Friday, December 14, 2012

Ohlone 50k Silver Anniversary, Block of Wood Miss

Ohlone Wilderness 50k Trail Run, Sunday, 20 May 2012

Running Ohlone 50k the weekend after Zion 100 Mile was stupid-- sort of.

I had run the Ohlone 50 Wilderness Run more times than any other ultra--7 times through 2011-- having missed it only once in 2010, the year I chafed my crotch more than ever before or since at the Massanutten 100 mile. The lottery for Massanutten had come before the sign-up opened for Ohlone.  That year I could have signed up for Ohlone anyway, but I figured running all these 100 mile races was stupid enough as it is, without following one with a 50k the next weekend.

Being two years older and two years stupider, this year I decided to sign up for Ohlone and do the 50k the weekend after a 100 miler thing.  Also, being the 25th anniversary, there would be special shwabg that would justify the slow time.

photo by Agnes Pommier

I was going to drive to the finish at Del Valle Park in Livermore and take the shuttle that left there at 0630 for the 8 am start at the bottom of Mission Peak in Fremont, but I ended up working a couple of  hours from home the evening before, so wanted to get better sleep.  So I ended up asking my wife for the drop off again and she graciously kept up our family tradition.  But since my younger son had a tee-ball game at 9 am, they didn't get out of the car (for the first time).  In retrospect, I should have just driven myself, but I did end up getting a ride home after all.

How my race went-- briefly described, not so quickly run

Every year I see lots of guys shoot up the hill, a fair number working and breathing much harder than they should.  I catch up with most of them before the Mission Peak summit.

This year I couldn't catch up with most of them.  Not just fast guys like Ian Torrance, in from Oregon to try the race.

Ian & I post-race

My legs and body were too shot to chase anyone.  But I expected this going in.  The day was beautiful.  I love the course.  I was content to see what I could do with what I had that day.

runners climbing Horse Heaven trail, photo by Gary Wang

My shoe came off in a muddy section.  Jason Reed, right behind me, was so nice to pull it out and give it to me.

I suffered from two ear worms, Calvin Harris' "Feels So Close," a decent song they overplay on both pop and pseudo-alternative stations.  I tried to rid myself of the catchy tune by thinking about another catchy song, Owl City's "Fireflies" with varying and incomplete success.  I could have avoided this by bringing an iPod, but music during a 50k always seemed lame to me.  Must change my attitude.

If I lacked music in head control, I was able to protect my lips, having remembered to carry lip balm in my pocket.  I applied it probably 5-6 times in the race.  The reason I was so obsessive about this was the severe chapping I got from forgetting to do this at Zion 100, resulting in this painful and embarrassing nastiness a few days later:

(repeated photo.  embarrassing, as more that one of my patients asked the nurse about my lips) 
Despite my early-onset soreness and fatigue, my run went as well as I was expecting, and no injuries, though later in the race I had a few close calls.  Once when I crouched to squeeze a sponge over my Moeben sleeves and head, my hamstrings almost went into spasm.  Then a few miles later, I started feeling it in my back-- pains not from my 100-mile race last weekend, but from lifting furniture off and on my friend Baldwyn Chieh's loaner pickup-- I made two loads the day before the race.  As I mentioned in my Zion report, I was in the process of moving.   My life, temporally and spatially, was chaotic.

(I think) atop Mount Rose, the high point of the course, photo by Tanford Tahoe

I finished 15th overall  in 5:54:51, almost an hour slower than my PR in 2007 of 4:56:41, but still faster than my PW (personal worst) of 6:04:17 the first time I ran it in 2004.  To get a another thick block of wood (age division award) this year, I would have needed to better #8 overall, 42-year-old Adam Seibert, who finished in 5:36:31-- pretty sure I could have done that had I been fresh.  So, my first thin slab of wood, but it does say "25th anniversary" on it.

special anniversary shwag-- the hoodie.  After much deliberation, I settled on purple.

My Quicksilver teammates Jean Pommier, Chris Calzetta and Marc Laveson swept 1st through 3rd for the men and Bree Lambert, Clare Abram and Adona Ramos finished 2nd through 4th for the woman.

pre-race photo with our large Quicksilver Ultrarunning team contingent.
camera courtesy of Marc Laveson, on my left

Of note, the female winner who came in 1 second under 6 hours, was Tera Dube, with whom I chatted and ran with for a few miles during my second Ohlone in 2005 before she dropped back.  I think she took off from ultrarunning a few years to have (at least) one baby.  I didn't recognize her this year when I passed her-- only realized it was her from the results.  You do lose track of people.

The festive atmosphere of the post-race BBQ was dampened a bit because another runner (actually a friend and Quicksilver teammate) collapsed during the last mile of the course.  In Joe Swenson's photo taken at the top of the hill before the final descent (mile 29) he looked fine.  In fact, Pierre later said he felt fine near the end.  But he went down.

First the fire trucks and ambulance came, later a helicopter.

It seemed to me that transport was taking too long, and from what I knew, Pierre was unresponsive.  I came up to the paramedics and park ranger, told them I was an emergency physician, teammate and friend, can I help, but (the ranger) told me the situation was under control and my services were not needed.  I didn't push the issue and backed off, but was a bit unsettled, since my assessment based on limited information was that he really needed to be taken to an emergency department for more definitive evaluation and treatment (the kind I provide at work) as soon as possible.  His course was complicated, and he stayed in the ICU for several days.

I actually could write a lot to write about this, but will keep it to that here.

Since I needed to bum a ride home, I felt it was extra imperative to clean up a little.  I took a soapless shower closer to the lake.  It was nice and cold, but while twisting my back trying to wipe dirt off, I spasmed my right upper shoulder and back.  Nonetheless, I was able to have this photo taken from these guys who drove up together from Monterrey.

I was lucky to get a ride with Franz Dill (whom I met at ITR Chabot in February) and his family; at the time he lived near me.  Our conversation included the Western States lottery.  After lamenting my 0 for 6 record, he admitted he was 3 for 3.  (Later in December, he would become 4 for 4 and I would become 0 for 7, opposite ends of the luck spectrum.  Nuts!)  I should have killed him, but he was driving.

I guess I could have killed him on my driveway, but he has a family.
I am jealous, but compassionate.

My family was at a pool party that evening.  We went up a hill in the neighborhood and got to see the partial solar eclipse through someone's filtered telescope.  Very cool.

not my photo

Volunteers at this race always rock.  Thanks again!

Prior Ohlone race reports:

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