I have a confession to make: I no longer read race reports. It's not that they are not interesting, except they aren't. Or maybe they used to be interesting. I just can't bring myself to read another account of some poor soul suffering needlessly, trying to cover some arbitrary distance over some arbitrary tract of land within some allotted timeframe. There are only so many ways to describe the journey and challenges of an ultra marathon, and they generally all include some intricate explanation of what went wrong. How many blisters? How much barfing? How much cramping? How much tired? How much hurting? How much blood? How much cold? How much hot? How much wet? How much not? I could go on, but I'm already getting bored writing this...
So maybe this time I will try to describe the race from a slightly different perspective. This report will hopefully describe the adventure with an emphasis on the social story. I think one of the main reasons that people keep coming back for more of this flavor of self-imposed suffer fest is peer pressure. It's not the overt teen style of "if you don't do it you're not cool", but it probably is basically the same thing. I don't think it is an exaggeration to say it takes a village to put on a 100 mile ultra marathon. Here is a quick recollection of who is involved: runners, race director, volunteers(aid station, parking, course marking, course sweeping, road crossings, course monitors, etc), runner families, pacers, crews, the list can go on. The question I ask myself is why? There were maybe 100 finishers in this race. There were many hundreds of people involved in allowing those fortunate finishers to accomplish their goal. No one got rich. What is it that binds this group together and what makes it so attractive? Maybe a few accounts of my interactions with those people will help explain.
First I am going to go ahead and dispense with the boring details: I finished 100 miles in the Headlands on the north side of the Golden Gate bridge with a cumulative 20000 ft of climbing in 23 hours and 17 minutes. I am happy with my race. I got one blister, did not puke, it was perfect running weather, and I probably drank one case of cola-cola. I paced and executed as well as I could have. I seriously can not think of doing anything different that would have resulted in a better outcome.
Ok, I have another confession to make: I wrote the above on Monday after the race and then promptly lost all motivation to continue the report, that is how much ambivalence I feel towards the "race report" right now! None of my pictures turned out good. And I can't write about any catastrophes. Hmm, maybe the blog is dead. Or maybe I will use it if I ever get any good pictures again...
Monday, May 29, 2017
I haven't posted in a while. Quick update on what has been going on with my running:
I was taking it easy training wise until Joanne completed her marathon in October last year. She finished it in dramatic fashion, running the 26 mile trail run with 2500 ft of climbing and 5000 ft of descent in 7 hrs and 58 minutes when the race had a cut-off of eight hours. It was a hot day and we knew from her training runs that she was going to be right at cut-off pace all day long, it was just so cool to see her execute and never give in.
After her race I started ramping up my training with the goal of getting myself into good enough shape to compete at the Quad Dipsea race at the end of November. On the way to getting into that shape, I took on a couple of shorter trail races to have a little bit of fun and get some good workouts in. I went out way too hard at the Quicksilver Challenge half marathon in October and faded to 15th place in 1:59. Then I won the Pacifica 17k in 1:29 in November in what was the inaugural PCTR race under the new management of Greg Lanctot and his wife Jenny. Finally, on a rainy, mucky day up in the headlands, I gave everything I had at the Quad and ended up 24th in 5:23. I took it easy over Christmas break and then came back and proceeded to run every Fat Ass 50k I could get to. Oddly I wasn't able to psych myself up enough to sign up for any organized races. I wasn't even interested in defending my 4 mph challenge title. But I have been running a lot and have been feeling good. I was keeping on the table the option of running the Silver State 50 mile (Saturday May 20) and Ohlone 50k (Sunday May 21) double. This is a potent combination that tests the strongest of us, and my buddy Toshi has done it a couple of times, and my other buddy Loren (who has done it before) had talked me into giving it a go this year. When I saw the hot weather forecast I bailed. Now it was almost summer and I hadn't really done anything. No races, no backpacking... it just seemed sad. So I had to get out and do something...
