Category Archives: PR

ThomBob Kayak 1M Run 5K Relay – 2007

July 14, 2007

Todd Rose and I are paired up again for this fun Team Runners High relay.

Todd is running really well right now and I had a slight improvement in my kayaking time.  (It must have been the zero times I practiced since last year.)  In layman’s terms, we improved… but we didn’t beat out any of the ringer teams.

Big Baz 18K – 2014

February 1, 2014

Decided to try a Big Baz race.  I have heard so much about his events and a bunch of my friends in AREC have run some (or ALL) of them.  Additionally, I am doing Way Too Cool (I’m back) but I need a baseline to determine if I will be ready and decide what kind of pace I will be able to do.

Part of my decision whether I’ll go or not was if other people were going.  Not that I can’t run on my own (I am usually running by myself any way.), but it is a bit of a haul and if I don’t go, I will just find the AREC trail folks and run with them.  Fortunately, Art and Tiffany are going and let me drive out with them.

The course is mostly the Candy Store loop, which I have done before… but not all 21 miles of it.  I know it will be tough, but at least it will be in the light of day.  Oh, no, it will be in the light of day… it could be hot.

However, at the start line, it is pretty darned cold.  It reminds me of a Charlie Alewine or a Robert Gilcrest race, where they are organized, but freewheeling, too.  The pre-race announcements are folksy and most everyone here is a regular.  I don’t feel left out, though… until the race starts and I immediately fall behind most everyone.

The first hill is paved and I don’t want to run it and sap all of my energy.  Also, my left knee and lower back are bugging me (I think I didn’t do my stretches this morning (at 4am).).

Once I clear the hill and begin running on the trail, I am going a lot better, though the trail is technical.  The plus for me on this section is that I am not traversing this in the dark, as I did at Old Goats 50 in 2012.

I didn’t get too far before a tree “stole” my hat.  This happens every once in a while where my hat hooks up on a branch and gets pulled right off.  This doesn’t happen too often, but it IS annoying to get it unhooked when I am running downhill.

My favorite section is where the trail gets less technical and you can see the surrounding environs.  If I was running a little faster, I would be able to see lots of runners off in the distance on another section of the trail, but I don’t really see much of anyone.

The second half of the trail is almost all uphill.  Onthe last technical section of the trail (near to where my hat was poached), I stumbled and fell… but since I was going uphill, I didn’t actually hit the ground.

Finally, I got to the top of the hill, which meant I would be running down the same hill I came up at the beginning.  I get a lot of cheers from people who have long since finished and are changing their clothes at their cars.

When I do finish, in 2:36:48 (about 10th to last), they are just about to do the awards… nearly everyone in our group gets an award, since the race is relatively small.  I got a special “award” from “Big Baz” (not as big as me) – a hat (that I honestly will not wear), but the guy is friendly.  I manage to chug down a large can of Guinness (I didn’t have as much time as everyone else, since they finished so much before me).

I think this was a good test to get ready for Way Too Cool.  My 2-1/2 hour time translates to a 7:20 for 50K, which would put me under the maximum finishing time with a bunch of time to spare.

Browne-Rice Kayak (1M) Run (5K) Relay – 2013

July 13, 2013

This was a previously held event called “ThomBob,” but it died out somewhat when Thom Lacie was no longer affiliated with the Runners High stores.  Or maybe because it was thought that there wasn’t a lot of interest. Well, even though I am a crap kayaker, I still enjoy doing this event.

Back in the day, the teams were required to be more evenly matched, but after a few years, I started to notice that Bob’s kids seemed to be ringers and then the handicap measure went out the window.  Though… if you really think about it, unless a team has two professional kayakers, the odds that a team will automatically win are more based on how they do on the run.

With this in mind, I decided to ask my buddy Mark, if he wasn’t putting on any races that day, because I felt like we might have half a chance to place if my running partner was a ringer.

As usual, on the kayak leg, I was the worst person in my section (the order is: person 1 kayak, person 2 run, person 1 run, person 2 kayak), but Mark ran us back into the top 3.

