Wednesday, February 28, 2007

070217 Sequoia 50K - Barely Finish with a Screaming Ankle

(Thanks Will taking a picture for me)

Date: Feb 17, 2007
Race: Sequoia 50K
Location: Joaquin Miller Park
Distance: 49.6K
Profile: 5,030ft gain/loss

Result: 6:04:34, total - 17/54, age group - 7/15, Complete Results

Start (Joaquin Miller) - Moon Gate4.5
Moon Gate - Canyon Meadow11.8



Canyon Meadow - Moon Gate11.1



Moon Gate - Joaquin Miller2.7
Joaquin Miller - Moon Gate4.5
Moon Gate - Moon Gate12.3



Moon Gate - Finish (Joaquin Miller)2.7

Sequoia is held at the local Joaquin Miller Park. The course starts at Joaquin Miller Park and reaches Redwood Park. It has 10K, 20K, 30K, and 50K distances. Both 50K and 30K runners start at the same time. When they come back to Joaquin Miller Park and finish the 30K, 50K runners need to go out and continue a 20K course.

The park might not be as famous as nearby East Bay Regional Parks such as Redwood Park and Anthony Chabot Park. I have not walked around the park either (I ran). However, I can make sure it's a very nice park with wonderful trails after I ran it last year (the race was called Redwood Park).

This year is my second time to do Sequoia 50K. When I did it last year for the first time, I missed a turn at the second loop of 20K and ran to the 10K course. I quickly returned to the Moon Gate aid station and knew I had missed a turn and had to do extra miles and restart the 20K loop to finish. I decide that I need to be careful about the turn this year and hopefully won't make the same mistake.

Initially, I did not plan to run this race because my family wanted me to stay home after I finished Woodside 50K two weeks ago. I promised but then decided to persuade my family. This is because my next race is Ruth Anderson, which is over one month away. Having an ultra event like Sequoia 50K will help me train better for coming intensive ones. Also my family will be away while I am doing Ruth Anderson and American River, so they won't feel my "absence" until the end of April when I run Diablo 50M. Therefore, I should try to do Sequoia 50K and they agree. I signed up by Thursday 5pm cutoff.

By the way, I am also excited to bring my camera Canon SD600, which I just bought a week ago. I expect to carry it in my future running. I will get my blog more vivid. I will be able to tell stories about my run for 100 milers, some remote wilderness, etc. Today is my test and see how I feel using camera during a run.

Start (Joaquin Miller) Meeting Friends

Call me Tanaka. I am intrigued with the starting sentence in Moby Dick. Mark Tanaka is now in Scott Dunlap's recent interview - Mark Tanaka. This is actually second time. First time was in Firetrail 2005 and I did not know who the fast Tanaka is since I just started to run trails. I am proud to be mistakened as my friend Mark Tanaka, but I am afraid that people may think Tanaka is running for fun since I am much slower.

Been there done that. I do not get to the race start that early. Approaching to Joaquin Miller Park, I can see cars fully parking along the street, but I know there are park areas very close to the park. I still keep my finger crossed because these areas seem to be very full. Luckily, I just spot an slot near the entrance, where there is a pickup truck. He kindly lets me park next to his truck. He checks me by calling "Mr. Fu?"

I am surprised and he introduces himself as Will. Now I know him. He is a super fast runner from my town Fremont! I knew him first from Scott Dunlap's Pacifica 50K report - The Pacifica 50k - Oceans, Cliffs, and Smiles. I usually noticed Catra or Kirk from Fremont in ultra's events. In recent months, Will seemed to come out of nowhere (well, in Fremont) but stunned everyone in local races. In particular, I just read his aim to break 5 hr in Ohlone 50K from Scott Dunlap's interview with Mark Tanaka.

I am very excited to bump into him right here. We eagerly start our conversation on training and racing in Fremont. I am amazed when he says that he can run from Fremont to Sunol at 15min faster than my best. And we both enjoy running the whole way without walking. I am impressed with his training to Rose Peak, which I have not done and plan to do in March. His claim to break 5hr is found to be feasible according to his training on Ohlone course. I'm looking forward to a Fremont runner winning Ohlone 50K (since Dave Scott in 90's) this year.

