Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Western States Bound

So I thought I had spent all my luck when I survived my brain tumor….  And then I got picked in the WESTERN STATES 100 lottery this past weekend.    So, it is all set, I have been invited to the Big Dance.   My name was drawn along with some other 300 qualified candidates to run this epic event.   I am excited beyond words…   I didn’t think I was going to be picked by the lottery Gods, and somehow it happened..  woohoo!!   
So this next year I have four main events..
  1. 8X dipsea trail run (unsupported) (I attempted once, it didn’t go well, read about it here)
  2. Rim to Rim to Rim (unsupported)
  3. Western States 100 (first time and looking forward to it)
  4. Ironman Arizona (Did this event in 2009, I am looking forward to do it again)

These are my main events; there will be many others, but they will be training runs that will help me to prepare for these four major races.   I am excited about being able to have another great year in the trails.  My main goal is to keep healthy and most importantly to be able to tiptoe the starting line for these four awesome events.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Woodside 50K, Dec 4th

This year I stayed away from long distance running to pursue other interests, among them CrossFit and Triathlon.  However, running is my first love and I fell in love with it all over again not long ago in one training run I had.   Jim and Oliver, a couple of people from the CrossFit gym I train with decided that they wanted to do this and of course they didn’t have to twist my arm much for me to sing up for it
Jim and Oliver picked me up sharply at 7:00 am to take the 10-15 minute ride to the starting line located in Huddard Park in Woodside.   I am familiar with this park as that is where I usually ride my bike or go for early morning runs.   It is a beautiful place and I feel blessed that I actually live nearby that allows me to enjoy it without having to drive hours and hours on end. 
We got to the park in with plenty of time and we were surprised that no one from the racing company was there.   They are usually early in the morning and for some reason they were late.  I found that a bit disappointing as this company is pretty close to my heart so I find it difficult when people “talk bad” about them even if justified.  
Runners gathering to collect bibs before the run
When they finally showed up,  we got our bib numbers,  mine was #66, went back to the car changed my shoes and got ready for a great run on the mountain.    We walked back to the “starting line” just in time for the “gun” to go off and just like that we were in our way.   I happened NOT to recognize many people, obviously a sign of not doing many of these events often enough.  However, I found Kim Evanson,  a fellow ultrarunner and a great friend.  Kim and I have shared the trails many times and it was great to have her there.   
Jim at the start
Here we go...  :)

Kim and I started together and ran pretty well until the first aid station located at the top of Huddard park,  just off King’s mountain road, a very popular biking road. I wasn’t feeling bad and didn’t have the need to stop for long.   Kim made a joke about the fact that it took me so little time to ingest some food and was ready to rock and roll almost immediately.  We continued running together through the “flat portion” of the run (about 5 miles) to the next aid station.  We left the aid station (perhaps a group of 10) and that is when I decided to push it a little bit.  Unfortunately and typical of me,  I missed a flag exactly at the same location I missed last year and ended up in somebody’s yard.   I knew we were lost and had to retrace our steps and got oriented once again.  We retraced our steps and added some distance to our 50K race.   I learned later that Jim got lost in the same area, but unlike Oliver and I he wasn’t able to find the right trai for a long time at which time he had lost considerable time and decided to call it quits.   It happens… 
After we found the “right” path and as I was feeling good, I pushed it a little bit.   And all of the sudden I was running by myself so I kept the pace.  I caught this lady right before the biggest climb of the race starts and we ran together for some time.   She was definitely good on the uphills and pushed me relentlessly until we reached the top and the aid station.  I knew then that the majority of the climbing was done and now I was going to run the “flat section” of the course before reaching the first aid station and from there I had about 4.2 miles of downhill to the finish line.     I ran pretty well this flat section, all by myself; I even stopped to take a couple of pictures and to “use the facilities”.  This place is so beautiful I am definitely going back more often to run there. 

