Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 - My Best Year of Racing (Yet)

As I sit here in the 6am dark, cuddling my coffee and waiting for the sun to peak out over the hills and light up the trails, I am warmed by a deep gratitude for what an amazing year of adventure this has been.  Life, work, family, friends, racing - it all got turned up to 11 in 2010. Who would have guessed that my New Year's Eve drunk-dialing equivalent of Internet race registration would have paved the way to an epic year? Invite adventure into your life, and you will be rewarded beyond your wildest dreams.

("My amp goes to eleven" - Nigel Tufnel, Spinal Tap)

I had some PR's, which is always refreshing. A 5:09 in the mile, 1:16:40 in the half marathon3:20:48 in the 50k, and 18:12:17 in the 100-mile. Some of those still have much room for improvement too (I didn't have a crew for the 100-mile, for example). Plain and simple, I'm getting faster, even at age 41. Years of base training (and sandbagging) are paying off. ;-)

I won some stuff, which is fun. I pulled in over $1100 in prize money, the USATF Masters Ultrarunner of the Year award,  and plenty of trophies/goodies. We don't race for the prizes, and the titles seem only impress those outside of the sport, but it makes for good stories to tell. I'm happy to say I blew all the money on beer and pizza within hours of cashing each check (much to the delight of Sophie and Christi); I'm just hoping the IRS sees it as a legitimate expense to offset that income.

I raced faster at repeat races, only to have my ass handed to me by faster runners. It's a good lesson for me to return to races, run them faster then even before, and still get crushed. This happened at XTERRA Nationals and Worlds, TRT, and the Lithia Loop Marathon. Racing is good for taking the ego down a notch, often right after it gave it an artificial boost.

I filled my soul with laughs and memories to last a lifetime. What I appreciate more each year about endurance sports is the simplicity of how they provide the perfect excuse to meet a bunch of great people, go have a crazy adventure in Mother Nature's playground, and laugh, smile, cry, and cheer through all of it. We dare each other to stretch our boundaries, then bare witness come rain or shine. We are all stronger for it - runners, friends and family, volunteers - and it creates an unmistakable positive energy. I saw it at an indoor track in Harlem, in the smiling faces of the great Ohioans at Burning River, the naked joy of Bay to Breakers, watching my Dad picked up two national and one world championship, the gaping smiles of first-time marathoners along the Big Sur landscape, my posse at The Death Ride, and at the cheers of thousands at the finish line at Ironman Hawaii. Any one of these memories can instantly put a smile on my face, and are a hell of a lot cheaper than Prozac.

Adventure gives my crazy life perspective. Have you ever had a day at work knowing you had an 80% chance of being fired, but are far more concerned about the Ironman coming up the following month? How about finding our your wife is pregnant again (surprise!), but being so aglow from the last 100-miler that all you can say is "I can't wait to meet her!". A life of comfort and unchallenged boundaries does little to help you see a world full of possibilities and wonder. Fortune favors the bold.

I got some great pictures. It's hard to explain, but if I have some great pictures and stories to tell at the end of the race, it's all worth it. When the camera is in my hand, I look for the views that capture the day and seem to find them more often. I want to *know* the people I'm running with, rather than just meet them. I want to push the pace, try something new, laugh in the face of adversity, and have an experience worth sharing. I want to live life to have good stories to tell.

So many great life lessons learned, and so many lie ahead.

The sun is peaking through the trees now, illuminating my path through the forest in golden light. I wonder where it will take me today? I don't know, but I bet it's going to be amazing.

Happy New Year, everyone! I look forward to seeing you in 2011. Thank you all for your help in making 2010 so memorable.

- SD

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Splashing Through the Bay Trails Marathon

Last Sunday, I had the great pleasure of joining 250+ trail runners for the inaugural ZombieRunner Bay Trail Marathon/Half Marathon/5k in Palo Alto, CA. ZombieRunner and Coastal Trail Runs sponsored this new two-loop course to highlight some of the great new trails along the Bayshore, and a marathon on new trails felt like the perfect way to cap off a great season. We all got our fair share of wind and rain at this one, but it was a great time!

(Rain or shine!)

