It’s been a few weeks since I posted. Haven’t had a lot of time (really no energy) and these days the daily toll of life seems to catch up with me faster and faster. Lately, work has left me mentally exhausted by the end of the day. Lots of good things going on but everything takes time and energy. So many intentions. So few results. October weekends are usually extra busy with marathons and this year will be no different. Three marathons in four weekends will mean less sleep over the next few weekends but looking forward to some fun runs.
In early September, we drove down for the Disneyland Half Marathon. I was pacing the 1:40 group and Dylan was running his first race at the 100 meter distance. We stayed at the Disneyland Hotel which proved an attraction all by itself. For most of the weekend, Dylan’s favorite ride was going up and down the escalator in the hotel lobby. The lines were short and with a coffee shop nearby, all were happy with the arrangement. Saturday morning we walked over to the park where the kids’ races ran right down Main Street USA. Other than Dylan having a complete meltdown as the race started, it was a special experience. He’d been practicing for weeks but he’d been training by himself and with thousands of people around and lots of attractions, he wasn’t sure what to make of the scene. So I was one of those parents, dragging their screaming and kicking kid through some athletic event. As I heard them say, “Oh, look at that poor kid and his overachieving, Starbucks drinking parent! What a shame!”
After working in the Clif Bar booth at the expo on Saturday after Dylan’s race, we headed back over to Disneyland to spend the afternoon on the rides and watch the fireworks that evening. The fireworks show was a winner on all our scorecards. Sunday morning I had the half marathon and had a blast running the course. This year the first few miles took us through Disneyland (did you know they have live horses in stables at Disneyland?) then we hit the city streets. Around mile 9, they let us run into the Angels’ baseball stadium and make a lap around the field. A great memory. Then we finished next to the Disneyland Hotel. Other than the LA traffic, it’s a two thumbs up race.
The next weekend Jody (RAAM crew member) and Lily came over and Jody and I rode the Auburn Century, about 110 miles. The route resembled one of my RAAM training rides and took us up the famous Iowa Hill climb. However, since completing RAAM, I think my longest ride has been about 20 miles so my legs and neglected bike were not truly ready for a 100+ mile effort. We put our names on the list of those who would race the Iowa Hill Time Trial (a steep 2 mile climb that hits grades of 20%). I attempted to video my Time Trial effort but the camera kept falling over and the sound of my labored breathing ruins any scenic shot. My time of 16 minutes left me in 2nd place. Maybe the videoing cost me those 5 seconds away from 1st? Here’s my shot of Jody working hard toward the end of his TT.
Had a good time riding with Jody and he even helped identify some sources of a couple squeaks my bike has been making. One multi-talented guy. And Sunday morning we even hit one of my favorite 10 mile running trails in Tahoe Donner. I love running in the mountains during September and October.
The past couple weekends have been crunch time for the upcoming marathons and getting my body used to the longer runs. I’ve been happily running 10-11 miles but needed to put in the time to acclimate to 3 hours of running. It’s pretty funny but mentally as long as I can hit my usual time on a Saturday long run, I think I’m prepared. In Santa Rosa, that was running Annadel from the house and back, along the Lawndale trail. About 21 miles and it should take about 3 hours. These days it’s out to Cool and back. About 20 miles and it should take 2 hours and 45 minutes. So I ran that last Saturday and then went to run it again yesterday. Yesterday, I left the house a little after 8 AM since temps were suppose to reach the 100’s. Along the canal at Maidu, this guy comes racing down the street and hits the trail. We exchange hello’s and introduce ourselves. His name is Brian Hacker from Cool and he is out doing a tempo run. So we run together for about a mile and he finishes his run and I’m just starting. When I hit the Overlook, there is an aid station for the Sierra Nevada Endurance Run and I ask when they are expecting the runners. In about 20 minutes they say. No way. I thought maybe I’d run into Bob Shebest during his race but it would be fun to run together for a bit. But I decide I need to get one last good long run in so I descend the Overlook into the canyon. About a half mile later, I think what am I doing? Just go back, hang out and wait. There will be other days to run this alone. So I go back, call Nicole and let her know I will be home a little later. She’s around the corner at the Farmer’s Market with Dylan so they drive over to say hi and we hang out together until the races arrive.
In a little while, the racers start coming in. One of the early leaders drops at this aid station. You can see that already the conditions are taking their toll. Bob comes running in and takes off without any chit chat at the aid station. So I grab my water bottles and continue my normal Saturday run. Running over to Cool from Auburn is a fantastic run. It’s some ups and downs, mainly singletrack and rewards the runner with some inspiring views of the American River. Bob’s hard working IT Band was acting up and the pain was impacting his performance. I’m sure the downhills didn’t do him any favors. But he kept gutting it out and was determined to finish his year with a strong race.
During my training runs, a favorite place to stop and take a water break is No Hands Bridge before I have another 3 miles of climbing up to Cool. On this day, No Hands Bridge was the finish line for the marathon portion of the course and the turnaround for the double marathon runners. I think a lot of runners, due to the heat, called it a day upon reaching the bridge. After reaching Cool on a hot day, I’ll stop at the local market and buy a Dr Pepper and Gatorade for the return trip. This day was no different. I ran near or with Bob back to Auburn and the Maidu Aid Station then wished him luck and called it the end of my run around 1 PM. Bob had another 20+ miles to go. Nicole, Dylan and I went home, did a few chores around the house, ran some errands and then around 6 PM, Amanda called asking if I’ve heard from Bob. Uh oh…
I figure it could take about 4 1/2 to 5 hours to cover Maidu to the Finish Line. But with the extreme heat, all predictions are off. I say give him 30 minutes, then call me back. Still no word from him at 6:30 PM. The finish line is only about 30 minutes from the house, so I decide to drive over. Just as we are getting into the car, Bob calls and says he lying down in the back of his car, dehydrated and he’s not sounding too good. We drive over to check on him. In 30 minutes, he’s drinking a bit and standing upright. All good signs. With some food in him, later that evening he is returning back to his normal self. By the next day, he looks 100% better. This guy loves to push his body to the limit.