Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Squaw Valley Board Meeting! 3-6-10

A few weeks ago, I drove out to Reno to see my sister and brother in law. Him and I managed to sneak away from the city to get some board time at Squaw Valley Ski resort (olympic location). I ran into my friend Emma out on the slopes after we threw a few texts back and forth. We also got to make a few runs down the mountain before we all went our way.

Photo #1: Myself and Chris. Photo #2: Chris, Emma and Myself.

Great fun, and the weather held out just fine for the entire day. Unfortunately, when we came to the lower end of the mountain, the snow sucked, and wasn't sticking. bleh. we decided to be done for the day and get back to town.

Space Cowboys were playing at the bar at the main resort, and that was pretty cool. Tons of people outside, having beers, listening to music and having a blast.
I enjoyed finally snowboarding Squaw Valley Resort during the day time. Not just night boarding.

A day at "The Wall"

A quick shot of me with Oakland, the bay, the bay bridge and SF in the background.
It was a little hazy out, but warm and scenic. I had heard from my buddy Ben that they would be coming up here, so I figured why not come up and meet them. It took them a little longer as some of the girls riding were taking their sweet time. haha

photos: #1 Kurt and I. #2Katia and Myself. #3 Ben, Myself and Katia

While sitting around waiting, I saw a bike coming up from the other direction, and noticed it was red, and it was a hypermotard......then I immediately saw the rider had on a bright yellow jacket....and I know only one person that is that nerdy...Kurt. hahahaha I stood up, looked, the bike pulls in, points at me, and sure the hell enough, it was Kurt, one of my riding buddies, who happened to be coming up this way to go home (the long way). haha

so he hung out and we chatted for a while.

Ben and Katia rolled up on their respective bikes, we snapped a few photos and hung out, talking bikes and shooting the shit. It was a great time. Jeff ,another buddy of ours, happened to roll up, and stopped also.

The wall is a well known local bike hangout/stop, up in the Oakland Hills. You'll usually find some bikes at this spot, especially when the weather is awesome.

this is an addendum to one of my previous posts yesterday about spending the day riding and at the wall, in Oakland.
Sunny weather these last few days has gotten people out from behind their computers and out riding. It's great.

Last days in Colorado!

Spent the last 2 days in Colorado taking it easy and tapering on the drinking. Brownie wanted to check into rehab, but we all know it's just for quitters who like to whine. So I think he just kept drinking.

On Sunday after the marathon, we got a moderately slow start back to the Springs. With two stops at some breweries, and then a stop at the Thunderbird Inn for a beer, some photos, and this rad painting of Willie Nelson. Very cool. The snow was coming down relentlessly, and we skirted over the pass without much problems.

That night, Brownie, Pete (who had just arrived in the Springs), and myself were going to the Black see Stockholm Syndrome in concert.
The show was pretty good, and they packed them in. The opening band "These United States" were actually pretty good. Even though the singer was so out of breath. hahahaha as he stated, "we're not used to playing at these altitudes". Needless to say, we consumed quite a few tall boys, and I think Pete was pretty glazed over by the time we headed out, calling Katie to come get us at the Irish #4. :D

He passed out on the hard wood floor, which is when I realized how out of it he was. LOL

The next morning, we decided we'd get a quick run in, before heading over to Kings Chef for some breakfast/lunch. Over to Red Rock Canyon, with Blos, Pete, Nacheux and myself for a quick 4 miler. It was absolutely stunning. The snow had fallen all night, the sun was up, but it wasn't warm enough to melt the snow off the branches. It was like running in a winter wonderland. Very cool stuff.

After which, it was off to the Kings Chef for a bacon cheeseburger, with green chili on the side, + fries. :D finished it off, and earned my 2nd "Clean Plate Sticker" of the weekend. The Kings Chef is an iconic local diner, and they have the "New Mexico Stomper" which is a 5 lb hamburger (10 .5lb patties on two buns, covered in green chili, all the fixins and a side of fries. You get an hour to complete it, and nobody had done it.

Well Pete decided he was going to go for it the following day. Sadly, I'd be on a plane. He made a good run at it, but came up short. Don't blame him. That is a shit ton of food.

All in all a phenomenal weekend of drinking, partying, running and shenanigans. :D

Salida Marathon - Post lube (pub crawl)

No rest for the wicked they say. :D after cleaning up we headed over to Moonlight Pizza for some of the most awesome pizza ever. A Large Caveman pizza later, and we are set to start drinking. We walked over to the start at the 1st St. Cafe. A tiny bar in the back was perfect for the hashers. There were a few pikes peak hashers already their waiting for us. Let the drinks flow. We took a couple of group photos along the way. Brownie and I were the hares, and we planned on hitting every bar in the tiny historic downtown of Salida, Co. :D

After watching Kerri (AWF), get absolutely hammered on a "delicious and delightful" drink that she got the bartender to concoct, we headed over to our second beer stop...sans Kerri. LOL she had to go to bed, and fight her own demons. :D more importantly, the headache. Some microbrews later, and we were gone, on to the next bar. The names escape me, but it was a whiskey bar. The owners were very cool, so we had 2 drinks at this bar.

