Sunday, December 07, 2008

50-Mile Victory Lap

The medal is big enough to be a buckle. Big productions = big, extravagant schwag and awards.

So I made it through the race and finished just about where I thought I would. I looked at the course, the elevation charts, my times at the 50-milers this year - 8:02 at Quicksilver, 7:55 at Firetrails, took into account the wear and tear from Quad and I came up with 9-9.5 hours. I finished 9:18. I was gunning for under 9 but the Diaz Ridge climb late in the race put an end to that. Diaz Ridge...for it to come at that point in the race at my fatigue level was like a punch and kick in the face and not trying to sound all macho about it but I loved every minute. There were many tough climbs during the day, the biggest was twice as large, but this one I will remember the most. Diaz Ridge you put a happy tear in my eye and a smile on my face knowing that those who came before me went through the same and so will the others behind me. Misery loves company and survived misery in endurance is synonymous with joy:) If it was truly that bad no one would go back.

Which leads me to the other major goal that I had for the day besides finishing strong and fast - enjoying every mile of the race. To be honest that didn't happen, miles 22-26 saw me at my lowest point in the race but I enjoyed the other 46 miles, especially the second half and the last 10 miles where I ran like a runner fresh out of Spring training. I don't know where those reserves come from. If you know tell me. I'd like a key to the source. Anyway this was going to be the event run to celebrate all the others, the last final hurrah with trail shoes on for 08. It was that, for the most part.

The big names did come as expected. Click here for preliminary results. One of them got lost which was heart breaking. He was on the side of the trail asking us for directions. Then he got lost again.... asking for more directions, then yelling out of frustration. How he still finished in the top 10 after all of that is a testament to his perseverance and intestinal fortitude, this all happened around mile 24. For those of you who have gotten lost in a race, you know how mentally deflating that is. It's enough to make you want to quit, some do.

Absolutely no problems today. Muscles sore but not painful. I can run if I want to and I think that just points to the level of fatigue I had heading into this race from the Quad Dipsea. Just the reality from stacking long races. The limiting factor wasn't the sore legs or body it was the tired engine. Nothing a few weeks of low mileage, rest, and no racing won't cure. Oh and no blisters. Some of you are probably tired of hearing this. No blisters, thank you Drymax.

Work is crazy but as soon as I collect more pictures from friends I'll put up a more detailed report. Sort of the drill these days.

The Northface Endurace Challenge 50-Mile Race
10,700+ Total Elevation Gain / 10,700- Total Loss
35th out of 137 finishers, 172 starters

I don't want to stop, a big part of me can't believe that was the last race. I want to keep starting and crossing that finish line. Hard to stop. Experience will rule the day however, no doubt my body is tired and the potential for injury and burnout high. Better to finish up than down and have all this momentum going into the work I need to do during my off-season.

Dear God, thank you. Thank you for the anxious butterfly filled starts, the battles, the lowest lows, the highest highs, new friendships, existing ones strengthened, the privilege of supporting fellow athletes and personal victories of 2008.

Jess: I love the post race euphoria, it's great. Well assuming you finish, otherwise it's just miserable.
Me: Jess, this year, I don't know what that feels like. Woooohooooo!!!

With Jimmy Hopper of Northface. The Endurance series is his baby. I can't speak for the other races but I loved our 50-mile race course. I met Jimmy a few years back when he worked for a different outdoor company during a photoshoot. Super nice guy.

Golden Gate Tri-Club people. Jenny Nauss and Samantha Pinney finishing their first 50k, graduation day for them after training with the Northface trail running program. Both were Ironman distance triathletes before entering the program and were no strangers to long training days. Jessica, between them, was the aid station captain for Muir Beach, mile 13 on the 50-mile race.

Jenny and the celebratory Champagne. Jess brought Samantha Champagne for her first ultra finish and we all partook of the unexpected Treat.

Jenny and Sam with event host, Dean Karnazes. Look at em legs. I'm not above admiring another man's legs:)

More GGTC club members, the new kids on the block; Veronica, Heather (Merchandise Director) and Daniel (09 Run Director) who ran the 50k race in 5:41

Dean Karnazes with 2nd place Uli Steidl, Winner Matt Carpenter and Tsuyoshi Kaburaki who just edged Kyle Skaggs for 3rd, don't know the mc. Last year it was Uli who won and Matt taking 2nd, tie-braker next year?! The winning time is 6:41, keep in mind this race is on fire road and single track with 10,700 foot of total elevation gain and the same for loss. The uphills will try to take your heart out and the downhills will try to break down your legs.


