Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015 in review: quite another year!

No, this isn't a review of what happened around the world this year, there are many wonderful ones in newspapers, magazines or in other blogs. This isn't even about what was my year was at work, or what our family events, but just a recap of my ultra running experiences this year...

And, I know, with more of the same races and more consistency, it's getting boring and, based on recent threads about doping, it may even appear as suspicious! Well, I can assure you, it's not getting any easier with the years, and I'd admit that competing with kids half my age is more challenging and requires even more work and training. Unfortunately, although I didn't experience any serious injury, I would also admit that high mileage/volume is getting harder to do. There are certainly limits in how much you can defy aging, we may be ultra runners but we remain just mortals like anyone else... Furthermore, this isn't just about personal endurance, but also on what your support system can handle. Or maybe the word egosystem would be more appropriate for us ultra runners... After racing 122 ultras (and running more than 300 ultras including those ran in training), you can't decently expect the same excitement and engagement from your family and friends.

How good 2015was? Well, really really good! Again...! ;-) In short, here are the main stats: 5th year averaging 100 kilometers a week (62 miles) at an average pace of 8:01 min/mile. Ran only 34 ultras but this is still within the 32-37 range of the past 5 years. From a blog standpoint, I haven't been able to keep up with the weekly pace, missed 8 posts (44). 19 races including 17 ultra ones and 2 short but fast10Ks. 2 DNFs. 5 participation in US National Championships with 3 M50-54 titles, 2 Masters ones, 2 DNFs. On the local scene, I got the top M50-59 spot in every race except Way Too Cool where Rich Hana ran an amazing race. In New Jersey, I ran a second 24-hour race this year, focusing on improving our age group American Record for 12-hours (85 miles).

A few more details on how the year went (for my records... you can jump to the 'thank you' section at the bottom of this post!):

Race wise, and as quite an aggressive goal, I was hoping to compete in 6 Nationals this year: 100 miles trail, 50K road, 100K road, 50-mile trail, 50K trail, and 24-hour road. I had to skip the 50-mile trail for family reasons and the 24-hour because Ohlone 50K got rescheduled that same weekend. Added the 50-mile road championship in November instead. Ended up setting too high of goals and DNF'ing at Rocky Raccoon in January and The Fall 50 in November. 7 of these ultra races were back to back ones (1 week apart), in March, April and May. Got chicked in 3 races, including twice at Way Too Cool, and at the 100K Nationals by the new legend Camille Heron (2 World titles this year).

Locally, everything worked amazingly well: Ohlone, Jed Smith, Miwok, Skyline, American River, Way Too Cool, Summer Solstice... I picked the 50-mile distance at Ruth Anderson as it was just a week after the 100K Nationals. And I replaced Dick Collins Firetrails 50 by the 68-mile Folsom Lake ultra in October where I was invited to participate in the inaugural edition.

A few lows this year, part of the game of pushing the envelope hard:
  1. Dropping at mile 24 at the US 50-mile road Nationals
  2. Dropping at mile 60 at the US 100-mile trail Nationals
  3. Having to miss the 24-hour US Nationals because of the conflict date with Ohlone
  4. Missing the 30-year standing 50K Road M50-54 American record by 1 minute and 40 seconds, amid freezing conditions
  5. Missing the 100K Road M50-54 American record on GI issues caused by a green banana (yikes!)
  6. Cramping badly during the PCTR Summer Solstice 24-hour and finishing with only 129 miles
But many more super cool highs:
  1. Winning Ohlone for the 5th time
  2. Breaking 4 hours again at Way Too Cool for my 10th consecutive participation in that race, marking 10 years in ultra running for me
  3. Setting a new American Age Group record for 12 hour at the New Jersey One Day
  4. Receiving the Ultra Runner of the Year (URoY) award of our local but strong USATF Pacific Association (this year's is going to be a tough one between Alex Varner and Chikara Omine in my opinion)
  5. Running a 2:46 marathon, as part of a 3:20 50K! (Beating "my own law" of keeping running a marathon in 2 hours plus my age in minutes...)
  6. Placing 4th at Miwok
  7. Winning Trailblazer 10K for the 3rd time
  8. Placing 10th overall at the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot 10K (and 2nd Masters and 1st age group)
  9. Placing 4th at Quicksilver 100K amid strong competition
  10. Winning the 50K Road Nationals in my age group, and the Masters division
  11. Same at the 100K Road Nationals!
  12. Placing 2nd Masters at the 50K Trail Nationals (and winning my age group of course! ;-)
  13. Running 2 36-minute 10Ks back to back on the track days before the Turkey Trot (first time I tried this format)
  14. Bouncing back from a tough night at the PCTR 24-hour and running the last 2 hours at 7 to 8 min/mile pace
  15. Scoring yet another record-breaking number of points in our local Grand Prix at 580
  16. Volunteering at two races (Stevens Creek 50K and our own Quicksilver race)
  17. Setting 5 age group course records in our Grand Prix
Overall, more ultra races than ever due to the pursuit of two tales, our local PAUSATF Mountain and Ultra Trail Grand Prix for the 9th consecutive year and 5 US National titles.