(Zombie's Gillian and Don cheer at the start)
(Kermit Cuff goes t-shirt, while the rest of us go Gore-Tex)
It had stormed most of the previous two days (hats off to those who raced on Saturday too!), and the clouds pretty much guaranteed more of the same. Wet and windy, but not too cold. My Oregonian-raised body had no problem with that forecast. Some folks opted for singlets, while others (like me) went for head-to-toe gear. As my friend Eric says, "it's easier to cool off when you're too warm than warm up when you're too cold". I had a chance to get a quick pic with Yolanda Holder, who had just broken the world record for most marathons in a calendar year. The record was 100, and today she's on #104! Bravo!!!

(Me with Yolanda Holder before her World Record 104th marathon)
At 8am, RD Wendell Doman sent us off down a small section of bike path before we hit the muddy access roads. The half marathoners set the pace up front, and we all followed on the thin lines of mud that skirt either side of the puddles. By mile 2, our bodies were spotted with dark brown mud. Such a dirty, dirty race!

(And we're off!!!)
I was a bit embarrassed to admit I had never run on the trails in this area. They are just a stones throw from my former office, how could I not see them? The surrounding wetlands are full of geese, cranes, rabbits, and more, and you feel miles away from town. I enjoyed the scenery as I paced along with Kermit Cuff, who gave me the local's low-down on all the various ways to run the network of trails. Most of it is flat and fast - such a great place for trail speedwork! Kermit was moving pretty fast, and before too long we had pulled out ahead of the pack.

(The week before, peaceful and calm, photo courtesy of Coastal Trail Runs)
As we moved quickly through the "duck aid station" (mile 3.5), it began to rain heavily and my camera took one last gasp before drowning in my soaked glove. So I worked my way up to Kermit again, who was leading the half marathon despite having just raced The North Face 50 last weekend and getting ready for the 24-Hour New Years Day run in just over a week. The geese, rabbit, and deer shot off in every direction as these two strange humans surprised them with their heavy footsteps. As we hit the second aid station (~mile 5) and went into the only hill climb on the course (a whopping 65 ft), I looked back and realized we had about two minutes on all the other runners. Kermit was flying!
(The half marathoners set the pace)
(Lots of great new - and flat! - trails)
As we descended back down into the out-and-back section, any puddle avoidance technique was quickly becoming futile. It was challenging enough the first time around, but with 500+ more footprints, it was a skating rink! It didn't dampen spirits, however, and there were plenty of high-fives going around. It's hard to stop the inner child from wanting to splash a few puddles and get muddy, especially when it's so plentiful.

(Mud-skating along the Bay path)
(Ducks enjoy the pond outside of the first aid station)
After another quick stop at the duck aid station (mile 9), we hurdled over a mile-long string of puddles before crossing a bridge and hitting the thickest mud yet. Hmmm...maybe racing flats weren't the best choice today! Most of us had made the same shoe choice mistake, so it was entertaining to watch the near-spills going on every 50-100 feet. We laughed our way through the mud, both out and back, before hitting the halfway point in 1:24:22. Victory in the half marathon for Kermit! I wished him well before I headed out on the second lap.
(Just a SMALL amount of standing water on the course)
The rain kicked in again, making the trail into a huge mud milkshake (mudshake?). I quickly slowed to 8 min/miles just to keep my balance in the slippery goo, then slowed even more when the headwind hit. It was getting laughably difficult to make forward progress. No negative split today! Ha, ha. But it still wasn't too cold and I was having a great time enjoying the views of the east bay.

(Some puddles are too big to avoid, photo courtesy of Larry Bradley)
(Rachel Grate and Audrey Cole laughed through the entire half marathon, photo courtesy of Larry Bradley)
A short section of tailwind allowed me to kick it into high gear and throw off a rooster tail of mud behind me. I gave a big thanks to the volunteers at the aid station (mile 21) for their fortitude and good spirits - I think they had the harder day! I took a look back and saw Karl Shnaitter and Frederic Garderes, both about a mile back and pushing through the wind. In retrospect, it would have been much easier if we had worked together.

The next few miles were blissfully silent. There is a peaceful stillness to the wetlands, even when the wind is howling, that can soak the body far deeper than the rain. You can witness the animals in their every day routines of scrounging, eating, foraging, and sleeping. Such a pleasant perspective on the holiday preparation madness that would follow soon after the finish line.
(Wildlife at every turn, photo courtesy of Larry Bradley)
By the time I got to the last mud section, it was clear a sub-3 hour marathon wasn't going to happen so I just loaded up on snacks and casually cruised in the last few miles. I crossed the finish in 3:04:05 for first place...a slushy-soft course record that someone can knock off next year.  Now that I've experienced this little slice of heaven, I know it is always here for a welcome mid-day romp. This is a special place to share! Trail running RD's and sponsors are the greatest gift givers. 

