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.


Unknown said...

Glad you took your time writing this. You were kind of whiny after the race. Better now, though...

Good point re Chris; who does that? Do they share their email too? Undergarments? Hope to see you at the races soon. Quicksilver misses you.


Scott Dunlap said...

Great to have you on the ITR team! The shwag is great, yes?