C Talley Run

Rumblings and mishaps of a Strava and runDisney obsessed trail and road runner.


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Race Recap – Quicksilver 100K – The Race I Needed

Quicksilver 100K

 

For the past few years I’ve felt like my best days on the trails were behind me. In 2013 I ran what I feel is my strongest ultra at American River, finishing the 50 mile distance in 7:21:13 for 20th place overall. I followed that up with a personal course record at the Ohlone 50K in 5:57:18 for 15th place overall. After that my results never lived up to my expectations for myself. Luckily that all changed last weekend at the Quicksilver 100K.

I’ll start by getting the one negative about this race out of the way. It starts really freaking early. 4:30 AM! Luckily I live pretty close by so my drive isn’t that bad. The 3 AM alarm was brutal. I quickly got dressed, grabbed my gear, and headed out the door to pick up my friend who was also running the race. If I’m going to suffer this early in the morning, at least it wouldn’t be alone.

We got to the Hacienda entrance to the Almaden Quicksilver Park around 4 AM. Plenty of time to park, pick up our bibs, and hit the bathrooms before the pre-race briefing. After a quick and straight forward briefing by race director John Brooks we were off and running.

One of the advantages of the pre-dawn start is that I got to try out my new UltrAspire Lumen 600 before I head down to San Diego.  WOW! I used it on the highest setting since I was only going to be using it for about 6 miles and it is BRIGHT! So bright that a nearby runner remarked that he didn’t need to bring his own light. It is also so comfortable that I didn’t even feel it around my waist.

The race features in the neighborhood of 14,000 feet of elevation gain so it isn’t surprising that we started with a big climb. About a mile and a half into the race I caught up to Mark Tanaka. I’ve raced with Mark several times over the years so it was nice to catch up with him. He has a robust racing schedule coming up including the San Diego 100 which I’m also running.

2017 Quicksilver 100K Elevation Profile

2017 Quicksilver 100K Elevation Profile

Mark is far more experienced at trail racing than I am and was pushing the pace a little faster than I would have doing by myself but it felt comfortable so I kept up with him. Shortly after rolling through the Lexington aid station at mile 17.9 we were joined by Amy Burton who happened to be the lead woman at the time.

One of the biggest climbs on the course was coming up and Amy knows the course well so I followed her cues and walked when she walked and ran when she ran up Priest Rock Trail which is affectionately known as “Dog Meat.” Somewhere along the way we lost Mark but picked up Jesus Garcia-Fernandez. Turns out that Jesus will be working one of the aid stations down in San Diego so I’ll have another friendly face down there!

Thanks to a trail closure on the trail that heads up to Bald Mountain, we got to do the Kennedy Trail instead this year. According to many, this added a bit of elevation gain to the course from previous years. The nice part is that we got to see all the race leaders as they were heading down. I should have been paying attention to how many people were ahead of me, but I really didn’t care since I didn’t want to push myself too hard this race.

After about a two mile decent and two mile climb back up we were greeted by Chikara Omine handing out popsicles. I would usually pass on them but I’m trying to eat more during these races and it looked pretty good.

Shortly after that, I hit my first low point of the race. I got really tired, really fast. I have sleep apnea and the previous weekend was a rough one for getting sleep in. I had been feeling tired all week because of it and I’m sure the early wake up call on race morning didn’t help. I let Jesus, Amy, and the rest of our small pack of runners go as I slowly jogged my way into the Wood Road aid station, hoping they had some caffeine.

I was in luck! There was a can of Coke at the Wood Road aid station with my name on it. After downing a couple cups I headed back onto the trail. There was one small climb left before we had a nice long downhill section but it was a steep one. Climbing up my quads started to shake. At around 30 miles into the race it was way too early to be feeling like this!

Thankfully, my quads got some relief on the long downhill and I was able to recover. I recovered enough that I was able to catch back up to Amy as we rolled back into the Hicks aid station at mile 37.8.

For the better part of the next 6 miles Amy and I clicked off the miles at what felt like an effortless pace. Then at the top of the last little climb before heading down to the Mockingbird  aid station My quads decided they had enough. Amy flitted down the hill as I entered my second dark patch of the race.

After gingerly making my way down the hill I came to the Mockingbird aid station. I couldn’t have gotten there at a worse point in my race. This aid station is also the finish line! 50K runners were finishing their days and the air smelled of BBQ. I had to get out of there quickly before I seriously started to consider taking a DNF. After a quick bottle refill and a few slices of watermelon I was back on the course.

