Friday, August 31, 2007


"B" is for Bob and Blogging. Another blogger friend who is attempting his first 50-miler tomorrow. He left warm, flat, non-hilly central Florida for the Grand Tetons and the mountains. Sure Bob let's make your first harder by staging it in the mountains. Haha I love it.

Called him this morning. I don't think he'll be sleeping tonight. He's getting funny pains, body's try to psyche him out I think. The lodge is at 8000ft. and the altitude is affecting him. He left his laptop which is probably a good thing but Olga's bummed she won't be able to check email:) She's on her way with her son Stephen, driving from Oregon. I'll get the updates from her via text. Anyone know if the Tetons race has a webcast? I'll visit the website and find out.

Good luck Blogger Bob!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Last Weekend in August 2007

Miles to go. For the photoset, click here.

Track tonight hurt. Yeow, this is what happens when I do hard long bike rides on Saturday followed by hard runs on Sunday. Typical training weekend if I'm training for both a triathlon and an ultra. Feels like Spring when I was training both for the Wildflower Half and the Bighorn 100. I'd come into track on Tuesday nights slow, sore and tired. There was one night that I started breathing funny, a gasping sound like a dying animal. I have to figure something out for next year since I'm not totally eliminating tri races from the schedule. The year before I split the race season in three parts; ultra>tri>ultra. The years before I didn't do track. More tinkering with the training as usual.

So Saturday I went for a long bike ride, long in relation to a half-ironman distance triathlon. I'm signed up to participate in the Big Kahuna Triathlon the first week of September. It's a half-ironman distance, meaning a 56-mile ride (90km). It should be a fun, relaxed, training race for me. I'm not in the triathlon shape that I was for Wildflower. I do one or two triathlons to keep up with my tri community. I'm really a runner masquerading as a triathlete. I had three opportunities to train with other folks but I bagged on all of them so I can sleep in. Yea, ya read right. Sound so blasphemous:) I didn't get going till 10AM...okay 10:15. I had a 50 mile, 4 hourish ride in the plan. On the first hour I achieved nothing but a warm up. It takes awhile to get out of the city but I also ran into two friends. First I finally met Steve, a fellow blogger, race walking back from the bridge. Next I meet up with Lem, a budding ultra runner who was having problems with his IT band, much like Steve. He was out training in Sausalito having run there from SF. I chatted with Lem for awhile, he had a lot of questions and I had some advice. I suffer from chronic IT problems myself, a problem I developed in my marathon days. Before I finally left I counseled that if the pain doesn't go away soon he should consider bailing on the Firetrails 50M. A first attempt at the 50-miler with IT problems was just a recipe for a DNF or a sufferfest. Besides who knows what kind of other injuries he would incur when his body compensates for the bad IT. He's compensating now and he knows it.

With Steve, fellow blogger. With Mari and Coach Neil.

The next hour I was able to get some work done but then I ran into Coach Neil and his training group. All around good guy, he runs the beginner and mid-level triathlon groups at our club. I even volunteer for some of his groups. So...yes I stopped and chatted again and to compensate I added yet another hour to my workout. Finally after that I was able to get back to work. I was going back and forth on Paradise Drive, a curvy, rolling, narrow asphalt road that offers great views of the bay and has very light traffic. Part of the way I ran into Cheyenne and Tina and I rode a few miles with them. The company helped and it's not the first time they've kept me company on a long solo ride, curiously the last time was on the same road. It was meant to be. By 1:30 everyone I knew had finished their workout and was either back or heading back to the city. Cheyenne and T rode back to the city as well and It was all solo miles from here on out. On the way home I stopped at Rodeo Beach. It's my favorite beach in the city. It's clean, well maintained and well used. You've got the hikers, the surfers, the picnickers, the runners all in one spot. There's bathrooms, a shower and working water fountains if you need them. Rodeo Beach is the start of my last big 100 - Headlands Hundred. It's the start of the highly competitive Marin Headlands 50k (my first ultra) and the Miwok 100k (last year I had my best ultra race at this event).

My 50-mile ride became an 81 mile ride. It wasn't a hard ride but it was a good ride. I've been off my bike for a couple of weeks because of the Headlands Hundred and I've been feeling a little apprehensive about my lack of miles on the bike. Also I recently signed up to be a Bike Marshall for an upcoming Multiple Sclerosis ride at the end of September. Two days; day one is 80-miles, day two is 75-miles. I feel pretty confident now that I can fulfill those duties, at least not fall off the pack. The ride helped me mentally more than it did physically. Okay these events are doable. Unfortunately I took longer than I thought and as soon as I got home I only had enough time to eat and clean up before heading out to my friend Chuck's 40th b-day party.