The mountain is so beautiful and the soil so soft, was like running on pillows. 
I saw a family of dear here,  I went for my camera and when I was ready to shoot, whey were all gone.. :(
Awesome place to run!
The required self portrait...  
Six hours and a few minutes later I was crossing the finish line and I was feeling good, I was surprised as I didn’t train a lot for this race, in fact I had only two training runs and the longest was 10 miles.   When I reached the finish line I was surprised to see Jim there.   He told me of his DNF and well, it sucked.   He did great regardless and we are planning to do another race together shortly.  Kim and Oliver came not long after me, and after a few pictures went home.   It was definitely a great day. 

This is Kim finishing strong!!

The after picture... San Carlos CrossFit representing!!.
Oliver Finished strong...

Jim's battle wounds!!
What to do next?…    I am working on my race calendar for next year and can’t wait to have it finalized.  Here is a preview...   100 mile run, an ironman a series of ultra marathons and bike rides..  It is going to be epic..

Monday, November 21, 2011

IM Arizona registerd

So it is done..  I have registered for IM Arizona next year..  That was the IM where I did the best, and I hope that will be the place where I will PR once again.  

Now I  hope I will get a few other races on my calendar for the next year including a 100 miler, a 100 K, an Ironman, an open water swim...    what else?   2012 is going to be EPIC...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Nike's Womans Marathon

The starting line..  it was insane.. 
The Nike’s Woman marathon is in the books…
On October 16.  I lined up with thousands of women and a few very secure men and ran the Nike’s women’s marathon.   Apparently you don’t need to be a woman to participate in this event, but you have to prepare to be chicked over and over during the entire marathon.   Here is my report… 
A few weeks ago, Rujeko found out that she needed to be in Napa the same afternoon as the marathon.  So it made sense to actually stay in the city the night before, run the marathon, come back to the hotel, clean up and then she would be in her way to Napa.   So we looked for hotels, and I guess thousands of people had the same idea because it was tough to find a hotel.   I asked a good friend of ours if we could stay in her house, she agreed, but at the very last minute we finally found a hotel which was very close to the starting line.  Great  huh?  Well not quite…  
The day before the marathon we had dinner close to home and drove to the city to the hotel we had reserved.   We got out of the car and walked into the hotel, it looked decent… then I saw the signs everywhere about the rate for bringing a guest into the hotel.   So this place can also be rented by the hour...   but we were going to be there just one night, how bad could it be? I asked about our reservation, and the person behind the bullet proof window tells us that our reservation had been cancelled because they overbooked...    I am like, WTF?  And nobody took the courtesy to call us to tell us that?   Long story short, I raised hell there, they finally “found” us a room and gave us the key.   Rujeko suggested going check the room prior to bringing in our luggage.   We did and I won’t go into details here, but needless to say we got out of there really fast.   Told the front desk person that we were not staying and left the hotel looking for a bottle of disinfectant or rubbing alcohol.    Now we had not place to stay, we looked around but everything was booked, so we decided to drive home and get up early for the race.   So we did, we left the hotel and drove all the way home to our clean and comfortable bed.  
The next day, woke up at around 4:30 am.   Like I always do, I went to take a shower and started my little race routine which includes; bathroom, shower, lube, dressing for the race eat and getting my stuff together.   Drove to the city and got there with plenty of time to find a good parking spot, we got into the parking structure and after finding a good spot, I started to get ready for the race.  Rujeko needed to go to the bathroom and we knew that the lines at the portapoties at the race were probably going to be insane so we look for alternative bathroom facilities.  We found one and after taking care of business, we went to the starting line.. and MY GOD…  I never been in a place with so much estrogen in the air..  It was awesome..
It took a long time to cross the finish line and the thing that annoyed me the most is that nobody respected the corrals; people just went everywhere they wanted to be.  People that would be running 14 minute miles were in the 6:30 mpm corral, I mean… come on!!   So needless to say, when the marathon started there was a lot of zigzagging to pass around people that were walking at mile 1, not cool.  
It was a sea of purple in this race..  Amazing..

We settled into a nice pace and started eating the miles away… one by one..  until Rujeko started to feel sick.   We tried to maintain the same pace, but she wasn’t feeling good so I forced her to take iboprufins.  I am such a believer of those things, they never disappoint me..  And after she took them, they started to take effect… and she started to pick up the pace...   
Blister happened...  Despite the issues Rujeko did awesome.

