Month: July 2007

Lights, camera…Vegas!

Later tonight, I’m off to Vegas with Mercy Malick, a good friend of mine I used to live with, to help her finish filming her movie, Tales from the Catholic Church of Elvis. She is an incredible singer, writer, and actress, so I’m very much looking forward to seeing how her movie turns out. I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be doing, but I did get a “call sheet”, although I have no idea how to decipher it — it’s full of terms and acronyms I’ve never seen or heard of before.

The movie started off as a one-person play about her life growing up in Vegas, in which Mercy wrote, produced, and starred in — I must say that based on how the play is, the movie should be quite interesting. Just to give you an idea, the “props” list on the call sheet for tomorrow has the following items: full colostomy bag, airline tix, car seat, diapers, stroller, pom poms, breast stuffing, extendo pointer, notebook, ukulele.

See the trailer here.

Wish me luck…me and Vegas is a bad combination. But me, Vegas, AND Mercy — oh boy.


Blue Planet Run arrives in California!

On August 1st, the team from Blue Planet Run will touch down in San Francisco, then make their way south, arriving in the Los Angeles area this Sunday (Aug 5th). It looks like they’re running down the coast, going through Malibu, Santa Monica, Venice, and Manhattan Beach, before heading inland. I’m hoping to reach Dot in time so that she can let us know which sections she’ll be running so that we can possibly join her. At the very least, I’ll definitely be joining them on their suggested route from Santa Monica to Manhattan Beach, for a total of about 11 miles.

Come on out and run with us!

Check here for their itinerary.

Who’s the pacer?

My weekend started with some trail maintenance work with Gary Hilliard and Gabor Kozinc — they both finished Badwater just a few days prior.  We primarily worked between Red Box and Newcomb Saddle on the sections of the upcoming Mt Disappointment trail races.  I must say that the conditions are excellent — best of any trail I’ve seen anywhere recently.  I’ll be volunteering there if I don’t head out to Leadville early.

After an exhausting day (remember, I’m not used to doing this manual labor stuff), I went home for a quick nap and shower before heading down to OC to meet with Bill Ramsey as he participated in the Relay for Life cancer fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society.

It was a beautiful night with an almost full moon.  Candles, personalized with messages to loved ones lost to cancer, lined the course like an airport runway.  I’m not sure how it was during the day, but there were very few people out doing their laps while I was there.  Team and vendor booths and tents scattered the field, and a sound stage was setup along the side.  Bill’s tent had the most action of them all, as they kept track of us coming in every few minutes, refilled his bottle and tended to his needs, and offered occasional words of encouragement as we came through.  Most of the other teams were done for the night.

When I arrived around 9pm, he already had an entourage running with him — Jess, the Roberts (Cowan and Baird), and another couple (sorry…I forgot their names).  Wow…awesome!  As Bill finished up 65 miles or so, and after chatting briefly with Jess, I got changed and began my pacing duties.  Not too long into it, Charlie Nickel ( arrived to join us for a few laps, and the couple ended up leaving a few laps later.  Jason joined us for a bit too.  Then after Jason left, Earl Towner, an excellent ultrarunner during his day, joined up for a few more.  Somewhere during the evening, Bob Harris made an appearance with his daughter to lend support briefly before heading home.  Pretty cool to see everyone come out and support Bill.

Bill’s goal was to cover 100 miles within 24 hours, and he was well on pace to do so.  The question was, could I keep up with his blistering pace.  Before Earl arrived, we did a lot of walking, but it was still at a pace which I barely managed to keep — that was just walking.  Then once he joined up, for the next 15 miles or so, we ended up running the whole loop except for the short grass infield.  At that point, I was beginning to feel it in my legs — mostly in my knees, which was quite unusual for me, since they’ve never been in pain before.  Then I realized that I hadn’t done that much road-running since I did Comrades back in 2001 — even for marathons, the most I’d be on pavement would be about 4 hours, and only once a year when I’d do the LA Marathon.  I’m sure that having run Vermont only a week before made it even worse.  When we finally hit the 90 mile mark, we both started to smell the barn, but I wasn’t sure if I could do another 10 miles.  Well, having gone the last 25, I couldn’t just leave Bill with so little left to go — a pacer isn’t supposed to DNF.

