Saturday, January 5, 2008

My Running 2007 in Review (Tag Answers Part 1 of 2)

Looks like the Runtrailsbloggerman himself, Scott Dunlap, has tagged me, so I have to answer 6 questions. Just as well since I've gone more than a month without posting. Dunno, maybe something to do with the holidays...(btw, Happy New Year!)

Here are the 6 questions:

1. Most memorable moment on the trails in 2007.
2. Best new trail discovered in 2007.
3. My best performance of 2007.
4. I don't know how I previously survived without...
5. The person I would most like to meet on the trails in 2008.
6. The race I am most excited about for 2008.

Since I'm still reeling from the holidays (I actually started the New Year butt sick), I will answer only the first 3 now. You will have to wait for the second 3 another day

1. Most memorable moment on the trails.

I should've started blogging the year before last, as I had a bunch of these really memorable (crazy and/or pseudo-tragic) moments in 2006, but not nearly as many in 2007. Still, many memorable memories.

Going down (collapsing on the steps overlooking the Pacific Ocean after each of my calves spasmed in quick succession) near the end of Headlands 50k definitely is something I should never forget, and make sure I avoid (link to my original post). Also, my sprinting with Ron Gutierrez at the end of Firetrails 50 mile (link to that post) was quite an ordeal.

But it's not all about racing.

In the fall I had a surreal hour-long run on some trails near my house the afternoon after my 2nd child was born really fast (he came out so fast I missed it, while parking the car which I'd initially left in a no-parking zone with the lights blinking). I did this run while my wife was still in hospital.

We had left home with less than half an hour of contractions at 2:30 a.m. without our bags, and had no time to deliver our toddler Peter to anyone. Given the circumstances, the rule about no kids in the delivery room got waived.

Apparently my wife wasn't looking or sounding nearly as cordial or happy a short while earlier, during her precipitous delivery much more natural and anesthesia-free than she was planning. Peter should be in bed.

So almost 8 hours later, realizing he wasn't going to snooze, I drove him back home, fed him lunch and then put him in his day care for 2 hours just so he would nap. Before taking him out of the preschool, I ran the trails around there, foggy from lack of sleep, elated from having a new baby (and disappointed I missed his coming out, but more relieved it didn't happen in the car), and weirded out that I was doing a run hours after our new baby and no sleep. It was sort of perfect.

Richmond Costco parking lot, 4:30 pm: post-nap big brother still in same pajamas with cousin and my sister-in-law before going to their house, and before daddy goes back to mommy and new baby brother at hospital after bringing home new large screen TV he just bought, a surreal shopping experience to match the surreal run on trails

I went to attend an educational conference in Santa Rosa in November and made it a little famly trip. The day before my wife, her sister, the kids tried to get a hike in at nearby Annadel State Park. We started out too late, and before reaching a lake on top of the hill we were climbing, my wife and sister-in-law decided to head back. This was my last chance to exercise in 2 days, so I thought I should seize the moment. We continued up to hit the lake,

(whoopee), and then we had to get back down. I could go down the same way, but it was probably going to be really dark, and the hike would be too short. So we opted to go a longer way down. My son is on a carrier, skinny like me, but still weighing over 25 pounds with the carrier. I think I was in hiking shoes. He screams for me to step in every puddle he sees (there are lots) and perfects a new technique of jerking back and forth in the carrier, upsetting my balance, that he now uses on all our hikes. The sun is setting. It's getting cold, and it's not clear we'll make it before it dims too much to see. We laugh all the way down the winding trail.

I'm out of breath when we catch up with the rest of our family at the car, and sore all over, but at least we never wiped out. Perfect timing. Perfect unplanned trail run.

2. Best new trail discovered in 2007.

I won't count new trails on new races, since I'm discovering the races more than the trails.

Recently the East Bay Regional Parks opened the southern extension of Las Trampas Ridge Trail in the Regional Wilderness of the same name, west of Danville. This gives me a more southern connection to that most awesome collection of hilly trails, so I don't have to run so much along the Iron Horse Trail to get there from San Ramon. I think this photo is from the Corduroy Hills Trail, which I ran for the first time in October.

