Day 3- Western States Training Run

After spending 2 days traipsing the Hills of Tejon Ranch at the California State Broadhead Championship, I drove to Gold Country to take part in the Third Day of The Western States Training Camp. I would be joining my training partner Shawn Sullivan, who had completed the first two days of 32 and 19 miles. Saturday was Robinson Flat to Foresthill and Sunday was from Foresthill to White oak Flat. Our WS qualifier, Lori had done the first two days along with another trail running friend, Ericka. She wished us well in a text from Starbucks before she returned home.

Monday Morning we met at Placer High school (the site of the Western States Finish line), where we caught school buses to a couple miles above Greengate.

The Road down to Greengate was designated a NO PEE zone, and signs every few yards reminded us. When the Sign said “Bathroom OPEN,” I felt obliged, as did nearly half the group. It was amusing to hear the conversations and comments the next quarter mile.

The Trail was mostly downhill for the mile after Greengate.

along this stretch we cruised pretty well. the single track was smooth and fast.

We were counting on the First aid station to be at Mile 15 where the trail crossed highway 49. We were surprised when we came to it at Browns bar, mile 12 of the day’s run ..

After the Aid at Browns Bar we ran along the Quarry Road along the river. At this point I started feeling fatigued. It was to be expected since the most long run mileage I’d done in the last 6 weeks was 13 miles.

The Wide open Road and Valley made it feel like I was not making progress as opposed to zipping through the single track. After, a mile along the river a single track trail climbed up to Highway 49. I struggled mightily at this point.

After Highway 49 we hit some more downhill and I caught my stride once more.

It had been overcast all day with very scattered misty rain. I was grateful that I didn’t have to endure the heat that this trail is known for during to run.

We had some Coke, and Brownies, and Oreos and conversation at the No Hands Aid Station The wide flattish road was good running for a half mile then turned up the canyon wall for a steep hike to Robie Point.

I trudged uphill thinking about how hard this would be with 78 more miles on my legs and felt a huge amount of respect for the folks who made it to this point in the race. At Robie, Shawn found a gear, even with having run the two days prior, and left me in the dust. He sprinted into Auburn on the last two miles of pavement, while I walked the slightest hill.

As the Road turned downhill I was able to shuffle into a run and arrive at the High school where the volunteers cut off my bracelet to confirm I’d returned.

I immediately went to the buffet line where volunteers were serving eggs, hashbrowns, pancakes, sausage and bacon. Along with a couple of cups of Orange Juice, I began to feel back to normal. After a change of clothes, Shawn and I re connected, and made our way downtown to talk about our day. We sat on the patio of the Auburn Alehouse and sampled the local Brews.

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Shawn has the Western States bug BAD now. His opportunity to qualify will come in October at the Dick Collins Firetrails 50. I am sure as long as he stays healthy, he will do well.

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Now I know more about the trail, and I hope I will be able to be more effective as a crew member for our 100 mile runner, Lori. I really understand the romance of the trail and the distance. While I never want to run the race, I am considering doing the 3 days of training run next year. The camraderie of the runners exceeded anything I’d experienced anywhere else.

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Memorial Day Weekend 2013: Three intense days (Part One of Two)

Once more I managed to pack all the action I could handle into a three day weekend. By the numbers it was:

851 miles on the road

84 arrows plus 6 Jackpot arrows

22 miles of trail running

Friday night I drove under the light of the full moon, 350 miles to Tejon Ranch for the California Broadhead Championship.  This shoot is one of the few where real hunting broadheads are used at unmarked distances to test the skill of bowhunters in realistic hunting situations.  The shoot consists of 42 targets on Saturday and 42 targets on Sunday to determine the champion. At the end of 42 targets I had a score of 340 out of 420 possible.  The high score was 392.   Saturday’s score on 42 targets determines the top shooters who then shoot together on the final day.  I had not shot well enough to make it into the Top Flight.  However, Zeke Bass who shot in our group was flighted in the Longbow division.

