Friday, October 31, 2008

Now Remember...

Sugar is bad for you, downright evil. It's bad, bad, bad and as your gracious host on this here blog I am willing to take one for the team and dispose all those nasty sweets for you. Kindly send them to my home and I will dispose of them properly. Mike this goes double for you and the candy corn.

Happy Halloween Everyone!


So my pal Jess liked the logo so much she put in a shirt. Check it out.
I can't wear it but it will look good on the ladies I think.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sunday Morning Mt. Tam Run

My heart rate was off the charts, I didn't need a heart rate monitor to tell me so, I could feel the beats in my throat and that wasn't just from effort but wild excitement. Smiling and grimacing, in search for the end of the trail, it suddenly came to me that it had been a very long time since we ran together and it felt really good.

JP, Myself, Duncan, Jason and Mary Alice.

So right, Sunday morning as San Francisco One Day was coming to a close my friend Jason came by and we took off for the Mountain Home Inn on Mt. Tam. Across the street is a parking lot where we were to meet other folks for a short run on the surrounding trails. The run started with a drop to Muir Woods, through the Park's gates where we could pick up the Dipsea trail for the ascent back up the mountain, then on to Pantoll Ranger station, a popular aid station point for many of the trail races in the area, then the gorgeous mostly downhill single track of the Matt Davis trail back to the parking lot where we started. Back in September I did a run with Dan and Angela and we had tried to enter Muir Woods National Park to pick up the very same trail we had come down on Sunday. They wanted us to pay the entry fee even though we were just passing through. We declined, tried to sneak in, got caught and had to go a different route. I wondered at the time if the reverse happened, would they charge us to get out of the park. Well it turns out they don't. I'm all for supporting our parks but I find that whole situation a little ridiculous. So it's ok to run through the park from the top down, don't go from the bottom up.



There was 5 of us although Mary Alice would cut her run short at Muir Woods. Most of the way we were just hanging out, sandbagging as usual - "oh man, it's been tough to work out lately, I need to get back into shape". I couldn't really participate since they read my blog. However I dragged my feet a bit because you know...I've been up for over 24 hours. As we enter the Matt Davis trail and the last 3 miles of our run Jason speeds things up. He's 6+ and when he opens up those strides watchout. He takes the lead and sets a fast pace. JP chases and I follow, Duncan gets dropped first:) This section of Matt Davis is a gentle, rolling, mostly easy downhill with lots of rocks and in some parts steps - my favorite, slightly downhill with a bit of spice. My stride which is short got longer and longer. Soon I was jumping over obstacles, less dancing around and more jumping over just to keep up. I was definitely beyond my comfort zone but I was awake and fully focused. I felt fuzzy in the edges because of the lack of sleep but I was all in.

I couldn't resist. I had to have my picture taken next to the Dipsea Trail markers since I'm wearing a Dipsea shirt. A bit dorky I know.

"He's gonna get tired JP, takes a lot of energy to carry a frame that tall around", a little heckling doesn't hurt but eventually Jason did pull off to the side so we could take lead. While it was JP's turn he deferred to me which I considered an honor since he has always been a faster stronger runner than I am. He spends most of his energy on triathlon but what most people don't know is that he grew up in these hills. He ran these trails long before he strutted around in spandex. Case in point, several years ago he entered the Quad Dipsea and came away with 7th place with a 4:45. Anyway eager to drop Jason and to test my new found speed against JP, I took off like a madman. I had no idea how close we were to the end of the trail but I took off like there was only 400 meters left:)!


And so there I was redlining, fighting the tightness, the lactic acid, the eventual slowing down, grinning, aching and thinking - it's a been long time since we've done this together. Where did all the time go? We regrouped at the end of the trail before we jogged back down to the parking lot. At 1:45 total run time it was just right, could have been longer but it didn't need to be.

It was a great time. My most memorable runs have never been at any of my races, it has always been in training or messing around with friends. At the races I expect to do well and beat myself up when I don't. With runs like these I expect nothing and blown away when things turn out great. These are the type of runs I remember most.


