Monday, May 6, 2019

Miwok 100K 2019: sheer pain, not pretty, but...

5 days have passed since my last race, and some good taper, time to get back at it, right...? As a matter of fact, as corky as this statement looks, I felt quite uneasy about confronting this first beast in my traditional May ultra challenge: Miwok 100K, Quicksilver 100K and Ohlone 50K. For one thing, I've been quite disappointed with my results in April, and feeling some shame for having squeezed way too much in 3 weeks. For those not following my epic running and ultra adventures on this blog, this consisted in the 100K Road Nationals in Wisconsin mid April (I dropped at 80K/50-miles), followed 2 days later by Boston (3:12), then the Napa Valley Trail Half Marathon, so much more technical than what I can now handle, and Big Sur Marathon last Sunday, where I was supposed to pace the 3:10 group, but fell apart at mile 11, experiencing some stress-induced asthma (finishing in 3:55). All that while still suffering from a gluteus injury since last November, a condition which has seriously impeded my training the past 5 months. I only climbed once at the top of Black Mountain; apart from Heartbreak Hill, that's the only hill training I've got this year since running TDS at UTMB 8 months ago! Long story short, my mind was full of doubts: will the lungs have recovered in 5 days and hold this time? What about my legs with the serious lack of hill training on such a grueling course with 12,000 feet of cumulative elevation?! What about my gluteus with all the up and down hills? Will my May be a disaster? Am I going to have to live with this gluteus pain for the rest of my life?

Photo credit: Chuck Wilson (Randall aid station Captain)
To add to the uncertainty, or rather the pressure, I had to finish under 11 hours in order to attend the Computer History Museum Fellow Award dinner at 6 pm in Mountain View. Dress code was 'black tie optional'; I decided though that I wasn't up for a smoking right after such a grueling trail race and only packed in the car a black suit with white shirt and tie. Plus a bucket and and towels to wash off with the hose of the Stinson Beach community center in case I was on the late side and didn't have time to stop by the house in between. Talking about additional stress and pressure... By the way, it's not that I was being recognized, I'm not that smart and famous, but I was representing IBM as one of the sponsors.

With that, it was yet another insanely early and long day. To get to the 5am start at Stinson Beach, almost 2 hours from home, I woke up at 1:30 and Dan Aspramonte, a Quicksilver teammate, picked me at 2:15. We made it to the parking lot at 4 am. Thankfully, many runners must have had picked their bib on Friday because it was rather quiet and there was no line in front of the ten or so porta-potties, luxury, what a change a week makes (compared to the Big Sur Marathon start)!

Dan (left) and Roger Delor:

This Saturday, my main goal was actually to start as slowly as possible, to avoid bonking later. I estimate that for any minute you make up in the first half on this course, you may actually lose 5 or 10 minutes in the second half... At the start, I was standing next to another competitive M50-59 runner, Ron Gutierez. Out of 100 results in UltraSignup, he had many top finishes especially in Marin Headlands. 5th at Miwok in 2017, 2015 and 2014 and he entered my age group last year. But he was complaining of lack of training due to a sprained ankle in January and hip pain after a long trip on a plane recently. I didn't mention my 72K miles flew over the past 3 months, but mentioned my own gluteus problem. Anyway, after a dozen or so younger runners rushed at the start, I happened to get right after Ron in the first stairs of the Dipsea Course, on our first way up to Cardiac. We kept getting passed but I was super grateful to Ron for keeping a reasonable pace, that was exactly what I needed. I was also super focused on where he placed his feet and precisely matched every spot, focused I was not to fall. On my heels was Misha Shemyakin, 35, who placed 3rd last year and was mentioning he didn't have last year's level of fitness and wouldn't go as hard. I thought that was just sandbagging...

