Sunday, January 11, 2015

Hello 2015

As has become tradition at our house, we closed the 2014 running season with the girls trail race: Sanborn Summit Rock 5k.  Joanne and Hayley have been running this race for the last couple of years, so this was year number three for them, and they were joined this year by friend Kassandra, who would be experiencing her first trail race ever!

Ada says: Ha, ha, I don't have to run...
Blake says: "climb tree"
The gals: Hayley, Joanne, and Kassandra, ready to rock, I mean Summit Rock. Joanne sporting her customary cat-in-the-hat injinji trail socks - she has a knack for trail fashion.
Hayley, smelling the barn
Doing her best to ignore the cute little boys handing out medals
Umm, so when is mamma getting here?

There she is.
Uhh, that hurt.
That really hurt.  Ada empathizing.
Kassandra, blowing kisses to the crowd.
Great way to close the year!  As for my thoughts on how my year of running went, it was a mixed bag.  I thought I had a fun early season with some laid back races, fast-packing, then culminating with a satisfying win at the 4 mph challenge.   But then I floundered in my spring races, hit the reset button, and had an awesome summer of big time training, and racing mixed in too.  It seemed like it was all for nought though when I failed to finish my hundred mile goal race.  Then I had an unfocused, but satisfying late fall-winter where I didn't really do any real racing, but experienced some new adventures and reset my mind to figure out what I wanted to accomplish in 2015.

2015 Saratoga Fat Ass Race Report

Actually I don't really "race" fat ass events.  To me these things are more like semi-organized group runs.  To the best of my knowledge, fat asses were introduced as way to put on a race or run, for no cost.  You would ideally keep the participant number below the threshold that would require you to get a permit for the event, and there would be no medals, t-shirts, etc.  Aid would be sparse as well, although I have known some fas ass organizers to be pretty generous.  Around here these races are predominant in January and February - the thinking being that most runners take some time off around christmas doing a lot of eating and sitting and replenishing fat stores.  But then the fat has to come off before we get into real racing season.

The Saratoga Fat Ass is one of my favorite courses.  It is a course that I repeat in training year around because of what beautiful terrain you get to experience.  I've run it in both directions, the 50 mile version, when it was hot, when it was raining, it never disappoints.  This year was no different as we had pretty much perfect trail conditions with perfect running weather.  Also, this year marks the first that the race was organized by the generous Keith Blom, who has probably been running this thing since it was invented.  I love that in the ultra-trail community there are so many people that decide to give back to the sport, and I've seen Keith volunteer at a bunch of the stuff around here and he is always high-energy, thoughtful and on-the-ball.

I talked my new trail running buddy James into joining us for the race this year and we also hooked up with local trail star Jean Pommier (his account here:  

Mingling before the start.

Beautiful morning.

I mean really beautiful morning.
Jean, hammering the downhills.

James practicing some new downhill technique.
Jean, leading the way across slate creek.
I took a few more pictures but they all kinda had this blur to them.  You know, that blur that you might have if sweat got all over your camera.  Because sweat got all over my camera.  

Kristina Irvin was out and about - good chance to catch breath...
We had a pretty relaxed early pace, but Jean would push us pretty good on the climbs, and then wait for us to catch up.  We did do a lot of chatting and catching up on things.  Keith's aid station at china grade was fantastic.  Bananas, chips, gu - the works!  The next miles were kind of a blur as Jean pulled us all the way to waterman gap about 6-7 miles from the finish.  At this point I talked him into going after a "strong finish" i.e. go ahead and leave us in your dust...because I was pretty much toast.  James didn't seem like he wanted to chase Jean either, so he stuck with me until I spotted a nice soft pile of pine needles and leaves to lay down on, and then James went ahead as well.  I continued to death march myself to the finish, relishing every "scenic view" bench that I came across.  It took me a while to finish the thing, but I managed a 5:45 for the 29 mile course which included like 6200 ft of climbing.  I guess I got a lot of work to do until I'm in racing shape - but thats what these things are for, right?  I think I lost a little bit of my ass yesterday.  I hope.

Other happy finishers - I'm so sorry I didn't remember your names!
It's not every day you come across equipment like this on the trail!  Apparently these guys are working on something like a google maps street view, but for trails!  Pretty cool.


  1. Your comments for Hayley's three finishing photos--so funny and accurate!
    Good job on your race/not race yesterday, way to get out there and speed past Jean on the downhills to get those pictures of him! ;) It did look like a really nice day.

  2. Lol! This is awesome and funny! It was a fun event!