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Our Group on Sunday:

That evening, I entered in the Match shoot.  This was a head-to-head elimination shoot at unmarked distance targets.  the archer closest to the center of the kill won the match and went on to the next round.  Thirty three people signed up.

I made it through the first round of 33 on a 45 yard deer target.

Next was a 35 yard Wild Pig target.  We tied on it and shot to break the tie.  I went on.

Then a 40 yard turkey.  I was matched against the high score leader in the Tournament.  He guessed the yardage shorter, and I was closer, and moved on to the Top 4 round against Chad Martin.

We shot once and tied, then on the second shot Chad eliminated me.  In the Final Round he won the $100 purse.   I was ecstatic.

That night we barbequed and drank beer and spirits as the $10,000 raffle countdown went on into the evening.

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On Sunday, I shot a 331, down from the day before.  But we all enjoyed each other’s company and the mood was jovial.

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The Shooting group on the second day. From Left to Right: Kiel Bass, Nate Treadwell, Steve, Jason Perez (seated), Jeremy Neely, Myself, Ed Fanchin (seated), Brent Miller.

As soon as the shoot was done on Sunday, I loaded my car to drive to Auburn for the third day of the Western States Training Camp.

 

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2013 California Turkey

Spent the morning trying to lure in 12 longbeards who wouldn’t leave a hen 80 yds away! . So then we packed up and drove to the next county and set up for a late morning hunt. My buddy, Kirk called in a tom and missed him. We packed up and were coming off the hill when turkeys gobbled below us.

We set up the blind and immediately had 4 jakes come by under the crown of the road, gobbling the whole way. No Shot. They continued up the hill out of view, but we heard a deeper gobble following them.

Then big Daddy came up the road like he owned the place, strutting the whole way. Kirk shot, but the arrow hit the blind at the bottom of the window. It spooked the tom off the road, down the hill, and he re-appeared in the decoys strutting at 15 yards. One arrow just above the beard didn’t put him down, but one follow up trough the back hit vitals.

Official measurements to come Tuesday..

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2013 Annadel Half Marathon Race Report.

After crossing the finish line at Grizzly Peak, my thoughts turned to my next event, in six days, the 4th annual Annadel Half Marathon. I took a couple days off from running, and did an easy 3 miles on Wednesday night. That felt good and the run loosened me up so I did a 6 mile trail run the next night. That run was nearly 6 minutes faster than my previous times on that course. I pronounced myself “recovered” and rested the Friday night before the race.

Now the 6 mile trail run and the 50k less than a week before is not a recommended taper strategy. I had resigned myself to the possibility that when the race day came, I might not feel totally rested. When Lori, my training partner and mentor told me she was checking the course markings before the race and then re-running the race as training for the upcoming Miwok 100k, I knew I needed to “Cowboy Up” and give my best effort on Saturday.

Saturday, as the eastern horizon was becoming a light shade of grey, I was at the gate to Spring Lake Park. As the organizers bustled about, I set up the medical aid tent, also is known as my elk hunting wall tent. A few minutes later, The Fleet Feet Santa Rosa Trail group assembled for a group picture and a short warmup run.

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The Fleet Feet Trail training Group. The Shirt motto was “Hills, Spills, and Dirty Thrills!”
Photo by Pete Laskey.

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Out for the warmup run with Kim, Al, and the rest of the Fleet feet crew.
Photo by Pete Laskey

As we gathered at the start line Continue reading

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California Bowmen Hunters Biennial Awards

In the end of January,  bowhunters from around California gather to honor the animals entered in CBH Big Game Records program the two years prior. This years event was held in Santa Ana. I attended two years ago and really enjoyed meeting my fellow measurers and bowhunters, as well as taking my family to Disneyland.

This year I received notice that my 2010 Tule elk had won an award as one of the top three recorded between 2010 and 2012. At the last minute I was unable to travel to the event to receive my award.

