Tuesday, November 19, 2013

(That Was Sort of Me on TV at) Rio del Lago 3.0

This was my 5th time running this race, but the last time I had run it was 5 years ago.  I missed all three races with Molly Sheridan directing.  I was looking forward to running these trails northeast of Sacramento after so long.  Julie Fingar of Norcal Ultras took over this year, moving the date to November, a much less impacted time on the Ultra calendar.  My older son had his Norcal State Cup soccer tournament nearby the same weekend, so I would be convenient to stick this run in.  I would still get to see him play the more important matches on Sunday.

Course Changes

To quote David Byrne,
You may ask yourself, well, "How did I get here?"
--at my 1st 100 mile run ever, Rio del Lago, September 2005
photo purchased from Joe McCladdie

The original route started at a Cavitt Middle School in Granite Bay, went up almost 30 miles to Cool for one loop, then returned to the school at mile 67.  The last third of the course went south, making a 16.5 mile fishhook around the southern part of Lake Natoma before returning to the school the same way.  Since my last running (I think at least some of these changes came in 2010), the butt-kicker climb up K2 to Cool was ditched.  The 8 mile loop at Cool this year was modified, the aid station on the loop ditched, and the loop repeated in the opposite direction.  There were some other changes to the aid stations too.  Finally the 33 mile southern route was replaced with a repeat out and back north two aid stations and 11 miles to Horseshoe Bar and back.

old course map (though 2008)

current course map

While I miss the southern 33 mile section, not minding running on pavement close to Interstate 50 (it often had a surreal quality to it), it was easy to get confused and off course.  Logistically, I can see the advantages of eliminating 5 extra aid stations.

I Probably Should Work on Improving My Speaking in Public About Running 100 Miles

* (Missed) Opportunity 1:

Pre-Race Meeting on Friday:  Whoever was speaking (I missed the introductions) asked the experienced 100-mile veterans for tips to give the newbies.  Ray Sanchez, Clyde "the Glide" Aker, Catra Corbett (this would be her 99th) gave their tips ("have fun" a common theme).  I think people were expecting me to volunteer since I've done more than a few of these, but I was feeling frazzled, having arrived late due to traffic after having to attend a long, often painful meeting all morning.  Where to begin?  My guardian angel was screaming in my ear "DON'T SAY ANYTHING-- YOU WON'T MAKE ANY SENSE, IT WON'T BE FUNNY!!!"  Fortunately, I listened.

but then I still manage to look like a dork, by Chris Jones

* (Forced) Opportunity 2:

At Rattlesnake Bar aid station, mile 13, and also the first drop bag location.

I come in knowing what I have to do, not just getting my bottle refilled, but also dropping my headlamp into my drop bag and taking out my hat.  Dasie Yamagata was there crewing for her husband Kuni, and offered to help.

Next thing you know, this guy was sticking a big camera into my face, and this woman

was asking me "So what it is like to run 100 miles?" Maybe I was thinking about it too much, but how the hell can anyone answer that question in a pithy sound bite?  I assumed she must be with the race or something, so I muttered something about how this is a bad habit I do too much.  Guess I didn't answer the question, so she asked me again, and I maybe I answered her question.

Only then did I happen to look down and saw the big 3 with the rainbow peacock logo on her microphone.  Crap, she's from the real media!

I muttered that my wife would kill me if she saw me wearing a bandana coming out the back of my cap.  She really hates that, regardless of the UV protection it might provide.

I had to spell my name to her-- twice.  I am pretty sure I spelled it correctly, but maybe something got lost in translation.  I guess she doesn't know Japanese....

by Tara Penders
As I fled the aid station, I looked back, the camera man still pointing his huge bazooka-camera at me.  "I love you Mom!"

There is no way they are using any of that, I thought to myself.

Click here to watch me on the news!   The best line:  "Keeping a healthy habit going for generations..."

