Monday, November 21, 2011

Santa Monica Mountains 50k Race Report

It was rainy and windy from the start.  Perfect temperatures for running and great trail conditions, except for a little slip'n'sliding on the muddy downhills.  It was awesome seeing so many friends racing and hanging out:  David, Evan, Timmy, Christian, Sarah, Tim, Sean, Josh, Jayme, Todd, Patrick, Robert, Vanessa, Todd, Keira, Jesse, Dom, Katie, Jimmy, Kate, Eric, Howard, Keith, Mari, Jorge and many more.

I jumped out in front at the start, I think I run better being chased so I put myself in that position.  Trucking up the first climb, it's easy to look back and see how close people are behind you on this course.  Marcelo Mejia and Dominic Grossman were a minute or two back at this point, definitely too close for comfort.  Heard some people up on the peak cheering as I neared the top, they started singing happy birthday to me (it was in fact my birthday).  Then I saw it was Kate, fully clothed, with Eric, Jimmy and Howard all mooning me.

I couldn't help but do a 6 cheek run by spanking, turned back around and saw the amazing photographer Jayme Burtis catching it all through the lens of his camera.  Thanks for the amazing shots Jayme!

Photo by Jayme Burtis

Wound around the coast before heading inland to the little valley, all gentle rolling hills through here.  Then back into La Jolla Canyon for a nice gentle rocky downhill back to the start/finish area.  This really is a gorgeous area, even in the rain.  Can't wait to run here again in February at the Ray Miller 50/50.

After grabbing a new bottle I headed up the beautiful Ray Miller Trail and I loved how much easier it was to run up this climb in the cool temperatures.  I was able to run with just my InkNburn shirt and shorts, which worked perfectly.  I didn't quite get cold enough for a jacket/windbreaker, but was too cold to go shirtless, unlike the toughguy Keith pictured up at the top.

After cresting the RMT we took the fire road down to Sycamore Canyon and it was super muddy.  I was hoping to clock a sub 5 minute mile on this section, but it wasn't in the cards this year.  Shortly after the turn around I saw Marcelo about 3 minutes behind me, and Dom just a minute behind him.  Dom looked as fresh and goofy as ever so I decided to push it up the fireline trail climb, which connected to the fire road, then back onto the RMT and down to the start/finish area to do it all again more or less.  My wife and I crossed paths at this aid station when she was coming down the RMT and I was about to head it up, stole a quick kiss and we were on our ways.  So proud of her for finishing a tough, muddy 50k with 5k + of climbing for her first ultra!  And today I'm watching her limp around like a 90 year old =)  Love ya honey.

It was great seeing the PCTR RD Sarah again.  Always fun running her races, especially at this race since I won a cash prize, other goodies and she had a birthday cake for me at the finish!  Can't wait to watch PCTR grow and I'm stoked to be the newest member of their racing team.

After we finished up racing 8 of us met up at the Wolf Creek Brewery for delicious brews, grub and goofiness.  Special thanks to Mark for driving all the way out there with only one good arm!

Thanks to all my friends for making this birthday a special one!

THANKS FOR THE UDO'S OIL DOM!  My whole body feels like a zillion dollars today, ah ha ha ha!

Monday, November 14, 2011


My mood is a little weird, as it's taper time.  I've been having great time with friends and family as you'll see in the pictures below.

Nailed the clay, I swear!
Wife & Father in law BOTH outshot me, again.

My wife and I  purchased a sweet little new ride, a Honda Fit, and were loving it.  Kinda weird that neither one of us have a pickup since we both did when we met... But I do see a Tacoma in our distant future.

Elissa & Lucille

I'm excited and nervous about this weekends race: PCTR's Santa Monica Mountains 50k.  Excited because there will be tons of friends there and Sarah always puts on a fun run, not to mention it's a gorgeous course:

A group of us are meeting up at a restaurant, the Wolf Creek Brewery, for amazing food and delicious craft beers post race, can't wait.  It will also be my wife's first ultra, and she's been training in the mountains a bit, so I'm excited to see her trear it up.

I'm Nervous because I haven't put in many solid long runs since Los Pinos and it's too late to sneak any long runs between now and race day.

I'm going to give this race all I've got, then forget about training for three weeks or so.  I'm not going to stop running or anything, but I am going to push the reset button, letting my body and brain soak up the experiences from this year before jumping into planning/training/strategizing for next years races (already have four tentatively scheduled but I'm not supposed to be thinking about them).

After a run a couple days ago, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to a couple friends discuss fun and running long distance races.  The first friend mentioned how he's been racing for awhile and doesn't feel compelled to run races in miserable conditions anymore, that he just wants to run and have fun, sounds pretty logical right?  The second friend chimed in that part of HIS fun with running ultras is being able to keep pushing himself towards goals in the face of high mileage ennui and other times when running flat out sucks.  Note:  this is my skewed perception and faulty recollection of a conversation that took place days ago, so the accuracy of the statements from the participants  may not be 100%.  Regardless, I guess it all depends on your perception of fun.

Cruising down Sam Merrill Trail

So where do you stand in the all run V. all fun spectrum?  I'm presently right about here:

The balancing act of life is tricky and I can't help but be critical of myself in my choices:  why am I wasting so much time running, I should be working on a MSN (masters in science of nursing) degree.  BUT, I am kind of in the prime time of my athletic age, why not spend a lot of free time training and competing while I can?  I love spending time exploring wilderness and it helps balance my life while relieving tons of stress.  This has alway been a facet of my life for as long as I can remember and its important to my being (whatever that means).  I can always get my MSN in a couple years... but it would be smart to do it BEFORE having kids right?  So when exactly are we going to start trying to have kids?  What to do, what to do.