. from the start, in the grass no less. Ooops sorry folks. I got my chance to apologize when the runners came back to move their cars. Everything from there moved pretty smoothly though. Helped out in the general area/aid station. At noon I left to attend my last Nike Marathon meeting. Thankfully it was just across the street, at the truck depot, couldn't be any more convenient than that. Instead of going home from there as I originally planned, I went straight back to the race and stayed another 4 hours. It was hard to stay away and there was lots of food, some were brought by runners and spectators - some really good stuff which you should only be eating if you were running. Didn't get home until 5PM.

This was my first experience in a timed/closed loop event and I saw a couple of things that I haven't seen in the trail ultra's that I've done. First there was the row of coolers, folding chairs, blankets, sleeping bags, luggage alongside the trail before and after the aid station. The personal aid stations of the runners. One runner had his own water cooler filled with his favorite sports drink. Second, there was email available for the runners. Supporters could go to PCTR's site and send a note, Wendell would print them and we the volunteers distributed them to the runners. People were genuinely pleased to receive email, it was a nice break from all the running but most read as they ran. The food for the event was great too. Runners and spectators contributed, it was like an ultra aid station potluck. However it was the kind of food that you can run with, eventually you wanted to step away from all the baked goods and get something more substantial.

The race started at 9AM. When I left a quarter after 4PM, Jon Olsen was leading the 24-hour race with over 50-miles and Akos Konya was leading the 12-hour race.

DC Lundell at the start. The official photographer for the race.

"Oh you're Michael Popov. We have a mutual friend, Olga, good luck with your race." Michael at the start.

Personal Aid Stations

Wendell and Vladimir at the timing tent.

Donato coming in after another loop.

Lastly, Flora and Lauren(?), hard working aid station volunteers showing off their new Firetrails 50-miler 25th Anniversary finisher's jackets from last weekend.

Friday, October 19, 2007

TAG: I am a runner because....

Grand Canyon 2005
Halfway up the Grand Canyon's North Rim, about 3000ft. or so with my friend Jason Arth (red). This was during our 2005 Rim2Rim2Rim crossing. Photo courtesy of J.P. Sulpizio. JP and Stephen pulled ahead, Jason and I brought up the rear. More hiking than running at this section.

I think about running when I'm biking
I daydream about running when I'm in spin class
I daydream about running when I'm swimming
I look forward to the run in my triathlon races
I take into account running form when I'm checking out the female runners
I like watching other people run but get jealous when I can't
I think the best time to catch up with someone is to go running
I run in the places I visit
I've traveled just to run, races or otherwise
Black/missing toe nails don't bother me anymore
Because running makes me feel like a super hero

Mostly because I've grown to love it. I am passionate and feel incomplete without it. While a tough race or a tough season will knock the love out of me, it comes back with my strength. Am I addicted? You betcha.

Tagged by The Bull Runner and now I tag...hmmm, eni-meeni-mini-mo: Addy, Sarah, and Jean.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Final Thougts

Initial Thoughts

I'm over my disappointment with not getting my first time goal, it only took 3 glasses of red wine, a sushi dinner and a bit of sleep. My sleep was short due to overall soreness. While I may take a couple of doses of Ibuprofen in a race I stay away from it during the recovery process. I got more sleep than Donald though:) I woke up Sunday morning in a good mood, laughed as I remembed the race. Got away with another good one.

So the last post was a bit melo-dramatic with me complaining about being too tired from all the racing, boohoohoo, poor me. Everything I said was true though and I wrote it so you folks can see that all this activity does take a toll on me. Seems like I'm always running here, running there, biking here biking there, racing this and racing that. Yes, there is a cumulative fatigue and tiredness that I feel after all that. Those of you with similar or even harder schedules can relate. People with kids can more than relate! That's a non-stop event with no finish line. I was reminded of that at the post race bbq.

Overall it was a great race and it was as social as I thought it would be with all the friends I knew who would be in attendance. I'd like to make one correction to something I said about this race though. Last year I said that the race is mostly single track trails despite the name. I must have been delirious, again, because it actually does have a fair amount of fire road. Some people don't care, I don't, but there are folks out there like my friend Olga who prefers single track. Crucial information for people like her.

Enjoy the pictures and the captions.

