Saturday, March 27, 2004

Trail racing at the Golden Gate Bridge – SF Coastline 8.5 mile, March, 2004

Got a couple of weeks rest this time around, and now onto race #3. It’s clear that for a series like the Trail Runner Magazine Trophy Series, the winner is going to be good at “how fast can you recover” as much as “how fast can you race”. I’m throwing my training regiment out the window – there’s not enough time to peak and recover when you race every 1-2 weeks.

Race #3 found me under the Golden Gate Bridge, running a quick course down to Baker Beach, along the Presidio, and back again. This course traces a lot of the Escape from Alcatraz run course, so it’s a good one for folks attempting that triathlon, and gives you some practice at hitting the 400 sand steps when your heart rate is already going full bore. You also get a lot of practice at “dodge the spectator”, as it is lined with hikers and tourists during all sun hours. There was a different crowd at this race – a lot of the city folks came out to play, which was fun. It was another Redwood Trails race, so nobody got lost.

I placed third again ( in 1:01:17. I took a huge digger at mile 6, and skidded down the trail on my hands (the first aid tent was more than happy to help pull out all the pebbles), but I don’t think I would have caught Martin Panos and Sam Aranda, both of whom were looking great about a minute ahead of me. I’m already worried about the marathon in two weeks (my first), so best not to push it.

Saturday, March 13, 2004

"No new is good new" - The Redwood Trails of Napa ½ Marathon Trail Run, March, 2004

Only a week later, it’s time for race #2 in the series. At least I think it’s time – since this is the first time Trail Runner Magazine has done the series, it’s hard to say if one has to race every weekend, or if just a few races will do the trick. TRM is expecting 40,000 racers to participate – my guess is there are at least a dozen that will race as much as possible. It should be interesting to see what is the better strategy - race a lot, but not as hard, or race a few races and go hard.

The Redwood Trails of Napa is another great race by Redwood Trails, held in Bothe State Park just outside of Calistoga in the wine country. I thought it was going to be a fairly flat course (vineyards, right?), but I thought WRONG! It turned out to be a fairly steep two loop course, with about 3,200 vertical feet of climbing. The steepness made it a difficult race – you can’t make up time on the downhills when you’re sliding on your ass. Still, it was a great course. You worked three miles up to a ridge, then ran along that ridge in the heat for a mile, then back down the next gulch. Two stream crossings kept you honest.

I placed third ( in 1:50:57, behind my new arch-nemesis Malcolm Dunn (coming in an amazing 13 minutes faster) and Stephen Judge, who passed me a couple of times after taking wrong turns. Everyone was in good spirits, and soon were enjoying the spirits of nearby Napa Valley as well.

Christi and I had stayed at a B&B nearby, who made a wonderful fruit breakfast that I inhaled. We soon after learned an important lesson – NO NEW IS GOOD NEW. I fought stomach cramps for the first eight miles even with just a slight change in diet. Christi soon coined the phrase, and it would be our mantra for race prep from here on out. Routine is a good thing when it comes to pre-race diet.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

The Skyline Ridge 10k Trail Run, March, 2004

This race is one of the first in the Trail Runner Magazine Trophy Series ( that runs from March to September, put on by the folks at Redwood Trails. I ran the 10k option (there was also a 1/2 marathon and 5k).

Skyline Ridge is in the Santa Cruz Mountains, just above Palo Alto. Most of the race is crossing the grassy fields on tight single track, on the west side of the hills in Skyline Ridge and Russian Ridge Open Space Preserves. Those who had done there speed work made good use of the many switchbacks. We lucked out with perfect weather – sunny and 70 degrees - and about 100 of us showed up to race. I suspect my fellow racers in Whistler, Denver, and NY aren’t quite out of the snow yet.

The race went well (I placed first overall), which puts me on the TRM scoreboard. It’s a long season, however, so no need to break out the champagne yet! I didn’t feel anyone on my shoulder until the last half mile, and when I crossed the finish line and turned to shake his hand he had already left for his SECOND LAP. Apparently he was doing the half marathon. Doh! I’m going to have to keep my eye out for Malcolm Dunn. He ended up finishing the ½ marathon at a faster pace than I did the 10k.

I’m quite sore from this race as well – more than usual. I think sprinting down a trail is pretty tough on the body. There’s a lot of racing to go…I should probably get better at understanding who I’m running against so I don’t risk everything to beat a guy who isn’t even in my race. ;oP

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