If you don't wanna waste time with the video, brief written blurb:
Sacramento athletes take part in 100-mile run

Brief Conversations with Mr. and Ms. Victorious

Chris Wehan has been winning numerous Inside Trail races this past year.  Since he's so fast, I only recently met him.  Chris paced himself really smartly the first 10 miles, allowing me to chat with him some.  It was interesting to meet someone more wimpy with the cold than I-- he had a much thicker jacket and full length tights on.  Chris took off before Horseshoe Bar aid station (mile 11) and won the race with more than a 90 minute lead.  Awesome, job, Chris!

Chris after winning Dirty Dare 25k three weeks earlier
I thought the lead woman would be Kelly Lance, when I saw the name show up on the registered runner list, but didn't bother to notice the "M" by his name (he would finish 2nd overall).  Coming out of No Hands Bridge on the return from Cool, mile 50, the actual female leader, Erika Lindland, caught up with me as I caught up with John (Jack) Finn.  We lost John, and I chatted a bit with Erika (whom I'd never me before).   I left her behind at Auburn Dam aid station (about mile 54).  Erika would win the women's race decisively (and beat me by 8 minutes). 

Erika with Karl Hoagland
from Western States 2011 in fb
since I didn't manage to get a picture of her at Rio
I didn't run that long with either of them, but the take home point is that if you are fast and slow down and chat with me for a while, I may magically transfer to you the mojo that will help you win the race.

The End of Rechargeable Batteries for Headlamps

So, while I was with Chris earlier in the race, shortly after we left the 1st aid station, my Petzl Myo XP headlamp started flashing the low battery warning.  This made it very hard to run, and so I had to keep up with Chris to get a sense of what the terrain was like up ahead, but essentially I was running half in the dark.

I had another Petzl headlamp with 3 rechargeable AA batteries in them at Auburn Dam.  Just like that morning, these also started to go out after only 40 minutes.  Ugh!  Erika caught up with me, with her then pacer Bob Gilbert.  Bob felt pity for me and lent me his spare headlamp.  Thanks, Bob, you saved me!  Still, it was a smaller headlamp, so I was slightly vision impaired. I brought my Petzl Nao which uses a rechargeable USB charged unit, but it was at Beals Point.  Later I passed this guy with an orange shirt who was struggling a little, and in passing told him my story of my headlamp and being saved by the guy pacing the 1st place woman.  "Yeah, that was me," Bob Gilbert informed me.  Major Duh!  But at least I got to thank him again.

Soccer Dads and Pacing Fails

As I mentioned, this same weekend was the Norcal State Cup soccer tournament, in which my older son's team was competing.  The dad of my son's teammate recently took up ultrarunning, so even though I normally don't go around looking for pacers, I figured I would invite him along.  I told him if I ran well, maybe I'd finish under 20 hours, so he figured he would show up at Beal's Point before the last out and back at mile 78 at 8:30 pm.  When it became apparent that I was going to most likely come in much earlier than that, I asked Dasie Yamagata at Cool to text my wife to tell him probably 7 to 7:30, as early as 630, but I think she punched in the number wrong since it never made it.

Meanwhile, my friend Ben was following the webcast anyway, and thinking the same thing-- better show up much earlier.  Unfortunately, my wife, who really doesn't really know how I run these things, told him-- "No, Ben, don't sweat it-- he's going to slow down, really, I'm sure.  I really wouldn't rush to get there so early."

So when I arrived at Beal's, a few volunteer's thought they had seen my potential pacer, but in reality it was probably Ultrarunning magazine's new editor Erika Lindland's boyfriend and end-of-race pacer, Karl Hoagland, who I'd asked to deliver some stuff I no longer needed on the trail and put it with my awesome Victor Ballesteros designed Victory Sportdesign drop bag.  The announcer called out Ben's name a few times, but no one showed up.  He ended up missing me by less than 10 minutes, and was quite crestfallen, apparently, since he was pumped up for his first 100-mile pacing stint.  My wife has since apologized to him for the misinformation. Well, next time....