(Mohan Dutt brings it home in the half marathon)
My thanks to the great volunteers for braving the storm and putting on a great race. Have a happy holiday and new year, and I hope to see you again soon in 2011!

Cheers, SD

Monday, December 20, 2010

Pacific Coast Trail Runs Announces New Team for 2011

Pacific Coast Trail Runs (PCTR), known for hosting over 25 ultra distance events annually on the US West coast such as the Headlands 100 and the Skyline to the Sea 50k, announced they will be sponsoring a race team for 2011. This is the first year for Team PCTR, but given who is on their roster, you're going to see a lot of them!

The 2011 Team PCTR includes:

When Kermit Cuff isn't helping inner city kids through a 500-mile relay, you can find him at the closest super-long ultramarathon such as the Angeles Crest 100, Headlands 100, Bishop 100k, Moab 100, or crewing at Badwater. He's starting off 2011 with a bang at the 24-hour New Year's Eve run.
Zachary Landman is a fast-rising star in the California ultra community, after being drawn to the sport to raise money for a 4th grade science class and orphanage he had taught prior to coming to medical school in San Francisco. After clawing and scraping his way to a sub-24hr finish at Tahoe Rim Trail 100m, he vowed never to run ultras again upon crossing the finish line. Well, a couple marathons later, he was back on the trails eventually winning Avalon 50 Mile (6:30), Quicksilver 50 Mile (6:50), and setting the course record at Big Basin 50K (4:39), all good preparation for his first Western States in June (which he was able to finish w/ a fast final 20 miles in 16th overall - 18:48.)
Originally from Washington, DC, Charles Lantz began trail running out east and took it to a whole new level once I moved to the Bay Area. Accolades include being a regional champion and attending the National Championships for the XTERRA Trail Run Series in 2009, finishing 3rd overall for his age group in the PCTR Trail Run Series of 2008, and placing at the top of his age group (21-29) in all of his PCTR events.
Joel Lanz specializes in the 50k and 50-mile distances, and is looking forward to upping the ante at Miwok this year. He's pictured here at The North Face 50.

Marla Moresi-Valdes races 50k's most, and has been going even farther this year to feed a passion for fitness that knows no bounds. Don't let the professional mug shot throw you off (it's the only one I could find online) - she's not afraid to tackle the dirt at races like Miwok, Lake Sonoma 50m, The North Face Challenge, and the Headlands.

Larissa Polischuk jumped head first into distance runnning, having logged over 30 races at the marathon distance or further in just three short years.  She has lived in California for five years and has been a trail runner ever since her first Dipsea practice run in early 2006.  2010 highlights include: 2nd place HURT 100K, 2nd place Quicksilver 50 miler, 1st place Angel Island 50K and in 2009 was 1st in her age group and 2nd in overall female PCTR standings.

Brett Rivers lives in San Francisco, CA and trains with a crew of trail ninjas that lurk throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.  He completed three 100 milers in 2010 (HURT 24:40/4th, Tahoe Rim 18:53/2nd, Pine2Palm 22:24/5th).  2011 will bring the Boston Marathon, Western States 100, numerous PCTR races, and weekend adventures in the Sierras for backcountry runs, climbing, and backpacking with friends.
Ian Sharman has yet to meet an ultra or marathon he doesn't like. He posted numerous top ultra finishes in 2010, including a spectacular double at Western States (8th) and Comrades (6:01). winning the Tahoe Triple Marathon, and 26 other distance runs. He has another crazy schedule for 2011, including returning to both States and Comrades, Rocky Raccoon 100, and representing Great Britain at the 100k World Championships.

Caren Spore has been one of the top female ultrarunners in the US for years, having multiple top finishes at Western States, and recently setting the course record at the Quad Dipsea. You will likely find her running anything and everything that is steep, hot, or fast. Reach the peak of a mountain with her (like I did at the Diablo 50m), and you will hear her lion roar!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Don't Forget - Ironman NBC Special Airs Sat, Dec 18th!

Don't forget to watch/set your DVR's for the broadcast of the 2010 Ford Ironman World Championship on Sat, Dec 18th @ 1pm PST on NBC (check local listings). This year's program will be two hours long, using special 3D and slow-motion effects, and plenty of the usual heart-tugging stories.