My 2010 Tule Elk that was the second highest scoring Tule Elk in California in 2010 and 2011.

In this month’s CBH SAA newsletter, I found a great article written by Craig Fritz outlining the awards on page 6. I was particularly intrigued by a couple of the awards presented. It turned out my 2010 Tule elk was the second largest recorded in the two year period with a final score of 236-7/8″ .  The committee actually panel scored the antlers during the previous meeting two years prior.   In addition, the antlers of a blacktail buck I measured as part of the panel at 149-7/8, took the #1 award in California, and also was the #1 in Pope and Young awards for the same recording period.

Two new State records were crowned as well.  Bret Scott’s Desert Sheep at 178-4/8, and Ron Laughlin’s Non-typical Turkey at 28-6/16.

If you join California Bowmen Hunters, you can receive this monthly newsletter as well. Inside you will see all the upcoming shoots and archery leagues throughout the state of California.  You also will help in preserving our bowhunting traditions and privileges through the legislative process.

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Redemption Race: Grizzly Peak 50k

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When I missed my 50 k in March due to a long drawn out Flu, and accompanying respiratory difficulties, I was disappointed but happy with the progression of my training up to that point.  The training was its own reward, giving me a good base for the upcoming trail half marathon in April.  I’d been training on long runs with my friend and ultra mentor, Lori.  She had qualified and entered the Western States 100 miler, with a couple of shorter ultras leading up to it as training races.  I’d promised I’d assist with those events, so I had to get back into her training schedule rather than just slack off to HM distance training.  Coincidentally, she missed the March 50k as well due to an injury so we were both “on the mend” throughout the end of March.

 Lori alerted me to the Grizzly Peak Race. When I was able to knock out a 24 mile trail run as the capper to a 40 mile/three day back to back training session, my confidence was high enough.  I entered the 50k that would be 14 days later, on unfamiliar trails, with more elevation gain than I had experienced in any one run or race to date.  I fully expected that this would be my longest time on my feet in my running career.  The course repeated a 13 mile loop twice and finished after another 6 mile section of that trail.  Three times I would be at the “finish” and the urge to drop at 13, and 26 was going to be immense on this challenging course.

 Saturday evening I made the 50 minute drive to a friend’s house in the Berkeley area.  It was 2.5 miles from the Start at Lake Anza.  After a Beer and a baked potato with chili that night I retired to my sleeping bag on a Thermarest air matress.   I had Nacho the cat keeping me company as I read a few pages of Cormac McCarthy to try to take my mind off the looming race.

 I slept well that night and awoke well rested to a cup of coffee and ate 1.5 packets of instant oatmeal.  Lori picked me up and we arrived at the Start with plenty of time to spare.

Weather was cool and foggy, with winds up to 15 mph, and occasional showers. 61 was the predicted high and I wore an Under Armour compression shirt under my tech singlet with a Smartwool merino wool longsleeve over the top.

 The runners at the start consisted of half marathon, 30k, marathon, and 50k distance.  There were 40 runners in the marathon and 40 runners in the 50k distances.

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Before we left the start, Wendell of Coastal Trail Runs gave us our pre-race briefing and mentioned that some of the trails were slippery.  A half mile in we hit a logjam of runners as we tried to negotiate a clay slick trail section that had us scrambling to keep our feet.  My NB Leadville 1210’s did outstanding in the slick mud, but it was still treacherous.

 I bypassed the water aid station at mile 1.7 as runners began to spread out.  Along the next few miles I began to take stock of who was around me.  I noticed an older grey  haired gentleman in cutoff jeans with a plastic water bottle, trail shoes and gaiters.  I figured him for an experienced mountain goat and vowed I wouldn’t try to keep up with him if he left me in the dust.   I later learned he was a 61 year old in the half marathon with 74 Trail races completed in UltraSignup.  There also was a pair of young ladies wearing shirts that said they were “Moving for Leukodema”.  They had a strong contingent of fans along the course.  We traded places back and forth throughout the first loop, walking the steep hills that went up the side of Vollmer peak

 The next aid station Big Springs was 600 ft down at the bottom of the Lupine trail that came down off of Vollmer peak  at mile 4.7 where I topped off my water and grabbed  a quarter of a PB&J sandwich.  I would do this throughout the race, and the solid food, along with Clif Shot blocks kept me pretty well fueled.

