Friday, November 15, 2013

Trail Adventure in the Berkeley Hills

Inside Trail Berkeley Trail Adventure 50k
Saturday 28 September 2013

After missing last year's inaugural race, I really wanted to run this year's Berkeley Trail Adventure 50k distance.  I love Tilden and Wildcat Regional Parks, but other than buzzing through part of Tilden midway through Firetrails 50 mile a few times, I suspect I could count my hikes and training runs there on both hands and one foot.

December 2007
I was short of sleep, so needed to caffeinate, which fortunately works for these short races.

Maybe because Sarah Lavender told me to grab a course map if I was going to be running "with the fast guys out front," I got it into my head to maybe run fast out front.

One guy and a svelte woman ran ahead and took off (way off).

The woman apparently was local Anna Bretan, who had made local news by winning last year's Oakland Marathon for the 2nd straight year, and 6 weeks after giving birth to her daughter.  She won and set the new women's course record at this year's San Francisco Marathon, beating out last year's winner, Devon Yanko (née Crosby-Helms).  I had no idea who she was (Sarah pointed her out to me).  So to make up for this, she will get featured in this blog post with photos I lifted from the web.

March 2011, 2:53:19, new course record
“I turned 26 in December and I decided it was time to run 26 miles.”

couldn't figure out who shot this photo

before winning Oakland again in 2012
6 weeks after giving birth to her 3rd child
"Well, I ran slower this year..."

unaware she just set a new course record. “I am just so excited to win this, I kind of can’t believe it."
Alright, enough of her, since other than my saying "wow, great job!" to her as she went the other direction after the turning around for the 35k, we didn't talk.

Oops, one more picture, during the race.  I am pretty sure Myles was hanging out somewhere during the initial stretch to the first aid station.

by Myles Smith, Michigan Bluff Photography
same spot, different runner, not nearly as fast
though I DID run longer
Coming into the first aid station at 4.8 miles.

by Allen Lucas

The longest conversation I had was during the 2nd split, the small pink loop in the middle of the course map (the course, by the way, was designed by Brian Wyatt-- an excellent example of how you can minimize overlap and showcase two parks using only 3 aid stations).

I talked with Sasha Waring, a psychiatrist who had finished his residency training fairly recently.  He was doing the 35k, so left me soon after Inspiration Point (mile 15).  He would win the men's race, but Anna finished 20 minutes ahead.  Great job, you two.

Sasha, photo by Myles Smith, Michigan Bluff Photography
I talked a little with (I think) Chris Jackson also doing 50k before he and the next guy passed me descending to Rifle Range Road Aid Station (mile 15) in Wildcat Park, where I recognized Sam Hsu and met Trevor Nederlof.  It became apparent to me that I had gone out way too fast at the beginning.   But the scenery was great, and I nostalgically remembered hikes I'd done with my family out on these trails many years ago, before soccer and baseball started making family hikes harder and harder to schedule.

January 2006
The return after Inspiration Point used Quarry Trail, which is pretty steep and gnarly.  I was hurting, but the very talented Myles Smith was there shooting photos, so I thought it was worth a sustained effort to run past him and for the rest of the climb.  He actually appreciated the effort.

Myles Smith, Michigan Bluff Photography

Once I crested, I had some trouble hammering downhill, due to abdominal wall pain that I had started feeling this year.  Once the season is over, I hope to work on core strength-- do those crunches.  Well see if I follow through.

Allen Lucas again had his camera ready at the Big Springs Aid Station, 4.4 miles from the finish.

A malevolent evil person vandalized the course, not just by tearing ribbons down, but by putting them up, leading many of us off course.  I probably only did 1/2 mile bonus at the most, but some people got really lost.

My iPhone had malfunctioned, so I was relieved of the possibility of taking those mugshot pictures of everyone at the finish.  Sarah Lavender Smith, though by her account, was way out of shape, but still managed to win the women's race.  Congrats, Sarah!

by Allen Lucas
GPS recording

results (50k)
results (35k)


Little did I know, while we were all running, Jon Olsen was on his way to setting the new North American 100-mile record, finishing just under 12 hours (!)  Congrats, Jon!
Jon's account on
Geoff Roes on Why Jon Olsen Might Not Win Ultrarunning Performance Of The Year


notthatlucas said...

I had to do a double-take on this; this is a report on a race you ran this year! And only a few months ago!

Was your bonus mileage in that last 4.4miles? There was a guy on a bike that was spotted doing bad things to the markings. (The runner that spotted him thought he was the sweeper and didn't think much of it until later.)

Congrats on a great race and thanks for hanging out long enough for me to get a shot of you with a full mouth.

Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) said...

Thanks, Allen, for being out there as always.

Yes, the bonus happened near the end.

It would be fun to tackle the guy on the bicycle and destroy his bicycle, even if this action is neither authorized nor condoned by my sponsors, my employer, Inside Trail Racing, or any supreme being.