Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My last three running adventures

I have been a little busy over the last few weeks with work and I haven't been able to keep the blog going. I am going to compress 3 races in this post...

September 6, 2008 Redwood Prk Trail Run... (50K)

This particular race was my comeback to the ultra running.. I have been dealing with plantar fasciatis for the last few months and I hadn't been consistent with running. Decided to go and try my luck on this one... Lucky for me I picked a race that was great, but the weather gods decided to make it a little difficult. The temperatures rose to the 100's and it was not fun at all. I knew that it was going to be hard... Not only the temperature made it difficult, but the elevation gain for this particular race was of about 4500 feet.

This was indeed a really challenging course...

So my day did not go well... but more on that later...

Going to these runs is really fun. The familiar faces are everywhere... it is like a big family and I love it. I have been out of the trail running for a few months and people remember me and my name... It made me feel good... The sad part about this is that I am bad with names so I did not remember any of their names... but needless to say I feel part of this ultra running family. It is kind of cool if you ask me.

The weather was miserable as I mentioned early, but what made it tougher was the fact that my longest run since the Ironman was about 18 miles, which is a little over half of what I was going to do that day.. The course is multiloop... it had a 20K loop and a 10K loop. The 50K runners were doing the 20K which was open, no shade to hide and then the 10K loop which was pretty nice.. lots of trees and finally we would go back once again into the sun for a final 20K loop.

I started too strong and when I got to the aid station after running the 20 and the 10k loops, my feet were hurting, my IT band was on fire and the weather was sooo hot that I could not imagine going up again. I had signed for the skyline to the sea the following week so i decided to use this run as a training run only... Got to the aid station and decided to call it a day... It is only my third DNf and I hate to do so, but I just knew that if I continue to run under those conditions I would get hurt and most likely I would not be able to run the following race in two weeks.

Last year I used to simply pick up and go run 50K without much trouble, this year it has been a little more difficult... but I am getting my ultra mojo back... I hope....

Skyline to the Sea.. Saturday September 20 2008... (50K)

Now this was a great race.... This was the inaugural PCTR 50K... it was hel in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Started high up in the mountains and it is a point to point race to the sea. This particular race was only 50K so most people in this race were seasoned ultraruners. We parked by the beach and they gave us a 70min ride to the top of the mountain where the race started. as described in the race website.. the course is:.

The popular Skyline to the Sea Trail runs from the cr
est of the Santa Cruz Mountains at Saratoga Gap through Big Basin Redwoods State Park, the oldest park in California (est. 1902), and ends at the Pacific Ocean at Waddell Beach. It travels through tall redwoods and high chaparral along the way (pctrailruns.com)

Check out the elevation profile.... or shall we say quad killing, knee destroying, black toe maker profile of this course. I hate downhills and on this one the total elevation is negative so we were going downhill pretty often and some of those hills were pretty nasty.. My poor knees were hurting bad and I was literally walking the downhills and running the uphills...

Check out the view... it is amazing..

And my god... there were bees.. did I mention the bees... or wasps or what ever.. But these little ones were active that particular day and we got stung pretty well. I know of some people that after the run (of course they had to finish first) had to go to the hospital because the itching will not go away. I was stung 4 times, I was one of the lucky ones. some people got stung 10 or 15 times...

So I finishe this one as I had planned.. I was hurting a little at the end... but hey.. is not this part of the whole thing. It is a good kind of pain... I love to be able to run this far....

Santa Cruz Montains Trail Run (50K)

Report comming up soon..

Running and running... what good is it?
A marathon is long enough 26.2 miles.. Anything longer that that might sound crazy and add the elevation changes and it is definitely insane. You are in pain, your knees hurt, you get black toenails, blisters and most likely you are sore for a few days after the run…. is that fun? People ask that all the time… and the only thing I usually respond to that is… Hell yeah!! It is FUN….

Why do it? Because is hard and because I can. I do it because it makes me suffer and when I sign for these events I know I am going to be in pain. Call me crazy but as I type these words I cannot help but smile thinking about the next run and the high I will get from doing it. There is so much to see in these trails, the magnificent views, the smells; the wildlife, they all make these runs special and a little discomfort (or a lot sometimes) is OK. Running trails makes me feel alive and it makes me feel blessed and appreciate life much more.