The sun had come up at that point — 91, 92, 93…only 7 more.  The conversations throughout the run were non-stop and very entertaining — topics ranged from petroleum jelly alternative to gel, Scottish ales and its labeling based on shilling, and getting frostbite at Badwater.  Yes, you really missed out by not being there.

Then it wasn’t long before we clicked through 97 and 98…only 2 more miles!  I had been with Bill for about 7 hours, covering over 30 miles, and even managed to get through the 2-5am period without getting sleepy.  Man, wish I could put in that kind of performance during my races.

Then just before 6am, after finishing up Bill’s 99th mile, Michelle came out to join us, and as we rounded the first corner onto Camino Del Avion, we saw Gabor driving up.  So we all ran the final lap in with Bill — 100 miles, in just under 22 hours!

Congratulations to Bill, who even after experiencing the passing of his brother only a couple days before, managed to put in an incredible performance, in addition to becoming the top fundraiser bringing in well over his goal of $8000!

Way to go my friend…looking forward to running together again soon.

Western States televised

Jeep World of Adventure Sports
Saturday July 28th, 12 Noon Pacific

Witness the jaw dropping, adrenalin pumping, sweat flying adventure of the Western States Endurance Run presented by Montrail®. This event is one of the oldest ultra trail events in the world and certainly one of the most challenging: one day-100 miles. Extreme mental and physical preparation are of utmost importance to each runner, for the mountains, although beautiful, are relentless in their challenge and unforgiving to the ill-prepared.

This was originally scheduled to air on Aug 11th. I hope someone can record this, since I’ll be doing trail maintenance, and will miss the broadcast.

Weekend forecast…and races

Weather doesn’t look too bad for my race in Vermont this weekend — mid-70’s to 80 with 65% humidity, and showers/t-storms. Tahoe will have similar temps, but lower humidity of course. Death Valley, on the other hand, will be a toasty 117 on Monday — that’s just wrong.

The Tahoe 100 mile women’s race should be fun to watch — Sue Johnston will undoubtedly be challenged by Kim Gimenez, Amy Grafius, and Kathy D’Onofrio. Also, Molly Zurn, who won last year’s 50M race will be attempting the 100 this year, and should be keeping them company as well. In the men’s field, Jasper Halekas returns to defend his title, but Eric Clifton, Jeff Riley, and Sean Meissner will make sure that that doesn’t happen.

I’m unfortunately going to miss parts of Badwater, since I’ll still be out in Vermont, but should definitely catch the latter part of the race. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how Jorge Pacheco does, along with the usuals up front — Charlie Engle, David Goggins, Akos Konya, Marshall Ulrich, and Dean Karnazes. Best of luck to Lisa Smith-Batchen with the double, and also to a few local ultrarunners — Gabor Kozinc, Gary Hilliard, and John Radich.

Finally, good luck to ME this weekend! 🙂 Looking forward to seeing my Slam-mates, and hoping to come back with a 100 mile PR.

Off to the airport I go.

Tapered out…

I really wanted to do a decent run this weekend, but had to force myself to take it easy — there would’ve been absolutely no benefit from doing so. There’s less than a week now until Vermont, so I probably should go through my dropbags from WS that have been sitting unopened in my room since the race. I just finished my checklist, and split chart. I’ll have 5 drop bags — Stage Rd, Camp 10 Bear (twice), Tracer Brook, West Winds, and Bill’s. I can probably get by with just one at Camp 10 Bear, but I’m going to have the others anyway. I’m planning on packing tomorrow, which should go fairly smoothly if my list is accurate — it’s getting to the point where there’s less and less thinking involved. Well, I guess it’s a lot easier to prepare for races I’m familiar with — in my case, that’ll be Vermont, Leadville, and AC. Here’s my split chart for a 22 hour pace — the plan is to be ahead of it so that I can beat my time from 2005, which was 22:08.