I saw the duel between Chris McCormack and Andreas Raelert when I was finishing up the bike segment at the event this year, and it's going to make for a great special!

- SD

PS - In case you need some TV goodness today, check out the gaffe at the local coverage of the California International Marathon (CIM) where the news crew mistakes the last place finisher of the 10k with the first place finisher of the marathon. Good stuff starts at 3:03...oops!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

ElliptiGO Test Drive and Review

Ever since I saw the ElliptiGO outdoor elliptical bicycle at The Death Ride last year, I've been fascinated with the idea. At first I thought "why on the world would anyone put an elliptical trainer on wheels"? It seemed just one step away from putting a treadmill on wheels. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was quite practical - you could race around outdoors without the pounding of running, yet be more upright and comfortable than a road bike. It fits a nice little niche right in between running and cycling, and presents a chance to get a helluva workout.

I was able to go out on a test drive in Woodside, CA, with inventor and co-founder Bryan Pate. Bryan came up with the idea after his hip and knee injuries prevented him from pursuing a passion in Ironman and other endurance events. After a 60-second overview in the parking lot of Robert's Market, we headed off into my favorite hills.

(Inventor Bryan Pate shows me the ropes)
 I was surprised at how quickly the motion of the ElliptiGO felt natural. As long as your legs are in motion, it's easy to balance and crank away. The eight gears give ample options for climbing or going fast (I got up to about 24 mph on the flat), and since they shift in-the-hub, you can even find a gear when you're idle or at rest. Within blocks I wasn't thinking about the ElliptiGO at all, and yapping away with Bryan how he and his partner have developed the company behind the invention.

The cross training appeal is evident, and Bryan let me know about the many elite athletes that have used ElliptiGO's and sung their praises. Brian Pilcher, 5k National Champion Lauren Fleshman, Dean Karnazes (who naturally took one 500 miles down Hwy 1 to the start of the LA Marathon to set an "unofficial" record), and more. Each cited similar high points - a way to work the major core and leg muscles with no jolting impact, all while feeling the breeze in your hair. As we cut our way through Huddart Park and began the climb, I had to agree. The workout felt more like stand-up paddle boarding than running or cycling.

I think the ElliptiGO is a great option for the multitude of former runners forced to turn in their shoes to save their knees and hips. In fact, there are so many type A competitors turning to ElliptiGO that this year they had their first World Championship up Palomar Mountain in San Diego, CA. I couldn't find many complaints about the unit, aside from the obvious like "you can't sit down". ;-) I was pretty tired within 40 minutes of cranking on it; with all of the balance required, it's far more of a workout than a stationary elliptical (which, BTW, you can create by mounting the ElliptiGO on a stand).

The ElliptiGO retails for $2199, and is available on their Web site or at a fitness equipment seller near you. There are 21 left of the original 2,000...get it while you can!

- SD

Sunday, December 12, 2010

USATF Announces 2011 Championship Schedule (Mountain/Ultra/Trail)

The Mountain/Ultra/Trail (MUT) Council of USA Track & Field (USATF) announced the 2011 schedule of national championship races at their annual meeting last week. There are some new races in new places (and more prize $$$), and a few of the favorites. Here they are in order of distance:

24 Hour RoadNorth Coast Endurance Run – 09/17/2011 Cleveland, OH ($6k in prize money)

100 Mile RoadBurning River 100m 07/30/2011 Cleveland, OH ($10k in prize money)

100km RoadMad City 100k 04/09/2011 Madison, WI ($6k in prize money)

100km TrailBandera 100K 01/08/2011 Bandera, TX ($2k in prize money)

50 Mile RoadTussey mOUnTaiNBACK 50 Miler – 10/23/2011 Boalsburg, PA

50 Mile TrailNueces Endurance Run 03/05/2011 Rocksprings, TX

50km RoadCaumsett 50K 03/06/2011 Long Island, NY ($1k in prize money)

50km TrailFlagline 50K 09/24/2011 Bend, OR ($2.5k in prize money)

½ marathon TrailFootzone Dirty Half 06/12/2011 Bend, OR ($2500 in prize money)

15km TrailUSA 15km Trail Champs 05/14/2011 Spokane, WA

10km TrailContinental Divide Trail Race 08/27/2011 Laurel Springs, NC

Mountain Running/US Team SelectionCranmore Hill Climb 06/26/2011 North Conway, NH

In addition, there will be a point series for the four sub-marathon races. The trail marathon distance does not have a race yet, but the application process is open until the end of December should any RD want to jump in.

