Monday, January 18, 2021

Yeti 100 Mile -- 19:07:40


Writing this, 10 hours after finishing this virtual race, I am *so* sore. I don't remember being so sore after a race before, such that sleep was very difficult. (I'm not sure I actually ever fell asleep before getting up a few hours later). Even my forearms are sore! 
But I'm really pleased with how the day went. This was my 6th hundred miler and I set a personal record for this distance by almost 4 hours.

The basic plan was to run four out-and-backs, of 25 miles each, mostly heading south which is easier, with one trip north which has bigger hills and some single-track trails. My goal pace would be 10:30 / mile during the day and 11:30 per mile at night, with 15 minutes of breaks each 25 miles. That would result in 19 hours 12 minutes.

The run basically went pretty smoothly and I was surprised at how closely I was able to stick to the plan, staying within about 10 minutes of my optimistic goal. What made a world of difference was having a different friend join me for each of those legs, in a safe manner. Knowing that someone was waiting for me, along with many other friends following online, helped keep me motivated, too. Also, I had to earn that belt buckle!

I kept up my hydration and energy levels pretty well, I think. I drank about 20 ounces of Tailwind and ate one energy gel (or equivalent) about every 5 miles. I had some other snacks, like Pringles, noodle soup, and two iced coffee beverages at home. Oh, and my friend Suki brought a warm freshly-made quesadilla at mile 85! (The 4th 25 mile leg ended up being split into 3 shorter out-and-backs.)

I want to give a huge thanks to Ned (25 miles), Ana (17 miles), Cesare (35 miles), and Suki (15 miles), for running different portions of it with me.

Thank you again to my family and friends for your encouragement and support!

Lap 1 -- 25 miles with Ned

We started at 7am. Thank you, Ned for getting up so early and driving from S.F. to meet me. Over the previous few days, I had either been sitting too much or sitting in a bad position, as my lower back was bugging me. It wasn't bad, but it was disconcerting. Otherwise, I felt ready! I had a good night's sleep two nights before (thanks partially to a melatonin) and I slept OK the night before (melatonin + Benadryl).

The miles flowed by smoothly and I tried to take it easy. It was good catching up with Ned.

After about 20 miles, I was starting to feel a bit sore. I was hoping that this soreness would "taper off" as the miles continued. My back pain disappeared somewhere along here and never came back.

This was a long run for Ned and his knee started bugging him, so he was glad to finish. I tried not to think about how much farther I had to go.

Lap 2 -- 25 miles with Ana

The crowds were coming to the coast and getting back and forth across Hwy 1 took longer and was a bit more dangerous this time. I was feeling warmer in the bright light of day.

I realized that I had forgotten my bag of Pringles at home, but I still had enough food.

On the return trip, heading north, the winds had really picked up. Ana offered to run in front of me which was helpful. I think we were both starting to feel tired and we just persevered. I was somewhat more sore and feeling some hotspots on some toes. Ana was feeling some chafing and at a water stop I was glad I could lend her my anti-chafing cream.

Ana hadn't been doing long runs recently and her left leg was hurting, so we parted ways earlier than expected; I think it was mile 17 for her. She was able to run home and then bicycle to my house in time to see me at mile 50. Thank you so much, Ana!

Mile 50 -- Cesare is taking over from Ana as my pacer

Lap 3 -- 35 miles with Cesare

Cesare had braved the traffic when he drove to meet me at my house. Thank you, Cesare! He also informed me of a change of plans -- he was going to run 35 miles with me instead of 25, so that Suki would only do 15 (she had been having calf pain). I was very grateful that they had planned this out for me while I was running.

So, I'm halfway done and was basically on schedule. I re-applied Run Goo to all the usual spots. I had no chafing on my nipples and just some minor hotspots on my toes. (I was wearing Injinji socks and my fast road running shoes, Nike Vapor Fly Next%.) I also quickly gulped down some hot ramen soup that Jennifer prepared; thank you, my love!

This was my longest stop. I grabbed my headlamp and battery for my phone, and we were off! Cesare and I headed north for a change. The weather had gotten more overcast and I enjoyed the cool air.

