Monday, March 24, 2008

Delayed (and Almost Ruined) Ambition -- Deciding to Try to Win the Rucky Chucky Roundabout 50k

Blowing the Taper

about to lock in at Sugarbowl the day before the race: another form of Mountain Running. this is Mt. Judah, not too high or steep, but this hill has the terrain park.

Winning this year's Rucky Chucky Roundabout 50k was definitely not on my radar even as late at 8 miles into the race. I was there for fun, a good training run and to check out the Western States course before I finally make it in (probably in 2020, since there is talk of discontinuing the 2-strikes-and-you're-in rule). By doing this run, you literally get to know it forwards and backwards between miles 62 and 78.

Anyways, had I been thinking seriously of winning, I would not have attempted as many jumps or gone so fast snowboarding the day before the race. While my toddler was having fun at all-day ski school (half-price at Sugarbowl in March!), my wife and I took turns on the slopes, with the other taking care of the baby. Even when I wasn't trying to squeeze value out of our lift ticket, I could feel my ankles getting sore walking back and forth in snowboard boots to the car carrying the baby and a full backpack.

Maybe the stupidest move: when I first got to see my toddler get on the Magic Carpet "lift" after lunch, the damn thing broke. They were going to make him walk up the hill! It was too painful to watch, so I ran over, picked him up and started running up the stalled conveyor belt, probably 45-50 pounds with equipment. I guess I at least didn't pick up his 20-something South American instructora.

Pushing the stroller up the hill from the pizza place in Auburn to our car that evening, feeling sore in several places, I realized that I may have blown a great 5-day taper, but since this was just a fun training run anyways, and I was focused on spending quality time with my family, I wasn't too concerned.

RACE DAY, Saturday March 22, 2008

my gracious chauffer from Auburn to the Foresthill start

Peter Lubbers, already driving his friend Frank Plucker, is nice enough to pick me up at the deluxe Motel 6 in Auburn before 7 that morning, sparing my wife and family the major hassle of getting up early and driving me out. We get to the start early, enough time to use the bathroom (when I realize that the 5 slices of combo pizza I'd eaten the night before were probably not the best pre-race meal--again, proof that maybe winning was not on my mind), and fill up my Fuel Belt Del Fuego pack (replacing inner sack with the easier to suck Camelback one--Fuelbelt, please take note) I'd won as part of my 2006 swag, and stuff my pockets with Hammer gels and Cliff Shots, and 6 Ecaps. And, just in case I need some audiospiration, my Nano, since the Fuel Belt has 2 more pockets. Consider bringing my camera, but decide against it. Am expecting Scott Dunlap to be there, but he doesn't show up until maybe 15 minutes before, sleep deprived from an unexpectedly layover in snowy Chicago.

(note, race maps with elevations at the end of this post)

We start running through the main street of Foresthill. I'm feeling a little off, and don't manage to hold conversations with Beverly Anderson-Abbs and Scott and others. After a few turns, we get onto the trails, which for the first few miles is almost all downhill. Some guy way ahead of us stops to pee (I would later learn he is Jady Palko), so then it's Bev ahead of me. Note to less experienced runners--even if you are running with an experienced (even a nationally renowned) runner who has run the course and trail numerous times, don't fail to look for the course markings yourself. At about 1 mile, Bev leads the first 5 or 6 of down the wrong way, until we hear "you're going the wrong way" behind us. Luckily no significant distance, but now I have to slowly pass runners on the narrow single track for the next few miles. As I descend, I am thinking I'd be too short of breath to take part in any of the conversations above and behind me. Am I going too fast?

Beverly Anderson-Abbs, USATF 2007 Womens Masters runner of the year, getting her raffle swag. Every runner would get a swag prize!

I pass 2 guys I don't know, then Peter Lubbers, who seems to be pacing himself well. He says there are 2 guys ahead of us. Next is Ray Sanchez, who races 1-2 times a week, so it's no surprise he's struggling a little. I'm thinking the guy in the lead is way out in front, but eventually I spot him, I believe he's the guy who stopped to pee, but I'm not sure. I take my time to pass him (he in fact, suddenly stopped and let me pass).

