Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Double Dare 25K

Double Dare 25K

A strong performance considering I'd run ~17 miles the day before (and 5 the day before), to round out a 50+ mile week. But I missed 3rd in my age group due to missing a late turn.

This was the inaugural run for Inside Trail Run's Double Dare, a course set by ultra-legend Catra Corbett. Karen and Ken picked me up and after many turns up into the Sunol hills we were at the start. I'd run 17 miles on Saturday, and after supper with some friends, went to a bar for a birthday, and ended up in bed by 1:30 AM - barely 5 hours of sleep.

At the start I saw Alvin Lubrino & Todd Wong, as well as Todd Shipman. I was delighted to see Eldrith! a true legend and inspiration. At twice my age (in her 70s) she was running twice the distance - 50K.

A long slog up Flag Hill where basically everyone pass├ęd me, including Edlrith. Twice my age, twice my distance - and a bit quicker, too. Then winding through single-track and gradually picking back up people. I could sight them in the distance on the hills, their bright running shirts standing out among the dull brown of the October grass. I passed back Eldrith, as well as another legend, George, who still carries a pancake syrup bottle for hydration. A windy twisty single track section that left me very happy I was only doing one loop (25K) and not 50K.

On a long descent I saw a white shirt and tried to run faster to pass. It was KEN! I yelped out ALL DAY as I victoriously stormed past him. Then I realized he was walking with a foot issue. No glory in passing an injured friend. I walked with him for a moment as he asked me to let Karen know he was injured.

The day was warm, in the 90s, and I ran out of water coming into the last aid station - I was using a hand-held bottle (only) . The day before I'd realized that my bite valve on my hydration pack was completely black with mold. I couldn't bear to use it, and there was no time to get a new Hydra-pak.

At the final aid station, Sam was cutting up watermelon. So good. I ate and ate. One of the other aid station members had finished the 25K! & had come back to help.

As I ran to the finish, a runner I'd passed before almost caught me. I cranked my tunes, determined to not be passed - and missed the turn for the finish, starting on the 50K second loop. I went 2 minutes out and a dejected 2 minutes back before realizing. I finished at ~4 hours - 1:30 behind someone in my age group. If not for the wrong turn, I would be 3rd!

Things did well:
Hydrated at Aid Stations
Said Thanks to volunteers

Things to improve on:
Have backup hydra-oaks on hand(?)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Brazen Racing Trail Hog Half Marathon

3rd in Age Group!

My friend Karen texted me on Tuesday if I would run "a half in Palo Alto, then drive down the coast". Absolutely! The race turned out to be in Joseph P Grant Park near San Jose, not Palo Alto.

Karen was a bit late picking me up due to ZipCar key card issues, then on the windy road up the park we got stuck behind slow cars driving 15 mph on a 30 mph road. PULLOVER!!!

Jumped out at the start, grabbed my bib from Tony "Endorphin Dude" and his Chew-weenie. Lost track of Karen, as the social butterfly that she is, was gabbing with friends.

First mile was an easy rolling run, with the added bonus of seeing Misha and her new dog, Hank, directing a turn. I stopped for a hug and a selfie. More steep hills, which I walked. Though, when I looked at my watch, even with my walks, I was ticking off 12 minute miles.

After the first aid station, Alvin caught up with me. He'd missed the start! He said "Edie, if this race was 15 miles, you'd beat me." Me "Well, it is long, with 13.4 as the distance.". He and I started leap-frogging - I was trying to maintain an even pace and "run my own race" but I kept catching back up with him. I hadn't seen Karen all race, and assumed she was well ahead of him.

For the rest of the race, I settled into an easy routine - dump a cup of water on my head. Walk the steepest ups, jog the slants and downs. I got stuck at one cattle gate before someone opened it for me, so started up the hill with about ~6 other people. I passed two slow joggers on this hill at a brisk walk. If you're running slower than someone is walking, WALK. I kept clicking off 11 - 12 minute miles.

I saw Misha about a mile from the finish "No time for a hug this time". I wanted to drop the hammer, but it was just too hot. Still, I managed to pass two guys who would run the ups, walk the downs.

Alvin finished ~5 minutes behind me, and Karen 15 minutes later. When I looked at the finisher list, Alvin was listed right under me, and the two guys I'd passed in front of me. "Oh, it's CHIP, not GUN"

"OHMYGOD, I'm THIRD IN MY AGE GROUP!!!" The last time I placed in my age group I was 17 at the PepCo Tidal Basin 5K. I leapt around in joy, and even paid $10 to have my age group medal engraved. 

Also cool, a lady recognized me from White River 50. She'd gone up with her daughter to run it, but stopped after the first, 25 mile, loop.

Karen & I celebrated by driving to Sam's Chowder House for Mai Tai's & Lobster Rolls. Loser drives home. 

Things I did well:
Stayed hydrated
Stayed fed
On hot day (in mid 90s), put water ver head at every aid station
Tried to say encouraging words to volunteers and runners.