I have only a few minutes left, so I have to be quick to check in and get my number. At the tent, I meet Brian Wyatt, a.k.a. the Hippie runner. He has been darn fast for the past year. He used to run along with me, but now he leaves me in dust and gets to another level of racing. He can do 50K easily under 5 hr. I tells him he could break the course record of 5:10 without a problem, although we both know Andy Jones-Wilkins, the 2005 Western States runner-up, is also in the lineup. (Brian later impressively finishes 5:02:24, 5th place overall.) Marissa is also around. We all in the Woodside two weeks ago, so it seems that we are all doing races after races. These races are great, we just can not help keeping doing everyone. Sending my best wish to them on today's run, I walk around to chat with friends.

I'm also looking for Peter Lubbers. Although we worked in a large company before, we knew each other after I started to run ultra's. To me, Peter seems to be the king of Lake Tahoe. He has been doing Lake Tahoe running events year after year and keeps making a lot of progress every time. In 2006, he even won the unbelievable Lake Tahoe Super Triple race, running two marathons and a 72 mile around Lake Tahoe all in three days! See his Run Lake Tahoe Blog for details. He will no doubt do the same this year (to defend his championship). Plus, both of us will do Tahoe Rim Trail 100M, his first 100 miler. Without seeing him for months, he is now even more fit than ever!

What a great day! It was freezing last year. Now we can feel the warming sunshine. I love this although the concern of "global warming" is still lingering in my mind. I pick up my camera and practice a little "sports photography", while Wendell is briefing the course as usual. In addition to Andy Jones-Wilkins, there is Jon Olsen, who just won Pacifica 50K this year after a couple of great winning last year. What a lineup for today's run!

Start (Joaquin Miller) - Moon Gate: 4.5K, 26:35, 9.27 pace Take Easy on Some Technical Hills

Off we go, our big crowd soon lead into a narrow technical steep and loose footing uphill. The expected winner Jon Olsen easily sets up his pace. He is smart and seems to take time and enjoy. He does not to race right in the beginning because we are mixed with 30K runners and some will run their best in only 30K.

Within the deep and dense woods, we can see great sunshine outside the top of the canopy. On the trails, it's fully shaded. This can be proved by the 3M reflective strips shining on every runners when I take a shot using flash. I also enjoy the run and start to set up my pace. Peter (in red short) catches up with me. I happily let him go ahead and I take picture of him and other others.

Near the first aid station, Moon Gate, there is a short and steep uphill, most of us can run as the legs are still fresh. I spot Maura, who has a very distinct running style. She ran Woodside two weeks ago and passed me while I was chatting with Taylor in the Wunderlich loop uphill. She was amazing that she ran the uphill. Now she did it again. I forget when I will pass her later, but near the end of today's run, she passes me when I am struggling. I find her still running every hills.

Moon Gate - Canyon Meadow: 11.8K, 1:12:26, 9:49 pace
Badly trip my ankle

The Moon Gate aid station is kind of famous as many local races always has this aid station. I was told by Will that Catra will be here, so I immediately pull my camera. Surprisingly, I also see Jerry. I take a picture for Catra and Jerry at the aid station. I jokingly say this is a proof for their service requirement. No doubt, Catra will do a lot of 100 milers this year.

I soon leave the AS. We lead to a steep and loose footing technical downhill. I had a slight trip earlier in the first section, which is fine. Although I am very careful, my Inov8 Roclite 315 still gives me a hardest trip ever on my ankle. I can hear a cracking sound from the joint. It sounds like I am having a fracture. I feel scared at getting such a bad injury at the very start of the race, mile 4, and the very beginning of the racing season. I think about going back and drop, but I decide to give it a try. I slow down in hope of relieving the pain as time goes by.

We start to go up on a steep hill when we get to the gulch, crossing a small creek. We are covered with woods. It's almost 10 o'clock, but still shady here. This is yet another nice area on the course. It's a single track uphill. No one wants to push hard as we have many miles to go. We walk in a single profile. It begins getting some lights as we move out of the gulch.

While we are moving slowing on the rolling hills, some fast runners catching up. They are doing 20K and has made up the 15 min difference between our start times. I can see Will passing me fast on the nearly single track trail. He seems to be very focused so I don;t want to distract him. He aims to win the 20K.