Monday, October 27, 2008

San Francisco One Day

And they are off!

A Volunteer Report.

Whether racing or volunteering, hard work is a given in these ultra events but having fun and lots of it, well that's up to you. I had an exceedingly great time at San Francisco One Day this weekend. Just an amazing, fun and at times, head shaking experience. There was carnage out there to be sure and unlike a regular trail run event where people fall apart along the way, scattered all over the course, here I got to see it mile after mile, loop after loop as they went round and round. They disintegrated slowly before my eyes. On the flip side however I got to see a lot of inspirational gutsy performances, the kind you hold on to and pull out when you need the motivation. I saw many a runner enter their dark place, fight through and emerge on the other side still running and fighting. Then there were runners like Ron Vertees, 71 years young, who looked good the entire event running steady and strong. On the other end of that age scale was 9-year old Trevor Craig who ran with Mom and Dad. All three were entered for the 12-hour event and they started and finished together. He finished the day with 10 hours and 27.2 miles and he wasn't the only kid out there.

I say it all the time and I'll state it again, here in Northern California we are so damned fortunate to have an organization like PCTR who offers so many trail races for racing and volunteering options. You only have to look at their calendar to see the depth of their events. While most of their events are 50k races with multiple options for shorter distances, they have a few big ones - San Francisco One Day is one of the big ones. As I mentioned in an earlier post it is a 12 and 24 hour run held in San Francisco's Crissy Field. The loop is 1.067 miles that offers amazing views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bay.

DSCN0021.JPGRelaxed and loose, Ray Sanchez and Jon Burg at the start.

When I got there at 6:45AM Saturday morning it wasn't cold at all. You just knew it was going to be a warm day. Even the wind was absent, the bay which is usually filled with sail boats, wind surfers and the like were noticeably absent. I helped out with parking before joining RD Wendell at the control tent. There was a lot of talking and socializing going on and I managed to get in on the fun as well. Like fellow volunteer Victoria said, it was like a party. Everything started off without a hitch. I had front and center seating with the privilege of starting the timer on the computer as RDs Wendell and Sarah sent the runners off. The first hours of the morning saw me printing the emails sent by family and friends to their respective runners. There was a live webcast of the event and folks could email their support to their runners. Fellow volunteer Jo Lynn sent emails of support to a runner she saw struggling during the day after she got home from volunteering. These emails were then taken by Tamara and either handed out to the runners or organized in folders. Runners had access to the folders each loop, food and drink on the right, emails on the left. These were very short messages and it's impossible not to inadvertently read some of them. They were funny and heart warming. For example, there was one email that was sent by the parents of one runner that simply said, "stop reading emails and run!".

Working with the ladies; Flora, Jo Lynn and Victoria.

Michael Popov relieved me at 1PM and I was free to socialize for a bit with the crews and spectators. Eventually I found my way to the aid station tent where I would spend the majority of my time for the rest of the event, only coming out to help update the leader and status boards and other misc. errands. The status boards were dry erase boards that had runners names and their times which were updated every hour. Each runner had a transponder attached to their ankle that kept track of their progress. At the control tent, Wendell would print the updates and we manually logged it in the boards so the runners would have a clue about their progress and standings.

Sarah and Tamara updating the status boards.

Many folks stopped by to say hello throughout the event; family, friends, fellow ultra-marathoners. My friend Cathy came by on her road bike decked out in her sharp Roaring Mouse race kit looking to see if we had any triathlon club members participating. Katy came by to bring her lunch and shared half her delicious sandwich with me. Good friend and ultra gal in training Samantha came down twice to satisfy her curiosity, once during the day and once again during the night. Gundy came down too after his long training run, liked us so much that he too came back a second time in the evening. I told him I wasn't going to his wedding in May because it's the same date as Massanutten Mountain Trails 100. I was kidding of maybe, no, no I am.

