Tuesday, October 24, 2006

PAUSATF Ultra standings

As of my last race, I am currently in 2nd place in the Pacific Association USATF 2006 Men's Ultra Grand Prix (29&under).


Ok, so there is only 5 of us, and the real reason I'm in second is because I ran an extra race compared to the others. And I'm really not that fast, if the other 29 & under guys would be members, they would all be ahead of me. (Well, I did place higher than one of them at Skyline 50k) But, for the time being (and before I move into the really hard age classes!) I'm in 2nd place. Not to shabby for someone that just started running ultras in August!

Next up...23 mile celebration run with the Florence marathon NATMP folks on Saturday. I was going to do the 12 hour run, but we've been invited to some Halloween parties that night and it's time to be a good boyfriend to Johan.

Tonight, easy 6 miles around the lake.

I'm starting to think about my training for this coming spring.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Picture from DCF50M

Here is a picture of me at Mile 25 at the Dick Collin's Firetrails 50 Mile. I managed a little bit of a smile. I was feeling pretty good at this point. It's amazing how far our bodies really can go. Someone asked me yesterday when was the first time that I knew that I could physically run more than a marathon. I told him after I finished me first 50k, then I knew I could. And when I finished my 50 mile, then I knew I could. There was plenty of doubt in my mind if I could finish a 50 mile race, but there is a sense of determination (or is that bullheadedness?) that kept me going. I think we all of it in us to complete whatever we choose to do. It's just a matter of being that person. When I'm "being" a runner, I can run forever it seems, but when I'm "being" a fake, and not believing in myself, my body starts to shutdown and I start to feel the aches and pains. It's amazing how much power we have over ourselves.

Believing in myself is one of the hardest things to do, but when I do, I am quite extraordinary...and so is every person out there.

Happy trails!

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Pride Run 10k

I placed 2nd in this morning's East Bay Frontrunner's Pride Run 10k. Ok, there were only 5 of us, but I am very happy with my time of 47:30. Officially a new Personal Record, unofficially 23 seconds slower. Not bad for running a 50 mile a week ago and hiking on Mt. Diablo for 4 hours yesterday!

Off to Vegas for some "R&R" I'm not sure what those R's stand for...I'll let you know when I get back...well, maybe not! :) I am bringing my running shoes though, just in case.

Question to all of you black toenail veterans: How long does it take to lose the toenail?

Happy Trails and Happy Blackjack! ;)

Friday, October 13, 2006

Recovery...yeah right!

Ok, last night I went out for my first run since the 50 miles. 6 miles around Lake Merritt at a "relaxed" pace. About 9:30 to 10 min/mi. Everything went pretty well. I was feeling pretty good about everything. I noticed that I just didn't have much kick, but then again, I just ran 50 miles so I wasn't worried at all about it.
After running, I noticed some pain in my left hip. By the time I took a shower and was getting ready to go to dinner, I was in more pain. Going down the stairs, no problem. Going up...problem. Walked down to Grand Avenue and had some Sushi and on the way back up the hill to my place, it got worse...quickly worse! I had to stop and rest. It felt like I just didn't have any power in my hip to lift my leg to get up the hill. Was not happy about that! Plus I'm pretty stubborn, so I really didn't want to stop either! (I get that from my dad!)
Well, I made it up to the apartment and used my foam roller for about 10 minutes on it and then ice for about 20 minutes. I'll going to see if my friend Tony can do some massage on the area. I have a feeling it's my hip flexors. They have always been a little tight and not as strong as they should be. Tony has shown me exercises to do to strengthen them (but I'm sooo bad!) I also think it's my IT Band that needs a little working on too. Hopefully he'll be able to come over tonight and give me a leg a good work through.
I'm planning on climbing Mt. Diablo tomorrow morning with Johan (he's been after me to go hiking with him for some time now, and I'm always busy running, or he's busy working!)
Sunday is the East Bay Frontrunners 5k/10k Second Annual Pride Run. I was going to volunteer, but I was told they have plenty of volunteers, they need runners. So, I guess I'll be running Sunday morning if I hold together! Only a 10k, so maybe I'll have a new personal worst!! :) If you want to run, shoot me an email and I'll give you the details. Also at http://www.eastbayfrontrunners.org (again, html skills out the window this morning!)