I had a long business trip thus I did not run as much as I wanted to, my longest run before this marathon was the marathon at the end of the ironman and that had been almost  1 ½ months,  so I wasn’t in any shape to break any records,  but the whole idea was to run it together.  This is our second marathon together and we are already talking of the next one, and next time we are going to train to do great. I saw many people, obviously, running their first marathon and it is always awesome to see the excitement in their faces.  I love to see someone finish something awesome for the first time.   Around mile 20 or so my foot started hurting, my shoes seemed to be too tight so I lose the shoelaces,  but still they felt tight.  I don’t know what was going on, but I knew that because of that some other part of my body was going to start hurting because I knew I changed my stride to compensate for the pain in the left foot.   And like I predicted, my hip started to get sore and by mile 24 I was in real pain.  I knew I had less than 2 miles to go and I did dig deep in order to move forward.   When I finally saw the finish line, I was too excited to feel any pain, so we bolted to get to the end.  We crossed the finish line holding hands and it was a great finish to a great day.   I couldn’t’ be happier.  We picked our Tiffany “medal” and started to make our way to the exit.
Overall it was a great race..

The views were freaking awesome

San Carlos CrossFit endurance team representing..  :)
 After the marathon we took the bus back to the starting line.  This was more painful than the actual marathon,  the line to get to the bus was like 3 miles long or so it seemed, and once we were in the bus, the traffic was so bad  that we were moving very slow and I was getting annoyed by the person behind me talking about herself all day long..  pfftt!!   
All in all, it was a great day and most importantly it made me feel blessed for just being able to do this.  Next race?  TBD…

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Ironman Wisconsin 2011

So it is done… Ironman Wisconsin 2011 is history and in the books. I reached the starting line with 2000 others in Madison Wisconsin the 11th of September. This was a special day as we commemorated the 9/11 attack which took many lives. Personally, I wasn’t touched, but it affected me deeply, this race was a commemoration of that horrible day and a celebration of life.

This was a special Ironman event for me as well, because I brought a newbie to do this race with me. Oliver Gutierrez, a friend of mine and member of the San Carlos CrossFit Endurance team.

On Wed afternoon after arriving, getting our car and driving to the hotel, we decided to go and check downtown and get a bite to eat. The temperature was nice and I was hoping that we would have such weather on race day. I have been following the weather for almost a week and it promised to be great. IM Wisconsin is famous for having an unpredictable weather the day of the race, and I was hoping that the weather Gods would be kind to us on race day.

The following day, Oliver arrived and the next day another member of our team also arrived; Jim Maliksi and his lovely wife. He wasn’t racing, but he was instrumental for us being there, and he came to get inspiration as he prepares for his own adventure. I am sure I will be blogging his success in my next Ironman blog. We registered, we toured the expo, we bought things we didn’t need we checked the competition and we rested plenty.

The day before the race, we delivered our transition bags. Swim to bike bag, checked, bike to run bag, checked. Transition bags are key for a successful race, and having what you need when you need it is important. This blog is NOT about race strategy, but if you want to know more about how I do things please drop me an email and I would be happy to share.

The day of the Ironman, we got up early and ate plenty, got dressed and went to the race. Jim drove Oliver and me to the transition site, we delivered our special needs bags and checked on our bikes one more time…. put in our wetsuits… walked to the starting line… got into the water and then the cannon went off…. Ironman Wisconsin had started.

The water was warm, but at that moment, I didn’t feel the temperature. Just looking at 2500 other people whose race is about start with yours was enough to intimidate the hell out of me. I have done several Ironmans, and the thing that is the most exciting and the most nerve wrecking is the start of the race. Imagine you put all of your socks in a washing machine and then you start the washing machine in permanent press, now imagine you are sock. That is how it feels… it is amazing.

