|Runners ascending Mission Peak|
Last year I came into Ohlone in the middle of my Western States ramp up, having several 100 - 120 mile weeks under my belt. I was in amazing shape: veins were bulging out of my muscles and erythropoietin (the natural stuff, not the junk you buy from your cycling buddies) was coursing through my blood.
This year unfortunately Ohlone feel during a down period in my training where I was recovering from my Spring racing campaign (Way too Cool, Boston Marathon, and Miwok 100K) and resting up before my ramp-up for Hardrock 100 in July.
Off and Running
Standing at the starting line seconds before the start of the race, I was still debating which strategy to employ. Should I go out ridiculously hard on the first climb like a maniac and try to get an early lead, or should I hang back a bit and run conservatively saving my energy for later in the race? As usual, I opted for the ridiculous/maniac approach. Unfortunately for me, so did Lon Freeman.
Lon jumped out to an early lead and I had to work harder than expected together with George Torgun from Berkley to slowly bridge back up to Lon. Together the three of us crested the first mile and a half climb together. Unfortunately that would be the last I would see of Lon as he eventually pulled back away, running away with the race in a winning time of 4:52:30.
George, who would eventually finish second in 5:08:32, showed an act of great sportsmanship when he stopped several miles into the race to try and help another runner/hiker (who had taken the early start option) who had gotten stuck waist deep in a mud-pit sinkhole! Unfortunately, even with four or five people helping, they weren't able to extricate the runner. Hopefully he managed to get out at some point! Otherwise the mountain lions may have gotten a tasty treat later that night.
Cruising and Cursing
|5th overall and 2nd in my age group|
My hopes for third place were dashed when Erik mad a strong move and pulled a few seconds ahead. I knew that this would be the deciding the move and that if I wanted a chance at third place I would need to stay with Erik now and hope to bridge up to Kevin together. But knowing and doing are two different things and I just didn't have the will power to push hard. I watched somewhat apathetically as Erik pulled away, leaving me alone in 5th place with a slight 30 second or so lead over Remi.
Crossing the finish line in 5th place at 5:15:33, I shrugged mile shoulders and smiled as if to say, "I just didn't have it today... but don't worry, I'm saving myself for Hardrock". Of course, my shrug could have also been interpreted as, "Oh man this race sucks. I'm never going to run it again". Both interpretations could be equally valid.
The Women's Race
I had a nice front-row seat to the women's race as I got to witness the battle for first place first hand at the turnaround point on top of Mt. Rose. As I was running down the mountain I saw women's leader Darcy Africa (a Hardrock veteran and hero of mine) followed only seconds behind by local legend Prudence L'Heureux. And although I didn't catch a glimpse of her at the time, slightly further back was Quicksilver teammate Lisa Hughey who was running a strong steady race.
Darcy Africa held off the competition and come home with the win in 5:27:35, good for 8th place overall! Teammate Lisa Hughey finished 2nd about 8 minutes later in 5:35:50, just outside the top 10 in 11th place overall. Prudence, who struggled with leg cramps, still managed to hang on to 3rd place in 5:57:32.
Other Facts, Figures, and Weirdos
|Women's winner Darcy Africa|
photo by Joseph Swenson
The surprise break-out performance of the race goes to buddy Andy Belk who shocked the world by running shirtless (albeit with a liberal dose of 100+ SPF sunblock) and cracking the top 10 with a 9th place finish in 5:32:34 just ahead of Karl.
Also of note were a couple of brave/crazy/misguided souls who ran the Ohlone 50K on Sunday after having raced the Silver State 50 miler the day before on Saturday! Congratulations and/or condolences to teammates Toshi Hosaka and Sophia Shi for their amazing acts of bravery/foolishness.