Quite a few trips this year, not counting the many business-related ones...

And with all that, it's hard to set reasonable and attainable goals for 2016 if I keep aiming at more... For instance, I already set 12 of our 22 M50-59 course records, but won't be running at least 9 of the remaining 10 due to lotteries or scheduling conflicts. Tough life... ;-)

As the year closes, I'm particularly thankful and very grateful to:
  1. My wife Agnès for coping with the life of an ultra runner and crewing for me at American River, Miwok, Ohlone and Folsom Lake.
  2. Peter Defty who introduced Vespa Power in the US, a product which allows me to optimize my fueling during races (eating much less and burning calories from fat instead), and accelerate recovery so I can do back to back races and keep training all year round. As I said before, this product changed my ultra life!
  3. My first job which, although extremely demanding, still allows me to combine business trips and key racing weekends, and this amazing opportunity to live in the Bay Area.
  4. My track work out buddies Jeremy and Bob for keeping that speed work discipline alive.
  5. Bill Dodson, Hollis Lenderking and Gary Wang who accepted to remain on our PAUSATF MUT Board for the 25th anniversary of our Grand Prix in 2016!
  6. My teammates of the QuickSilver Running Club for adding some fun into local races.
  7. Along with the other teams competing in our Grand Prix.
  8. Rich Hanna and Mark Ritchman especially among the old guys for keeping me on my toes (if not kicking my butt... ;-).
  9. The Race Directors and volunteers of all these races, without whom I couldn't challenge myself race after race. With all this racing, I really don't know how I will ever be able to give back as much as what I received from this community in the past 10 years.
  10. Those of you reading this personal blog. I hope you find some inspiration to get farther and faster on the trails or in life, and a few useful tips for racing, training or running while traveling.
  11. My Facebook friends from which I get inspiration and tips myself in such an extended and open community.
  12. A special shout out to Paul Fick and Kristina Irvin who do so much for our Club and our main race, so modestly. They are amazing examples of the giving back side of a complete ultra running career!
I also have to mention my neutral stride and a great variety of Brooks shoes(*) which certainly contribute to remaining injury free despite all the mileage and hard racing.

I hope you were able to cross as many goals in your 2015 list as you wanted or could, and that you'll pursue many healthy goals in 2016 as well!

See you on the trails, either Faster or Farther...!

(*) Launch, Pure Connect, Pure Flow, Racer ST
Photo credit:

Monday, December 28, 2015

Athletic cheating in trail running: how much is ok, really?

I started writing this post last weekend and couldn't finish it, too much work before my next business trips (leaving for the Middle East again on January 2nd...), and too big and serious of an issue to address...

So, as I was writing last Sunday, it had been a tough week for the ultra community on social networks. Well, not everybody seems to be so affected as a matter of fact, I'm beyond words to describe the discomfort I got from seeing so many lax positions in the blogosphere and on Facebook in particular. I must be an ultra idealist, let me try to get a big weight out of my chest: if we are not 100% against cheating and for enforcing bans, but start accepting offenders into certain competitions, for the sake of being inclusive and cool, how much is tolerated then? My feeling is that, as this has been demonstrated in many other sports already, or in life in general, any tolerance, any grey area, yes any shade of grey, is spoiling the whole body. Double solid line, no passing!