I started in the middle of the pack and settled in a nice rhythm, I didn’t do much sighting as I knew that 2500 people will be swimming in the same direction. The first 500 meters I swam as hard as I could in order to get into a good pace and avoid the slow swimmers and hoping to get in with a faster swimming group. I drafted pretty well and when I got out the water I had finished my 2.4 swim in 1:15 minutes, just two minutes short of my best time, I was happy. Got out of the water, stripped my wetsuit, ran to transition, got my transition bag and changed into my biking gear. Went to pick up my bike and I was off for a 112 mile bike ride.

I have mentioned in the past, two things will destroy your race, any race you do. Nutrition and pacing, I had a couple of races gone the toilet because I started a bit faster than I should have so I wanted to keep it steady and real. I had my nutrition brew on my saddle cages; I rely on these to take me through the race. Unfortunately there was a part of the pavement that was rough and also we went through some railroad tracks, somewhere there, my bottles flew and I did not notice until it was time to drink some. Imagine my disbelief when I reached back to get my bottle and I didn’t have it, I was “Fu&*#ed”. I had to rely on whatever they gave me at the aid stations, but I knew that it was NOT going to be enough. And it wasn’t… at about mile 40 I started to cramp, it was pretty bad. I got out of the bike several times to stretch and I could see my muscles twitch, it is pretty funny now, but back then it was pure hell. When I finally reached my special needs bags, I retrieve my extra nutrition and started to drink and eat in earnest, but at that time I had lost so much time and I wasn’t feeling pretty well. I knew my goal time was gone and all I needed now is to keep it steady, real and finish. I made it to the end of the bike leg, 112 miles of hills and turns and extreme heat.

I got out off the bike and a great volunteer took my bike back to transition, I ran to the transition tent, got my gear, changed my shoes, took off my biking shorts, ate a gu and left the changing tent. Now, in an Ironman event you get to have you own helper, this person helps you with transition and as soon as you get out of the changing tent you are greeted by an army of volunteers that will rub sunscreen on you. I tried to get rubbed pretty well so I was not going to get sunburn. I saw Jim there taking pictures; I said my hello and started my run. As soon as I got out into the course I spotted my beautiful wife. I can safely say, that this was the highlight of my race. We said our hellos, exchanged a kiss and just like that I was on my way to run 26.2 miles.

The run course is throughout Madison downtown and through the campus of the University of Wisconsin. We get to run inside of the stadium, along the fraternity/sorority row and other cool places within the university campus. The aid stations had wet sponges, and I used them all the time. It was pretty hot so having a wet sponge in my shoulders was a great treat. I also put ice in hat or inside my shirt to keep cool. I ran the first half, when I got to the special needs bags my feet were already in pain and I just didn’t have it in me to run anymore. I knew I was going to finish, the question was how long would it take me? I changed socks and started to shuffle once again. The shuffle turned into a walk and it remained a walk until about 200 meters off the finish line. I didn’t have anybody behind me so I enjoy running slow through the finish chute. When I crossed the finish line, I turned around and I bowed to show my respect to the race that had defeated me that day. And with that, I finished IM Wisconsin 2011 edition. It was AWESOME!!

After I finished, I went to pick up my bike and my transtions bags and my goal was to wait for Oliver. I sat in the car and I fell asleep, I did not wake up until Oliver came to the car. He finished his race strong, he is truly an Ironman. the conditions were far from optimal and he persevered and FINISH.

Friday, July 15, 2011

I have seen way too many times people’s expressions when they come to the gym and realize that there is running involved in the workout of the day. It is funny to see all sorts of reactions; from happiness (me) to really unhappiness (I won’t mention names). The first thing I hear is, “I shouldn’t have come today” or “I hate running” or “running hurts”. In any event, running is not most people’s favorite WOD component, is it?

Interestingly, I also have seen many people that are great with lifts but throw in a running component in the workout of the day and they are screwed. I like that because that is my forte and I take advantage of it, right?

Well, when I started CrossFit, I couldn’t, for the life of me, do a double under. Every time double unders were involved in a WOD I simply would accept the fact that I would not be doing well and or it will take me a lot of time to complete the WOD. Then a wonderful thing happened, the more I practiced double unders following the coach’s advice and techniques, I got better at them. And now, every time I see double unders as a component of a WOD, I cannot help but be happy. Do you see where I am going with this? Running is like double unders and most things we do in CrossFit, it involves technique and practice to be good at it.

