Quad pretty much rocked again this year, what a freakin good time that was. Going hard, blowing gaskets and having a super time.
Race morning I was dawdling around, talking to folks and taking my sweet time getting ready. I thought I wanted to use the bathroom, lined up (there is only one toilet for the men at the start), then decided after 10 minutes that I really didn't need to go at all. Dawdled around again, lined up for the start , then 20 seconds before the bullhorn goes off Brian Krogmann turns to me and says, "who's that guy in the sunglasses" and I snap out of it. Like magic the fog in my head disappears, the engines fire up and I'm in the moment, running up the road full of fire and fight.
On my last post I talked about how great and excited I felt going into this years race but how I also knew my body wasn't up to the task of trying to beat last years time - my fastest on the course so far. I also mentioned how I hoped for some race day magic to sweep me up to a better performance than I hoped. Well the day turned out pretty much that way.
We start off and I'm firing on all cylinders. I had to pull back a bit as not to burn myself out on only the first crossing. It was one of those mornings, feeling so alive and thankful to be out racing. However like the Firetrails 50-miler back in October, despite moving well, I found myself falling behind my splits again. Feeling good but a bit short on speed. I had told myself that if the race played itself out in the same way as Firetrails did I would relieve myself of the time goal early, enjoy the ride and not put so much pressure on myself. At the first aid station, 4.4 miles into the race I was down 6 minutes from my time last year - exact same thing happened at Firetrails, down 6 minutes at the first aid station. Instead of following the plan however I opted for a more fun alternative, I gunned it to the turnaround. I was feeling too good to back off. At Stinson Beach I cut the deficit by 3 minutes, coming in at 115 instead of last years 112. Hauled it back to Mill Valley at my best possible speed for another 115 for a total of 2.5 hours on the course, 5 minutes down from my 2:25 last year. I dug even deeper and ran the third leg hard like there was no fourth. Legs started to feel like jelly halfway through but I kept on pushing hard for a 117. It was there that I knew that 5 hours wasn't going to happen but psyched that I was going to come close, much faster than the 5:30 I predicted. I left Stinson Beach for the last time at 18th place. I pushed even harder on the way back knowing I had already started to slow down. I wanted 5:05-5:10 and to stay in the top 20. Before the aid station on Cardiac Hill, I get passed by Mike Topper. I was haggard, he looked damned good. He seemed to have come out of nowhere, fast and strong on the stairs and uphill sections. We exchanged greetings, he took off and I felt a bit deflated. On the ensuing technical downhill however I noticed he was more tentative and moving slower so I took that opportunity to chase after, pass and build up as much distance on him knowing there was one long uphill section left before the final downhill to Mill Valley. Well I tried anyway. He caught me on the ensuing uphill but this time we stayed together through the last hill. We chatted about our day as he led the way up. On the final set of stairs back to Mill Valley, my speed being faster on the downhill, I crossed the finish line just ahead of him.
I crossed at 5:09, ten minutes behind my time last year but extremely satisfied and happy about the day. I dug in, dug deep and had a performance I can be proud of. Despite finishing slower than last year I ended up higher on the standings at 17th place. Last years time landed me 27th place. I'll take it! Another runner once said that you race the runners that showed up not the runners who could have had - I agree whole heartedly. Mike came in just under a minute behind me and was first in his age group - 50 and above. Yeah a runner 12 years my senior was schooling me on the uphills of my favorite training grounds, happens all the time and not just the men, women too.
Lots of ice baths this week, good rest, healthy food, no more celebratory ice creams and I should be decent for the last race of my season this Saturday, the Northface 50-mile. Many friends are running, some doing their first 50k/50-mile. My only goal is to finish in decent shape - no death walking or slobbering all over myself.
Mahalo to the RD's of the Quad Dipsea; John "Tropical John" Medinger, Lisa Henson and Errol "Rocket" Jones. More thanks to the volunteers and spectators. There were many, many friends out there working and cheering. Seven down and three more to go for that ten year Quad Dipsea jacket.
Finishing! Photo courtesy of Kara Teklinski.
Hanging out with Ted Knudsen and Brian Wyatt at the finish. I was chasing after Ted but never caught him. Good times! Photo courtesy of Kara Teklinski.
Hanging out with The Endurables and their friends at the finish; Amy, Marla, Tabitha, Larissa and Brett.
Ultra Signup's Mark Gilligan and Ted Knudsen at the finsih. Ted is sporting this years shirt. Not sure how I feel about the pink logo, made even brighter by a black background, but I think I'm secure enough in my manhood to wear a pink logo around town:)