Thursday, April 26, 2012

Crampy Return to the Diablo Trails Challenge 50k

shirt front
I had two musculoskeletal concerns going into the race on Saturday, April 21st:

First, putting our Thule bicycle rack into the hitch of my Rav4 last weekend, I tweaked my left mid to left back.  It was bad enough that during the bike ride I couldn't straighten my back, and I was in a fair amount of pain for the next 3 days.  It was still pretty sore Saturday morning, though no more wincing when I bent or twisted.

starting our bike ride at Cesar Chavez Park in Berkeley, with huge inflatable dog in background

Second, during the night before the race, sometime around 2 am, I managed to cramp my right calf.  Random charlie horse, I woke up with a scream, managed to get it relaxed in about half a minute and then fell asleep.  (My wife however, was wide awake and went downstairs to answer emails for half an hour, poor thing.)  I knew then it would be sore and tight in the morning (and it was).

Later reflecting on why and how it happened then (this happens to me while in bed probably 2-3 times a year), I came up with the following possibilities (mostly boring, so feel free to skip this section):
  • I didn't run at all the last 3 days (an unintended complete taper), which I think makes me tighten up.
  • There was a running exception of sprinting down our street chasing my younger son, who really wanted to get on his scoot bike after we got home from a haircut.  I suggested he was more than ready to do a real bike, and he went for it, but I wasn't convinced he knew how to stop or control himself.  A big milestone for him!  (He's the one on the left the photo above-- for long bike rides, I think we'll keep him on the Trailabike.)
  • Friday evening we were at friends, I swam some sprints in the pool.  No stretching afterwards.
  • Then I sliced artisan cheeses while standing for more than 15 minutes.
Saturday was forecast to be the hottest day of the year, with temperatures approaching 90 in the area, so the possibility of severe cramping, even without these already injures muscle groups, was fairly high.

I arrived earlier than I had to, so Mike Weston could give me a HURT 100 license plate holder that he wasn't going to use.  I got one last January from the race, but I have two cars.  Thanks, Mike!

Mike giving me his license plate holder
I didn't make it on the first bus.  A young guy wearing a Sportiva jersey got on, so I greeted him and he sat with me for the ride from where the race would finish at Castle Rock Park to the start at Round Valley Regional Preserve.  This young, free-spirited and well-travelled Mountain Running Teammate is attempting an Appalachian Trail speed record this summer, so today's race was more of a fun run for which his training hasn't been geared.  Good luck to Sean!

Sean Blanton deboarding right before me, photo by Jonathan Fong
In contrast to 3 years ago when it was freezing so many including this blogger opted to stay on the bus as long as possible, the temperature was perfect outside.  I had some non-leg-related running issues (actually a third concern), and used the bathroom twice after once at Castle Rock.  Luckily, this was not a problem during the race.

Beryl Anderson of Save Mount Diablo (far left below) asked me to talk about the race and what Mount Diablo means to me.  I blabbered something incomprehensible for several minutes.  She told me what I said was great, but I suspect she was just being polite, and that if I ever see myself on YouTube, I will be embarrassed.

(If pressed for time, just read the last section of the race)

Start to Morgan Territory Road crossing (mile 8.2)  Distances are per the website, but per my measurements not fully accurate.

Different route than the first year, and no mud.  In 2009 I took the lead from the start and never gave it up.  This time, Sean sprinted ahead of everyone, hollering for intentional goofball effect before dropping back.

photos by Jonathan Fong for Brazen Racing
Tim Long in orange Inside Trail shirt
Seven guys if I counted right were ahead of me after the first quarter mile or so, and I couldn't keep up.  Tim Long continued to pull farther ahead.  I knew from his blogging that he was training hard (if not high in mileage) and my bets were that he would win the race, barring some fast unrecognized sub-2:30 marathoner running his first 50k.

Lauri Abrahamsen and winner Tim Long of ITR
Whenever I'm at one of these less top-heavy races and I'm in the lead pack with a bunch of guys, I usually count on about half of them including myself appropriately being up there and about half running faster than they should, eventually to drop back. This thinning out happened sooner than I'd expected.  I soon found myself with another guy in 2nd and 3rd, Mike from Hawaii, and we spent most of the next 10 miles or so talking.

photo by Jonathan Fong
Living next to the steep trails on which the HURT 100 course is held, it was no surprise he was a strong climber; I complimented him on being a strong climber for someone relatively heavy, and apparently I wasn't the first to notice this. Mike grew up in Pleasanton and ran cross country at UC Davis before injuries made him switch to bicycling.