Changing Goals

The only real race goal I had was finishing with enough time to nap if needed so I could safely drive back the half hour to Sacramento, take a shower, nap some more and be able to watch my son's soccer game at 8:30 am.   Once sub-20 (which would cover the above) became highly likely, I was hoping for sub-18, especially since I've never finished a race in the 17 to 18 hour range (one sub-17, two 18-19 hour finishes).  As that slipped the idea of finishing before midnight seemed intriguing.  Then I realized that thinking too much about that goal was decreasing the amount of FUN I was having, which both Ray and Catra told the newbies to make sure they had during the race.  Fun first!  Also, no one really cares or notices if you finish below or above 19 hours.  And for better or for worse, getting chicked really doesn't bother me much.  I guess if I hadn't gotten off course right after the last aid station (leading several others 22 miles behind me partially with me) and didn't have my light battery problem twice, I could've finished under 19 hours and also finished 5th overall and not just 5th male overall, but really, I'm so much less fixated on place than I was, say five years ago.

About my son-- after losing both games on Saturday, I got to see my son's team win both on Sunday, the second one in overtime penalty kicks.  Apparently, it was only the last game that determined whether they would advance to the next weekend, which still makes no sense to me.  

As soon as I came into the finish line, I must have been swerving (this happens when I push it to the finish), and I was ushered into the medical tent, where I happily laid down on a cot, put my feet up on a chair and was served an awesome vegetable soup and ginger ale by Dasie Yamagata.  Sarah Lavender Smith said hi and took this photo of me, catching all the crotch lube soaking though my shorts.  (Lube, not some gross bodily fluid!)

Regarding my shiny pants in the above photo-- I had forgotten to relube at Auburn Dam on the outbound, mile 24, and started to chafe going up to Cool.  And of course I didn't carry any lube on me.  I was literally grabbing my crotch to ease the friction.  So for the rest of the day, I was zealous about applying the Vaseline, which oozed all over my shorts.

race report on Massanutten 100, when I had my worst lube fail to date:

At the finish area, a U2 concert video was playing on a large screen, so I half-dozed off for maybe 15-30 minutes listening to their great live music.  (There is nothing bad to hear "Bad" blaring loudly right after finishing a 100-mile race.)  The atmosphere at the finish area was indeed quite festive, a huge improvement over the fluorescent lighting of Cavitt Middle School the 4 times I ran the race from 2005 to 2008.  The award ceremonies were eventful, but it did make for a long weekend (we wouldn't leave Granite Bay until early afternoon).

picking up a Masters award from then RD and race founder Norm Klein, 2007

Schwag Old and New

I used to get 2 to 3 of these little statuettes every year when Norm Klein directed the race.  We didn't have any space at my old house to put them, so they stayed in a box.  Our new house we moved into last year has more outside patio and yard space, so I keep them out there now.

grouped together for photo:  a deer, a mountain lion and her cubs, two eagles and a bunch of bears
the print on two of them saying what the award was for faded in the sun-- whoops
I think there are two more not pictured.
If these weren't large enough, here is the Race Director herself six years ago with her humongous prize for winning the women's race.

This year: medal for all finishers.  RD Julie Fingar hadn't mentioned the buckle on the website, but she apparently had enough leftover from the previous year when Molly Sheridan still directed it, so we also got buckles too-- the buckle is a sub-24 hour one too.  Will Julie give out buckles next and following years too?

with the formidable & indefatigable Ray Sanchez, who finished 3rd overall
official race video (I got into this one too!)

 by Ultra Sports Live.

Thanks, volunteers, and great job NorCal Ultras!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Chimera 100 Mile Mountain Race

Chimera 100 Mile Mountain Race
Saturday 19 - Sunday 20, November 2011

This was my first Old Goat Trail race, put on by Steve Harvey and crew.

With a collective running resume like this, I thought I should try one of his races at least once.  Also, there aren't so many other races in November competing with it.

I made the mistake of flying into Ontario, rather than Orange County.  I got stuck in rush hour traffic, making it to the packet pickup just after RD Steve Harvey had packed up his car with the stuff.  Out of luck.  He gave me directions to the campsite near the start, and told me to check in the next morning before the race.