Things to improve on:
Moment of panic when couldn't find Scobbies in bag

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Tampala Headlands 50K

Tampala Headlands 50K

I'd been vaguely aware of the Headlands 50K -- it had re-booted in 2011 after not being run in 2009 or 2010. White River 50 was my big focus race, and I didn't want to plan anything until after I finished it. Then, when I looked at entering in early August, the race was already sold out with ~80 people on the wait list. 

In August, I went to Chile and hiked and biked - everything BUT running. When I got back, I traveled to Seattle for work. I was ready to run! Two good 5 mile runs, and I signed up for the wait list. On Wednesday I was in!

Thursday I flew back from Seattle and slept well. Friday was my good friend John's birthday. I ended up out at North Beach til almost 2 AM. My alarm was set for 6 AM. No problem!

Start to Rodeo Beach. The first mile was flat on Redwood Creek, at a comfy, not too fast, not too slow pace. At the climb out of Muir Beach to Pirates Cove, Running Rose caught up with me. We hiked up the hill together, as I fell to basically DFL. 

At the Coastal down hill I passed a few people, and then a few more on the Coastal uphill. Hill 88 I ran down quickly. 

Miwok water station to Tennessee Valley. Hiked the climb, then coasted down Old Springs, feeling good.

Tennessee Valley to Highway One. Walked Miwok hill, then ran Cutoff. Good pace down sun-cups.

Highway One to Caridac. Feeling really good, then stung by wasp(?) on right calf. Brushed stinging thing away, didn't get good look. OWWWEEE. Felt sorry for self. Ran out of water on walk up Dipsea to Cardiac

Cardiac to Stinson Beach. Leg hurt from sting. Wanted to rock Matt Davis but instead trudged down. Wished I'd run this trail more recently - I think I could have picked up 20 minutes if I'd been more assertive.

Stinson Beach to Cardiac. Long, 1400 foot climb back up.

Cardiac to finish. NAILED IT! 36 minutes for 3.8 miles. 

When Rose finished, her friend opened champagne and we had a nice toast. 

Things I did well:
Kept moving forward even in bad patches like after wasp sting
Thanked volunteers
Took S-Cap every hour
Ate cantaloupe - so good

Things to improve on:
Wished I'd run on Matt Davis more recently.

Should have carpooled with Rose. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

White River 50 Mile - FINISH!

White River 50 Mile -12:57

One of my favorite races of all time. I trained hard, I ran a smart race, and I enjoyed the beautiful terrain, helpful volunteers, and the joy of being outside.

Getting to the start:
Usual drama - cut it too tight for flight, then got flagged for secondary screening. Made a dash for my flight, with no time to buy food / water. On the plane I realized I hadn't brought a jacket - unclear whether I left at home or lost in dash for flight. Ate Jimmy John's, bought new jacket from REI, and hydration supplies from Freddie Meyers (Kern's for pre-race, Coca-cola for race-morning, Gatorade for race, Mike's for post-race).

Made it to Alpine Inn at 5:50, just in time to pick up my packet & pasta supper. Pasta supper was hard to eat - dunno if I was too nervous or just not appetizing. I was nervous about fueling enough. Sat next to lady from my hometown (Stefanie from Arlington, VA) and nice local couple (Lars & Erin).

Stayed at the Alpine Inn for $50 (including tax)/ night, a total bargain. The walls were paper-thin - I woke up at 4:50 AM to the people above me getting ready for the race. I got ready too, but it was 5:20 when I got to my car - and realized I'd forgotten my parking pass. Quick ride down to the start, but ended up on the wrong side of the airstrip - start parking not really labeled at all.

Quickly pulled on my pack, my headphones, my snacks -- all systems go, but no time for the bathroom. Then the race director announced that he would wait for everyone in line…so I got in line!

So excited to start - quick jaunt around Air-strip, a brief detour down a side trail, then oh-so-quickly at Camp Shephard. Still plenty of water in my pack, so no stop. Looking now at my split, perhaps way too quick. 

The climb started in earnest. I had a conga-line behind me, so rather than feel the pressure to go faster, I'd step off the trail. Rob, the aid station from Cascade Crest, caught up to me - I was delighted to see him. After a few minutes of chit-chat, he ascended quickly into the distance. Run my own race, I told myself. Ranger Creek was a campfire in the wilderness with water. 
More climbing to pop out at a scary cliff-edge, then ascend and descend along a ridge line. The front-runners were coming back, and I cheered "San FRANCISCO" when I saw a guy wearing a San Francisco Running Company outfit. I'd checked him in at an ITR run - he looked in fine fiddle. Then the fun / stress of trying to keep a decent pace while darting off the trail for the pack coming back in my direction. I overtook a few people on the climb, but mainly tried to stay out of the way of the charging pack coming my way - probably detoured for ~60 people. INCREDIBLE VIEWS - truly breathtaking. My phone was out of battery, but I really regret not getting some snaps here. 
At Corral Pass I reloaded my pack with hydration, then set out. 
WOWSERS. Some beautiful views. A quick pit stop in the woods, then I started passing more and more runners. I was worried I'd lost the way, but I was just in dense forest.

to AID STATION #5: BUCK CREEK (MILE 27.2)A descent through the trees, listening to Gabriel & Dresden '2006 from WMC, where I felt like I could truly run forever. I wiped out and face planted twice, but I just go up and kept running. The soil was soft and cushiony and all I had to do was brush myself off and keep going in time to the beats.I was in a trance as I passed people. I cranked the tunes and let myself run so fast through the endless pine needles, trying to avoid the roots and sticks and rocks and enjoy the surge of gravity and wilderness carrying me forward.
At the Aid Station I re-filled my pack and quickly left, in a band of other runners. 