Running is like double unders, the more you practice following your coach’s advice and techniques they just happen. And then you start getting good at them and all of the sudden you are loving them. Running works just the same. I wrote a little piece a few weeks ago about running technique (see it here http://sccfendurance.blogspot.com/2011/03/injury-prevention.html). This will show you how by simply changing your stride it will minimize the hurt, it will improve your speed and the enjoyment of it. So, don’t wait for the next time running comes up in a Work out of the day, grab a coach and ask for help … and then go out there and embrace every workout with running as a chance to get better.

Here I am running Miwok 100K in preparation for a 100 mile run.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

San Diego 100 Miler

Warning, this is a looooong post..

I have a theory, my theory is that whatever a race I have planned for a long time is around the corner, work gets really insane and I barely have time to pack and get to the airport, literally. I am usually able to guess pretty well what I will need and in most cases I have what I need, well that changed in this race and it wasn’t a good experience.

I had traveled to Spain previously for work after Miwok and I didn’t have time to train more for this race. When I came back, work was crazy and it remained like that until the day I left for San Diego, it was Thursday at 9pm and I was still at work and I hadn’t packed anything yet. I made it home sometime during the night and I put in my suitcase everything I thought I needed. The basics, flashlight, gels, salt pills, a change of clothes, a warm shirt, my running tights, a hat, water bottles, gloves, extra batteries, nuun and a few bags so I can make them my drop bags, a few other random things and I was “ready”. Janet had sent me a list of thing she was packing so I used that as a guide.

The next day I drove early to the airport, met Janet and soon we were in our way to SD. And we learned that apparently you can blow up a plane with peanut butter and jelly, as the security guys wanted to confiscate this from Janet’s bag. LOL. She checked her luggage and made it to the gate on time. And then we were airborne. Landed in SD, got our car and drove to a running store to get some last minute stuff (compression socks) and finally to the race site for the runners info meeting.

Race Director giving us the last minute info and instructions..

The thing about these things is the friendship among all runners. This is the first ULTRA I do where the only distance is 100 miles. I have done others where there are different distances being run, so we knew that these guys, all of them were in for the long haul. It was awesome to reconnect and talk about “what else have you done lately”?

After we got our registration stuff we drove back to town, stopped at a grocery store to get food and we went back to our hotel room. I had to do some work and then started packing my drop bags. One thing about drop bags is that I usually get scared because I feel that I never have enough stuff in them. For the most part it is not true, but this time I actually needed more that I didn’t have. Finished packing my stuff took a quick shower and went to bed. It was 9:30 then and for some ungodly reason I started thinking... “What the hell I am about to do?” This thought kept me awake for a while and I was scared that I didn’t have it in me. And having those horrible thoughts in my mind, I finally fell asleep.

And then it was time to get up… Got up and I was excited, got my stuff ready, showered ate a bagel, a protein smoothie and some other stuff I don’t remember now. We decided to stop at the nearest Starbucks and get some caffeine before heading to the starting line. Got in the car and stopped at the local Starbucks… we checked the website before and it says that it opened at 5:00 am. Well, it was 5:00 am and it was closed. There were not posted hours and the guy inside looked at us and complete ignored us. He kept doing his stuff and not even acknowledging us or a little sign saying that they were closed would suffice. Nope, not even a wave, or a nod or nothing. We were pissed (it was early in the morning and no caffeine yet, can you imagine?). So we decided to drive to the race and stop at another Starbucks location. We found one, got our coffee and after a 45 minute drive we were at the starting point. We got our bibs, made final preparations, applied sunscreen (note to self, remove the arm warmers before I apply the sunscreen to my arms), filled our water bottles, went to the bathroom and just like that we were ready to rock and roll. And then it was 3 minutes to start, at this point I was beyond nervous, I was excited and ready to run, 1 minute to start and I was thinking.. “OOHHYYYEEAAA!!” 10, 9, 8, “holy shit here we go” 7, 6, 5, 3, “ok, here goes nothing”, 2, 1 Whooohooooo!! And we were in our way. I knew that there would be more than 24 hours before we were coming back to that place. But I was excited… and scared.