On my run, I was able to do a sight better than at Boeing, with 25 and change. This dropped us out of the top 10.

Finally, Mark wielded his skills on the kayak.  I thought he might have an advantage seeing as he can get leverage with average length legs.  It made me feel better that this running superhero was just average in the kayak (but he did pick up enough places to get us into 10th).

I hope this event continues, even though the name representatives are getting up there in age.

Rohring Around the Clock 12H – 2013

February 23, 2013

My friend, Jim Tello, is putting on a 12-hour event in Bonita (a few miles north of the US/Mexico border).  This is the guy who sweeps a bunch of races I have been in, therefore meaning that I run with him quite a bit.  Laura is going, too.

The official start of the race was at 6am, but we were OK with not starting right on time, because the drive was almost 2 hours, and neither of us were going to win any prizes.  However, we had some trouble getting out of Long Beach because of freeway construction – apparently, the 405/22/605 interchange is completely closed, so after a few tries, we drove 5 miles down Westminster and then got on the freeway (but it took us 30 minutes to get the 5 miles down the freeway!).  We left pretty early but only found the start by about 6:45am and started when we were ready to go.

As with most 12 hour courses, this was a 5K loop, which would be run in one direction for 3 hours, and then the opposite direction, and so on.  The course parallels a golf course for a bit, then curves around to parallel the road, and then is the shoulder on the road.  All of this is unpaved.  Then it turns onto a paved path through a grassy area, next to the steam train tracks, and then back onto a dirt trail going around a lake area, paralleling another street, and finally through the parking lot and back onto a dirt path by the library (where the “aid station” was located).

I was having side stitches from the get-go, and started out at a fairly slow pace.  The first two loops I did in 36:00 and 36:50, and the next two in 41:00 and 41:30. This led me to believe that I would be walking probably the rest of it, so when I finished my 4th loop, I decided to walk a loop and read my book, New York by Edward Rutherfurd, a historical fiction novel about New York City.

While this seems crazy, reading and walking had been my training to get ready for my 100 mile race last year, and I can read and walk at a decent pace.  By doing so, I could cover the miles and not be bored to tears.  I finished my next 3 loops in 55 minutes (some delay getting my book out), 51:30, and 61 minutes.  This put me at 35 Kilometers AND I was enjoying my book.

However, the hardness of the course was getting to my feet and so I did have to take a number of sitting breaks to relieve the pain.

Taking a load off my feet

Taking a load off my feet

This 8th loop took me an hour and 15 minutes.

In reading and walking the loops, it wasn’t 100% me being engrossed in my book.  When various runners passed by me, occasionally they would walk with me and we would have a short conversation.  I didn’t see a whole lot of Laura, but I did get to walk with “Badwater Brian,” Nickademus Hollon (who later became the 13th and youngest (at 22) to complete the Barkley “Marathon”), and John Wog (who I met at mile 40 of Blue Canyon Trail Race 50M).

I did a couple more loops in 55 and 72 minutes, and ultimately decided that I would continue to go until I finished my book (about 300 pages total reading).

I did my 11th loop in 60 minutes and finished my book midway through my 12th loop.

On the last direction change, I saw Laura and she said that as soon as I was finished, that she was finished, too.  (On the direction changes, you only changed direction when you got back to the aid station.  This creates the effect of runners passing each other in opposite directions, and having a chance to wave or say, “Hi.”)

Having stopped on my 12th loop, I was waiting for Laura to finish whichever loop she was on (she certainly had lapped me a few times).  When she came in, I said, “I’m finished!” to which she replied, “I only need a few more tenths to get 50 miles.”  So I waited for her to get in that last bit of distance.

My distance was 37.2 miles (or 60K) which tied my best (and only other) 12 hour race. Yay.  PR!

Meanwhile, a second 12-hour run was beginning, as well as some of the participants continuing in a 24-hour quest OR 100-mile try.  Mark Vishnevsky came down to attempt a 100-miler (but ended up running a 6-hour run with Michelle).  I think loops are not for him.