We walked the steepest section of the Dipsea Trail to save our breath and avoid sweating that early in the race. We were still in the fog, with some drizzling in places actually, but the cloud started to dissipate as we approach the Cardiac aid station location where we experience the chilling tradition of the bagpipe player, especially with this fog. As we approached that spot actually, I felt the trail was smooth enough to have a brief look at the surreal views and... BOOM... I missed a slight bump on the trail, I miscalculated my landing and my feet touched the ground too early. It would have been innocuous would have I not been injured but I felt a loud implosion deep inside my left gluteus like it was ripped off my pelvis and torn apart. Barely 3 miles in the race, what a bummer after being so careful not to kill myself in the first half! I was also devastated because that was wiping off all the great work that my massage therapist had done on my legs on Friday morning, making them feel so much lighter. That being said, these past 5 months, I've learned how to run through this gluteus issue, and I kept going as the pain was bearable on the subsequent way down; but I doubled my focus on Ron's footing on the very irregular and narrow Coast Trail (new name of the Coastal Trail, go figure), down toward Heather Cutoff. I even slipped once and twisted my ankle, scaring Misha who was still just behind; thankfully I have quite flexible ankles, they have been put to that test many times... Despite moving reasonably well especially given the limited daylight, we got passed by a few runners in that section, including the lead gals. Yet, I was in no rush to push more, especially seeing other runners with quite sweaty shirts already, convinced we would see them again later.

With the smart(er) pace, we formed a bit of a conga line behind Ron in the many switchbacks of Heather Cutoff but it was helping me remaining relaxed while my butt was yelling at every stride. After crossing Santos Meadow, the start and finish area of Headlands 50K in August, I was surprised (my bad, I race too much to read all the race material and instructions, like this course description update for instance...) that we didn't cross the road to get on Redwood Creek Trail, but ran on the road instead, that surely helped a lot! And, on the asphalt, as a great road runner, Ron picked up the pace down to 7:10 min/mile. I could barely keep up as the gluteus was complaining with every stride but eventually we backed off a little to 7:30. We were a group of 6-7 runners on our way to the Muir Beach aid station. After saying hi to Hollis Lenderking, Muir Beach aid station captain, and coach and volunteer extraordinaire Christine Chapon, was at the next intersection, the only place of the course which we'll go through 4 times today. (Photo credit: Christine Chapon)
Carrying two Ultimate Direction bottles and all the GU gels and Vespa pouches for the day, I just dropped my headlamp at the aid station. Misha followed me as well as Paolo Castiglioni (I checked if was one of the two visiting Italians whom Dan was trying to connect with but Paolo has been residing in the US for a while and had no clue who I was talking about. Speaking of countries, Miwok really attracts runners from all over the world! Here are the nationalities represented this year: New Zealand, Colombia, Scotland, Italy, Russia, England, Mexico, West Sumatra, Jakarta, Japan, Chile, Canada. And, although the largest contingent is from California of course, many states were represented as well, for instance: AL, WA, IL, IA, PA, OR, AZ, NV, TX, KY, MN, MD, MA, UT, NJ, IN, CO, WI, NH, MT, CT, wow!

Running through the Green Gultch Zen Center (organic farm), it looked like Ron had stopped at the aid station as I couldn't spot him behind, but I figured he was just a couple of minutes behind. Middle Green Gulch is my favorite trail of this course: gradual climb, large curves which provides views of who is ahead and behind, and legs still fresh. Last year, I remember that I got too excited and had pushed too much in that section so I refrain from even following Paolo, while Misha told me he was going to back off a little. Again, I thought Misha was just smarter and wondered if I was still going too fast. I got behind the woman in third place and she wanted me to pass but I replied I was fine with the pace. After a quarter of a mile, I still passed her and the second woman, then closed the gap with Paolo as we reached Coyote.

