Sunday, February 26, 2012

5th Annual Los Gatos Overgrown Fat Ass: yet another great training run!

A quick report as I'm pressed by time, having returned from the East Coast last night for a few days in town before flying again to Dubai on Friday... I actually thought that I was going to miss this 4th fat ass 50K in our area this year because of a trip to Riyadh, but this one got postponed a few weeks. It's the first year I actually manage to do these 4 "Fat Ass 50K" training runs: Saratoga, Fremont, 2nd Saratoga, and this one in Los Gatos, set up and directed by Adam and Sean. Knowing Adam, I imagined the course was getting through overgrown bushes in his Santa Cruz mountains, but was actually pleased to discover it wasn't the case at all. The course is actually very straightforward, mainly Limekiln Trail and Woods Trail up through the Sierra Azul Open Space Preserved, then down to English Camp in the Almaden Quicksilver County Park and back. But quite a hilly course as we reach 3,000 feet twice and a cumulative elevation of 6,200 feet. One aid station that we traverse twice at mile 13 and 17 when crossing Hicks Road, "manned" by the Race Directors' significant others in the early morning until Sean and Adam stopped after completing the first 17 miles themselves. Here is the group at the start, photo credit to Keith Blom:
Adam actually set a fast pace in the first mile up on Jones and Flume Trails through the St Joseph's Regional Open Space in Los Gatos. Sean and Mark were close behind with Mark staying right on my heels until the aid station. Mark then passed me during a short pit stop and I caught up with him at the English Camp turnaround where we had to find the phrase left by Adam (Pantat Lemak, or Fat Ass in Indonesian, not easy to remember... ;-). On our way back to Hicks Road we crossed Sean, then Adam, Toshi, and Peter who had started 25 minutes before us. At the aid station Mark and I took a small cup of piña colada to perpetuate this special and unique fat ass' tradition. Crossing the rest of the group, we stayed together until mile 21 (the turn around of the Quicksilver 50-mile), where I had to walk in the steep uphill to catch my breath and... lose Mark who kept running up the hill. At different places I pointed Mark 30, then 45, then 60 seconds ahead and definitely lost sight of him before reaching the top of Limekiln Trail. Here we are on Woods Trail (photo credit: Keith Blom):
My average pace was then down to 8:22 min/mile from the 8 minutes flat as we reached the aid station and 8:04 when we left. Adam was counting on us to break 4 hours and I pushed on the way down but didn't see how I could recover the minutes lost in the last uphill stretch of Woods Trail. Keeping pushing and flying down the steep Limekiln trail we climbed 3 hours earlier, I was able to get the pace down to 8:04 and eventually catch up and pass Mark by mile 27, with 4 to go. I walked part of the steep climb on Jones Trail then slalomed between hikers, joggers and dogs for a sprint down to the finish which I reached in 4:05:32. Not quite under 4 hours but a great work out thanks to Mark's emulation. Mark arrived 4 minutes later and I unfortunately had to leave before waiting for the next runners to come in.

The weather was idyllic, the trail in perfect conditions, the aid station well stocked and kindly and professionally manned, it was a perfect training run, credit and many thanks to Adam, Lisa, Sean and Heidi!

Here is my Garmin Connect entry and replay. Enjoy from the comfort of your couch! ;-)
Probably not much running during my short and busy stay in the Emirates, a good opportunity to taper before Way Too Cool in 2 weeks!


Anonymous said...

Merci pour ce blog et le précédent; je me réjouis avec toi que tu apprécies de courir plutôt en Californie...
Maintenant, bon voyage dans les Emirats. Attention à ta tenue!

Scott Dunlap said...

A great day for a Fat Ass! Fun.

Adelyn said...

Sounds like it was a great run! Thanks for sharing :)