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?