Thursday, April 3, 2014

Limp to the starting line sprint to the finish. How a dude in sandals set a new course record at a 50km trail race

I limped to the beach
I limped in the sand

I limped through the sea 
then I limped back to land

I limped  to my house
I limped into my bed
Visions of grandeur still danced in my head.
(Shel Silverstein I am not)

I have horrible DNA My body has been falling apart for years and on days I feel 70% healthy I am stoked. On the plus side I do have a strong heart and a stubborn mind. I'm thankful for what I have and try to make the best of it.
(although it sure would be nice to be able to push off with my left leg once again?)
"You get what you get and you don't get upset"
I love saying that to whiney children
usually I am saying it to myself.

The Boston Marathon is coming up is coming up in a few weeks and I should probably do some speed work.  Less than 1/10th of 1% of my training I run at faster than a 10 min mile. Most of the time I'm just cruising on the sand between 12 and 14 min mile pace.
(I'm not very fast but sometimes I like to pretend that I am.)

When I was looking for a race to run the week before the race Director of  the
Beyond Limits Ultramarathon
Asked me if I would like to run i her event?

Would I be writing this race report If I said no?
I decided this race will be one speed workout for Boston
This would be my 5th race in 5 weeks and my 4th Ultra marathon

For some reason I thought the race was near Palm Springs.
"Weather report high of 85 low 50"
It wasn't until the night before that actually looked to see where the race actually was.
Not Palm Springs!
When I arrived at  the Pathfinder ranch at about 
(quite a beautiful place I might add)
 the temperature gauge in my car said 28 degrees?
It also turns out the elevation is 4,500' higher than where I live.
(luckily I was blissful ignorant of this until after the race)
With about twenty minutes till the race started I stripped down to my short shorts, my Luna Sandals and Thirty 48 calf sleeves.  It was cold outside and I figured I would use that too my advantage trying to lower my core body temperature so that it would take me longer to overheat.
My plan was to go out at about an 8:30 mile to let achileas loosen up and then get faster as the race progressed.
10 steps into the race that plan was no more.  My adrenaline was flowing and an 8:30 mile would have felt like I was moving backwards. Within a couple minutes I was all alone.
The course was a two mile lap that navigates through a ranch, then off onto some soft sand trails.  Not nearly as soft as the beach where I train  but still very pleasant.
It then finishes up with 1/4 mile lap a tiny man made lake.
(pretty but a little too toxic to swim in)
I had chosen to wear my Luna Venados. At 6mm thick brand new and with the sole compressed they  are about 3 mm and my favorite Luna's to run in.  I have been starting to think that wearing thicker sandals such as Mono has contributed to a degradation in my running form.  The only draw back is that  the venado has almost no grip.

Out in front with nobody to follow I had to navigate 15 or so right angle turns which were well marked.  If I am running at a high speed  in sandals and have to make a sharp turn I must decelerate quite a bit costing me a few seconds each time
15 turns 15 laps 3 second lost each turn = that's over 11 mins added over the course of 30 miles.

It doesn't really bother me in a race this long but adding those seconds in a 5 or 10km drives me bonkers.
As my body thawed out I was moving surprisingly well.  I wasn't concerned about going too fast ( I was only doing the 50km).  As long as I kept my heart rate down I was pretty sure I wasn't going to blow up.  I wasn't racing the field.  I was there to prove to myself I could still run if I wanted to.  I was gonna finish and I was going to finish fast no matter what happened.

90% of the time I have a stuffed up or runny nose because of allergies It's all I have ever known so it doesn't bother me.   I have  developed a method of breathing through  probably out of necessity to keep the snot from falling out.  I also think that raising your cheek bones (You Know Smiling) makes it easier to breath nasally

I finished my first lap in about 13 mins.  If I could maintain  a 15 min (2 mile) lap pace for the entire race I would be happy.

By the second lap I started passing people.
Most runners were there to run 100 miles or for 24 hours. It seemed like I was the only dumbass sprinting around the track.
Although the course was only two miles it had enough dvercity in terrain and scenery to be very enjoyable.  Plus it was fun to see to give and receive encouragement from all the runners I would criss cross with going every which way..

After the first hour I had ran a little over 9 miles. I was wearing a GPS for the first time in over a year and I felt like I was staring at it every two minutes.  I figured this was a good pace and I wanted to run a three hour marathon.