Our “finisher’s medal” was a wall clock saying “Rohring Around the Clock” with a Roaring Lion in the center.

We had a quiet uneventful drive back to Long Beach.

With Laura and Steve after finishing.

With Laura and Steve after finishing.

David Hancock Triathlon – 2012

August 5, 2012

Last time I did a triathlon was, well, last year.  My bike is still unridable, due to a squirrel eating the bicycle seat.  It also doesn’t help that I rarely ride the bike.  Little interest.

I worked it out that I would get a teammate and he would do the bicycle section (and if he wanted to swim, we could both swim, but he said that he didn’t like swimming or running… perfect).

The swim is 1 kilometer, and I managed my usual 32:03 (good enough for last place, easy).

Then I walked over to the bike/run transition location, which is about a mile away and waited for my teammate to come in.

When it was my turn to run, I had a bit of a surreal experience.  Tim Hickok, who can kick my butt any day of the week, has a heart arrhythmia and is struggling (I’m not sure how he got through the swim!).  He left just a bit ahead of me on the run, and I passed him up.  In fact, I did the 6.5 mile run (which is NOT flat) in 54:21, or about 8:21/mile.

Too bad I was unable to overtake the 3rd place team in the relay… but it was nice for once not to be at the very end of the pack.

Holcomb Valley Trail Race 33M – 2012

June 10, 2012

I had heard some information about the Holcomb Valley Trail Race, and I had clarified whether it was on the same side of the lake as the Endure the Bear 50K I had done a few years earlier.  It did not.

My friend, Chris (aka Undercover, from the Hash), had mentioned he was interested in doing the 15M race (recently, he ran his first marathon, at age 69, and was really enjoying trail races).  Since the drive to Big Bear is sort of long, he proposed that we go up together and split a room.  We always have had nice conversation at the Hash, and I may have convinced him he could do a marathon, I thought it might be a fun adventure, and a good (different distance) ultra to continue my streak.

We drove up on Saturday morning and decided to take a look at the course beforehand.  I think we intended just to hike up to where the trail became dirt.  However, we ended up hiking up to the start of the Pacific Crest Trail, which was about 2.5 miles away, at elevation, without water, and in my non-running shoes (tennis shoes, but I don’t use them on trail).  We ended up exhausting ourselves somewhat.

When we picked up our bibs, they told us all about the staggered start.  To me, it makes little or no sense.  We start in two-minute increments, based upon race, gender and age group.  While that makes sense for race leaders, this is a small race and also, it separates me from people that I might actually run with (i.e. women who run a similar pace… but will start 18-20 minutes behind me).  I wonder if they thought that a staggered start would be better for the trail?  (The answer is they are bike racers and that’s something they do in those events, but it doesn’t translate well to running.)  We also got our shirts, which are Dri-Fit, gray, and say “HOLOCOMB Valley Trail Race” on them (no year, either).  How much effort did you put into this?

Afterwards, we had an early dinner at an Italian restaurant somewhere along the lake.  Chris’s phone indicated a number of interesting restaurants, but most of them were closed or non-existent.  The Italian place was good, food-wise, if not service-wise.

In the morning, we headed over to the race.  I think Chris started a good 40 minutes behind me (because he was in a shorter race), so I hoped that the timing would work out that he wouldn’t have to wait extraordinarily long for me to finish.  (We are both slow.)

The first few miles were the same miles we covered in our long practice hike yesterday.  The paved part is a lot longer, because we start all the way at the bottom of the road (and will finish that way, as well).  It is kind of nice to have an idea of the trail, but it still sucks, because it’s a lot of uphill, at elevation.

Near the Pacific Crest Trail

Near the Pacific Crest Trail

Since it is mostly uphill, I manage a little better than a 15-minute pace, and therefore am running near no one, because the other 4 people in my division are shorter, younger and faster!