With the Donald himself.

Zombie Runner was proudly promoting their new line of coffee. Don and Gillian giving away free coffee. The happy recipient is Steve "downhill bomber" Ansell.

Chris Marolf and family. The race venue was family friendly. Lot of kids and parents everywhere post race. Chris told me that a picture of me that he took from Headland Hundred made it to Utra Running magazine, we're not sure. Neither one us has a subscription to the mag.

Finally met Eric. Life has been crazy for Eric, causing him to cut down on training but he came away nevertheless with a sub-11 hour finish.

Addy at the finish. Addy has a trademark sprint finish, it's a hair flying, grass tossing, dirt scattering finish. I heard the usual clapping given to finisher's raise to hootin and hollerin. A bunch of us looked over from the picnic tables and saw arms flying all over the place and I thought to myself, that must be Addy finishing. Like a tornado that girl. A runner with a good positive spirit.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


Lizzie, Jamie (just finished the race) and Susan. Susan is my ultra-running bartender friend. She was at the race cheering on runners. She wanted me to put up a picture of her and her friends on my blog. On her wrist is her brand new garmin that she's super psyched about - a gift from her fiance.

Came in at 8:51 or so. Missed the sub-8:31 but managed to come in under last year's time which was 9:03. I've been scratchin my head about it since I finished. I fully expected to come under that 8:31 time. When I set that PR at Quicksilver earlier this year I was still tired from the Wildflower Long Course triathlon the weekend before and it's still my opinion that Quicksilver is a slightly harder race.

It rained all day yesterday. The RD's, Ann and Carl suggested that this might not be the day for PRs because of the mud. It wasn't as bad as we thought but there was definitely a bad stretch, part of it uphill. The mud was thick and sticky. It stuck on your shoes and made them a couple pounds heavier. They stuck on the bottom, the sides and the front and back of the shoe. It was no use scrapping them off because it just built up again, you had to wait until you cleared the mud sections. Maybe I was also wrong about Quicksilver being a tougher race. Mostly though and I do think this, I'm just tired from what has been a great year of racing. I require longer recovery times these days and I hold less of a charge. I'm an old rechargeable battery. This year I made it a point to increase the intensity and it has been successful. I've been rewarded by PRs and great races. Intensity = more fatigue however and my body is showing it. Baby hold it together for one more race, two tops.

The people I knew who were doing their first 50-miler finished; Addy, Patrick, Eric....I'm sure I'm missing someone. Also got to meet up with the other bloggers, Addy and Eric is part of that group but also Donald, Mark, Chihping and Steve...again I think I'm missing someone, mind a little fuddled.

Good run, wish I was faster. Thing is deep down, I know I can be faster on this course. Something to work on for next year.

This is a great run, for veterans and first timers. It was my first 50 and it continues to challenge me to this day. A well supported, organized run. The race directors are phenomenal runnners. Ann Trason is a legend and Carl is no slouch either. You get great schwag and treated to a great post race bbq which is also open to friends and family.

Huge kudos to the volunteers. Special shout out to Will G. who was out all day despite a badly sprained ankle. Will my man, seriously, you've got to stop doing these crazy things like trying to hurdle a metal gate at 10 mph or toying with fast runners. Always living on the edge.

More pics and thoughts when I can think straight.

Is it 4AM Already?!

This is the part I hate about races, getting up early...zzzzzz. I'm up now though, once I'm up, I'm up.

Looking forward to a good day. I'm hoping/planning for a good race. I'd like to beat my 50-mile PR set at the Quicksilver 50 earlier this year in May, difficulty wise they seem about the same to me. There's more single track trail in Firetrails and I bet they're nice and muddy after all the rain we got yesterday. Forecast for today calls for cloudy skies but no rain, should be nice cool conditions. So goal wise anything under 8:31 would be great, that's what I ran Quicksilver in; failing that, I'll still be happy with anything under 9:03 which was time on this course last year. That's it, those are my goals. Oh, I'd like to beat some of my peers, it's a race after all.

See you all on the other side of Firetrails.

