Sunday, September 25, 2011

2011 Quicksilver 10K -- 2nd Place

Today was the first day of my "running comeback". This morning I ran a small local race, the Quicksilver 10K., which is put on by my Quicksilver Ultra Racing team. While I didn't win, I did at least manage to come home in second place about 30 seconds back of the winner, Kevin Hunter. Granted he was an older gentleman with gray hair who I believe said he was 53. But hey, I ran in my board shorts and flip flops, so let's just call it even. LOL.

Going into the race I thought I might have a decent shot to win, considering that it was a pretty small field (and about half of the people were running the longer 1/2 marathon distance). But as soon as we started the initial climb I could tell that I was going to have company. Three of us quickly dropped the rest of the pack. It was myself, running shirtless in my Ed Hardy board shorts and my Luna sandals, Kevin Hunter (a.k.a. the fast old guy in the red shirt) who would go on to win the race, and an Asian guy (Ishijima Yoshihiro) wearing a funny bush hat -- who was actually running the longer 1/2 marathon race). We made quite the motley crew I suppose; certainly not your tyical lead pack in a road race.

I tried making a move toward the top of the first climb, but unfortunately I was only able to drop the 1/2 marathon runner. The guy in the red shit stayed within striking distance and the reeled me back in. At about 2 miles into the race we hit a steep section of single track where I always struggle. Sure enough I slowed down and both of my two competitors passed me. That was pretty much the last I would see of the guy in the red, except for occasional glimpses of the back of his shirt.

My wife Amy had given me a lot of crap when I told her I was going to race in my sandals. Which of course only further convinced me to wear them. In the end, it was probably a bit of a dumb footwear choice for such a hilly, rocky, gnarly course. But overall I thought they performed quite well. I think I probably could have closed the last 2 downhill miles faster if I had worn more conventional footwear. But I still managed to run the last two miles in the mid to low 5's, which I was pretty content with (especially considering my lack of training).

Anyway, it's time for me to go ice my heels, pop some Advil, and drink some beer.

Garmin stats.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Lake Tahoe Revisted: A Tale of Two DNFs

Well, it's been over two months since my last blog post. Not to worry though, I'm still alive. And no, I wasn't abducted my aliens or held captive by some clandestine government agency. I've just been laying low. Licking my wounds. Trying to forget about the fiasco at Lake Tahoe back in July where I dropped out of the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 after 50 miles, only half way through the race.

So let's just get this out of the way. Yes, this is the second time I've tried (and failed) to run the Tahoe Rim Trail. And yes, I did even worse the second time around, dropping at only mile 50 compared to my first attempt two years ago where I at least made it to mile 75 before wimping out. And oddly, I was actually in much better physical shape this time. So, where did it all go wrong?

I have only one person to blame. No, not myself. Come on, don't be silly! The blame rests solely on whatever idiot shoe engineer at Salomon was responsible for designing the Salomon Speed Cross 2. As much as I love the aggressive "mountain bike style" tread on the those shoes (see some of my previous posts), I finally had to concede that they just way to narrow and tight for my flat, double-wide feet.

After losing 7 toenails and developing peroneal tendonitis while racing in them, I finally tossed the shoes into the garbage where they belong. I briefly thought about donating them to some charity that provides running shoes for third-world kids, but honestly I would feel horrible if some promising young Eritrean runner lost all his toenails due to running in my crappy shoes.

OK, enough ranting about how much I hate Salomon. Back to the blog. So, after two months of hiding my head in shame I am finally ready to start running (and blogging about running) again. My feet and my pride have both healed up, and I'm starting to build my running base back up. Last week I ran 30 miles (not all at once mind you, but over the course of 7 days). That's 20 more miles than the week before. And that's 20 more miles than the month before.

But in the interest of full disclosure, I haven't been a complete couch potato. Admittedly, I had been drinking a lot of beer. And yes, I did gain 15 pounds. But, I did ran (well, "hiked") a 50K in Woodside in August which wasn't a complete failure with me managing to stumble across the line in 4th place. And I have also been doing a lot of bicycling to keep some base level of fitness and to complete from completely jumping the shark. So it could be worse.

Anyway, last weekend I decided to see just how bad of shape I was in. I signed up for a 50K race at Mt. Diablo. It was hot. And I wasn't particularly motivated. Not surprisingly, about 10 miles into the race I decided I'd had enough. But I was still up on the mountain over 5 miles away from the parking lot. So I ended up logging 15 miles for the day, which was more consecutive miles than I had run since the 50K in August.

Tomorrow morning I am thinking about racing a 10K in my "backyard" at Quicksilver park, and hopefully I can make it all the way (a full 6.2 miles) without DNF'ing. Wish me luck. Let the comeback begin. LOL.