Now, as some of you must have read in previous posts, I missed the start of my season so far. After a 3-week break in December, I resumed training just after Christmas with a few easy runs but had to stop with a small nagging pain in my right calf. 5 days not running while we were skiing in Tahoe around New Year's Day then a solo and slow Saratoga Fat Ass (hilly 50K): the calf didn't complain that day but a sharp pain the next day cut my run short to 4 miles. I took the rest of January off, logging 72 miles for the month. I went the gym several times, mostly spinning and some weight training, but nothing replaces for me the work at the track or more importantly now on the hilly trails.
Needless to say I was both anxious and excited to run again this Saturday. I had of course no intention at all to clock a good time, my main goal was to see the calf holding, and finish the race. I drove early to see the 50-mile start at 7:30 am. Less than 30 runners in that event with 2 favorites: Victor Ballesteros and Chad Worthen. A specialist of long distance running on road (2:22 marathon, 1:08 half), Chad uses Jed Smith as his ultra lab. 2011 was his first 50K (I placed second... ;-), and 2012 his first 50-mile, but he dropped after 4 hours of very fast running. He was back for some unfinished business. As for Victor, he got some strange sensation with his hamstring during the week, so he wasn't going to push for a PR. (Victor next to the clock, Chad with the orange top.)
UltraRunnerPodcast.com (make sure to visit this informative website!):
At the end of the 5th lap I had to go to the bathroom and it was worth the stop (sorry, no more details...). Omar had bonked in that lap and was thinking of dropping but I encouraged him to finish, albeit more slowly. Charles passed me while I was in the bathroom but I passed him again as he had to stop to the next one... I passed the 26-mile mark around 3:07 and tried to keep a decent running form in the last lap despite the leg pain. Galen Faris passed me at mile 28 but stopped twice to get rid of a cramp of his hip muscles. He managed to keep a good pace and a 2-minute lead in the last 3 miles. I was actually surprised a 7:18 min/mile average pace was good enough this year to place 4th overall and, more importantly, first Masters. Of course, having Victor running the 50-mile and Rich Hanna and Mark Lantz the 30K event helped tremendously! ;-)
We were 6 from our QuickSilver Ultra Running Team today, with a strong representation at Ray Miller 50K and 50-mile the same day in South California. For his first ultra, Marc Klemencic clocked a PR (sic!) at 4:21. Without much training either Joe Swenson was happy with his 4:34. Keith Lubliner ran 5:12, missing his goal of finishing before Victor by 5 minutes (Victor clocked 6:07 on the 50-mile and they started one hour earlier). For his first run at Jed Smith, 8-time Badwater 135M finisher Dan Marinsik ran a 50K PR right on 6:00. And FiveFinger Kat Powell finished in 7:08 allowing us to score points in both the Men and Mixed divisions in the Grand Prix.
Speaking of Grand Prix, that was the event of the New Balance Excelsior club in the Men division, a team which is usually focusing on shorter road races. Starting with the blazing time and win of Chikara in 3:10:37, most of the team finished under 4 hours, kudos!
the Stevens Creek Striders, had also 6 representatives and will score in the Men and Women divisions. Lina, Penny, Peggy, Christina, Peter, John and Bill who, at 77, lost his M70-79 course record to his 5-year "junior" Hans Schmid (5:05). Here is Hans, sprinting to the finish:
I also like the humor of John and Dennis (the other Race Director) who transpired in this text on the 1st Master award:
Let all who read this know: you've still got it! Despite unseasonably warm weather, blisters, chaffing, squirrels, dog walkers, uppity youngsters, coyotes, absentminded cyclists, nausea, failing eyesight, chronic injuries, and the nagging of all those years of running, you ran as far as anyone, and faster than everyone over 40 on this day.Although it was prepared before the race, is is actually almost a prefect summary of my event, well done, John and Dennis!
A big thank you to all the volunteers who spent a long day at one of the three aid stations, directing car traffic or at the key turns on the course!
As a conclusion, it was a good but tough, or tough but good, training run for me. My legs are so sore this Sunday that I don't know if the injury is really gone and I'm not going to take the risk to go for a recovery run today. The good news is that both legs hurt (!) and the right calf not more than the other, so we'll see in a couple of days how it evolves. But, needless to say, with this slow start this year, there is a lot of work ahead... Including reinstating the racing routine (I ran this race on only 2 GUs, 1 half banana, 1/2 cup of Coke, 3 S-Caps, 1 bottle of GU2O and not even one bottle of water, which wasn't quite enough). I used Vespa and, after 3 weeks of low physical activity I had quite a few extra pounds of body fat to draw energy from so I didn't really bonked, but my legs clearly lacked conditioning. And it was just a flat 50K... I know many would have been very happy with my time and place, but, as I wrote a few weeks ago, running is all relative, I look forward to the next races and seeing more of you at Way Too Cool to start with!
See more pictures in my Picasa album.