I'd left the aid station with a lady who bystanders called "Karen", Lars & Erin from the night before, and a couple I'd passed on the descent. We overlapped and then fell into pace on the climb uphill. I look on climbs as a chance to recover, so I let them go off ahead as I pondered 
-wtf was I doing in the woods
-I'm hot
- why am I doing this
- no really, why am I doing this.
Long grind uphill. I pass a hurting Texan from near Galveston, on his first 50 mile race. He was doing a Coach Ken like shuffle where he would try to run uphill, when I was walking faster than he was running.
I LOVE the Fawn Ridge aid station - super volunteers, sponges, ice.

to AID STATION #7: SUN TOP (MILE 37.0) More up. A delightful down, then up to the top. I was excited about using the bathroom, but no lock and disastrous, lost 6 minutes here.
put in the headphones, cranked to G & D Sirius. Legs felt strong, no pain, just clicking out the ~9 minute miles, passing people where I could.
to the Finish.
At the aid station, a runner said to her boyfriend "I made the cut-off, I'm walking to the finish". This has been me at other races, but today? HELL NO. Even if I was moving at 16 minute / miles, I could pass people walking at 20 minute miles. A slow-speed chase through the darkening woods. I had hopes of finishing at 12:30, but I felt increasingly sleepy and tired. Had I gotten enough rest? Or was I just tired from running 12+ hours?? Finally, I popped out on the gravel road at the finish. I strided into finish at 12:57

The finish: I hung out and cheered on the runners after me. It was great to see Erin (from the pasta supper) the married couple (the guy was doing the Grand Slam and had run Vermont the prior weekend), the Texas guy finishing, and then Barry, a guy I'd run with at the very beginning. I decided to wait for the last finisher, as the last finisher usually gets no food & no glory. Cutoff was at 8 pm…the last finisher finished at… ~9"30. But it was great to see him come in - way to gut it out!
What I did well:
Scouted out race location before-hand. On a work trip to Seattle, I'd driven out to Buck's Creek and tried to run a loop. I realized - the trails were hard to find. There's NO services in the area. And it's BEAUTIFUL. So I stocked up on everything I needed in Seattle. And looked for ribbon.
Tried to run a smart 1st half. If there was someone faster behind me, instead of speeding up, I'd step off the trail and let them pass.
Kept pack filled - never ran out of water
Applied copious Body Glide
Tried to say thanks to volunteers, hikers, bikers, and a hearty "Great Job" to other runners.
Cheesecake on Friday night to celebrate birthday.
Even when felt low (mile 29, miles 46-48), kept moving forward. 
Fell, brushed self off, kept running.
Hard training - many weekends of Willow Fire Road to strengthen quads paid off. Even the day after, quads still okay, feel better than some 50Ks
Things to improve on:
I wish I had more energy for the last 6.6 miles of rolling trail. Very runnable, but I was just "blah". 
Overall pace management - I was afraid of missing cut-offs so was assertive. Now, looking at splits, I wish I'd cooled it for the Corral Pass section and blasted it on Skookum Flats.
Getting off the trail for the front runners - it was a scary single track. Not a ton of room to get off.
I should have left 25 minutes sooner for the race (5 AM vs 5:25 AM) to avoid stress.
More sleep on Thursday - IT WAS MY BIRTHDAY! and I was out til 1 AM. OK,  no regrets on that one. 

My sister says she'll crew me in a 100…DARE I???

Monday, July 15, 2013

Inside Trail Reservoir Dogs 35K

Resevoir Dogs 35K
smart fast race

I was excited about a brand new race in a brand new location. San Pablo Resevoir usually requires a permit, and the race avoided the permit and had the trail nicely marked in pink ribbon. My plan was to run a smart race, unlike Big Basin 50K where I went off frantically, trying to stay ahead of Karen, and ended up crashing and burning. . Start off slow, run my own race, kick it into high gear at the end. 

Start to Briones AS (3.0): Race start at reservoir, so plentiful, ample, bathrooms (score). Said hi to Sabine, pinned on bib, then started up a hill. Most people quickly were in front of me. I was tempted to chase them but refrained. We passed a "One Mile" sign and I realized I was at a glacial 13:06. This section was nicely shaded as we wound around to the San Pablo Dam. A short steep climb up to the Dam and the Aid station, manned by Tawnya in a cute white miniskirt. 

Me to Tawnya: You look great! 
Tawnya to me: (very long pause). You look  --- like you've been running.

Ok, I was sweaty. 