Coe in May:
|I tilted the view of the park. I started from the left and did the teal path day 1, red path day 2, and yellow day 3.|
|Really enjoying the marine layer.|
|Hunter's Gulch was still flowing well in May.|
|Rocks on the west peak of Burra Burra.|
|Views from Burra Burra east towards Pacheco.|
|Beautiful descent down Macks Corral. Freshly weed-whacked.|
|North fork of the Pacheco Creek. One of the nicer creeks in the park.|
|Incredible views of the park from County line road nearing in on Mustang Pk. In front you can see the Robison Ridge and behind you can see the Stakes Ridge.|
|Red Creek Road looking back towards the Orestimba. This is known as Paradise Flats. There used to be an airstrip off to the right.|
|The parks in this neck of the woods have a terrible problem with feral hogs. Here, three of them are enjoying life under an oak.|
|Whats left of Paradise Lake. They had a massive dam collapse|
|It must have been quite the sight to see this dam give in.|
|Sunday morning wakeup along Red Creek.|
|Robison was flowing nice in the upper part of the valley, but was hardly noticeable in the middle where the valley widened out. Then it was flowing good again at the falls before it joins the Orestimba.|
|Views of the Orestimba Valley from the Rooster Comb trail.|
|View of Burra Burra from Wagon road as the sunlight fades.|
|The fog burnt off a little high on the ridge and I got some sweet views of the inversion.|
|Getting back below the clouds back to Hunting Hollow.|
Monday, September 5, 2016
Time for the guys to go to the mountains again. It's been a couple of years and it seemed that Josh got over what happened last time. This time I was determined to show him some granite and see if he could dig it as much as me. I didn't want to necessarily throw some really high stuff at him since I was unsure of how he would handle the altitude, so I went with a place that had most of the grandeur, but stuck mostly between 7000 and 10000 ft. Desolation Wilderness fit the bill. I was fortunate enough to secure some overnight permits mostly because I had picked a rugged, far from the trailhead "zone" for our first nights destination. It seems that this limits the amount of backpackers applying for this particular permit. I had designed a lollipop loop that started from Wrights lake, climbing six miles over Rockbound Pass, then continuing on Rockbound, but then veering off to travel the McConnel Lake loop where we intended to stay the first night. After the loop I wanted to climb up to the Velma Lakes and then up over Dicks Pass, then descending to lake Aloha for night two. Third day we would climb up over Mosquito Pass, then descend along with the Rubicon River, taking our first chance we could get to climb back up to Rockbound Pass and descend the final six miles back to the car. I think the whole trip would be about 42 miles with 8000 ft of climbing, and I felt pretty confident that Josh could do it. I intended to stay flexible with agenda though, knowing that all kinds of things can derail these type of plans.
The day started with a 5 a.m. wake-up, and a couple of hour drive to get past Sacramento before the traffic really starts. Got a solid breakfast and then an hour later arrived at the trail-head. The weather was looking perfect for the trip, low 70s for the high, and in the 40s at night.
|Beauty Lake was Josh's introduction to the Alpine lake smorgasbord.|
|Rockbound - living up to the name. Josh really enjoyed the rocky trails (in the beginning).|
|Location of our first snack break.|
|Still in good spirits.|
|Rockbound Pass (8500 ft), looking back at where we came.|
|Lunch at lake on other side of pass.|
|One of the high alpine meadows in the loop.|
|Dinner time. Josh was super proud of finding his rock "recliner"|
|Sun going down.|
Video of where we are going to die:
|Hilarious shot I got of the human tomato the next morning.|
|Time to get going again!|
|First of the "Q" lakes.|
|I think the sign on the other side said "hazardous", this one's warning was even more ominous.|
|Interesting shape for a tree on the climb up to Velma Lakes.|
|Finally got a view of lake Tahoe up at Dardenelles.|
|Looking down at Dicks lake and Dardenelles as we climb up to the 9400 ft Dick's Pass.|
|Looking down the other side of Dicks.|
|Josh - hobbling along with his walking stick.|
|Josh picked another winner of a camping spot at lake Aloha. It was an incredibly windy night though.|
|Packing up the next morning.|
|Descending from Mosquito Pass.|
Video of Josh braving the "dam":
|Up and over Rockbound one last time and back to the car.|