Little did I know, I was sitting in 15th place leaving the aid station. Considering I wasn’t planning on racing that day and hadn’t really tapered for the race, I was having a pretty decent day. I’m actually glad I didn’t know how I was doing. I made the decision to walk a bit to see if I could recover my quads. I don’t know if I would have done that had I known I was in a decent position.
I was quickly passed by a runner and his pacer and then one more runner on the rocky Buena Vista trail. I really didn’t care. My only goal was to find some flat or down hill section and see if I could run and I knew I would get it after the Buena Vista trail ended.

Exiting the Great Eastern Trail

Exiting the Great Eastern Trail

Once on flat ground I discovered I was able to run as long as the pace was mellow. I was content with that and decided that finishing the race was my only goal at this point. Unlike the first 40 miles of the race, I ran the rest of the race by myself. The only exception was the occasional runner that would pass me.

At mile 52, Mark Tanaka caught back up to me. We had a nice long downhill coming up so I did my best to keep up with him for that section, knowing that he would leave me on the upcoming climb and I wouldn’t likely see him again until the BBQ at the finish.

The temperature wasn’t too high that day, but the next few sections felt warm and took their toll on me. After the McAbee aid station I got a bloody nose. Then at mile 56, right before the Enriquita aid station I pulled over to the side of the trail and puked relentlessly. I instantly felt better so I tried to run again but my quads sized up again. After hiking for a minute I somehow was able to work myself back into a slow jog. I didn’t know how far I had to go to the aid station but I wanted to get there ASAP.  I was overjoyed when it quickly came into view.

Rolling into Enriquita I saw Jesus. He mentioned the wheels fell off for him and I told him I was in just as bad of shape if not worse. At the aid station I was told that I had a 1.2 mile out-and-back and to mark my bib with a marker at the bottom of the trail. I was a little surprised that Jesus was only about 15-20 minutes ahead of me. Maybe I wasn’t moving as slowly as I thought.

Heading down the hill I realized I still hadn’t recovered from my earlier trail side purge. I started feeling light headed and a little dizzy so I started walking down the hill. Then I saw Amy and her pacer cruising up the hill. Again, I was surprised to see she wasn’t that far ahead of me. She mentioned that this was the worst section of the course as we crossed paths but all I could blurt out was a “good job.” Next Mark came rolling up the trail and asked if I was hurting. YES!

Not only was I hurting, I was getting more light headed and decided I needed to sit in the shade for a few minutes and take in some calories. 5 minutes later I was back up and walking back down the trail only to get light headed again. I sat back down and watched a couple runners bomb down the trail. After a couple minutes more I got up and finally made my way down to the markers at the end of the trail.

I was slowly making my way back up when I got light headed again and needed to sit for a third time. Then a couple more runners came shooting down the hill towards the marker and I decided I didn’t want them to pass me so I got up and made it back to the Enriquita aid station.

With one more climb to the top and only three mostly downhill miles to go I felt that I had recovered enough to push to the finish. I certainly wasn’t going fast for the next few miles, but they felt comfortable. I rolled back into the finish at Mockingbird at 12:28:29 and in 20th place.

With a solid race in the bag, it was time to congratulate friends that finished ahead and enjoy a ridiculous BBQ spread while waiting for more friends to finish. Thanks to UltrAspire for incredible gear, I’m looking forward to rocking my Lumen 600 in San Diego in a month and to ASO Sport for helping me recover quickly.  Huge thanks to the volunteers supporting the race and the Quicksilver Running Club for hosting such a quality event.

I think what has been holding me back at a lot of my recent trail races is that I had forgotten how or been unwilling to suffer. I’m proud of myself for hammering out the last 20 miles of this races with blown quads and pushing myself to run when it was very uncomfortable.  Most, if not all of us hit dark patches in these long races and knowing how to push through them is how you reach your goals. I feel really confident after this race heading into the San Diego 100 next month.

Oh yeah, this was also a Western States qualifier so it is nice to have that out of the way. I’ll #SeeYouInAuburn for my fifth consecutive lottery in December.

Quicksilver 100K on Strava

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Monthly Miles: February 2017

That month went quick. It was also largely uneventful. February was dedicated to continuing building base. I don’t have a race that matters until May so I don’t want to do too much too soon and burn myself out or get injured.

I ended up with 258 miles for the month for an average of 64.5 miles per week. That is 15 more miles than I logged in February 2016. The difference is the intensity is much lower. Last year I was in the throes of marathon training for Boston and doing a lot of quality runs. Right now I’m running quite a bit slower.

feb-miles

All the standard monthly Strava challenges were completed.