Photo credit: Cesare

Photo credit: Cesare
I realized I was getting some bad chafing around my butt for some reason. We made one stop at this one public restroom that stays open late and I applied some of my Squirrel Nut Butter anti-chafing cream. Onward!
Photo credit: Cesare

We got back to my house at mile 75, restocked, and then went out for two more short bits, to get to mile 85. Astoundingly, Cesare is in such good shape that he easily ran the 25 miles on just two energy gels, then grabbed some nuts and a bar for the remaining 10 miles, and he made it look easy. Thank you so much, Cesare, for the good company and good discussions about stocks, and politics, and health.

Lap 4 -- 15 miles with Suki

Suki! She was waiting for me and Cesare and even had made cheese quesadillas and pancakes! Wow! Thank you! I tried to be quick about getting refueled. I was tired and sore and really wanted to finish this thing. Soon we were on our way.

Photo credit: Suki

Suki originally told me about this Yeti 100 Mile virtual race, and our plan was to run the whole thing together, doing a large loop around the San Francisco peninsula. But with the worsening pandemic and increased restrictions, it seemed to be against the rules to do the whole thing together along with a mobile aid station. Rather than wait indefinitely while trying to stay in shape, I decided to run this solo, doing out-and-backs from my house. We also got permission from the race director to do the race past the deadline.

Anyway, I was so grateful to have Suki with me. We're so close to finishing! Just 7.5 miles out, turn-around, and then back. Suki played some good songs and had lots of energy. She kept me up-to-date about my optimistic schedule. It was looking that I might really be able to hit my 19 hour 12 minute goal! I dug deep for the last few miles and finally finally got to the finish! Whew!

Photo credit: Suki

Random data:

  • Race results -- I think I came in 3rd overall, out of 151. The current first-place runner has a typo and he probably took 25 (or 35!) hours and not 5 hours!
  • I weighed 166.0 lbs at the finish. That was 1-2 lbs less than normal.
  • I used Run Goo on my nipples, toes, and other common chafing points, and that worked great. For some reason, my shorts gave me some chafing on my butt. Ouch. I carried a small amount of Squirrel Nut Butter which I applied around mile 60 which probably helped. Carrying that also helped Ana during her run with me.
  • I found a $10 bill on the ground, picked it up, and then lost it some time later. Easy come, easy go!
  • I think I took 5 ibuprofen, starting at about mile 24. I know this non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) makes the kidneys work harder and so can be dangerous during an endurance activity, but my urine was clear and I was urinating frequently (every 45 minutes?), so I seem to be able to handle this.
  • I carried salt pills, but with all of the Tailwind and gels and cool temperatures (so I wasn't sweating much), I didn't think I needed any additional salt, so I didn't eat any.

Friday, January 01, 2021

Pacifica Runners' New Year's 5K -- 18:15

What a nice way to start the year! Kevin showed us how to accurately run 5000 meters on this track. My time was 18:14.5 which I'm happy about. That is 45 seconds faster than 3 months ago.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Tiki Trot 5K -- 18:58

 I ran this virtual race, along with a few friends (Kenny, Ana, Mor), on a high school track. We didn't know how to exactly measure 5,000 meters so I used my GPS watch. This was a good speed test!

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Quarantine Backyard Ultra

This was a virtual race that I was treating as a training run. The format is to start a new lap every hour on the hour. Each lap is 4.2 miles. The winner is the last person standing! Originally I was thinking of doing 24 laps which would give me 100 miles, but...

