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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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.

dr-strange-10k-small-world

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

 

Way Too Cool 50K Logo


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Race Recap: 2015 Way Too Cool 50K

Way Too Cool weekend started out a little different this year. I usually head up to Auburn on Friday and go straight to Auburn Running Company to pick up my bib. This year Auburn Running Company with help from Auburn Alehouse was hosting a screening of Journeyfilm’s latest short film, The Long Haul. The film documents Hal Koerner and Mike Wolfe’s fastest known time effort on the John Muir Trail.

Before the film Western States race director Craig Thornley let us know that the proceeds of the film were going towards the American River Conservancy‘s effort to purchase 10,000 acres adjacent to the Granite Chief Wilderness. Purchasing this land will help to ensure the continuation of the Western States Endurance Run and the Tevis Cup. Next was a quick intro from filmmakers JB and Jen Benna and then it was time for the show.

The film was put together as an afterthought from iPhone and GoPro footage but it doesn’t feel like it. The scenery is breathtaking and would have stolen the show if it weren’t for Hal and Mike. Hal Koerner is a known personality in the trail running world and the film portrays him as the goofball we expect. While I know who Mike Wolfe is I haven’t really seen much of him before and his personality really shines through in the film. It is a fun film and I would recommend it to anyone interested in trail running.

Since I chose to go to the film screening I didn’t have time to pick up my bib. That meant I would have to wake up a little earlier and pick it up race morning. Not a big deal and if anything I might get a better parking spot because of it. WRONG! I ended up getting there about 6:30 and had to park about three quarters of a mile away. Luckily bib pickup was a breeze.

The past two years I’ve tried to start this race conservatively and failed miserably. The first mile is on a paved road before hitting the Olmstead Loop Trail and everyone jockeys for position before hitting the single track. If you get stuck behind a slower person you could be in their conga line for a while as you wait for an opportunity to pass. This year I gave in to history and went out at a decent clip knowing I wouldn’t hold myself back.

After a quick mile clocking in at 6:43 we hit the trails of Olmstead. Shortly after the trail begins we normally have to cross Knickerbocker Creek.  This year someone carried a small bridge down down to the creek which was nice but in a way takes a little something away from the race. Two miles later I paid for my lack of time training on the trails and clipped a root which sent me rolling down a grassy hill. Luckily I was at the back of a line of runners and was able to easily hop back on. I’d end up falling on this loop one more time but it wasn’t as exciting but it was a solid reminder to keep my eyes on the trail. Around 6.8 miles into the race you have to cross Knickerbocker for the second time. This section is significantly wider and deeper and always fun to blast through. I ended up finishing the 8-mile loop in 1:01:33 which is about a minute and a half faster than I’ve done before.

Way Too Cool 50K Course Map

Way Too Cool 50K Course Map

The next section of course is mostly flat with a few rolling hills. I just cruised this hoping to recover a little and took the opportunity to down a GU before the biggest downhill section on the course began. Last year I pushed the downhill too hard which led to blown out hamstrings later in the race. This year I chose to float down the hill.

After crossing Highway 49 you run along the Quarry Trail which parallels the middle fork of the American River. This section is mostly flat with a few small climbs thrown in to keep it interesting. Shortly after grabbing another GU and exiting the Lower Quarry aid station around mile 11 I realized I was on a 50K PR pace. Knowing my history of blowing up on this course and the fact that all the climbing is packed at the end of the course I pushed the thought away. The one thing I couldn’t push away was a rock in my shoe so I had to make a quick pit stop to remove it.

16.7 miles in you reach the Maine Bar aid station. Unfortunately by the time I got here my stomach was starting to turn on me and all I could stomach was a boiled potato. I was planning to get down at least one GU an hour but the thought of one at this point wasn’t appealing. Onward and upwards!

Around mile 18 you hit the first climb of the course. It’s roughly two miles of climbing and then about a mile down to the Auburn Lakes Trail (ALT) aid station. In the past I’ve had to hike most of this for various reasons. This year it seemed relatively easy to climb and I passed a few runners here. Not being injured or sick for the first time here made a huge difference.