Special shout out to a couple of friends who are racing Ironman Hawaii today. For those of you who are not familiar, Ironman Hawaii is the Boston Marathon of Ironman triathlon. Top triathletes from all over the world are going to be there along with their sweet bikes. Those bikes, amazing little pieces of modern design and engineering. Anyway these two friends were already fast when I got into the sport, very friendly, supportive and humble. One of them was a volunteer in my triathlon beginner's group years ago. Just the kind of people you want to have, in any sport.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Vicky is Off

Vickster, enjoying her last party in San Francisco for awhile. No I'm not drunk.

This past weekend was gorgeous weather wise. Warm with sunny, blue, clear skies. Many things were happening. There was a weekend long Bluegrass festival at Golden Gate Park and it was Fleet Week. Military ships came in and there was an airshow on both days of the weekend. The Blue Angels headlined the show. It was in the midst of all this that we had to send off our dear Vicky. There was the social at a club on Saturday night and church on Sunday. Even got to meet the parents who came in from Arizona. Vick is headed to the front for 14 months. She's excited and anxious at the same time. I told her that at least she's going to a place where there are lot's of "men", to which she just rolled her eyes. We'll miss you Vick. There's a "care package" committee already taking shape but already there's talk of sending contraband. Hope we don't get you in trouble. I'll keep the job of "sushi partner" open until you get back.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

W2W Pictures

Phil, Benito and Spams, relaxing after the first days ride.

Pictures from last weekend's Waves to Wine MS150 ride.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Happy Birthday Lola

My grandmother around 15-16 yrs. old

This post goes out to my lola (grandmother). She just turned 90. Still healthy, good appetite, good memory, loves to garden, walks about, chatterbox and tremendously enjoys the new addition to the extended family over there - the first great grandchild, 4 months old. She raised me till I was a month shy of my 12th birthday so I am very close to her. I can trace the Spanish blood in me through her family, she's half Spanish, half Filipino. My mom and uncles had to learn Spanish so they can read the newspaper to their grand parents. I was the first generation to go straight to English, too bad, I could use the Spanish now.

I spoke with my lola on her birthday, they are 16 hours ahead. She said her only wish is to be granted more years to enjoy her new great grand child. That's sweet. My mom is there with her now. They threw her a surprise b-day party. In attendance was her older sister, 5 yrs. older. Good genes no?

I'll be in the Philippines for the holidays. Looking forward to slappin around the new kid and spending time with my lola.

A few more races to go till then.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Waves to Wine

Jessica, MS Director of Special Events. A great rider and triathlete in her own right. Too busy to be bummed that she couldn't ride with us.

My quads are shot, especially the left one - buckles underneath me when I walk: But what a ride. A weekend full of "a lot's"; lots of miles, lots of drinking, lots of eating, lots of great scenery, lots of camaraderie and a whole lot of fun.

Before I go on I would like to state that this was a very well run event. Jessica Fewless, her team, the organization put on a well supported, well organized event and while there a few improvements that could be made overall I was mucho impressed. Car and motorcyle support moved up and down the line constantly, there was a good amount of aid stations, California Highway Police was present, they served lunch mid-ride on both days, there were shower stations for both days, camping or shuttles to the surrounding hotels/motels on Saturday, abundance of food, same for wine and beer, a good amount of cheerful volunteers, a live band on both days and finally a great course that took us from San Francisco, across the Golden Gate Bridge to highway 1 along the coast and into the wine country of Sonoma.

Waves to Wine. Miss Julia navigating a sweet downhill toward the ocean. From the Pacific Coast to the vineyards of Sonoma.

1600+ RIDERS
We had all types, from the folks who had very little experience with hills and had to walk their bike to the crazy riders who rode on a track bikes. do I explain this? Track bikes have only one gear and if you don't pedal the bike doesn't move. There is no coasting. On a regular bike you can just stop and it will just coast on it's own, not so with track bikes. On the uphills there is no downshifting to make things easier, you have one gear and one gear only, good luck. Topping those guys and the rest of us was the female uni-cyclist! I saw her on the first day, on the hilly coastal road of highway one. Pacific Ocean and beautiful views on the left, hills and crazy uni-cyclist that will make you feel like a slacker on the right. She also rode barefooted. What amazes me is how she can control that thing on the downhills, must take a lot of strength to keep it from running away on a steep downhill.

