Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tahoe Rim Trail 100 Mile Run - July 17, 2010

I had great expectations for myself going into the TRT 100 Mile. I was not selected from the lottery to run WS 2010, but I had the pacing opportunity of a lifetime to pace Mark Lantz at WS 2010. Coming off of training with Lantz and Skaden, I was very excited for the big day at the TRT 100 confident I would have a strong finish.

As many of you know, many times races do not go as hoped for. My wonderful supportive wife was with me at the 5 am start time. I quickly settled into a comfortable pace ready to run smart and finish strong. At the 11 mile aid station before dropping to the Red House Loop, I grabbed a handful of cantaloupe and continued down the trail. I took about 5 bites or so until my brain registered that something didn't taste quite right. The cantaloupe in my hand did not taste very good at all. I spit out what was left in my mouth and when I looked at the remaining pieces in my hand I realized it looked off color and pretty squishy. Not thinking much of it, I tossed it aside and continued running.

On my way down to the Diamond Peak aid station, about mile 25 into the race, I started feeling a sharp pain in my lower stomach. I knew I handle elevation really well, so I thought it may have been some gas cramps or something minor like that. At the Diamond Peak aid station, I ate a little and said hi to Holly. After the quick stop, I headed up the steep climb. By this point it was late morning and the sun was starting to beat down on me climbing up the exposed ski run. This section really churned my stomach to a mess. Once I reached the top I knew something was wrong with my stomach.

I progressed from one aid station to the next, but found myself quickly losing my appetite and slowing down. My stomach got worse and worse. I finally could not eat anymore and was just praying I could throw up to get rid of whatever was in my stomach to re-start. No such luck. I began taking longer breaks at the aid stations, and noticed a handful of other people also with stomach problems. I never give up and am always determined to finish whatever I start even if it takes me forever, but this time I really wanted to drop out at Mile 50. At Snow Peak aid station approximately Mile 44 or so, I had made up my mind that I was going to drop at Mile 50 checkpoint as there are only two spots to drop the entire race. I walked much of the downhill towards the Mile 50 mark. I finally puked just a tiny bit about a mile from the 50 Mile aid station. This was a welcome relief, but I could tell there was still much to come. I had no idea how much would be coming though.

When I got to the 50 medical check I had already lost 10 pounds, very close to the cutoff of being able to pull me from the course. Coming into the aid station I had already made up my mind that it just wasn't my day and I was going to drop. Mark Lantz was there at the aid station with Holly waiting there to be my "safety runner" from mile 50 back to Diamond Peak. When I approached Mark, I had the look in my eyes of "no matter what you say, I am going to drop." Without saying anything, Mark looked at me straight in the eyes and communicated "Come on Pansy, don't even think about it. We are going to get through this." And just like that, he strapped my headlamp on me and helped me grab a couple things to eat. He knew I was messed up as I took a lot longer than expected, but he made sure I knew not to let it show to Holly and her family that was there so they wouldn't worry.

Mark and I took off, and just as we turned the corner out of site, I puked again, but this was very productive coming from deep within my stomach. After that was out, I felt much better and we took off. We had some good speed for about 30 minutes or so and then again, I had a puke attack. This was the beginning of a very long night. Long story short, I would puke a few times every half hour. All the contents in my stomach were emptied each time. When we got to aid stations, Mark was trying every concoction he had up his sleeve to cure me of my sour stomach, but nothing was working. Right when I left the aid stations, my body would immediately reject the nutrition I had just put in there. At mile 70 or so I was becoming severely dehydrated and weak. It took every once of strength and morale to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Mark did a great job as always keeping pressure on me through his words to keep moving.

We finally made it back down to the Diamond Peak Aid station at about mile 83 around 2:30 am or so. There I met up with Holly, Rena Lantz, and Erik Skaden. It was a great sight to finally see all of them again. By this point I was still about 10 pounds under my starting weight and still could not keep any fluids or food in.

Eric Johnson trying to "keep it in" at Diamond Peak aid station (aprox 83 miles) with Mark Lantz at 2:20am.

Before I got too cold, Holly and Erik rushed me into the lodge and had me lay back in a reclining chair and threw a bunch of blankets on me. Erik brought me some broth to try and get down, so I sat there for about 5 minutes. I soon began to shiver uncontrollably, so Holly and Erik stripped me from my sweat drenched jersey and dressed me in my long sleeved performance shirt. While Holly, Erik, and Rena were taking care of me, Mark was briefing my friend Lamont Hurren on my condition and his task at hand to help me make it to the finish line by motivation and not letting me give up. As the fear of hypothermia setting in began to grow, they all kicked me back out onto the trail to leave the aid station and continue my journey.

