Saturday, November 20, 2010

Shorter and Sweeter

Boggs 50k and another 50k before that, Mt. Diablo, affirmed what I was feeling - tired, more mental than physical. I didn't do well in the training department this year and it shows. Not only did I have so-so results at the races but I am feeling worn before December. This is all, I believe, due to my lack of cross training - something I've bemoaned about before. I'm already looking forward to 2011, excited in fact. I've already started hitting the gym again not wanting to wait until January after my usual break in December. However since I still had the Quad Dipsea in the calendar I had to keep up some kind of training. It's my favorite race and I wouldn't miss it if I'm able. My goal is only to finish in a decent time GRACEFULLY. The last part is important. I once showed up for the Quad over-trained and not only did it take me a long time but I felt like a Sumo wrestler had sat on me. I ached and was stiff all over. The butt of a wrestler has never graced these bones but that kind of pain is what I imagine it to be.

Not wanting to do more 6+ hour long runs I decided to do just enough training to get through the Quad. I planned on shorter long runs, 14-20 milers, with more intensity to make up for the lack of distance. Last weekend I ran the 25k of PCTR's Stinson Beach 50k and the weekend before that, the 33k race of PCTR's Muir Beach 50k with great success. This is success measured in the amount of fun I had and the whoop ass I dealt, mainly to myself. Fun + enough intensity = successful race.

Muir Beach 33k
It rained the night before and into the morning. I woke up thinking that I really just wanted to slip right back into my warm bed. If one of the two other guys in my carpool bailed I would have gladly conceded the run yet called him a wussy anyway. That's what friends are for c'mon. Deep down though I did not want to start my birthday, my 39th year, being a wimp and was glad no one bailed. The trails were worse than I imagined, I've never seen them like that. After the initial climb where I was at many points breathless from struggling uphill against the mud, I got to work and pushed it to my last gear. Despite getting lost between the last aid station and the finish where I added at least a mile, I snuck into 10th. Had a grand time in those conditions finishing right behind pals Chris Perillo and Eric Wilson. A bummer on getting lost but it was what it was.

Stinson Beach 33k
I was excited for this race because so many friends were running in the three events; 12k, 25k and the 50k. It was a trail party with over 300 runners registered. It ended up being a beautiful day and the trails were in great condition. If I had to sum up the race, it's comprised of one big up, one big down, a short rolling section, another big climb followed by another short rolling section into a sweet, long, technical downhill for the finish. The 50k race is two loops for the 25k course. Being stronger in the hills this year I had a good start on the first long climb and from there I just kept on pushing as hard as possible without blowing up. I whooped a couple of times on the last big downhill having the time of my life. That's not really like me. I'm smiley but not the yelley type. Just missed going under the 2:30 mark for a 2:30:16 and 7th place overall. I missed it but it was sure fun sprinting that last mile trying to make it.

Three weeks after the Pine to Palm 100-mile in September I ran the Tantalus 10-mile road race in Honolulu which was just a blast and merciful in it's shortness. The high I felt during and after that race is the same high I'm getting with these sub-50k trail races. The shorter stuff has really re-invigorated my running. It feels like March when I am gearing up for the season. I should be going longer if I want to do well in the Quad but since I'm only looking for a graceful finish these runs should be fine. I think they are short considering that the Quad is 28.5 miles and quite hilly but I'm hoping the intensity that I've been running these races will make up for the lack of distance. I'll find out come Thanksgiving weekend. I'm certainly happier with the shorter runs and in the end that counts for a lot.

Here's to the rapidly approaching Quad Dipsea race, the close of my 2010 season and the promise of 2011.

Enjoy the pictures, all are from the Stinson Beach race. Muir Beach was too wet for my camera. For the rest of the photoset, click here.

With my Golden Gate Triathlon Club and SF Triathlon Club friends at the start.

Golden Gate Traithlon Club Run Director, Helen Kao, animated and excited despite not being able to race due to a sprained ankle.

The 50k start wave. We were started in waves to keep congestion down on the trails.

More friends, truly a trail party. Walter and Jeff, part of a group training on the Dipsea trail - just made it to the start before the gun to say hello.