Hanging with Benito and Spams at the Stinson Beach aid station

I had a great time. The first day was hilly but the views were amazing. The course opened at 6:30AM from San Francisco and folks had until 8:30AM to get on the course. As ride marshalls we were expected to space ourselves out in the group, so no riding with my friends but it wasn't a big deal. There were a lot of stops besides the lunch stop and I regrouped with some of the other marshalls there. The lions share of the work went to the marshalls at the front of the ride, for the most part fixing flats and such. There were a couple of crashes but support was readily available. I personally didn't have to help anyone, the riders I ran into were either riding with their friends or were competent enough to solve their own issues. I finished in the middle of the pack Saturday afternoon and wisely ate something first before partaking of the beer. That was the coldest, tastiest beer ever. I was warned that they go down too easily, I scoffed but agreed 3 beers later. Dinner was promptly served at 4:30; ceasar salad, pesto pasta, string bean salad, tri-tip or chicken. They also served wine, ice cream sandwiches, cinnamon twists, pretzels, danishes and water. Not camping I left with Spams and Benito, my roomies, at 6:30PM and we spent the evening watching cable before passing out at 10:30.

Heat, need more heat!

Sunday morning started out cold, brrrrr...people were shivering on the breakfast line, while I regretted not partaking of the evening festivities the night before I was happy not to be in a tent in this cold. They said it was in the mid-40s. Heat lamps were distributed around the pavillion and countless riders can be seen worshipping the structures. Course opened at 7AM, by 7:30 I and most of the other ride marshalls were still hanging by a heat lamp toasting. Julia sauntered over at 7:45 still in her jammies. Course was supposed to close at 8AM but they were not enforcing it. There were also a couple of men in kilts which amazed me, how did they not freeze their you know what off. I left with Spams and Benito a little after 8AM. By the time we left most of the cyclists were already on the road. Slow start but as soon as I warmed up I got into a groove. The day before was a little too easy and I was determined to get a better workout. So it went, after a good warmup I cranked it up. Everyone seemed to be in a great mood, there were a coupe of riders going about doing "smile checks" and lots of "gud mornin" tossed around. After the first aid station I got passed by a train of 6 riders, as they passed a group of 4 riders, the 4 riders jumped on their wheel and all of a sudden it was a 10 rider train flowing fast in a single file. At that point I chased and tagged along myself and we continued to pick up riders as we went. We were moving fast and grew to about 20. If you're the person up front you have the hard work of breaking the wind for everyone else, for the folks in the back it's like running with a tail wind. Eventually the train disintegrated, some riders got tired and dropped off, most stopped at the next aid station. I skipped some of the stop and wisely skipped lunch too. The day before I ate half a burrito and I was slow as molasses for the next half hour of leaving the lunch station. I also wanted to consolidate all my hanging out time in the end this time. Sonoma was spectacular although the condition of the roads could be better. We had lots of shade and the views amazing, nothing I could do justice with my dinky little snapshot camera.

Hustling to join the Conga line. Riding past Sonoma Valley vineyards.

After finishing the bike went straight to the bike transport folks who were going to take it back to our start point in SF. I came in early enough that there was no line at the shower stations so I promptly picked up my drop bag and cleaned up. Unlike the day before I went straight for the beer before food and waited for friends to finish at the finish line. I also partook of the excellent wine that was served. We regrouped for a quick lunch and took the shuttles home. By the time we were ready to go, I couldn't have ridden my bike in a straight line if my life depended on it - doesn't take much these days. I slept the 2 hours back to SF. Spams, Benito and I then headed out to dinner after picking up our bikes. Benito is Filipino and took us to a really great Filipino restaurant south of SF. We ate like hogs and I took dessert to go.

Beer me! Wine me! When in Rome...

As I already stated, it was a well organized, well supported ride. They even had maps made out of a synthetic substrate that didn't tear or disintegrate like paper maps. Running out of beer on Sunday was a huge bummer though. Many folks who finished later didn't get their share but I'm sure they'll fix that for next year. We probably drank most of our quota on Saturday night anyway. I would definitely do this ride again and stated so when the call went out for 2008. The fundraising is minimal at $250. I didn't have to fundraise to enter the ride because I was a volunteer but I could see myself doing it next year even if I have to fundraise. Great ride. Great destination event.

My quads are still very, very sore. Ice baths for the rest of the week!

More pics coming up.