Safe running everyone!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


What a great time I had last Saturday! And what a great time I've had talking to people about the race! There are a lot of awesome ultra (and soon to be) runners out there. One thing about ultramarathoners, they seem to be very laid back and easy to get along with. They are also ready to give advice when asked (and even when not asked!)
What's really cool is to find out that my race report has been emailed to many others...(including my hometown paper which may do a story about me!) I remember less than 10 months ago I had yet to run my first marathon. I was very nervous. I knew I could probably finish, but had no idea how long it would take me to run another one (and if I would keep with it!) Here are I am 10 months later, 3 marathons and 4 ultras later (and now qualified to run Western States!)
Oh yeah, I have mentioned that I QUALIFY for Western States! Scared that they will pull my name out of that gatorade bucket on December 2nd! Put will be disappointed if they don't!
I think it may be time to get a digital camera to carry around with me while running. It would be nice to have a few pictures put up here. Anyone upgrading their camera and looking to sell their old one??
I think tomorrow will be my first run. I think an easy 6 miles around the lake sounds good. I am pretty much all healed up. I have some tightness in my hip flexors. I have three black toenails (I think I may need to go down 1/2 size in my shoes?) All but the blood blister have healed. I'm very happy with my recovery. Especially since I didn't do any of things you are suppose to do (ice bath!!)

Until next time...Happy Trails!

Monday, October 09, 2006

50 miles...

I went to bed Friday night still debating whether or not I was well enough to run. It had been about 8 days since my previous run and I was pretty wiped out from my cold. With all of that going through my head, I didn't get to sleep until midnight.

My alarm went off at 4:45am. I hit snooze and laid back in bed. If I was to run the 50 miles, I would have to get going. I grabbed the energy drink that I put next to the bed, just in case I did decide to run. Cracked it open and took a few sips from it. I swear the caffeine went to work in seconds. I got really revved up and hopped out of bed and into the shower. I like to take shower before a run to help me wake up and loosen my muscles up.

I was eating my bowl of cereal and banana by 5am. I planned to get to the start line by 5:30am to sign-up, stretch, stand in line for the bathroom for a 6:30am start. By the time I finished trimming my toenails, covering my feet in bodyglide, and getting dressed, it was 5:45am! I was a little freaked out, but that early in the morning, there's no traffic and I was driving, so...we arrived at the Lake Chabot marina by 6:00am (in about 8 minutes!!)

It was still very dark as I made my way down to the registration table. I grabbed a registration form, filled it out, filled out my check and got my number, 178. I ran into Georgia, a runner I ran with at Mike Palmer's 50k. I was excited to see people that I knew, sort of help keep me calm. I put on my number and quickly ran over to the bathroom to stand in line. I was there for some time before it was finally my turn. As I was returning to the start line, I ran into Paula, another person that I ran with at Mike Palmer's 50k and at the Mt. Diablo 50k. She was taking her jacket back to her car. Since I didn't have a car to put my stuff in, she offered to hold my jacket for me. As we went over to her car, she was saying hi to a lot of people. The more races you run, the more people you start to know.

As we made it back to the start line area, we noticed that there were few people around...Holy Crap! I said. They were lining up at the start line, receiving last minute instructions. We dashed over the footbridge to the start just in time to start our watches and go!

The first three miles flew by. I checked my watch to see how long it took....I realized I never started my watch! I pushed start and was trying to figure out how much time had past and how far we had gone. I never really knew...I decided to be on the safe side and tell myself that my watch was 30 minutes behind. That would at least give me a mental push near the end.

Walk the hills, don't run too fast, steady forward motion. (And don't take long at the aid stations!) That was my mantra. Paula and I talked and talked and talked. She is originally from Iowa (or Illinois?) so we have a lot to talk about. Iowa food, Iowa people, Iowa politics, Iowa this and Iowa that. The first 10.5 miles flew by with almost no thought!

Then the real hills started! Coming out of the Big Bear aid station, it is a climb...straight up! I walk hills...and this was no exception. I was able to keep up with Paula after this big hill, but I was starting to hurt. (NOT GOOD!) I was barely at 15 miles with 35 more to go and my legs felt like they were going to give up. I needed to stretch. The back of my legs were one big tight muscle. I stopped and bent over, trying to loosen them up a bit. I was able to catch back up with Paula, but I knew that it wouldn't be too soon before I would have to slow down and run my own race. I keep making the mistake of going out too fast and this time I was going to not let that happen.

I got to Skyline Gate (the turn around point for the Skyline 50k) and thought about how I would not be turning around but I would have to keep going. I felt very determined to keep going, I was not going to give up, not yet. Grabbed some potatoes, a brownie, salt pill and with my full water bottles I was off. And not very quickly.