The last guy I had to pass before I found myself in 1st, fast downhiller Jady Palko (thanks, Will Gotthardt, for the ID).

So at about mile 10, I find myself in first place. Huh? What just happened? So now I start to have regrets. Not about going to Sugarbowl with my family, or even going up the lifts. I'm having second thoughts about every jump I tried, every steep slope I gunned down, not changing out of my snowboarding boots, running up that Magic Carpet carrying both my kids.

And the pizza.

Okay, so that night, we went to pizza. I didn't want to be a party-pooper (remember, the goal is to minimize the family impact) and just eat bread while the rest of family was chowing on really good pizza (or baby food). I'm mildly lactose intolerant, which means I'm okay eating a few slices of pizza, but 5 slices with multi-toppings probably aren't not the best choice before an ultra.

at Old Town Pizza, in historic Auburn. To my Sportiva sponsors--hey, I'm still wearing the jacket!
So with my assuming the lead position, I start to feel the discomfort in my bowels. Over the next 3 miles, it gets worse. Since some readers have complained I get too biological on them, I'll spare you the details, but basically I have to pit stop at about mile 13, right before the 1st aid station, and if my toddler had seen it, he'd shout, "OOH, DADDY THAT'S NASTY POO! NAAASTY!" And then I'd ask him what food it looks like and we'd talk about how yummy chocolate pudding is. Then we'd have good laugh. Gotta love my son!

Luckily I don't get passed doing it. Peeing standing is one thing, but squatting with your pants down and getting passed--how undignified and humiliating!

Norm Klein, RD of Rio del Lago 100, Sierra Nevada Double Marathon, Helen Klein 30k/50k/50 mile, and former RD of Western States.

Norm greets me. "Hey is Jon Olsen running this?" I'm so focused on keeping my lead (winning IS on my radar now), I'm not sure I answer him, but ask him if it's legal to leave my hydration pack to fill and pick it up on the way back since it's less than 2 miles to the turnaround. After leaving, I feel guilty-rude. Didn't even congratulate Helen on her new world record (women 85-89 age marathon, I think).

I try to be quick at the turnaround, and remember to note my time, about 2:03 (at that rate, I could finish Western States in about 12 1/2 hours, hmmm... but I guess it was mostly downhill). I see the next runner about a minute after I leave, meaning a gap of 2 minutes. I see Bev within the next minute, and several other runners within the next 2. In other words, there are about 5-6 runners within 5-6 minutes of my ass.

I get back to the aid station (the last before the finish), and apologize to Helen for being so rude (not that she was offended) and congratulating her. Then I ask for my pack, but evidently I wasn't the only runner carrying one who thought of the same thing, so it takes about 15-20 seconds before Norm spots it under the table. He hands me a cup of cola, which I gratefully chug. I almost forget to stock up on more gels.

Helen Klein, yet another world record bagged at the Napa Marathon earlier this month.

Within the next mile, I start hearing breathing and footsteps behind me. Damn--who is that? A mile a minute faster than me... Is my now full Fuel Belt pack weighing me down that much? We chat a little, and the fast dude tells me he's in the relay. Whoops, forgot to look at the race numbers. 1000 something is solo, 300 something are relay runners. He eventually passes.

Well, maybe it's irrelevant I didn't pay attention to race numbers, since at the very least, Bev is close and definitely a major threat (aside from not winning, it is technically getting chicked), and there are several others close--I just have to run as sustainably fast as I can. With an uphill return and the temperatures rising, anything could happen. For instance, my legs might mush on me.

What's great about out and back races is that you get to know where you are competitively, and you get to see and say "hi" to everyone. Okay, actually I'm running so hard I can barely grunt out "hi" while most everyone is saying full sentence compliments "Great job, Mark," for instance. Me so rude, so competitive...

Lynx: my 1st pair of comped racing shoes on the Sportiva Mountain Running Team. will be racing with these several more times this year.