Morgan Territory Road Crossing to Old Finley Road (mile 15.6)

The guy in 4th was about 1-2 minutes behind us when we looked back early in the ascent. Before the next summit (and highest elevation of the course at 2303 feet), Mike started to pull away and  I couldn't keep up.  He hammered the successive downhills.  In this section, there were great views of the twin peaks of Mount Diablo and North Peak to the right; he running gracefully in his bright blue jersey in the foreground added to the aesthetics.

I saw Tim Long coming back from the Finley aid station on the one out of back section of the course.  He had about at 10 minute lead and was looking strong and relaxed.  I caught up with Mike at the aid station; he had to spend extra time there to duct tape close his hydration pack bladder.  His girlfriend Pauline who was crewing for him was supposed to be there to switch him out a bottle, but as I explained, you can't park even at the trailhead, so probably 2 miles to the aid station, explaining why she didn't make it.

Mike and Pauline at the finish
Finley Road to Horseshoe South Gate (mile 23.0)

Mike caught up with me quickly, so I figured he would get back in 2nd again, but he ended up following me.  After the place where I helped clear a tree and reroute the trail 3 years ago, we entered the single track where Kirk Boiseree and I hacked and lopped branches as part two of the trail work.  This 1.5+ mile section was completely overgrown with poison oak, jutting into the trail at all levels.  Had this section been downhill, avoidance would have been more than futile.  Since we were running uphill, it was only futile.  I was pretty focused on trying to keep the urashiol allergen off my legs and arms and face.  On the bus, Sean revealed his pro-single track anti-fire road trail philosophy; I realized for reasons such as Bay Area poison oak, I'm not so dogmatic.  After this section, the trail got wider, and I slowly started to pull away from Mike, despite the heat and the realization I was behind on my fluids.

I was carrying a 24 ounce bottle and drinking a couple of extra cups of liquids at the aid stations, but soon figured out that I was under-hydrating.  I tried to pee to help assess my hydration and only got minimal output.  I started feeling a little weak, and realized I wasn't eating enough, but as my bottle emptied halfway through the split couldn't just down a another gel.

Approaching the aid station at Horseshoe Gate, Mike's girlfriend Pauline offered me some water, which I accepted while not recognizing her but then got paranoid this was cheating.  There was the loud whirring of a medical evacuation helicopter, which was both annoying and exciting (even as an ER doc, seeing emergencies in the field is still an unusual enough occurrence for me.)  The story later was it was a bicyclist that crashed and not a runner passing out from heat stroke.

Horseshoe South Gate to Burma Road North Gate (mile 28.1)
Mostly downhill on the rocky fire roads.  I no longer saw anyone behind me.  Not only my calves but my shins started to tighten up probably because I wasn't plantar-flexing my ankles to save my calved, so I had to hold back my pace on a good section on which I would normally try to hammer out some really fast splits.  Then a short uphill before the single track Buckeye Trail, where I was feeling wafts of heat rising from the ground.  Amazingly, no ticks jumped on me here in the tall grass.

Jonathan Fong
by Jonathan Fong

This split was supposed to be 5.1 miles, but it was 5.7 on my Garmin Forerunner.

Burma Road to finish
Downhill in the beginning, where and when I saw Kirk Boiseree (with whom I did trail work for the course three years earlier), who was running in the opposite direction to pace his buddy Errol "the Rocket" Jones.

"Rocket" Errol and Cap'n Kirk post-race
The downhill became less steep after the first mile of the three mile split.  There was then a series of (maybe 8 to 10) stream crossings.  I was amused to see a few of the half marathoners actually trying hard not to get their feet wet.  I ran through the streams, which felt great.  My pace was picking up.  I made an arbitrary goal of trying to finish in 5:10, though I wasn't quite sure how much longer I had since I had figured out the race map's distances weren't completely accurate.

A mile from the finish, as I bounded up from what turned out to the last stream crossing, my left hamstring suddenly cramped.  I hadn't been feeling much in my hamstrings, but I immediately knew it was from my efforts all race to spare my calves on the uphills.  I tried to breathe and relax as I staggered and hobbled for about a minute, aware that more likely than not, someone was a few minutes behind me.  Ugh-- if this got worse, it could take me half an hour and several places to get to the finish.