 We took Arroyo trail up to the Seaview trail and ran along the smooth rolling ridge top where fog pushed by blustery wind rolled by, and turned down the Big Springs and Quarry trail that took us back to the Big Springs aid station 3.7 miles later.  Another quarter of a pb&j and we climbed back up the side of Vollmer Peak and down the Grizzly Peak trail where we met the slippery Selby trail we had come out.

 I turned around at the start line at about 2:50:00 after 13 miles.  I felt pretty good that I was now running a trail I’d been on once.   The hills weren’t any easier, but I knew they would top out and where there were runnable sections.   There was a lot of uphill trudging along the way.  On the second loop I took a wrong turn up a trail that added 2 miles (and 25-30 minutes) to my second loop.  I could tell because the Leukodema Duo I was leading met me on their third loop as I was a mile from the turn around.

 I’ll have to admit it was tough to not get down on myself for getting off course, but I kept my head up and reminded myself I could do the extra mileage.  I focused on the trail ahead of me.  When I was about 1000 yards from the final turnaround, I passed a smiling 71 year young lady headed out for her final 6 miles in the 50k.  She asked if I was finishing and I replied “Nope, I’m right behind you!”  That cemented my resolve.

 I rolled in to the start area to Lori waiting to kick my ass back out onto the course.  I grabbed my PB&J and topped off my water drank a shot of Coca Cola, and ate as I power walked my way back for the final 6 mile loop.   My goal was to catch the runner ahead of me sometime in the next 6 miles.

 I hit the 1.7 mile water station and no sign of her.  On the latter part of the 1.8 mile climbing section, I would catch a glimpse of her purple shirt above me through the trees.  I kicked it up into a run on the downhill section, and finally caught her a half mile from the finish.  I managed to roll into the finish looking stronger than I felt. The clock read 8:10:xx but I was happy I was able to cover the distance and glad to get my Finisher Coaster with the roaring grizzly emblem.  This one will be on my desk for a while.

 As I drank my recovery beer, and ate some soup I learned Lori had been 2nd woman overall, and 2nd in her age group.  I think she is on track to do well at Miwok in May.

We celebrated with pizza and beer that night and demolished both deep dish and thin crust pizzas. We talked about the Annadel trail half marathon, and how I was going to recover in time to do it.  Right now the elation of finishing a tough race is eclipsing the muscle soreness and time concerns of next week’s race.

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WTC 50k – DNS

If you are looking for a race report there won’t be one. The Flu got me and I did not run the race. I will begin training again once I’m able. We will see where this takes us.

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Lotto Fever

I don’t enter the Lottery as a rule.  I make exceptions for Big Game Tags and now apparently, Trail races…

Monday the 10th I received notice that I have been selected to run the Way Too Cool 50 k March 9th 2013.

So now with a race entry paid for and a race on the horizon, I have a goal.  To prepare myself to the best of my ability over the next 13 weeks.  5 days a week of running.  Two Back to back long runs Sunday/Monday.  An easy 4 mile recovery run on Wednesday, Thursday Tempo- long run, and Friday an easy run.

My training this year is going to focus on hills as much as possible.  I’ll need to keep in mind the long climb out of the American River Canyon, followed by the infamous Goat Hill climb at mile 26.

Below is a elevation chart of the course and a YouTube video of the course.

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Race Report: Coyote Ridge 10 mile Trail Race

Short version. I ran the Coyote ridge 10 mile trail race as a training long run on Saturday December 8th, 2012. I covered 10.7 miles in 2:13:42 for 15th place in the Mens 30-39 AG and 62nd overall out of 136 runners in the 10 mile distance.