All I remember from this point was the trail always seemed like it was going up...and up. Forward motion. Every so often a runner would come up behind me and pass me on the uphill. On the downhill I would pass them. This seem to go on and then on the next downhill they would be gone. I started getting the feeling that I was going to be slowly passed by everyone and I would come in dead last.

There was a detour this year. I'm not quite sure which part it was, but I remember hearing people say that it seemed harder. I think it had more steep hills. Not sure. But there was a section of trail that just seem to go straight up. Thank god I bought new trail running shoes. I think I would have been slipping and sliding if I was wearing my road shoes.

The trail started to open up on the ridge and I could see Mt. Diablo to the east and the bay to the west. And the sun was starting to heat things up. And then a group of 3 women and one man came up from behind and past me. While running near them, I heard them mention that they didn't think that they would be able to break 10 hours like they planned, but would have to work hard just to break 11 hours. Now I went into this race telling myself that if I finished that it would be a great accomplishment. Then during the race I thought 12 hours seemed like a good goal (one hour from the cut-off). Well, these 4 were going for a new goal of 11 hours, and I thought, hmmm, if they can do it, I can do it. So I kept this group in my sight. In one of the last downhills (which was a very long one) to the turn around point, I opened up a little more thinking I could rest at the bottom of the hill at the turnaround point. I came in very strong. 25-26 miles done. I quickly grabbed some food, filled up my water bottles and turned right around. It had been about 5:30 hours and if I was going to finish at 11 hours, I would have to run with the same level of effort as I did in the beginning. Not always an easy thing to do and with my history, I figured I would need at least an extra 30 minutes on the second half of my run.

I started the VERY long climb out of the turnaround aid station. I had "red shirt guy" in front of me that I kept in my sights. I walked when he did, I ran when he did. I passed him once but once we hit another hill, he slowly pulled away. That's when the group that I had worked hard to keep up with came up from behind. They slowly passed me on hill and stayed ahead of me until the next aid station. I quickly grabbed some food, filled water bottles and out I went. I was well ahead of them when they came up behind me again and passed me. This happened for the next couple of aid stations. I would get out quickly, they would slowly pass me and then I would catch them at the next aid station. Until they were gone. I reached one of the aid stations and they were not there (I had stopped to use the bathroom before the aid station). They left before I got there.

There was a long stretch of trail, I think it was when I was going over highway 24 when I was all alone. Very weird. For most of the race, there was someone ahead of me, someone next to me, and someone behind me. At this point, there was no one. Of course my first thought is that I was on the wrong trail, but just as I was starting to freak myself out, I would see a pink ribbon that marked the course. My legs were hurting, I was feeling tired and I knew that I was only at ~28 mile mark. Still a long ways to go. My shoes had been cutting into the top of my foot and I was starting to think that perhaps it had cut into the skin. I untied my shoe, pulled my sock up and was anticipating that feeling of my sock ripping away from my torn flesh. Luckily, I didn't have that feeling (but I was too scared to look). I retied my shoe hoping this time I would get it right and it would stop cutting into my foot. Not such luck.

At this point, it had been a good 10-15 minutes and I hadn't seen anyone. I started telling myself that if I was going to finish, I need to put the foot pain out of mind. I started thinking about what I would tell people when they would ask me what I was thinking about during the race. Kind of funny, thinking about things that I would tell people of the things that I thought about. It worked...I didn't notice my foot pain until several miles later.

For some reason at about 31 miles, I got a new push of energy and was really pushing myself along the trail. I was even running some of the short hills. I caught up with "red shirt guy" who I found out was Ofer. I think I may have met him before at the Angel Island run. This was his first 50 mile run too. We chatted for a bit (it was sooo nice to finally see someone!) We reached a fairly long downhill section and he took off. I couldn't run very fast downhill because it caused my shoe to dig deeper into the top of my shoe. Not good! I had no choice but to slowdown. This was starting to get me down. The 11 hour group of people were nowhere in sight, Ofer, the "red shirt guy" that I had chased out of the turnaround point was now long gone and I was back to myself again.