After 3.8 miles up to the Pacific Crest Trail, I head downhill (mostly) on a nice wide fire road, without too much gravel or rocks along the way.  This is very comfortable to run and walk down, because it is not technical in the least.  The trail is not particularly scenic, but there are a lot of nice trees around.  By the next aid station, I have covered 8.6 miles in just under 2 hours.

Now I head uphill for a few miles.  It is pretty exhausting, but I have heard that I will encounter some people I know either at the aid station or en route.  About a mile out of the aid station, I come across my friend Richard (aka Hozer) from the Hash.  He is hiking backwards from the aid station.  I know he always wants to do the entire trail, but he has had some health issues (aka “getting older”) and has reasonably cut back.

The aid station is nicely set up and has a bunch of American flags.  I am offered and kindly accept a cup of champagne (!).  At this point, I am just working on finishing and obviously not going to win anything (as stated previously, those in my division are LONG gone), so why not enjoy it?  I managed a reasonable pace to this station, still managing about 13 minutes per mile.  An AREC friend, Paul Epperson, reaches the AS at about the same time (but he is in the 15 miler).

From here, I leave the fire road and am on a parallel single-track above the fire-road.  I like this quite a bit, because it is more interesting.  At this point, I am essentially heading back to where I started on the Pacific Crest Trail (and the 15-milers are heading back to the finish).  When I reach that point, I have another mile or so to the next aid station.

From this point, however, the make-up of the trail changes from light-packed dirt to a really rocky path.  While it was not difficult up and down, I had to step very carefully, and that markedly restricted my speed.   A little bit of downhill kept me under 16 minute pace, however.  At the aid station, they had limited water (and gosh, we were coming through here again – makes me nervous), and mostly only orange slices.  It was getting pretty hot and I was already struggling with the elevation.

A couple of girls caught up with me and we stayed together for a bit.  Unfortunately, they were (obviously, if they caught up) much faster with me, so we didn’t stay together for long.

This next section was rolling hills at the start, but ended up being a 6.5 mile slow descent to approximately the same level as where we started the race.  The trail was single-track and cut long stretches across the hillside – maybe 3 to 4 tenths of a mile each time.  The biggest challenge (though I enjoyed it, strangely) was this gigantic rock field.  If I thought that the previous trail section was rocky, well, this section was pure rocks.  The only way you could tell that there was a trail was that there was a bit of flattening through it, but walking on the rocks, well, it sounded like walking on broken glass, and it was disorientating to have that loss of balance.  This is hard to describe.  The rocks were all the size of a slice of bread (maybe a bit thicker) and it covered all of the hill in that section and was probably a tenth of a mile long.

So… I would work my way across the rock field, continue another 2 tenths, hairpin turn down, 2 tenths of a mile, tiptoe across the rock field, another tenth, another hairpin, and so on.  The rock field didn’t extend throughout the entire descent, but I crossed it at least 4 times.  I should have been accelerating down the hill, but this thwarted most of my forward progress.

holcombrockfield

At the bottom, there was still about a mile of flat, wide road to the aid station.  While this was welcome after the rock fields, there was no shelter from the sun.  It was probably close to 80 degrees at this point.  The aid station was situated at the end of a road… or rather, at the end of where we were ALLOWED to go.  There was a guard gate of sorts.  We were at the far edge of the park.  Going was slow, nearly 20 minutes per mile… and it was downhill!

I didn’t waste much time (other than refilling my water bottles) and headed up the hill.  At least it was not too technical… but it was hot!

Usually, I sing to myself, but I was too tired and too out of breath to keep myself occupied that way.  I started thinking of puns.  First, I came up with the runners’ favorite rock group – The I.T. Band.  Then I began fixating on something offered at a previous aid station – Iced Heed (Heed is like Gatorade, but fairly yucky tasting and sugar-free.).  And so, I came up with the following story:

Haley Joel Osment (of Sixth Sense fame) is running an ultra.  He gets to an aid station that is run by co-captains.  He needs electrolytes, now!  So, he says, “Iced Heed, Head People.”  (Bad, I know, but I did get a bit delirious in the heat.)