Briones to Bear Creek AS (3.7): More climbing, on a pleasant single track under nicely shaded trees, as we climbed high above the reservoir up to the power lines. The course was very well marked, no way to miss the route. The half marathoners who'd started 30 minutes after started to pass me. Then, a long unshaded stretch on a road into the aid station.

Bear Creek to Hampton AS (5.8): A fire road, as we seemed to gain the same 150 feet and lose the same 150 feet, circumnavigating the reservoir. Very little shade. Walk the ups, run the downs. Finally, about a .5 descent down to the aid station, which I tried to run as quickly as possible to make up time. 

At the aid station, I felt great. I refilled my pack, chatted with Alvin (working the aid station), and Laura who was lingering. I left before her. 

Hamptons to Briones (5) : Now I was in the hunt. On the walk out of the aid station I passed two runners. Then, on a high ridge access road, and I could see runners ahead of me. I cranked my tunes, and started moving quicker. Down all the way to the dam road, I tried to close the gap.

At the aid station, and three runners chatting. No time to take off my pack if I wanted to break 4:30. I slammed coke, and took off. Behind me I heard the runners say "she looks strong! Where'd she come from?" Music to my ears. 

Briones to Finish (3): Three miles back, and I tried to move if not at a sprint, at a deliberate pace. When I opened a gate, I looked back and a runner I'd passed at the aid station was there to take it from my hand. I did NOT want to get passed back. On a downhill I shot ahead. 36 minutes later, I ran through the finish line.

At the end, I hung out and chatted with Laura, Sam, Alvin. Unfortunately, even though I'd pre-ordered a shirt, they were out of my size. Hope I get one eventually. 

What I did well:
Stayed hydrated
Ate steadily
said thank you to volunteers, other hikers

To improve on:
Didn't double-check pack, and my salt tabs had fallen out. Luckily, the aid stations had S-caps.

skirt is a pain for long distances -- too much tugging and chafing. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Point Reyes to Mount Tam

Running from Presidio to Mt Tam

Day 1: 
I wanted to catch the 2:17 pm bus to connect with the 3:30 West Marin Stagecoach from San Rafael to Point Reyes Station. Got out of work too late to catch the 2:30 bus, jumped in an UberX in the hope that I'd catch the 101 on the way and transfer. The 101 bus was swifter, and I ended up UberXing all the way to San Rafael Transit Center ($60). The West Marin Stagecoach ($2) was a bone-rattling, 1:12 ride to Point Reyes station, just in time to visit Bovine Bakery before it closed at 5 pm. I bought a quiche and cookie, as the croissant I wanted was sold out.

A nice supper at Osteria Stellina's bar. The bartender asked "did you drive today?" and when I said no, poured me a nice glass of dessert wine. 

After supper I walked out to Sir Francis Drake Road, then walked up Drakes Summit Road to Limantour, then ran the Laguna Trail to the Point Reyes Hostel. Google Maps was adamant about Drakes Summit not connecting, and I feared an impassable fence. No, it was an easy uphill climb on the road, then an easy descent on a fir covered trail through the dusk to the hostel, 4.5 miles.

I felt so good, and the sun was up, so I did another 5 mile loop on Muddy Hollow Road down to the beach, then back up Limantour. At an easy trot in the purple dusk, I felt like I could move forever. 

Day 2: I set off from the Point Reyes Hostel at 7:45 AM, with the goal of running through Point Reyes, and the Coast Trail hopefully all the way to Sausalito. The day was hot, with a projected high of 90, and I was concerned about water supply. And I could feel in my legs the 10 miles I'd done Wedneday, as well as my 5 miles on Tuesday.

An easy jaunt to stretch out down Coastal Trail to Coast Camp, where I re-filled with water. Then, luckily, a thick fog bank as I rolled around and started climbing to Glen Camp. Glen Camp was a 1.4 mile backtrack, but I needed water. In hindsight, I should have taken Bear Valley Trail to Glen Camp and shaved ~3 miles.

Then, the heat & overgrowth began. I love Point Reyes, but I was happy I'd worn knee high socks as I waded through over-growth. Up and over FirTop, then down Bolema Trail to Olema Valley. It was getting quite warm, probably in the mid 80s. And my pace was slower than I hoped, as I had to consult my map at frequent intersections.

Finally I was back on home turf, Randall Trail, after ~5 hours of running.

Randall Trail was cool in the redwoods, and I started to get a second wind. Just make it to Pan Toll…

Bolinas Ridge was prettier than I remember -- I hadn't been on this stretch since Miwok 2011. However, stretches were exposed, and I had been nursing the same 1.5 Liters for the past 4 hours. I was hot. And thirsty. I kept fantasizing about a Margarita at Stinson Beach. Now, sitting in the air-conditioned cool, I realize I was fantasizing about the salt, as I have NO current desire for a margarita. 

As I came to Bolinas-Ridgecrest Ridge, I saw 4 picnickers, drinking water and wine. I swallowed my pride and asked if I could have some water. Not only did they give me some water, they filled my pack, saying they had another bottle in the car (as well as wine). PHEW. I had another 6.4 miles to Mt Tam, and even with slow, cautious sips, I was out again. 