In addition, I am starting to feel some pressure over the base of my left pinkie toe. The shoes were working great--the cushioning was great on the downhills, the bane of my running and racing since last fall. I hadn't tried them until today.

my ugly feet. black 4th toenail on right is old. new minor blister over left 5th metatarsal joint

Noticeable deceleration. On the (relatively few) downhills, I start to hear footsteps, but when I look back and up, I never see anyone. I eventually figure out it's my hydration pack bouncing up and down. Or I am paranoid tripping out. Nonetheless, no letting up. I think of putting on the iPod I've been carrying the whole race, but decide it's not worth the hassle--I'm in the zone, able to work it hard, and not suffering from 1 or 2 songs that keep playing over and over in my head. I try to job up as many hills as is biomechanically efficient, but still do a lot of walking. I am fricking sore. I am prepared to get passed. I am thinking I will be so pissed at myself if I lose first place by a few minutes, because I KNOW all my activity yesterday adds up to at least 5 minutes. At least I was smart enough not to bring my camera (sorry--if you want good on the trail race photos, see Scott Dunlap's blog-- I love you all, my readers, xoxoxo, but not that much...)

11th place finisher and Bloggerdean Scott Dunlap, after his ordeal, including hardly any sleep. I know you all can never get enough of this guy.
My pack empties at about mile 29, but I figure I'm okay. The only problem is that I have just downed a Hammer gel, and with nothing to wash it down, am feeling a little yucky in the mouth. The trail keeps going up and up, there is less cover, and I'm feeling hot. When I finally hit the pavement, I start looking back every 30 seconds or so--just in case. Turning onto Main Street, I dismayed I can't even see the school. But soon everyone at the finish spots me several blocks away and it feels good to hear their cheers. (Official time 4:43:50, although when I looked at my Garmin later, it was 4:43:20-something. I'd trust the latter more, except that the altitude change was recorded as more than 9200 feet up and 9200 down which can't be right.)

Despite 21 miles in 1st, I'm still a little incredulous at winning. I try to walk off my panting, and think I give Linda Mathis a big sweaty malodorous hug, which I doubt she enjoyed. I hear about some shower and make my way to spray off any offensive odors.

Aaah, shower. I was too shy (and the water a little too cold) to get butt naked, but I did aim into my shorts.
Robert Mathis hand me my prize--a coupon for a pair of Inov-8 running shoes. Whoops--not Sportiva! Guess I won't be wearing them soon (I was racing in them most of last year). No trophy or anything. Just as well--my wife is generally not enthusiastic about all the animal figurines mostly from Norm's races that are sitting around our small house. But I'm thinking a stuffed green dinosaur in blue boxers might've been cool...

I would sit and cheer everyone as they come in, but realize that my wife will show up any minute and want to get going home. I go to the bathroom and give my legs a liquid soap scrub down for the urashiol (poison oak irritant) and then to the gym to fuel up. But I have to make the wifey call--post-race mind you. My Razor with AT&T gets no signal. I ask Catherine Sullivan, who lends me hers (Verizon seems to be the way to go), but I can only leave a message. I ask my wife about the egg hunt and when she might get here, should I try to hop a ride out to Auburn. I make no mention of winning the race

Catherine Sullivan, super volunteer for the day

I help myself to several servings of food and try to mingle, but end up sitting listening to Scott tell some hilarious stories including one about savvy chicks he meets on My Space (yes, take this out of context!)

Since I'm too lame to take pictures on the course, you have to look at a random few in a less scenic school gym. (Hey, if you want scenery, put on shoes and get ond a trail!)