I use to think I could run a sub three hour marathon any day of the week and twice on Sunday but now I actually got work for it. 
Around mile 22 I took my camera out for a loop

Time was flying by, I stayed consistent with my speed and each lap I grabbed half a cup of heed and didn't really need anything else fuel wise. After two hours I had finished 18 miles and then hit the marathon mark almost exactly at 3 hours.
I was slowing down a bit but still moving well.  A big blister had a developed right on my bad achileas. It was tough to tell which was causing me more grief but I only had a few miles left and decided to block out the pain.

Eventually I cruised in with a new Course record 3:36:23
(also a P.R. for me on a trail 50km)
I had surprised myself.  I never rally had to push that hard and I finished the race limping less than was before it had began.
It was time to find a hot rock to rest on and cheer on some friends
"Looking good as always Catra"
 Good job old man!
"Hey dude I don't know you but I like your sandals"

If you do an extra lap around the 1/4 mile lake you get s sticker.  I decided to join this chick after she finished her first 50 km
Kind of stupid but I like it!
(I'm sure the same thing has been said both about me and this blog.)

I had nowhere I had to be so I stuck around all day and all night and got to witness some pretty cool moments.
Like this happy 10 year old dude running with his race director Mama after finish his first Ultra marathon
Likewise the other Race Director Ken's 13 year old son also finished his first 50 km.
If you have ever ran a 24 hour or in a 100 mile race on the west coast you have probably seen the Jester Ed Ettinghausen cruising along with his bells jingling and always with a kind word of encouragement for his fellow runners. It seems like the dude races every weekend, an almost impossible task. How does Ed do it? He does it with the aid of his loving wife Martha who supports him at just about every race with a smile and nascar pit crew efficiency. Last weekend at the Beyond Limits Ultramarathon Martha ran her first 50km and had her husband Ed at her side as she crossed the finish line.

After numerous beers and wine I crashed out from 11 p.m. till 3:30 A.M. when I got up to go help out out at the aid station.
I couldn't wait for the sun to rise.
Eventually it did and when it did it started to rain.

That's when I joined 13 year old Colby as pacer for his last 10 miles of his 100 miler
 The rain didn't last long
And I had lot of fun running with this amazing kid.
Good Job Buddy and good job to Mom who also ran 100 miles.
Thank you to Ken and Stephanie for putting on such a top notch event!
 They have another 100 miler that they host in Las Vegas which  is only $100 if you register by April 14th.
Plus it has Showgirls
(I love that movie)
Jackpot Ultra Running Festival

What a great weekend. I love truly love the Ultra running community that I am a part of!

What's next?
I got no clue! If you need to find me look for the slow dude running at the beach.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Old goats 50miler "COUGH" COUGH" I mean 50km

A week ago I was sitting at my computer, much like I am now accept I was wasn't writing a race report I was searching for race to run.  My body had kind of recovered from the Run4kids and I no longer had a cold.
Like the desire for a cold beer in Hell!
Optimism filled my frontal lobe 
(just an excuse to draw a dumb picture.)

I was looking for somthing to do over the weekend besides sitting on my butt and watching College B-ball.  That's when I made mistake I a had made before!
I asked my friends on Facebook
"Anyone know a race I can weasel into this weekend ?"

Last time I did this I ended up running 100 miles two days later.
This time I got off easy.
(although my body was kind of hoping for 10km)

The Same Diabolical old fart of race director and  all around good dude let me in. 
He reminds me of Einstein, that is if Einstein liked kick ass beer.
(Einstein was also way too smart to be an Ultra Runner)

I hadn't ran the old goats 50 miler since 2009.  At about mile 18 of the race (back when I still wore the cheapest trail shoes I could buy from Sports Authority) I hit an embedded rock and went flying off the trail. I ended up with a rib injury that I can still feel today if I twist to the right and breathe deep. I finished the race in 5th place and even won an award for first place kid.  
(Kid = Baby goat)
Friday night, time to carbo load
This pic is  from Mexico but I like it and I don't have any pics from the race so lets play the pretend game. 
The race started with 5 miles of steep down hill running. 
"Wait a second I'm running uphill in that pic?" 
Hold on...."
That's better.
The downhill was great because it gave my aching achileas time to warm up.  It was a ten mile loop back to the starting line and I felt goood.  