Eric Johnson and Erik Skaden at Mile 83, Diamond Peak lodge approx 2:30 am

Erik grabbed my broth and walked with Lamont and I up the steep ascent up the face of the ski run. I was still so weak, at this point all I could do is walk about 100 feet then, lay flat on my back on large granite rocks for a few minutes until I had enough strength to walk another 100 feet or so up the hill. Each time I stopped, just taking a very tiny sip of broth per recommendation of Erik. Each time I was about to puke, Erik and Lamont made me stop and focus hard on keeping it in.

Erik turned back to the lodge after about a half mile, and Lamont and I continued pressing up the hill. It seemed like forever! The ski slope never ended. Finally I made it to the top. Taking Erik's advice I actually made it to the top without puking, but that was short lived. The vomiting continued again very shortly after we got to the top and I tried running again. It was to the point, where vomiting actually felt very good and I looked forward to it, cause after I vomited I could run for about 5-10 minutes before my stomach felt really bad again.

Lamont decided I had better take a little more time at the main aid station about 13 miles from the finish. He had me drink fluids and just sit in the chair for about a half hour so my body could at least absorb something. We stay there for about a half hour, then continued on. Of course the vomiting continued once again. By this time the sun was barely starting to come up as it was already 5:30 am the next morning. Before the race started the morning before, I was hoping to have already finished by that time!

I was still very weak and dehydrated, but we pressed on. I continued vomiting, walking, and taking breaks to lay flat on my back for a few minutes on the huge granite rocks. I was surviving solely on my Clif Shot Gels and any kind of fluid I could get. This continued until we made it back up to the Snow Peak aid station. I got there at about 8:00 am or so. Some fellow Boy Scouts were there and one offered me some strawberry frozen yogurt. Desperate for anything that would stay in my stomach, I ate some. As I sat in the chair eating the frozen yogurt, I realized my stomach was now finally accepting it again. Astonished, I decided to try drinking from my Camelbak bottles again. I was able to now keep fluids down! Excited I sat there for another 10 minutes just stuffing my face to get some energy back.

Lamont and I took off. This was the turning point. The food poisoning that was causing so much misery was finally going away 24 hours later. With my stomach now processing food again, I had a new found energy. With only 7 miles left and much of it downhill, Lamont and I took off towards the finish line as fast as I could. Since I wasn't able to run a lot up to this point, my legs still felt pretty fresh. We picked up the pace hitting close to 7 minute miles. We kept that going all the way down the hill and to the finish line catching and passing about 6 people. We came in with a strong finish, happy it was over. I finished 24th overall with a time of 28:30 hrs, which qualified me for the silver belt buckle. I weighed in still under 10 pounds, but my legs still felt very good as I was not able to run much. That was a very disappointing feeling for me to know that there was so much more I could have pushed, but was not able to due to the food poisoning.

At finish still 10 pounds under starting wieght.

Being the true public accountant that I am, I counted approximately 42 times total that I puked! I never ever have to puke. All in all, this was a race I will never forget. I learned several things about myself that I do not think I could have ever learned otherwise. One is how powerful mind over matter really is! And how with strong determination and will power, you can accomplish anything in life that you set your mind to. I really had to dig deep! This experience has allowed me to help motivate others and has provided a great story that I have already had to privilage to share at Boy Scout Encampments, Youth Groups, and Young Women's groups.

A huge thank you to my wonderful wife Holly, Mark, Erik, Rena, and Lamont! I couldn't have hung in there mentally without all of you! Until next time! Keep it real!

Eric Johnson and Lamont Hurren at finish!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Best Wishes to Everyone at Western States This Saturday!