Linda Mathis, Matt, Linda Bennett and RD Robert Mathis, in the kitchen

finishers Karyn and Mike Hoffman (thanks Kathy Martin for clearing this up for me--I knew her name began with a "K").

finisher Tony Overbay, left and fellow Anti-Hair Party runner whose name I didn't know originally, on right :) Have since learned he is Tony's running buddy Jeffery Johnston. I sold my Way Too Cool entry to eager Tony for a win win win situation-- kept my motel reservation, and took my toddler skiing and sledding that weekend (while mommy and baby went out of town), inspiring this weekend's family trip.

finisher Charley Jones, of Folsom, who saved me while pacing Rena Schumann at my first night section at Rio del Lago in 2005. I am thinking I should shave my head.

finisher (7th place) and relatively hirsute Paul Sweeney, with raffle prize Stony Face Red Ale (which is what I got too)

My beloved wife comes with our kids, late enough that I'm full. She drove to Folsom to catch an egg hunt, but my toddler got into petting these bunnies...just as well, since he's wild and crazy enough without junk food. Since carrying both of my kids would've slowed me down and been dangerous, I'm very grateful. The win I owe to her. But I decide not to mention that I won, and let her figure it out eventually. Don't wanna act like I'm too into this silly racing thing... ooh, she congratulates me! Is this chick into me now?

Gotta go! I thank the volunteers I see (thanks all!) and say bye, then we drive our loaded Rav on that gorgeous road to Auburn (with that gorgeous and scary bridge). I end up driving the whole way, high from caffeine (I in fact had enough in my naive system to keep me up half that night) and my win. We decide to check out the waterfront at Benicia for the first time, and have a delightful dinner at a restaurant along the water before getting home way past our bedtime.

Carquinez (I-80) bridge seen from the Benicia waterfront

Other blog race reports
These links link directly to the specific report, not just the blog site. Alphabetical order.

Scott Dunlap lots of great photos out on the trail
Adrian Jue
Peter Lubbers thanks for the ride!
Tony Overbay
Catherine Sullivan thanks for volunteering (and for the photos)!

Please contact me if you know of any others.

Race results

Course maps with elevation profiles taken from the Western States website:

Foresthill to Dardanelles
Dardanelles to Peachstone
Peachstone to Fords Bar
Fords Bar to Rucky Chuck (east half)
Fords Bar to Rucky Chuck (west half)

first published 1 week post-race (sorry, have had to work 60+ hours since the race), Saturday, March 29, 2008 at 20:25.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Rucky Chucky Roundabout 50k, the day after

OK, so I'm on my butt for a 7am to midnight call center shift today, a beautiful Easter Sunday, during which I get consults from phone advice nurses. I could tell you sometimes funny, sometimes horrifying stories, about this part of my job, but I'd probably get in trouble. Then I would have no job and then no money to pay entry fees for ultra races.

I didn't sleep very well last night. I think it was the two Red Bulls I drank post race around 2pm yesterday. Or maybe it was the lasting high of totally surprising myself by winning this year's Rucky Chucky Roundabout 50k. I think this means I can say I was the green dinosaur, and not just to my kids.


In any case, around 10pm tonight I may feel much more exhausted and uncomfortable than I did yesterday while climbing that killer hill in the last miles of the race. Especially since I won't have the anticipation of finishing something momentous and the subsequent elation. I guess I'm getting paid to do this (and occasionally working on the blog in between calls), but really, it's beautiful out, my kids are home...

But the best thing about the race was that I didn't sacrifice a great family getaway trip. For the first time since last year's Tahoe Rim Trail races, I managed to combine running with family recreation. Thursday we stayed in Auburn, Friday we went up to Sugarbowl. By his request, my toddler went to ski school and did well enough to ride the Magic Carpet lift, while my wife and I took turns going down the bigger slopes while the other stayed with the baby. The only thing I missed was my son's first egg hunt on Saturday, the day of the race, but actually they got there too late and he was too busy petting the rabbits.

More trip and race details later!

Rucky Chucky Roundabout 50k 2008 Race Results

The above results page says "67 degrees." Hmm, sure felt hotter than that in the sun at the end. And I got done early.

Other bloggers that will probably post on this race, days before I get around to finishing my report, alphabetical order by last name. They will probably have better race photos anyways.

Scott Dunlap
Peter Lubbers (gave me a ride from Auburn to Foresthill--thanks!)
Tony Overbay
Catherine Sullivan (volunteered at start/finish--thanks!)

If you've blogged or will blog about this race, please comment and I'll add a link to your blog.