The volunteers I got to work with were phenomenal. We laughed, cringed, got hot during the day and shivered at night. Saturday day was with volunteers; Jo Lynn, "Victoria, Tamara (had two daughters running in the race and made a mean pumpkin bread), Miki (brought three homemade pumpkin pies with homemade whipped cream), Michael and two ladies whose names I missed. Saturday evening and Sunday morning was with volunteers; Marika, Lauren, Suzanne, Leigh, Jochen, Steve, Jeff, Brian and Dan. Purposely saved for last but definitely not the least is volunteer extraordinaire Flora who was already there setting up on Saturday morning when I got there and was still there working when I left Sunday morning.

Ed Swanson: I have to puke....
Me: Okay but while you're doing that I'm going to remove your transponder ok, don't puke on me

At 9PM there was a flurry of activity as the 12-hour runners finished. Transponders needed to be collected and there was a lot of celebrating. There was an awards ceremony and everything while the 24-hour folks kept plugging away. The 24 hour lead was past 75 miles at this point, an impressive distance and we could only hope that he could keep up the good work. Fresh on my mind and others was last year when the leader burned through 100-miles in 15.5 hours only to drop several hours not too long after. I had the privilege of running with my friend Ed Swanson on his last mile. He started running ultra events this year with the goal of running 50-miles for his 50th birthday on January. He ran 52.3 on Saturday! He finished strong and was a shivering stiff pile of a human being after that, his wife kept asking for my assistance to help move him around. Nothing broken though, all good and well deserved pain. Congratulations Ed, you may have to shoot for something bigger on your birthday now.

Ed Swanson exuberant after his finish. The pain and stiffness hadn't set in yet, haha. It's wrong that I took so much pleasure seeing him suffer after the race but only because I've been there myself. Ok ok, I'll get help or run extra miles for penance.

It got very cold during the evening, the wind picked up and the fog rolled in brrr..... I had thoughts of pacing during the race but once it got cold I lost all motivation and huddled in the tent as close to the heater with the rest of the crew. Lauren and Suzanne were smarter, they took quick laps on the course to keep themselves warm. These were very dark hours for many of the runners. A bunch would end up dropping including the runner who led the first half of the race and the runner who was running third. More than one runner went hypothermic out there in the cold temperatures and we even took in some of them who needed to sit down and warm up by the heater. Somewhere around 3PM I passed out on my chair for an hour despite a tent full of people talking and working.

Introducing your Sunday morning cooks; Leigh, Flora and Lauren. Still going strong. Suzanne selling the hot goodies to the runners but not being very successful, thus the upside down smile. This didn't last long though when young gun runner Ron Vertees (71 years old!) took a nice big piece. Ron by the way would log in 69.4 miles.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to see the event finish. I mistakenly told my friend Jason that the event ended at 8AM and he scheduled a Sunday run with friends based on that info. He came by and I was out of there by 8:20AM. By then the winners were pretty much decided and the aid station was transformed into a breakfast kitchen with Lauren, Flora and Leigh cooking. Lauren made cheese Quesadillas with Bacon and Leigh cooked pancakes with a special homemade mix she brought from home.
By 9AM I was already miles away at Mt. Tam, meeting up with friends for a short run. Before the weekend was up I was a runner again, no more cowering in layers in a dark corner of a tent and I ran with thoughts of "San Francisco One Day" swimming in my head. We sandbagged most of the way through only to beat it like crazy on the last 3-miles trying to drop each other on the way back, jumping over steps and rocks along the way. I can tell you I was above my comfort level. Smiling and grimacing with my heart in my throat beating at maximum. Good times but that's a tale for another day.

Can't forget da boyz. Throwing down ultra-marathoning gang signs is Jeff and Steve.

A special shout out to Luciano from Italy. You sent an email greeting to the RDs and volunteers that was printed and shared with us by Steve around...hmmm after 4AM I think. I know you only from this blog and our quick exchanges on your blog but the volunteers I was with at the aid station remember you. You are missed.

With Race Director Sarah Spelt-Doman. How many times have we posed exactly like this for a picture Sarah?:) I hope there are many more to come.