With Cheyenne and Tina on Paradise Drive.

On Sunday I decided on a 3 to 4 hour run. Slept in again:) and left the house at 11AM. I anticipated dead legs but ran well. Ended up running 1:50 to the turnaround point in the Marin Headlands 10 miles out and for the return I decided to haul it back for a negative split. I strived for LT (Lactate Threshold.) Hitting my max heart rate on the way back was not hard on the uphills but it was difficult on the flats. I had to run a whole lot faster to keep the heart rate up on the flats. Definitely felt the wear on my legs from the bike here. I was mostly successful. There were some downhill sections where I had to go easy due to the techical nature of the terrain but soon as it leveled out or climbed I kept my foot in the gas. From the Golden Gate Bridge on I was haulin'. The bridge is a pain, all concrete, loud traffic and crowded with people. I ran the span on a sub-7 minute mile which for me is not bad. Two miles from my apartment, back in the heart of the city with the sidewalks and lights I ended the hard effort. Used the last two miles as a cool down. Made it back to my place in 1:31. Shucks should have just kept on pushing. My legs stiffened up quickly after I stopped running, a good sign that they got a good workout. Just an overall pain and stiffness from hard effort, nothing indicating injury.

Almost home, another 4.5 miles. From the open air to the urban jungle.

So far so good.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Honey I need to drill more Holes in my Belt

This is one scary article. I was intrigued by the "Deep Fried Latte" and it all went downhill from there. I'd be lying if I said all this sounded disgusting but we really need less of this in our country. We need this type of food like we need a Segway in every drive way.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Big Weekend of Racing (by other folks)

All day today I've been thinking about the Cascade Crest Classic 100-mile race. It's being held today and tomorrow, up north in Washington state. It's another one of those big, bad, hard, hilly 100 milers. This one is mountain running without the high elevation, great for sea level folks like myself. The trails are technical, the course a bit on the gnarly side. I remember 4 "What the?!" sections. 1) The old unused trail that was so overgrown with vegetation there's almost no trail left. To find your way you have to shine your light up into the trees, find the pink ribbon, make your way to it and repeat the process. 2) The rope course section. A steep, sandy section where you need ropes to descend. Without the ropes you can fall on your butt repeatedly. 3) The dark unlit service tunnel that was a little over two miles long. Your lights will never be bright enough. If you are claustrophobic, easily spooked you will suffer here. Lastly the "trail from hell", most do it in the dark. A gnarly twisted trail by the lake that is only 5 miles long but takes 2 or more hours to traverse, complete with log over creek crossing. It is then followed by a 5/6 mile climb on a fireroad. It was past 3AM when I approached this section and I remember having to crawl under a fallen tree because I was too short to climb over. Haha this is one great race. It was my second 100 back in 2005. It's been on my mind because Olga is running it, she's out there right now and Rob is pacing her. Hart has been trying to give us updates through his blog using his cellphone but reception is probably spotty. She said she was going to go easy because she also has the Grand Teton 100 miler next weekend and the Bear 100 at the end of September. I hope she completes them all and still manages to come out for the Dick Collins 50-miler in October.

Three other friends are ready to start their Iroman races. Our bike director D'Anza is toeing the line at Ironman Canada. She was supposed to do Ironman Coeur d'Alene with her then fiance now husband Mark but had to cancel because of work commitments. Go D! Another good friend, Pablo is also racing Canada. He earned his spot earlier this year at San Diego's Oceanside Half-Ironman race. It's the 25th anniversary of the race. Lastly Jason Hable is doing Ironman Louisville. Super nice guy and humble. Both he and Pablo came from the triathlon beginner groups from last year. They've come a long way.

I'll think about these guys tomorrow while I try to get my butt out of bed. What did I do today? I'll tell ya'll about it in another post, nothing as exciting though. Here's a preview: Late start > talking to too many friends while training > extending workout because of all the lollygagging > late return > not enough dinner > 40th b-day party > mistakenly eating crab cake (I'm allergic) washed down with wine > small talk > vandalized birthday cake > ate two servings > crapped out before 10.