The trail is narrow, but we somehow have a group of runners in the opposite direction. They seem doing a fast training run. While they are passing us, I hear someone calling me "Chihping". I look over my shoulder and guess it probably Oliver Chan. I don't know why he comes here since he is in San Francisco. Or maybe the real Mark Tanaka since he lives close by, but he seldom does group run due to his schedule. Or whatever. Keep working on my legs!

After leaving the steep gulch, we run on the rolling hill until we get to the ridge trail at a steep climb, where I catch up Cheryl and Chris. Based on my last year experience, once we get to the ridge trail, the climb is over and we'll go all the way down to the Canyon Meadow aid station in Redwood Park. When I know they are doing 30K, I feel lucky for them because I need to do this climb again at the 20K loop after this 30K.

We finally get to the ridge. It is wide like a fire road so I can easily move around and take a picture for them. Chris is kind enough take a picture for me.

There is a trick part. The trail is wide enough so we find a runner can not see a turn at the right side into a narrow trail. Well, we almost miss it, too! I should check map. Maybe it's a shortcut!

When we move on the narrow trail. It's actually switch back steep down a canyon leading to Redwood Park. I take the lead while chatting with Chris and Cheryl. They are from Modesto and they know Jon Olsen. In particular, Chris is going to run Boston this year, so I believe he is a fast runner. This looks like his first trail running. Hopefully he will love it although he has a light trip somewhere. This part is a little technical. Running downhills requires a lot of attention. I'm trying to ignore the growing pain from my ankle.

Less than two miles to the turnaround at Canyon Meadow aid station, I figure that it's time to pull my camera to capture some fast runners running back. I catch a lead runner coming back, but I don't know him. He must run 30K only. After seeing a few others, I spot Jon Olsen. He is nice and smiling perhaps seeing my camera. My bad, I screw up and are not able to hit the shuttle right away. Sorry Jon. I'll do better next time. Fast Brian coming afar with a red shirt. Now I am able to take a picture for him. I guess I am about 1.5 mile behind him right now since the aid station is well under one mile away.

Following immediately is Peter. He said he will try something minimalistic. I can see him running without a water bottle! I want to take a picture for the proof, but later I check and find it's a bad picture . My bad again. OK I'll do it better next time. Perhaps I can see Jon or Peter later in the race.

The last quarter mile to the Canyon Meadow aid station is a paved road, the main street of Redwood Park. Along the road sides, there are playground, big pasture field, tall redwood trees, and winding stream. For runners exclusively on dirt, there is always a dirt path. At the end, we lead to the aid station.

Canyon Meadow - Moon Gate: 11.1K, 1:12:09, 10:24 pace Face the Heat with Worse Ankle Condition

It's a populated area at the turnaround. I meet a lot of runners - faster or slower than me. Leaving the aid station, there is about one mile flat surface. This is a popular section, so I try to recall other races I have run here and some turns along the trail.

The climb comes after this in order to get out of the canyon to the ridge. It is gentle in the beginning and grows steeper later. Some parts are switch back and rooted. I still have my camera as I want to take pictures for other firends. Here I spot Marissa. She is smiling and look easy. Perhaps it's her downhill part, but she is always strong at the finish. Although she is about 3 miles behind me at the point, I expect she might catch up with me later before finish. I don't think my ankle will get better.

We are still on the climb, but now the area gets open once we get higher. It's near noon time, so I can feel the heat right now. Climbing plus heat is not a good condition for running, in particular when you are tired. It's no comparison, but I try to imagine what will be like in the Devil's Thumb climb in the heat. I now feel a little dizzy.

Finishing the climb, we get back to the fireroad-like ridge trail. We'll run all the way to the Moon Gate aid station. I try to stay in shade if there is any. I'm saving my water, but thinking how Peter can survive this 11.1 K long section - climb and heat. Hope he is OK. If not and I meet him later, I'd like to share my water.

We pass the turn that we climbed to the ridge earlier. We need to go straight in order to get to Moon Gate. We are still at the ridge, but the trail becomes shadier with more trees along the sides. Sometimes we can look through the trees and enjoy the views of East Bay. I don't know what the city is, but it's a nice treat to be higher.