For those of you who have no clue what I'm referring to, a very quick recap to put this post in context. No, it's not about the previous six episodes of Star Wars (and The Force Awakens is a great continuation of the saga!). 2 weeks ago now, Lance Armstrong (no need for introduction) ran a local 35K trail race and won it. Granted, not a competitive one, not one with prize money, but a race setup by an organization which certainly believes in competitiveness in our ultra sport as it has its own ultra trail racing team. As a matter of fact this organization is called Inside Trail Racing, so competition is built in its name and mission, and they are also engaging the reputation of their numerous sponsors. There have been so many posts on this matter, my preferred one is the very well documented, and therefore lengthy, article from Vladimir Gusiatnikov. Although I don't agree with the conclusion, it has the great merit to weigh in several positions in a very constructive manner.

Like many, I was caught by surprise and overwhelmed by many questions. Trying to be a sensible and considerate runner, I was even torn between the two camps: "shouldn't have happened!" on one hand and, on the other, "we, the trail running community, are inclusive and everyone is welcome."

Indeed, I started thinking that, with a wealth estimated at over 100 million dollars, Lance Armstrong could certainly do a lot to support our sport and, for a start, help us to keep it clean since cost seems so much of an excuse for accepting cheaters or ex cheaters in race, just because drug testing is deemed too costly. That part blown me away as it seems to show a total lack of citizenship, civic sense or responsibility. Call me naive again, but that is so against the view I have of this country. So, because there is no test, and because most of us don't make a living out of ultra running, then doping is acceptable? By the way, this tolerance to cheating impact many other areas of our lives:
  • How much cheating would you deem acceptable in proctored tests such as SAT and ACT? What if your child's future and chances of landing a great school or job were going to be impacted?
  • How many seconds are ok for running a red light? What if it was going to hit you and you had to finish your life in a wheel chair instead of running on trails for many more years?
  • Would you not respect speed limits if there weren't controlled, if there was no risk of being caught by law enforcement?
  • How much is texting while driving ok? Really, some, until you or they kill someone?!
  • Tell me, is some cheating tolerated on tax returns, or none just because the IRS is watching?
Back to running, we had another case of cheating making the news this weekend: a runner who qualified for Boston and won age group awards at the Marine Corps Marathon by cutting the course. not at one edition, but at more than a handful of them! And what did he have to say, once caught? "“I messed up. There’s no reason to do that,” he said. “There’s really nothing else to say. There’s not a good explanation. I apologize to all the other runners. I feel bad, there’s no great back story to it. It’s just wrong.” (see the story in Runner's World and The Washington Post). Once it starts, cheating can take many forms (and, how easy it would be to cheat at some ultra events by cutting the course short when there is no one watching...).

As for the challenge of keeping convicted cheaters out of races, a race director from the Northwest even argued several times on Facebook that he couldn't possibly check every entrant for previous offense. Well, I have a very simple solution for that: like some forms ask if this is your first ultra or not, or to agree with the event T&Cs, what about asking if you've been convicted or not, that will do. We may even ask entrants if they are taking PEDs, why not, for instance it would be good to know if that's for therapeutic reasons. Because, that's another alarming issue I discovered in a few threads: that some people aren't so bothered with PEDs because, according to some statements, half (sic) the teenagers running cross-country in high school, are prescribed and use Albuterol, a banned substance, in competition. Having had my boys participating in such meets and been close to our XC team, I don't believe the half is true but even if it's 1%, it should be a shame which we fight, not tolerate and accept. Yes, as subject to exercise-induced asthma myself as you might have read on this blog. My first crisis caught me by surprise during the Phoenix marathon around mile 10 when I was still in the top 10 of the race. Not knowing what this was about, and not able to breath much, I decided to walk the remaining 16 miles. I finished in 5 hours and change, my slowest marathon ever. A stop by the local ER didn't do anything and, a few days later, I was prescribed Albuterol. After some research on the Internet, I was shocked to discover that the product was banned by the French Track & Field association but not the American one! I was still competing in French Nationals from time to time back then, so using the product was out of question anyway. But, more importantly, it was clearly identified as an enhancer, I didn't need more rules to realize that using this product in competitions in the US would be cheating, even if the product was allowed for therapeutic use. Should I be allowed PEDs because I've shorter legs than others? Should someone be allowed PEDs because they have a lower VO2max than other competitors?

And that is really the point which baffles me so much in all these discussions. In various threads, so many people were asking for more rules and, until such rules were discussed, debated, agreed upon, promulgated and enforced, then suggesting everything was ok. Suggesting that, until drug testing prevailed in races, the usage of PEDs wasn't cheating. That's where I would have to agree with some radicals claiming that we need less rules, less government, not more. Indeed, it should be common sense to apply the knowledge accessible to all that these products have been evaluated as enhancing performance in an artificial way which contradicts the principle of fairness in sport competitions.