Well with only two days left before WS 2010, I want to wish everyone who will be running the full 100, pacing someone, crewing someone, driving someone, etc the best this weekend at Western States! This is officially a snow year so the course is a little different. The runners will now drop down a "fairly lush dirt road" from the Granite Chief Wilderness to French Meadows Reservoir to drop elevation and avoid the worst of the snow. Even with this, there will be approximately 10-15 miles of snow to run through. It will be a very exciting race! The course will be faster than normal in the beginning with the new detour so we might see some over confident runners going to fast in the beginning and blowing up their race towards the end. Here is a chunk of an email I received the other day from a fellow runner talking about the new detour (you may have to copy and paste the links into your browser):

If I understand correctly, the trail section along French Meadows Reservoir is called McGuire Trail; it goes to the Poppy Campground so it is also referred to as the Poppy Trail. I think it would be faster/easier than the traditional route along Red Star Ridge (especially since it would mean no snow after Hodgson's Cabin). Instead of running up to Lyons, then rolling along Red Star Ridge, it would be about 10 miles of steeper then very gentle downhill on a smooth dirt road, then along the lakeside trail. The trail description for McGuire Trail says it’s easy enough to be enjoyed by the entire family. I'm guessing that there will be some rolling along the lake, but the only significant uphill would be 150 feet up from the lake to the DC aid station. It would also mean running at 5000 feet elevation instead of 7000'. Red Star Ridge is deceptively hard on runners: It has enough rocks to step over and short ups and downs at altitude to take something out of the legs of runners who push that section. On the other hand, smooth dirt roads could lull the runners into going too hard too early.

With the quality of this year's field, I expect exciting competition and hammered legs whatever course they choose.

Here's some information on the alternate route:

See page 8 of this document: http://www.fs.fed.us/r5/tahoe/documents/rec/fh_trail_rog.pdf

Here's a map that shows the trail: http://relicensing.pcwa.net/Documents/PAD/P2079%20PAD/PAD%20SD%20A-I/SD%20H%20Proposed%20Technical%20Study%20Plans/Appendix%20A/Large%20Format%20Maps/10%20Map%20LAND%201.1%201of5.pdf

And the same map with topo lines: http://relicensing.pcwa.net/Documents/PAD/P2079%20PAD/PAD%20SD%20A-I/SD%20B%20Project%20Description/Large%20Format%20Maps/Map%20SD%20B%202a.pdf

I hope that info was beneficial to someone! Here is a list of my top ten finisher predictions:

1. Hal Koerner
2. Geoff Roes
3. Anton Krupicka
4. Anita Ortiz
5. Andy Jones-Wilkins
6. Jady Palko
7. Rob Evans
8. Victor Ballesteros
9. John Nichols
10.Nikki Kimball
Honorable mentions: Erik Skaden, Mark Lantz, and Kilian Jornet Burgada.

Maybe I will see some of you up at Squaw on Friday, or out on the race course Saturday! I will be pacing Mark Lantz (Bib # M9) from Foresthill to the finish. Wishing you the best!

Monday, May 31, 2010

May 29, 2010 "Footlong Run" with Erik Skaden and Mark Lantz

I know the name of our run might be a little confusing, but I will explain. No, we didn't just run one foot. At the beginning, Erik and Mark were talking about some other epic "Ice Cream Sandwich Runs" on some other blogs and decided that we needed something epic as well. Some early suggestions were: a "Snickers Run," "Twinkie Run," "Pizza Run," "Burrito Run," etc. until we had a craving for a foot long sandwich at Subway in Foresthill.

We started early in the day and began working our way up to Foresthill following the WS trail. Early into the run we decided to make it an epic "Subway Run," which eventually turned into the "Foot Long Run."

Once in Foresthill, we headed straight for the Subway. At this point we had run 32 miles and I was getting pretty hungry and a little low on energy. The $5 Foot long sandwich was sounding really good to me as I just wanted to scarf down anything and everything I could find. I bought a fountain drink and some salt and vinegar chips (my favorite) as well to complete the meal. I originally didn't plan to eat the whole foot long thinking it would be too much in my stomach to run the remaining 18 miles without puking or having problems. Erik ordered a fountain drink, chips, and a 6" sub. So me finishing the entire foot long, 2 fountain drinks, a bag of chips, and making it back to the cars 18 miles away with no problems was now a challenge. I accepted the challenge. We enjoyed our meals and continued on our way down the WS trail. Every once in a while Erik would remind me that I just stuffed my face and was curious how I was feeling. I was happy to say that I did just fine on the way back to our cars. There were a few hickups and a couple scares that something may be on it's way up, but nothing else. :)