Way Too Cool 50K Elevation Profile

Way Too Cool 50K Elevation Profile

After a quick bottle refill and an orange slice at the ALT aid station I headed back onto the trail. This is another section I’ve always regretted not being able to run well. It’s a few miles of rolling downhill until you get to the infamous Goat Hill. Even though I was feeling really good I was running cautiously. I wanted a decent time on this course and I didn’t want to blow up for the first time on it. I locked into the easy pace of the runner in front of me and let him  lead the way.

Around mile 23 I looked back and noticed a group of three runners gaining on us. Less then a half a mile later they were on us and I stepped off the trail to let them pass. After stepping off I realized I recognized the group. Jen Benna was leading with JB Benna and Tim Twietmeyer (5X Western States champ) right behind her. The guy I was pacing off didn’t yield to them so I was able to hop on to the back of their group. Jen and JB passed the other guy and were quickly gone but Tim stuck with us for about a mile. It was kind of cool to run directly in his footsteps for a while.

The dreaded Goat Hill didn’t seem so bad this year. I still had to hike most of the third of a mile long climb but I ran some of the middle section where it levels a little bit and made it to the top about 45 seconds faster than I had in the past. It’s a small victory but I’ll take it.

After topping off my bottles at the aid station at the top of the hill I checked to make sure I was still on pace for a PR. In theory, I still could break my ‘A’ goal of going sub 4:30. The only thing standing in my way was one more rocky climb at mile 29. I ended up making it up that hill about a minute and a half faster than I previously had but it wasn’t enough. After a short run through the grassy meadow and I crossed the finish line in 4:32:18.

2015 Way Too Cool 50K Medal

2015 Way Too Cool 50K Medal

After crossing the finish line I headed over to the Athlete’s Village to grab some grub which was catered by The Cork and Fork and the famous Way Too Cool frog cupcake. Then I waited for my friend Kayden to cross the finish line and secure a huge PR of his own.

Way Too Cool Finishers

Way Too Cool Finishers

My previous 50K PR was 4:42:42 at Fort Ord and my fastest Way Too Cool time was 4:47:54 in 2013. After a pitiful racing year last year I’m celebrating every success this year and I’ve had a few good ones. As proud as I am of my performance, it is humbling to run in this race. Way Too Cool draws incredible talent and I finished 100th overall. Patrick Smyth of Nike’s Elite Trail Racing Team set the course record of 3:04:48 and Megan Roche set the women’s record of 3:41:56 that day!

Way Too Cool Frog Cupcake

Way Too Cool Frog Cupcake


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Race Report: 2014 Way Too Cool

Way Too Cool 50K Logo

Last year at this race I was fighting piriformis issues and I tripped mid-race on a rock. This year I didn’t fare much better. My training was coming along nicely going into February and then I caught the flu which derailed me for a couple weeks. I missed out on running the Fort Ord 50K as a training race and I wasn’t able to get the miles in. Enough excuses, let’s get to what happened.

Even with the minimal training I thought I would have a shot at beating last year’s time if I ran smart. The plan was to go easier in the beginning so I could run more of the climbs which fall later in the race than I did last year. It was a sound theory but once the race started I apparently had forgotten about it. The first mile of this race is on the road and it is FAST. Everyone jockeys for position before the single track starts on the Olmstead Loop. Using Strava to compare my time on the first loop to last year, I accomplished my goal of going slower. By 5 seconds. Too fast!

Way Too Cool 50K Course Map

Way Too Cool 50K Course Map

After the Olmstead loop we headed down to Highway 49. While I was able to run it a little bit slower than last year (39 sec), I think I pushed it way too hard for the little amount of time I had spent on the trails lately. I have a feeling the pounding my legs took here would lead to them failing me later in the race.

Next up is a rolling fire road along the middle fork of the American River. I was able to run this section considerably slower, as planned. Around mile 13 I noticed my hamstrings were feeling particularly tight and was afraid they would blow up if I pushed too hard.