  • Lap #1 was uneventful. It's a nice morning in Montara and Moss Beach. 41:14. I walked some of the uphills but that was still a bit fast. I listened to a good podcast by This Is Love, about birds, bird watching, and being a Black bird watcher.
  • Lap #2. 41:18. Listened to a good podcast by This is Love about wolves in Yellowstone National Park. Looking forward to running with Mor for lap #4.
  • Lap #3. 40:44. Feeling good. Getting warmer.
  • Lap #4 39:37. Was probably a little excited and a little too fast running with Mor! He told me about some podcasts he listened to (history of skyscrapers and monetary inflation). Dear reader, it's going to be a long day!
  • Lap #5 with Mor. 42:26. Getting warm.
  • Lap #6 ~42 minutes, with Mor. Laid down for 12-13 minutes. Was feeling sleepy.
  • Lap #7 41:20, with Mor.
  • Lap #8 42:53 with Mor.
  • Lap #9 43:37 with Mor. Mor is done. Thank you so much, Mor! Not many friends can run 25 miles on the spur-of-the-moment!
  • Lap #10 41:47 solo. Mor met me along the way at this shaved ice stand that some kids set up on Main St. They were stingy with the ice, but it was still a nice cool snack. I'm warm!
  • Lap #11 43:12. It's warm. I listened to a podcast on This Is Love about people who loved particular cities. It was interesting. Edit: I put on Run Goo on a hot spot on a toe. That's the second time I've taken my shoes off since 6am this morning. No blisters.
  • Lap #12 42:11. Feeling OK. A little tired and warm. Listened to more podcasts about cities in Italy. I'm half-way done! (50 miles)
  • Lap #14 42:06. (Where did #13 go? lol). Ran with Cassie. Now comes Lap #15 with my daughter!
  • Lap #15 with Claire! 47:10. Kind of tired.
  • Lap #16 (47:11), this time with trail running shoes and on Montara Mt. There's a lot more elevation gain, but I was tired of the old route. I'm thinking of the goals of this event -- it's a training run for Tahoe 200 in mid-September. I'm thinking a 70+ mile training run is fine! I'm thinking of just doing one more lap.
  • Lap #17 done. I'm done! ~71 miles is plenty for a training run. There are 79 runners remaining out of 1200 who started. I don't want to beat myself up too much or get injured.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Ultravirus 12 Hour

With the pandemic in full swing, all in-person races have been cancelled, and I heard about this 12 hour race from a friend, so I thought I would try it out. It also happened to be on my birthday!

The format of the race was to start at 5am and check-in online with evidence of having run 5 miles. There's no partial credit; you have to run at least 5 miles and then you get credit for one 5 mile lap. The winner is the one with the most 5 mile laps completed by 5pm. In the case of a tie in the number of laps, the runner with the faster time wins.

I found the flattest fastest 5 mile course I could from my house in Montara, but it still has some significant hills, with about 330' of elevation gain. I practiced on this route many times. I also practiced the check-in procedure with my wonderful wife and daughter, to minimize my stops so that I could squeeze in as many laps as possible. I thought the absolute maximum number of laps I could complete would be 15, which would be 75 miles in 12 hours.

How did it go? It was quite a long and sometimes challenging day, but was very fulfilling. I ran 14 5-mile laps (70 miles) on my "flat" course that still gave me about 4700 feet of elevation gain. I was 3rd place male out of 387 runners and I won $50! That almost covered the cost of registration and the shirt, so I'm definitely not into running for the money!

I'm super-grateful to have been joined by many friends along the way. Rob ran 15 miles with me (the longest he had run in a year) and he made it look easy. Mor ran 10 miles, including the final lap, which with his encouragement was the fastest of all 14. Julie surprised me with running a lap in the afternoon with me. Ana joined me for a couple miles during her virtual trail marathon. HMB Review sports reporter, August Howell, ran the slowest 5 miles of his life by doing lap 13 with me. Kristan was along the course multiple times and ran about 2 miles with me. Carol and Pete and Jen D. and Michelle and Mandy all cheered me on. Most of all, I want to thank my wonderful wife and my amazing daughter for their support and for staffing an aid station and doing the per-lap check-in process for me.

The HMB Review had a nice write-up on me.

Notes on the laps:

  • Lap #1, started at 5am
  • Lap #2, started at 5:45am
  • Lap #3, started at 6:32am
  • Lap #4, started at 7:19am
  • Lap #5, started at 8:06am. Mor joined me!
  • Lap #6, started at 8:55am. Ana joined for a bit!
  • Lap #7, started at 9:43am
  • Lap #8, started at 10:35am
  • Lap #9, started at 11:25am. Rob joined!
  • Lap #10, started at 12:18pm. Took 46:42. That's 50 miles in 8 hours 5 minutes. Rob ran this one with me, too.
  • Lap #11, started at 1:06pm. Struggled. Rob, on the spur of the moment, ran a 3rd consecutive lap with me. Awesome! This was the farthest he has run in a year, but he made it look easy.
  • Lap #12, started at 1:55pm. Struggling. Diarrhea. Julie surprised me by joining me!
  • Lap #13, started at 2:50pm. Hit 100 km (62.1 miles) at about 3:10:36 pm. So, that's 100 km in 10 hours 10 minutes 36 seconds. Struggling. Tired. Sore. Diarrhea. August, the HMB Review reporter, surprised me by joining me. Later, my wife asked him if this was the slowest 5 miles he had ever run. "Yes, yes it was."
  • Lap #14, started at 3:47pm. I went all out on the last lap; it was my fastest! Whew! My friend Mor surprised me by joining me.
  • Finished: 4:32 pm. 70 miles.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Mt. Umunhum 14K