Coastal Trail get's in better condition the closer you get to Pan Toll…which means at Ridgecrest Blvd it's in bad shape. I tried to keep a cadence as heat waves rose out of the golden grass, without twisting my ankle. I was so hot. When I crossed a small stream, I splashed water on my face. The next stream I splashed more. Finally, out of drinking water, I face-planted myself into the stream and soaked my front.

But still I kept moving, and I was at Pan Toll, 9:13 after leaving the Hostel (continuos time). Just enough time to drink 3 liters of water while waiting for the bus back to Marin City. 

What I would have done differently:
Brought an extra water bottle. If I hadn't gotten water from the good graces of the picnickers, I would have bailed down to Stinson Beach…it was too hot (90s) to go that far without hydrating.

Taken a different route through Point Reyes…next time I'll take a more direct route.

What I did well:
Relentless forward motion.

Calling it a day at Mt Tam. I thought about pressing on to Mill Valley, but this was a training run, not a death march. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Big Basin 50K

Big Basin 50K

Not a very glorious time, but after a string of DNF's last year, my longest finished race since Marin Ultra Challenge 50 Mile last year.

I ran an honestly stupid race. Too excited at the start to be back on the trails, wanted to beat Karen. Went out fast, stayed fast all through the first two aid stations (Waterman Gap, China Grade) for the first 18K. I saw Todd behind me, and ran a wee bit quicker. Then he caught up with me on a hill, and I slowed to walk with him and catch up on his races. 

Running into Gazos Creek, something (bee? wasp?) stung me hard on my stomach. I screamed "OW" loud enough that a runner in front of me paused in concern. I thought the pain would dissipate and kept running.

On Gazos Creek (~5 mile loop), Karen said "You feel the cougar breath?" and passed me on an uphill. I thought I'd pass her on the down. My right foot sole was bothering me on the climb. 

I refilled at Gazos, figuring I'd rock it on the long 12 miles to the finish. However, my stomach fell apart. Sloshy, bloated, crampy, nauseous…the bee sting was making my stomach all sorts of crazy. I'd been taking S-caps steadily every half hour, and now I wondered "am I taking too much salt? too little water? too much water?" 

I slogged along, miserable. The scenery was gorgeous, it was perfect running conditions (groomed fire roads), but all I could do was a steady jog /walk. "Forward motion, forward motion". Unable to eat or drink, I was hitting a wall of pain. 

Finally, there was the 29 mile aid station -- only two more miles. "I can walk it in". Then, as a final kick in the stomach, instead of mainly flat along the fire road, the new course climbed up along the hill above the finish. UGH. 

I finished and immediately lay down, trying to calm my stomach. After about 10 minutes, some 7-up. Even today, a day later, my stomach is still not right.

Things I did well:
Tried to say thanks to volunteers
Tried to be gracious to Karen beating me
S-caps every half hour

Things to improve on:
RUN MY OWN DAMN RACE. I got caught up in "being ahead", and paid for it with ~10 miles of misery and a time 40 minutes slower than the last time on the course. 
New shoes -- my old shoes have got to go

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Angel Island 15 Mile Race Report

Angel Island 15 Mile 

A picture perfect day, but not a perfect race. Angel Island 15 Mile is three loops around Angel Island, starting from the outward perimeter and working inwards. The last loop summits the highest point on the island.

I'd originally planned to run the Diablo 50K, but I would have to get up around ~4 AM to make it out to Walnut Creek to take the bus to the start. ugh. Angel Island had a civilized 10 AM start, timed with the ferries. Yes, please!

Taking the ferry from Fisherman's wharf was easy -- buy ticket, get on boat, arrive at Angel Island about 30 minutes before the scheduled 10:15 AM start. The start/finish was within site of the ferry dock. Wendell, Coastal Trail Runs owner, was putting up tents and tables by himself but there was no packet pickup. After watching him try to get everything ready, I said "Wendell, do you want some help?" 
"Are you sure?"

The next ferry arrived with all the volunteers, who quickly set up bib pickup. I pinned, and lined up. I was aiming for even splits.

Loop #1: mostly paved, gorgeous views of barracks and bay. ~1 hour. At the end of the loop, we merged in with the 10 milers, which was fun. 

Loop #2: Started with the 10 milers, then rolling fire trails. Jaw dropping views. At the merge back in with the 10 miles near the end, a ranger had blocked the trail. Paramedics were treating a runner. Uh-oh. Runners were scrambling up and over the steep embankment to get around. A kind guy helped me get up and over…but in the climb, my iPod stopped working. From the stress, it was hard to get my gait back. ~1:05.

Aid Station: The day had warmed up, and the aid station was out of Gu. I filled my water bottle with water, and grabbed my iPhone to sub in for my iPod. 

Loop #3: my iPhone wasn't playing music. oh no…I need my tunes! I was distracted by this, and just didn't run this loop very efficiently. I finished in ~3:23, well off my goal of 3:00.