From the website:
The 2011 course is more difficult than the 2009 course and has more singletrack. It begins with a technical 20 mile loop out of Bluejay Campground. Then begins a series of climbs and descents in over and around the Saddleback Mountains of the Cleveland National Forest. There are 18 well stocked Aid Stations, each captained by a veteran ultrarunner, many of them RD's.

The first 20 miles consisted of a beautiful lollipop out-and-back to the start.  Quoting the RD, "first twenty are on semi-technical singletracks through chaparral, oak, and sycamore forests." I chatted with Tomo (who would finish 3rd) and Brandon Adame (4th).  Tomo lives in Japan, and has a job that has him travel to the US a few times a year.  He was able to combine this race with a business trip-- sweet.  He is pretty fast, and has come back to the states for various races, where he puts in admirable performances.

RD Steve later told me this this part was his usual training route.  Clouds stayed high enough so we could enjoy views of the valley.

Somehow I managed to finish the first 20 miles without a pit stop.  I'd been having GI issues for the past two weeks.  During my long shift on Thursday, I saw about 8 patients with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea-- some viral gastroenteritis bug going around.  I was pretty nervous that I'd have another HURT repeat.

Although it was an issue (and at times limited by pace), nothing like my crap-fest in Hawaii 10 months earlier.  I would have a few more runny pudding like dumps, then it all around mile 50, it stopped.

The only part of the course I didn't like:  the flat (Brandon said it was "boring") from Holy Jim Canyon to Live and back to Holy Jim.  I'm okay with the flatness-- it was fast and a good break in between a fairly steep descent and ascent.  The problem were all the cars and trucks and construction machinery (I have no idea what the steamrollers and bulldozers were doing) and their smog.  It got sunny and too warm for my two layers-- I regretted not having left my jacket at Holy Jim.

The other thing I noticed after the turnaround, was a plastic bag with some ear bud head phones in them that I'd stuck in my short's pocket was no longer there.  Due to my drop bag disorganization, I had grabbed the headphones, but managed not to find any of my iPod Nanos stuck into my Ultimate Direction Wasp pack.

Luckily I saw the bag on the road on the return, clipping a decent pace up the very very gradual uphill.  But when I put on the headphones at after leaving Holy Jim for the steep, very pretty single track up to Bear Springs, I noticed that one of the ear buds and a plastic clip for the cord were busted, probably run over by a car (or a steam roller.)

I had a little trouble atop Santiago Peak, the high point of the course, above 6000 feet elevation trying to find the route, but fortunately didn't put in significant bonus.

I underestimated the very long out-and-back to Corona (7 miles each way).   Before the descent, I looked out at all the lights going on forever east and south (I think).  As if by cue, Simon and Garfunkel's "Sounds of Silence" came on.  It was really intense.  I felt I reached an understanding of humanity and existence.

However, my zen-like moment faded as I realized that the 7 miles each way was very very long.

RD Steve Harvey had posted on facebook a few days before:
I just spent $267 on portable toilets at Indian Truck Trail... if the attrition rate is 50% before mile 82 each poop may be worth $10... Oh the glamorous life of a race director...

So I used it, but grumbled that they were placed past the aid station more than 100 yards-- too much bonus!

My Wimpiness to Cold

While warming up and fueling before the final long descent, I made a weak attempt to encourage the ultrarunning advancement of this cute Asian volunteer who lived nearby (and so told the aid station captain she could volunteer whenever, and got asked to be there from 2 to 10 am).  She had recently run her first marathon and was thinking of running more trails and maybe try an ultra.

Another volunteer asked the next runner who came by if he needed anything, but he said no and whizzed on by.  The volunteer commented-- "he had to keep moving-- otherwise he'd freeze-- he was only wearing a T-shirt."

I caught up with him (in my 4 layers of clothing, freezing my butt off).  He flatly denied the volunteer's interpretation of the situation-- in no way did he fell the least bit cold, exclaiming, "I LOVE this weather!"

It was hard to believe (and still is) that we both belong to the same species....