Running Along the American River

Around mile 17 is when you start the first real climb of the course. The climb is runnable for the most part but I had a problem. My hamstrings decided they had enough and were in quite a bit of pain. The lack of training time on the trails caught up to me. I decided to just cruise and or hike the next few miles to give them a rest and see if they would bounce back.

Way Too Cool 50K Elevation Profile

Way Too Cool 50K Elevation Profile

About mile 21 you reach the Auburn Lakes Trail (ALT) aid station. This signifies the top of the first climb and is the start of about 5 miles of very runnable trails. Too bad I still couldn’t run. It was heartbreaking to slowly jog this portion of the course.

Around the end of mile 26 lies the infamous Goat Hill. It is roughly a third of a mile long and you gain approximately 276 feet of elevation which equates to a 20% grade. This year Strava turned it into a segment challenge. Everyone who completed the segment challenge would be entered to randomly win some Strava prizes. I finished 101 out of 215 runners. Since I haven’t heard anything from Strava about prizes I’m going to assume I didn’t win.
Strava Segment ChallengeAt the top of Goat Hill is another aid station. After topping off my supplies I headed down the trail. Once again, this is a runnable section of the course and I was hobbled. It is mostly downhill with a few rolling sections thrown in. Somewhere in this section I ran into Bruce Cyra who I ran a large portion of this race with last year. I hopped into the group he was with for a little while before my hamstrings needed another break.

After reaching the Highway 49 crossing you’re treated to your final aid station before heading up the final climb. This climb isn’t that tough on its own but after suffering through 29 miles it can be a pain in the ass. Luckily after the climb you aren’t far from the finish line where your frog cupcake is waiting for you!

Way Too Cool Frog Cupcake

Mine Looks Kind of Sad This Year

I finished the race in 5:34:54. About 50 minutes slower than I did last year. Given the shape I was in I probably shouldn’t have expected more but if I had stuck to my more conservative plan I probably would have done better. Just a couple weeks later I’ve made huge gains in my fitness and I’m ready to tackle the next challenge.


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Race Report: 2014 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

2014 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

2014 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

Last year during the runDisney Dumbo Double Dare I had a hard time racing both the Disneyland 10K and the Disneyland Half Marathon. I knew going into the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend I was going to have to choose one to race and just coast the other one. Since men were able to win awards at the Tinker Bell 10K I chose that event as the one I would race and I would do the Tink Half for fun.

Once again I participated in the race as a team with my mother. This year we would be competing as team Motherboy not to be confused with the ’70s rock band Motherboy. Although we opted to leave our sailor suits at home and run in traditional running gear.

No sailor suits for team Motherboy this year.

No sailor suits for team Motherboy this year.

After an early wake up call, the race starts at 5 AM, I made my way down to the corrals. In the past men have had to start in C corral but this year we got to start in B. My goal for the day was to get to the Haunted Mansion as quickly as possible. During the 10K the Bride and Parasol Girl from the stretching portraits were out for photo ops and I raced by them. If they were out today I was going to stop.

Corral A was sent on their way promptly at 5:00. After about eight minutes corral B was was finally released onto the course. The first three miles were a blur of skirts and fairy wings as I tried to pass as many corral A runners as I could. Somehow amongst the flurry of fairy wings I spotted my former co-worker Jindy and offered a quick “hello”.   Even though this was a “fun run” I still wanted to beat as many people to the Haunted Mansion as I could. If the Bride and Parasol Girl were out again, there would be a line.

While cruising through Disney California Adventure I noticed that lines had already formed at most of the character stops. Most were about 15-20 fairies deep but the further I got into the race the shorter the lines were getting! I more or less ran in the mid to upper seven minute pace until I got out of DCA.

2014 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Course Map

2014 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Course Map

Upon entering Disneyland we were greeted by Turk and King Louie. There wasn’t a line for these guys but I couldn’t stop. Tink, Captain Hook, and Mr. Smee were stationed at the far end of Main Street. I opted to keep heading towards Sleeping Beauty’s castle.   