Puzzling too were the comments that elites must all be cheating obviously for being so fast, like accusing Killian Jornet for instance. First, with all the racing he does in Europe, I'm sure Killian has been tested more than anyone else in our sport. And negatively as far as we all know. But, seriously, Killian? Climbing mountains since the age of 4, training so hard while having so much fun, who has lived in a van for many months, such a simple life that almost anyone could have spotted if there were any suspicious products coming in! Of course, he got caught cutting corners and switchbacks but that's how he learned to run in mountains where there weren't any trail anyway. And I trust that, since the SpeedGoat episode, he has realized how serious we were with that.

Anyway, this is already too many lines to make a case for a black and white position on this, it should not have to be that complicated. For what it is worth since it is based on an honor system, which more people than I thought don't seem to really support or believe in, this initiative made my day on Monday: Run Clean, Get Dirty. Here is the univocal pledge of the signatories:
I am committed to being a clean athlete. In addition to any punishment imposed by the IAAF, a national federation, or any national anti-doping agency or government in any sport, I pledge that if I am found by such body to have committed a doping offense (at any competition or out of competition) past, present or future, and I have been subject to a ban of 3 months or more, I agree to a lifetime ban on receiving any prize money, points, other form of prize, or a position in the competitive rankings of any race.
You cheat, you are out, no discussion, how simpler can that be? It still involves testing and being caught, but it's a good start. Personally, I would have added one more statement: "Furthermore, I pledge not to take any banned Performance Enhancing Drug." Since this is really what's important.

So, here is the personal note I added to the pledge I just took:
The essence of trail, mountain and ultra running is how you deal with the physical and mental challenges offered by nature. It includes a personal element (you against the elements, a certain distance, the clock) but also a competitive aspect (you against the performance of others, either in organized events or other peer to peer measures). Using artificial and banned substance is not only cheating others but also yourself and nature. Since PEDs are changing the nature of that game, irreversibly, competition bans should not have time limits. The beauty of trail and ultra running lies in their natural form, let's keep our sport 100% clean for the current and future generations!
I certainly pledge to forgo any concept of competition and ranking if I'm ever to be convicted of cheating with PEDs but I also pledge that I will simply not use any banned PED.

In many aspects, I feel sorry that we have to do this but, from time to time, it seems that we need to reframe our human nature. The freedom we have to act, leading the freedom to pick right or wrong options and paths...

For race directors, since we don't want bandits in races either, that means that they could still enlist banned competitors, but exclude them from any ranking. Should be doable although the sites managing races results will be impacted.

In conclusion, this isn't at all about banning cheaters from the joy of running on trails or in group runs! It's not even about the fact that our community is inclusive and cool or not with that matter. It's about people who have taken cheated others by artificial manipulations in a way that it erases that equal playing field principle. It's not something you can erase or change, it's something they could have avoided before engaging into such banned manipulations. Let's face it, it's not possible to agree on an acceptable level of cheating or cheating redemption, it would be purely subjective, so the only way to keep our sport clean is by maintaining a zero tolerance approach to the use of PEDs. Drug testing or not. #cleansport. Simple.

I feel sorry to have to write on this topic. Sincerely. As a matter of fact, I know so little about doping for one thing, and I'm certainly not a pioneer of this sport, so what do I know? I did win some prize money from racing, albeit certainly not enough to pay the bills and I'm lucky to not have to win races for a living since I'm not an elite! But still, I have more experience than many who voiced their opinions so publicly. So, as the saying goes and Errol "Rocket" Jones would say in particular, this is my story and I'm sticking to it! I hope this will show that a few in the quiet majority so far aren't ok with what happened 2 weeks ago. Yet, I would also welcome the wisdom of the older gurus of our sport whom I found rather quiet on that matter...

Sunday, December 13, 2015

GU Energy: keeping the bunnies ultra running!

Didn't you have friends comparing you to the Energizer bunny already when you were sharing ultra tales with them? It happens to me often and that usually leads to great discussions about where we get our physical and mental energy to keep going after 3, 6, 12, or 24 hours...