The descent to Tennessee Valley aid station was relaxing and I made sure to drink and take a 2nd GU before the 3rd climb of the day, right after that station. I was able to keep the gluteus pain under control by shortening my stride. I'm blessed with a long stride, my main strength on hilly and runnable courses, and thought I'll pay for more strides later with different muscles being engaged and solicited. Again, carrying enough fluids (water and GU Energy Brew) for 15-18 miles, I flew through the aid station and might have passed quite a few runners there. I could care less of my position today since I didn't want to push hard, but a handful of these runners passed me back on the Marincello Fire Road, which we were sent on by Verity Breen, a very lively course monitor! (Photo credit to her.)
In particular, two runners wearing the same white top, were cruising with impressive ease all the way to the top. I learned later that they were from San Diego, amazing climbers! I was surrounded by a handful of good looking, super fit and tall runners and wondering what I was doing among this bunch. One of them, David, 42, from Folsom, stayed behind me all the way up as I had switched in my favorite diesel mode, an expression I learned from Hal Korner on that very same trail. I had finished pacing Mike Wardian in the North Face 50-mile in 2008 and, running back to Rodeo Lagoon, I had the honor to run a few strides along Hal who taught me how to dial down the pace on such steady uphills, like a big trucks would go in low gear. (Pacing in the ultra mecca.)

David passed me at the top but I was able to keep up, more or less. We were still a handful runners together on the rugged SCA Trail which is actually rather flat. As it turned out, the pain in my butt was the less bearable on flat portions, a good thing that there weren't too many of the Miwok course! I recall trying to find an image which I would use in this post to describe that pain, and why it didn't make send to continue but drop early, although I was hoping to at least make it back to Cardiac, a much more convenient place to walk back to the finish (less than 3 miles), rather than other aid stations. Such negative thoughts in my head at mile 17... And which images did I come up with? First, spurs, feeling bad for all the horses which endured cowboys' hits in their flanks... Yet, that image was too superficial. The pain was so deep in the muscle, the other image was of a torture instrument, or one you use to turn pieces of firewood in the hearth. A pick with a fork which someone would have pulled into the muscle and turned at every steep. I'm not kidding, it was really... not pretty, or that ugly.

Getting to the the Bridge View aid station, I was surprised to see the San Diego pair just leaving the station. I think one of them must have had GI issues and been visiting all the restrooms (survey...?), then making up the lost time in the subsequent climb. Anyway, there, I drank a cup of Code, Maria helped me refill my GUO bottle and Rick Gaston asked if he should top my water bottle. Thinking about it, I should have said yes; while I was drinking enough electrolytes, I wasn't drinking enough water. Not that it was particularly hot as the sky was still cloudy, but read on.

Regarding the pain, thankfully, the next two miles were downhill and I paid attention not to over extend my stride to limit the load on the gluteus. On the following long climb on Rodeo Valley Trail, I passed 4 runners and closed the gap again on David. This is the exciting section where we cross the back of the pack for the fist time on the ridge. Here is a picture Chihping took on the fly:
Just before we arrive at the Tennessee Valley aid station for the second time, we cross a horse stable and are asked not to run. It's after a long downhill so it's not really a place where you die to walk... Hard to describe, but Verity was on task again and here is her hilarious description through the volunteer's eyes:
Second job was to swap with Sam and take my turn telling runners not to run as they went past the horse stables.
Telling a runner not to run who are in a running race and 400m from drop bags, water, food and first aid was far more challenging than I thought.
With my Aussie accent I had to use American accent for WALK. And at first they thought I was mucking about and I had to change my script and be more clear.
Imagine telling a non running friend I thought later that you were DQ'd during a 100k running race for RUNNING. LOL
Man there was some carnage out there.
What a bunch of legend.
Wonderful to be on the other side today, returned home changed for the better with a clearer vision of the unique spirit of the ultra run clan.
Thought I'd share her Facebook post, with her permission, this is the only race I know with such a 'quiet please' area! And here I am, still credit to Verity, resuming running after the no-walk land:
This time, I stopped at the station to fill my water bottle, drink a cup of Coke, a small piece of banana and watermelon, and off I was again. The San Diego crew was in line for the restrooms again; I told them how strong of hill climbers they were and that I'll see them in the next climb then. Thanks to the quick stop at Tennessee Valley, I caught up with David again and learned that, after 6 unsuccessful draws (64 tickets) he finally got picked to run Western States this year! I also told him about my first Miwok (2007) when I passed Scott Jurek on this hill to Pirate's Cove, a bold move I paid for later. We ran the whole section together, closing some gap with the runner ahead who made some impression at the start, not wearing a shirt. Photo licensed to wonderful trail photographer, Glenn Tachiyama:

Back to Christine's spot near Muir Beach, 3 next photo credits go to her again, what a strategic spot on the course!