Fortunately there were more significant uphills, even short ones, and I was able to relax my spasming hamstring and other muscle groups, and ease back to a slow but non-catastrophic 9 minute per mile pace.

approaching the finish, photo by Allen Lucas
I had enough time (5 1/2 minutes) to get to my drop bag and photograph Greg Benson from SF, finishing 3rd overall.  Maybe a new tradition for me starting with Chabot in February-- try to take finishing photos of the person after me, then go and eat.  (Greg was the one close behind Mike and me around mile 9, so he kept as consistent a pace as I did.)

Great massage from this guy.  Mark Callaway (of The Specific Chiropractic Center)

Great food spread.

Free medal engraving (text to your liking) for 50k finishers (I barely found out about this).  Pretty cool.

Christin typing in Kevin Otoole from Roseville's info to custom engrave his medal

the back of mine, medal front at right.  slick.
1st overall the 1st time I ran it, 2nd the 2nd time.  Next time I run this, I guess I should be happy to place 3rd.

Honestly, though, I would rather have more people run this race.  It's a fantastic, epic course, with amazing views, and superbly managed and volunteer supported.  I would rather have more people, front packers included, run this race to increase support for Save Mount Diablo, even if it results in my finishing out of the top 10.

Thank you volunteers-- you were all great!
This was my first run ever put on by Brazen Racing-- quite impressed.

my GPS recording  (course still long-- at least a 51k.  though long is okay)


race website (Brazen Racing)
Save Mount Diablo -- thanks for protecting these trails over the past four decades.  Ultra / trail runners (among others) all owe your organization.

prior blog posts regarding this year's Diablo Trails 50k race:
reasons for running it
photographic preview

Okay, this is it.  Two 50k races, 1 50k fat-ass and 1 marathon I wasn't racing.  Not exactly the optimal build-up to my year's first 100 miler three weeks from this race.  Time to train is going to be dismal for the next several weeks.  But what to do?  Let's see if I'm ready.....

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Diablo Trails Challenge 50k Photographic Preview

A little about the course for the race next Saturday (April 21, 2012).  It is a beautiful (understatement) point-to-point 50 kilometer run, starting in Round Valley Regional Preserve and winding westward on the south side of Mount Diablo to finish in the Castle Rock Recreational Area (adjacent to Diablo Foothills Regional Park) in Walnut Creek.

I just worked a 12 hour Monday shift from hell (was there 13), made even more awful because we were with the one doctor in my group who won't allow music to be playing in the doctor's office, so I was going crazy.  I can't begin to convey to you how much I'm really looking forward to this race.  I can nonetheless try to convey some of the variety of scenery and natural beauty runners can enjoy and experience in a few hours.

The course has been changed since the first year so the GPS recording of my 2009 race is a bit differrent from the official race map and elevation chart.  The elevation chart is presented not chronologically, but spatially/geographically, so you start on the right and end on the left, as if looking north.

I couldn't find any photos I've taken of Round Valley, but here is a link to a stunning photo by Marc Crumpler on flickr.

After a few miles in Round Valley, the Diablo Trail briefly passes through Los Vaqueros Reservoir...

Los Vaqueros Reservoir
(different view than you get from the race, when you climb the hills in the background on this shot)
taken running November 2007

...before ascending Miwok Trail into Morgan Territory Regional Preserve.

Mount Diablo and North Peak, from Morgan Territory

Morgan Territory (actual part of the course) with my family, May 2011
taken of me during 2009 race by Scott Hein

From Morgan Territory, the trail enters Mount Diablo State Park around mile 16.5.

near Oyster Point, looking east (backwards for this race), March 2009

doing volunteer trail work with East Bay Trail Dogs, March 2009

The trail passes north of Rock City, a cool place to take your kids to climb on rocks (and freak out mommy).  So, no we won't be running over these rocks.

April 2011

View continue of Mount Diablo (usually on the right), but the trail of course swerves.

taken from farther up the mountain last Halloween,
when I saw my first Diablo tarantula on the trail

The course (in contrast to the first year it was held) then does a backward "S" involving Stage, Burma and Wall Point roads (trails) before heading into Diablo Foothills Regional Park, including Little Yosemite,

View of Little Yosemite from Wall Point Rd. (mile 30),  family hike January 2012

and finally into the finish line!