When I finished, the next ferry was leaving in ~15 minutes. I shuffled over to the dock, then realized I hadn't picked up my race shirt. While picking it up, I thanked Wendell for another well-run Coastal race, and he apologized for snapping at me during setup "It's easier if I do it myself rather than trying to explain, but I know you were trying to help". 

After I got my shirt, I saw the cafe by the dock had burritos and Mike's Hard Lemondade-- just what I had been craving. Why the rush? I ended up staying two more hours, looking at the Bay and enjoying a fine Angel day. 

Things I did well:
Left plenty of time to get ferry so not stressed about arrival. 
Tried to say good job to other runners, thanks to the volunteers, AND thanks to the hikers I passed on the trail
stayed hydrated with bottle
experienced beautiful location!

Things to improve on:
Issue with my iPod was actually with the headphones -- and I had a spare set in my drop bag! If a music issue arises, try to fix at aid station
didn't body glide arms

Monday, April 15, 2013

Why is the Boston Marathon tragedy so hard?

I read about the Boston Marathon bombing when I got back from lunch in San Francisco, and initially I thought it was the usual. A bomb threat, nothing major.

Then I saw the photos and the tweets and my heart dropped. I pushed refresh a few times, and saw more photos of blood, of limbs severed, of lives changed irrevocably for being in the right place, doing something these runners had worked so hard at…


Who could do such a thing? The eternal question everyone from Norway to Newton and beyond has asked…WHY?  WHAT HAS A RUNNER DONE TO YOU? Or, what has a teenager done, or a human?

I don't have any answers.

My heart breaks for everyone harmed. The bombing hit around 4:07 on the clock…right around my marathon time. If I'd run Boston, could it have been me? And what gain does anyone get from harming runners and their family who'd come out to cheer them.

Puts my own petulance about my DNF in sudden sharp focus.

No answers, only sincere best wishes for all those harmed. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Lake Sonoma 50 Mile Race Report - DNF

DNF, mile 25.2

Sometimes just getting to the starting line is a race in itself. On Wednesday, I was in Sydney for work. I flew to Dallas, arriving after a 15 hour coach flight and crossing the date line to have it still be…Wednesday. I hustled over to get my connection to NYC. I worked Thursday in Manhattan, including standing on my feet til 9 pm. Two nights before the race is important for sleep, and instead I was jet lagged and slept about 4 hours from 1:30 AM to 5:30 AM, when I threw in the towel on a good night sleep and trekked to JFK for my 9:30 AM flight back to SFO. My plan was to land at 1 pm, stop by my place and pack, then head up to Healdsburg. Cue a 80 minute delay, and I landed at 2:10 pm…and hit the beginning of rush hour traffic just getting to the city. Without Karen't encouragement, I would have DNS'ed & stayed in the city. She said "come on, hang out". 

2 hours of traffic later, I was in Healdsburg for the tail end of the pasta feed. Wow! so many runners I recognized from photos, like Karl Meltzer or Byran Powell. I caught up with Karen, and then Jorge Maravilla said "Hey, excuse me miss, you're sitting in MY SEAT".  
"Ohoh, excuse me, sorry, I'll move right away!"
"Oh Edie, I was teasing you! You knew me 30 pounds ago when I was starting out with the Endurables."
Jorge is actually a very nice dude…he didn't know how frazzled I was.

I went to sleep early (9 pm), but woke up and looked at my watch that said 6 AM. THE RACE STARTS AT 6:30 AM!! ARGH! and then I realized my watch was still on New York time and it was only 3 AM. I went back to sleep til 5:15 AM.

All this even before I even started. Going in, I told myself I would get at least to 25.2 (the out) and see how I felt.

The route is absolutely beautiful. Sweeping views of the lake, hidden redwood groves, beautiful green hills. And the course was very well suited to my style -- not too technical. We started off on a paved road, then a wide vehicle sized track, then a single track. I was loving everything. For the first two hours I felt great. I passed Chuck Wilson and he said hi! I saw Karen at the 12 mile aid station & she filled my pack like a pro. I'd worried as I'd forgotten to pick up the mandatory cup, as the race had gone "cup-free". However, I filled my pack with GU, and drank straight from the Coke Can at the aid station. 

Then the sleepiness crept in. Gradually, then more and more, it was hard to run. I slowed to a walk. All I wanted to do was curl up in a pile of leaves and take a long nap. I kept pushing, but it was mostly walking with an occasional jog. I tried drinking more Coke but it didn't seem to help. So sleepy. So sleepy. 

When the elite runners started passing me on their way back in, it was more fun than I expected. They actually almost all said "Great job!" Nice guys!

At ~16 mile aid station I saw a runner I recognized volunteering, and I struggled to remember his name as he said "hi edie, how are you doing?" "So tired". About 4 minutes out of the aid station I realized it was Rick Gaston.  I'd thought I had oodles of time before the cutoff, but now I wasn't so sure. I kept pushing on..where was that turnaround?