3 minutes to start.. yay!! Gulp

Ok.. here goes nothing.. :)

At the beginning of the race we took it really easy, people knew that it was going to be a long day so there was not hustling for position, there was just a bunch of people going for a “little” run and everybody understood that it was going to be a long day anyway.

Mile 1-25

These were the happy miles. We were fresh, we had company, we were happy and we simply were elated to be there. And it was very nice to talk to other runners and simply enjoy the views. You know... just being out there. I don’t really know how to express this, but being out there, putting one foot in front of the other for hours at end is really therapeutic. I know some of my friends might disagree, but the truth is, that is what keeps me going, what motivates me and what, I believe, makes me really happy. Ok… so back to the race. We started at the back of the pack and like in Miwok I started to keep score, every time we passed someone was a point, if we were passed it will deduct a point. For this particular race, I just wanted to be in the positive side and we did. It was because we probably started at the back of the pack or we simply were moving pretty well… And then, the heat showed up… and my God it got really hot out there.

Oh.. this was a fun time.. Snake was just chilling, Janet almost stepped on it and have it on film.. awesome.

The views were amazing

Mile 25-50, happier miles...

These were awesome, the views were amazing. We were running by ourselves and like we always do we tried to pace each other without killing each other. For some reason from the start of the race, I would lead a section until we got to the aid station, and then Janet will lead the next section. We kept that “unspoken” rule until mile 64, but more on that later. During this time we were actually moving well. There was this section around mile 44 coming out of the Pine Creek Aid station that had a really steep section, and it was paved too. I hate pavement, my IT bands don’t like it very much. The sun was high and we can feel the heat irradiated from the pavement. Not very happy about it, but we power through and made it to the top just to find out that they had popsicles up there. Well, the heat was so bad that even the cooler and the ice weren’t cold enough to keep the popsicles hard. We drank ours, and they were so refreshing. Sometime during these miles we found these creeks, it was awesome to dunk my hat in the cold refreshing water and put back on, Janet would do the same with her shirt, that cooled us down a little. And then… just like that we hit mile 64, and it was time to get ready for the night...

Happy times

Mile 64 -80 unhappy miles

There is a rule in ultramarathons… “If you are not feeling well, don’t worry, it will change, and if you are feeling great, don’t worry that too will change”. This was our worst time and the time when I realized that I didn’t packed enough stuff for the race, I didn’t have enough cold gear. The weather changed dramatically from being hot as hell to being cold as a freaking freezer. It was so cold I couldn’t hold my flashlight as it is made of metal and it got really cold. Janet wasn’t happy also and we seriously thought we were going to have a case of hypothermia or something worse. We couldn’t help each other, the only thing we could do was to keep moving… and we did. We made it to mile 72, they had coffee there and I drank tons of it. They also had spare shirts (from previous races) so I put one on since I only had a thermal and a windbreaker and I was freezing. We said our goodbyes and kept on going… at this moment we couldn’t run anymore. We were freezing and the next few miles were the worst. Somehow we made at around 5 am into the Sunrise aid station (mile 80.3). Heather VanNess was there and she was like an angel for us. She took care of us in many ways; she truly made us feel awesome. We sat down around some heater, warmed our poor selves and realized that our state of caloric intake and sodium was pretty down. Our hands were puffy and fat, a clear sign of lack of electrolytes. I took 3 and soon enough I started to feel a lot better. Had hot pancakes and coffee and after a 30 minutes recovery break, we decided to keep on going. And we did, left that aid station and ran all the way to mile 87, we were back.

Mile 87-99 (coming home)

The last miles were really runnable and cool, but my legs were toasted... I could barely keep moving forward.