Next stop, a country bar. hahahaha gotta have a country bar in the mix. This was fun, and the ladies were out on the dance floor dancing, along with Gordo and BLOS. :D

At some point, at the 5th bar, Bill shouted out that he'd never had Tehuaca (sp?), so Gordo promptly ordered us all a round. bleh!!! but, being non-whining hashers, we obliged, pounded it, and moved on to Jager Bombs. : LOL

Gordon was exceptionally gracious in his beer purchases. hahaha and it was a blast to meet some new people/hashers from Colorado. We managed to spend so much time at this bar, that the last 2 bars, were closed. So we decided to just close this bar down. Later, passed out in my bunk bed at the hostel, I couldn't help but smile as I realized how epic this weekend had been. The following day, we would drive back to Colorado Springs, and do a brewery tour on the way back.

on a side note: While running the last few miles of the marathon, I noticed some very grey and ominous looking clouds coming in. Sure enough, that night, the storm blew in, and by the next morning, it was cloudy, overcast, and snowing hard....for like 20 hours...all the way back to Colorado Springs. If this would have happened on race day, I'm remisce to say that I would have turned left at the stop sign, and run the 2 mile fun run, with the 10 year old kid that was out solo. HAHAHAHA

Salida Marathon - D-Day. March 13, 2010

After crashing out about 10pm the night before at the hostel we were staying at, I woke up about 30 min before everyone, and was just running things through my brain, making sure I didn't forget anything in the prep before the race. yes, I know, anal, but hell, it was going to be a long 26.2 miles. :D

We got dressed, camelback ready, gear ready, time for a bit of food. Peanut butter, banana sandwich, some coffee and some light fun in the morning, as we made our way to the start, packet pick up, about 4 blocks away. After securing our numbers, we made our way across the railroad tracks for the start. Today was amazing, sunny, fresh, crisp air....good friends, good fun to be had, and I had a smile on my face as the race start was announced and we all started moving forward. the first few miles would be a straight climb, gradual, but noticeable.

My plan was to not check my gps until the first aid station. I ran with Nacheux and we kept each other company, as I got used to the thinner air, and the uphill battle. Spirits were high, and this is what I was expecting. So we pulled forward, lightly talking, but making forward progress all the time.

Some stats, before I go further.
Start elevation: 7,400 feet above sea level.
Peak: 9,100 feet above sea level.
Terrain: trail, rocky, uneven, snow, mud, water. :D
Finish time: 6 hour 47 min.
The group photo before the race started: myself, Nacheux, Kerri, Matt, Katie, Brownie and Gordon. Couldn't have asked for a more spectacular day to run in.

We climbed further and further, on the fire roads, so the going was good. Just making tracks on smooth even surface. We hit the first aid station, and it was about mile 3.9 or so. no biggie, 22 miles to go. :D got some water, and remembered to get some salt in me, as I tend to sweat out a lot of salt on my runs. lesson learned in Thailand where I bonked hard. The further up we went past the aid station that had the cut off to the trails, the more mud we encountered. At this point I didn't care what we ran through, I was making tracks. I was not so winded unless I went over my limit, so I kept an even and steady pace throughout.

I noticed I was able to recover quite easily, so I had that going for me. The nervouseness had worn off, and now it was about accomplishment. I would finish this race. No matter what.
I can't say enough good things about the trail, it was really cool. I do prefer to run trail races, as they present more of a challenge, and this race was proving to be the most difficult challenge I had to date. Even more so than my first Ultra marathon. Nacheux and I kept each others spirits high, snapping pics, and moving along. I don't think I stopped but 2 times, briefly, for photos, the rest of the time, it was non-stop movement forward. Otherwise, I would have gotten too comfortable and probably stopped for too long. With the sun out, a lot of the snow was turning to slush and mud. And with roughly 90 people trudging through here before me, it was messy.

Nacheux and I made it to Turret, Co. for the turnaround, and downed some much needed gatorade and some snacks. The way back was a climb out of Turret. When we made the aid station at about mile 18, they had PBR, so what did we do? We drank a PBR of course. hahaha

It was at this aid station that we were cutting off onto a rather small trail, which had thankfully been run with snow cats to get the snow packed and make it easier to traverse. I was using a lot of energy to stay upright in the thin ruts. And it was taking it's toll. I was tired, legs were burning, but surprisingly, I was not out of breath. I had to motivate hard to run the downhills, and then I would let gravity take over, and run at a good clip down the trail. The last 4 miles or so were almost all downhill, so Nacheux and I started to run a lot. I do well on the downhills, and that's usually where I make up time. I have to work on the uphills, hence a lot more hill repeats, as I want better movement up the trails.