I pretty much run with a group of 5 runners. We pass each other through the time, but mostly I am behind. Some of them are doing 30K and ready to finish, but I'm on 50K have more to go. At one point, one of us is found screaming on his legs. He stop and cripple. I don't have salt tablets, but I suggest him to take a break to easy the cramp.

I pass the Roberts Recreation Area. It is a nice picnic area with towering redwood trees covering the sky. I have passed it almost every time in East Bay races. I always wonder I can get here from driving because the area seems to be outside of our cities.

I am struggling but able to move. I finally get to Moon Gate aid station. Jerry is gone. Catra is sitting in chair. I have to take care by myself. Catra says I was slow today and I have to explain my ankle problem.

Moon Gate - Joaquin Miller: 2.7K, 18:53, 11:11 pace Crippling at Downhills

Leaving the aid station, I unexpectedly meet Jon Olsen coming on his 20K loop. I am 7K behind him! I have no camera handy, so I lose a chance to take a picture for him. Hope I can see him in another race soon. At least, I'll have some talk with him.

The downhill to the start/finish for the 30K is welcome. However, I need to be very careful so as not to trip my fragile ankle and it's been hurting. I follow a runner and get to the "finish". He is lucky and that's all for him. I have to keep going for the 20K loop. Hey I'm also lucky too as I'll enjoy more. What a nice course! Wish I had no ankle issue!

Joaquin Miller - Moon Gate: 4.5K, 35:40, 12:41 pace Better with a Company

Compared with other 11~12 K sections, it's a short distance from Moon Gate to here and back to Moon Gate. It's only 4.5 + 2.7 = 7.2K. I decide not to stop at the aid station. I continue to run the 4.5K back to Moon Gate.

I meet Peter here and we start together. He looks very fresh after a few minute break at this aid station. Given the bad picture I made earlier, I run ahead of him and take a picture.

He explains the earlier tough 11.1K section back to Moon Gate without a water bottle. I'm impressive how he went though it with minimals. Only by this can we get a glimpse of our limits. We can then make full use of our potentials.

I used to be able to run without drinking for over two hours. Carrying a water bottle makes me feel better in a race, while lets me losing the capability to explore myself. I think I should do something similar in future races as a test on myself.

Peter mention a struggle in his last 72 mile leg in Tahoe Triple and this definitely helps him go through any hardships. We talk about everything from running, training, and nutrition. Peter is kind to slow down for me. This 4.5K climbing section goes by fast although it takes me longer to get to Moon Gate.

Moon Gate - Moon Gate: 12.3K, 1:54:11, 14:51 pace Follow Mile Beeps and Crawl Out of Energy

It was a busy aid station, but there is not that crowded now. It's now near the end of the run and it's probably only 50K runners still on the course. I somehow can not find my favorite potato and no gel at all. Feeling Peter waiting for me ahead, I have to quickly grab a few something that I don't know but look like some energy.

Here comes the same technical downhill that badly tripped my ankle earlier. I'm very careful, but it's more hurting now. I trip my ankle again. It's now on my the other foot. The trip is more gentle before before, but I feel like screaming and need to slow down.

We continue on the same pretty trails. It's rolling hills, but mostly we climb up toward the ridge. The conversation between Peter and me eases the pain a lot. The beep from Peter's 205 at every mile motivates me to keep moving. I'm counting the miles!

We get to the ridge. This section is a loop. We'll go back to Moon Gate. Having taken any carbo (potatos or gel), I start to feel hungry. Somehow I could not get any gel like other PCTR races. I regret not carrying some gel with me. I pick up the things I grabbed at the aid station, but find they are only chocolate chips. I eat all of them, but feel like nothing. Also chocolate is mostly slow burning fat. This does not help much on my hunger. When I become starved, Peter generously offers a gel. It tastes so good, but I still feel our of energy.

Half way on the ridge fire road, I am not able to keep up with Peter. Peter saves enough energy by running slow with me. He now flies away for the final sprints. Later at the finish, a few other runners mention that they are stunned at his speed near the end.

I move slowly and try to enjoy the view. It's been a while with no one around. It's great to be on trails without competition. Later, I found Maura approaching from behind with her distinct running style, strong enough to overcome any hills. Near the end of 50K, she is still able to run all the hills. I cheer for her and get a little motivated to move faster. Spending nearly 2 hours, I finally get to Moon Gate. It's slow, but what an endurance test for me!

