Saturday, May 22, 2004

Bye-bye toenail

Lost a toenail in my swim masters class this morning. I think my lane mates skipped breakfast. Oddly enough, it doesn't feel that different.

Christi is going to LOVE this one. ;oP

Saturday, May 08, 2004

The Devil Made Me Do It – Mt. Diablo ½ Marathon, May, 2004

The Trail Runner Magazine Trophy Series has been going on for three months now, but they still haven’t posted results on the site ( Unfortunately that’s going to be a curse for me – if I don’t know where I stand, then I gotta keep racing! Maybe that’s their trick – keep us all in the dark so we enter everything we can.

I would like to think there are lots of people doing the TRM Trophy Series, but I’ve only run into a few that are aware of it. It looks like Malcolm Dunn is going to keep racing, but he’s also a track coach so I don’t think he can go every weekend. Well, who knows.

Race #6 found me at Mt. Diablo, an impressive mountain about 40 miles east of Oakland. We’re going to run up the north side, but I’ve heard you can also bike up the west side if you’ve got legs that can handle Alps d’Huez kinds of incline. About 140 have arrived for this race, and again, there are lots of new faces. Redwood Trails has been very busy marking this crazy trail, and has put an aid station right at the top of the 2,400’ peak. Weather is an outstanding 68 degrees.

The pack sorts out to a half dozen runners within the first three miles, and the long climb spreads us out about 4-5 minutes. Matthew Timmer, a tattooed Outward Bounds instructor from Santa Cruz, leads us right up the hill, smiling the whole way. At the top, everyone takes a few seconds to take in the 360 degree views (can you imagine this happening in a triathlon? No way!) and stock up on food. Matthew heads down like a gazelle, and we let him go. 1:51 later, I cross the finish line in third ( Kudos also should go to Mark Strawn, who despite adding a half mile due to a wrong turn, only finished a few minutes later.

As I’m looking back on the last three months of racing, I feel lucky to live in SF. Marin, Castle Rock, Golden Gate, Mt. Diablo, Napa, Woodside, Purisima….all so different, but all so breathtaking. It shocks me to think that most SF residents will never see this side of the Bay Area, but then again, I hadn’t in the first four years I lived here. Props to the race directors for giving us a reason to get out here!

Saturday, May 01, 2004

California's Best Trail Run – Castle Rock 10.5 mile, May, 2004

After recovering from The World’s Toughest Half Ironman, I’ve learned two things about recovery. First, it goes a bit faster if you do light training (walking, slow swimming, etc.) than stopping altogether. Second, a marathon is much worse than a triathlon when it comes to recovery. Maybe I’m just too new at the marathons, but it took me a solid six days to feel right again…and my toenails, well, I’ll talk about that in a sec.

Trail race #5 in the season found me at Castle Rock for a 10.5 mile run put on by Redwood Trails. If you’re only going to do one trail run in the SF Peninsula area, THIS IS THE ONE. It’s an out-and-back course that cuts through the Castle Rock State Park area above Saratoga, diving down into the oaks and manzanita, back up the natural stone steps, across a gorgeous exposed ridge where you can see to the Pacific, and then down along a river briefly and back again. It’s distractingly gorgeous, with just enough incline to keep those who haven’t trained at bay. About 2,000 vertical feet overall, I think.

Within the first two miles, it was down to three runners up front. Myself, the now-lean-and-mean Derrick Petersen, and a cool bloke named Robert Brown. Robert Brown is the UK trail running champion, as well as a pilot for British Airways which lands him in SF and LA quite regularly. He is SUPER fast, a complete gentleman, and gives off this whole 007 vibe. He beat Derrick and me by a solid five minutes, and then told us he was running another ½ marathon the next day. Crazy. Derrick got a well-deserved second (complete with day-glow running shoes), and I placed third (

I should note at this point that my toenails are definitely showing signs of wear. I’ll spare you the pics, but it looks like somebody took a hammer to them. Two are definitely coming off soon. Christi (my wife) already has a “thing” about feet (no touching, please) and my new makeover isn’t helping one bit. Here I was hoping to look sexy in Lycra, and now I have to wear socks at all times. Alas…