Sunday, June 27, 2010

Zero For Three (But things are looking up)

Yesterday I spent 13 hours in Michigan Bluff volunteering at the aid station with my running club, the Sierra Trailblazers for the Western States 100. By the time I got home my back and feet hurt and I was tired. But as I crawled into my wonderful, comfortable bed, my thoughts were with those runners still out running the American River canyon trails under a full moon as they worked to arrive in Auburn before 11am Sunday.

It was an incredible experience working with other wonderful volunteers and I can't wait til registration opens for next year's run. I also discovered that there are a couple of people who actually know me from reading my blog. I guess I had convinced myself that no one read it so it was no big deal that I haven't updated it.

2010 has been a tough year. My folks have been having some medical problems which has led to a lot of plans changing. Just when you think things are going smoothly, life ups and throws you a curve ball. It's tough to want to update a blog when things aren't very positive.

So here are a few things that have been happening, in a nutshell. I couldn't run Rucky Chucky since I was injured and thought I could recover enough to do AR50. Unfortunately, my dad broke his leg mountain biking so they couldn't watch my kids (for AR 50). I'm not sure how to feel about that, it's a bummer my dad broke his leg but it's also pretty cool that I have a 65 year old father who goes out and rips up the singletrack. So lack of childcare kept me from running but I also believe it's a blessing in disguise. I was in no shape to be running 50 miles and it would have set me way back. Since then I've been able to continue my training in a smart, productive way. As a consolation prize, I WAS able to race our local Daffodil 5K the day after AR50 and I had a great race finishing 2nd in my age group in 23:37. And it was the EXACT SAME TIME I ran it in last year! How do you do that?

And since I still need a 50 mile qualifier for WS100, I've been eyeing Dick Collins Firetrails which I've heard is a wonderful race.

Next up was the Sharkfest Alcatraz 1.5 mile swim. As I've mentioned before, I don't particularly enjoy swimming and therefore, didn't train as much as I should have. Plus with it being such an incredibly cold, wet spring, the 50 degree water in our Fastlane pool wasn't very inviting, even with a wetsuit. The only good thing is that the water of the San Francisco bay felt WARM compared to what I'd been training in.

We met my folks in SF the first weekend of June for the swim. Saturday was absolutely gorgeous and we spent it in Golden Gate park enjoying the warmth and sun. Unfortunately, Sunday didn't dawn as clear. As Pat and I got into our wetsuits and prepared for the walk to the ferry, we couldn't see the island because of the fog. Word spread that if it didn't lift, we may not be able to swim. The ferries loaded and we headed out to the island. I was shocked when I saw the lighthouse on the island but couldn't see the island and we were right next to it! The boats and kayaks were all bobbing around as we waited tensely to find out whether we would swim or not. There is only a short window of slack tide and it was closing fast. My emotions were on a roller coaster. The thought of swimming in that dense fog had me scared shitless. I didn't even know which way was land. After about 15 minutes, word came that due to safety issues, the swim was canceled. We were taken back to shore and it turned out to be just an expensive boat ride. First time in 18 years they've had to cancel the event. Sharkfest offered a consolation "race" within aquatic park but Pat and I decided it was time for breakfast with my family who had shown up and were huddled under blankets being good sports.

So once again I didn't get to do Rucky Chucky. I paid for a bus ride and a finishers jacket at AR50 that I didn't get to use/receive. And now I have unfinished business in SF regarding a certain swim from Alcatraz that I'm not even sure I want to finish. However, the medical issues my family has been dealing with these past few months are getting better and will soon be nothing but a distant memory, when they easily could have gone a more horrible direction. I would happily sacrifice every race entry fee to have my family healthy. There will always be events to do but family is so much more important.

So now that I've got that out of the way, on to happier things. (Actually, one more sad thing). Due to budget cuts, my daughter's elementary school closed for good this year. It's the same school I went to in the 1970's. She will be going to another school next year that I'm sure will be fine but it's hard to lose our historic, small town elementary school. In order to temper the sadness, right after we picked up my (now) first grader on the last day of school, we headed up to Donner Lake to camp for the weekend. It was a fabulous weekend with perfect weather and Caitlyn really improved her skills on her new bike without training wheels.

During the camping weekend, I was able to get up to Diamond Peak ski resort for the first day of the TRT training camp weekend. It was an abbreviated course due to the large amounts of snow up high and I chose the "snow free" route along the Incline flume trail. It was a 6 mile loop that I did twice and it was really enjoyable and still left a good part of the day to get back to my family and enjoy the afternoon at the lake. And to top it off, that evening we got to drive a few miles to fellow ultrarunner Gretchen's house for a great bbq and get-together with other runners.

My running is going well and I've still got a few big runs to get in before TRT 50K mid-July. Things are definitely looking up in all aspects of my life. As things got really rough there for awhile, at least my running started improving which provided a nice way to keep my focus and keep things in perspective.

So back to yesterday. My day started early and ended late but nothing compared to the runners. It was so much fun seeing the front runners streak through and yet remain so polite. So many of them looked like they were just out for an easy stroll instead of being at mile 55 of a 100 miler. I was charged with refilling water bottles/packs and handing out as much ice as possible. It's certainly got me psyched for next year. Hope the lottery gods are good to me :)

Front runners Anton Krupicka and Kilian Jornet weighing in

Eventual winner in 15:07, Geoff Roes

Hal Koerner getting some TV time

How close is that next runner? AJW looks back anxiously while his family crews him

(I love this picture)

Lead woman (and eventual winner) Tracy Garneau gets a refill. She never lost that smile

Catra Corbett shares a quick smile. She unfortunately dropped at ALT

Amy Palmiero-Winters looking strong at MB. She went on to become first amputee runner to finish WS.

Fellow Sierra Trailblazer runner Peggy Davidson gets a hero's welcome at MB. She finished in 29:45.

Congratulations to all the runners in this year's Western States 100. It was a pleasure serving you :)

Now, onward and upward to the next adventure!