I ran a fun steep race this morning -- Mt. Umunhum 14K (8.8 miles), with 1,963' of elevation gain, in Almaden Quicksilver County Park. This race is on the calendar for one of the running clubs I'm in, Excelsior, and multiple clubs were competing for points, so it was quite competitive. It was fun meeting up with so many Excelsior runners and other friends and acquaintances, too.

The weather was nice, and I only felt warm briefly in the bright sun on the uphills. I ran every step. The hills are so steep and long, that my ears popped on both the ascent and descent! I don't recall that happening in a race before! I carried a water bottle but could have done without it -- I had expected to take 1 hour 20 minutes and the aid stations are cup-less, but it took me 1 hour 7 minutes 43 seconds. The race results say I averaged 7:46 per mile, which was good enough for 2nd place in my age group. I didn't trip or fall or go off course.

The event was well organized. I want to give a big thanks to 1) my friend Suki for volunteering all day and 2) Excelsior-member Simone for the after-race picnic and 3) the Belmont Runners for the good speedwork sessions. It was also very helpful to have visited the park once before with a Belmont Runners group; it was nice recognizing many of the trails.

Saturday, February 01, 2020

Fort Ord 50K -- 4:50:01

I basically had a solid race and felt pretty good most of the time while still pushing myself hard and doing the best I could. I felt quite warm in the last hour, with a high of 82F according to my watch. Unusually, I ran alone for the second half of the race and didn't even see any other 50K runners in the last third of the race. I finished 7th overall out of 76 starters.

I met my running friends Margaret and Mor at my house in Belmont at 5:15am. We aimed to arrive by 6:45am for the 7:30am start. Gloriously, there were plenty of porta-potties and I was able to go twice without any wait. We had plenty of time to get ready for the race.

The race starts off with 4 miles of downhill and I kept on reminding myself to take it easy. I guessed that there were 15-20 runners in front of me after the first mile. The air was cool and the surrounding grassy hills were pretty in the early morning sun. I noticed one guy not carrying any water bottles and who was wearing headphones and I passed him at one point on a steep downhill. Sometimes I could see far ahead and I caught a glimpse of the first place guy.

My right shoe felt a little tight on my ankle. Oops. I hadn't realized this while walking around. I was using a different shoe-tying technique, the "lace lock" (video), in the hopes of keeping my feet from sliding around. Be wary of trying new things in a race! It was kind of annoying but I didn't think it was going to hurt my ankle. In a longer race, I would have stopped and retied my shoe.

Once we started heading uphill, I heard someone approaching me. I glanced back and it was the headphones guy. "Good morning!", I said, wondering if he wanted to pass me, but he didn't hear me. Soon, he spoke, asking, "How many miles is a 50K?" This was kind of surprising, but I figured he was accustomed to the metric system. "31" I replied. He said this was his first 50K. I asked if he had run a trail marathon before. "No, but I did a 35K once." We talked a bit about our time goals and I said I was aiming for 5 hours and he remarked, accurately, that we were well ahead of that pace. "Yes, but the beginning has a lot of downhill." I replied. He asked if he could pass, and I pulled aside and wished him luck.

Coming to the first aid station, Sandstone, at mile 4.8, I checked my chart taped to my water bottle, to see how far this next little loop is, until we return to this same aid station, 3.6 miles later. I checked my inventory and I had plenty of water and energy gels, so I skipped this aid station. Headphone-guy was right with me and he skipped it, too!

