Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Quad Dipsea 08

Quad Dipsea 004-2.jpg
I like this picture. So unlike me to look so serious but it does make me look less like a goof ball. Maybe I start practicing my "blue steel" look for the races, my "magnum" poses - for you Zoolander fans. At the start with my cousin Bing, that's her on the right hand side of the picture.

Quad Dipsea
Disneyland Ultra-Marathon Style
28.4 Miles
9200+ Total Elevation Gain / 9200- Loss

Broke previous best by 35 mins with a 4:59:05
Official results have it as 4:58.05, but let's go with the first one
27th out of 221 finishers, 237 starters.

Official Results
Event Website

Scott Dunlap's 06 Report
(Great reading that includes descriptions and photos of the course)

A Confession
Before anything else... I blew the pre-race preparation for this race. I was debating whether to come clean on this fact but I figured if I'm going to share with you my triumphs then I should also share my "WTF were you thinking moments". I blew it on Thanksgiving and I don't mean with the Turkey and mashed potatoes - that would have been better. There were several reasons for it including some news that threw me for a bit of a spin but I still should have known better. I plain blew it.

The Race
Because of my genius move I was a bit timid at the start and not my usual confident self but very, very excited. There were so many fast runners in attendance and these were just the people I was aware of. We even had some out of town superstars come to race and spectate. Despite everything I was still able to pull another rabbit out of the magic hat. It was painful but I was determined to work hard to make up for my mistakes.

Unlike previous years where I've shown up for this event exhausted and over weight, I came into this years race well trained and in my summer weight. I knew if I managed a decent race I would break my personal best of 5:34 but what I really wanted was to break 5 hours. Judging from my performances for the past year I felt that I had it in me, a sentiment echoed by friends Will Gotthardt, Brian Wyatt and Sean Lang. I felt that I could do it, my friends thought I could do it. So I was going for it. The whole time I felt solid out there, the most comfortable and most focused I've felt in the six times I've run the event. I could tell I was missing a gear though. I would have been a bit faster and felt less pain had I not blown the pre-race preparations. I just knew deep down but the knowing also made me work harder. It was sweet torture and frankly I enjoyed myself. A few times I just lost it in laughter, stress releasing, soul soothing laughter - "Gaston you are F*#$@ng Dumbass, you better pull this off!"

My mantra for the day that I kept repeating to myself was "Give Me a Chance". I had the splits figured out in my head, time goals for each of the four crossings and I focused on them one at a time."Make the time goal and give me a chance for a sub-5", I kept repeating to myself. On the last and final leg I had time goals for specific sections of the course, "Get me to Cardiac Hill in x time and we have a chance, get me to the Muir Beach parking lot in x time and we may still be able to do it. Run faster, give me a chance to make this happen".

Halfway through, yeehaa still on pace for a sub-5 at 2:26.

112 mins: 1st leg - Mill Valley to Stinson Beach
114 mins: 2nd - Stinson Beach to Mill Valley
116 mins: 3rd - Mill Valley to Stinson Beach
117 mins: 4th - The final crossing and home

That last one is always hard. Funny I felt like I was going faster on the second half. I was merely working harder but slowing down. Thankfully not too much.

A Holiday Party - Ultra Style
When I finished the legs were fine, body was fine. It was the engine that was a bit blown:) Nothing that 3 hours of food, drink and camaraderie wasn't able to fix. The finish at Quad is quite intimate, laid back social event. You've got dogs, kids, spectators, volunteers besides the runners. Most people are friendly and I took the time to not only talk to the people I already knew but to meet other runners as well. Many runners were generous with their cheer and support out on the course and I made it a point to meet some of them. Andy B. it was good to meet you, thanks for all the help. Food and beer is provided and people take the time to chill and talk. For a lot of people this is the last race on their schedule for the year. It was my closer for the last 5 years until I signed up for the Northface 50 this year.