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One exciting thing that happened this month running wise is the UltrAspire Immortal Ambassadors got our discount codes to share with our friends. You can use code UAIMFF15 for 15% off at the UltrAspire online store. I’ll be pulling the trigger on buying the Lumen 600 for myself shortly. One of my weaknesses in my 100 milers so far has been running through the night and I have a strong feeling the Lumen 600 will help at the San Diego 100 in June.
ultraspire-logo


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Worth the Wait: Doctor Strange 10K Award Arrived.

The race may have been back on November 10, 2016 but my age group award from the Doctor Strange 10K arrived in the mail last night! This race was a part of runDisney’s Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend. You can read my race recap here.

doctor-strange-10k-age-group-award

runDisney Doctor Strange 10K Age Group Award

Strava Lululemon Badges


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Monthly Miles: January 2017

2017 is off to a quick start! It seems like January flew by. My goal for the month was inspired by Tracksmith’s No Days Off campaign. After finishing Cascade Crest 100 last year I needed some recovery time. Then the holidays hit and before I could realize it I had been spending more time on the couch than running. To get my motivation and consistency back I planned to streak January.

The month started off well and I had built a solid streak of 16 days in 2017, 22 total days going back to the day after Christmas. Then after my run on the 16th, my Piriformis flared up and I couldn’t stand up straight let alone run for two days. Luckily, I was able to hop on my stationary bike trainer and spin. Spinning actually helped to loosen up the muscles in my back and the Piriformis. I also stretched and foam rolled several times a day.

Aside from missing the two days due to my Piriformis, I also missed one more due to real life getting in the way. I still managed to spin that day so while I wasn’t able to complete my goal of “no days off” from running, I did fill my calendar with an activity each day.

Strava Calendar

Racking up 224 miles with 16,919 feet of vertical gain was enough to easily complete the standard monthly Strava challenges (distance, climbing, 10K, 1/2). On top of the standards, Lululemon sponsored their first challenge. At first glance, it was just your basic challenge. If you ran 40K from January 9th to the 22nd you got a badge. If you ran 80K you got a second badge. The big surprise came after the challenge was complete. Lululemon sent out emails letting everyone who finished the challenge know that you get a Metal Vent Tech Tee for finishing the 40K and a pair of Surge Shorts for completing 80K. Women get a Swiftly Tech Short Sleeve and Speed Shorts. It’s been a long time since we’ve been rewarded for completing a challenge and Lululemon provided the best reward yet! I’ve already run in my new clothes and they are incredibly comfortable.

Jan 2017 Strava Badges

Strava Lululemon Badges

 

Not running related, but she’s too cute not to share. We got a German Shepherd puppy this month! Meet Molly.

german shepherd puppy


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UltrAspire Immortal Ambassador

I’m excited to announce that I have been selected for the 2017 UltrAspire Immortal Ambassador Team! When I moved up to the 100 mile distance a few years ago I wasn’t happy with most of the hydration packs I had been using. They weren’t that comfortable and I knew comfort was going to be important, especially in the later miles of the race. Then I read about the Speedgoat waist pack. It was designed with input of ultra running legend Karl Meltzer. That was enough to pique my interest and give it try. After my first run with it I fell in love with the pack and became an UltrAspire fan.

ultraspire-immortal-ambassador-team-2017

Meet the 2017 UltrAspire Immortal Team

These days I find myself using the Zygos race vest for my longer endeavors. It allows me to carry more water thanks to the reservoir and I can still carry a bottle in one of the front pockets with Tailwind in it for my electrolytes and calories. I still fall back to using the Speedgoat for shorter races when I don’t want to carry around the extra weight from a reservoir full of water.

I’m looking forward to representing UltrAspire in the coming year at races, in training and through my social media channels. It is a brand I use and a brand I trust.


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2017 Race Calendar

With the Western States and Hardrock race lotteries complete (I didn’t get in), I have a pretty good picture of what my race calendar for 2017 will look like. I’ll be spending the first half of the year on the trails and the second half on the roads. Hopefully this is the year I can knock off two elusive goals.

Apr 9 – Woodside/Purisima Creek Crossover – 50K (Possible)

woodside-crossover

I’ve run a couple races in Woodside but I haven’t done a 50K there yet. This race fits nicely into the schedule and is close to home. Sounds like the perfect training race to use as a supported long training run.

 May 13 – Quicksilver 100K 

quicksilver-100k-map

This race is close to home and I’ve had my eye on it for a couple years now. I would have pulled the trigger sooner but it hasn’t meshed well with my schedule. It has the added benefit of being a Western States qualifier so I’ll get that out of the way early this year. It will also be my first 100K! I’m pretty excited about this one. Worth noting is that this race has sold out in around 2 hours the past two years so if you want to run it in the future, sign up quick.

