Sunday, April 28, 2013

Las Vegas Red Rock Canyon: wall training

How ironic: I'm here in Vegas at our annual users' conference, Impact, and, among dozens of meetings with clients and business partners, I picked a running analogy for the subject of my talk: field tips to avoid hitting the wall in enterprise adoption of Business Process Management. And, guess what, I went for a last long run before next week's Miwok 100K and... did hit the wall! And, more importantly, kept running through it, yeah! ;-)

To a certain extent, I'm glad I experienced the wall, it's always better this happens during training rather than racing and it's always important to get reminded it exists. But, geez, it's still painful. I'm also glad that I managed to run another 10 miles after hitting the wall, that's good mental strength training.

What happened? The typical chain of events leading to the running wall
  1. First, and more importantly, I didn't have much time this morning so went out early, without taking a breakfast.
  2. Traveling and having an all-day offsite on Saturday, I had even run 14 miles the night before and, with the super dry air here, was probably already dehydrated when I started running this morning
  3. I wanted to go back to Red Rock Canyon but didn't have time to put a 36-mile run this morning before a business lunch so decided to hop on bus to avoid having to run through the city (more details below about this option). As there was 30 minutes between each buses this Sunday morning, I ran the first two miles pretty fast not to miss the one I was shooting for. Too fast of a start, a typical mistake leading to hitting the wall in marathons...
  4. I left with one bottle of water, but no electrolytes. By the time I reached the park entrance, I had logged almost 8 miles, mostly uphill. There wasn't water at the entrance so I kept going on the road for another mile before turning back, with now 19 miles to run to get back to the hotel and a temperature in the low 90F. Fortunately, I found a drinking fountain at the West Technical & Career Academy. I was seriously dehydrated and had only run 13.5 miles, barely half way...
  5. Pressed by the time, and taking advantage of the slight decrease of elevation (from 3,700 feet at the park down to 2,100 in down town Vegas) I pushed the pace although my body was asking for the opposite... From 7:30 min/mile, my average pace was now down to 7:15 by the time I reached the long and boring Sahara Boulevard.
  6. I stopped at a gas station to get an ice cream (whopping 300 calories at once!) and a Wendy's to refill my bottle. After hitting the wall around mile 20, I "cruised" at 7:45 min/mile pace for the last 7.5 miles, for an average pace of 7:25 at the end. I certainly get better at running through such walls, yet, I kept drinking all afternoon and my lips are still cracked and burning this evening...
  7. Without Gu2O not even salt tablets (S!Caps), no wonder my electrolytes got completely out of balance.
Here is for what not to do...

Still, it was great to escape the craziness and insanity of the crowded Strip for a few hours. I was excited about the idea I had to use a bus to avoid the boring miles going through all West Vegas. I thought that, picking a so-called Express route (SX for Sahara Express), it would be a matter of minutes before I could run on trails with the amazing views of this Red Rock Canyon. Unfortunately, although the schedule only shows 7 stops from the Strip, the bus probably stopped at least 30 times on the way (not that URL will probably not live for too long. Incidentally, that gave me the opportunity to see the sad part of Vegas, all those folks who either have lost everything gambling or working for very low wages in this "industry." That being said, the bus was brand new and very clean. And, despite it took the bus 40 minutes to cover 11 miles, I would still recommend this way in order to allow you to actually run in the canyon. $2 a ride, I can't think of how much it would cost with a cab when you see the speed the taxi counter runs for the short ride between the airport and the hotel. The other option is to rent a car. Alternatively, there are organized tours of the canyon, such as this one, but no sure if they would let you do a long run on your own...
By the way, from the terminus (Red Rock Resort) you still have about 6 miles to go before reaching the park entrance ($3 fee for individuals on foot), still a sizable run (12 miles total to get back to the bus). Here is the Vegas map of its modern bus system.

Overall, not a very nice run, still a lot of asphalt or cement, yet quite great views of the nearby mountains, so dry but so colorful... If you can, go straight to the Red Rock Canyon park then do some trail running over there.

Back to the title, here is a great article on the (running) wall, from Sara Latta in Marathon and Beyond. Back to the basics... although hopefully not this Saturday at Miwok...! ;-)

PS: the pictures are from our group run last year, not today!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Ruth Anderson 2013: a rookie race, yet a PR!

Ruth Anderson, a rookie race for me? Not quite, but read on...