Monday, May 17, 2010

May 15, 2010 Silver State 50 Mile Run Reno, Nevada

On Saturday May 15, 2010 I ran the Silver State 50 Mile Run in Reno, Nevada to top off a busy week of travel and work. The previous Saturday I flew back to Salt Lake City, Utah and spent the entire week there at the SLC Ernst & Young office for New Senior Training. It was an exciting week as I learned what my new responsibilities will be as a new Senior in our firm running an audit engagement. In the evenings after training I was able to visit my Grandma, and other family and friends that I don't get to see very often. I was also able to visit with my Mission President and his wife, who I got to know very well while I served a two year mission for my church. I also enjoyed sight seeing around downtown SLC. With all the work and fun, I was only able to get a couple treadmill runs in at the hotel. Just enough to know that my new Montrail Masochist shoes shouldn't cause too many blisters during the big 50 mile run in a few days since the shoes were brand new.

My plane landed at 4 pm in Sacramento on Friday afternoon and Holly was there ready to pick me up. I threw my luggage in the car and headed straight for home real quick to pack my race gear, then continued our drive up to Reno. We arrived around 7:30 pm at Eclipse Pizza where the packet pickup is. We ordered a medium pizza and met up with Erik Skaden. The three of us enjoyed pizza, telling stories, and talking a little race strategy for the next morning. Erik was hoping to run together at least the first 20 miles. I agreed, but threw in the disclaimer that since the AR50 I only averaged running 20 miles a week because life got so busy with moving and trying to purchase a home. I hadn't run any hills since the AR50 (a month before Silver State) so I was not sure how my body would react to the shock of climbing 9,200 ft and descending 9,200 ft at high elevation. Close to 9 pm we split our ways with Erik and headed to our hotel.

The next morning the alarm went off at 4:50 am. I put on my race gear, zapped an egg burritto in the microwave I bought at a gas station, and filled my Camelbak handheld bottles with my Clif Shot electrolyte drink mix. Holly and I arrived at the start line at Rancho San Rafael Park in Reno with about 10 minutes to spare before the race start at 6 am. I quickly put on my sunscreen, waist pack, and strapped on my Camelbak handheld water bottles. We ran over to the start line to meet up with Erik. The gun went off and I hung with Erik. The first 12 miles of this race are uphill and climb to the top of Mt. Peavine Summit. We kept our pace relatively conservative on the way up. After 9 miles or so, I could tell that my body was a little too "fresh"(lack of training) for this pace as I had not been running too much and I was starting to feel like I needed to back off a bit if I was going to save any energy for the second half of the race. I let Erik know I felt I needed to slow down my pace a little, so I told him to feel free to take off and not let me hold him back.

At the top of Mt. Peavine I filled my Camelbak bottles, had a salt tab, and ate a couple of my Clif Shot Gels. The more races I do, the more basic my diet gets. During my races now, I just use my Clif Shot Gels, Bloks, drink mix, and occasional salt tabs. When I first started ultra running, I was wolfing down a lot of food early in the race, but it seems like the body adapts over time and becomes more efficient. After cresting Mt. Peavine, we drop down the other side and work our way down to a 12-13 mile trail loop that crosses the border into California. This downhill is a great opportunity to pick up so time and let gravity take me. On the way down we had to run through a few patches of snow, but nothing.

The back loop in California is very beautiful. From the high desert landscape we enter a forest with large trees that offer plenty of shade. The view from the top of Peavine is very impressive as well. On the way down the back side of Peavine, the Sierra Nevada's on the California side offer an amazing backdrop of trees and snow capped mountains. I think I hit my first wall when I started at the bottom of Pevine on this large loop. I felt like I was running in slow motion. My quads were already starting to scream to me wondering what this shock was that I was subjecting them to again after the little break they had from all of those hills. For this race I didn't have any big expectations for myself, I just wanted to enjoy it as much as possible and use it as a jump start training run to get back into racing shape. With that in mind, on this back loop I was a little less rushed at the aid stations and I walked a little more up the hills, anticipating a tough uphill climb out of Boomtown back up Peavine.

To finish this back loop we about halfway up Peavine and take a trail for a couple miles around the side until we reach another trail where we drop straight down for three miles to Boomtown. By this point the sun is out and we are back in the high desert with no shade. The past 10 miles or so up to this point I had been in my "slump." Once I started charging downhill towards Boomtown I started feeling much better. I made it down to Boomtown at a good pace. I took my Clif Shot Gel, filled my bottles and turned around to head straight back up the way that I had come down. Once to the top of the three mile stretch, we continue straight up for 3 more miles back to the top of Peavine. On this stretch I caught up with the legendary Gordy Ansleigh (first one to run WS100) who was running the 50k. We talked for about five minutes while walking up the steep part of the hill. He had some funny stories to tell as usual.