Actually, not the race finish line, but a "do not cross" line in Las Trampas Regional Wilderness, for another race organized by Brazen Racing.  We were hiking here last October the day before their race.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

This Time I Get to Carry the Sign-- Oakland Marathon 2012, Volunteer Pacing Stint #2

After my initial stint as a group leader at the Inaugural Oakland Marathon two years ago, I missed last year's in order to run the inaugural 100 mile version of the Antelope Island Buffalo Run near Salt Lake City.  This year I decided to return to pacing at the 3rd annual Oakland Marathon three weeks ago (Sunday, March 25).  The course goes by the huge Mormon Temple in the Oakland hills, so I figured I really don't have to travel all the way to Utah to get my Latter Day Saints fix.

the huge Mormom temple in Oakland
Pacing is fun, challenging, and I enjoy the warm, fuzzy feeling of giving back to the running community.

I sort of wussied out, opting for the 3:30 group, though I told pacer organizer Melissa Ownby that if she really needed me again at 3:20, I would do it.  Besides a nagging suspicion I was in even less shape this year than I was in 2009, 3.5 is a nice even time, and I wanted a safer pace at which I could do a lot of cheering and yelling.

Melissa with her husband Daniel Fabun
Two years ago we didn't get signs and I suspected they would only give me and my copacer one sign.  So the previous evening I thought to pull out an old bib (I save them all) to write 3:30 on the back.  I chanced upon this one (from another race I did in 2009):

which I easily converted to this to wear over my butt:

My pacer shirt fell out of my bag somewhere at the expo the day before.

Older son who accompanied me to the last expo now replaced his younger brother.
Thanks, Melissa for BOTH Geiko gecko PEZ dispensers, otherwise older brother would have been jealous!

Melissa (whom I forgot to photograph at the expo) said she would bring me another shirt before the start, but even parking 8 short and 2 long blocks from the start, I ended up arriving, get this, less than a minute before the start.  (I do admit to playing Words With Friends while sitting on the toilet before I left the house that morning, but my being late had more to do with the legitimate excuses of fumbling with my keys and race bibs, deliberating on how to prepare for the rain, and moving my car once when a police officer told me I could get closer and then not having a clue as to which way to go after I moved.)

But, hey, I made it on time!  I met  co-3:30 pacer and fellow ultrarunner Bradley Fenner, and we took off.

Bradley Fenner at Lake Merritt, near the end of the race.  (no, I'm not buying these photos just to stick them on this blog)
We got signs this year.  Bradley held up the 3:30 sign for most of the first third, and I held it for most of the second two thirds.  We talked a fair amount the first half, but after this he kept accelerating until he or I figured out he was going a bit too fast and then he would wait for me to catch up.

feeling heroic, as if holding up the stars and stripes under gunfire

Only so much can happen during a 26.2 mile road race I am running at a deliberately slower pace than I am capable, so no crazy 100 mileresque vignettes.

  • The pack running a 3:30 pace is much larger than that running 3:20.   So we got a lot more thanks during and after the run from runners pacing off us.
  • There are more women (fit, of course) running around 3:30 than 3:20.  This at least unconsciously made me feel better about wussying out of 3:20.   (3:17 was good enough for 5th overall)
Carolyn Jaeger paced off us for much of the race, until kicking at the end for 3:25:28 and 10th woman overall.
  • It was supposed to rain, but never did.  Perfect cool temperatures, and the sun even popped out much of the second half.  Had I gotten to the start in time to get my pacing shirt from Melissa, I would've gotten hot during the run.  This made me feel better almost missing the start.
  • Excellent volunteer and crowd support (of course, as an ultrarunner, I don't expect much in terms of verbal encouragement, but for a marathon, it was great and well-distributed, including being heavy at the end).
  • this map doesn't demonstrate where and how the course is different; just take my word.
  • The course was different than two years ago in a lot of places.  I guess this kept me on my toes.
  • I forgot how hilly this course is.  Nothing compared to a trail ultra, but for a road marathon, this is a very tough route.  Kudos to all the runners not shying away from the hills.
  • As a result, pacing this course is challenging.  I luckily picked up a pacing race band at the expo, designed to account for the hills and so not prescribing the same pace for each of 26 miles.
  • But how much to slow down on the uphills is hard to decide.  We ended up running the slow miles more slowly and the faster miles more rapidly than the pace band recommended.  About 2/3 through the race, I figured out we were 45 seconds ahead of schedule and concentrated to slowly decrease the buffer the rest of the race, making loud announcements to anyone in earshot after each mile marker.
  • The loop around Lake Merritt is actually rather bumpy and technical for a road marathon.
  • Last time I was I think 8 seconds over, but this time I was 11 seconds under (chip time 3:29:49, clock time 3:29:58.  Though 3 seconds less precise, I think better to finish under than over.
  • Cutting it real close at the finish when you are pacing is probably viewed more favorably than cutting it real close arriving at the start.
  • Though not nearly as sore as I would have been running my fastest, running 26.2 miles on pavement will make you sore.  Holding the sign high for 15-16 miles with an Ultimate Direction bottle in the other hand will also make the shoulders hurt as much as the legs.  Christy, my pretty and skilled massage school student from San Jose was awesome!
  • with Sean Bowman (3:27:41), who paced with us the first half, but was also holding back, for his first 50 mile run (American River) on April 7th.
    okay, why did I tuck my shirt in?  I am so embarrassed...
  • I was reminded of how impersonal these marathons are compared to ultras at the finish.  Aside from the massage and grabbing my two free beers (didn't want to wait in line for the champagne drinks, and was driving home anyway), there was little point hanging out.  Early in the race, Leslie from Modesto, who remembered me because she changed or tied my shoes at my last Rio del Lago 100 Mile back in 2008, greeted me and we talked a short while.  And at the finish, Sarah Lavender-Smith, who finished in 3:17, was waiting for her husband to finish the half-marathon, saw me and we chatted until I got past the gate for the massage tent, during which time she failed to mention that she won Master's Female overall.
cool trophy.  I assume that's her her son Kyle and not her boyfriend, because she's married.  you never know.