Moon Gate - Finish (Joaquin Miller): 2.7K, 24:22, 17:43 pace Ankle Hit by Every Gravity Pull

Catra is not there and she has to go for her work. There is only one volunteer left. I now find potatoes. I don't remember if I eat it or not. It's only 2.7 K to go and mostly downhill, so I pick up some delicious chocolates to enjoy.

Two runners (Trudy and Lester) pass me at this time. Trudy has a wound at her knee. She says it was caused by passing with another runner. I bid them farewell, let them go ahead, and become ready for the finish. Still I meet runners coming toward. I guess they are 50K runners and starting to do the 20K loop.

Facing the same technical downhill, my ankles is hurting more. I try my best to take it easy and I don't want to get very injured. Every step hurts. This reminds me of the second painful 50 miles in my first 100 miler - Tahoe Rim Trail 100 mile in 2006. Now it's only 2.7K! I'll be fine and I am enjoying seeing people taking stroll in the nice park.

Quarter mile before the finish, I decide to be like a runner. I forget my pain for a moment and pick up my pace. I finish it at 6 hr 4 min 35sec. Not better than last year, I determine that I'll come back next year.

Friday, February 16, 2007

070203 Woodside 50K - A Stumble Farewell PR

(Thanks Yuki for taking pictures for me and other friends)

Date: Feb 3, 2007
Race: Woodside 50K
Location: Huddart County Park
Distance: 49.6K
Profile: 4530ft gain/loss (courtesy of Pacific Coast Trail Runs)

Result: 5:22:05, total - 26/84, age group - 8/30, Complete Results

Start - King's Mountain9.71:01:1611:45
King's Mountain - Bear Gulch9.154:269:34
Wunderlich Loop14.31:37:2410:54
Bear Gulch - King's Mountain9.11:07:2111:51
King's Mountain - Finish7.441:379:00

Woodside 50K becomes one of my favorite runs perhaps because the course is pretty and close to where I live - only 40 minute of driving. Today is my sixth time here. As the race fee and toll fee keep going up (I need to cross Dumbarton bridge), I figure that this time might be my farewell one. I had such a thought in particular after I knew that there is a nice and free Telles Rock Supper Bole 50K run next day at my loved Ohlone Wilderness Trail in Del Valle Regional Park. I think I'll go for the free one next year.

Woodside race is held twice in a year - first Saturday in Feb and Dec. Both days are special. The first Saturday in December is Western State lottery and I have lost two years in row. The one in February is for both Wasatch lottery and Hardrock lottery. I apply for Wasatch for the first time and it is my target race for this year. I have been looking forward to the lottery date. Now it is the day, but I try to forget about it. Therefore, I'd like to focus on today's race in order to make the waiting time feel shorter - Once I finish it, the lottery is over. (I know I'm picked up when the lottery result is posted next day).

A race in February means chilly. Yes, in both Woodsides in one year, I always see the frost indicator showing on my car dashboard within a few minutes from home. In the beginning of the race, Sun just comes out, but it is still cold. The temperature will definitely go up during the day, but the "best" of Woodside is you'll run entirely in shades around tall coastal redwoods. Like Wendell usually says right before the race start, "This is your last time to see the Sun." You won't be able to enjoy the warm sunshine until you finish. Don't forget that you'll cover more than 1000 ft to the Skyline ridge, where it can be very chilly and windy at 2300 ft elevation.

Start - Meeting Friends

I soon spot Yuki talking with Wendell. Yuki is about to have all the stuff and go to the first aid station as the service requirement for Western States. We talk about our plan in Western States. I tell him that I better do the safety patrol for the first section only instead of doing it at the second and the third sections as well. Just want to make sure I have enough strength left to pace Yuki since he plans to run under 24 hours and I need to prepare for that pace for him.

There are also a few Yuki's friend coming for other distances. Surprisingly, they somehow recognize me because I am in Yuki's DVD when I crewed and paced Yuki in Western States last year.

Scott Dunlap sits there to take care of 50K check in. I'm excited to see him and explain how I did in Fremont Fat Ass last week (see 01/27/07 Fremont Fat Ass 50K - DNF after 33 miles).