I ran this race every year since 2007:
  1. March 31, 2007 - 50-mile - 6:52:03 (that year, the race was directed by our QuickSilver teammates, John and Amy Burton, Amy winning this year's 50K! It is also in 2007 that I did beat Dean Karnaze by a few minutes although, to his credit, he had ran from home to the start, and back home after the finish... ;-)
  2. April 19, 2008 - 50K 3:44:58 (a windy edition)
  3. April 18, 2009 - 50K - 3:54:18 
  4. April 17, 2010 - 50M - 6:07:34
  5. April 23, 2011 - 100K - 10:13:26 (technically I ran the distance in 8:05:36 but, after missing a flight connection in Phoenix the night before, I was still in the air at the time the race started and I started 2:07:50 late...)
  6. April 21, 2012 - 50M - 5:49:59 (new Age Group Course Record)
As you can see, there are 3 distances you can pick up from at this event, and you can do so as you reach the specific course mark. Which makes it more challenging to go for the whole 100K as you always have good excuses for dropping to a shorter distance...

This year, I really wanted to run the 100K and set a PR (Personal Record) after what happened in 2011. The other 100K races I've run have been exclusively Miwok, 6 times, whose course profile isn't appropriate for a good PR. Conversely, Ruth Anderson is a 4.5 mile loop all on asphalt and relatively flat (the cumulative elevation for the 100K is still 3,560 feet according to the event the website maintained by Stan Jensen on his resourceful

Maybe because it's on asphalt, although you can also run on the dirt shoulder of the bike path, or because it's in the middle of the busiest part of our Grand Prix season (American River, Miwok, QuickSilver, Ohlone) or other races (e.g. Lake Sonoma last week), and despite a perfect organization by race directors Rajeev Patel and Anil Rao, a darn cheap entry fee and a very convenient location in San Francisco, the event is low key and the number of participants rarely exceed 100.

We were all sent off at 6:30 am, a few minutes before sun rise, by a gorgeous day: some breeze, no cloud, a big change from what we experienced a few years ago with cold rain and/or fog. I didn't run with my camera nor did I have a crew today, so I only got pictures after I finished my race. (Photo credit: Chihping Fu - On my way to the start line)
I started upfront with Enrique Henriquez who was aiming at the 50K. We ran the first 2 miles together at about 6:50 min/mile pace and I had no problem letting him go when he picked up the pace, quickly losing sight of him. I maintained the pace for the entire lap then slightly increased the pace without really noticing the effort. Like at American River 2 weeks ago, I settled on a very stable average pace of 6:47 which I maintained for the first 50K. I passed the marathon mark in 2 hour 58, then the 50K mark in 3:32, just five minutes behind Enrique who won that distance in 3:27:23. (Photo credit: Chihping Fu)
Back to the title, I knew the pace was too fast for 100K, especially after the exhausting 2 weeks I've been traveling in Europe, stopping in 4 countries (UK, France, Slovenia, Greece) and taking 8 flights plus one train ride (I was in Athens on Friday morning, that is yesterday, but didn't run there as I was tapering). In addition to the fatigue, I tend to gain weight during these business meetings and I was indeed a 4-5 pounds over my optimal race weight. At least this brings some good body fat to draw energy from thanks to Vespa! ;-)

Back to the race format, the course is a 4.475-mile loop so it's 7 laps for the 50K, 11 for the 50-mile and 14 for the 100K.

I was able to keep the pace for another lap after the 50K but, in the next one, started having some doubts that I would be able to keep it up. With 2 laps to go in the 50-mile, I realized I wouldn't be able to improve the Age Group Course Record I set last year, record which gives an additional 20 points in the Grand Prix. To make the thing worse, after I did stop for a few minutes to strategize with the team about which distance to run to get team points, Eduardo Vasquez, in my age group, passed me in my 11th lap, so I thought he would take both the 50-mile and age group wins. To my surprise, I didn't see him coming back from the 50-mile turnaround, so I stopped there for a minute to reassess the situation, decide if I was dropping to the 50-mile, getting 64 points, or taking the risk to go on for the full 100K for 80 points. It would have been a 6:02 50-mile for me, but I decided to go on since that's what I had told Amy (I had missed that I had lapped Eduardo before, he would win the 50-mile in 6:30:16). Additionally, we were supposed to optimize the team markings by having 5 runners go 100K, but we ended up being only 2 today, Jim and I (you need 3 runners to score as a team...), and 2 runners in the 50-mile, the rest of the team dropping to 50K. So 0 out of 2 for the longer distances...

