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.

mts-run-2017-02-v1climbing-run-2017-02-v1races-half-2017-02-v1races-10k-2017-02-v1

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.
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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

Star Wars Half Marathon Start


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Race Recap: Inaugural Star Wars 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and Rebel Challenge

I’m back. 2014 was a rough year and my fitness and running slipped. I watched all of my times creep up and performed horribly at the races I focused on. In July I ran my first 100-miler, the Tahoe Rim Trail 100. The learning curve was huge and while I thought I was in shape to do well, I made a few mistakes along the way and paid for them. I finished in 31 hours and 35 minutes. That was a long time to be out there and it took even longer to recover from. In August, September, and October I hardly logged any miles.

Towards the end of October I started training for a series of half marathons I had already registered for. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Los Angels Half Marathon, the Morgan Hill Half Marathon, and runDisney’s Avengers Half Marathon. I progressively improved my times from a 1:41 at Los Angels down to a 1:35 at Avengers. Still a far cry from what I am capable of.

That brings us to 2015. I’ve been working hard. Track Tuesday is now a staple of my workout week. My training volume is increasing at a slow but steady rate as I prepare for a slew of upcoming ultras, but before that I had something to prove to myself. That I can still run a fast. Fast for me at least.

The first test was the inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend! I would be running the 5K and the Rebel Challenge which consisted of the Star Wars 10K and the Star Wars Half Marathon the following day. I’ve been a huge Star Wars fan my entire life so a race that is put on by runDisney that revolves around Star Wars could not be missed.

On Thursday we attended the expo for the race. Merchandise for this one was going to be a hot commodity and likely fly off the shelves. Luckily we got there early enough that we were able to get everything we were looking for. I picked up a few pins and a pint glass. It ended up being relatively painless since runDisney had us queue up in a conference room where they were playing Empire Strikes Back on a big screen.

Down in front! Empire is on!

Down in front! Empire is on!

Star Wars 5K Starting Line

Star Wars 5K Starting Line

Friday brought the Star Wars 5K which I ran with my wife and oldest daughter. We had a blast running through Disneyland and California Adventure. The lines for photos were pretty long but we couldn’t resist stopping for Chewie! After the race we collected our C-3PO medals and headed off to the parks.

Chewie

We had to stop for the wookiee.

Done with the 5K.

Done with the Star Wars 5K.

Next up was the Star Wars 10K on Saturday. I had originally planned to take this race easy so I could save myself for the half marathon on Sunday but at the last minute I decided to see if I could race both. I took the first four miles at a relatively easy pace averaging a 6:20 mile which I thought would be enough to put me in a good position to get an age group award while still saving something for the half. The next couple miles I ended up running in no mans land by myself and slowed a bit to save even more. This ended up being a huge mistake as I ended up being bumped out of third place in my age group by a mere 5 seconds. I ended with a time of 39:45, a PR, and in 19th place overall and 4th in my age group.

Star Wars 10K Start

Star Wars 10K Start

After just missing out on an age group award in the 10K I was going to give the half marathon everything I had left. The first 9 miles went well and I was on PR pace. Then I paid for pushing it on the 10K the day before. The wheels fell off and my pace increased by 30 seconds a mile until the end. I finished in 1:26:52. My second fastest half marathon which I am quite proud of considering I’m still on the comeback trail. Unfortunately, I missed out on an age group award for the second day in a row. This time by 39 seconds.

Star Wars Half Marathon Start

Star Wars Half Marathon Start

Star Wars Medals

Star Wars Medals

Jabba


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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