When we got to mile 87 aid station, the sun had made its appearance and it was getting hot again. I changed my clothes into more comfortable cooling outfit, ate some, drank tons of coke, took another set of ibuprofens (I believe I took about 12 during the race) and just like that we were in our way home. We walked some, I hurt a lot (had some bad blisters), but it didn’t matter, we were almost there. We got to the final aid station at mile 96, we talked to some of the runners there, ate some, drank some and we ready to call it a day, just needed to do 5 more miles for the final leg home. We left the aid station and we knew we were done; it was just a matter of keep moving until the end. The good thing about this section is that it made me realize that we were in much better shape than other runners out there. We were finishing thing strong. And just like that we made to the sign that read “1 mile to go”.

The final Mile

OMG… we were almost there, just one more mile. Janet started to move a bit faster, then she started jogging and finally we actually were running. We tried to keep the pace but after 99 miles, it was hard. We walked some and then we saw the finish line. I took a deep breath, put a big smile in my face to hide the pain I was in and kept moving, we got to the finish line and just like that we were done.

We sat down for a little, drank some water, waited for some of the runners, cheered them, drank more and then I went to take a shower... I had some blister issues; I was in pain so I headed to medical and got my blisters treated.

This race was tougher than I imagined, this race showed me that I need to take my time to plan my gear next time. This race showed me that I should take care of my feet better. But most importantly this race showed me that I am alive and that I love my life.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Miwok 100K 2011

This is my third Miwok 100k in a row.. The first time it was cold and wet, the second time it was hot and beautiful and I had a horrible time. This year was a different more challenging course and I wanted to redeem myself.

This time, I was actually looking forward to this. I was excited to the fact that I was going to have a pacer, Janet was coming to pace me the last 20 miles of the run. I knew from last year that people with pacers were passing me, I was on my own and I wasn’t in any shape to run faster of try to keep up with people and their pacers. In any event, I was excited.

The day of the race I woke up at about 2am and started my prerace routine, some canned fruit, a scrambled egg and a fruit smoothie, and a cup of earl grey tea too. I also made sure that I was going to take care of my feet; I didn’t want to get any nasty surprises. I have been running wearing compression socks, and I totally swear by them. They are awesome, they make feel so good and most importantly, I do believe it helps to keep my plantar fasciitis on check.

So after a healthy high glycemic breakfast, my ride arrived. Jason Jones a terrific ultra-runner came to pick me up. I got into his truck and drove away to the city to pick up yet another ultra-runner. I was planning to sleep during the ride, but I couldn’t. He and I had a great conversation and after we picked up the third runner, we talked some more.

We arrived at the start line with plenty of time, I got “dressed” went to pick up my bib number, delivered my drop bags and visited the boys room… and just like that it was close to 5:30 so we headed to the beach for the start of the race. And after a great speech of the race director she sent us away…. And that was it, Miwok 100K 2011 had begun.

Just Before the start... Awesome

Check the morning.. how beautiful was it. About to start Miwok 2011

The course was changed this year, and the first miles of the course it seemed pretty hard and steep. Within the first two miles I was already drenched in sweat ( and I sweat a lot) and my HR was up the roof. But I knew it was going to be a long day so I took it easy, last year I went out too fast and I paid dearly at the end . This time I didn’t want to make the same mistake.. .

The first five miles were brutal.. This is a new course, and my God it started uphill.. really uphill..

The views are amazing... check this out

The glorious SF Golden Gate bridge from above through the fog.. awesome!!

Coming back from to the starting line after the initial loop was great, I hate running in sand, but I managed to keep sand away from my shoes. I passed a few people coming out of the beach and then it occurred to me, I will keep a score. I will keep a point for everyone I passed, and if I was passed then I would deduct a point from my score. 1, 2, 3, 4... it was a great way to keep me motivated and tackle the course with earnest. I arrived to Tennessee Valley aid station and I promise myself I was going to take it easy there, which I did. One thing I like the most about ultrarunning events are the volunteers… these people are amazing, they really give it all and for what ? Just to see a few crazy people running very long just for the fun of it.. At Tennessee Valley I took my time to drink, refill and get something to eat. And just like that the first few miles of Miwok 100k had gone by. I kept keeping score, 12, 13, 14… and I was passed a few times but my score was still positive.. That was a good feeling. At the aid stations I actually stopped counting, but it did not matter.