1st published 3/23/08 at 3:45pm

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Ditched by Dunlap at Skyline Ridge 50k (I got the ham!)

view from the Vista Point, photo by Will Gotthardt

All I have to say is that I had my chance to be all over Scott Dunlap's blog, and I blew it, cause I couldn't catch up with him. And when I mean all over, like most of his race report would've been about me. As my son would say "Man, poopy!"

Well, actually, there are other things I can say.

How I came to run Pacific Coast Trail Runs' Skyline Ridge 50k on Saturday, March 1, 2008:
In an amazing demonstration of originality, after Scott Dunlap posted an offer to sell and transfer his entry to Way Too Cool 50k because the RD took it off the PAUSATF Ultra Grand Prix, I then commented that I was thinking of doing the same. Main reason--domestic political. With Rucky Chucky on the 17th and AR50 2 weeks later, too many runs held around Sacramento and beyond. I figured I should look for something closer. Still, this needed to be negotiated, since we were holding our son's birthday party the next day. Aside from this, I chronically feel guilty about not doing more PCTR runs because my schedule is filled with PAUSATF races. Finally I did this race 4 years ago, and remember it being very pretty. Besides an obvious PR, a repeat was overdue.

flashback photo: blogger-me, 4 years earlier, at the start. photo by my wife--crap, I've uploaded this twice and it still disappears--sorry.

How I thought I was going to have plenty of time, but actually barely made it there:

Basically, I forgot how long it takes to get up those windy hills above the peninsula. Plus, if I get up early (as I did), I still never leave on time. Marisa Walker helps me get to the start line on time, filling up my bottle. She also lets me stand by the heater. Thanks, Marisa! (Forgot to take your/her photo.)

At the start, I see and exchange a few words with Jon Olsen, who I think will win, Jason Reed (doing the 37k), recent subject of mainstream press ex-boxer Ray Sanchez, who makes no mention of his running the Napa Marathon tomorrow, and the blogger man himself, Scott Dunlap, decked out in yellow and geared with that Nathan pack. I know Scott kicked ass at PCTR's Woodside a month earlier, and had an extra trail race 2 weeks ago in Redwood Park, so I'm expecting to be running close to him all day.

Ray Sanchez (12th, 5:03:12; 113th and 3:15:32 at the Napa Valley Marathon the next day)

After Wendell Doman starts the race, I know not to sprint with the leaders, since there are always people doing shorter distances. I fall in with Scott and Ray, but feel like I'm going too fast. Not enough warm up. Or else out of shape.

We head this way for the first half of the 50k (as well as 37k and 23k) course.

Scott gets ahead, but I'm able to catch up around before a mile or 2 and we have that sort of extended conversation limited by our breathing and distance between us, which fluctuated. When not trying to chat or in the zone, I kept hearing Howie Day's "Collide" in my head, because it was on the radio on the drive up. Nearing the aid station I talk with Adam Blum, who says he is only running the 37k or 23k, but is also doing the Napa Marathon tomorrow. Apparently he does these back to backs almost every weekend, and you can see his out-of-control race schedule on his blog. phenom, Scott Dunlap (7th, 4:32:04), post-race, decked out in yellow

I get to the turnaround and first aid station, Hickory Oaks, at km 11.7, ahead of Scott at about an hour (I recorded all my splits, but would later nuke them before writing them down) and even doing the short out and back to the road before him. For this reason, I run back to the start thinking I was ahead of him.

On the way back, I really enjoy myself, neither slacking nor building up lactate like I was at the start. The ridge is beautiful, with a layer of clouds below the tops of the mountains to the west, which I asked Scott to photograph on the way out, but he said he'd do it on the way back since it was more uphill. As I see mid to back of the pack runners coming out, the theme song from "The Sound of Music" pops into my head. Fortunately, the other songs from that musical like "My Favorite Things" or that yodel song don't make it in, maybe partly due to our mutually encouraging remarks.