Nose Cake.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Virtual Run

So E-Rod and friends has been organizing these Virtual Runs. Very cool concept. A starting time and date is chosen and all those involved runs at that time. Today there were 13 runners signed up and it was the 5th edition. There were runners from the Philippines, Malaysia, UK and US. Then everyone blogs about their experience.

The starting time was very doable, 1:30PM, my lunch time. The guys in Asia on the other hand, their starting time was 4:30AM!. On top of that the runners in the Philippines had to also contend with the possibility of rain, it's winter there. Here, it was sunny, warm and breezy. I had a great / hard session at track practice last night so this was a recovery run for me. I took my camera and was out for a little over an hour but I probably only covered 5 miles. I must say it was a pretty cool experience knowing that there were other runners on the same page.

Enjoy the pics.

At the Crookedest Street in the World, a popular tourist spot. I love it for the views of North Beach, the Oakland Bay Bridge, Coit Tower, Treasure Island and the East Bay.

Hyde Street. Looks much better with the Cable Cars going up and down. The area with the ships is Aquatic Park where I do my open water swims.

At Aquatic Park, great views of the North Bay, the Marin Headlands and Mt. Tam. This is one of my favorite views because of all the races and training runs I've done in that area and every year there are always new reasons why I love it out there.

On one of the finger piers. Some people prefer to Segway, like we need another reason not to exercise. The building on the right is Alcatraz Prison. It looks close in this pic but it's a mile away. Last week some swimmers left from Aquatic Park to swim to the island and back but had to be called off 1/3 of the way into the swim because of heavy fog. A friend who participated said that when the fog rolled in you had no idea where the island was or your general direction unless you looked back to San Francisco. Spooky.

And another shot of the bridge from the waters edge in the Marina. I love those hills, they ain't very tall but there's many of them:)

The End. Hope you enjoyed the mini-slide show. Kudos to E-Rod and all who participated. You can follow their recap on their individual blogs. All are listed on E-Rod's site.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Feet with Arms?

Brooks Ad.

Here's an ad that made me laugh last week. I was flipping through Competitor NorCal (formerly known as CitySports), a free sports magazine that we are very lucky to have here in the Bay Area. Sure it's got way too much ads but they have decent articles, it's a good resource for clubs, clinics, athletic stores, etc and most of all free.

Anyway the ad is saying that your feet would be so happy with their shoe technology that if they had arms they'd shake your hand. What made me almost spit my coffee all over my iMac was the visuals in my head that followed. If my feet had arms and God forbid, hands, they would hold me down and pay me back for all the black and lost toenails, stubbed toes, blisters and long miles. They would also undoubtedly hide the checkbook and wallet so I can no longer sign up for any more races.

I've never run in a pair of Brooks, they look like a nice pair though.

If your feet had arms and hands, what would they do?:)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Happiness Is

Floating/Swimming in San Francisco Bay on a Sunday morning. That water isn't gonna get warmer but still cool and refreshing. After my workout I just floated on my back for awhile, kicking slowly back to shore. Happiness is also being able to run pain free. 5 miles today no pain from the IT. Every mile felt good, even picked it up in the end.

I hope everyone else is having a good Sunday.

Friday, August 17, 2007

HH100 Race Report

This is one very long report.

It was my goal this year to do more than one 100-mile race. I thought, if my friends can do it so can I. Glad to say that I've accomplished that goal this past weekend! I also wanted to go under 24 hours but that remains a work in progress. Maybe one day as I continue to gain experience, get stronger. I think I've finally hit the point where I have to ramp down the triathlon activities if I want to go faster. I love the training and I'll continue to keep up with some of that but I need to back done from the long distance races. The long run on Sunday isn't as strong or quick when it follows a long bike on Saturday. I noticed that Graham Cooper this year opted for the short course at the Wildflower Triathlons, then proceeded to break his own record the following weekend at Quicksilver 50-miler. Maybe I'll follow his lead, shorter triathlon races, more focus on ultra. Something to thing about. In the meantime the race report.

Race morning was cold and chilly. It was foggy and the wind was strong in some parts. There were about 100 entrants for the 50-mile and about 40 for the 100. It was the usual scene at the start. People hanging out, catching up with friends. Folks dashing to and fro, taking care of drop bags, taking care of last minute details. Some racers hanging out in the edges, arms folded, serious. The usual long line for the toilets. This part I don't understand, why don't people go before they leave the house/hotel? Nerves?