  1. Man, I saw results yesterday - congrats, congrats!!! What an awesome year, awesome feeling, and yes, sorry it is over...for now, just a little bit:) Hugs, bear hugs to you!

  2. Great job on finishing an awesome year! Next year is going to rock...we just have to be patient and do lots of work in the off season.

    Okay, though, seriously. One week David Goggins and next week Karnazes. I am soooo JEALOUS! Looks like I'm coming to Calif for one of these two races next year...

  3. Dude, not "macho", "INSANE" HAHAA. Awwwhhh only playin. You know I *heart* you, Rick ;-)

    AWESOME AWESOME job man! You so rock!

    Does Dean have ANY fat on him?!? Dang

  4. What did you say? Staring at those oh man those are some nice legs!

    Awesome job!!!

  5. I don't want it to end either and I just did my first race! Aaaah. I miss it already. I want to line up again and run for hours that tick off like minutes and feel pain and fatigue and find a second wind and run like it's the first 6 miles when it's the last 3 and cruise into the finish line to see friends, old and new. Where to next? I'm jonesing. Nice job, btw. VERY nice.

  6. Great way to end the year on the trails. I must admit I was a bit shocked that Matt was able to edge Uli out this year. I'm not sure Uli has ever been beat in a trail ultra.

  7. Great to see and chat with you at the finish, Rick. You did awesome! I agree with you on the tie-breaker next year for Matt and Uli, I hope it happens. Hard to believe they run 50 miles that fast (at least it's hard for me to believe).

    Enjoy a little rest and recuperation. And I hope to see you at more races next year!

  8. Olga: It was pretty sweet to see so many fast dudes and gals. It was like a mini Western States. I did the best I could and I'm happy with the results. Bear hugs back.

    PJ: Anytime lady, you can crash here and I'll introduce you to the other NorCal ultra girls and boys. I have so much work to do in the off-season. I'm weak in the upper bod, need to work on that with everything else. It's all connected right. I want to keep bringing up my weekly mileage too.

    Marcelina: I [heart] it when you say I'm being crazy cause I always know you're playin...sort of. Dean has no fat.

    Tony: Thanks man.

    J~Mom: Yeah they are nice but c'mon my calves are sexier:) Haha.

    Sammy: Why do the good times always go by too fast. Even when it was hard yesterday it was still a good time. Sounds like you are hooked. We need to talk races soon, over vino or GOOD beer. Not saying Bud is bad, just crap. Haha oh how I love giving you crap. Welcome to the club, you were already a part of it before you crossed the finish line. You and Jenny.

    Rob: My money was on Uli too but I guess that's why Matt is also a champion. He goes back, retools and comes back stronger. They are all good, too bad you can only have one winner.

    Andy: It was good to see you again. Sorry your wife wasn't able to run but great that you were able to take her place. That was nice of the Northface guys to let you transfer the number, very cool. See you at the races next year, as a fellow runner or volunteer.

  9. You are an amazing athlete Rick. Great job on a super running year for you. Now you can take time and run for fun -- just enough to burn off the holiday sweets.
    Damn, Dean does have some awesome legs.

  10. You had a spectacular year. Nice going! I loved your comment that "survived misery in endurance is synonymous with joy." Well put.

  11. J-Lynn: Yeah, running for running not for races, good for the body, good for the soul. I don't think Dean eats sweets like we do:)

    Victoria: Yup, you know.

  12. nice back to back, Rick. you had a great year, so feel great.

    ...but don't put on too many pounds this winter....

  13. Congrats Rick ....what a race attendee roster!

    That is some nice Bling also!

    Way to kick ass this year!

  14. Rick, you are amazing!

    What an incredible year you have had. I hope you will have some time to reflect on your accomplishments, and I am sure they will make you look forward to 2009. It has been a tremendous amount of fun to read about your races and training this year. My congratulations to you, and may you have a most enjoyable Holiday season!

  15. Rick,

    Congrats on a great year. You are an inspiration...Look forward to you coming to Texas.

  16. Anonymous4:32 PM

    sweet =]

  17. Great finish and what a nice way to finish out the year!

  18. Sweet job, Rick! You fit right in with all of that top-shelf talent. Matt Carpenter is a freakin' legend of mountain running - his name is all over the Pikes Peak record book. I can't believe he's still getting it done at an advanced age (meaning, anything older than me).

    Great way to finish the year.

  19. That is just so awesome!!! You are very inspiring!!!!!