Before the start, Wendell explains the ribbons as usual. Marissa calls my name but I do not recognize her right away. We met in Redwood Park and Firetrail last year. I was impressed with her performance at the end. She passed me at Redwood Park and was a few seconds behind me in Firetrail.

I excitedly spot Kirk. We ran together last week in Fremont Fat Ass. I enjoyed listening to his experience in ultraruning and our common training area in Fremont. He goes around to greet a few others. Nearby is Wally, who inspired me a lot in the beginning of my ultrarunning. When I started ultrarunning, I usually saw Wally and me back to back at the race results and he was normally ahead of me - American River, Quicksilver, Tahoe Rim Trail, but except Ohlone. I was very impressed with his performance given that he is 23 year older than I. This always reminds me of trying harder.

Start - King's Mountain: 9.7K, 1:01:16 Follow my Rhythm but not Chase Others' Paces

Off we start. As Wendell says, we are 3 min early after his description of how ribbons work to show the course. We cross 200 yard or so of grassland and soon lead into a shady single trail. We have nearly one mile downhill before the 1500 ft climb to Skyline trail. Everyone has fresh legs and runs fast at this beginning downhill. A gal even slips her foot and fall.

Not far behind me is Wally. Now I have not seen him for a while (last time is in Firetrail when I met him running on the course). I would like to run with him and chat for a while. However, this is impossible at this fast single track. I know he is usually strong later when I get exhausted. Maybe we can meet again.

I follow a group of four runners. We slow down when starting the climb. We gradually spread out and I fall behind them. This is fine. I keep telling myself to follow my rhythm instead of chasing others' paces. This thought is actually pretty good. In the past I usually ran aggressively on this beginning climbing section and thought that once I get to the King's Mountain aid station, I should be fine with the following rolling hills. However, it never worked and I used to struggle all the way. This time I decided to take it easy and not let my legs tired. I was passed a group of runners led by Mike Nuttal, a gray hair runner who amazingly passes me every time. I was also passed by Robert, who I pass him later at about 25K.

I run alone for a while. It's still up hill, but I feel great. Somehow, I fall on my fours. This has never happened before, in particular at such a slow pace. This looks like indicating a lot of trips coming at the next section.

I am familiar with this section and figure out the aid station is about half mile away and I am near the end of the climb. Now I am passed by a runner, who I soon recognized as Stephen. I call out his name and we start to run together and chat. I first met him in Firetrail last year. I was struggling near the end but he looked fresh and passed me over there. He says the Firetrail is his first 50 miler and he is first time on the Woodside course. I told him how I got lost three out of five times in the past. We soon got to the aid station.

Kings Mountain - Skyline Blvd: 9.1K, 54:25.47 Numerous Hard Trips on my Left Ankle

I am excited to see Yuki at the aid station. He is kind to take picture for me. I tell him that I feel great and actually better than last time. However, I warn him that I will look bad next time he sees me. I do not eat anything at this aid station as a test to see if I can survive with minimal.

I soon leave the aid station and have Stephen lead the way since I know he is faster. I stay behind him for a while, but let him move farther away because I want to keep my pace instead of chasing him. I'd like to enjoy running by myself here. Like the first climb section, this section is pretty and shady with tall coastal redwoods. The trail is very nice and soft with years of fallen leaves cover everywhere. While Stephen moves away from me, I selfishly enjoy the entire trail without seeing anyone else.

Over this section, I somehow keep tripping my left ankle. I'm not sure if this is because lightweight Inov8 315 does not have much support. However, I know my footing is not flat. The rooted trail and the lightweight shoes therefore easily trip my ankle. I have to slow down to ease the pain, while be careful at footing ahead.

I understand there are mile posts along the trail from mile 1 to mile 5; therefore I know how far I am in the trail and I am close to the Bear Gulch aid station.

Wunderlich Loop: 14.3K, 1:37.24 Struggle on the Long Climb

This 14.3K or 9 mile loop is the toughest part. We need to go down over 1200ft and climb up the same to complete the loop. So I drink enough and eat enough salty potato pieces. On leaving, I grab three packets of Clif gels.