On Friday, I went out to the Scout Adventure Race in OC — a local event held at the Flying B every year. Ed Shapiro, who I met several years ago is the RD, and he manages to always bring out a decent number of participants (70 teams this year I believe) — many who are actually boy scouts and novice racers just getting into the sport, and a handful of pros. I ended up helping setup the ropes sections — one was a 50 yard tyrolean traverse (see photo below), and the other involved about a 150 ft of slack-lining. I had help from Calvin (who was just up volunteering at WS the other week), and King Rich, who is a fixture in the AR scene who I met 2 years ago at the Coastal Challenge. It was also nice to see some old faces I haven’t seen in a while — Bernice “Princesa” Pierson, Devlin Rambo, Alberto Flores, Barry Adsett, and Kristine Gillis. Missing were Paul and Karen of Team SOLE — they were out in Russia with Paul’s son Jordan climbing Elbrus, which would be his 3rd summit in his quest to become the youngest to do all seven summits.

The race started at 3:30am, and was a Score-O format, which basically meant that racers had a choice as to which checkpoints they wanted to visit — the idea is that the harder to find and farther checkpoints were worth more points. I was going to stick around to help Calvin and Colin who were stationed up at Beek’s Place, but didn’t bring my bike gear, so went home after the meeting. It was probably a good thing, since the last time I rode that section, I crashed pretty hard, and was unable to run properly for a while.

Post WS training

Friday night (yes, night) was my first significant run after finishing Western States — 6 of us started at Chantry around 11pm, attempting to cover the last 25 miles of the AC100. Most people who have done the race will agree that this is the crux of the course — 2 long steep climbs (Wintercreek and Idlehour), and the rest consisting of some quad-thrashing downhills, specifically 5300′ of ups along with 6500′ of downs.

I was a little reluctant to attempt this, but think I needed it psychologically before going into Vermont. Based on how I felt and did, I think I achieved my goal. I didn’t have the bounce I would’ve liked, but expected it considering it was only the second week after running WS. More importantly, my quads were back, and my tendonitis didn’t bother me. Now if only I feel as good during the race as I did during the training — that would be awesome.

So the training run went without incident…until we ran out of water.

Earlier, I was warned by Carmella that Millard didn’t have water available, so decided to drop some off along Sunset at the end of Chaney Trail. When I got there, the bottom gate was closed, so ended up lugging 2 x 2 Gallon jugs of water up the steep hill, which took me almost an hour. I told Larry’s group who was going out earlier in the evening, plus Carmella’s group doing the run Sat night that I’d have water there if they needed it. So during our training, when I ran out at the bottom of Idlehour, I was looking forward to the stash, and felt glad that I made an effort earlier, since there would’ve been no way I could’ve made it back to my car without refilling there. The others in the group were out too — Jeff was letting them take drags out of his bladder, since he was the only one who brought enough. Once I got to the Sam Merrill aid station, I decided to take the Mt Lowe road down instead of staying on course, since I just wanted to get to the water as quickly as possible, and thought that it would be faster. It still took an hour though — the whole time thinking how great it would taste once I got there. When I arrived, I saw that both bottles were gone, and thought that I may have mistakenly been looking in the wrong spot, but soon realized I wasn’t. I couldn’t believe it — someone had taken the water! I looked everywhere, thinking someone may have moved it, but knew that I wouldn’t find it. After searching for a while, I just sat down in the middle of the trail — I felt horrible, like someone had kicked me in the stomach. The rest of the group eventually arrived about 30 mins later, and I broke the bad news to them. Eventually, Jason ended up hopping the fence around the water tank, and got it out of the spigot — didn’t taste too bad, especially when you’re completely dehydrated. Since we were still under the impression Millard was out, we had no choice but to drink that water anyway, but once we made it to the campground, it was flowing as it always was. It still tasted like crap, but that was normal.

So here’s the interesting thing. When I asked Larry the following day whether they saw my stash, he said they came across it around 2am and took about a gallon or so. I got there about 4am, so the water disappeared between that time. Pretty strange…

Remember what comes around goes around.