Strangely enough, despite an unsheltered and hot uphill trail, I maintained the same (slow) pace (according to my calculations, 1 second faster per mile) on this uphill slog.

From this location, I knew I would be heading back to the understocked aid station and be that much closer to the end.  I figured it would be mostly downhill, because of the HUGE hill I had just climbed.  It ended up being mostly rolling hills, but untechnical, so I could walk relatively fast and covered the 3.3 miles in about 55 minutes.  When I got to the aid station, they had no more soda, no more Heed, pretzels and a little water, but only enough to fill one water bottle.  Luckily, I usually don’t drink ALL of my water… one bottle is ‘just in case.’

This last section was really hard to bear.  My feet hurt quite a bit, and I had to traverse that same rocky single-track (but uphill this time) back to the intersection with the Pacific Crest Trail and then down the hill to the paved path and the end.  I wasted quite a bit of my time getting through the rocky section, but was able to gallop and speed walk down most of the hill.  The couple of times that I ran, I stumbled on roots… and if I fall, that’s probably IT.  Finito.  Game over.

Once I got to the road (despite not liking to run on the road), I was able to open up and get done in a reasonable time (8:56:00).  I was particularly pleased (technically a PR, since I have never run 33 miles before) because my time was 5 minutes faster than the Endure the Bear 50K, and this race was nearly 2 miles further.

As I crossed the finish line, they handed me a water bottle (?).  A water bottle is really great at the finish line especially when your hands are already full holding… water bottles.  The one plus was that they made some delicious strawberry smoothies.  It was refreshing and hit the spot, but there wasn’t much food of any kind… or if there was, the 8- and 15-mile finishers had taken it all.

I was happy to see my friend, Yolanda Holder, at the finish.  She came in around 9:11.  We could have run together, but she finished about 30 minutes after I did because of the staggered start.  I am including this photo of us (although she cut me out, you can still see me to the left, and Yolanda is no shrimp).

Yolanda (and me hiding)

Yolanda (and me hiding)

Afterwards, I heard about Chris’s adventure.  There was some confusion on the course.  The volunteers sent him the wrong way (to the 8-mile finish).  He got about a mile down, and then turned around and came back to the course and actually do the 15-miler… so he didn’t have to wait as long.

I don’t know about him, but I would NEVER do this race again… unless some major changes occurred, because it was a bit of a disaster.

 

PC Trails Malibu 25K – 2011

March 6, 2011

I have had some difficulty in getting my fitness back to normal, as well as my sleep schedule.  I didn’t help that I pulled an all-nighter at the Rocky Road 100M a few weeks ago.  That race had also been my back-up plan if I didn’t finish Rocky Raccoon.

Still, it was worth it in assisting runners when they need it the most (late at night).

Tomorrow is my 40th birthday, so Jack Novak, Chris Rosario, and Laura helped convince me to run the PC Trails 25K as my last hurrah in my 30s.

This is basically the first half of the Bulldog Trail run (which I have done 3 times) only in reverse.  They have a 50K also, but I do have Way Too Cool 50K in a week.  What I do like about this race is that you can opt out of the shirt to save money… that’s worth it to me, since I don’t really need another shirt (I mean, 500-plus posts essentially equals 500 affiliated shirts – I opt out a lot!).

Possibly the most exciting part of this event was the stream crossing.  It was positively torrential in the morning and they had strung this tiny, thin (but curiously strong) piece of twine across the water to assist people… and people are using it to stay upright.  Everyone and their mother has an I-phone with them, so there is also the crowd at water’s edge trying to secure said phone in some kind of waterproofing (sandwich bag).

The worst problem for me on the course is that the course is essentially a 6-mile uphill climb, a 5-mile descent, and then a bunch of flat rolling hills.  I can’t really run any of the uphill and don’t have much energy left on the downhill.  Jolly good show.

I finished in 3:27, which is slower than I did the Bulldog 30K here in 2001, but a PR, given that I have never done the 25K distance before. My prediction for Cool is that I will come in 21st place in my age group, because I am 20th today (and was 19th at the Sheriff’s Run).