Waiting on the other side of the castle was Peter Pan and Wendy Darling. Up along the rails around the carousel were Pan’s men, the Lost Boys. I should have stopped for them but I was on a mission. We rounded our way through Fantasyland and past Pixie Hollow (no fairies once again) on our way to Tomorrowland! Darth Vader and a couple Storm Troopers stood guard there but there was a line for them so no stopping.

Next we ran past It’s A Small World before heading backstage where we passed the train yard and roundhouse and Circle D Ranch before dropping into Toon Town. From there we turned backstage once more behind the Storybook Canal where you could spy the boat house. After a quick run through the tube we were in Frontierland and closing in on my goal of reaching the Haunted Mansion.

I spotted Captain Jack Sparrow as we ran through New Orleans Square with two runners. This gave me hope that if the Bride and Parasol Girl were in front of the mansion the line would be short.

Finally I was there. The Haunted Mansion was in full sight but I didn’t see what I was looking for. I wasn’t worried yet since they were on the back side of the mansion for the 10K. Unfortunately they were not there either. What a let down. Eight more miles to go.

Feeling defeated  I cruised through Critter Country and Downtown Disney. My pace slowed to an eight minute mile. The ladies of the Red Hat Society were out starting at the Disneyland Hotel once more. Each year there are more and more of them out there to cheer on the runners.

Then it was time to “Shhhh” as we ran through sleeping residential Anaheim. This is hands down the most boring part of the course. The streets are long, dark, and silent. By this point I was bored and ready to be done with the race. Eventually we turned into Downtown Anaheim which was a nice change of scenery.

One of the reasons why I was so content just cruising this race was because my hamstrings were killing me. They were tight at the start and never loosened up. Finally around mile 9 they felt a little better. I stupidly picked up the pace a hair and by the middle of mile 10 I paid the price. Full knotting. I was reduced to a shuffle throwing down nine minute miles with periodic stops to stretch.

Around the 11 mile mark I had a racing first. I stopped at the medical tent to get some Biofreeze for my hammy. After several pumps of the jug I had enough in my hand to slather the offending leg. It was a huge relief but I kept my pace in check in order to keep a larger injury at bay.

The next few miles were uneventful and I just wanted this race over with. I finally crossed the finish line with a time of 1:48:39. Team Motherboy didn’t fare much better landing in 75th place in the co-ed division. Turns out mom had some medical issues herself that day, she’s fine. I grabbed my third fairy wing medal and headed back to the hotel for a much needed shower.

Tinker Bell Half and 10K Medals

Tinker Bell Half and 10K Medals

Oh, yeah! This little guy got his first medal of the year as well!

2014 runDisney Vinylmation

2014 runDisney Vinylmation


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Race Report: 2014 Tinker Bell 10K

Tinker Bell 10K

Tinker Bell 10K

And I’m back. The past two months have been tough. I’ve battled illness and a total lack of motivation after not gaining entry into a couple races I qualified for. Add in some work related stress and I’ve become a mess. I’m undertrained and overweight. There is nothing like a race or two to verify it.

As a male runner the Tinker Bell Half Marathon is a tough pill to swallow. It is a women’s themed event and men can not start in the first corral. Men are also not eligible for overall or age group awards. The only reason why I do it is because runDisney races are great family events. My kids run, my wife runs, and my mom runs. This year runDisney made that pill a little easier to swallow by adding the Tinker Bell 10K to the weekend’s events. Men were eligible for all awards here.

Originally when I signed up I had a lofty goal of placing in the top three overall. I didn’t have anything else on my race calendar and the 10K was going to be the race I focused on for the fall. Of course that was before my training went into the toilet. My new goal was to shoot for an age group award. Even this might have been a stretch given the three weeks of training I had under my belt.

Tinker Bell 10K Start

Tinker Bell 10K Start

Right off the start both of my hamstrings felt tight. Not a good way to start a race that you’re underprepared for. You can almost see how awkward I started in the picture above (orange singlet). The first mile is the all-too-familiar trek from the start down Disneyland Drive before heading into the backstage of Disneyland. I was surprised that I felt relatively comfortable running with some speed. The first mile clocked in at 6:37. Far from what I’m capable of BUT much faster than I’ve been doing. The question then became how long could I hold this for?