We were now following pink ribbons and I recognized lots of the terrain. I knew we had a tricky left turn about half way through this loop and I was going to warn headphone-guy but he was pulling ahead of me and he was playing music again I think. This left turn is tricky because the markers don't seem to be on a trail -- it's a steep wide cleared area on the side of the hill. I made the turn and looked uphill and didn't see headphone guy, but I did see the guy who had previously been two places in front. Oh oh. Perhaps half a mile later, headphone-guy caught up to me! He had missed the turn but hadn't gone too far off course. I passed him again at Sandstone.

In the next leg, headphone-guy caught up to me again and we chatted briefly again. He said his name was Avi. He was moving well. I thought for sure I would catch up to him later, walking and dehydrated, but I never saw him again!

A little while later, a fast moving runner approached behind me. I thought he might have been the first place runner from way earlier, but I didn't understand why he was there now. I asked if he was in the 100K. "No, I went off course for a while. This is a training run, so it's no big deal." I joked that he got some bonus miles for his race fee. He pulled ahead and I never saw him again.

I think I skipped the next aid station at mile 12.2. Somewhere in the next five miles, I passed a 50K runner near the top of a hill, and someone else caught up to me, but then on the downhill, I pulled ahead of both them. I ran alone for the rest of the race!

I occasionally had twinges of discomfort in both my IT bands around the outside of my knees. But otherwise, I was moving pretty well and felt pretty good.

While hiking up a steep single-track trail, I heard a bang and a commotion in front of me. I glanced up and jumped off the trail, as a mountain biker was going too fast on the downhill. I don't think he could have stopped in time if I hadn't jumped. I was glad I wasn't wearing headphones. "Whoa! Careful!", I exclaimed. Then I yelled after him, "There are lots of other runners out there!".

I was getting warm in the late morning and in the exposed sun. I ran out of water for about 25 minutes prior to the last aid station at mile 24.6, and I was feeling sluggish. I think I was going about 9 minutes a mile on the gentle uphill coming into the last aid station. I filled up, drank a bunch of sports drink from my bottle, and filled up again. Onward to the toughest climb!

This last big climb is quite a slog -- 2 miles of steep exposed uphill, gaining about 570 feet in elevation on this fire road. I slowly jogged almost every step. I caught sight of a bicyclist and gave myself a goal of trying to reach him. I slowly got closer and almost passed him by the time I made the left turn on to a single track and was heading downhill.

I came across a large enclosure with hundreds of goats. Cute! I said "hi" to them.

I passed a handful of 25K and 100K back-of-the-pack runners.

I was moving well, but was getting desperate to finish. I started hearing the sounds of the race cars at Laguna Seca race track, but still had a couple miles left.

Finally, finally, I sprinted up the last short hill and turned left into the finish chute. Whew!

I had a few cramps after crossing the finish line and I enjoyed laying down in the sun as I cooled off. (The start / finish is on the top of a hill and there was a slight breeze.)

I checked the results, and to my astonishment, Avi was the first place finisher! Way to go, Avi!

Then I happened to glance over towards the finish line -- Mor! I hobbled over to him to greet him. He had a good race, too, with even energy levels. Mor and I chatted and ate and drank a bit. While sitting down on the ground, a bad calf cramp hit him suddenly, and I grabbed his foot and stretched his calf muscle, releasing it.

A little while later, Margaret finished! She had a fine race, too.

What went well

  • Basically everything -- I didn't trip or fall, didn't go off course, and had pretty consistent energy levels.
  • My new Hoke One One Speedgoat 4 Wide shoes did well. I like the wide version much better than the standard width.
  • Wearing gaiters and carrying one 20oz water bottle worked fine. 

Things to improve

  • I was getting the beginnings of two blisters on the tips of two toes. There was also one small spot where a nail of one toe had bumped into an adjacent toe. I still want to improve my foot protection for my upcoming Quicksilver 100K and Tahoe 200.
  • My socks left an imprint in the skin on the top of my feet! Their stupid logo, "Feetures!", was so thick that it was pressing into my skin too much. That will be the last time I wear those for a long run!
  • I had tried a new way of tying my shoes, using all the eyelets, and it turned out that my right shoe was just a bit too tight. In a longer race, I would have stopped and retied my shoe. During the race, it was just a bit uncomfortable occasionally.

Random data

  • Took 2 S-Cap salt pills and one ibuprofen during the race.
  • Weighed about 170.4 lbs.
  • GPS watch data
  • Results