Month: October 2008

To overcome…and right into 2nd place

Those who know me personally, or follow Catra’s blog, are probably aware that I’ve had some personal challenges lately. I think that most people who were in my shoes would’ve opted to not do the SF 1 Day considering the circumstances, which is what I initially chose to do, but decided that I had to so I could have closure and move on. My performance this past weekend is a good example of how I managed to change one of my worst experiences in life, into an unforgettably positive one — both of which I will never forget.

My challenges came early on, even before the race began — having to figure out how to get to the race, and where to sleep the night before. With a few e-mails and a posting on the race forum, I managed to get the help of two of my running friends — Nattu Nataraj, and Miki Higuchi. Miki was kind enough to pick me up from SJC on Friday, invite me to a fantastic dinner at Sushi Tomi near her place in Mtn View, then drop me off at the Caltrain station where I would take a train to the city. Once I got to SF, Nattu picked me up, and allowed me to crash on his floor.

The following morning, when we got to the race, there were many runners/crew already setup along the grass lining the path we would be taking. I set my little cooler up in between Bob Harris and Steve Matsuda and Diana Rush — all fixtures of the SoCal running community.

The race started promptly at 9am. I was in a pack of about half a dozen runners, led by Wendell and Sarah’s son Aaron — finishing the first loop in 8:38. I let my adrenaline take control, and unfortunately I did not slow down for several more laps, especially considering that my plan was to average 12 min/mile. When I caught up to Steve Ansell and Beat Jegerlehner, they gave me a lot of crap about going out too fast. I told them they were probably right, but still continued to maintain the same pace, figuring I’d either crash and burn, or have a really good day — I was fortunate that it turned out to be the latter.

If you recall from my previous post before the race, I had some intermediate goals — 50 miles in 9 hours, 65 miles in 12, and an overall distance of 115 in 24 hours. Turned out I hit 50.2 miles in 8:54, then 65.1 in 12 — pretty crazy, huh. I hit my splits dead on, even though I really wasn’t paying attention to my pace or progress, not to mention I pulled those out of my ass, since I’d never done these kinds of races before.

I didn’t really have a schedule for walk breaks — initially, I was planning on taking one every hour, then realized that that was not frequent enough, so began walking every lap. So what I eventually ended up doing was walking from my cooler to the first stop sign along the road, then the slight uphill once we turned right onto the dirt all the way to the top, just past the trash can. This seemed to work for the majority of the race, and only towards the last couple hours did I increase my walking a little further to the trash can instead of the stop sign. The longest walk break I took was 2 whole laps — once with Catra in the middle of the night, and my very last loop I did with Kristen. I did not sit down at all, or stop for an extended period of time. I also did not change my shoes/socks, and only put on a long sleeve and shell at night when it got extremely cold, foggy, and breezy. My nutrition consisted primarily of Shot Bloks and fruit smoothies/juices, with one slice of pizza sometime during the late afternoon.

Most of the time, my laps were pretty uneventful, but there were some memorable moments:

  • Go-Go Cindy bringing me a Jamba Juice
  • My friend Eileen who I haven’t seen since HURT, coming out to cheer me on with her newborn baby and dog
  • Seeing Kristen and Lori and their family, which included Ry (age 13), and Trevor (age 9)
  • Flora, Jo Lynn, Rick Gaston, and Hao volunteering
  • All the messages that people sent throughout the night, which was very encouraging, especially since I didn’t have a crew — thank you everyone!

Although I’ve been doing ultras for about 7 years, I’ve never run in this type of race before, so this was whole new territory for me. I knew it would be hard, but it was much harder than I ever imagined. My quads were thrashed during the race, not to mention my Achilles (the right one especially) were completely swollen. Typically, I only experienced these symptoms or pain after the race, so the fact that these appeared during the race indicated to me that it was not easy, and using the same muscle groups for 24 hours really took its toll. I remember at one point saying to Catra that I would stop at 100 miles, but as I was ready to call it in after reaching that distance, Rick Gaston informed me that I had a possibility of moving up in the rankings from where I currently was (4th). Other than being tired, I felt ok enough to keep going, so I did. I figured once the sun came up, I would get my second wind, and more people would be out to keep me motivated.

Around 7 or 8am, I noticed more people/runners out on the route as I expected, so it was nice to have some company again. I think I had about 113 miles with about an hour left, so I attempted to reach my goal that I had set before the race — 115 miles. I was joined by Kristin who walked a lap with me, and got 114 with just over 20 minutes left. I could’ve squeezed another mile, but was done. My quads and Achilles were screaming, so I ended up with 114.2 miles, which was surprisingly good enough for 2nd place overall, and first place in my age group (40-49). The winner was Shan Riggs, who ended up breaking the course record with a total of 130.2 miles!