I think I went out too fast thanks to the encouraging sign by my friends at @RaceEveryStep.

I think I went out too fast thanks to the encouraging sign by my friends at @RaceEveryStep.

During the second mile of the race we passed the Haunted Mansion. To my surprise the Bride and the Parasol Girl from the stretching portraits were in front of the mansion for photo ops. I have never been more tempted to stop for a picture during a runDisney race in my life. At this point of the race I was feeling good and running in the top 20. Despite the temptation, I carried on and clocked a 6:43 mile. Slower but still holding on!

The next mile would wrap us around the Matterhorn and past Pixie Hollow. Seriously runDisney, how do you not have the fairies out during their own race? From Pixie Hollow we made our way down Main Street and over to Disney California Adventure. After cruising down Buena Vista Street we made a hard right down Condor Flats and eventually wound up at Paradise Pier. 6:51 for mile 3. I felt like I was about to pop at that point.

Tinker Bell 10K Course Map

Tinker Bell 10K Course Map

The fourth mile took us around the back side of Paradise Pier, through Cars Land and out of the Park via Hollywood Land. I rolled through the 5K mark with a split time of 20:55. Shortly after that I popped and ended up running a 7:02 fourth mile.

After exiting DCA we headed up Harbor Blvd and hung a right onto Manchester Way. We followed this road along the freeway until intersecting with Disney Way where we headed back towards the parks. My fifth mile ended during this section. Clocking in at 7:05 it was my slowest mile.

When we got back to Harbor Blvd we turned left and headed towards Katella. At this point I knew all I had to do was hang on and I would more than likely place in my age group. I tried to as hard as I could to reel in a couple runners in front of me but I wasn’t able to. I even lost a spot to another runner who was able to run me down as I was closing the gap on the runners in front of me. My sixth mile came in at 6:57.

After a quick turn back onto Disneyland Dr and then a finish in the Simba parking lot and we were done. With a finish time of 42:48 it was far from a PR for me but it was good for 23rd place overall and 2nd in the 35-39 male age group. Another bonus of the race is that it coincided with a Strava challenge. I was able to log my fastest 10K of the month for the Strava Races 10K.

Strava Races 10K

Strava Races 10K

Stats:

Overall: 23/8,238

Men: 19/1,539

M35-39: 2/222

Shoes: Mizuno Ekiden

Tinker Bell Half and 10K Medals

Tinker Bell Half and 10K Medals


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Race Report: 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon

Disneyland Half Marathon

When training started for this race I had high hopes and big goals. I set big PRs at this race the last two years by breaking 1:30 and 1:25 respectively and this year the goal was to break 1:20. Two weeks into training I realized I had a problem. I had focused much of the year on ultras and setting PRs there that I had lost a bit of my speed. I resigned to trying to get back where I was last year and chose a different race later this year to try to break 1:20.

Training didn’t go so well. Last year was pretty cool which helped me train through the summer. This year wasn’t so forgiving. It made hitting my paces during speed work extremely difficult and turned long runs into a suffer fest. My motivation for this race was in the dumps until about three weeks out when I started to string together a few decent training runs.

There was one other factor that I would need to take into account for this year’s Disneyland Half Marathon. I had signed up for the inaugural Dumbo Double Dare Challenge which means I would be running the Disneyland 10K the day before the half marathon. The plan was to take the 10K easy and then shoot for a 1:22 for the half. While I didn’t push it on the 10K, I didn’t take it easy.

Race morning came quickly with a 4 AM wake up time so I could get ready to meet with Kris and Mindy. The plan was to run with Kris who was looking at a similar goal time. Luckily they were staying a couple doors down at the Disneyland Hotel so it was easy to find them. After a short walk we found ourselves standing in corral A waiting for the gun to go off.