Wunderlich, here I come with gravitation! I do not push myself very hard going down in order to save for the later climb. Also when going to lower altitude, I can feel the rising temperature. This motivates me to drink more, but similarly I try not to in order to save for the later climb.

Soon I can hear two runners led by Dana approaching from behind on the downhill. I still keep my pace not chasing them and let them pass me. I also see two lead runners coming up with Michael Buchanan at the front. This is the earliest moment that I have ever seen the front runner before, while I am running better than before. Therefore, he looks like having a record win today after his winning in Helen Klein 50 miles and Quad Dipsea. They are about 4 minutes apart. Their pace on the uphill is almost the same as I go down. Amazing!

The downhill takes me over 20 minutes. I figure I will spend over 30 minutes later on the climb. At the end of the downhill, we get to an altitude of 1000ft (there is a sign) and I can feel the cozy temperature compared with the chilly windy at the top. I pass a small pond and I guess it's the "Wunderlich", aka wonder lake in German? Now I start the uphill with power walk at easy pace. It will be a long way up. I start to intake energy and try to tear open a clif gel but could not. My finger is weak and the packet is tough. This worries me because it means I won't have energy supply for the remaining of the loop. I have to rely on the few potato pieces in my body that I ate at the aid station.

Here comes a young man (Taylor) pushing very hard. Unlike me, he is very sweaty. We chat a bit. He is very excited and enjoys this course. He plans to do American River next. We are then passed by a young girl (Maura), so he decides to take off. I give him my best wish and he would like to see me at the finish. I love such a nice atmosphere in ultrarunning or trail running.

After power walk and jogging, I decide to speed up and just run the hills. I know the aid station is not far at last. I should get a break over there and a short down hill after that. I catch up Robert, who passed me earlier in the very beginning but looks struggling. I know I'm a little struggling but with high spirits.

As I run away from Robert, I get close to the Aid Station. I stop there to eat enough. A volunteer helps me open the Clif gels. I quickly swallow two and keep one for the next section as they run out of Clif gel. As I am ready to leave, Robert and Daniel Wann also coming.

Skyline Blvd - Kings Mountain: 9.1K, 1:07.21 Struggling on Rolling Hills

I quickly pick up my pace as I am well fed and want to take advantage at the beginning downhill. I wish I can go through this section and then I'll have the finish in mind. Starting at mile 5 post, I keep counting and look forward to the next few mile posts.

At about half, I find Daniel approaching from 100 yards behind. I am tired, so I decide to let him pass if he catches up. When he is right behind me, I tell him with fading determination that you are the only one I'll let you pass. Away he moves from me. Soon another runner passes us as well. I see him a couple of times last year. He is young and fast.

I also met Kati when she runs toward me. She looks fine. I don't know what distance she's running - 35K or 50K because she runs in the opposite direction at this moment. Perhaps she had issues earlier. We stop for short time talking about the TRT last year. Later, I can not find her Woodside result and she probably misses the cutoff.

I know King's Mountain Road will approach from the left hand side near the aid station. Here it is when I feel the road half mile away and this motivates me to run faster as the aid station is not far. I can see Yuki chatting with other volunteers, while I am struggling to the aid station. Walking across, I look very exhausted. I do promise Yuki to show him my bad look!

Kings Mountain - Finish: 7.4K, 41:37.25 Downhill Racing and PR finish

I am glad to get to the last stretch - a 7.4K "mostly" downhill. Don't get upset by a small uphill in the middle coming out of surprise. Once climbing over the hill, it is a 1.5 mile fire road all the way to the finish. This is the time when the finish feels not far away.

I haste to the downhill and have the gravity drag my pace. My legs are a little hurt, but getting recovered as there is no more hills to push myself up. The feeling is great to have such a long downhill to the finish.

I enjoy the moment just in a few minutes but found a runner about 100 yards behind me. Again, it's Daniel also speeding now and getting faster. He seems to get an edge over me and is approaching. In the past, I never got passed at this section and I have always been good at downhill, being trained at steep Mission Peak. So I'd like to try a little bit harder. Here we are racing at breathtaking sub-7min pace!