The great thing about this kind of race is that I was able to go very minimal — I carried nothing, and ran with my light weight road shoes. On the flip side, I did a lot of rummaging around in my cooler, not to mention the long bathroom detours. which probably added up to at least 2-3 hours of wasted time. Near the end, Sarah and Wendell made the loop into an out-and-back — unfortunately, that meant that I had to go out of my way to get to my cooler, which made my laps at least another minute longer. Now the question remains whether I could’ve used that time to rack up more mileage, or whether I could’ve done something to minimize the time I spent. If I had a crew, I’m certain I could’ve done better — or at the very least, reached my max mileage a lot sooner. I guess we’ll see what happens when I return in 2009.

Psychologically, this race benefitted me in several ways — it was definitely a confidence booster to know that I could run 100+ miles in 24 hours, and also be somewhat competitive. More importantly, this experience allowed me to overcome my fears, sadness, hurt, and pain — both from my running, and more importantly, from my personal life.

My splits:

  • 50 miles 8:54
  • 100K 11:16
  • 65 miles 12 hours
  • 100 miles 19:59

Blog entries:






Around and around and around and around…

This weekend, I will be participating in my first 24 hour event — the San Francisco 1 Day. Those unfamiliar with this race/format — it’s a 1.067 mile loop around the lagoon at Crissy Field, which is located near the Golden Gate Bridge, where we would have to run as many clockwise loops as we can in 24 hours. This is somewhat opposite of how we typically race, where we would have to cover a certain distance, and get timed as to how long it takes.

I have a somewhat aggressive goal, considering my lack of experience in this type of event, but will be attempting to do about 115 miles, give or take. My plan is to cover 50 miles in about 9 hours, then try and get to about 65 miles at the midway point, which should allow me to have about 12 hours to do the remaining 50 miles. Or, if something goes horribly wrong, I should be able to walk the remainder at about 3mph and still reach 100 miles, which is my fallback goal.

There will be live updates on their website which will show everyone’s progress each hour, and there’s also a way to send a message to us.

Live Update

Staying busy

Last Friday night started out with some carbo-loading (I think there are a good bit of carbs in hot wings and beer, right) at Gordon Biersch in Old Towne Pasadena with my friends Vinnie and Dolly. It was a fun new hangout surrounded by the Wish Tree project, and a stage with a live band — nice change from our usual spots.

CIMG6551.JPGSaturday morning, I drove out to Ojai — site of the Coyote 2 Moon event, going on its second year now. There, I met up with H’ard, Mark, Manley, Jenny, Gretchen, and Drew for a training run that started around 7:30 at Thacher School (the new start/finish area for the race), and went up to the fireroad. There, Jenny and Gretchen cut their run a little short as they were planning on heading out to the 9 trails course the following day, so the 5 of us headed down to Sisar Cyn. At the gate, Mark and Manley headed up White Ledge to Topa Topa, and Drew, H’ard, and I continued down to the bottom of the canyon — an 8 mile round trip. The three of us then continued up towards the ridge, refilling at the spring at the campground, and just as we got to the ridge, we saw Mark and Manley on their return. We got to the top around 12:30, so it took us about 5 hours to cover about 19 miles with about 7000′ of climbing if I did the math right. From there, it was mostly downhill back to Thacher, where we finished around 2:30, which gave us a total of 27 miles in 7 hours.

Photos – H’ard and mine.

IMG_0057.JPGLater in the afternoon, I drove down to south OC to Bill Ramsey’s 3rd Annual Oktoberfest party, where I saw a lot of our local running friends. We dined on great food — bratwurst, German potato salad, German chocolate cake, etc. I also got to wash it all down with Bill’s home-brewed beer, which was excellent.

After I left there, I hung out with my good friend Tammy who I’ve known since high school — we recently got reacquainted through Facebook after over 20 years. It was nice to see she hadn’t changed at all, and that we were able to pick up right where we left off.

Tomorrow night, I’m meeting with Eric and Vanessa at their place for some food, and afterwards, we’ll be watching the Primal Quest video.

Friday I have a work function, and am heading out to the Staples Center to catch the Kings game with some co-workers.

Finally, this weekend, I’ll be having my post-AC Potluck at my place.


Training begins

Just when I thought I could take a breather from my 100’s this year, starting this Saturday, we’ll be heading out to Ojai to get some mileage in along the C2M course, with the plan to eventually cover every inch of it before the race.

Coyote 2 Moon Course Map

The loop we’re doing tomorrow is from Thacher down to Sisar, then up to Lion’s with the out-and-back to Topa Topa. From there we’ll head straight to the Ridge Jct to cut out the 8.7 mile loop, then return to Thacher for about 27.5 miles total and lots of elevation gain.

On Sunday, I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at Bill Ramsey’s Oktoberfest party, then a week after is my post-AC event as well. Lots going on…