Anyway, back to the title, as I started too fast, being on a 7-hour pace for 100K and keping changing my goals, I was getting pretty tired and beaten up and my average pace kept falling down. Right before the 50-mile mark, I got passed by 30-year old Karl Schnaitter who was admitted he never thought he'd catch-up with me after this furious start. My pace was now down to 7:05 min/mile and kept going down to 7:32 at the finish, with my GPS indicating 62:54 miles. I crossed the finish line in 7:51:08, disappointed with my rookie pace strategy, or I should say mistakes, but happy to be done especially with a solid PR at the distance finally, feeling I can do even better if only I don't start that fast... The course record for M50-59 is 8:30:37 so that's a good goal for next year. If the conditions are good.
My laps were respectively: 30:48, 30:34, 30:15, 30:33, 30:54, 31:00, 30:57, 32:26, 32:34, 39:58, 38:06, 37:57, 40:18, 34:54.

From a calorie intake standpoint, for those interested in the Vespa effect: 3 bottles of GU2O (300), 1/2 banana (100), 3 GUs (300), 7 S!Caps, 4 small cups of Coca-Cola (~100), 3 Vespa CV 25 (~60), total of a 860-calorie intake for 6,300 calories consumed.

I stayed for 3 hours at the finish line, first to regain some energy and body heat (in the San Francisco breeze, I got really cold as soon as I stopped running) before driving back, but also to take pictures of the following 50-mile and 100K finishers. See 75 pictures in my Picasa photo album. A few runners were pretty ecstatic to cross the final line. While I missed the not so gracious jump of Chihping, followed by a fall ;-), what about Seth Kramer's jump?
A special mention for the amazing Miguel Vivaldo who, at 13 years (sic!), finished his first 50-miler in 9:41:57! I had passed him several times on the course and had not realized he was even a race participant. He was always very nice and providing encouragements, even when he was too tired to run. Equally amazing, he finished his last mile with a furious sprint, beating Gretchen Wood by 2 seconds.
Miguel is coached by a very experienced ultra runner, Kermit Cuff, and shows an amazing talent and potential which are going to be very interesting to watch these coming years.
And Miguel has even his groupies, Maria and Janet! ;-)
Despite a limited contingent due to other races this month, our QuickSilver Ultra Running Team took a few top spots. In the 50K, Amy took 3rd overall and won the female division (4:09).Shir placed 6th in 4:18 followed by Marc Klemencic a minute later. Marco placed 24th in 5:21, Loren 31st (5:34), Kat 45th (6:48). For her first 50-mile, Jill won the 50-mile. Keith had a long day but did complete the 50-mile distance too in around 10 hours. I left while he was in his 13th lap but I'm sure that Jim did manage to finish the 100K, slowly but surely, and with a smile, masking his leg pain...
A big thank you for the volunteers at both aid stations who kept pouring coke and water for us, or feeding us, not to forget the special Chef at the finish line, Anil:
Emeritus Race Director, Steve Jaber, and the irreplaceable ultra volunteer pair, Dave Combs and Stan Jensen, were successful at not losing their heads in keeping track of all our laps and times. There were also helped by Janet.
For our security, and despite the limited budget, Rajeev was successful to secure a Red Cross team on site, all day. Thank you for that too, Rajeev!

A perfect day for an ultra, a great opportunity to test or push our limits again

Monday, April 15, 2013

Running in Slovenia 3: Ljubljana's Tivoli Park and trails

A last run this Monday evening before getting on a plane to Athens via Munich tomorrow morning.

With the Tivoli Park so close to downtown Ljubljana, this is definitely the place to run, especially if you are a fan of trail running. Unless you are training for HURT 100, avoid running in the park at night as a few side trails have many roots to trip on.

Here is a 10.5-mile loop around and across the park:
The park is surrounded by the city so there is really no risk of getting lost. That being said, there are a few decent hills (culminating at 1,445 feet according to my Garmin, that is 440 m) and the trails are not straight, so you may run into circles at time, especially if you use side trails as I did on the the North side especially.

Again, although Ljubjlana is small enough that you never feel the pressure of an urban area, the park represents a great escape, a perfect and convenient place to connect with nature and run on trails in this European capital!