Close was an other East Bay Regional Park, Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve, which I got to hit twice when out in Antioch to work a few shifts in the new Kaiser Permanente hospital at the end of November. Has a little bit of everything--steep hills, rolling meadows, views of Diablo and the Delta. All totally new to me, as it's sort of far from home. And even after 2 days of 3 hours each, didn't hit half the trails.

looking north from Ridge Trail

view from Star Mine Trail, in the southeast corner of park

3. My best performance of 2007.
Well, the only race I've won is still Kettle Moraine 100 mile, when I beat Joe Kulak. Hard to say if it was a fluke or something to better, but despite bad ankle sprains that I feel to this day, ran a great race. Still very happy about:

* coming 6th in the American River 50 mile, the 2nd largest 50 mile race (12th last year, 100-something in 2004)

* my sub 5-hour Ohlone 50k (didn't think I could do that, and especially because I went out to celebrate a friend's 30th birthday the night before and we didn't start eating the very un-carbo loading meal until after 10:30pm. I decided friends are more important than a race I'll do every year. However, maybe I'll bail on her 31st birthday celebration...)
* my sub-8 hour Ruth Anderson 100k (outlasted Jean Pommier, lapped Karno), and

* that hellish finish at Firetrails 50 (mile) essentially for a bottle of wine and not even a mention in the official report in Ultrarunnning.

Okay, enough for today. I have to find untagged people to tag. Please patiently wait for the last 3 answers. I promise it will be worth the wait (think: hot French babes!)
addendum, as of January 7th, I've tagged
Don from Monterey County-- -- great writing, always very thoughtful and interesting
Chihping from Fremont-- -- raced a LOT last year and is way behind on his blogging.


kate said...

Interested in running at Black Diamond- not too far from where we live. Can you email me at kate dot morejohn at g mail dot com? I want to ask you where/what trails you choose when you ran there. Las Trampas looks good, too. Love your blog- said Hi to you at Quad Dipsea :)

willgotthardt said...

Well now I know how all those nerd kids feel waiting for the next volume of Harry Potter...a terrific year Mark, looking forward to seeing what you can/will accomplish in 2008. I'm sure to see you at a few events throughout..

Will G.

Donald said...

Can I comment on a comment? Did Will just call me a nerd kid? Whatever.

OK, you tagged me ... no problem. I'll get to it after I knock a couple other posts out of the way.

P.S. Did you get into Miwok?

Rajeev said...


Thanks for stopping by on my blog. Your responses are so detailed and wonderful. I got tired of typing so I kept my answers to the 6 questions short! :))

Have a fantastic year. You inspire me.


Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) said...

Hi Kate (and everyone),

In case anyone else living near Black Diamond Mines finds this post, I'll just comment my answer:

I parked at the 90 degree bend at Fredrickson Lane. I didn't see any broken glass. Maps are there. South on Stewartville, then Star Mill, then Lower Oil Canyon, back to Stewartville, then up to the Ridge via either Corcoran Mine to east or Miners to west. Return any of several trails north (all of which were opened to the public in the last few years). Both took about 3 hours with some minor diversions. For a shorter run, skip Lower Oil Canyon and/or Star Mill and climb the ridge earlier. What's great about this park, besides the scenery, is that's it's easy to adjust your route and time.

What a nerdy long answer...

Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) said...

I've also tagged Catra and Jean Pommier, although I'm not sure Jean is into it. Looks like Donald will take his time. I can't even finish mine right anytime soon, for a good cause...

Jenny H. said...

Hey Mark...great blog. What is it about men and large flat screen tv's?? And how could you miss your son's birth?????!!! Your wife must have been p.....d. I think I must look very similar to your wife because I have a picture of myself after I just delivered my kid that is almost identical. She must have given you approval to post a picture of her showing her boob out (nipple airbrushed out, of course). On a different note, I did my first 30K, and now am training for the skyline 50. I figured good training would be something I call the "crazy eight": figure eight loop d loop up live oak trail thru campgrounds, cross bridge, up cameron loop trail (golf course side)and down. "crazy 8" is 2 laps, "psycho 8" is 3 laps, "sick 8" is 4 laps. Let me know if you want to join the fun, I'm trying to get some people together, I'll send you an invite (I have my connections to kaiser). Jenny H.

Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) said...

Sounds fun, if I can fit it in my schedule. Thanks! --will send you a message.

Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) said...

by the way, she pushed our baby out on the gurney before they could start an IV or get you on the bed while I went to get my older son and park the car. wasn't my fault.

my wife watches the plasma about 10 times more than I do