I started asking runners how far it was at 12:40. The cutoff was 1:15 pm. One pair said "4 miles", and my heart sank. There was no way I could climb this hill in 35 minutes. Another said "3 miles", and it seemed ALMOST doable. Then I saw Coach Ken & Janeth! CK said "2 miles"…I knew I could make it if I tried…then I saw Mike Weston who said "Edie, you've got less than half an hour to the cutoff…" Then I saw Patrick, who looked at his Garmin and said 1.18 miles. I knew I could do it.

Why was I pushing so hard when I thought I would drop at 25 miles? I wanted it to be my decision…and I did it! I got in at 1:12. But I was done for the day. My legs were good, but I just felt so tired. It was 5 AM in Sydney, and I felt I'd stayed up all night. 

It hurt when the radio call went in of "DNF, runner 174". Chuck Wilson missed the cutoff by about 20 minutes, but it was fun to cheer him in as he carried the "Wrong Way" sign. I rode back with him to the start. When I went to my car at the start, there was a parking ticket (not so fun) and Nick Clark two cars down from me, so I said "I love your blog!" (corny but true). Chatted with Nate Yanko about his bakery. Debated waiting for Coach Ken to finish but I was so tired I worried about falling asleep on the drive back to the city.

Things I did well:
1) Stayed hydrated
2) Ate scoobies & S-caps
3) DNF > DNS, right?
4) Tried to say "Great job" to fellow runners. 
5) Tried to thank volunteers
[I say try as I was so tired I think I got about 50%]
6) Glad I got hotel near start. 
7) Applied BodyGlide copiously, no chafe!

Things to improve on:
1) Just too much travel to do well at a long race. I flew ~25K miles in 17 days, and my sleep cycles went to hell. Didn't get a solid night sleep for weeks. 
2) Food and water all stressful day before with delayed flight. I got a Little Star Pizza when I passed through SF, but didn't eat enough before that.
3) Bay Area rush hour is stressful. It took me 2 hours, 10 minutes to go from SF to Healdsburg… 68 miles.
4) Didn't say hi to Angela.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Rodeo Valley Half Marathon - Like a Dream

Inside Trail Rodeo Valley Trail Half Marathon, Saturday March 16

Distance: 13.1 miles

Time: 2:57:38

The race went by like a (literal) dream.

Pre-race: I arrived back at my place in SF around 4 AM, and set my alarm for 7:30 AM. Surprisingly, I woke up with no trouble, got dressed, and drove back to Rodeo Beach for the 8:45 half marathon spot. No trouble parking. When I checked in, Janeth switched me down to the half marathon distance by writing on my 50K bib. There was an issue with bathroom lines, so the race started ~10 minutes late. There was time to catch up with Rosie (running the 30K), and some joke around pictures with Karen. I hadn't showered as there was only a ~5 hour gap between finishing one half marathon and starting the next.

Correction: the prior night I'd only run a 20K. We made up the mile by starting up Hill 88 in a thick fog, and turning around Janeth. As I started up the hill, it was impossible for me to force my legs into a jog. I walked up the hill, and fell into step with a new friend from the prior night, Tauyna. She was even crazier than me, and had run til after sunrise(!) and then slept in her car at the start (!!!) to help train for Zion 100. 

On the descent I felt better, and plodded along Bunker Road to Coastal Trail in a relentless forward jog. However I walked almost all of Coastal Trail up to Conzelman, saying encouraging words as various green clad runners passed me. 

"At least you're not on the couch" - photographer chiding me as I refused to break into a run as I  plodded uphill into Conzelman road aid station. "C'mon, can't you run a little bit for the photo?" he asked. Me: I ran a half marathon yesterday, I'm NOT RUNNING RIGHT NOW, OK???

Then the fog started to lift, and I had a gorgeous downhill on Marincello. Karen, Coach Ken, Catra & Truman (Catra's dog) were ably staffing the Tennesee Valley Aid Station. I'd listened to Paul Oakenfold's "Goa Mix", the perfect sountdrack to my sleep deprived state. The whole race seemed like a dream -- a beautiful dream of hills and trails and pretzels.

On the last climb up Wolf Ridge, my competitive spirit reignited. I passed a few runners into the finish, even holding off a surge from a 30ker. [this isn't much of an accomplishment as he'd run 5 more miles than me with only ~20 minutes advantage]

Things I did well:
Said thank you to volunteers
Said encouraging words to fellow runners
Ran on tired, sleep deprived state

Things to improve on:
I got a bit hot in my long sleeve, but the weather could have gone either way.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Rodeo Vally 20K [ night edition]

~ 3 hours, 12 miles. 

Coach Ken and his wife, "Mrs Coach Ken" organized a night run clinic to preview the Rodeo Valley 30K course the next day. Of course, it wasn't gonna be straightforward. 

1) The official course was run "backwards" -- instead of starting up Hill 88 and contouring around Alta, and descending on Coastal Trail to finish on Coastal Trail, the day run would finish DOWN Hill 88, a quad killer.

2) Karen wanted to lead the 8K route. 

3) The 10K loop [up Miwok, down Pirates Cove], even in perfect daylight conditions, usually takes me ~90- 100 minutes. A PR for me on the 30K course is ~4 hours. At night, I budgeted an extra hour (or two).