Running in Slovenia 2: Ljubljana marathon course

As I mentioned in my previous post about a touristic run through this small European capital yesterday, I continued on to run one loop of the Ljubljana marathon course, that is a half-marathon, on Sunday night.

As opposed to the previous run, this one has nothing picturesque at all. One section, ironically the only non urban area when we cross through the park of Tivoli, is even dangerous as there is no sidewalk, the road is narrow and quite busy. This is also the only slightly uphill section of the course, the rest being really flat with long and straight avenues like at Chicago (without the skyscrapers though, replaced with amazing views of the nearby Alps and its white chain of snowy peaks.

While I imagine roads are closed on race day for runners to use, apart for the road through Tivoli, the rest of the course, like most of the avenues in Ljubljana, has large sidewalks if not well marked bike paths which make running a pleasure and safe activity. Not though that I found Slovens very disciplined when it comes to wait for the green signal before crossing intersections in crosswalks.

With such a flat course, I was curious about the competitiveness of this event. To my surprise I discovered that the October 2012 edition was won in 2:09:40 by a 19-year old Ethiopian. The first European was a local Sloven who placed 10th in 2:23. All the other runners were from Africa, 3 from Ethiopia (top 1 and 2), 1 from Uganda (top 3) and 5 from Kenya. Out of 18,000 runners.

Credit to this route I found on and of course the official course map on the marathon website (but not so readable when it comes to street names).

And here is my run trace on Garmin Connect.

At 300m elevation, this seems like an ideal marathon event, both for a great performance as well as a great touristic destination. For those in Europe especially, not the date, October 27, 2013, and they seem to still take registrations!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Running in Slovenia 1: Ljubljana Explorer Sightrun

Yesterday, Saturday, I was in Paris and I ran a great 50K training run from Paris (Charlety Stadium) to Saclay. It was great to be back on the Coulée Verte and I decided to push farther, pass the Massy-Palaiseau train station and discovered another great trail, the ID 35 for Itinéraire Départemental 35 on the Plateau of Saclay-Orsay. I will update my 2007 post to reflect this new extension. I ran 3:39 for 30.7 miles or a solid 7:11 min/mile average. Good training for next week's Ruth Anderson where I hope to run the 100K.

Today, different country, different capital and let's say a much smaller one, maybe the smallest European Capital: Ljubljana, with less then 300,000 inhabitants. A nice temperature of 68F, some breeze, a few clouds but mostly sunny, ideal conditions for sightseeing.

Let me give credits to the following site for both this post title and the places I visited while running 6 miles: Sight Running Ljubljana. It is great and very convenient for someone busy like me to find a compilation of the must-see in new city. It took me about an hour to spot the various locations on the map, here is the list which you will find in my photo album: Preseren Square, Franciscan Church of the Annunciation, Triple Bridge, Butcher's bridge, Primoz Trubar Street, Jože Plečnik river Dam, Dragon Bridge, Ljubljana's main market on Vodnik Square, The Cathedral of St.Nicholas, Ljubljana Castle, Upper Square, Old Square, Renovated banks of the River Ljubljanica, Bank of Gradascica River, Roman Wall complex, University of Ljubljana, Slovene Philharmonic Orchestra building, Ursuline Church of the Holy Trinity, Slovenian Parliament, National Museum, National Opera and Ballet Theatre, Park Tivoli, Cekin Castle, Museum of Modern Art, National Gallery. Phew!
Now, my sons are going to be proud, I'll keep this post really short for five reasons! First, I've a busy day in town with two customers tomorrow, it's already 11 pm and I still have a few things to prepare... Second, I took more than 140 pictures, added a few captions to make your virtual visit more interesting, so that's worth 140 time 1,000 words! ;-) Third, I'm not going to write a touristic guide on Ljubljana, there are actually a ton of information available on the Internet about this very picturesque and history rich city. Four, after this tour of the city, I went on to run the half marathon course of the Ljubljana marathon, I'll tell you more in a Running in Slovenia part 2 post later this week. Last, you don't have much time to read anyway, do you?

So, here is the link to my Picasa album, enjoy a virtual tour of Ljubljana, from your seat!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

American River 2013: most of the stars aligned

With 850 entrants and 828 finishers, this has been another amazingly popular and successful ultra event put up by Julie Fingar's NorCal Ultras organization, one of the largest ultra field in the nation (behind JFK's 50-mile with his 1,000 field permit and Julie's own Way Too Cool with 950 participants). The weather and course conditions also helped with the very high finisher rate: mild temperatures, overcast morning without the forecast showers, sunny in the afternoon, soft trails with only a handful of mud puddles.