After seeing Christine for the third time, the three of us made it to the aid station together, but David didn't actually stop. As I found out later, chatting with him on the climb to Cardiac, the other runner was Owen Bradley, from Alabama.
He left the station before me and I couldn't close the gap on the road, as we retraced the way we used in the morning to come down from Cardiac. Immediately after engaging in the uphill switchbacks of Heather Cutoff, both my inner thighs froze, very similarly to last year when I crossed the road at Pan Toll. Ouch, not only it hurts but there was still so many miles to cover, we were just halfway (mile 31)! Impossible to make a step so I did three things: take 2 S!Caps, drink half my water bottle and take a few deep breaths to get as much oxygen to my muscles. I don't know what of these three things worked the fastest but, 30 seconds later I was good to go again and ran most of the switchbacks, fast enough to keep visual contact with Owen and David. I managed to catch Owen on Coastal, but we lost track of David. Half a mile later we saw a runner, I think Greg Bowyer, who was sitting on the side of the trail; I stopped there while Owen went on, to ask if he was ok and he replied he'll be better after puking... seemed like a plan, as you'll see later.

I spent a few minutes at Cardiac, getting both my bottles refilled this time, attending to some nagging chaffing, putting some sun screen as the clouds had now disappeared. Owen left the station first and I left just before the San Diego pair who had finally caught up with us after 10 miles and 2 big climbs. I thought it wasn't going to be long before they pass me again, but I suspect they made another stop at the Pan Toll parking lot restrooms. It took myself more than a mile to catch Owen again and we ran the next 13 miles to the Randall turn around together, it was great to have such company on Matt Davis and Bolinas Ridge, that helped keeping good and positive spirits.

I was amazed how the two runners from San Diego were sticking with each other. Before we got to Bolinas though, it was clear that one was dragging the other down and they eventually split before Bolinas #1 (we pass through that aid station at mile 42 and 55). On Bolinas ridge, Owen and I crossed the lead runner at mile 45. That meant he had about 7 miles on us, wow! Not only he was fast but I started realizing how much slower I was myself and doubting I will make it to the finish under 11 hours, jeopardizing our plans to drive to the gala dinner... Yet I couldn't get faster and actually had to stop twice because of inner thighs freezing which, thankfully, were both addressed with the same regimen as at mile 31 (plus some slowing, or what I call 'eco mode'). We even got passed by the runner in distress before Cardiac, now flying faster than 8 min/mile!

Greg Miller was in 4th and the last runner we crossed before the gate marking the start of the 1.6-mile downhill to the turnaround at Randall Trailhead. This is the section where you get to see the front of the race and how far back you are. After Greg, there was actually quite some gap and, to my surprise, I only counted 9 runners when I got at the bottom of the hill, I was in 10th place! I stopped for a few minutes to get my bottles refilled by my friend and aid station Captain, Chuck Wilson, then checked on Owen if he was ready to climb back, but left ahead. Here is a great picture taken by Chuck before we reached the aid station, showing how they had to control the cows from stamping the drop bags, oops!

All the way up Randall I was wondering where Ron (Gutierez) was. Back on the ridge, and still not seeing him, I suspected he had dropped in the morning then. Before getting to the ridge actually, I saw Owen closing on me and that he had a pacer. As a screwed runner myself (no pacer, no crew/assistance), and having struggled so much on this ridge in many previous Miwok races, I thought to myself "well, it's not going to be long before they pass me, but let's see how long I can hold on" and that kept me moving. Not fast at all, but consistently, also encouraged by all the runners we were now crossing. Yet, year after year, that section seems longer and longer, it makes me perplex about geology and topology... :-/

I only checked a couple of times if someone was catching up with me, resolute to keep moving to preserve this 10th place. Quick stop at Bolinas Ridge #2 which was now quite busy with inbound runners. Just before flying into the aid station I crossed Joe Swenson who seem to have a few wounds on his face. After the aid station, I saw Dan so we were still in the points for a Men Team score today. As a matter of fact, Jill looked great so either Men or Mixed.