The Course and Elevation Profile of the Coyote Ridge 10 miler

The Course and Elevation Profile of the Coyote Ridge 10 miler

The long (rest of the) story.

I am in the early stages of training, (13 weeks out) for a 50k in March. I took a break from training during hunting season and just recently started logging more runs in the last two weeks of November. The run log at RunningAhead.com, has been instrumental in helping me chart out my plan, and keeps me accountable for my running or lack of.

This weekend called for back to back long runs 10 miles Sunday + 6 miles Monday. My week had been less than stellar, as I was feeling fatigued and twisted my right ankle on Thursday after skipping my Wednesday recovery run. I was rather grouchy and disenchanted with running. When Friday rolled around I hit the snooze button and procrastinated my Friday 2 miler.

Later that day I kicked myself in the butt and went for an easy 2 mile run around the local wetlands. The exercise in the sun changed my outlook incredibly, and when I got back to work I wrangled Saturday off from the boss. At that point I decided my Sunday long run was moving up to Saturday morning and that it would be at the Coyote Ridge Race starting and finishing at Muir Beach, CA. Distances offered were 7, 10, 20 miles, marathon (27miles) and 50k. I signed up for the 10 mile race onsite on Saturday.

Right off the bat I saw running friends from the Fleet Feet store in Santa Rosa. They had a training group training for the 20 and 10 mile distances. I ran in a monsoon with the group last Sunday as they tapered before the event.

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Bad weather makes for good training partners. The Taper run before Coyote Ridge, I’m smiling because at this point I didn’t plan to run the race.

The Group the morning of the Race.  Look at all the smiles.  I was glad I entered last minute.

The Group the morning of the Race. Look at all the smiles. I was glad I entered last minute.

The starting corral was a wooden bridge over the creek and after race and course instructions, we were off at a quick jog until the first uphill where traffic jammed up as 300 runners geared down for a long muddy hike up trails beat to snot during last week’s North Face Endurance challenge. It was a 2 mile long conga line as we tried to pick out less slippery lines on the muddy fire road, and once the trail narrowed down to single track there was nowhere to pass and you weren’t going to get far if you did. I stopped a couple times to pick rocks out of my shoes since i neglected to pack my gaiters. The stairs up from Pirates Cove kept most of us hiking and I was able to pass a couple of folks who went out too fast and didn’t have the legs to climb fast.

A mile and a half from Tennessee Valley, the trail turned to graveled fire road and runners quickly sorted themselves out according to speed and endurance. At Tennessee valley there was an aid station about 3.9 miles from the start. I grabbed a handful of potatos and salt and a few shot blox for “second breakfast” (if you eat like a Hobbit). Here the longest grade stood before us. Marincello, a gravel fire road that rises 900 feet in 1.7 miles overlooking Mill Valley. I’d been over this stretch before, and I conserved my energy and power walked nearly the entire uphill section. Here I chatted with other runners I knew running the 20 and the marathon distances. We parted ways at a saddle on the ridge. I continued up to the high point of the run, and down a steep section for a quarter mile, before descending back down into Tennessee Valley. For 2.5 miles it was a gentle downhill that pulled me along like a good running buddy who is just a bit faster than you.

In fact along this stretch I caught two young ladies. One had finished the Nike women’s marathon six weeks earlier, and was wearing a headband with antlers in the Christmas reindeer fashion. She looked like a forkhorn buck in my sights. She might as well have been wearing a target! She was running with a friend who had recently finished some ultra race of 50 or 100 miles. After the aid station on the last big hill of the run I reeled in “Bambi” and later on the last third of the hill I caught and passed the ultra runner friend.

One remarkable thing about this race was the fact that I deliberately walked all the hills, and I ended up passing more people at a walk on the hills than I did bombing down the downhills. I usually consider downhill my strength. I’m glad I am getting stronger on climbing. It is something I have wanted to improve.