As much as I now get used and equipped to draw many calories from my body fat while running, thanks to Vespa Power, I still rely on GU Energy a lot, first to keep my electrolytes in check, but also for a few strategic carbs to keep moving and get a burst of energy before a long and big uphill for instance. So, no, in this year end season in which you see a few athletes boasting about their sponsorship, I didn't get on Team Energizer, I don't think there is one as a matter of fact, I trust nobody is cheating by running on electric power (yet...)! ;-)

No Energizer then, but, after losing the Brooks sponsorship last year, and insisting on paying for my own Vespa, I'm thrilled that GU Energy kept me on their GU Pro program.
With all I consume in races and training runs, that discount really helps. To avoid surprises during races, with other flavors or brands, I even carry my own GU2O and GUs during races instead of relying on what is provided at aid stations. And with all the racing I do, I need a lot! Here is what I got in the mail this week to get me through 2016:

A few tips on how I use these products:

  1. GU Drink Mix (ex Brew, which I still use the original Gu2O in my blog posts for). I stick to Lemon Lime, that has worked well for the past 10 years and makes it predictable. I typically drink 20 oz of it per 15 miles (2-2.5 hours), more on super hot days, a bit less on cold ones. I have a few Drink Tabs in case, for long travels, but, most of the time, I carry powder doses in snack-size ziplocs. By the way, I got a big upset when the dosage changed but I think I'm mostly back on my feet now (can you tell I don't like change, especially when things are working?!).
  2. GU Roctane Energy Drink Mix. I know this will disappoint running elite Magdalena Boulet, GU Energy's VP of Innovation, Research & Development, but I still have mix feelings about the different composition after trying it for a year on training runs. Anyway, glad the simpler brew works for me.
  3. GU Energy Gel. This is a no brainer, compact packets of pure calories to sustain very long runs, and not requiring any digestion effort. I typically take one gel every hour, starting after 1.5 hours of racing to give the fat burning enough time to kick in. I use mostly the Tastefully Nude (ex Just Plain) flavor, a neutral flavor which I believe helps keeping nausea at bay, but I don't mind trying other flavors from time to time, although remaining with classical ones: Vanilla Bean, Chocolate Outrage, Lemon Sublime, Tri-Berry (as opposed to salty or stranger associations).
  4. GU Energy Chews. I haven't consumed too many of these yet during races, but there are easier to pack when flying since TSA restricts the number of gels we can have in our carry-ons.
  5. GU Recovery Drink Mix. I started using the recovery brew super rich in proteins after tough races and training runs, 2 years ago, and I definitely saw a difference. I really love the Orange-Pineapple flavor in the summer and I regret it isn't available right now on the web site, I hope it will come back. I like the Chocolate flavor in the winter so I'm all set for now. I typically use the brew (3 scoops) in a smoothie with water, milk and vanilla ice cream. So delicious that just the idea lifts up my energy level at the end of challenging long runs! :-)
With that, I pretty much use all the products GU Energy offers, except one: I don't take the Roctane Electrolyte Capsules as I got so used to the S!Caps since I started running ultras 10 years ago. 

GU Energy is such a wonderful supporter of our ultra running sport, as well as other endurance ones like triathlon and cycling. Not only by providing these great products but also sponsoring most of our races, very grateful to them too. It's also cool to know this is a local business based in Berkeley, CA, and run by local athletes, with the manufacturing happening in the US. Way to go, GU Energy, keep us ultra energized and going, going, going, ...

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Hunter S Thompson Fear and Loathing 50: nature is calling!

Did I catch your attention with this title, especially the last part? That may not be what you are thinking about, please read on...

The first part is rather convoluted, isn't it? I had heard about this low key fat ass-style going around the City by the Bay. When I realized that there was a 50-mile option consisting in running the entire famous 49-mile Scenic Drive, and that it was the 30th edition, I was hooked! I didn't really plan on racing a 50-mile in December, I was actually happy to take it easy. I even took the entire week off running because I was nursing an inflammation (shin splits) after the fast Turkey Trot. Last Sunday I even went for a run to only turn back after 300 yards, certainly my shortest 'run' ever. Of course, with no exercise for 7 days, it disappeared and I was quite optimistic for a great run this Sunday. I spent a few hours on Saturday to review the course and all the turns and felt ready with the list of turns and the course highlighted on a AAA map (I strongly recommend their San Francisco Guide Map), in a plastic sheet protector. Because rain was expected; not too much but showers around 7am (start time) and 10am.

For some reasons, this edition became the most popular ever with more than 80 participants (45 entrants in the 50K and 36 in the 50-mile)!