Once to the top of Peavine there are only 10 miles left to the finish and it is mainly all downhill. At the top of Peavine I took another Clif Shot Gel, a salt tab, and filled my bottles. I took off on my next 10 mile downhill journey. At this point I was still feeling fine so I pushed my pace. I have learned that when you feel good, you need to take advantage and go because you will inevitably hit another wall. Fortunately this time I felt good the whole way down to the finish. I kicked it in with everything that I could muster and finished in 8 hrs and 43 mins, 9th overall. Holly was there to snap a few photos of me finishing and celebrate the finish. I cleaned up a little with the hose and ate at the BBQ they had for all of the runners. Holly and I hung out in the picnic table area for a while analyzing the race with Erik. I signed up for a free massage from the local school that was there and then we headed down the hill back home. My next race is going to be the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 mile on July 17th, but I might try to find another 50 mile race soon. I will be pacing at WS so I will see everyone out there! The best of luck to those who are in your final training days leading up to WS!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Just Returned From Maui, HI!

Aloha! Holly and I just returned from a week in Maui! It was great to spend some quality time together as I have finished my official "busy season" in public accounting! One benefit of working so much is that in just the last year I have accumulated a lot of Marriott Rewards points with all of the traveling I do for work. Therefore, we were able to stay for seven nights at the Wailea Marriott for free and get the rental car for the whole week free as well by using my points (Otherwise we would not have been able to go.) Before we got to Maui we didn't make any official plans of what we were going to do while we were there, but just planned on taking it one day at a time. We ended up spending a lot of time snorkeling, boogie boarding, sight seeing, lounging around, eating Julia's Banana Bread (best banana bread on island), and watching Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston, and Nicole Kidman film "Just Go With It" right next to our hotel. I was able to get a few shorter runs in but nothing too long.

Now back to reality! A few weeks ago we found out we needed to move out of the house we have been house sitting for the past two years, so we have been pretty busy trying to figure out where we will be living. We are looking to buy a house in the area we now live in and it has proven to be hard at the moment to keep a regular running training schedule. This week I was given the opportunity to run the Miwok 100k tomorrow as I was on the waiting list, but gave it up since we are moving out of our house today and tomorrow. I hope to get back into a regular running routine soon as I plan to run the Silver State 50 Mile run in Reno, Nevada in a couple of weeks. I plan to enjoy this race as a "training run" and not set a specific time or finish place goal. Today I just received an email from the Race Director of the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 Mile Run (July 17th) inviting me to register for the race as some extra spots have opened up and I am currently on the waiting list! Very Exciting! As my name was not drawn for WS 100 Mile Run this year :( I will be pacing another runner at WS instead of racing it. Hope I can get in next year!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

2010 American River 50 Mile Run, April 10, Sacramento to Auburn, CA

It seemed as if all the stars aligned for a near perfect race! I finished in 6 hrs and 44 mins, just 4 minutes off my goal time. This was a 14 minute PR for me at this race and a 40 minute improvement from last year at this race. I finished 17th overall out of about 650 starters.

The morning started at 4:15 am to a couple of noisy alarm clocks. My wife and I usually set at least one extra backup alarm each night in case the first one does not go off, but this morning I made sure I had at least three set. I snuck around the house as quiet as possible so as to not disturb my wife’s sleep. The night before I like to set everything out in the living room so it is all ready to go. I put on my jersey, filled my Camelbak bottles with my Clif Shot electrolyte drink mix, and scrambled about five eggs with a lot of pepper jack cheese. I scarfed down the eggs, loaded the car, and drove by my friend Lamont’s house to pick him up. This was his first ultra and he was very excited to venture into the land of the unknown pushing himself further than a marathon for the first time.

We arrived at the start line in Sacramento across the river from Sac State at just about the right time with 20 minutes to spare. I was excited to make it to the start on time this year as the last two years I arrived after everyone had already left the starting area. I worked my way up towards the front and found myself pretty close when the race started. I quickly fell into my pre-determined pace of about 7:10 miles so as to average about 7:30 at Beal’s Point (mile 26.7) given the brief stops at the aid stations along the way.