The course is very rocky and I debated whether to wear my Luna Mono's or my Oso's.  The Mono's are lighter and with more cushion and the Oso supply more grip. Lately I have been exclusively wearing my Spinach Mono's on trails and might never go back to the Oso. I slipped a little bit but I figured I had an advantage over all the other runners using Hoka's which had even less grip.
 Perhaps somebody took this pic on the course somewhere at some time?

What I didn't know until I got to the starting line was that the course had to be drastically changed this year because the forest service was doing some construction up on Mount Santiago.
 (I might just be making that up but I think it's true)

Because of this what was once the first 20 miles of the race  became 2 identical loops that we would run from mile 10-30ish  and then from  30 to 50ish with an option to drop at the 50km mark after one loop. (blah blah blah)

Back to the race 
(now at mile 11)
Once again the loop started by running downhill this time for about 8 miles.  About 2 miles out of the aid station somewhat near where I had busted my ribs years ago. It happened again!

The toe on my left sandal caught an embedded rock as I was running pretty fast down hill.  My ankle twisted, my body flew into the air as my handhelds exploded off my hands about 20 feet away.
 I knew I was F*@ked!  Nothing I could I do but try and brace myself for impact I thought as a flew like a drunk superman through the air.

Without time to react a miraculous thing happened? As my body went from horizontal to vertical my left arm bashed into some tree branches I got a hold. of some twigs and spun about 270 degrees because the hill was was slanted steeply downwards my legs had the room they needed for me to become horizontal again.  

The next thing I knew I was standing on the side of the trail relatively unscathed.
I consider myself a pretty lucky dude but this was the best dumb luck I have had in a long time.
There is no way I should have recovered!

I stood there in total shock for about a minute.  I thought my toe might have been bashed up but there wasn't even a drop of blood. 
I had to climb down the side of the hill quite a ways to retrieve my bottle while another runner whom had witnessed the ordeal helped get my other one.

My adrenaline was really pumping and I took off down the trail. It wasn't until few miles later that I would feel the pain in my foot and wouldn't be until the next day that I would feel the pain in my wrist.

My whole left leg wasn't in good shape at the start of the race and by now it was really starting to crap out on me. I took this as an omen that I should drop down to the 50km.
The girls at the next aid station were beautiful and nice.

All the runners on the course were super friendly and supportive. with a mix of walking and running I meandered back to the starting line to finish my  50km (Boredom of blogging setting in ) When I dropped I was in about 10th place in the 50 miler and I finished 4th in the 50km behind 3 other people whom had dropped down to the 50km.
The race director's beautiful wife placed this medal around my neck and I found the nearest chair.

2 minutes later I received the best raffle prize a thirsty dude could ask for.
So much better than winning Socks, shoes or a shirt.

Time to sit around drink beer with friends and cheer on the other runners. Whom were a lot tougher than I.
Congratulations to my friend Fabrice on his win in the 50 miler!
It wasn't my best day nor my worst.  
Thank you to all my runner friends for making  it a 
good day
Thank you once again to Steve Harvey for letting me come play on his trails.

It was my fourth race in 4 weeks maybe I should take a break for awhile?
Ha Ha!
Tomorrow I'm running another 50km.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

2014 Run4kids Ultramarathon, relay and kids big running party

In the back of my head I had known for about a month I was gonna sign up.
 (as a long I could walk)
But for some reason I had yet to do so?
My body felt like it was in better shape than it was a last year, I wouldn't start the race with a limp as least.
Late Tuesday night March 11th (the last night to sign up) I pulled the trigger.
I wasn't running for my own personal accolades.  I was running to raise money for kids.
I only had few days to do so.
The 100 mile Club, is a nonprofit charity that I real care about that works to battle childhood obesity, build confidence and promote a healthy active lifestyle for kids.
I don't like asking people for donations but I also realize I know a lot of really awesome people that are  more happy to give to such a noble cause.  
On Sale soon at

Raising money is easy when you have a sponsors like I do.  I can't thank Luna Sandals enough! First off they gave a $100 donation to the first person who donated a $150 and they will be giving a Luna Bandito with picture above (that I Illustrated) to every person who donated at least $50.
Please watch

In January I was trying to organize some donations for Caballo Blanco Kids Race in Mexico.  Kara Lubin the founder of the 100 mile club said she would get me some pencils.
Where they came from was really quite touching?