You can view the complete photoset here.
Lots of smiles, studly looking runners, the male runners looked strong too and happy volunteers.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

New Race Shoes

I forgot I ordered the orange ones, imagine my surprise when I opened the box. Oh I like em, love em, I just forgot.

I thought you were cute when I saw you on the magazines, you're so photogenic. So sexy. No, no it's true, really, it's not the wine talking. You're awesome. In fact, I was smitten when I got to hang out with you back in June at Fontana Sport Shop in Madison, Wisconsin. I was in town for the Kettle Morraine 100. I arrived two days early, had some time to kill and there you were. Just like my Velocity's but lighter. You're awesome, did I say that already? yes? no? well you are. However I was uh...well...I was preoccupied at the time. There were other shoes involved and things were getting complicated. I'm free now though and I'm asking – Will you whoop some butt with me at the races? I'm not the fastest but I give 110%. I have a good game face and when I suck it in I look 5 pounds lighter. Oh and I run in Drymax socks now. I know, I know I'm livin' large these days. So what say you?

Since Montrail stopped making the Leona Divides I switched to Vasque and have never looked back. I'm always running around in different shoes and always on the lookout for new ones but my race shoes these days are the Vasque Velocity's. These babies are the Velocity VSTs, a lighter version, less tank like and a bit more stylish. They are lighter. I ran on them for the first time Tuesday, a quick road run and they felt great. Hopefully I'll get a chance to take them running on Mt. Tam after I'm done volunteering at SF24 on Sunday morning, my friend Jason is supposed to pick me up.

San Francisco One Day or SF24 as I like to call it is a timed run in Crissy Field. There's a marked route that is 1.067 miles and people run and run laps until the time is up, runner with the most miles wins. There's also a 12-hour race. It will be beautiful by the Golden Gate Bridge and the weather forecast says we will have cooler temperatures because the fog will be back, nothing like the 80-90 degree sunny weather we've been having. Even the nights have been warm. Lucky them but I digress.

The shoes are lighter but unfortunately too light for my normal long runs. They're perfect race shoes and I think they'll do great at the Quad Dipsea and at the Northface 50-miler but my long training runs will break them down too quickly. You see I have to chew up a lot of asphalt before I taste trail. On my usual 6-hour runs to the Marin Headlands and back at least 2 hours of that is on asphalt. So it seems I will be keeping the regular Velocity's in the line up after all - good.

Update: They just updated the weather forecast and now they are saying that the warm weather won't abate until Monday. This means that tomorrow Crissy Field will be teeming with people, kids and animals. The runners will have lots of company and family and friends who are coming down to support will absolutely love the weather. The runners on the other's gonna get very warm for them. I was just outside, it's warm. Now some of you are probably asking, "what numbers are we talking about here?" Dave, J~Mom, don't laugh - 80s.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Found my Socks!

Well I wasn't really looking, so in a way they've found me. I had given up on finding a good pair and put all my faith instead on taping and foot lubricants; Duck tape, Bag Balm, Body Glide and such. However I think I've found my brand - Drymax! No I'm not sponsored by Drymax, frankly I'm not fast enough to be a sponsored runner and no I have no financial interest in the company.

All of that said I really dig them. I liked them so much that I've started giving out pairs to some of my triathlete/runner friends. In fact I'll mail a pair to the next 3 people to email me about wanting to try them out, no worries on the shipping. The catch is that they are sized large, men's 8.5 to10.5 or women's 10 to 12.

So back in August Olga gave me five pairs, I gave away three and trained and raced on the last two. Back then I gave them away because I didn't see what the big deal was about these socks. Then Donald had a post about them on his blog. After racing successfully on a pair I shared my positive result with him not realizing that he in turn would forward my name to Drymax. They got in contact with me and asked if they could send me some socks to test. Pretty nice.

So far I've been mum about it because I was going to wait until the end of the year to give them a final review but I don't think I need to wait that long. They've performed superbly in my day to day training, pacing at the Rio del Lago 100-miler, the Skyline to the Sea 50k and just recently the Dick Collins Firetrails 50-mile race. Both Skyline to the Sea and Firetrails were races where I went all out and I had no problems with blisters. I haven't had a blister since August, not even at Rio del Lago where the fine sand got into my shoes and feet (I forgot my gaiters). They have worked very well for me. My socks don't feel damp after a long run.