Once we crested the last mile long hill, trail markers read 2.1 miles to Muir beack and I could see the parking lot a thousand feet of elevation below us. I pulled out all the stops and let my mass pull me down the hill, careful to avoid the slippery spots we skirted on the way up two hours earlier that morning. I slowly reeled in more cautious runners, and crossed the bridge after 10.7 miles to the finish mat at 2:13:42 for 15th in my age group.

At the Finish line.  One of the nice things about Coastal Trail runs, is the Finishline photo is available free on the Web.  More Races should do this.

At the Finish line.
One of the nice things about Coastal Trail runs, is the Finish line photo is available free on the Web. More Races should do this.

For the first time at a race I felt like I could go on for another mile or five. It was great. I congratulated the speedsters I knew from Fleet feet who had finished ahead of me, grabbed my race shirt and changed into dry clothes, glad I’d paid to do my weekly long run.

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Nex Gen Run For Your Life Twilight 5k 2012

Most of my short training runs are in the evening. During kid’s practices, after dark, after work. I’m more likely to see a sunset than a sunrise on my runs. Evening races are few and far between though. For the third year, Nex Gen, put on a fund raising 5 k in the hills of the Petaluma Golf and Country Club, AKA “Goat Hill” this last Saturday evening. It fit my schedule perfectly.
Nex Gen is a committee of young energetic folks who raise funds and awareness for Petaluma Valley Hospital. Much of the fund raising is done from the Run for your Life event as well as a Poker – Bunco Card party in January.

It was my 3rd year of running the race as I was at the inaugural event in 2010 with a 29:23. In 2011 I ran a 29:59. It is not an “easy” 5k by any means.

I finished up work early in the afternoon on Saturday and arrived early at the starting area at the club house. Race director Kyle Restad already had staff manning the registration table so I signed in and collected my t shirt before changing into running clothes.

Not seeing any familiar faces I struck up a conversation with three ladies from Kaia F.I.T., a women’s only training center location in Santa Rosa. Kirsten, Megan, and Paula were running this race for the first time. We chatted until start time.

At 3:30 we assembled in a rough group at he top of the hill as Kyle gave us our final instructions. He emphasized that the race was 2 loops with many well marked twists and turns. After a “3..2…1…GO!” we were off.

Now I had no intention of having a PR at this race. I’d run a TOTAL of 8 times in the last 30 days. So I made sure to keep a comfortable pace. Midway through the first lap Kirsten took about a 20 yard lead on me and set a pace I was comfortable following. The Leaders disappeared around the first corner and I would occasionally catch a glimpse of them on switchbacks.

On the First lap of the Twilight 5k. Kirsten is behind me at this point.

We climbed the last hill leading to the golf course and I paced my self so I didn’t break down to a walk. I made it over the hump and started around the second loop. I forgot to check the clock so I don’t know what my time was at this point.

Now I started passing people who went out too fast. Kirsten kept her 20 yard lead and started lengthening it out on the final back stretch. We passed the walkers that started after the runners and attacked the final hill. Here I was able to pass two more runners, and as the finishing chute came into view I could see the numbers 27:53..:54..55…

I wanted to be under 28:00 badly and dug my hardest to cross the line. My finish time was officially 28:00.7. I was second in my age group, finishing just over 10 seconds behind the AG winner.

The winner Dave Houts from Cotati had finished in 21:54. Spencer Smead,an eighth grade runner from San Rafael finished second over all with a 22:35

Kirsten, my pace bunny, won the 20-29 year old age division, while her training partner Paula won the 50-59 year old division. We enjoyed lasagna, salad and desserts from Cordoza’s Deli along with a few microbrews as the sun descended on the hills of Petaluma.

Aside from being a new PR for this race, it was enjoyable to get out and meet new people. I hope more races take place in the evening, and take advantage of the post race energy as a social lubricant. I think Nex Gen has tapped into that formula combining good health, community involvement and social events to benefit the Petaluma Valley Hospital.

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