Thursday, October 24, 2013

Looking Back

A brief and long overdue report on Bighorn 100. I thought I'd delay the report a month for every hour past my goal time for the race:) Okay not really. I was just lazy about writing one until now.

Oh and comments are open to everyone again. Not even sure how that got switched to members only. Like I would set up a members only list.

With Javelina only a couple of days away, now is a good time to write this report and close the chapter on Bighorn 100 2013 edition. I've been thinking about the things that went wrong at that race and how I hope Javelina will be a much better experience. It seemed like only a couple of weeks ago when I was death marching the last hills of Bighorn thinking to myself, "I need another 100 this year to make up for this disaster". Also a big part of my excitement is that for the last 5 years I've been crewing and pacing Javelina. Now is my chance to earn my own "pig buckle" as Adam Blum calls it.

Whatever happens I just hope it's a race experience 180 degrees from the one I experienced at Bighorn. Oh it wasn't all bad. Bighorn was amazing in that I was running the race with good friends; Kara Teklinski, Dana Katz, Jon Lacanlale (same Jon who I paced at WS last year - we are forever bonded through that ridiculous yet awesome turn of events), Gary Gellin and Noe Castanon. And with them was more friends who were crewing and pacing. The course is spectacular, rugged and beautiful. It was also the first 100 that Masha got to participate and witness in person. She's never seen me at a 100 before. From a celebration standpoint, it was the best, I have great friends. From a performance standpoint, it pretty much sucked. On my right butt cheek it says "Owned by Bighorn 100".

  • I went into the race undertrained because of interruptions to my training; bad case of the flu which landed me in the emergency room and a $6k bill despite insurance and a problem with my sciatica which knocked me out for another 2.5 weeks - what I got trying to learn how to cross country ski.
  • Ran well the first 48 miles with the company and help of Dana and Kara.
  • Had nausea problems from miles 40 onwards which I believe was from the hammer gel. Hammer gel doesn't agree with me and I only used it because I ran out of my own gels at mile 25 and didn't have more until the turnaround at mile 48. This was crippling because I wasn't able to get in enough calories.
  • Experienced hypothermia for the first time, this was at the turnaround at mile 48. Kara and I ran in together to the turnaround wearing only our shirt and shorts that we started with despite having jackets in our packs. It was dark when we came in (race starts at 11 AM), the wind was up and the temperatures down. We were fine while we were moving but as soon as we stopped at the aid station to eat and change our temperature plummeted. Kara went down first and was attended to right away. I was able to leave after piling some layers on and choking down some hot noodle soup but was in bad shape and came right back to the aid station after only a few minutes. I couldn't stop shaking and had to borrow my wife's tights! Aid station folks were excellent and were ready for emergencies.
  • Walked a lot of the second half and came in at 31.5 hours, worse than my 30.5 in 2007.
But like I said it wasn't all bad.

  • Awesome friends who were running, crewing and pacing.
  • Running part of the race with Dana and Kara.
  • Running the last 5 miles of the race, non-stop with Dana and Brian. The last 5 miles is road and it's slightly uphill. I had just entered the section, walking, when Dana and Brian caught up to me and got me to run with them. Brian was pacing Dana but he pushed both of us to give all we had left. With 5 miles to go I just sucked it up not wanting to be left behind. Dana complained audibly by mile 3. I cried on the inside but we did finish together.
  • Misery loves company. I wasn't the only one who had a bad day and it was good to swap stories at the awards ceremony the next day.
  • Great course, great people. Like the first time, I felt welcome and celebrated.
  • The beer is good.

So the goal is to have the same amount of fun but have a better race. Lots of friends are going again, Javelina is popular with the Bay Area crowd and Dana and Kara will be there as well. Kara is running and Dana is pacing and crewing Kara.

I feel great about this race and I'm as ready as I'm going to be; spirit, mind and body all in harmony. Hamstring feels a lot better! Will it translate to a good race or another finish, we shall see. Anything can happen right? Will it be number 15 for me, I'm excited to find out!

Reunited and it feels so good... Haha, back together with Jon at a brewery in Billings, Montana the Thursday before the race.

Photo courtesy of Maria Sharoglazova. Seeing America! Masha totally stoked to get out of California and see other states. This totally reminds me of that scene in "Red October " where the Russian officer says "I want to see Montana". Yes, yes I know the sign says Wyoming but on the other side of the freeway it says welcome to Montana.

Courtesy of Jessica Fewless_3
Photo courtesy of Jessica Fewless. Our gang, dinner the night before the race.

Courtesy of Jessica Fewless_2
Photo courtesy of Jessica Fewless. At the start, all kinds of happy and smiles.

Courtesy of Jessica Fewless_1
Photo courtesy of Jessica Fewless. Still smiling at mile 80. I was feeling all kinds of crappy but I was confident I was going to finish the sucker. Besides I didn't know at this point that it was going to be another 30+ hours finish.

Courtesy of Maria Sharoglazova_1
Photo courtesy of Maria Sharoglazova. Finisher's photo after the award ceremony. We all wished we had better races except for the guy third from the left, Jason Lehman, he kicked butt and placed 8th. Those cheetah shorts also come in yellow and black.

Courtesy of Maria Sharoglazova_2
More hanging with Dana and gang before heading home to San Francisco.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Race Week

This morning at 6:30 AM I was woken up by what I can only describe as soft, muffled sounds that would go in and out. It sounded a bit eerie actually but as my head cleared I realized it was the start of the Nike Women's Marathon. I'm only 4 blocks from the start at Union Square but this is the first time I've heard it. Well it was a warm night and I had left a window open. It brought back memories of the time when I used to volunteer at the race. Then thinking about NWM made me think about Javelina next weekend and I wasn't able to get back to sleep after that.

Two weeks of taper done, one more to go. I like a three week taper for the hundred milers and I enjoy it, no going stir crazy for running less. The summer has definitely been much better training wise than the winter and spring was and I wanted the rest. I hardly had any problems this time around and had a number of great runs. I even got a 50k race on the schedule; a muddy, foggy, windy and wet affair with Masha chasing me all over the place finishing only 20 minutes behind and coming in 4th woman (she closed to 12). It was her first ultra too. I was pretty proud, she had a great race.

I didn't come out of training and racing totally unscathed however. I strained my left hamstring on that 50k and it's been bothering me since. On my last long run it was quite unhappy with me so I cut my mileage way back once tape started. Not the kind of taper I had in mind but it's been working. I've been careful not to aggravate the cranky hamstring any further – been going easy on the runs and even walking my uphills. I'm happy to say it's been responding well to TLC which has also included a lot of icing, stretching and even some body work. It's been feeling great and I have one more week to go.

Most important of all I feel spiritually centered. I'm operating from a great and blessed place. I'm all lined up, from top to bottom, and I plan to keep it that way:) I'm feeling good heading into this weekend.
Post race photo at the San Francisco Running Company with; Keli, Masha, Jorge and Denise. Jorge won the race and set a new record.

Being on taper has freed up time for other activities. That's Masha in the red cap, trying her hand on outrigger canoeing courtesy of the Tamalpais Canoe Club. They were great hosts and even threw us a bbq afterwards. I stayed on photo and video duty for the whole day, content to watch and not try something new this close to a big race. Knowing myself, I'd end up pulling something!