Drymax rules! Absolutely no blisters. No hotspots, no blisters. I won't wear anything else. I'm still digging the orange Vasque VST's and now I'm experimenting with compression socks from VitalSox for recovery. For the latter I'll let you know what I find out. Bob and Tony likes them so what the hey. And the tri-club shirt, finally I got a club shirt to race in. My last act as the volunteer race director for our triathlon club last year was to win approval and design our new dri-fit running shirts. We got short sleeves and long sleeves for both men and women. The women's gear came out great, the men not so much. By the time everything got reordered and reprinted it was already November. I got my shirt two days before Thanksgiving. Ironically I got the shirt after I've decided to shelve triathlon for awhile.

What's Left
The Northface 50-miler on Saturday. I have a bet with my good friend Samantha that I will finish the 50-miler before she gets in on the 50k. Haha that was an ill advised bet. I only did it to fire her up. Loser, among other things, has to play wing man for one evening. God help her when she wins because my social skills are only useful in athletic events, not bars:)

Another successful Quad Dipsea Race for RD John Medinger and assistant RD's Errol Jones and Lisa Henson.


  1. Broke previous best by 35 mins with a 4:59:05
    Official results have it as 4:58.05, but let's go with the first one
    27th place

    you really rock, mr. rick gaston! congratulations! man, i really envy you... i saw the dipsea course (or maybe part of it) in a bruce dern movie (on the edge?) and i fantasized myself running through it. you're doing it for real and doing it real good. :)

  2. Rick, Great report. You may not be the fastest but yoiu have got some intestinal fortitude. Some of my buddies in the Marine Corps could go out and blow it the night before a Personal Fitness Test, show up at 0500 the next morning and run a 18 minute 3 mile run, puke, swear off partying...and then do it all over the next night. Made me jealous that they could run so fast after a night of hell raising.:)

  3. Great race. I loved the mantra. A 35 minute improvement is awesome.

    Oh, and you have a picture of David Goggins. Now I am jealous...very jealous!

  4. Dude!! You look like you're going to bust a cap in someone's A. I dig it!

    Holy Mother you are speedy speedy! Amazing job Rick! ;D ;D

  5. nice halfway video clip, your friend was all over that split time and throwing out that good mojo of getting in under 5 hours :-)

    Sweet! and nice GAME FACE pic!

  6. "Give me a chance"...that gave me goosebumps. Love it. Love the game face but what Marcy wrote made me LOL!! Good stuff!

  7. Crazy. I mean, in the time I've known you, it's been such a pleasure to see you blossom. You put shame on me. I am jealous and happy. I plan to live through you now:)

  8. Sweet game face pic! All the photos from the previous post were great, too.

    I can't believe sub-5 only got you 27th place. That's a pretty impressive field of runners there. Well done, Rick. Good luck this weekend.

  9. Anonymous11:06 AM

    wow, that sounds awesome. and i loved your mantra.

  10. Fabulous picture. I think you should send it out on the internet to intimidate all your future competitors.

    p.s. Does it make me shallow if I want to photoshop you out of the David Goggins pic and put myself in instead? I'm just wondering...

  11. That is totally Blue Steel! Magnum was the look for the '07 season...you've honed and brought the Blue Steel this year!

    Nicely done! Can't wait to cheer you on next weekend at the NF 50!

  12. Hey Rick
    I put a link to your blog on mine. I hope that's cool? You do the BEST reports on events.

  13. Anonymous10:44 PM

    Bustin it out even after a long pre-race "ritual"! Damn man, great job. What a great day and race, all the way around.

    I'll see you this weekend at NF - running the 50k though, not the 50 miler. I'm filling in for my wife, who injured her knee a couple weekends ago.

  14. Rick, awesome performance. Way to dig deep! Fantastic report, and your pictures are excellent as always.

    This has been a spectacular year for you, and it has been fun and inspiring to read about your hard work translating into great success. Thanks for sharing your experiences, and keep it up!

  15. Here's to the pre race "preperation." It's hard to say no to the holiday cheer, the great thing about the Quad is all of that cheer as been sweated out by the first lap:)

    Great report, race, and good luck at the NF 50!


  16. wait...what? wingman? i thought you said WINE. excited to be out on same course with you running-master. grasshopper not worthy. not yet. see you tomorrow!