From the start to Beal’s Point is mainly on the paved bike trail. After about 7-8 miles I could tell that my joints were not as accustomed to running on the pavement, so I ran on the dirt alongside the pavement for much of this section. I felt very comfortable sticking to the 7:10 sometimes dipping to 6:40 mile pace. There was not much movement as far as places go for this section. I caught up to a few people, but I had been running with several of the runners around me since nearly the start. For nutrition I decided to go pretty basic again just using one Camelbak handheld bottle, eating the Clif Shot gels, and taking an occasional salt tab.

I arrived at Beal’s Point in 20th place overall. I refilled my water bottle, and found my wife Holly at a bench near the aid station. Holly is the best wife ever, always showing love and support, having things laid out for me at aid stations, keeping track of what place I am in, and taking photos. She also gives me gentle encouragement telling me that I am going too slow :). I am not sure how she does it all, but I’m very grateful! While Holly briefed me on my current place, etc, I switched from my road running shoes to my trail shoes. One of my other runner friends Jan, who helped crew at my WS 100 mile race, was also at Beal’s to offer encouragement. I tied my shoes, stuffed my mouth with some Clif Shot Bloks, and headed on my way down the trail. My average pace to Beal’s was about 7:20/mile so I was a little ahead of pace for what I wanted. I was feeling very good and ready to hit the trails. From prior experience, many runners start to fade and get tired on the trail section, but I had some solid training in this year on the trail so I was very confident to run the trail section well.

I took off and quickly caught up to and passed some people that passed me while I was changing shoes. I kept on trukin to the Granite Bay aid station (mile 32), where Holly and my friend from work Kendall Church was waiting to pace me the rest of the way. I re-fueled and we took off. The first 4-5 miles after Granite Bay proves to be a challenge with many rocks, logs, poison oak, small creeks, etc to jump over and dodge. It is also constant up and down terrain so it is a section that will quickly drain the unprepared of their energy. Fortunately this section is close to where we live so I had some solid training on this terrain and was ready to conquer it. Kendall and I flew through that section with no problems.

After that the trail still has rolling hills, but is much smoother, not as much to jump over or dodge. At this moment we were really able to pick up the pace at times running 6:45/mile or so. We started to catch and pass other runners. We made our stops at the aid stations quick, just enough time to refill my bottle and down a gel. We kept the fast pace up to the last 3.5 miles where we climb over a thousand feet from the American River up to the Overlook in Auburn. We started the climb out of the canyon and pushed ourselves as hard as we could. For the most part we were able to keep close to a 9:00/mile pace up the hill. As much as I was hurting at this point, I was able to harness what I had left.

We pushed hard all the way to the top and sprinted in to the finish. My goal was to run this in 6 hrs and 40 mins. I was 4 mins slower than my goal, but very happy and satisfied as this was my new personal record by 14 mins. Waiting at the finish to celebrate with me was Holly and her family.

I received my finisher’s jacket, hosed off and cleaned up a bit, then got a hamburger and hot dog to eat. I also had a quick deep tissue massage by Veloyce at Monsters of Massage which hurt so good and enjoyed talking with some other runner friends. Kendall took off on his road bike down to the office to do a little work, and Holly and I watched Lamont come in. He did very well for his first 50 mile run and had a fun time. Overall this was a perfect day. The weather was even overcast with cool temperatures and I accomplished all of my goals. As always, a big thank you to my wonderful wife Holly, and my sponsors Camelbak and Clif Bar, all of the volunteers, and Kendall the awesome pacer! Kendall will be running his first ultra this coming Saturday, the Skyline to the Sea 50k. I know he will do great!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

2010 Rucky Chucky 50k March 20 Foresthill, CA

I finished 4th overall at the Rucky Chucky 50k in Foresthill, CA. My time was 5 hrs 1 min. This is a pretty tough race. It started off not so good for me. I was up near the front and after about a mile or so my right shoe started to come untied, even though I had double knotted it, and my heart rate monitor strap was a little loose slipping down. I stopped, tightened my monitor strap, and double knotted my shoe again. I took off and about half a mile later my shoe came untied again! This time I did a triple knot and tucked the lace underneath the lower part of the laces. My laces still felt a little crusty and inflexible from Way Too Cool 50k the Saturday before. At this point many people had already passed me and the leaders were a good 3-4 minutes in front of me so I knew I would have to make up some ground.