I left the aid station feeling fine but thighs cramps triggered again the next downhill and took a few minutes to pass this time. I took S!Caps #13 and 14, out of the 16 I had packed for today's run. The return on Coastal/Matt Davis is super, between all the flowers, the green grass everywhere and the views of the Ocean, except for the narrowness of the trail especially as we cross the tail of the race. This always makes me feel bad, that the slowest runners, fighting the cut-off, go out of their way to let us pass faster. Not to mention Chihping who loses precious seconds for each picture he is taking of us (he will ended up missing a cutoff by 9 minutes...).

After getting that last cramp episode under control, I slowed down more and, eventually, saw a runner with a white top closing on me, thinking that was the second runner from San Diego coming back. Nope, it was the lead gal, Tara Frago, 26, leading with a good margin in her first ever 100K! I let Tara pass and managed to stay behind her for half a mile. At mile 57 I checked behind once more and, darn, this time it was Ian Pryor with his pacer. I told Tara I had to keep up the pace to save my 10th place and she let me pass, but, with the extra effort and speed, I cramped badly less than a mile later. Tara passed me again, then Ian. I moved as consistently as possible and reached the Coastal/Matt Davis hair pin intersection without seeing anyone behind. "2.6 miles to the finish, all downhill" announced the course monitor volunteer making sure we weren't missing that tricky turn. I thanked her but thought to myself "sure, including the most difficult and gnarly mile of the day...!" I used to be rather agile in my 40s but since I broke a shoulder on the Tahoe Rim Trail in 2012, tripping over a rock, I'm now scared of falling in technical downhills, one of the reasons I don't enjoy racing in the Alps anymore. I negotiated carefully the irregular steps, the roots, the zig zags to avoid the abundant poison oak, the fallen trees, the rocks, the low branches and the switch backs. With my short and cramping legs, it took me three attempts to get my body over a large tree across the trail, in front of three young girls. It was so comical, I was embarrassed but I think they understood I was in real trouble and didn't make fun of me. Only in the US, that would certainly not have been the case in France...

Before I even reached the first creek crossing (wooden bridge), a topless runner literally flew by me with the agility of a squirrel or chamois. I was blown away with his speed, just relieved that he didn't look at all like being in my age group (it was Calvin Wong, 37). Last year, I got passed by another Masters, Paul Terranova, in that same section and was hoping to at least save my age group win this time. I managed to break 11, barely: 10:57:24, good for 13th overall, 12th in Men, 4th Masters and... 1st M50-59, finally! Hence the but in the title, quite a great outcome for a second half which wasn't pretty again, and so much pain endured...

Such a relief to cross that finish line, and fall in Tia's arms! (Photo credit: Robert Rhodes)
Then Agnès'
That was my 13th Miwok, 12th finish (I DNF'ed in 2016, 8 weeks after my stroke/TIA). Not my best year (I broke 10 hours a couple of times, not including the shorter version of 2013), but not my worst one either (my 2009 hypothermia struggle...). As a matter of fact, although a classic, this race has seen a lot of change over the quarter of century of its history: most notably the start area (from Rodeo Beach to Stinson Beach in 2012), the course which is more difficult today, but the competition as well. While it still is a coveted Western States qualifier, and now provide ITRA points for UTMB as well, the competition isn't as tough as it used to be when I joined the tradition in 2007. For instance, by Personal Best of 9:41 in 2008 only earned me 13th place and 3rd Masters and look at who had showed up: Dave Mackey winning and setting an insane Course Record of 7:53, followed by Jon Olsen (World 24-hour Champion a few years later), Geoff Roes, Scott Jurek (who would won his 7th consecutive Western States the next month), Lewis Taylor, Erik Skaden (2nd at Western States), Sean Meissner, ... 9:48 would give me a 22nd place in 2010, 9:43 3rd overall in 2014, 9:51 4th overall in 2015, times have changed! But I remain very excited to see this iconic race reach 25 next year, while having now ran more than half the editions.