To continue on the participation, it was a strange race from a competitive standpoint. This event was used to provide entry spots to Western States to the top 2 or 3 finishers and dragged illustrious names such as: Max King, Mike Wolfe, Dave Mackey, Geoff Roes, Anton (Tony) Krupicka, Todd Braje, Uli Steidel, Ellie Greenwood, Kami Semick not to mention our local speedsters such as Chikara Omine, Erik Skaden, Rich Hanna, Victor Ballesteros, Mark Lantz, ... Without this incentive but also because of the upcoming Lake Sonoma next weekend, what I call the "unofficial world championship" with runners coming from many US States but also Europe (see the entrants list), no big shots were toeing the start line this year.
With that, Julie gave me what Toshi called a seeded bib number, 9. After the 20 of Way Too Cool which got me to 11th place a month ago, and without the big shots, I started to think that I may have a redemption and make top 10 indeed. For those who have not followed me all these years, American River has indeed been a challenging race and course, with major counter-performances and also on of my 2 DNFs (Did Not Finish) out of more than 200 races. For some reasons, maybe the wild flowers, the pollen in April, the hatchery at mile 15, the vegetation, I've been subject to exercise-induced asthma three times out of 5 runs. For my first participation, my lungs were so inflamed by mile 16 that I jogged a few more miles then walked for 30 miles, finishing in 8:53 hours. I dropped at mid point in 2009, finally broke 7 hours in 2010 (6:58:50), PR'ed in 2011 (6:47:53) and had another bad "breathing" year in 2012 (7:55:57).

A special mention to Toshi, our ultra running team, who came all the way and very early in the morning (thanks for the wake up call, Toshi!) to distribute our new team shirts with the mention of our new sponsor, Zombie Runner, to cheer us up on the course and to drive a few team members from the  finish to the start at the end of a very long day. All that after participating in the Barkley marathons last weekend, unfortunately stopping on lap 2 unable to navigate this torturous "course" (for those who don't know this infamous event, there are actually no trails, it's bush whacking) in a thick fog after losing his compass (not that the compass would have helped me anyway). And, of course, always all smile!
This year, I was resolved not to start too fast and, at 6 am on the bike path, the more experienced runners let two young guys go ahead at a 6:30 min/mile pace. By the first mile, I was running with my fellow Masters, Mark Lantz and Michael Fink. Another Master, Louis Secreto from Sonoma was with us as well as Jadi Palko for a few miles.

We alternated the lead until I first pulled away as I didn't stop to the first 2 aid stations, then Mark took the lead before I passed him again at the third aid station where I didn't stop either. From the initial start at around 7:20 min/mile pace, we were now down to a very stable 6:48 min/mile which I would keep all the way to Beals Point, now running solo and passing the marathon mark right on 3 hours.
Now, while the breathing was fine (phew!) and the legs too, my belly started bothering me around mile 14. The GI issue became so bad that I had to stop first after Negro Bar, then at the exit of Beals Point. When going out of the bathroom I saw Mark coming but I didn't see him on the levee, so I figured out he had a challenging day too and also made a pit stop. Without telling all the details (Agnès' request ;-), I stopped 3 more times, in the open this time. The 5th time I came back on the trail, one mile before Rattlesnake Bar aid station, I saw Mark coming and figured out it won't be long before he passes me. Here I am flying through Rattlesnake Bar AS:
Needless to say, with the energy lost in controlling my intestinal cramps and the nausea, I had only taken 2 gels the whole way and one cup of Coke, so my pace had decreased. Yet, I decided to give it all to delay Mark's passing.
A big thank to Agnès for making it to 7 stops on the course (including start and finish), despite me stopping only at Beals (Vespa and GU2O refill). Similarly, a big thank to the aid station volunteers although I barely stopped: special mention to the cheerful Hawaiian crew at Beals, the remote aid station of Buzzard's Cove (thanks for the vaseline!) and the iced water refill at Horseshoe Bar and Last Gap! No chips, no banana, no GUs, no baked potato, no cookie, just three S!Caps from the aid stations, I'm sure the pack behind enjoyed the rich variety offered by the aid station more than I did. ;-)
By mile 42, Mark was still a minute behind. With his experience on this course and ultras in general and his best time of 6:23 in 2008, I was under pressure and resolved not to walk the uphills nor stopping at the creek which I usually love to do in that final stretch. For those who have never run this race, the final 3 miles are a steep uphill to the top of Auburn Dam. 900 feet of elevation in 2.5 miles, mostly on a gravel or paved road, so nothing terrible except at the end of a 50-mile race! ;-) I trotted most of it while checking behind for any runner and, not seeing anyone, decided to walk a few steps in the last mile to catch my breath. At the bottom of the hill, someone told me I was just 3 minutes behind the third runner, Paulo Medina, 28, from Peru.