A  school from a very poor area in Riverside CA which is sponsored by donations given to the 100 mile club held a pencil drive.  These kids whodon't have very extra resources were able to each donate one pencil to kids in Mexico who have even less.  Slowly but surely the once empty bucket filled up and was overflowing with generosity
(Kind of like how the kids miles add up during the school year as part of the 100 mile club)

Circle of giving: 
Donations pledged on my behalf  directly sposer 100 mile kids.  Sponsored 100 mile kids give to kids in Mexico.  Luna sandals whom was inspired by the people of Mexico gives thank you gifts to people who donate.
Pretty freaking cool! 

In just a few days I was able to raise
I sincerely would like to thank each and everyone of you for your support. A $10 can make a serious impact on a child's life.
You guys Rock!
My fellow Lunatic (Luna Sandal Runner) Tyler Tomasello from CO was a last minute add to the race I had be hanging out with dude just last week when I told him  about the race.  He didn't want to miss this opportunity to ditch the snow and help out some kids.
I tried to be optimistic about how the race would go but since coming home from AZ and Mexico I had been battling a Sinus infection and didn't even have enough energy to go play frisbee golf the Thursday before. The whole left side of my upper jaw ached from my nasal cavity with every step when I tried to run.
Friday afternoon Tyler arrived. I picked him up and went straight from the airport to my Nephew's birthday party at Laser Tag.   I wasn't gonna miss my Nephews party and hell yeah I was gonna play some laser tag as did Tyler
Man I'm getting old, the 8 mins rounds (which sounded sounded short before they began) took forever. They said  "No Running" PFFT! I had to be careful not to plow into a 10 old as a rounded a blind corner. My mom and sister even joined in.  It was so much fun and I ended being the top scorer for the day.  It was a good reprieve from sitting around the house doing nothing.
 (Tyler did kick my butt in comeback victories at foosball and bubble dome hockey.)
Race Day
I woke up with yellow snot flowing out left nostril like bubbly crude coming out of the Beverly hillbillies farm. Never in my life had I made so much yellow snot LOL it was pretty gross but I had a certain sense of pride in my ability to produce such vast quantities.
dave schulman photography: Run4Kids 2014 &emdash; 140315_Run4Kids_0065
I ended up being the top fundraiser and received a quilt made of old 100 mile club t-shirts stitched together by Kara's mom.Everyone in Kara's family is super nice and I was really honored to receive a gift that so much time and love went into making.
(If I ever find myself living in a van down by the river it will be one of the last possessions I own)
24 hours around a 1/2 mile track on dirt and cement.

My plan was to run slower than I planned knowing damn well I would'nt follow my plan
I told myself that I would walk one mile out of every 10.
Do you think I'm gonna listen to myself?
Are you confused?
Don't worry I have no clue what I am saying either.

dave schulman photography: Run4Kids 2014 &emdash; 140315_Run4Kids_0664
From 8 a.m. till kids of all ages joined us on the track as they worked toward their goal of running 100 miles during the school year. It was really inspiring to watch.
dave schulman photography: Run4Kids 2014 &emdash; 140315_Run4Kids_0744
But you don't have to stop at 100 miles.
Good job Max!
dave schulman photography: Run4Kids 2014 &emdash; 140315_Run4Kids_0623
I ran a bunch of laps with this happy 10 year old girl who ended up  running a marathon with her mom.
dave schulman photography: Run4Kids 2014 &emdash; 140315_Run4Kids_0077
Off we went.
The dude to left is Oswaldo super nice guy and former Badwater winner. The kid in front of me is Ryan he is 10 years old and before the day started he had run 910 this year
How many miles do you think Ryan ended up running.
We chatted all through the day and he's a nice kid and I was really happy for him.
The event was perfect for kids of all ages.  This is my buddy Ed who went on to run over 110 miles.
Way to go Ed!
If you would rather watch a cool video that sums up the event rather than read my gibberish check this out,
Thank you to Masa Otani for putting it together.

Here's how my race unfolded
The first 26 miles

When the race started Tyler shot out like a cannon ball (I was that dude last year)  It's hard not to go fast.  I took it casually jogging at about 8-9 min pace.  After about 5 miles of strolling around the track  I had a side ache. I figured it would go away I can't remember the last time I had one in a race. On the plus side my fillings that were giving me grief stopped hurting and I stopped peeing yellow stuff out my nose.