See at the bottom of the post the pictures Agnès took of the top 5 to top 12 finishers, helping putting a face on names I mentioned in my report above. Results were posted live by the Negative Split Running chip timing company, there. Winning time this year: 9:18:20 (Christopher Concannon, 31). Greg Miller, 1st Masters (41) and 4th overall in 9:45, the last one to break 10 hours this year. At 26 and from the State of Washington, Tara Fraga won her very first 100K in 10:52.

The weather was perfect this year, the trail condition on the super dry side (made a few people slip or trip), I did finish under 11 hours, and won my age group. Back to the title, a lot of pain, and not a pretty second half, but quite a positive outcome overall, one that many would envy, especially those who didn't make the cut-off. On our Quicksilver team side, Jill finished in 13:57 but, unfortunately, Dan missed the finish line cut-off by less than 5 minutes after a super bad fall in that final mile and finishing with a black eye; and still getting a finisher medal but no official finish, and not the Western States qualifier he was after... As for Joe, he was part of the bloody runners that Verity mentioned in her report, above. He had a super bad face plant before Tennessee Valley #2, hurt not only his face, but right hand and knee, still managing to keep going for 30 more miles, only to drop at Bolinas #2. Thankfully, another teammate, Shiran Kochavi, now in my age group, has a super strong year in the Grand Prix and finished in 13:52. Despite Dan and Joe's casualties, that will allow us to score in the mixed division. Meanwhile, as the local Mountain Ultra Trail Chair, it was great to see other teams with a strong line up, most especially Pamakids again, and Excelsior. Tia, the Race Director, had reserved spots for those competing in our Pacific Association Grand Prix, what a treat for a race which is hard to get in. It was the 7th our of 18 races in our Grand Prix, there is still plenty of time to join us and score points (the best 7 of 18 count).

Nutrition and hydration wise, I could and should have drunk one more water of bottle. I took 16 S!Caps overall, 5 cups of Coke, 4 Vespa pouches, 9 GU gels (one before every major hill), a few pieces of banana, watermelon and 6 slices of salami. Way less than 2,000 calories for a 6,000 or more calorie-effort, you do the Vespa maths, the rest was fueled by my fat, it does work!

So grateful to all the volunteers who made our run possible this Saturday, from the aid stations, course monitoring, drop bag transportation, finish like cooking and serving, photography, radio communication, first aid, packet and bib pickup and, behind the scene, the purchase and transportation of the aid station food and supplies, registration, permitting, road traffic coordination, ... It takes such a village, it's such a knit community, we see many regulars, year after year and it's so cool to have more people calling my French name rather than the Gene I used to be 10 years ago on the trails... Ahem, sorry for making you work on your French, all! ;-) My gratitude also goes to all the runners whom we exchanged smiles and encouragement when crossing paths. I don't think I ever smiled so much in a race, what a great way to alleviate the pain, it's like a free and innocuous drug! ;-)

And, from the comfort of your chair or couch, here is 1-minute fly-over Marin Headlands; that won't provide with the amazing Ocean and Bay Area views we enjoyed especially in the afternoon, but at least that shouldn't hurt you as much as all of us endured, some coming back with bloody souvenirs... Click on the image below or that link:

As soon as I crossed the finish line I thanked Tia for all the pain I had endured the past 59 miles: these RDs have a tough life, having to stomach negative comments from tired runners, but hopefully she knows it wasn't meant to be personal, actually rather a compliment and testimony to the reputation of this race, known for being challenging). Glenn Tachiyama actually captured this moment with such photographing skills!
I love how in managed to gather Agnès, Tia and volunteer extraordinaire Stan Jensen in such an impromptu shot! You can buy his pictures on his SmugMug website.