The place I usually get and have the worst blisters is in my toes. When I train I get blisters in my toes. When I race I get blisters in my toes. Some of you know that when I race I pre-tape the bottoms of my feet but that does nothing for my toes. I've just learned to suck it up but now things are looking up. I'd like to see how these socks perform in a dry 100-miler with fine dirt and sand like Western States or Rio del Lago, then again on a wet one like Kettle Moraine and Bighorn this year. We'll see, they'll be part of my standard gear from now on so I'll have many opportunities to try them out in different conditions.

The kit they sent me came with a book that showcased all the different sock varieties they offered. For example they had socks for hot and cold weather running. They even had socks specifically made for trail running which has a little more padding, cut higher to help protect the ankles and in colors that look good with mud. Personally I run in their standard running sock because I like my pairs cut low. If the trail running socks were cut low I would use them.

This leads me to a couple of things I hope they produce in the future. I hope they produce trail running socks that are low-cut and that they make their standard running socks in colors other than white. The running socks are predominantly white and after a day on the trails they have that permanent dirty look. No one knows when your shoes are on but they bug me nevertheless. Overall I'm quite happy with my Drymax pairs, especially since I didn't expect they would make such a difference.

Lastly, these socks will go well with my new kicks which will be the topic of my next post. I don't remember being this excited about gear and racing this late in a season. It's um...very, very cool. I hope this groove lasts all the way to mid-December.



Friday, October 17, 2008

Rush Rush Rush

Wow I feel like I just participated in another 100-mile race, sure feels like it a bit; sleep deprivation, constant hustle and checking of the time, continuous ingestion of caffeine in the later stages, touches of grumpiness, moments of hysterical laughter and now a great big desire to just lay down and sleep. I haven't slept in my bed in two days.

Oh you know one big crazy deadline gets crazier and the other deadlines can't be postponed. I read somewhere the body doesn't differentiate from different sources of stress, stress is stress. Yeah I feel a lot beat down but very thankful. Work is good, especially when times are bad. The timing is perfect, I'm still recovering from the race and not running much anyway. I ran on Wednesday but it was still too soon. May dust off the road bike for the weekend. I can't wait to run an event again.

I am now going to head to my favorite wine bar for a couple with a good friend, then some good food and some zzz's. Hope you all are having a great weekend. I'll do my best not to get too buzzed despite heading over there on an empty stomach and a lot of stress to bleed. I'd hate to get drunk and start challenging people outside the bar to a 50-mile foot race. You all know I'm not ready yet. Haha. No that won't happen. I'm just trying to be funny. Here's a true story though. A long time ago, before I was a runner and a lush, I had run out of money at a bar I was at with friends. The ATM machine was 3 blocks away and it was raining. I ran there and back, felt no pain cause I was drunk. However I distinctly remember thinking, wow I should take up running, this feels great. Since that one night, I always ran to the ATM. True story.

Well ya'll have a good weekend.Dave is running his first 50-miler. Might be nice to go and wish him luck. I'm sure he won't mind.

Update: Nothing like a good friend, great food and comfy hangout place to relax in to bleed of some stress. Being in bed before midnight and sleeping in till 11AM also has a lot to do with this big smile on my face. I'm blessed with work so I still have more to do before I can go out and run but it's a very good thing.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dick Collins Firetrails 50-Miler Race Report

Sean Lang and I shortly after we finished. I want one of them new Cascade Crest 100 shirts. I think they're pretty sharp. I guess I'll have to go back up there and earn one. We met pre-race and ended up running part of the morning together. It was good running with you Sean.

Kevin Swisher, Harry Walther and Brian Wyatt, lounging in the grass post race. As well as I did, I couldn't catch Kevin who had 15.5 minutes on me, coming in 7th.

For the photo set click here.