The downhill to the pavement near the finish wasn't as hideous as I'd expected.  Back on the pavement I ran into a dead-end to find the guy in the T-shirt, who, in the fog, missed the same turn I did.  We used our brains together to get back on track.

I was the last to finish under 24 hours, but alas, no sub-24 hour buckle.  Still, looks slick!  Thanks, volunteers who helped me get it.

with my 2011 La Sportiva Raptors

GPS recorded maps
last 15 miles

 Since I missed the pre-race packet pick up, I didn't get a parking pass, nor did I manage to get one race morning-- made me nervous.  As feared, when I went back to my car I saw a parking ticket attached to my windshield.   Fears of an extra $100 to fund this adventure.  Fortunately, I later found that the "fine" was simply the normal parking fee, which I gladly sent to the National Forest Service.

My old tent I bought 2nd-hand cheaply in the 90's was drenched with moisture.  I decided then to upgrade (which I've done with multiple models).

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Inaugural Dirty Dare 50k

Inside Trail Dirty Dare 50k, Sunday 20 October 2013

June 2005
Since Cuyamaca 100k, the previous weekend, the only running I had done was between Disneyland and our hotel twice a day, and to get Fast Pass tickets for the rides to avoid the long waits. GPS link to one day's running.  I got pretty good at getting the tickets, which requires communication with the family, detailed planning and nimbleness on the feet.  However, this running didn't quite cut it as a workout-- maybe just as well since I had to recover from the 62 mile race, but by Sunday the 20th, I really needed a good long and hard run-- the 1st ever Dirty Dare 50k by Inside Trail came to the rescue!

Ohlone Wilderness 50k, which I've run 8 times, goes through Sunol Regional Wilderness on the way from Mission Peak to Del Valle.  But I knew from a few training runs, family hikes, and one day of trail work in Sunol that Ohlone 50k runners don't get to see most of the beauty the park offers.

May 2006

hike May 2010

hike March 2011
trail work, June 2011

hike New Years Day 2012
each 25k loop begins with an ascent of Flag Hill
This race is the only one taking place exclusively in this beautiful wilderness.   Catra Corbett does know the trails there really well, and designed a very very challenging course through the gorgeous scenery of the park.

course designer and her badass wiener

It was chilly at the start, but we all knew it would warm up fast and then get too hot.

atop Flag Hill, by Sam Hsu

Maguire Peak, by Sam Hsu
more pictures of the course by Sam Hsu

For the first two splits I chatted with Chris Eide, who had just run Firetrails 50 mile the previous weekend.  We both wanted to be careful not to thrash ourselves too much.  After the 2nd aid station, Chris fell back.

I couldn't wait for Chris to finish, so shot his family patiently waiting for daddy.
gnarly single track Eagle View Trail, by Sam Hsu
An Asian guy I'd seen or met before but never met passed me shortly before the end of the first loop.  I tried to chat, but he didn't talk much.

Although the 50k consisted of two loops, the course did NOT take us through the start finish area, which is a plus psychologically.

The second loop, predictably brutal, I caught him and two others-- one runner was having what I diagnosed as possible mild intermittent cough variant asthma, extreme exercise induced (not an official billable diagnosis).  The other guy was just hurting, but kept going.

Rich Conder of Suisun City, finished 8 minutes behind me and 6th overall 
The Asian guy almost caught up with me at the end.  I wanted to meet him and get a photo, but he appeared to have taken off.   He, like a lot of us running this race, was training for Rio del Lago 100 mile the next month.  Fortunately, Chris Jones shot his photo there.

Daigo Echizenya pre-race at Rio, photo by Chris Jones

I myself had to bolt after 30 minutes-- I was intent on taking care of the kids the rest of the day, including most importantly getting their and my long long overdue hair cut.

website (there were also 10k and 25k distances)

rest of my photos on facebook
course photos by Sam Hsu on facebook

schwag with my left La Sportiva Ultra Raptor (I ran with my right shoe also though)
Thanks to all the volunteers, including Rita and Kelly at the 1st aid station, sorry, didn't get the names of the guys at the 2nd, and Sam Hsu and Trevor Nederlof at the 3rd aid station (and everyone at the start/finish).