I decided to go without crew or pacer. Living so close I had the opportunity to recruit friends but I wanted to do it old school. My first two 100s were run without both. I started with a waistpack and took advantage of the drop bag stations, it added more time but there's no way around that. Originally I thought I'd ditch the Carbo Pro energy drink and just use the Conquest that was usually served at PCTR events. It would have been more convenient. It would save me the weight and hassle of carrying and mixing the powders. It would also save time. Fortunately I tested this out at the Angel Island 50k three weeks before hand and found that Conquest doesn't do it for me. It doesn't upset my stomach but I found it too watery and not enough calories per 20 ounce serving. I ended up eating two gels per hour plus the Conquest to get enough calories at that race. So back to Carbo Pro in my little dope bags.

Stephen and I at the start. He would take 10th for the 50-mile.

The first part of our run is the 50-mile loop with the 50-mile runners. One big mass start by the beach. I wore gaiters for the first time and I'm now a believer. I didn't get any sand in my shoes, let alone pebbles and other misc. debri. They are called Dirty Girl Gaiters and were baby blue in color but they worked. ZombieRunner threw them in with an order last year. I was very relaxed and kept it cool, hanging out in the back as usual. On those first miles I met several 100-mile virgins, wished them luck and told them to take it easy on the first part. They didn't look nervous at all, quite the opposite, they were chatty and in good spirits. Eventually I surged on ahead and out of their lively conversation. I kept my mind off the distance but kept a tight watch on my heart rate monitor. With the help of my the monitor I was able to keep things at the proper speed and intensity. The tool is not absolute, it has it's drawbacks but until they figure out a way to measure wattage output in running as they do on the bike it will have to do. I also kept note of the time for nutritional purposes, an energy gel every hour and a bottles worth of energy drink. It wasn't long before I settled in. The plan from the start was to go easy on the first 50-mile loop then decide at the end of that whether to speed up or maintain. I was worried about my overall conditioning because the last weeks of my training was affected by the strained hamstring. My goal for the first loop was anywhere between 10:30-12 hours.

The weather was foggy and cool but it quickly burned off as we headed north towards Mt. Tam. As I was making my way to Muir Beach I meet up with Leslie Antonis who remembered me from Quicksilver 50-miler back in May. We chatted for awhile but she was going at a faster pace so eventually I fell back. The scenery was beautiful, especially at the coast. I run here all the time and I never get bored of it. It's nice in any weather, even rain.

Leslie Antonis, heading towards Muir Beach in the early miles.

Soon we were at Muir Beach where I met up with my friend Jen from the tri-club who was volunteering along with Will. From Muir Beach it was on to Pantoll Ranger station, this is where the heat got to me. It wasn't even that hot but I was bothered by it. My heart rate reflected it, I was 10 beats higher for the same effort. Good thing I'm not planning on doing any hot races for the rest of the year. It ain't like I'm heading to Angeles Crest 100 or anything crazy like that. Lucky for me there was a breeze. From Pantoll Ranger Station we traveled further north on to Bolinas Ridge. This trail offers spectacular views of the Ocean and Stinson Beach, no trees to obstruct the view. This was where I caught up to Addy and Sarah, out on a run taking pictures. The trial itself however is a bit of a pain. It's narrow, relatively level and canted. My outside foot kept slipping off the trail. It was on this trail the we finally saw some of the lead runners of the 50 and the 100 headed back to Pantoll and the start/finish. Brian Wyatt came flying by at third place for the 100 and looking very good.

Brian Wyatt, looking strong.

My friend Stephen came through as well but looking very serious and focused. Not me, I was taking pictures, yelling at the other runners. On the way back I made the acquaintance of Joe and Ryan. Joe and I would end up running pretty much the rest of the race from that point forward. Ryan who was running his first 50-miler was picking our brains about this and that and we were happy to oblige. We leave Pantoll at different times however and soon I was running by myself again. I catch up to Jonathan Gunderson who was having some gastro issues. Fresh from a recent finish at Badwater, he was popping roll aids as he went along trying to settle his stomach. It wasn't long before Joe caught up to me again and we chased after Ryan. That kid however would burn everything he had for a good finish and we never caught sight of him. Good for him. It was at this point that I noticed I hadn't pee'd in 3 hours. I was getting a slight headache and my stomach felt bloated. My first guess right away was lack of salt, but I wasn't convinced at first. I had been taking one salt capsule per hour which should have been enough. Confused I went for the salt anyway, taking one right away and following it up a half hour later with another capsule then another a half hour after that. I felt better quickly, then I started peeing again after an hour. When I did urinate it was a dark yellow color - dehydration. My guess is that while I was taking a salt tablet every hour, I waited too long to start doing so - 3 hours into the race. I was also sweating more than I realized. I didn't drink enough or take enough salt. Fortunately I caught it early.