I then rushed to clean my legs with some Tecnu (thank you Michelle!) and we left the community center 20 minutes after my finish. I didn't even take the time to stretch and my gluteus hurt so much as I was stuck in my car seat for 2 hours. 15 minutes for a shower at home, change and we arrived at the Computer History Museum at 6:40, like nothing important had happened that day, and just as they were asking guests to get to our respective tables, phew!

I managed to meet the father of Java, James Gosling, and chat about his visit to my previous company, ILOG, when he toured Europe while nurturing this new language idea in 1991 and we showed what we were already doing with our impressive Le-Lisp based software engineering platform.

And Doctor Yvonne Cagle, NASA astronaut, who received Katherine Johnson's award, so eloquently. Thanks to the movie Hidden Figure in particular, Katherine Johnson, 101, is famously known for having written all the programs calculating all the orbits allowing NASA to put the first man on the Moon. And back! That was half a century ago, and about time she receives such a recognition and honor for this major milestone and contribution to both our humankind and computing.

From the dusty and hilly trails before dawn, to this Silicon Valley evening gathering, it what a long 22-hour day so rich in emotions! 112K steps, I certainly didn't count myself... ;-)

Legs and, as a matter of fact, arms too, are quite sore this Sunday, but, with one beast tamed, I'm feeling slightly better about my May challenge. Not overly optimistic but at least one goal achieved and checked. I will post this report on Monday because I spent more time reading so many stories from runners today. From this 24th edition of Miwok, to Hoka's marketing coup with the 100K Road world record attempt in Sacramento, other races in California (e.g. the One Mile race of our Road Grand Prix), elsewhere in the US (e.g. Flying Pig Marathon, Bob's Big Timber Backyard Ultra), it was a busy weekend; the running season is definitely heating up, both in terms of participation, intensity and temperature wise too!

And now on to the Quicksilver 100K challenge this coming Saturday, yippee for another week of tapering (more time to work...)! Have a good week in the meantime, all, ramping up toward whatever big goal you have this Spring or Summer!

Top 5-12 finishers:

5 Charles MacNulty 10:05:48
 6 David Sanderson 10:18:49 (what a treat to run between TV#2 and MB#2 together!)
 7 Mackenzie Mau 10:30:08
 8 Tom Bache 10:31:57 (the hill climber from San Diego!)
 9 Greg Bowyer 10:49:30 (what a rebound after bonking at mile 34!)
 10 Ian Pryor 10:51:07
 11 Tara Fraga 10:52:06
 12 Calvin Wong 10:54:11 (did I say like a squirrel or chamois? ;-) )


Schlom said...


Thanks for the race report, it was great. It's always entertaining to read what another runner thought of the same race you competing in - although the details are different the overall experience is similar!

Sam (the other San Diego Track Club runner) and I were wondering if you and the others runners were getting annoyed that we kept passing you - a couple times we were making jokes that we were doing interval training (although I'm not sure they went over well!). Either way, congratulations on your finish!

Tom Bache

Jean Pommier said...

Cool, Tom, thank you for visiting, reading and leaving a note! Indeed, so many different perspectives on a single race, so many different experiences and own personal battles, that's what makes our ultra community so rich. Thank you also for visiting our Pacific Association, looked like it was a very successful trip for you two!

Greg Bowyer said...

Great report and awesome race, Jean! Thanks for taking a minute to check and see if I was OK on the way to Cardiac Aid Station. Sometimes you just need a few minutes while your stomach sorts things out :)

Best of luck with Quicksilver and hope to see you again on the trails!

Jean Pommier said...

Greg, it was so great to see you rebound this way, congratulations on such a come back, the way/speed you passed us on Bolinas Ridge was very impressive. It's rare to see people coming back from GI distress, I command your wisdom of stopping for a few minutes to regroup.