Again, I tried to retie my shoes. Finally, I got them to a point that they weren't too lose, but were finally not cutting so badly. I started to wonder if it was going to be possible to finish under 11 hours. I could just work on finishing under 12 hours, like I initially planned. Then the words Western States popped into my head. If I finish under 11 hours, I qualify to run at next year's Western States 100 mile Endurance Run. Even if I didn't get selected in the lottery, even if I didn't put my name in the lottery, I could still say I qualify for the WS100! My legs picked up the pace. I was not going to come in one minute over 11 hours. I was the 11 hour sweep. I am 11 hours. I will have 11 hours. That kept going through my head. I started to pass people again. I felt great. I caught up with Ofer at the Skyline Gate aid station (37 miles) and we took off together. At the bottom of the hill, there was the "11 hour group". They had taken a bathroom break and Ofer thought it would be a good idea to stop also. I waved goodbye and pushed along. That would be last time I saw Ofer until the finish line. The next section of trail is in a valley with redwood trees and along a stream. I booked through here. Then another long hill! I was working hard. The 11 hour group had caught up with me again, this time they were no longer 5, but only 3.

Once I finally got up that long hill, the trail turned into rolling hills. I kept to my walking uphill, run downhill. The 11 hour group moved along. I wouldn't catch them again until the Bort Meadows aid station. It was 6 miles to the finish. I knew that I needed to keep a good pace of 11 min/mile if I was going to finish under 11 hours. Doable, yet I had my doubts. And as the 11 hour group passed me, then another guy, and then two other women...I slowly doubted that I was going to be able to do it. Ahead of me was a group of about 8 runners and they were just out of my reach. Thoughts of I don't belong here, I'm not a real athlete started to cross my mind. I had to work really hard to tell myself that I just started running less than 2 years ago, this was my first 50 miler, I was sick, I didn't train for this. I moved back into thoughts that this was my race, that I was running my own race, not competing with others, only myself and the clock. I began to chant 11 hours in my head. Get to the next (and last) aid station in 30 minutes and you will get in under 11 hours. 11 hours. That's all that matter.

I got to the Bass Cove aid station. There were a couple of runners from the group that was ahead of me still there. One was having cramping issues, another was slowing way down and trying to get some of his strength back. I got a little food in me for the last 3 miles and asked them if was going to possible for me to break 11 hours. They said it's only 3 miles...you'll do just fine. Concerned that I was running out of time, I quickly left the aid station and made my way to the Marina, the finish line.

When I first started running, I use to run this exact part of the trail almost everyday. It had been a long time since I had run it, but I knew every turn, every hill that was coming my way. Walk the uphill, run the downhill. I kept pushing and slowly I passed a few more people. With only 1 mile left, I came up on the 11 hour group. I yelled, "We are going to break 11 hours!" and one of them let out a whoop! I pushed my legs even faster and pulled away from the group. The guy yelled some encouragement (I have no idea what he said!) and I ran faster. As I was rounding the last corner, I picked the runner in front of me and told myself to catch him. I poured it on. I was going to beat him. I came up on the marina almost at a sprint and someone yelled "Go 178! Looking strong!" I gave it everything I had and crossed the finish line at 10:28:00. I couldn't believe it! I had no idea that I actually was a whole 30 minutes faster!

I was amazed! I couldn't believe that I finished in under 10 1/2 hours!

Some preliminary stats:

50 Miles
+7,820 ft
-7,820 ft
162 starters
150 finishers
Placed 79th

I have one black toenail (sure to fall off soon)
5 blisters
1 blood blister on the tip of my toe
two sore feet
two sore legs
One Happy Self!

What's next? Maybe the Whiskeytown 50k on October 21st. Not sure yet. I have to see if I can convince Johan to come up with me. I would like to try a 12-hour run on October 28th, but we have a few commitments later on that evening, so it might not be a good idea.

Oh, and I made it to church the next morning to direct/play piano/sing with Otto Voci. A little slow getting around, but managed!

Happy Trails!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Still sick...but getting better

I took a good dose of Nyquil last night and pretty much passed out until this morning. Woke up and felt a little dizzy but managed to get up, have breakfast and get in the shower and ride my bike to work today. Yesterday I worked from home. I got a lot done yesterday. Wrote a contract, laid on the couch, wrote another contract, had lunch and then laid on the couch. Wrote a third contract. I usually never get that much done at work...I'm usually getting interrupted. Only if I could convince my manager to let me work from home one day a week, I think I would get very caught up on everything.

This morning took another shot of cough syrup and I'm here at work. Still stuffy and riding my bike today I felt winded. I don't think 50 miles is in my future for Saturday. Damn. I was really wanted to run, but unless a miracle happens tomorrow, I probably will not be running. Maybe if I feel up to it, I could volunteer at an aid station...maybe not, I don't want to get other people sick.

Stay healthy!

Monday, October 02, 2006

I'm sick!!

I'm sick and not liking it one bit! I wasn't able to run at all this weekend. Unless I start feeling better ASAP, I probably won't be able to run the DC Firetrails on Saturday. URGH!!