I get back to the start (km 23.2, about mile 14) at about 1:56, the faster return split mostly attributable to a drop in elevation. I grab 2 Cliff Shots and then start running down about 50 years toward the finish food area until I figure out I'm supposed to go the other way. The 2nd half of the course goes out into the next open space preserve and then does a counterclockwise loop before returning to the start, and then you repeat this 14km. Looking up the first hill near the top, I notice Scott with his bright yellow outfit is ahead of me. Not that I'm dead-set on racing him, but he's at least a minute ahead. I try pick up the pace, but the more exposed surface is harder than the softer trails in the woods, and my recent knee issues become an issue on the downhills. I'm a little skeptical of myself--he's got his tunes, no doubt listening to White Stripes' "Icky Thump" and other upbeat thrasher songs, while maybe Julie Andrews singing in the alps will come back to my unwired head. Different gorgeous views, including those to the east, with the Peninsula, Stanford, Mount Diablo in the distance.

entrance to Russian Ridge Open Space Preserve and the loop done twice during the 2nd half of the 50k course

The aid station up at Vista Point is 5 km out. Four years earlier, I think I (and several others) went the wrong way and did the loop backwards, but this time either I'm smarter or it's more obvious. Will Gotthardt is taking photos. He has gotten fast this year, and is winning the PCTR ultra series. I tell him about 3 times he's kicking ass. Will, if you're reading this, keep it up, you are kicking ass; you are gonna beat me.

blogger me looking faster than I am, photo courtesy Will Gotthardt

The loop then drops down in elevation and when it goes into the woods, I come to an intersection with ribbons going two ways. Plain ribbons going up to the left, and a striped ribbon going straight. I stand there for a while, deliberating which way to go. Obviously someone (who hopefully will die soon) has vandalized the course. My instinct says go up to the left, but then the striped ribbon is where you are supposed to go per the instructions. Also, the straighter way would probably be the longer way, so I don't want to inadvertently cut the course. Marisa had handed me the written course descriptions with distances between turnoffs when I registered, straight from the website, which of course, after pinning my number on, I forgot to stick in my pockets. Fatal preventable error. I go straight on what I later figure out was Mindego Trail, rather than turning left onto Ancient Oaks Trail.

The trail keeps going down. I try to remember after how many minutes of running without seeing a ribbon I'm supposed to assume I'm off course, and can't remember. I end up going more than half a mile, and since I don't see any trail going up to the left, I decide to go back. Oh well, bonus mile. I would try to think "well, this is not a race" but Wendell and Sarah appear to have removed the "runs that aren't races in beautiful places" from the website, since at least the front-runners, always have and always will race these just as hard as any other ultra.

Nonetheless I'm not really upset, except that I figure that now I'm about 8-10 minutes behind Scott, and am unlikely to be able to catch him, and will not again be part of his blog-narrative. As I get back to the turnoff, I deliberate fixing the ribbon, but I haven't actually confirmed that I really was off course, and then I'm scared someone will see me with the ribbons and think I was vandalizing the course. I hear a couple of voices and eventually catch up with Adam Ray and someone else. Adam says he looks at the ribbons for about 1-2 minutes, then intuitively decided to go left. Obviously, he has something in the intuition of common sense department I'm lacking, and I suspect so does everyone else. I suspect that I'm the only one dumb enough to go straight. Adam is still recovering from a hernia surgery (or that's his excuse, read on below for my many excuses).

Adam Ray (9th, 4:46:08) taking a well-deserved rest, waiting for his wife Jennifer to finish (which she did within an hour).

Coming down from the first hill to the start/finish, I see the leaders coming back the other way, and then Scott, to whom I mention my bonus miles. I'm at the start aid station at about 3:18.

At the Vista Point aid station, I repeat my compliments to Will, who's probably embarrassed at this point. Coming down and around, I pass an older guy either doing his first loop. Since I actually have time, I mention to him about the vandalized ribbon intersection. "Don't go straight, go left up the hill."

So down the trail, no yet in the woods, I see another intersection with a trail going sharply back and left. Crap. I hope he doesn't think this is the interesection. I look back and can't even see him--I'm hoping he can see me going straight. Then, when I get to the intersection, I find the ribbons have been fixed. Double crap--what if this further confuses him? I'm feeling potentially guilty. As I climb the hill, I pass a couple of hikers going down. I tell them "if you see an older guy running--" (what great, specific descriptor--I'd be the key witness is a crime, huh?) "--please tell him the ribbons have been fixed."