The downhills were brutal.. the hills did not disappointed at Miwok 2011..

A “few” miles later I reached the Pantoll aid station, in there I saw my dear friend Leigh Mooser, and she really took care of me. Gave me all I needed, it felt like she was crewing me. I am sure she did that for all runners, that is why she is so awesome. And then I was off again..

So here is the funny thing, before I reached the Bolinas Aid Station I saw the guys at the front coming back… OMG… they had almost 20+ miles ahead of me… Unbelievable.. What gave me a good feeling is that I saw the Elites pretty much at the same spot I saw them in previous years, which meant I was going at a good speed. Bear in mind, I was NOT wearing a watch as I wanted to just “listen to my body”. When I reached the Bolinas Aid Station, I saw George Miller, and a few others I knew, that made me happy. And the thought that when I was coming back I was going to find my pacer Janet to take me to the finish line gave me some more needed gas. And I was off again, going down to the turn-around I found Abe, he was having such a great race. We talked for a few minutes and then we were off again, I downhill, he uphill. J I was wearing a belt that holds a bottle of gu, well I forgot to close the damn bottle and gu was all over my shorts, Pretty nasty. As soon as I go to Randall Aid station, I used some water to wash the gu off my shorts. Drank, ate, drank some more (Thank God for caffeine) and I was going up again. When I reached the Bolinas Aid Station again, I saw Janet my pacer. She had just arrived, she ran all the way from SF to meet me there. And after exchanging a few pleasantries we were off.

My Awesome Pacer Janet..

It was such a refresh to have someone to talk knowing that I had just over 20 miles to the finish. We kept, what I thought, was a good pace. Reached Pantoll aid station once again and Leigh was there to cheer us up. She had some avocado that I ate with earnest, I also had some pickles, cookies, and whatever they were serving.... and… of course coke… lots of it. My score was in the high 20’s and it kept getting better, but for some reason in the aid stations is where I got passed quite a bit. I spent too much time in there, but in reality it was all good.

The day was beautiful, the company was awesome, it was a great day and I was running.. I wasn’t having a bad time at all, I was in good spirits. When we got to the Tennessee Valley once again I knew the worst was over, we thought, we will have just 3 or 4 miles tops. But then we asked and it happened we had almost 5 miles to go.. my spirts just went down and I was like. OOOHHH SHIT… So after taking some Tylenol (I took 12 in total during the whole day), had some coke (probably drank over 2 litters of that stuff) and some gel we were in our way. The afternoon was georgous and we just kept the good pace. People passed us, but what the hell, I was about to finish my third Miwok 100K anyway.

Then we turn a corner and a couple of guys were there directing runners, and one of them told us, you guys are almost done, just over a mile to go. I heard that and I bolted, I took off like a bat out of hell. I ran so hard that mile that no runner could keep up with me, I passed a few in that last mile. Janet and I were breathing hard, I could hear her breathing so hard next to me, but I was on a mission. I wanted to make the last mile memorable. And then I started to see little lights, my vision was blurry and I wasn’t focusing, I just kept on running as hard as my body could. And with that last effort I crossed the finish line, I put my hands on my knees and started to catch my breath and little by little my vision started to come back. Rujeko was there and she came to give me a hug and that made me feel so much better. She is just amazing, I was happy. We ate, we talked, we ate some more, I took a shower, changed clothes got in the car and Rujeko drove us back to the city. First to drop off Janet and then we went to grab a bite to eat. She took me to a Ethiopian restaurant, pretty cool and I was so hungry I left her not much to eat. Then fall asleep in the drive home and when I woke up I was in our driveway. Took my things inside, took a shower and went to sleep. Oh, what a great day, Miwok 2011 is done, now lets wait for 2012.. oohhyeaa!!

Great photo after the finish.. OK.. I am officially pooped.. :)

Rujeko came to take us home and she just made me feel so much better.. :) she is got a way to do this all the time.. :)