Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Skyline to the Sea 50k, 2nd Time: You'll Agree I'm Still a Dork

A few things were different at this year's PCTR's Skyline to the Sea 50k on Sunday, April 10th, from my first Skyline run two year's ago.

First, no pre-race fashion crisis.  Last time (two years ago) I made it a family trip, with upscale "camping" at the nearby Costanoa resort.  I had forgotten my running shorts.

actually NOT a recycled photo.  2009 race report

This year, I left the family at home to fend for themselves (they did go to a birthday party).  Since I left from home Sunday morning, the only way I could have forgotten my running shorts this year would to have come bottomless, which so far has only happened in a dream.

Second, I came to the this year's race sore from running the inaugural Antelope Island Buffalo 100 mile run two weekends before, sort of stupid.  Two years ago, I came much sorer and sorrier from having finished the McNaughton Park 150 mile run, which was a definitively stupider.  Point is, I had to better my time, even if the course was a little longer this year.

Third, instead of talking with David Schoenberg on the bus ride from Highway 1 to the start off of Skyline Blvd (route 35), I talked with Tim (Roush) and Steve (McCluhan) respectively from Concord and Clayton.

I can use the picture I took of Tim after Diablo 60k this past weekend:

-- but as for Steve, forget it.  (I tried to google his image, and, I shiP you not, I got About 822 results (0.06 seconds), none of which look like Steve, even though I am a little fuzzy on what Steve looks like now.  Sorry, Steve, your chance for pictorial fame on this blog will have to wait.

Here are some images you get [qqwhen you type "steve mccluhan" under Google Images (try it!) :

WTF?  Hopefully some of you readers out there wondering why I haven't posted on this blog for almost 4 months can get an appreciation for how difficult this endeavor can be.

David did not sign up for the race, but I was struck with the fact that had he gotten trampled by a buffalo the day before, I would not have noticed and would have enjoyed my conversation with Tim and Steve anyways.  It was sort of tragic and comic and depressing and bizarre when I thought about it, but then I started feeling sick.  See, once the road started getting windy ("windy" with a long i, as in rhymes with "one of a kindy" and not "blow like the windy"), I halted my running-related chatter, laid down and prevented myself from getting very nauseated as I had the last time.

Fourth, it was not as cold at the top as in 2009.  Nonetheless, I was so scared of freezing my ass off in the woods, and much of this course is shaded single-track, so I ran the whole way with my long sleeve black Sportiva jacket.  Sometimes I got a little hot, but it wasn't too bad.

I took no pictures for this race.  Why?  Because I took the race directions literally-- you could only put a jacket and pair of pants in the drop bags at the start to be transported to the finish.  I hadn't seen my pocket camera in months, so I had started taking all my photos with my iPhone now, which I had left in my car.  Besides being anal about following the instructions, it COULD conceivably fall out of the bag and then I'd have no cell phone.

Fortunately, La Sportiva teammate Leor Pantilat got a photo of us two and gave it to me, so I have one photo:

So, anyways, about the run.  It was awesome.  A beautiful day, clearer than two years ago, so better views near the top.  No major mishaps.  There were two guys I passed kind of early (I think I talked with a Troy Hartman, and maybe a Randy asked what took me so long to pass him), then a long stretch without seeing anyone.

Then this guy started catching up with me right before the first stop at the Gazos Creek aid station, at the start and finish of the extra loop that the 50k runners do and the marathoners don't.  During the loop, I could tell he trying to pick me off, but I was able to keep ahead of him.  After the second stop at the aid station, he caught up.  We talked a little, then he made his move and lost me.   Later I would be a little chagrined to discover he wasn't 26, but 46. On top of that, he was from Carmel, which is sticky and sweet.  And his name was Judd.

Ashley Judd actually does a lot of awesome humanitarian work.
I listened to Terry Gross interview her on NPR's "Fresh Air" while I was running once.
However, because of the Judd thing, it still felt like I got chicked.

And here's the kicker.  His full name turns out to be Judd Haaland.  Do you get it?  Three "A's" in his last name JUST LIKE ME.  So even in the "male runners 40-49 with three A's in your last name" category, he still kicked my aaass.

I passed a bunch of runners until the end, but they were all marathoners that were at a slower pace.  Less satisfying.  By the way, pretty cool that a woman named Linden Bader won the marathon overall.

No age-group top finisher's medal, like I got at Redwood (previous report).  In fact, the three guys ahead of me, places 5th through 7th, were all 40-49, so I was a despicable 4th in my age division.

But, look, the I'm looking so cool here with the race winner!  (And HE was the one who suggested we get a photo together.)

Back at the finish, I found out that Leor, who hadn't raced since November's Quad Dipsea since he was recovering from injury and so hadn't expected that much from himself, broke his course record yet again, finishing in an amazing 3:24:09, which is 53 minutes faster than I did, which wouldn't be such a big deal if it was some 150 mile race and he finished in 33:24:09 and I finished in 34:17:24.  Calculate the ratios to see what I'm getting at.  Damn, I feel so lucky and undeserving and proud to be on the same sponsored Mountain Running Team as he is.  I gotta throw in an even bigger pic of us two:

While we're at it, here's an even bigger picture of Ashley Judd.

 Plus, bonus shots, since you have read this far.

Man (or should I say, OMG?) these are all copyrighted (copywritten?) probably.
I'm going to get busted!

Clap for Leor, Ashley!

Leor's race report-- better written than what you just read, has a nice photo of a waterfall at the beginning, instead of me in my dorky shorts (but no Ashley Judd!)

Thanks PCTR and all the volunteers (I was really buzzing through those aid stations, you were all so smooth!) for making an already beautiful day even better than beautiful.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for an entertaining race report- sounds like it went better the 2nd time around!

Joseph Swenson said...

Thanks for posting this dude. It's ALWAYS been clear who got the betteR of Genes of the two Judd Sisters!

Darren said...

"Clap for Leor, Ashley!" was a nice touch.

Nice to meet you (briefly at the ranch aid station) at buffalo run 100. Hopefully you've warmed up from that cold night on the trail!


Drs. Cynthia and David said...

Never a dork, and always good humored!

Glad to see you're still running strong!


trailturtle said...

Nice report, even without pics from the course. ONE of these days, I still hope to meet you at a race. Glad to see you ARE finding time to blog again. Run well, Ann

Chris Price said...

Great race report and pics! Good stuff. Hope to run into you at a race one of these days.

Good luck placing first in your next race... in the AAA last name category.

Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) said...

Thanks everyone for reading and the comments.

Extra thanks, Darren for your help while I was freezing at Antelope Island. Trail Turtle, we will meet, although I assume you won't introduce yourself as "Trail Turtle."

Guys, I mixed up Steve and Tim. So embarrassing. Luckily Tim I mean Steve was cool about it. I will have to amend this with my Diablo report.