Suzanna Bon and Larissa Polischuk. Suzanna hit 136 miles last month in a 24-hour race and probably landed another berth in the US Women's 24-hour Team. LP was running the 25k, we are the welcome committee for our Thursday morning runs - the back of the pack welcome committee as we are always bringing up the rear of those runs.

At the finish. We were racing against each other. I had to run extra hard on the downhills because she runs up hills I walk. Her boyfriend Brett placed a spectacular 2nd.

The Endurables Sydney and Sandrine, two more Golden Gate Triathlon Clubbers who have gotten into trail running and racing. Brett and Larissa got their start with Jim Vernon's group and he continues to train and equip runners for the trail.

On a day filled with cute girls, she was the cutest. Cami Ewart, newest Golden Gate Triathlon Club member.

Brett Rivers (2nd), Leor Pantilat (1st) and Jason Reed (3rd) for the 25k. Great guys, impressive times. Really impressed with Brett this year, 3 big and hilly 100-milers (HURT 100, Tahoe Rim Trail 100 and Pine to Palm 100) and three top 5 finishes - 2nd in Tahoe.

Devon Crosby-Helms and Leigh Schmidt, champions for the 50k.

Finally meeting Amy Flint Schmich, a buddy of a buddy. It's a small community, made even smaller by Facebook.

PCTR staff member, Mike Bohi, sporting one of the new PCTR jackets. I designed the logo and it never gets old seeing something that starts on sketch paper go to digital/computer and finally into actual marketing materials and gear - stuff I can hold, something tangible.

Leigh Moser and Monica Brennan. PCTR regulars and tireless volunteers. Leigh would actually run the 50k, late to the start because of her duties. No race without staff and volunteers and so I end with this image.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Inaugural Boggs 50k

Larissa, chilled and headed for registration.

The start, photo courtesy of RD Leor Pantilat.

Fresh from the warmth of Javelina, into the cold, misty fog of Boggs 50k. Boggs Mountain is about a 2.5 hour drive from San Francisco. Originally we had thought about camping the night before but the forecast of rain put a stop to those plans.

It was cold but not overly so and the rain held off until the afternoon. We had great running weather. The damp ground was in great shape and the moisture meant no dust. It was a really beautiful course. It reminded me of Mt. Tam a bit with all the trees and pine needle covered single track but not as technical and at least for the trails that we were on, not too hilly. There were two distances, the 25 and 50k. They were two different loops with some overlap, not a single 25k loop run twice for the 50k.

I came into the event with a training mindset but left the option to race if I felt good. Well about 2 miles into it I got lost and worst of it was, some people followed me into the wrong turn. Ah well, training it was then. At the bottom of the hill of this wrong turn Brian Wyatt was already there retracing his steps. On the way back up he run past our group and I decided to tag along. We would end up running the rest of the race together. That was a lot of fun and a memorable experience. Brian is one of my oldest friends in ultra and we always race against each other because we have comparable times. He always pulls away at the start and I eventually come creeping back up to him. Some days I catch him and some days I don't but we are always racing. Well this time, for the first time, we worked together and paced each other to a finish. I clocked a 5:56, a second behind Brian for 12th. We chased after our buddy Larissa Polischuk who we knew was in front but never caught up to her. That lady ground out a great race coming in third woman and her boyfriend Brett won the 25k event.

With Brian Wyatt shortly after our finish.

With RD Gary Gellin.

With RD Leor Pantilat.

The fire, right before it started pouring; Victoria in the pink beanie, Larissa with the crazy smile and Brett.

Lots of laughs at the finish but unfortunately it rained not too long after finishing and despite a fire, Brett, Larissa, Joel and I left. We were getting cold and damp. I never did get my free Lagunitas Beer but I did take home my post race burrito. Hopefully next year they hold the race again and the weather will still be cool but sunny. It was truly a beautiful, beautiful course with lots of single track. Kudos to Leor and Gary who worked very hard in putting this event together.

Boggs 50k race schwag which I thought was great. It's a triangular lunch box with a spork. It's made in Sweden which is awesome because I like Swedes and Swedish design and because I already have too many things made in China. The logo on the shirt is my creation but I thought they did a great job choosing a blue shirt to complement the colors of the logo - again great job Leor and Gary.