I took off again and it seemed like I was still feeling the effects of the race (WTC 50k) the weekend before as I felt a little drained of energy. I felt like that for the first 8 miles, but then after that I kicked into another gear and started to feel a lot better. At this point I started catching more people and moving back up in ranks. When we got down to the turn around at the river I was in 6th place. The climb out of the canyon was pretty tough. I caught the fifth place guy with about 8 miles left and passed him. With three miles left I turned a corner to walk up a very steep hill and I saw the 4th place guy. By this point we were both hurting and the usual thought of "why the heck am I doing this" was running through my mind. I laugh cause when we saw each other we both knew it was going to be a race to the end, but I felt like we were moving as slow as snails trying to climb out the rest of the canyon. My plan was to just keep him in sight so I could out kick him the last 3/4 mile once we got back to the pavement in town. I kept him in sight all the way to the last mile until I turned a corner and he wasn't there anymore. I was very confused. Either he took a wrong turn somewhere or he really picked up the pace. I finished strong and did not see him at the finish. Five minutes passed and he finally finished. He took a wrong turn. This race is stayed basic again for my nutrition needs. I ran with two Camelbak handheld water bottles, and ate my Clif Shot Bloks and Shot Gels, and an occasional salt tab.

I am happy with my 4th overall finish and 1st age group (if they would have had a 20-29 division). It was a warm day, and a great training run with some very good hills. The next couple of weeks I will fit in at least 30 miles on the Saturday mornings to get ready for the American River 50 Mile run on April 10, 2010!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

2010 Way Too Cool 50k Cool, CA

My 2010 racing season is off to a great start! I ran the Way Too Cool 50k this past Saturday (13 Mar 2010.) In normal standards of training, I was off to a late start revving up my training for this ultra season. As a public financial statement auditor and most CPA's and accountants in general, this is the prime busy season mainly running from January to April. During busy season it is not uncommon to work about 65hr weeks (usually Monday thru Friday). This makes it a little hard to get some quality training runs in during the week, but I have been able to at least get out and run at least twice during the week. During the week I am usually able to be seen running under the street lights of Rocklin around 11pm to 12am. During busy season I highly depend on the early morning Saturday long runs to get my body into ultra running shape. Anyways, now you know about the late training start for the ultra season I face each year with work. It is time to get back to the Way Too Cool 50k.

Erik Skaden and Mark Lantz both invited me to train with them this season, so I started tagging along with them on their Saturday runs in late January. As work had kept me really busy and I ate way too much candy and other artery clogging food during the holidays, I was feeling very sluggish and struggling just to keep the two of them in my sight. Each week though, it seemed the training runs were getting a little easier and I could go a little further. By the time Way Too Cool came, I was feeling a lot better and feeling stronger on the hills. My ultimate goal for this race was to just beat my 2009 time of 4 hrs 45 mins.

My race strategy for the day was not to go out too fast in the beginning, but hang back and feel comfortable so I did not let myself get caught up in all of the excitement in the front pack and go out too fast. I also knew it would be very muddy so I would have to be a little more careful about my foot placement. Last year I let myself get caught up in all of the excitement and I went out with the lead pack quickly finding myself doing the first 3 miles in about a 6 min mile pace. Definitely not realistic in a 50k! Needless to say half way through the race last year my legs were shot and I struggled mentally and physically to make it to the finish.

This year it was a muddy mess with many stream crossings as this area received a lot of rain the night before. The mud and the streams made for a little bit slower times overall, but it was still a great day. At one stream crossing the water was about waist deep, and on a 6'4'' guy, that is pretty deep. I lost my footing a little and soon found myself about neck deep in the quick moving water. I quickly regained my footing and hopped out the other side, but then I realized my iPod went under too! The music continued for about 3 three seconds then faded (fortunately after a week of having the iPod in a Ziploc bag of rice, it works again, but the buttons don't work right.) For nutrition I kept it pretty basic. I used my two Camelbak handheld water bottles, and used my Clif Shot Bloks and Gels. Thanks Camelbak and Clif Bar for keeping me well hydrated and energized!

I ended up placing 34th overall out of 575, and 4th in my age 20-29 in the time of 4 hrs. and 35 mins! That is about 10 minutes faster than my time last year and I also dropped about 40 overall finish places from my last year's finish. I am very happy with the results given the conditions and the fact that this was my first race of this season coming out of busy season for work not being able to train as much as I would like. Next race next Saturday, the Rucky Chucky 50k. Yes, two 50k races back to back. It is a great way to race myself back into shape.