Soon we were back at the start. On the way in I ran past Brian Wyatt. I was surprised to see him, especially since he was walking. Both knees were bothering him, IT problems on one knee. Having had chronic problems with IT I counseled that he should cal it a day. I felt another 50 miles wasn't going to do it any good. He confided that he came to the same conclusion. I felt bad for him but I had to go on. First order of business was a sock change. I came in at 10:35 and was very pleased but my feet had swelled and I needed to get rid of my thick Smartwool socks in exchange for my thin Wright socks. When I took off the sock I treated some hot spots and repaired some of the torn duck tape. I had blisters on both my outside toes but those are normal. The gaiters worked like magic. My feet and shoes were sand and debri free. Leslie who came in before me was also there doing some foot care herself. She suffered from some bad blisters, some were bloody. Yargh! I found out later she was a trauma nurse and was in complete control of the whole situation. She even lent me some of her supplies.The whole process took longer than needed but necessary but after 15 minutes I was ready to go. I dumped my waist pack for my pack and it had everything I needed to make it through the night; 2 lights, 1 shell, fresh energy gel powders and fresh caffeinated gels. As I was leaving the station I saw Brian call out to Wendell that he was leaving, as in done for the day. I left with Leslie and we stuck together for awhile. Joe was ahead of us having left earlier but eventually we caught up with him and his pacer / girlfriend Nicole. The four of us journeyed together as the sun went down. On our way to Muir Beach we lost Leslie when she had to drop back to nurse her chicken soup. We pressed on. The fog had come back but in patches. Where it was clear we were treated to amazing views of San Francisco, Sausalito, Tiburon and Muir Beach, lights ablaze with folks no doubt enjoying their Saturday evening. If I felt my camera would have captured the scenes I would have taken it but I needed a camera that would have allowed me to control the shutter speed, not to mention a tripod. It was great in the dark and quiet, enjoying the views all around us. I wonder if some of the folks living on the hills above Muir Beach looked out their window and wondered what all the moving lights were on the hills. Where there was fog it reduced the effectiveness of our headlamps. Fortunately for us, the terrain is not too technical and my handheld flashlight was powerful enough to cut through the fog. I held it low, using it to shed some definition on the trail in front of us. I'm with the DC Lundell school of trail lighting - the more light you have, the faster you can go.

Stan Jensen is the aid station captain for Muir Beach and he was a sight for sore eyes. They kept that station powered down and only lit it up when runners are approaching. Aside from Nicole, Joe also had Steve, Steve and Nicole took turns crewing and pacing with Nicole taking the lion's share of pacing duties. Steve always had food and gear on the ready. At Muir Beach Joe and Nicole sat down for a quick Inn-n-Out burger and fries. They offered but I refused, I kept a tight watch on my calories per hour intake. To be honest I had already started to gag on the gels but I sucked those puppies down anyway and drowned them with my energy drink. I was determined not to deviate from that formula. My stomach itself wasn't doing great, I felt queasy and almost nauseous. Still don't know what caused it. Maybe too much caffeine? I doubt however that a burger and fries was going to make it feel better. Joe was a good guy, he offered to me what he had available. Soon we were off again. There is a climb in the race that you have to do for the 50-mile loop then again for the next two 25-mile loops. It's a stinking pain in the a** climb but it's on the way back to the start. It starts at a place called Pirates Cove. You start with some steep stairs continuing up more steep trail. Truth be told it's not that high or that long of a climb but it's steep and it connects to a fire road that continues to climb. I hated that section and I dreaded it throughout the race. Now I love it of course. There's talk of removing that section in the forums and I vote keep it on. We'll see, I got some people to agree with me. I end up doing loop 2 in 6:10 and I'm stoked. While we were out there I find out that Brian Wyatt went back out on the course and I was worried for his knees.

10:35 First 50-mile loop
15:00 Feet Care at end of 50-mile loop
06:10 Second loop, 25 miles.

