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..