Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sonoma and Napa

Ian Sharman and Devon Crosby-Helms at mile 8 of the Napa Marathon. Ian would end up finishing 7th and I believe, achieve the fastest marathon for a runner dressed as Elvis in the Guinness Book of World Records. Devon would finish 6th, first woman and break the course record set in 1992 by Diana Fitzpatrick by 5 seconds. Awesome right. Devon had also won the women's race in 2007. Incidentally, Diana and her husband Tim are the new race directors for the Tamalpa Headlands 50k.

Well this past weekend was quite calm and laid back mostly because my body was fighting through another bug. Maybe a bug, I say that because I didn't feel sick. I had none of the usual cold symptoms just some minor sinus congestion, sinus pressure and lot's of fatigue. No idea what it was just that it knocked me on my butt for 3 days. Great, like I'm not slow enough these days. Usually I have allergies this time of the year so I started taking allergy medicine again and just got more sleep. Felt better by the weekend but I cut out the long run. Now I feel super, even better than before, so strange but I'm not complaining. I'm up to two speeds now; slow and not so slow. Soon I'll get more of my gears back!

So it was a good thing that the weekend before was fun enough for two weekends. It started Saturday morning when a group of us headed up to Lake Sonoma for another training run. This time we ran it counter clockwise which caused it's own problems but now I'm confident that I won't get lost on that course if I ever run the race. Unfortunately we took a shortcut and only ran 20 or so miles so I can't technically say that I've done a 50 at Lake Sonoma:) We took longer than expected so we rushed the changing and clean up and hit a winery for some wine tasting in Sonoma. We only had time for one but this small winery specialized in big reds, my favorite. I could have stayed there and had a couple more glasses. From there we hit the town of Healdsburg for some food then on to Petaluma to visit our friend Chris and have dinner with him. The night was spent in a motel room in Petaluma so we could watch friends run the Napa Marathon in the morning. Reason 101 why you know you are a runner: you are willing to sleep in the floor of a small motel room with 3 other people just to watch other people run. Not the first time that has happened and probably won't be the last.

We were up at 6AM, the ladies and Randy were done getting ready by 6:20 but I needed till 6:30:) Stopped off for some coffee and were off, racing to Napa to catch our runners at the mile 8 mark. We would catch them again at 18 before finally seeing them again at the finish line. Our Thursday morning run group, the Ninjas, had a great showing with three of them in the top 10; Nathan 4th, Victor 5th and first in his age group, Devon 6th and first female. We stayed for the awards ceremony, helped Devon with her haul of wine before finally making our way back to San Francisco.

The weather all weekend was sunny and warm, it got too warm at Napa for the runners in fact. When we got to San Francisco I was glad to see that it was sunny there too. You never know with San Francisco, it can be foggy and cold in the city while it's sunny and warm everywhere else.

I hope you enjoy the pictures. It was such a great weekend of good weather,running trails, indulging in good food and wine, catching up with friends and spectating at a great event. Incredibly blessed, my cup overflows.

Jenn, Mary Beth, Larissa and Charles on the Lake Sonoma 50-mile course.

Jenn carefully making her way across the log, what is not pictured are the thorn bushes on the other end which is giving her pause.

Wine tasting in Sonoma. Unfortunately we only had time for one winery after our run although that may be a good thing. This place only had big California reds - my favorite.

One of my favorite pictures from the weekend. Jenn finishing off a glass, mud from the days run still on her legs. Actually we all had mud on our legs after the run. There was no bathroom facilities at the parking lot and we ran out of wipes:)

With Randy outside the winery's tasting room. Don't know why I was sneering.

Finally getting some solid food at Healdsburg, nice place, my first time in the town.

The bbq oysters were awesome, reminded me of summer days in Honolulu where I had them for the first time.

Victor Ballesteros, 5th at mile 18, he would finish 5th and first in his age group.

Nathan finishing 4th overall.

Catching up with Ian afterwards.

Devon, shortly after saying a few words to the crowd.

Unfortunately with the good there is also the not so good, my buddy John Branderhorst after his 3:15 marathon. He's disappointed because he was on pace for another sub-3 hour marathon until cramps got the better of him. In my best form and lightest weight, maybe, just maybe I could hit a 3:15 but I get it. It's always a disappointment when a goal slips away like that.

Quick lunch break at Oxbow where I witnessed Devon and Nathan wolf down their food while dressed for the slopes in their puffy jackets, sunglasses and beanies while sitting outside in the sun. They even had the heat lamp on but turned it off when we sat with them. I guess they were totally running on empty:) I had mercy on myself and my knees and had a salad.

Rushed back for the awards ceremony where we witnessed Devon getting her weight in wine for being first woman.

Champions and AG winners also got magnums.

Victor with his AG award. This was his first marathon, great job Victor.

This was my reward on Sunday, an unnamed pasty from Bouchon with my coffee. It was spectacular, like a circus in my mouth and I can't wait to visit Bouchon again.

For more pictures click here.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Too Long Too Soon

Ugh, this past week my legs have been feeling heavy, rightfully so since I over reached a bit last weekend. I was hoping for a run of 30-34 miles and ended up with 40. It was nice to surpass my own goals I guess but more than that I really had fun. It felt great. Don't get me wrong I was quite tired towards the end of the run. I was crawling along, sore and ready to stop by 30 miles but the work itself felt great, the suffering felt great. I enjoyed the time alone in that exhausted state, self-motivating and self-entertaining myself. It reminded me of all those long races where I ran without a pacer, plugging away by my lonesome being my own best companion.

The day started with a double on the Dipsea trail, 14.2 miles and a good amount of climbing. I then joined two friends who wanted to extend their run to 20-21 miles by running to Muir Woods and back and from there I ran back to San Francisco, an additional 20 or so miles. Long day but a satisfying and fruitful one.

I've got a long way to go before I'm strong again. I felt like the mental was simply babysitting the physical. My mind said "keep running!" and my body said "huff…puff…puff…no way, I'm walking". Ah well there is still March, April and May - hoping to get much, much stronger by then. We'll see.

Have a great weekend everyone and enjoy the pictures!

This area of the Dipsea trail was washed away in 2006 and it's been finally fixed. No more running on the road. The detour wasn't terrible and it was short but trail trumps road.

Where's the trail?! The section is attached to the side of the tree.

Amy providing a scale reference.

Rachel above Muir Woods.

With Rachel and Mike as we exited Muir Woods National Park. Both are running the American River 50-miler and wanted to at least hit 20 miles for the day.