In the San Francisco Bay Area we are blessed with great races and this is one of them. Race Directors is the legendary Ann Trason and Carl Andersen. This 50-miler boasts a great course; a nice mix of fire roads and single track, lots of tree covered sections, aid stations every 3 to 4.5 miles and just enough hills to make it challenging but not daunting with 7800 feet of total elevation gain and the same for total loss. The race schwag is great and so is the post race bbq atmosphere where they served burgers, beer and ice cream as well as miscellaneous snack stuff. Most runners and spectators take the time to eat and hang out. It's how I got to finally meet first place runner Hal Koerner and second place runner Victor Ballesteros and his wife. I also got to hang with the usual buddies and met more new folks. The race also offers a marathon option. These folks started at 9am somewhere around the turnaround point and shared the same finish line as the 50-milers. I got to know some of those runners as well. I stayed for as long as I could before having to beat it back to San Francisco to return the car rental in time.

I've never had a race where my body threatened to pull the plug so early. Started at the front again like the last event. I'm much more comfortable being up front now, I felt less like a poser this time. It sure did save me a lot of time not having to pass folks in the early stages. There's a very narrow foot bridge about 2 miles in and starting at the front meant not having to wait while runners crossed one at a time. The leaders took off and after a few moments, Hal Koerner blew by as well. Did he start late? Then he blew by again after spending some time on the side of the trail fiddling with his shoes. It was quiet in the front. I did have some good company though. I hung out a bit with my usual competition Brian Wyatt, the fast and beautiful Kelly Ridgway, young gun Sean Lang and got to meet John Price as well as a couple of runners I haven't met before. These were quick conversations since everyone was focused on moving forward fast, much appreciated because so was I.

Photo courtesy of Calvin.

I'm sure footed almost all of the time but at mile 18 I nailed a root and went down. The problem was that I stumbled twice before going down. It would have been better if I had just fallen right away but the body just took over and I watched the train wreck in slow motion. My body tensed incredibly with each stumble and when I finally went down, in poison oak as I found out Sunday morning, my right calf cramped up. Thankfully it released right away but I was getting spasms/twitches as I made my way up and down the hills. I had to stop and stretch and really focus on movements that didn't make things worse. I also shifted more of my weight to my left leg, the weaker more problem plagued of the two.

I come into the 26-mile aid station and the turnaround at 3:56, right behind Brian. As he accessed his drop bag I went right back out on the course after a quick refill. Before the minute was up I was already well on my way and at 11th place. It felt good coming in 4 minutes ahead of schedule and 4 hours for the remaining 24 miles seemed very doable. 2 miles back up the hill the left hamstring starts to spasm too. You've got to be kidding me! So I stopped and stretched the muscle, quick lunges in sets of three. Overall I had to take it a notch down to keep the legs happy. I'm still moving well, just not as fast as I would have liked however this might have been a blessing in disguise.

With 9 miles to go I felt my goal of coming under 8 hours slipping and I decided to rally. The last 10k is relatively flat with the last three miles on a bike path. There are still a few rollers but no hills like we've experienced earlier in the day and I get a good speed going. I had extra energy reserves because I wasn't moving as hard on the hills. At this point my left IT band has joined in the fray. It was sore enough to be noticeable and the pain was slowly increasing, thank God this was just a 50-miler. I stopped at the last aid station at mile 47 for a quick refill and when I tried to start back up again, I get pain and stiffness from the IT. In the short time that I had stopped it had cooled and seized up. At that point I had 30 minutes to finish the last 3 miles and I couldn't get running again. Exasperated but trying desperately to stay cool, calm and collected, I massaged the tendon with the palm of my hand before trying to run again. It was painful but I hoped that once the tendon warmed up the pain would subside. Fortunately I was right and soon I was chugging along at what turned out to be 8 minute miles for the final miles of the race. The smooth asphalt of the bike path didn't aggravate anything and I gave it everything I got. It wasn't until I passed the boat dock did I know for sure that I had my sub-8, barring any major cramping just yards from the finish line - that would have been cruel but definitely possible!