I was left with 7 hours or so to complete the last loop if I wanted to come in at 24 hours. A little faster for sub-24. It was doable and I left the station pumped. Unfortunately it was in the last loop that things started to unravel a bit. First I lose my handheld light. I stuck it in my pocket while I fiddled with supplies in my pack. Somehow it came out of my pocket and by the time I realized it I had traveled a good amount of distance. I leave it with a note to look for it in the morning. Then I get turnaround in the dark, lost. Maybe it was the fatigue setting in or my lack of concentration while I was busy cursing myself for losing my light. I lose about 12 minutes and off my game. Then my left IT band started hurting, right above the knee. When I was training for my first marathon (Portland, Oregon) I pulled my hamstring. With the help of massage and 4 hour training runs on the treadmill I was able to still run the marathon but at mile 19 I developed my first IT pain and it's been with me since. Whenever the hamstring gets weak the IT band follows. The IT itself however can flare up all on it's on without any weakness on the hamstring. The whole race I had no problems with the hamstring, no direct soreness but since the muscle was weaker I'm assuming the IT has been working harder to compensate and here at mile 78 or so it had had enough. I felt it stiffen during the day but now it was starting to get really sore. Using my bandada I wrapped a compression bandage around it, making sure the knot pressed directly on the tendon. It required constant readjustment but it bought me more miles. By this time Joe was long gone. I trudged on. Stomach was getting worse but there was nothing to hack out. I had a couple of dry heaves. I tried the Ginger candy that Zombie Runner had put in our drop bags but to no avail. Nevertheless I kept sucking on those gels and kept the liquids on. A good way to end a race is to stop eating and drinking. On my way to Tennessee Valley and eventually Muir Beach I run into Joe and Nicole again. Apparently he was having some stomach distress himself and it really slowed him down. I gave him some of my chewable Pepto Bismol tablets and chewed a couple myself. I felt better, he felt better. The return to Muir Beach saw us in heavier fog, it really hurt not having my handheld. At Muir Beach we bade Mr. Stan Jensen goodbye for the last time. Stan we love you but we don't want to see you one more time. It was just another 10.5 miles to go before the finish and we were getting excited. We hustled our way to the foot of the Pirate Cove's stairs for the last time and I relished every step up. "Every step you take from here is a step home" I told myself. The sun started to rise before we made it to Tennessee Valley. I could no longer keep up on the downhills with my knee getting worse by the minute so I had to drop back. In the light I could see all the other folks heading out. One of the last people I would see heading out was judge Linda McFadden. She asked me if I was on my last loop, clapped and touched my arm when I said yes. Ultra people I tell you. I was feeling quite good at this point. Wasn't running much but fast hiking everything. I did manage to get some running in when the trail flattened out in some parts. Soon I was on the parking lot and boy it felt great to finish. About 30 minutes after I came in I would witness Brian Wyatt run down the hill for his 7th place finish. Friggin' unbelievable. Last time I saw this guy he was barely walking and here he was barreling down to the finish line.

I bid farewell to Joe, Nicole and Steve but not before a picture, handshakes and hugs. These guys were tough, they braved the cold outdoor showers. They were driving back to San Diego after breakfast. I chat with Wendell and some of the other runners before packing it home. I wanted to stay but I had to hustle back. Olga was waiting for me to get back to SF so she could clean up at my place. Sure enough there was a message waiting for me on my cell. Reunited one again back in SF and like the last time in Wyoming, she's fine and I'm limping. She was a chatterbox too having just won her race. Ultra people, I tell you.

The IT Band is doing well. I've managed a couple of miles on the treadmill on two separate occasions and it doesn't bother me at all on the bike. I might be back to hard training sooner than I expected.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Headlands Hundred

Leslie Antonis, heading towards Muir Beach in the early miles of the Headlands Hundred Ultra. Click Here for the photoset.

My legs feel like they have been pummeled by a dozen children and their tiny fists all night. It's sore in so many places. This is besides my left knee which gave me problems during the race. My upper body on the other hand feels like a Sumo wrestler sat on it during the night. It feels tight, sore and out of alignment. A small price to pay for what was an amazingly great time in Headlands Hundred this past weekend.