About 1.5 miles from the end, one of the race coordinators was on his mtn bike and told us that we were 1.5 miles from the end, and had 17 minutes to finish, so we would have to run the last 1.5 miles. WTF?!?! for real? this was a blow to me, even though I knew I had to do it, it was going to be hard. I would run the downhills, and walk hard on the flats, but kept making myself run as much as I could, with the help of Nacheux encouraging me, and both of us helping each other.

When we finally hit the flat spot along the rail road tracks, I could see the end, and was just making time. Feeling like puking, I figured it was now or never. Run mofo, run!!!! I could faintly hear the others yelling at us from the other side of the river to run!!!! Trust me, I was doing the most running I could. hahahaha

We went over the tracks, and I think I yelled at Nacheux "where the f*ck is the finish line?"
hahahaha because we had to go under this bridge (below) and then around to the finish line.

I hear brownie yelling to power up and run it in, and so I did. I had just enough to sprint (I think) across the finish line. I forgot to click off my gps, but when I did, it said 6:58. hahahaha beat the cutoff by 2 minutes. The time would later be ammended to reflect where we actually came in, at 6:47, I think I was one stride in front of Nacheux at the finish line.

This was us running it in, and the photo finish at the line. I was beat, breathing hard, and about ready to collapse. and I LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!! It was the greatest event I've done so far, and absolutely the hardest so far. I needed it, it has recharged me, and reminded me what it's like to push my body and to have fun along the way. I don't take these events so seriously, that I lose sight of the fun to be had. I don't have aspirations of being competitive, but hell, I love that I can finish it, spend time with friends and drink a ton of PBR. :D
Congrats to Brownie for his 12 place finish. And congrats to Katie for thrashing me, and yes, I paid up on our bet, and bought her a beer.

A much deserved PBR at the end. My appetite was shot, and I couldn't stomach food. It took me about 40 min to be able to eat some of the soup that they had. The hot food felt really good going into my stomach. After recooping a bit, I was able to walk back to the hostel with the rest of the group, to get cleaned up, as we had a pub crawl to go to....matter of fact, I was the hare. LOL
Taking a breather after the run, mud caked shoes are no longer new. haha
The course map outlined via gps and google earth. Take a look and let me know what y'all think.

My one and only special and most favorite of photos. HAHAHAHA Me running in front of Brownie. Yes, it happened, and yes, there is photographic proof. I think I'll have this one enlarged and framed and put in the center of the "Gaylord is awesome" Room. :D
Overall thoughts:
I need to log more miles. I have worked out a good plan to get more strength in my hill climbs, and am working on that. I have made the decision to sign up for the Avalon 50 miler in January 2011, and that is my goal at the moment.

I have signed up for some other races, including the New Orleans marathon in February 2011. It will be a good recovery run.

I have also decided I will run another 30 miler, or two in the bay area. Unfortunately the skyline 50k which would be a great run, falls on the dates that I am out of town in Texas.

I need to schedule 2 50km races before the end of the year. That is the short term goal.

on on
thank you Colorado.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Salida marathon - prelube March 11-12, 2010

Well, the day finally arrived and I jetted off to Colorado Springs to meet up with a few hashers and get ready for the Salida "Run through time" Marathon, in...where else, Salida, Co.

Nacheux was there to pick me up, PBR in hand, righteous. After downing it, we stopped by her place to grab some stuff, and then we were off to Knob Hill (if I remember correctly) for some beers and to meet the rest of the PPH3 guys.

1st pic: myself, Meatgazer, Tonka Butt & Brownie.
Lots of PBR was drank here. I think we cleared 26 tall boys (24oz) of PBR. :D at the 1st bar, hahaha
3rd pic: The hashers in front of the wall of fame!

After which we rolled over to the Black Sheep to watch a band, that never arrived. We figure, as much as we can remember, that we left there about 11pm to the next bar. I think. :D maybe the Irish #4 bar?! who knows. I know I passed out in the truck, and then passed out at Katies, after stopping at the Kings Chef for dinner, passing out in the booth and telling Nacheux that we should leave.

Everyone had a blast at the Black Sheep, even though we didn't get to see the band.
The next day, I needed to get my legs loose, as I hadn't really a while. haha
So Katie, Nacheux and myself went over to the Garden of the Gods, for a quick run, and to feel the altitude.

This is a pretty scenic section, where everyone comes to get a photo, so I obliged as well. You can see Pikes Peak (snow capped) in the background, and the small line going diagnoally to the right, is "the incline".

This was a good day to be out. We waited for wanker to be done with work so we could drive out to Salida.
I have to admit, I was getting a little nervous about the run. It had been weighing on my brain for a few weeks now. Especially since I didn't have the miles under me that I should have. Nonetheless, tenacity, stubborness and the will to keep moving forward would have to carry me through.