Entering 2016, I was looking ahead at the travel schedule and lowered my expectations significantly. I simply wanted to continue to run a 50K distance or more each month, without any regard to PR or time. This year was a blur both personally and work-wise. I had logged work-miles to London, Japan, Australia and Singapore this year with personal-miles to Nepal internationally and Las Vegas & New Orleans domestically. And there was a family RV-trip to Mt. Hood in the mix too! It was always the surprise to see a race popup in the calendar to give me the much needed day off in the woods. It was great to end the year with one 100K, eight 50K’s, one 36K and Double Dipsea.
I had just returned from India and it was awesome to run a totally rainy and muddy Crystal Springs 50K in a sub-5:30. Huddart and Wunderlich have some of the most amazing trails in the South Bay. Redwood Bliss all around.
I travelled the first week to launch our company in Japan, third week in London and as soon as I landed drove down a few hours on a Friday to pick up Chippy, our labradoodle.
Was kinda hoping that the Atlantic jet-lag would cancel out the Pacific one, but apparently it doesn’t work that way. Didn’t see the actual course for Run for Amma 50K until late Friday night and ran the course (on a beautiful day) totally jet-lagged. A sub-6:00 and 5th or 6th overall.
The first week was spent at RSA, one of the biggest Security conferences in the world. It was awesome that Menlo Security made the Top-10 in the Innovation Sandbox. While I’d originally registered for the Marin Ultra Challenge 50M, I was in no shape to run a 50M on what turned out to be a muddy and rainy day. Ran the 50K instead and finished in a sub-5:30. And totally had fun dirt-bagging in my van too!
Earlier in the year, one of my 13yo’s BFF decided that his Eagle’s Scout project was going to a remote village in Nepal to help rebuild a school that was demolished by the recent Earthquake. My wife and I jumped on the opportunity to help out and also travel to Nepal with the whole family. It was an amazing experience and you really start to appreciate all the little things we all have once you visit a place like that. The villagers have to hike down a 1,500ft gnarly trail and lug water up to the ridge. ‘Cos electricity is not always available and the earthquake had rattled the water tables.
A week after I came back from Nepal, of course there had to be a 50K in the calendar. This was the inaugural Mendocino 50K which turned out to be one of the most scenic runs in one of my favorite places in California. I think I spent more time taking pictures than actually running. After traveling in dusty roads, it was fantastic to be in the lush wonderlands of Mendocino.
After the Mendocino 50K, I realized how so NOT ready I was for Quicksilver 100K. This was a course that deserved respect. But hey, you take what you get. The three weeks before the race, I crammed hour and a half run/walk every day on my treadmill @ 15% grade. Dirt-bagged again right by the start line. It was a tough, but beautiful day filled with so many people that helped me cross the finish line in 14:17. Apparently that’s WS-100M qualifier, but I am not quite ready to take that on just yet.
A week recovery later, I headed down to Sydney and Melbourne for quiet a few great customer meetings. Of course the first thing I did when I landed there was to run. No better way to checkout a new city and kick the jet lag.
Ran the Double Dipsea again this year, but decided in the last minute to run in sandals. The course was pretty dry and the sandals held up just fine. A little slower than last year, but managed to finish in 2:50. I love the staggered start times in this race. I totally forgot, there was a trip to New York in there somewhere too! Jet lag much?
This was the epic one for the year. A family RV trip to Mt. Hood followed by the Mt. Hood 50M run. Chippy the Doge joined us on the family trip as we took our time through National Parks, National Preserves, National this and National that before getting to Mt. Hood. The run itself was filled with single tracks along the Pacific Crest Trail, though the weather didn’t cooperate enough for us to see the majestic Mt. Hood along the run. Super happy with a 9:27 finish on a very technical run.
With a new course and warmer weather, finished the Skyline 50K in 5:28 this year. This is one of my favorite, local, east-bay runs. Wasn’t quite lucky with the Misty PR from the previous year.
For once, I didn’t have to travel anywhere this month!
The first week, my wife and I flew to Las Vegas and then drove over Zion and Bryce for our anniversary. I didn’t find out later that there’s a few great ultras around here. But after the Headwaters Ultra 50K, the house rules mandate not combining races during our anniversary trips 🙂
The lack of training miles and the travel was bound to catch up eventually. And it did with a DNF at the Coastal 50K. Had to drop out at mile ~16 after severe dehydration.
My original plan was to run Dick Collins 50M again, but travelled to Singapore the second week to present at a conference and ran repeats on the bleachers (right on the bay) every single morning. I didn’t even have to run to work up a sweat in the balmy, humid weather.
Came back and a week later it was Eldrith Gosney’s Pure Ultra 35K. Coming out of the DNF, it was nice to finish a run strong. I’m sure the bleachers helped too.
Went back to Marin Headlands again and ran the Mt. Tam Trail Run 50K in 6:45, a little slower than the previous year. I have no idea how Zach Miller ran the TNF 50M in sub-6:00. That’s just insane fast!
For Thanksgiving we visited New Orleans. My wife and I love this place and it was great to go there as a family. Took a bayou tour and learned what an eco-disaster we’ve caused here. Watched the Saints crush the Rams at the Super Dome too! #whodat
*whew* Almost there. I had one non-travel weekend in December and by the time I looked at it TNF 50M and 50K were sold out. Instead I ended up running Feather & Loathing 50K, a fat ass tour of San Francisco. Turned out to be so much fun!
I’d say in the spectrum of ‘collecting experiences, not possessions‘, this year was off the charts. I’m glad I wrote down most of the runs and this blog as the whole year feels like a blur. As I look forward 2017, my only hope is that I somehow manage to get back my 20-mile commute runs. I think if I managed to do that, everything else is going to fall in place. I’m going to need it for the NUT 100K anyways.
Happy Trails and I’m sure I’m going to be seeing many of you out there!
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