Again I was a bit disappointed with my finish. In fact I was a bit sullen about my overall time at lunch yesterday with Olga and Jason but that was just the fatigue talking. I aimed for a sub 24 hour finish and missed it. I had a shot at it as late as 85 miles into the race but it slipped away. After a night's sleep however I have nothing but positive feelings about the whole race. I want to honor everyones time so I'm going to keep this first post short but I'll fill out a more detailed report later for those interested in the details.

17,700 ft. (+) • 17,700 ft. (-) • 24:37 • 6th Place

Everything went as planned for the most part. I did well all the way up to 75 miles. The course was one 50-mile loop and two 25-mile loops. At the start of the last 25-mile loop I started having IT problems, directly related to the glute and hamstring pain I was having the last couple of weeks. I was able to hang on and finished shortly after sunrise. The course was a lot harder than I gave it credit for. I somewhat under estimated the difficulty. Nevertheless it was a good time and I'm honored to finish PCTR's first 100 mile event. I owe all the volunteers, the race directors and my fellow runners a big thanks. Special shout out to my fellow 100-miler Joe who kept me company for most of the run. He brought his own crew and pacers who was also a big help to me - Steve and Nicole. Nicole his girlfriend ran about 34 miles with us and she was a blast. She provided the pep and positive vibes during the last miles and also encourage the other runners. An ultra runner herself, she is going to attempt her first 100-miler at San Diego 100 this year.

Great race, challenging course, positive people and cool weather. I hope more 100 mile runners come out for next year.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Go Time.

Woohoo. Time to play. Thanks again for all the good wishes and support. Good luck to all the runners at the Cool Canyon 12hr run, they're starting at 7PM tonight. I'll be thinking of you guys this evening. Hopefully it's not too foggy tonight for that meteor shower.

See ya'll on the other side of the Headlands Hundred.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Does that look like the face of someone stressed out over a race? At Sports Basement buying my Carbo Pro and at a birthday party/going away party. No alcohol but I had to say goodbye to a new but now leaving friend. He's headed to Colorado, mmm...big steep mountains.

Ah Thanks, thanks for all the encourgement and support. No worries I will hit bed soon although I can't promise the sleep. I don't really sleep the night before a race. Last year at WS I went to bed early, fell asleep at 10PM woke up at 11:30PM and was awake for the entire night. Just the way I am, I get my sleep the days leading up to a race, not the night before. So I did manage to get some sleep in this week. I even took some after work naps to help with the rest. I'll be okay for tomorrow despite only the usual couple of hours of sleep I get before a race. I get like this even for 10ks.

Almost ready to go. Just gonna double check the bags, double check the race info then it's bed. Not much fear and doubt, just excitement now. The day I stop getting excited for these events will be the day I think about hanging up the shoes. Hopefully that day never comes. I think about Helen Klein or how about that young 70yr. old Karsten Solheim finishing at WS100 this year.

What a great sport, what a great community and a get a full dose tomorrow.

The last comment on my blog was from Mark Tanaka. I'd like to point out this dude whooped butt at Kettle Moraine 100. His first 100-mile win. Some of you know him already but here is his report anyway. I'll be using some of that for inspiration tomorrow as well as all the other great stuff I've read from the other blogs. Rob I'm rooting for you hitting 100 miles for the week.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


So I've been clearing the clutter in my apartment. Olga wants to stop by on Sunday so she can get a shower before catching her flight back in the afternoon. Being a wife and a mother of two teenage boys I'm sure she can spot clutter a mile away. Don't want to get yelled at in Russian for keeping an untidy apartment, haha.

Getting excited. Getting that "down to business" mindset. This is where I get quiet and stoic - my best impersonation of cool, calm and collected. Time to take care of the little details. Time to dust off some of the gear, drop bags, lights and all that stuff I only use at a 100. Thinking about using gaiters for this race, never used them before but I would like less "stuff" in my shoes.

Definitely pumped now. Excited about the prospect of running Marin at night, never done it before.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


Anxiety. The last two days my sleep has been interrupted. I'd wake up eyes wide open, seemingly well rested but I know better because I've only been in bed about 4 hours or so. The first day I got up, watched TV for half an hour then went back to bed. Today I just forced myself back to dreamland. This usually happens when I'm dealing with work related stress. I'll keep getting up in the middle of the night until I find and deal with the issue. This time however I think it's the race which makes no sense.

This will be my 5th 100 and course wise the easiest of the last 4. Unlike the first four, I actually know this trail, not only do I train here regularly but I've raced here many times. There's no stretch of trail on this race that I haven't run on before. There's no problem with excessive heat or moisture and the trail itself is very runnable / not too technical. So I don't get it. I only lose sleep the night before races but that's for all types of events.