At this level, the start really looked like an organized run. And surely, with all the work that co-race directors, Chihping Fu and Keith Blom, put into perpetuating this local ultra tradition, there is quite a sophisticated logistic for providing moving aid stations along the course to support runners moving a different pace. It was also very convenient to car pool with Jeremy to the start, knowing that I'll meet with Agnes in San Francisco in the afternoon.

I started running the 8 around the Twin Peaks hills like a dog, going from the front to the back of the pack to take a few pictures and say Hi to the many familiar faces from local clubs. Then I speed up in the first down hill to catch up with the front where 66-year (freshly) old Errol 'Rocket' Jones was having so much fun!

We chatted a bit and, after a few miles, it was time to get the pace back down around 8 min/mile on the long stretch on Chavez at the end of which we found Stan Jensen just setting up the aid station for us at mile 6.

We were still 5 running at the front and, carrying 2 bottles and food, I went on first on 3rd Street then Embarcadero, still stopping from time to time to take pictures. Rain had stopped at this point but resumed on Market, making for long stops for me to take off or put on my rain jacket. I reached the Japan Town aid station first, at mile 13, but just a minute before 5 other runners. We ran together to negotiate the convoluted crossing of China Town, then the short but steep climb to the Coit Tower.

I didn't stop at Chihping's aid station on Lombard, but at the next one on Marina, manned by la crème de la crème of our local ultra volunteers and race directors: Larry England, Rob Byrne, Steve Jaber. And the omnipresent Stan Jensen who arrived at the station as I was leaving.

My pace was now around 8:35 and, since mile 13, I could not feel much juice in my legs. I ran the next 5 miles with Lucas and Kevin and it was getting harder to keep up even at a 8:40 pace. The inflammation started really burning on the way down from Presidio so, when reaching the aid station manned by Hollis Lenderking at mile 25 at the Legion of Honor, I stopped for a few minutes to regroup, fill my bottles and eat a Snickers.

That was enough for Elizabeth to catch-up and not even make a stop at the aid station, she was killing it! Here is a picture she graciously took of me over Land's End, an intriguing place I had never seen before.

We ran the next 5 miles together but, at the end of the long Great Highway, the pain was so tough that I decided to call it a day as there were still 19 miles to cover and the fun was all gone. I painfully jogged the 5 miles to go back to Twin Peaks, where I found a few of the 50K finishers, in a joyful celebration despite the ongoing drizzle. It was meant to be only a 36-mile run today...

Agnes was at Max's house 3 miles away so it was easy for her to pick me up. By the time we left Twin Peaks, I was amazed to see Lucas then Kevin coming up the hill for what would be 50-mile finishes under 6:45! I was amazed because we ran the first 25 miles in 3:40. Maybe the course isn't 50 miles after all (which would make sense as it is called 49-mile scenic drive), or it's much flatter. I'll have to be back to check it. And finish it! On this Sunday evening, Kevin posted his run on Strava, reporting a 46.8-mile distance (the trace is so coarse grain that it's hard to see if they followed the convoluted tour of the Golden Gate Park, but they surely did all the turns in the City, I did witness it! ;-). Still, an amazing performance.

So, what is the deal with this title? Well, after yet another amazing season, it's really time for a break, and nature is here to remind my body to get some rest. I already logged 3,205 miles this year, very close to my 100K/week goal, I can afford taking 3 weeks off.

Here is the second reference to nature in this title: it is about time that we get some rain in the Bay Area and I better used to it, and like it! Ok, today was barely rain, they call it fog in San Francisco, but still, it was enough to get me wet. That's what we hope to be nature's wet revenge after such a long drought.

As for the 3rd allusion to "nature's call": the more I grow up (!), the more I prefer running on trails, deep into natural areas, rather than on asphalt and concrete in a city. I feel drawn by the spirit of Native Americans when I run Ohlone or Miwok, not much when paying attention to the traffic running through San Francisco. Yet, it was really cool to get to visit the City on foot and finally run most of this famous scenic drive. I'm very thankful to Chihping and Keith in particular, as well as the volunteers who made our journey possible and safe today. After 30 years in the making, long live the Hunter S Thompson Fear and Loathing tradition!

With the rain and grey sky, and the low light at the start, the pictures don't stand out, but you may still want to check a few in my Picasa album, online (click on Slideshow).

See you on the trails in a few weeks then. Well, next year! Rain or shine...