4) And I was registered to run the official 50K the next day! 

5) With an 11 pm course, and 6 hours to run 30K, something had to give…

6) I volunteered to lead a "20K" group, cutting out the difficult Pirates Cove loop.

7) I dropped down to the half marathon in the official race on Saturday. 

We gathered in the dark at Rodeo Valley with some excitement and nervousness. CK gave a ~30 minute lecture on night running, and then we were off, up Hill 88 to Wolf Ridge to Old Springs! Seeeing the multiple headlamps as runners snaked up Hill 88 over the sound of crashing waves was a definite thrill. A bunch of party-goers [separate from us] were hanging out at Battery Townsley.  

At Tennesse Valley, it was decision time. Earlier, we'd counted out for 8Kers, 20Kers (with me) and 30Kers. There were 21!! intrepid 30K'ers, ~5 8 Kers, and 2! 20Kers. Periodically, I'd get Yoko, my 20Ker, to do a quick count off with me. TV was the last point where the 20Kers & 30Kers could diverge. Yoko & I waited, and Angela & Doug, a married couple, split off.

The hike up Marincello was beautiful -- it was a still night, with no fog or wind, only the sight of glittering houseboats down in Sausalito bay. Though I was "leading", the other three were running up the hill as I walked. They stopped to light up a herd of grazing deer in the dark. 

At the top of Marincello, I started running, and then I was in the lead. Down Marincello, up Alta. At Rodeo Valley/SCA split I asked "Do you want to do the easy way, down Rodeo Valley Fire Trail, or a more technical, challenging way around SCA?" Surprisingly, they chose SCA. Carefully we ran the single track, though I slowed to a walk in the most technical spots. 

It was so much fun to cruise in the dark. When I thought the course was even enough, I'd turn off my headlamp and run only with the lights behind me & the stars above. The Golden Gate Bridge glittered red, with an occasional car passing over the span. 

All too quickly we were back at Rodeo Valley around 3 AM. 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Golden Gate 30K Race report

After three consecutive DNF's in the second half of 2012 (for various worthy reasons) capped off by a DNS (North Face Half Marathon canceled due to extreme weather), I approached the beginning of 2013 racing with no small trepidation. After the Marin 50 Mile, I'd not finished a single race, DNF'ing at a 50 mile, 100 mile, 30K, and DNS'ing a half marathon. My only goal was to have fun. and…maybe stay ahead of my sister.

After crewing me to a DNF at mile 34.5 of Cascades Crest 100 Mile and enduring cranky, smelly, me, somehow my sister decided to try a trail race. She signed up for Golden Gate 30K in February at my recommendation of a beautiful, low-key, well marked course. And maybe some friendly sisterly competition. Every weekend after New Years, my sister tried to run around Manhattan, posting on Facebook her increasing distances "24 miles", and to my trail accustomed eyes, horrifying paces "8:57 minutes/miles".

I tried to give M enough advice for her first trail race without overwhelming her. 

Stay away from Poison Oak. "I don't know what it looks like" "I'll show you".
Don't run up the first hill (Hill 88, a 900 foot climb from Rodeo Beach).
Carry a water bottle "I never run with one, and I don't have one". "I'll give you one of mine."
Bring clothes for the finish when you're cold/muddy/sweaty.
Line up near the back of the pack. 

We arrived at Rodeo Beach at 7:05 AM, adequate time to pick up our numbers, huddle in the car for warmth, take a few photos, and start! Quickly, we were near the back of the 50 and 30K ers. We chatted and walked, as I pointed out the top of the hill on the near horizon. When we got to the top, I started down, only to find M right with me. 

At Tennessee Valley I left first, but on the climb again M was right with me, enjoying the beautiful day and the spectaular vistas of Marin in all it's glory. On Coyote Ridge I descended first, only again to look back and see M right behind me. I decided to slow down and walk Pirates Cove with my sister. Why was I being so competitive? The day was about having fun and showing my sister the beauty of trail running, not seeing who was a minute or so ahead? I took out my headphones and snapped a few photos as M caught up. 

As she passed me with her headphones on, without breaking a stride, she said "It's Britney, B@$#@" and jaunted ahead. Sometimes I wonder why I'm competitive with my sister. This was not one of those times. It took me 5 miles to catch back up to her at TV aid station. 

We walked together companionably up Marincello as I pointed out Mount Diablo & Angel Island. Then I tried to drop the hammer and catch Todd. Made a decent showing, passing ~10 runners to finish at 4:03. M finished at 4:07, an awesome sister showing! Most proud of showing my sister the joy of trail running! At the end, got to hang out with Karen & Sabina. 

Things I did well
ran my own race after sister passed me
brought salt, took every half hour
said thank you to volunteers
dropped the hammer down Coastal Trail
ran up Tennessee Valley road just like I'd done in training loops
said great race to Wendell, the RD

To improve on:
being more friendly to runners when passing me /vice versa
really nailing the last mile into Rodeo Beach -- my split for the mile on road was 10:15

So happy to finish a race & enjoy the day!