So much for trying to help.

With about 3 miles to go, I start pushing the pace, feeling the burn, and breathing quite hard. Unfortunately, this causes Madonna's "Burning Up for Your Love" and that Saturday Night Fever "Disco Inferno" with the "burn baby burn" to pop into my head. I rarely feel a need to listen to music especially for these shorter races, but apparently I am having difficulty staying in the zone. Also some hip hop song with dirty words, burning something down that I didn't know well enough. Fortunately this only lasts a moment. "Note your thoughts, let them pass, breathe." I crank up the last hill, passing Steve Ansell, who says something about my lapping him.  (He was actually running almost 50 miles that day, I later learned--link for his report.)  Beatrice Song, who works in my hospital and has returned to ultrarunning after a 2 year hiatus comes the other way, looking good, commenting on how she is surprised I didn't lap her.

Beatrice Song at the finish 4 years ago, June 2004. finish line was up in the parking lot then.

I run into the finish. 4:40:12, almost half an hour faster than 4 years ago, but I don't even bother to ask what place I came in. 30.12 miles per my GPS, or 51.7 km. PR by almost half an hour even without prorating the extra distance, but besides my being much less experienced 4 years ago, I think it was hotter (was in June) and because a runner tragically died of cardiac arrest on the course, the course got diverted so we had the option to do a short 3 mile out and back to make up the distance.

Let's see, last year at Quicksilver 50 mile, my 50k split (actually 31.5 miles, with 5440 elevation change) was 4:22:59. Need to way get back into shape? Slow day? Hmmm...well, running today definitely didn't put me OUT of's all good!

I tell Scott I think he beat me, even without my bonus mile. Later, I realize had I gone the right way that I probably would've caught up with him and we could've had an intense sprinting duel to the finish. Had this happened, I would've played a greater role in his own blog narrative, which is read probably by a thousand to a million more people than this sorry, never published on time, lame excuse of a blog. Gosh, that would've been so cool.

I head for food, aware that another clock (to get birthday errands and get home) is ticking.

Sean Lang, 5th, 4:24:38 (NOT Leor Pantilat (50k winner, 3:58:11) as I previously posted, despite having talked with Sean post-race and taken his picture. I had runner's high, right...) Sean's blog race report

Four years ago, I ran several miles with and barely came ahead a couple of women who still holds the female course record. I remember talking to them not even that long at the finish, when I got the distinct impression that she thought I was hitting on her. Like, whatever, woman! --man I've come a long way (fewer times getting chicked, if nothing else...). But I must add, I have not come nearly as far as Scott, who gets thronged by women after every race. You have to see this to believe this.

Leor Pantilat (winner, 3:59:11, and NOT Thomas Clarke (3rd, 4:11:29) as Mr. Clarke was so kind to point out to me later in his comment, PCTR's Sarah Spelt (thanks Wendell and Sarah and all the volunteers!), Ryan Commons (6th, 4:29:11)

my doggie cup, since I can't stay and talk and eat and take photos any longer. photo by Thomas Clarke

This time, much better conversation, and I get to at least briefly meet all the fast guys who came ahead of me, but unfortunately my "race" is not close to being over. I have to pick up a preordered honey baked ham, cheesecake and side dishes in Palo Alto and then pick out and order balloons, both for my son's 3rd birthday party tomorrow. Then in a couple of hours try to make up for being absent daddy.

The Ham Guy gives me our (Honey Baked) ham. I'm not a ham kind of guy, but this was really good, and got lots of positive feedback at our party. I have no financial interest in this company, in fact they took a lot of our money, but maybe I should see if they will sponsor me...

blog author me, still unshowered 5 hours after finishing, on hike with son, who shot the photo

He kept wanting me to carry him, but he ran about a mile altogether.

part of why I'm late with this post (along with 40 hours of work the next 3 days). don't ask why I'm dressed up like a cow. not my idea.

finally first published 3/6/08 at 10pm