But, assuming I would still have energy after a challenging race in which I barely took enough calories in, I was really not after top 3, but a PR and a good spot in the Masters.
I finished in 6:47:39, delighted to place so well after such a challenging race from a food and fluid intake standpoint. I immediately thanked Julie, the Race Director, for having made it such a slow year...
Regarding the PR, I had 6:52 in mind, little did I realized in the last miles that I would only PR by mere 14 seconds! But a PR is a PR, especially when you get close to 50... Speaking of 50, like at Way Too Cool, Mark Murray won his new age group. Also in this age group, legendary Tim Twietmeyer took 3rd for his 33rd AR50 finish (out of 34 editions)!

The race was won by Matt Flaherty, 27, of Chicago in 6:08,
followed by Eric Senseman, 24 of Madison, WI, in 6:20.
Paulo Medina was third, crossing the finish line 2 minutes ahead of me.
The women race was won by Pam Smith in 6:54 followed by Tera Dube in 7:11. So, how slow of year, or how lesser competitive field that was? I looked at the previous 10 editions and, coincidentally, you have to get back 10 years ago for my time to correspond to both 4th overall and 1st Master that year. In between my time would have corresponded to 6th overall in 2007 and 2007 but 18th in 2010. Oh well, like the lottery, you can only win if you play. Besides, it's hard to compare years as conditions keep changing. But this year's conditions where perfect, so no excuse on that end.

Our QuickSilver Ultra Running Team had 14 participants in the race this year, including 6 first timers at the distance(*), and we are delighted to report that all finished! Here is the list: Jean  6:47:39, Adona  8:48:19, *Loren  9:03:12, Joe    9:06:25, *Amy  9:12:40, *Lisa   9:16:04, Karen  9:37:24, *Gary S.  10:14:24, *Stephen M.  10:26:06, Harris Goodman 10:28, Stephen Strauss  10:49, Dan Marinsik  11:30, *Tim Allen   12:16, Kat Powell  12:22. This includes Stephen Marinsik who ran his first 50-mile at age 16. Stephen's father, Dan, his a 10-time Bad Water 135 finisher (2003-2012), so Stephen doesn't have for to go for ultra advices! Here is Tim at the start:
Continuing on the thank you note, let's mention the numerous sponsors that Julie has recruited to keep this event growing and support our sport (e.g. Patagonia, Clif Bar, Gu). I particularly liked the Honest tea Orange-Mango juice which I could taste at the expo at the finish line. Big thank to Joe for his finish line café, and in particular Jared who was still all smile as he was cooking his first burgers of a very long series:
Big thank to the Monsters of Massage, Veloyce and Tom for getting me back on my feet and getting rid of all these toxines in my leg after such a physical push. Almost no soreness this Sunday morning in my recovery run, you are amazing guys!
And then, to the risk of people thinking I'm paid for that (which isn't the case, I do buy the products at Zombie Runner), a huge thank to Vespa for helping me fueling most of this run from my body fat. Again, let's do the "Vespa maths": calorie intake about 500 calories (2 GUs, 2 bottles of GU2O, 1 cup of Coke) versus about 5,000 calories spent. Fortunately, since my January break, I do carry about 5 extra pounds which came handy this Saturday.

For me it was race #207, ultra race #80, 50-mile race #22 (versus 21 marathon races), AR50 #6 (including one DNF). And I'm not keeping track of the number of business trips... I'm leaving tonight for Europe (UK, France, Slovenia, Greece) hopefully not missing my connection on the way back as I return a few hours before Ruth Anderson 100K in two weeks! Life is full, life is intense, life is good!

Congrats to the 828 finishers, thank you again to the 350 volunteers, and see you all on the trails again soon. Or on line in the meantime, especially those not running (thanks for reading that far! ;-).

PS: a few additional pictures from Agnès, including some close shots of wildflowers in this Picasa album.