The Bandera 100k is the return of the 100k trail championship, plus a big race in the Montrail Series with Western States slots for winners; that will certainly be competitive (Geoff Roes has already signed on). It's interesting to me that the Burning River 100m and Tussey are "road" distances, since both have a ton of trails, but I'm certainly not going to complain.

If you want to do them all, the calendar is spread out pretty good this year!

- SD

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Tropical Fun at the 2010 XTERRA Trail Run World Championships

I returned to the Hawaiian islands one last time this year to join 1,500 trail runners for the third annual XTERRA Trail Run World Championship at Kualoa Ranch on Oahu. This 21k/10k/5k race is becoming a very big deal, and has grown over 50% this year thanks to the 60+ races in the XTERRA Series pulling runners from all over the world and the reputation of a challenging course with $10,000 in prize money. My Dad and I saw an opportunity to get some beach, sun, and fast trails so we made it a "dude's weekend" to retreat from winter on the mainland.

It was great to have a few days of one-on-one time with the old man prior to the Sunday race. The Outrigger Reef hotel at Waikiki was a splendid location for "acclimating". I often forget our standard family get-togethers provide few venues for deep conversations, much in thanks to eager grandkids, the ever-ringing cell phone, and the matrix of in-laws and siblings time slicing the few remaining hours for rapid fire catch ups. The beaches of Waikiki offer a contrarian repose, with a trifecta of sun, beach, and mai-tais that can eat an afternoon with one gloriously random conversation. These long stretches of quality time, engaged and listening, inevitably unearth new stories and perspectives that permit us to appreciate the men behind the roles of father and son. Time is a wicked cool gift.

(At the start)
(A few clouds for cover, but still a hot day)
Come 9am on Sunday, we arrived relaxed (and quite possibly over-acclimated) for the 12.9 mile romp through the stunningly beautiful Kualoa Ranch. Nobody was allowed to preview the course, so the starting area was abuzz with new runners getting tips from experienced runners like Max King (2-time defending champion), Fujio Miyachi from Japan (5th last year), Christian Friis, Cristina Begy (defending 35-39 age group champ), and George Taylor (75 yrs old and 2x age group champion). Max had some new challengers this year with Brandon Mader (who rocked the Alabama XTERRA Series), Oregon's Tyler Davis (5th at Nationals), and the US Navy's Will Christian all in top form. The Women's race was wide open, with most people putting their money on Sally Meyerhoff after her 2009 American Record in the 10-mile (54:38), or reigning XTERRA Triathlon World Champ Melanie McQuaid.

(Posing with Team XTREME)
(Seriously bad ass Team XTREME, photo courtesy of Eric Wynn/XTERRA)
As I was warming up, I got to meet Team XTREME, a group of military men running the race in full gas masks to raise awareness for military members wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. The masks create 20-25% oxygen resistance, which is, as stated by founder Jeremy Soles, "not nearly as difficult as living with Traumatic Brain Injury, PTSD, or learning to walk again with prosthetics". Wow. There's a little perspective for ya.

At 9:15am, the gun went off and Will Christian, Tyler Davis, and Max King led the pack up the first set of hills. I settled into 25th or so, just behind Sally Meyerhoff, trying to keep my cool in the early miles. Behind me was a snake of runners that seemed to stretch to the sea.
(600 trail runners take on the 21k distance, photo courtesy of Eric Wynn/XTERRA)

(The cannon sends us off!)
(Cruising up the first valley, photo courtesy of Eric Wynn/XTERRA)
(Will Christian, Tyler Davis, Rivers Puzy, and Max King set the pace, photo courtesy of Eric Wynn/XTERRA)
At mile 2, the course took a new turn, heading up into the Valley to connect to some single track. We saw backdrop scenes from the TV show Lost, and films such as Fifty First Dates, Jurassic Park, and what looks like to be a new film about the Lost City of Atlantis. The single track came suddenly, and forced the pack to spread out; I was fortunate to be a few steps ahead of Mark Speck, my likely competition for the 40-44 age group. When we exited the single track to head out towards the ocean (mile 4), I had gapped him by a minute, but had also been gapped significantly by those ahead of me. Oh, cursed single track, you giveth and you taketh away!