Boat dock...the bathrooms...the grass...finally the finish line! Yehaa 7:55! It was exhilarating to finally cross that finish line after all the coaxing and battling with my body coupled with the achievement of my main goal to finish under 8 hours. Overall placement didn't matter just the time goal. For over half that race I duked it out with my body. It was like a long and heated argument with myself that I finally won in the end.

Coming in 8th overall and 6th in my age group was icing on the cake as well as the congratulatory remarks from fellow runners and spectators. The first person to come shake my hand was Kevin Swisher who I had been chasing all day. Maybe I come back again next year and shoot for 7:45 this time.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hot Diggity Dog!

So I have this new trick it just came to me as I was approaching the Skyline Gate aid station for the second and last time at mile 37. It's a major AS with a parking lot and wooden railing where spectators can hang and cheer on runners. I was 9th place at this point and 8th place was had just pulled into the station. As I approached there was some cheering and people looking my way. I was relaxed and moving well but I approached with a poker face, eyes hidden behind shades, all serious like and quiet. Then as I got close to the crowd I flashed my most largest, winning-est smile, like Joker from Batman but less scary, and the crowd just poured on the love. Haha good times. I'll have to use that again at another race sometime.

I had the best 50-mile race with the most problems. I guess you can say the extra effort created the problems. I came into this well trained and at a great race weight. I hit all my goals. Now I'm just resting happy and grinning like an idiot. As usual report and more pics later in the week.


3) Run a personal best for the race. I thought my best time on this course was 8:34, it was actually 8:51 set last year.

2) Place in the top 10, if not at least the top 15.

1) The one that mattered most of all, much more important than overall placement - break the 8-hour barrier for a 50-mile trail ultra. It eluded me at Quicksilver this year by 2+ minutes and it's bugged me ever since. Consider me de-bugged.

Dick Collins Firetrails 50-Miler
+7800 total elevation gain, same for loss
8th overall and 6th age group


Friday, October 10, 2008

One Monday Evening


These phone cameras are not bad. At our favorite hangout, The Wine Bar on Polk and Pacific.

The conversation as I remember it with my very good friend Jessica at our favorite hangout, The Wine Bar on Polk St. That really is the name of the place, creative no?

Jess: Ok you are bad.
Me: It's only our third glass and we'll still be home by 9, besides it's our day off from workouts.
Jess: Yeah ok that's true.
Me: So Jess...umm how about taking over for me as aid station captain for the Northface event? I'm really thinking seriously about running it now especially since I had a great race at Skyline to the Sea 50k.
Jess: Well maybe, I can't really run with my knee being what it is. Not even the shorter distances. Even if it's magically better tomorrow I still need time to train.
Me: Yeah you shouldn't, not if it hurts on the hills. It will be hilly. Wouldn't an aid station volunteer be fun? You can see Sammy and I as we come through.
Jess: Okay I'll do it!
Me: Seriously?! It will be fun.
Jess: Yeah I'll even wear a running skirt and get more of the girls from the tri-club to come along.
Me: Sweet, wait is that just the wine talking?!
Jess: Nah I'm still sober.
Me: Right, right. Well ok then, I'll sign up for the 50-miler.
Jess: Yeah do it!

So there you have it. I committed to what should be my last race of the season, the Northface 50-miler in the first week of December. I'm happy to say that Jess was still happy to do it even when the wine wore off the next day. It's the weekend right after the Quad Dipsea so it will probably be slower going but fun. I wanted to experience a Northface organized event. I've heard mixed reviews but the schwag is supposed to be good. My friend Samantha is training with them now and she likes it so far. It's like Ultra 101 and your final test is the event. Anyway I'll just you know take it easy, hang back and enjoy the scenery. The event doesn't sell out, so I'll wait until the last day before the race fee goes up, it's Nov.6 I think. Not hard to remember since it's the day before my birthday.