2012 Disneyland Half Marathon Start

2012 Disneyland Half Marathon Start

The first mile started out fast and I quickly realized it wasn’t going to be my day. We clocked a 6:18 mile on our way into Disney California Adventure but it felt like so much more work than it should have been. I silently let Kris fade away from me and tried to lock down a pace that I could maintain. The next mile took us through the back of DCA and then around Paradise Bay. I slowed down to a 6:35 but I was still miserable. As we entered Cars Land I saw DJ parked outside Flo’s V8 Cafe and I honestly contemplated stopping for a picture which is something I’ve never done before in a race. Mile 3 continued the slowing trend with a 6:57 and my 5K split was 20:55.

Upon entering Disneyland I was defeated mentally and we were only three miles into the race. I decided to ditch any time goals and turn the race into a training run. Then it happened. I stopped to take a photo with Disney characters for the first time ever during a race. Genie, Jasmine, and Aladdin will always hold a special place in my runDisney history.

Genie, Jasmine, Aladdin, and ME!

Genie, Jasmine, Aladdin, and ME!

Now that I had officially stopped racing I could focus on getting through the miles and to the finish line. The run through Disneyland took us through Frontierland, Fantasyland, Tomorrowland, and Toon Town. There was a decent array of characters out including Darth Vader and some Stormtroopers in Tomorrowland, Daisy Duck and Clarice in Town Town, and Princess Aurora with Prince Phillip outside her castle.

After exiting Disneyland you pass the four mile mark which I clocked in 7:15. Last year I didn’t log a mile above 6:40 so logging something over 7:00 brought me down a little. The next few miles brought some cheer squads, bands, Hula and Mexican Dancers. Mile 5 clocked in at 7:14, Mile 6 was 7:12, and my 10K split was 43:21.

Disneyland Half Marathon Course Map

Disneyland Half Marathon Course Map

The next mile was rough for some reason and I clocked a 7:31which would be my slowest mile. Shortly after the 7th mile you turn left onto Cerritos Ave and are treated to about a mile long car show. runDisney started having car clubs line the street starting last year and it has really helped spice up this boring section.

After passing the Honda Center the course ends up on the Santa Ana River Trail. This year we spent a little more time on the trail than in previous years. There is construction where we previously left the trail so the course had to be altered. I found the new transition from the trail to be a little easier. Mile 8 clocked in at 7:28 and mile 9 was 7:14.

0023tNext up is my favorite part of the course. As an Oakland A’s fan I hate the Angels but I love running through their stadium during this half marathon. runDisney fills the stadium with Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and their cheering is loud and infectious. I tried to give a high five to as many scouts as I could while I was running though here. Feeding off the energy from the scouts mile 10 came in at 7:09.

Entering Angels Stadium   Running the Warning Track of Angels Stadium

The next couple miles I just focused on finishing. There are a few more cheer squads and bands during these miles. Miles 11 and 12 clocked in at 7:14 and 7:11. I usually feel good on this section of the course and try to push the pace but with nothing to gain I just cruised it.

For some reason I decided to try to pick off a few runners in the final mile which helped me drop the pace down to 6:55 for mile 13. With the finish line and Mickey and Minnie in sight I felt relieved that this race was done. A quick high five to Minnie and Mickey and I crossed the finish line in 1:33:35. Good for 98th place overall and 15th in my age group. Not even close to what I was hoping for.

Home Stretch   High Five Mickey   Double Bling

In retrospect the one thing that killed my half performance more than anything was lack of sleep the two nights before the race. I can usually get away with one poor night of sleep before a race but more than that leaves me feeling drained. Of course the heat and humidity played a role as well. Last year’s men’s winner Jimmy Grabow was a little more than two minutes slower than last year and women’s winner Cindy Lynch was about a minute slower.

Next year I’ll probably pass on doing the Dumbo Double Dare. I loved being a part of the inaugural running of it but I prefer to give the half marathon my full attention. I’m not focused on the bling so the additional medals aren’t enough to sway me to come back… at least not until they change them for the 5th anniversary!

Dumbo Double Dare Medal Haul

Dumbo Double Dare Medal Haul