Jun 9 – San Diego 100 Mile Endurance Run

san-diego-100-logo

This will be my fourth 100 and hopefully the one I finally get the sub 24 hour monkey off my back at. I’ll be competing in the solo division which means I’ll be running sans crew and pacers. The big question here is how hot will it be?

Sept 2 & 3 – Disneyland Double Dare (10K + Half Marathon)

disneyland-half-marathon

My family usually runs multiple runDisney events at Disneyland each year but this year we’ve cut back to just one. The prices for these events are a little steep and they’ve gotten a little repetitive. This one is the original Disneyland half and by far the best one.

Oct 22 – Morgan Hill Half Marathon 

logo-mhmarathon

Signing up for this one has become automatic. This will be my eighth consecutive year running one of the events (7 half marathons and 1 marathon). The starting line is a mile away from my doorstep and I love supporting my hometown race.

Dec 3 – California International Marathon

cimlogo

I ran my first Boston qualifying time at CIM. This time I’m going back to knock off another goal. A sub three hour marathon.


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Race Recap – Doctor Strange 10K

I’m not sure what motivated me, but I decided to dust off the old blog and post a new entry. From November 10th through the 13th runDisney hosted  their Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland. This time around I was only running the Doctor Strange 10K since I am still rebuilding after running the Cascade Crest 100 in late August.

My initial hope was to take a shot at the masters win but a few training set backs put that goal in doubt. I settled on goal to finish under 39 minutes which should at least land me in the age group awards. Given some of my training paces this should have been achievable, but again, some late training set backs may have made it an overly ambitious goal.

The first mile is mostly a straight shot down Disneyland Drive/West Street before turning left into the Anaheim Convention Center. I was slightly over goal pace clocking in at 6:18 and it didn’t feel as easy as it should have at this point. I was sitting in around 15th place overall and figured I needed to be top 10 for the masters win. At least I knew I could throw out my original goal at this point.

drstrange10kcoursemap

Doctor Strange 10K Course Map

The second mile of the race weaves through the Anaheim Convention Center and its neighboring hotels before dumping out onto Harbor Boulevard and later a left hand turn on Disney Way which takes you backstage of Disney California Adventure. While running through the convention center I was still feeling decent but once on Harbor I could feel my pace slipping. I found a comfortably hard gear that I thought I could maintain and clicked off a 6:27 second mile. Not even close to goal pace.

The third mile took us through the wharf and into Radiator Spring’s back entrance by Radiator Springs Racers. We then ran through Bug’s Land, up the parade route, and started cruising around Paradise Pier. Thor was hanging out on the parade route by the main Cars Land entrance. My race performance was holding steady at this point. I wasn’t where I wanted to be but I was maintaining pace. Mile three was in 6:30.

Mile four is the last in DCA finishing off the pier, winding down Grizzly Peak Trail, past Soarin’, through Hollywood Land where Black Widow was hanging out and past what remains of the Hollywood Tower of Terror, and going through a stretch of backstage DCA. 6:35 for that mile and I got passed a few times. I was likely sitting in around 18th place at this point. At the rate I was slipping, age group awards may have been out of the question.

Mile five takes us through the service tunnel between DCA and Disneyland, through a long stretch of backstage Disneyland before entering Toon Town, and by “it’s a small world” which was decorated for the holidays. This mile was slow and miserable for me. It seemed like there were a lot of sharp turns that wreaked havoc on my pace. I don’t even recall if there were any characters stationed along this portion of the course. Mile five took 6:55 and I lost a few more spots. I think I was sitting around 22nd place at this point.

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Mile six takes you by the front of the Matterhorn before heading into Tomorrowland. You exit by the hub and head towards Pixie Hollow and the back of the Matterhorn where Dr. Strange himself was waiting for runners. We took a quick jaunt through Fantasyland before darting through Sleeping Beauty’s castle. Finally we headed down Main Street, through the front gates, and started through Downtown Disney towards the finish. After a pitiful fifth mile I decided to make an effort on mile six. I ran it in 6:39 and even passed a runner.

dr-strange-10k-castle

The final two tenths takes you through the end of Downtown Disney and finishes by the Disneyland Hotel. I was able to pick off one more runner in this stretch who started his kick too early and finished in 20th place overall in a time of 40:24. Somehow that was good enough for an age group win.

dr-strange-10k-finish

While I was thrilled to get the age group win, I was pretty disappointed in my pace. Earlier this year I ran a half marathon at that same pace. I still have a bit of work to do to get myself back to where I was earlier this year before I got injured.

Doctor Strange 10K Strava Data