About Firetrails 50 tomorrow. Yeah I'm ready and excited. I haven't had much time to think about it because I had this deadline today that took most of my time this week - just sent the files and now I'm relaxing with you guys while cradling yet another cup of coffee. I don't know what it is about this client, the deadlines are always fast, the project organization a bit jumbled and the work furious. Been up late the whole week but I have managed to get some sleep. Not the best of circumstances being short on sleep before a big race and I'm sure it will affect me somehow but it is what it is. I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir here. I'm more bothered that the week was so hectic I only managed to run twice since Monday. I have this urge now to put on my running shoes and run a few miles but it really is time to prepare, eat and rest for the race. It's a good thing it's only a 50 and not a 100. Oh I know 50 is still a long way to go. I'll see about getting some sleep tonight even though traditionally I don't get much the night before an event.

See you all on the other side of another race, may you all have a nice weekend with amazing weather, good company and great food.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Tour de Cupcake

My friend Dana (pic) had sent this email out to her friends. She's a triathlete, runner and avid cyclocross racer. I had a post ready to go and everything but this made me laugh and I'm thinking it might make some of you laugh too.

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The Bike Kitchen is pleased to present the first ever Tour de Cupcake
on October 19th, 2008.

TDC is an alleycat style race designed for riders of all types. We strongly encourage both novice and seasoned racers from all parts of the biking community to come out and enjoy a day of biking in the city and intense cupcake eating! In this race, riders will be required to stop at roughly 10 checkpoints. Each checkpoint will supply cupcakes to racers, and each cupcake eaten will equal a time deduction from the rider's total race time. In this race, cupcakes are the great equalizer. You may not be the
fastest rider, but if you're hungry enough, you can win! If you ever thought about racing, make this your first one.

Race to win or just for fun. Afterparty hosted by Gestalt Haus (riders drink for free) where new BK t-shirts and hoodies will also be for sale. More info about our move and the race is availalbe at All proceeds support our $50k fundraising goal for the move into our new space on 18th and Florida in Jan. 2009.

Tour de Cupcake
Sunday, Oct. 19th 2009
Check-in 12pm at the Bike Kitchen (1256 Mission St @ 9th) Race at 1pm
$5-10 sliding scale entry No pre-registration req'd. Just show up and race!

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Last year at the post bbq for the Firetrails 50-miler, someone brought a cake for a private celebration and runners were coming up begging for a piece. Most didn't know that it was for a private function and not part of the race bbq. Some found out and asked for a piece anyway. There's definitely a demand for sugar treats after these races.


Cupcakes anyone?!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Quiet Weekend by the Bay

I'm on taper mode, have been for the past week. Kept the mileages low on the running stuff and spent more time on other activities. I didn't even bother crossing the bridge to Marin, kept it all in San Francisco. I also hung out with people I haven't seen in awhile and met new people which was also nice.

Anyway I'm displaying all my usual taper symptoms; aches and pains, sluggishness and increased appetite (increased craving for sugar). The quad muscle issue by my left knee that forced me to take a break during the summer is also back but I really think it's just my body trying to psyche me out. The body can be so funny/quirky sometimes. I'll stretch it out and massage it during the week but I'm sure it's fine. I've been ice bathing which has been really nice too. God willing I should be at the starting line of the Firetrails 50-miler come Saturday and we'll race to the sound of the Blue Angels. It's Fleet Week.



Friday, October 03, 2008

Victor Plata Video Race Report

This is a video that has been making the rounds it seems like. It was in our tri-club emails and now Facebook so I finally gave in and watched it. It's great! Nice to hear the play by play from the guy who won it with clips from the race for visuals.

"I started surging and after each surge Joe would just reel me back in." - Victor Plata

It's a basically a video race report by pro triathlete Victor Plata. He recently won the Pacific Grove Triathlon in Monterey. Nice popular race. Pros had their own start. For a minute there I was wondering why his wave was so small. Anyway the most interesting part is the run, not just saying that because I'm a runner. Got me going Watching this makes me miss triathlon, just a lil bit.

Enjoy. Oh I have enough of my own content but a break from me is a good thing no?

Video courtesy of Tri-California.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

What a Character

One amusing and funny interview by fellow TRT 08 finisher and blogger Gretchen.