my humble but slick finisher's medal-- less obnoxious than her trophy

GPS recording of my run
my results
Oakland Running Festival website

Friday, April 13, 2012

Chabot 50k-- New Problem on Familiar Trails

La Sportiva, who I am happy to report has renewed my sponsorship so I can start my 4th straight year with them, decided in January to partner with the newly formed Inside Trail Racing.   So amongst at least four out-of-area 100 milers and three PAUSATF ultras, I am looking forward to running several ITR races this upcoming year.  Chabot, very close to my house, presented a great opportunity to get in some maximum-intensity trail running before heading to Tahoe for a week-long emergency medicine educational conference (as well as some skiing and boarding).

It's been an unusually dry winter in Northern California.  taken earlier this month.  not part of the course.

Lake Chabot (officially Anthony Chabot and Lake Chabot Regional Park) is in my town, Castro Valley.  You'd think I run here more than anywhere, but actually, due to my commute, I more often run the trails of Five Canyons and Garin / Dry Creek parks.

Still, I know these trails as well as anyone.  So there was no excitement about running in a new or seldom visited place.

But I was very looking forward to the social-- and the competitive-- aspects.

As Bay Area trail races go, I knew most of this course would be relatively flat and untechnical.  I thought this would be a good opportunity to break out my Skylite 2.0's.  I felt I didn't need the deep lugs of the Crosslites (now in a 2.0 version), Raptors or Wildcats in which I usually train and race.  I admit to having never tried the original Skylites, or having run in my new pair of 2.0's.  I wore them around the house the day before the race.  I knew they would work.

Skylite 2.0
Since I live so close, I was taking my casual time in the morning, goofing with the kids.  I even unloaded the dishwasher, wasting more than a minute trying to frame this shot to prove I was contributing to the upkeep of the house.  (Depending on the angle, I find it rather tricky to take some self portraits with the iPhone).

I intended to arrive early to get my younger son's soccer ball

back from Ben, an ultrarunner doing this race, who is going to be my older son's competitive league soccer coach this year.

However, I noticed it was already past 8 and less than 30 minutes to the start and I hadn't left yet.

I wasn't anywhere near the front of the pack when the race started, so had to make my way through a crowd of people, but there were lots of fast people (mostly running the 20 and 30k races) that sped way ahead.

On the East Shore Trail I chatted with Franz Dill, who just moved to this part of the Bay Area

 and Eric Wilson from the Oakland hills.

Two photos taken on other days on the east side of the lake:

shot in 2003 while successfully encouraging my then future wife to jog around the lake in preparation for her first half marathon, was cancelled due to wildfires, after which she lost her already scant motivation to complete a half marathon

After dumping Eric, I was slowly passed by three Pamakids guys in their green and white uniforms running the 30k and a female who I eventually figured out was running the 20k.

I had gotten it into my head that I *might* be winning this race.