Like September's Berkeley Trail Adventure, which I ran the previous month, the Dirty Dare is an awesome and unique trail race course that I highly recommend.

Occasional disclosure notice of gratitude:  I get comped for these great races by Tim Stahler of Inside Trail since I am on the La Sportiva Mountain Running Team, one of Inside Trail's main sponsors, so continued thanks to my benefactors.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Cuyamaca 100k SoCal Vacation (Though the Run Wasn't Quite a Vacation)

Cuyamaca 100k, Saturday 12 October 2013

This race timed perfectly with a road trip to SoCal that I had been planning.  Overdue for my younger son.  His older brother enjoyed Disneyland 4 years ago and Legoland 3.5 years ago, but he was too young to ride much or remember anything, so I felt we should hit these two parks this fall, and before he got too old for Legoland.

I have mixed feelings about zoos, but the ones in San Diego are pretty nice.  This panda seemed quite happy checking the line of visitors out as he munched on bamboo.

So we did two days at Legoland, one day at the zoo, and one day at the museums in San Diego.   I learned the difference between mastodons and wooly mammoths, among other things.

Friday we drove up to the state park (Rancho Cuyamaca) and set up camp at the Green Valley site.

awesome turtle rock right at our campsite
 Both that (#2, mile 13.5) and the other campground, Paso Picacho (#4, mile 27.5) were aid stations for the course.  There was a large group of loud Chinese (national Chinese, not Chinese-Americans) nearby making a lot of noise until late, but I got some sleep.  I left my tent sometime after 5, walked almost a mile to the entrance to the campground, and tried to hitch.

You would think that out of the many people driving up to the race, some skinny Asian dude in a La Sportiva jacket with a duffel bag would look more like a fellow entrant, rather than a serial killer, but amazingly more than 12 cars passed me.  I was going to get desperate and throw myself into the middle of the road, when this very nice volunteer, finally stopped and picked me up to take me to the start at Camp Cuyamaca.

with volunteer Lisa post-race.  thanks, Lisa!
I don't do mile by mile narratives anymore, but here is the course profile:

When I got to the 2nd aid station, I was delighted to see my kids sitting on the curb waiting for me. I think this was the first time I've seen either of my kids at an aid station except at my first 100 mile run in 2005 (Rio del Lago) when my older one was but an infant.

While at their campsite, their mother had heard the sounds of clapping and cheering nearby.  She was convinced I had already passed through, but headed over to check it out.

Leaving there was a 9 mile split mostly ascending to the high point of the course and the park, Cuyamaca Peak at 6512 feet.  I noticed soon that almost everyone was carrying hydration packs, or at least two bottles.  I was able to run pretty well.  The route went through areas that looked like they were recovering from a fire.  My family later told me the story about the Cedar Fire, that they learned from a ranger at the Visitor Center near the race start and finish.

Basically it was set by a dumb-ass hunter (per my kids per the ranger, he was hunting in a place it was illegal to hunt).  From Wikipedia:

The Cedar Fire was started by Sergio Martinez of West Covina, California, a novice hunter who had been hunting in the area and had become lost. In court Martinez gave an account of his being lost earlier that day from his hunting partner; he said he did not call out for "fear of scaring away deer". At first he falsely told investigators that the fire was started accidentally by a gunshot, but he later recanted and admitted he started the fire intentionally to signal rescuers. After gathering sticks and brush together, Martinez lit the brush and quickly lost containment because of the heat, low humidity and low moisture content of surrounding vegetation. 
Martinez was charged on October 7, 2004 in federal court with setting the fire and lying about it.[12] On March 10, 2005, Martinez pleaded guilty to deliberately setting fire to timber, in a plea bargain under which the charge of lying to a federal officer was dropped. He could have faced up to five years in prison, but under the plea bargain he was sentenced to six months in minimum-security confinement, under which he was allowed to go to work and other commitments. He also was ordered to complete 960 hours of community service and five years' probation, and to pay $9,000 in restitution.[13]
The lead female caught up with me and passed me right before the top.