(Climbing up to the single track)
By mile 5, I was drenched in sweat from the breeze-less stretches of fire roads that baked my pale white body. It felt like we were running all alone in the thicket, but any clearing would quickly show us that there were folks just ahead and on our tail. Single track may spread us out, but fire roads bunch us back up! I wonder what is around the next corner?

(Richard Burgunder leads a group up an early climb)
(Using my 180-degree swiveling ankles to tackle the lava, photo courtesy of XTERRA)
The views were spectacular, and the trails much dryer than previous years. I took in as much water as I could at the aid station (mile 7) before passing some horseback riders and tacking the big climb. The long exposed stretches quickly drained me, and I had to slow to a walk to keep my composure. Try not to strain that neck looking over your shoulder, Scott!

(Even the fire roads were lush)
(How crazy are these views?)
About a half mile up the 15 degree ascent, I came to a complete stop to allow the tunnel vision to fade away. Hmmm, same spot at last year! I guess that course knowledge isn't doing much to help me avoid the overheating. I got passed by a few people, including Mark Speck who was one of the few brave souls running everything, all of whom put a hand on my shoulder to make sure I was okay. Once the vision was back, I snapped to and charged up the hill again.

(And here is what photos look like when the tunnel vision kicks in)

(From the thicket to park-like clearings)
The back side of the mountain (mile 8) was much more dry than last year, so it was easier to control my speed on the descent (unlike Meyerhoff - be sure to check 3:35 in the video a the end of this entry for her epic spill off the mountain). I charged through the last of the fire roads in hopes to catch Mark Speck, but the clearing in the single track showed that he (and three others) were out of reach.

(Along the top ridge, then down the other side, photo courtesy of Eric Wynn/XTERRA)
(Descents steep enough to need a rope! Photo courtesy of Eric Wynn/XTERRA)
There was nobody behind me, so I cruised in at 1:35:41 for 18th place, 3rd in age group. I was just in time for the kids race! Check out the's the future of trail running coming at ya! Such amazing energy.

Max King (1:16:36) made it a three-peat, despite recovering from the flu, with Will Christian (1:17:56), Hawaii's Rivers Puzey (1:20:54),  Brandon Mader (1:21:48), and Tyler Davis (1:23:07) taking the top 5 slots. Sally Meyerhoff (1:28:58) recovered from her mountain spill to win the Women's division and pick up the $2,000 check, pushing so hard that she was whisked away to medical soon after crossing the finish (she's fine). Hawaii's Kim Kuehnert (1:36:52) and Melanie McQuaid (1:38:11) finished up the podium. [results, press release]
(Max King)
(Sally Meyerhoff)
(Into the finishing chute!)
Before I could even gulp my third Gatorade, I heard them announce my Dad's name at the finish. He did it again! An amazing 1:56 for a clear win in the 65-69 age group. Once more, I am happily upstaged by my father - age group wins at XTERRA Nationals, USATF Trail Championships, and now XTERRA Worlds. He has set the bar quite high for my debut in the 65-69 age group...thank God I still have a few years to train!

(Larry Dunlap, WORLD CHAMPION!!!!)
We sipped some beers at the finish, making lots of new friends, then headed back to Waikiki to swim with a sea turtle and watch my Dad's legs cramp in crazy sporadic patterns. Throughout the next day and flight home, we overheard trail runners talking about their amazing experiences and how they want to "step it up" to even bigger distances. XTERRA is doing a great job feeding this sport! Then again, how could you not with such an epic adventure.

(Top 3 finishers, men and women)
(Tyler Davis helps raise money for CAF with a haircut from Paul Mitchell)
My Dad and I didn't need to say much as we headed to our respective homes, for we had enough beach and trail time to say everything. I am lucky to be able to share these experiences with him, particularly because it was the time he graciously spent with me as a kid that led to my deep passion for the outdoors. Once again, the gift of time yields immeasurable fruits.

And I couldn't be more proud of my World Champion Dad! Such a perfect way to cap the season.

My thanks to Janet, Trey, Emily, Dayton, and the fabulous crew at XTERRA for another extraordinary event. You guys make it easy to add adventure to our lives.

Mele Kalikimaka! (Happy Holidays)

- SD

[PS - Check 4:55 in the video my Dad throwing an elbow at the finish? ;-) ]

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