After 10 miles Tyler was still flying and had lapped me a couple of times.  It was time for my scheduled walk (which of course I didn't do)
The side ache never went away but I began to find a groove
dave schulman photography: Run4Kids 2014 &emdash; 140315_Run4Kids_0717
Did I mention that Kara Lubin Is one of my favorite people.

I finished my first marathon just under 4 hours.  That's the speed I would like to go if I were healthy. I was going too fast and I knew it. I was proud of myself for walking a lap after I hit mile 20 though.
The weather was hot and the wind was picking up I had to tip my hat down low to avoid being blasted with sand in the eyes.

I ran with Tyler most of the afternoon by mile 40 my body was failing. We were walking about half of every lap. I was looking for a miracle and was willing to try anything.  They had showers at the school we were running at and figured it was worth a shot.

To say Tyler and I were moving like little old ladies would be an insult to little old ladies.

Clean with fresh sandals on I felt even worse. My training is entirely on soft sand and my body was not ready for the constant pounding of running on a trail or a man made surface. My left foot felt on the verge of breaking.
( I've come to the conclusion that I should do at least some training on the surfaces I race on.)

I even put on Shoes
Which I did 8 miles in and nearly lost my big toe nail.
dave schulman photography: Run4Kids 2014 &emdash; 140315_Run4Kids_0785
The first marathon for me took 4 hours the second took over 6 and now a 15 min mile was a painful struggle.
I wasn't ready to give up but it seemed  inevitable. Although Tyler was suffering from a gimpy knee I felt like I was holding him back as we slogged our way around the track.

I had brought A bed roll and a sleeping bag and thought maybe short nap would revive me?
after about 45 minutes I awoke and when I tried to get up my the top of my abdominal muscles seized up in cramps. I fell back to the ground flopping liking a fish out of water.  I hoped nobody saw me because it probably looked pretty bad.  It took me about 15 mins for the cramp to go away so that I could get up and walk.

I tried to run but could not.  I was pleasantly surprised however to see that Tyler had found a second wind and was moving quite well.  Kara joined me for a few laps walking around the track as we shared stories and smiles.
dave schulman photography: Run4Kids 2014 &emdash; 140315_Run4Kids_0796
 In the midst of my late night walk  Kara's mom showed up and I was excited to give her a hug and thank her in person for the quilt she had made me.

Sometime after midnight I went to bed after a measly 68  or so miles.

Continuing to run when the body is not working when the risk of injury is high is not a smart thing to do (starting some of these races while injured probably isn't the smartest thing to do either). In the past I would try and run through it and sometimes it's worked but many times it has resulted in injury. Quitting can be a tough pill to swallow but as I get older Id rather not finish than finish broken.

In fact the race that I most proud winning I set a PR in the 10km distance by almost 2 minutes and broke my foot in the process.   If I could go back in time, lose the race and finish healthy I definitely would!
People talk about digging deep during in Ultra and not giving up. The words can be inspiring but for me pushing through the pain is easy, knowing when to stop before I hurt myself, that is the hard thing to do and battle I don't always win.
dave schulman photography: Run4Kids 2014 &emdash; 140316_Run4Kids_0847
When I awoke at about 6 a.m. I learned that Tyler had just finished 100 miles and had called it a day.  I thought he was gonna hit the hundred mark but not that fast.  I was pleasantly surprised but a bit bummed I didn't get to see him finish.
There was still time on the clock so wrapped in our blankies Kara and I walked around the track for a couple more miles.
Checkout my friend Katrina finishing up with about 40 miles despite being 7 months pregnant.
Every time I saw her she was running with a big grin on her face.
Of all the people I was most proud of my friend Andrea was at the top of the list.  She had to grind it out running 12 minute mile for the last three or four hours and finished 100 miles with just a few minutes to spare.
Not my best race but still an amazing experience thank you to the Kara Lubin, lubin  and all the volunteers.
dave schulman photography: Run4Kids 2014 &emdash; 140316_Run4Kids_0920
Thank you to all the runners who helped raise money for such a worthy cause and thank you to everyone who made a donation!

Thank you to all the kids of the 100 mile club you inspire me and continue to make me smile.