winner Sally McRae at the halfway mark
It was all downhill, literally and figuratively, from the peak.  My whole body was feeling super sore and tight.  The first part of the descent was somewhat technical-- lots of loose rocks and ruts, but even when the trail got smoother, my body didn't.  Aside from pain, which I can run through, I was just too stiff.

stiffly fueling up at Paso Picacho, mile 27+, photo by Keshan Dahiya
Several people passed me during the next 9 miles back to the start/finish/mile 31 point.  During the next loop of 12 miles, I fared no better, got passed a lot, but the scenery was still pretty beautiful.  It did no good to try to imagine the pain Jon Olsen did a couple of weeks ago setting the new North American 100 mile record, and try to convince myself that my pain was much less.

The 2nd loop was a short 12.6 miles that ascended to a very pretty plateau, but I continued to struggle, even (or maybe especially) on the descent.

At mile 44, before the 3rd and final loop, I was again surprised and really happy to see my family at the start/finish aid station.

My kids weren't very impressed with my performance.  "Dad!  Some guy already won, even before you got done with the 2nd loop."

winner and new course record holder Igor Campos with his dad before his dad goes to finish the 3rd loop
They also thought I was taking too long to get out of the aid station, but I had to pack my light, a jacket, gloves, food, etc.  I felt bad that I was going so slowly, and figured I would be finishing really late and would wake up my family getting into the tent.

I got some caffeine tabs,  (leftover from the ones Shir Kochavi gave me at Headlands Hundred the previous month),
drug deal caught on film...
Maybe since I am wearing the new La Sportiva cycling style cap, I have to fess up.
Though I deny using intimidating and bullying to keep fellow competitors in line.
Unfortunately I couldn't find any acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Jack Cheng catches up with me, and we start talking.  I am initially apprehensive that he will pull ahead of me, but Jack gives me some ibuprofen and we keep each other motivated at a good pace.  Jack is a much more efficient and better fast-packer that I (he did the John Muir Trail in only (I think) 7 days with a lighter pack).   He also hasn't DNFd yet, though he had some close calls.  His finish streak is about half as long as my 10 year one.  We end up running pretty much the whole 18 mile 3rd loop together, even without waiting for each other at aid stations.  Near the finish, we pick up another friend of his, Sylvere Valentin.  Jack suggests we hold hands and cross the finish line together, an idea I whole-heartedly supported.  I was very happy with my third loop-- it's always great to overcome a tough spell and finish strong.

The three of us tied for 23rd through 25th place, but for some reason I got the coveted 23rd place in the official results
Sylver somehow missed the cue to bit his medal.
Again I was surprised that my wife and kids were there at the finish.  My older son got a big kick out of helping announce the runner's bib numbers as they approached the finish.  My younger son won the affections of a cute girl whose mother was still out on the course.

After a hot shower and stuffing myself with make-it-yourself burritos, we headed back to the campsite.

race schwag.  with La Sportiva Ultra Raptor left shoe that helped me get there.
I have since figured out the medal can take caps off bottles.
Credit to my younger son for figuring out it was "magnetical."

GPS 1st half
GPS 2nd half

results with splits, including drops
results on ultralive.net
results on ultrasignup


The next day, we hike up Stonewall Peak from Paso Picacho, 5730 feet above sea level.  It was really windy and the final few yards were sort of scary for the kids.

My wife was not happy that it got to about 40 degrees F at night at the campground.  Luckily, it was time to head to Disneyland, where it was not so cold at night.  My kids had a blast, enjoying rides that I couldn't handle when I was older than they are now.

relatively benign ride, quite fun, but much work to get the FastPass tix
Tower of Terror, one of my favorites
I ran several of miles of recovery each of three days, running from the Embassy Suites after I dropped my family off and parked, running to get the car in the evening, and running ahead while in the park to get the FastPasses so we could avoid lines.  My otherwise useless hobby, sometimes, comes in handy!