So my only guess right now is that on a subconscious level I am very worried about the hamstring. I'm not worried about it in my waking moments but deep down maybe it's bothering me. How to convince the guy inside to let go so I can get some friggin' uninterrupted sleep:) Or...or maybe my body remembers what the last 2 100s have been like and doesn't like the idea of another one:) Maybe I'm just not cut out for 100s. I've done well in all the other distances except the 100. No shame in admitting that I guess. Well we'll see what happens tomorrow. Maybe I can just sleep earlier...ha right, that will happen.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Thank You SF Tri

My pool.

A special shout out to our swim buddies from San Francisco Triathlon. Not only where they good and friendly company at this afternoon's swim but they distracted the seals long enough for me and and my swim buddy Ariane to have a seal free practice.

This summer I've been spending my Friday afternoons swimming at Aquatic Park, a great way to end the week and welcome the weekend. Ariane and I take turns posting the workout on the club calendar but we rarely have people come out. Even in this community of experienced open water swimmers, Aquatic Park is a tough draw. People complain about the cold, the fog, and whatever else. As usual it was just Ariane and I but today we joined up with 3 others from our companion club, SF Triathlon. We chatted with these guys and resolved to combine our two workouts. However they took a long time getting ready so Ariane and I headed out to the water first. There was a seal hanging out by our side of the beach. It'd pop it's head up, sniff the air, go back down. We thought there was only one but we would later learn there was three. Seals are not killers and are more curious and playful than anything else but it can be unnerving when one decides to play with you. Ariane was a bit iffy about the whole thing and frankly if it was just me I might have called it but I noticed that all the other swimmers were fine. No one was leaving the water in droves, so we proceeded forward. Fresh on our minds was the seal from last Christmas that harassed swimmers. It nibbled/bit over a dozen swimmers, drove out a whole lot more out of water. As we we made it to the waters edge a woman approached us. She was wearing a red swimsuit, yellow swim cap and fins. She's one of the "no wetsuit" swimmers that swim here regularly. Every time an amazed tourist asks me if I'm going in the water I say yes and point to one of these guys - "I won't be as cold as those guys". Anyway she points at the seal and goes "that little guy has been following me, I'm walking back to our clubhouse from here". She looked amused and almost ashamed for being scared. She told us the seal had followed her, nipped at her flippers, bumped her and swam below and alongside her. She had enough when she reached the other end of the buoy line. We chatted with her for awhile but we remained determined to get our workout done, I mean c'mon what would the hardcore folks say:) So drawing strength from the other swimmers, especially the other sans wetsuit folks, we ventured forth, I was fully expecting to be bumped at least a couple of times. Ariane promised not to scream if she got bumped by one; perfect, no need to alarm the folks on land, my screaming will be enough. So we did our usual loops but cut out the western most section where we knew the seals were frolicking about. On our second loop we noticed the SF Tri folks huddled together on the western most buoy, on our third and final loop we noticed they were all in the shore, joined by other swimmers looking at the water. I was like "uh-oh did they get driven out of the water?". We both laughed and headed for shore. Sure enuff, the seals had been playing with them while they were out, we got the full report on shore. Miguel said that one nipped at his feet, when he finally stopped the seal stopped too and hung out with him. Suzanne kept getting bumped in her legs, when she stopped and looked at the seal, the seal stopped and stared back. At the time we saw them huddled together at a buoy they were deciding whether to continue or go in, Suzanne was getting a little freaked out. She said that what finally did it for her was when she noticed,while they were talking, the seals, all three, were also huddled together not too far from them. Ahahahahaha, I don't know why that's so funny. I'm picturing two huddles and imagining the seal conversation going like this; "aite you cover the guy with the red stripes on his wetsuit, you cover the other guy with the blue stripes on his suit and I'll cover the girl. Clearly it wasn't funny to Suzanne, Miguel and Gary at the time but while they played with the locals, the rest of us had a wildlife free workout. I think it's our turn next time though. The only thing Ariane and I had to contend with was a couple of ducks floating non-chalantly in our path.

It made for a good laugh after the swim. Turns out these guys will also be at the Big Kahuna Triathlon at Santa Cruz in September, the swimmers. Not a bad afternoon, made friends and successfully avoided the wild far:)