Somehow I trip my left ankle again and twice in a few minutes. Each time, I have to slow down to relieve the pain in hope of not getting injured. Daniel then gains several feet and gets close to me. At one switch back, I let him pass and cheer him. I look over my shoulder and found there is no one behind anymore. I checked my time and I feel relaxed knowing I can make it under 5:30 if I can do the rest few miles as usual. I slow down. Well, just not running at that brutal pace.

Here comes the hill. Been there done that! I power walk patiently and the last hill no longer hurts mentally. At the top of hill, I can see the fire road. I merrily start to run again.

The fire road was half paved and half dirt. Perhaps some parts are paved to avoid erosion. In the past, I used to think the road looks foreover because of my desire to the finish. I was more patient today and stay with my pace. Perhaps it's because today can be my last time here. By at the end of the road, I keep speeding up and try to be more like a cool runner at the finish. Through the playground where there are kids and parents, I sprint to the finish. It's 5:22 and that's my PR at Woodside 50K!

At the finish

I feel great by setting my PR and not tired so much. I chat with Mike. I am surprised at his strength at his age, but I was even more surprised that he was passed by a senior citizen, who I know later is Dana Gard. I don't know if I can run that fast at their ages. I only wish I can still enjoy the trails then.

I hear some chats about Headlands 100 from Sarah and confirm that it's a two loop of 50 miles. Brian comes to me. He already got here 40 minutes ago! He has become very fast within less than a year. I am no longer able to run his pace. I look forward to his amazing running this year. I also thank Daniel for the last pushing so I can go well under my PR. He finishes ahead of me by only 1 min 36 sec.

Time to go home. Within my car, I find a candle melted on my car dashboard. What a disaster! But that's OK. This is not easy to clean up, but I just leave it there and, actually, find out later that the wax can be vaporized under the radiating heat and disappear gradually.

Call my wife on my way. She is surprised that I can make the phone call that early as I used to be late for the time I told her in the races before. Not today - I make my PR.

The last thing full of my feelings is "Farewell Woodside Feb.!"

Monday, February 12, 2007

070211 土狼坡 - 鐵馬行 (Bike at Coyote Hills)

奇奇想要和孵蛋的鴨媽媽交朋友, 但反遭怒目白眼

Nathan tries to make friends with a hatching duck, but she seems mad at him.

奇奇騎車涉水, 樂在其中

Nathan enjoys ridiing bike crossing water.

終於找到一塊荒地, 把家中過期的綠豆灑下, 下次再過來看

We find a piece of land to plant beans.

經過了歐隆尼保護地, 誤闖入可要罰鍰與監禁, 特在警示牌前拍照, 應該還好吧!

We take a picture in front of the Ohlone Shellmound. Trespassing can be fined and put into jail!

遠方兩公里處的山腳下, 就是訪客中心與博物館, 努力騎吧!

Two Km away at the foothill are a visitor center and a museum.

溼地水塘, 候鳥群集

Migrating fowls love marsh land

經過一溼地水塘, 兄妹倆合影留念

Two kids in front of a march land pond.

早就瞧見山坡成片的羊群, 就先去看看, 有數百隻呢! 這是他們除草的好主意

Hurry to see the sheep. There are hundreds of them. What a smart idea of maintaining the grass land!

近近地瞧, 羊妹妹可是攀岩高手呢!

Sheep are wonderful rock climbers!

看完羊後, 就往回一路下坡騎去博物館吧!

Now it's time to go back downhill all the way to the museum!


Kids in front of the Ohlone living model


Angelica in front of the Marshland model


Angelica hugs the OWL.


Nathan and Angelica feel the snake.


Nathan in front of an Ohlone canoe made of straws.

回程時, 順道興起來玩攀岩

Rock climbing on our way back.

路線崎嶇陡峭, 得手腳並用

Steep rocky trail

終於到了此地的 "大霸尖山" 的山腳下

Get to the climb start.


Working on the level 3 climbing.

太危險了, 老爸自己來, 兄妹自行做田野研究

Too dangerous, Dad goes and have kids do "field work".

終於爬上去了, 從腳底往下看倆兄妹

Finally get to the top and look down.

好了, 回去還得爬下去呢!

Let's go home and crawl down.

弦弦好不容易自己爬上一塊大岩石, 可是, 奇奇久久爬不上去, 最後還擦傷了腿呢!

Angelica climbs up a rock, but Nathan has difficulty and scratches his leg.