Prior I had asked RD Tim Long what fast people were registered.  He said Gary Gellin was running the 30k, so it was just me.  However, I knew that he probably didn't recognize all the names and that there would be a lot of last minute registrations after PCTR cancelled the Pacifica 50k race that was supposed to be held the same day.

Mr. Gellin, who would finish the 30k in 2:00:11, then two weeks later set the new course record (not just the masters record, but the overall record) for Way Too Cool 50k
I later found out there were already two guys way ahead of me.  Phil Shaw, who wins lots of PCTR races, but whom I've never met because I think he's long gone every time I finish.  And this guy, whom I met at a PCTR race 1-2 years back, but had forgotten his name.

Jason Perez, 2nd, 4:04:42
This kid wasn't even born when I got my driver's license.
The first time around included a 5+ mile shorter loop in the northern part of the park.

photo by ITR

At some point during this section, I started feeling tight in my left quad.  While sitting 15 straight hours working from home the previous day, I had minimally stretched all my leg groups but managed to ignore my quads.  My pace  I made a mental note to stretch them out at the next aid station.  However the volunteers there were so efficient in filling up my bottle while I focused on downing a Cliff Shot and grabbing a couple of Cliff Bloks, that I forgot.

Not a problem, until a couple of miles later.  Ron Little, whose name I didn't recognized either though I should have, caught up with me and we chatted some.  He and one of his training partners, Jennifer Pfeifer, a former Olympic Trials marathoner, were using this run as a warm up for Way Too Cool 50k two weeks later.

Franz, Ron, and women's 50k champ Jennifer

I increasingly regretted that not once in the last week had I stretched out my quads.  I stretched everything else out the day before.  But not my quads.

To help me remember this fiasco of quad tightening, I have punished myself by staring at countless images of superheroes and plain regular people stretching their anterior thigh muscles, only a few of which I have downloaded for you to enjoy too.

the real Spider Man, not elite ultrarunner Ian Sharman dressed as Spider Man

note the submissive pose of contrition

I kept meaning to stretch at the next aid station, but the volunteers were so helpful and efficient, and I was so into the racing thing, I kept forgetting.  (My rushing also resulted in my losing a favorite pair of tech fabric gloves.  I took them off at the boathouse aid station at the start/finish, and instead of putting them in my bag, threw them on the blanket next to my bag, effectively giving them to some (presumed) asshole who took them, since they weren't there when I finished.)  My pace during the 2nd loop noticeably slowed a lot-- from 8:02 to 9:46 minutes/mile for the first 5 miles to the first aid station, and from 8:05 to 10:51 (!) for the next 4 miles to the 2nd aid station.  split times  I must use an emoticon:   :(

Although I had anticipated several runners passing me once things started going badly, I believe only one did, but he turned out to be 55 years old.  I wasn't just getting chicked-- I was getting granmped!

A Chris Eide had facebook messaged me prior to the race, wanting to pick my brain about Cascade Crest 100 (link to my first running of that race-- haven't finished my report of last year's).  In my typical flurry of activity right before the race, we didn't get much opportunity to talk.  Even when he caught up to me approaching the lake, I instead complained about my thigh problem, and how I was currently running more slowly than I had at the end of all my Firetrails 50 finishes (with the same final 2.8 miles).  Then he told me that he was running Boston (Marathon) and wasn't trying to run this race too hard.  Without saying it, he was also telling me, "so if I beat you, you are a total loser-pussy."

photo by ITR

Luckily, my thigh had improved enough that I could run the downhills closer to my uninjured potential and get ahead of Chris.  I was able to get back to sub-8 minute miles on the hills of the West Shore Trail and build enough of a lead on him that I could catch my breath, pull my iPhone from my drop bag, and perfectly frame and capture his finish.

Very turn-the-other-cheek of me, don't you think?

The official race timing device had crashed when I came in, but luckily I executed precise Garmin Forerunner button pressing so could give the RDs my time without having to guess.

my recorded GPS map and splits

Apparently, Chris is a half-female hermaphrodite, since he and his wife were sharing their facebook account.  The next two finishers were also women.  Had I not recovered, and instead had finished just 8 minutes slower than I did, I would've been quadruple-and-a-half chicked, which would have been a first and really would've threatened my insecure sense of masculinity.  Like, I only have two balls, right?

race schwag.  Inside Trail has it down.   thanks to the ITR Tims, and all the (maybe too) awesome and fast volunteers!

roof rack and rear hitch with ski / snowboard adapter, almost ready to roll.  The snow cover at this time was horrible.  Little did I know how much it would dump during the next week.