Saturday, February 27, 2010

Mud, Mud and Mud - the Sequoia 30K Trail Race

I am behind in my posting - been a busy last couple of weeks with the baby and work.  But, I have been able to get my runs in.  Last week I ran 15 miles at the Sierra Azul Open Space Preserve.  I left my iphone in the car so I was unable to get pictures.

This weekend, Saturday, was the Sequoia 30K race.  There was a storm in the area so I was quite unsure how the conditions would be.  It rained a lot in the south bay on Friday so I was thinking of backing out.  But, I have the Oakland Marathon coming up at the end of March and needed a good training run in.

I woke up early and make the drive across the bay.  I arrived at the same time as my running friends.  One was coming off an injury, another was recovering from a very long flu and another was running the 50K.  I knew they would be there, but it was great to see your running friends from the get go. I overheard someone introduce herself to someone (I was just standing near my friends waiting to start).  I knew aron was running the race and this person sort of looked like her (from what I could recall) and it sounded like she said her name was aron.  I was maybe 60% sure it was her so I introduced myself and she confirmed that it was her.  It was great to see another person that I knew on my first trail race!

The race started and I felt good.  Though, I was very conflicted.  Two of my running friends can generally go faster than me (but one was injured and one had been sick so they were taking it slower).  I was not sure if I should wait for them or keep going on.  I promised my wife I would try to be back about 1:30/2pm so I wanted to maintain a solid pace.  I ended up going ahead (still feel a little bad).  :(   I enjoy running with people and talking with people, so it can also be very fun to run with your friends.  But, I needed a good training run.

Well if I knew what was going to be a head of me, I might have waited for them.  The conditions were . . . well . . . muddy.  I hate the mud now!  There were a lot of rolling hills.  Which means a lot of downhills.  Which means many muddy downhills.  Oh, I was also running in running shoes, not trail shoes (due to my prior knee problems I only feel comfortable in 1 type of shoe and it is not a trail shoe).  The downhills were a nightmare for me.  I could not stop my speed or, frankly, my direction.  It was very frustrating.  I would try to go slow and then I would build up speed and I could not slow down.  The mud gave me horrible footing.  I felt horrible because I almost ran into a couple of runners at various times (including aron . . .sorry).  I decided (it was early in the race maybe mile 4 or so) that I would have to walk downhill if it looked muddy.  I did not want to hurt myself or, worse, someone else.

I battled the frustration of running in the mud for a while.  I actually was not having that much fun.  And, running a race is suppose to be fun.  Luckily, I ran into this:

The trail is now a little river.

It was great.  I ran through the middle.  My shoes got very wet, but already were anyway.  The good thing is it made me laugh.  I told myself that I just need to enjoy the rest of the race.  If it was muddy and I had to walk, then so be it.  If the trail was full of water, so be it.  That is the beauty of running. You can go out there and do it even when the conditions are not optimal.

So I told myself that every time I feel that I am losing my balance or I have to run through water, I will just laugh and enjoy the experience.  Soon I started feeling good out there.  Enjoying the race.  I ran into someone who was running a 50K and we talked for a little while (it was her 3rd ultra).  I than ran into one of my running friends (the injured one) - he turned around after a while because he did not want to push his recovery.  I talked to him for a while.

The next thing I knew is that I was at the aid station.  I filled up my water.  He told me it was 2.7 to the finish.  I looked at my watch and thought there is no way I can make under 4 hours.  I went ahead and tried to run a little faster to see if maybe I could get close to 4 hours.  I did not have a goal time for the race, but under 4 would be nice.  I kept checking my Garmin and it did not look good.  But, then, out of now where the finish was in site.  I thought is this correct (I had to have a least a mile more)?  This has to be the 50K finish.  Nope, it was the 30K. I finished in about 3:51.  I found out that the aid station was 2.7k away.  I just assumed I had 2.7 miles to get to the finish.  It felt great to finish.

I also came away very impressed with the ultra runners.  To run 31plus miles in those conditions . . . is very impressive!

To show that I was not kidding about the mud, here is some proof:

My pictures of the race came out horrible.  I would check out Aron's blog as she has some good pictures.  Here are some of my pictures:

And, the best part of my day was coming home to Brooklyn:

Friday, February 19, 2010

Brooklyn is two months old today and Joseph D. Grant Trail Run

Today, Brooklyn turned two months old.  It is very exciting.  At times, it seems like she has been with us for a long time.  But, other times it feels as if the two months went by very fast.

Here is a picture of her on 2/14 with the dress I bought her:

I love her so much!

Last week, I ran 21 miles a the Joseph D. Grant Park. The run was very long. There were alot of hills and we took 1 wrong turn which caused a 18 mile run to turn into a 21 mile run.  The trail itself was okay.  There were not many trees to provide cover so during summer it would be tough to do a long run.  There were a lot of hills (many ups and downs).  Going up to 2800 or so feet.  I'll show the run through my poor quality pictures:

As you can tell, lots of hills with little cover.  For the winter it is great though.  You get a lot of good views especially when you get to the top of the hills. 

A view of San Jose

A look out over the hills:

Another view of San Jose:

The trails were wide and open for the most part.  Lots of room:

People in my running group coming up a hill:

One of the lookouts (this one is about 2500 feet):

Another view of the hills:

We were not alone out there, here is someone that kept us company:

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Sequoia 30K signed up and please lower the TV!

Attempt number 2.  I just spend 15 minutes typing and then lost all of my words.

In summary:

1.  Last weekend, I ran 14 miles at Steven's Creek Trail to Shoreline.  I think it was 14 miles.  My Garmin froze on me.  Very annoying, but what can you do?  Run!  So with a frozen Garmin, I ran in the rain and cold a good 14 miles or so.  It was a nice easy run.

2.  The weekend before I ran 17 miles at Rancho.  I ran up to Black Mountain and then around Rancho.  It was a difficult run, but a great day for running. The weather was nice and cool.  Great views of the Silicon Valley (pictures below)

3.  I signed up for the Sequoia 30K trail run on Feb. 27th.  My first trail race.  I thought it would be good training for the Oakland marathon.

4.  I have still been using the treadmill at work often to get my weekday runs in.  My one issue is why do people have the TV so loud?  I mean I am 25 feet away on the treadmill and that thing is blasting.  It is loud for me to hear.  I don't understand.