Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Glimpse of heaven taste of hell

TRT 50 Mile Run

Most of last year I spent hoping to qualify for Western states 100M and when I finally did, I didnt get through WS 100 lottery. It isnt that dissapointing mainly because of my class schedule coincides with the races and so does our travel plans.

So after lot of enthusiatic mails from Rajeev, Chihping and Alan, I decided about TRT 100. Yep, finally taken big step today towards running/walking/crawling through a 100 mile race at beautiful place called Tahoe.

I had run 50 mile race at this course in 2006 and was totally enticed by this course, which includes breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe from 8500ft peaks. The entire course is run above 8000 ft so Altitude is definately gonna be challenge and need to do some runs to deal with that.

Overall it is going to be a big challenge coping up with training, time with family, striking a good balance with work will be very essential!

I need support from my dear wife, who will have to deal with some weekends being hogged by races and recovery and all the post race talk!!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Mark of a champion athletes

(Rajesh after his First 50 M Run)

(Anuradha singh after her First halt Ironman)

In Past couple of weeks 2 of my friends completed Triathlons. They have been tremendous inspiration to whole range of athletes in Silicon Valley.

Whats special about it?

Rajesh Agwaral:
He started learning swimming in Winter 2003 and by Fall 2006 he completed Ironman Canada swimming 2.4 milesm 114 mi bike and a marathon in 16 hours!!. And completed his first ultra marathon 50 M as a casual long run.

Anuradha Singh:
She learnt biking in may 2006 and open water swimming around the same time and Nov 12th she swam 1.2 miles, biked 56 miles and ran 13.1 miles under 7 hours at half-Ironman, Florida. On top of that she is a mom of 2 sons. scheduling training for such distances is a incredible effort.

Hats of to their determination, they are constant source of inspiration. Ofcourse great support from their respective families ensured dedicated training.

Congrats you folks. you Rock.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Great pictures of Badwater Ultra

Beauty of Desert and Moutains; And runners trying to survive the elements of nature.
nicely capture @

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Helen Klein 50 mile race, 2006

Helen Klein 50 mile race,
Nov 3rd, 2006
Granite Bay, CA

I was waiting for this day for quite sometime this year, mainly because of my hope of qualifying for Western States 2007 lottery. After 24 hr run on track, I decided to do HK 50 specific training so as to do it within 11 hours.

Towards the end of my training in Oct, a sub 10 hr race seemed possible. As in 2006 myself and Rajeev started the race about couple of minutes late apparently my watch (and rest) was out of sync with RD's. Anyways we were off on our 50 mile journey at 7:00am

myself and Rajeev ran very comfortably till mile 10, those miles seem to fly by quite fast, mainly talking to Barbara Elia who was pacing her friend Dale for his first 50 miler. She had completed 3 ultra's on 3 consecutive weeks (RDL 100, Tahoe triple, Firetrail 50 M).. one heck of a athelete!

By mile 13 we decided to take some walk breaks consiciously, by mile 15 I was in my own rythm so carried on, Rashmi was supposed to meet me at mile 18 but missed her by few minutes, I met Chihping who seemed to be cruising at his comfy pace, I reached turn-around at 4:27, about 35 mins faster than last year, I had mixed feeling about my time, wasnt sure if I would be able to maintain this pace, but a sub 10 goal seemed possible.

Met Padma and Rajesh at mile 28, who were fighting the cutoff's but would eventually make it comfortably. I was looking fwd to mile 31 as Rashmi and parents were waiting for me, but before 31 I had some stomach upsets, resulted in some visits to "Porta John", finally reached at 5:38 and was thrilled to see all my support crew, after a short stop, continued with my easy run walk, all seemed fine untill mile 35, when I had some stomach upsets again, by mile 37 I took another ensure, which turned out to be a mistake, by mile 40 I was too nauseating, realized that I had too much of lactose in my stomach, some long walks really did help recover.

Once I recoveted from nausea, last few miles flew by easily, Luckily met Rush and Sarita at mile 44, were I had chocolate soy milk, a amazing drink different from ensure and all trail food, that carried me towards the finish.

once the levy begins you can smell the finish line, as I was turning towards the school, 9:45 finish was certain and all my training for the past 2-3 months felt so fruitful. As I entered the school my Ipod played "Zindagi Aa Raha hoon mein" From Mashaal. Finally I saw my parents and rashmi waiting at the finish, I was the most satisfied person that day.. hadnt felt in a while!!

Couple of minutes later Rajeev completed his race within 50 miler in 9:49hr, what a performance after a marathon a week before! Thanks Rajeev for all the fun runs this year. We waited for sometime for another strong finish by Padma and Rajesh. Congrats Rajesh on your 50 M finish!!

Thanks to Norm, Helen and All volunteers who make this run such a pleasant experience, I am sure to go back for one of the races next year again, thanks folks.

(Rajeev and my family with legend Helen Klien)

Ofcourse I couldnt spend all the time in training without support from my buddy and wifey Rashmi.

(she supported all of us!!)

It was a pleasure to see my parents on the course.. I could see their eyes with a concerned look mixed with happiness of me finishing 50 Miles.

(pleasure to see parents)

This race got me entry into WS 100 2007 lottery, lets see how the lottery goes on Dec 2nd.

(Asha Alumni: Rajesh, Rajeev, Anil, Padma)

Lessons learnt:
- need to be watchful about ensure intake.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Aaron's goal narrative

Listing race report of Aaron, 11 yr old boy who completed his first 50k at SF 12 hour race.

A Hard Goal to Reach

In the weeks leading up to the San Francisco One Day 12 and 24
Hour Events, I thought I could run fifty miles in twelve hours. After all,
it is only a little more than 15 minute miles. But, now that I was about to
start, I pondered how tough that really was. I remembered my mom suggesting
that my primary goal should be 50 kilometers or 31 miles, and I tried to
readjust my own thinking to make this my new goal for the day.

When there was just 5 minutes until the start, I had a knot in my
stomach, knowing that I would not be able to be totally relaxed until I was
done at 8:00 or 9:00 p.m. It seemed a long way off. My nervousness had at
first kept me from hearing what one of the race directors, who was also my
dad, was saying. Luckily, I didn't need to hear his instructions anyway,
because the course was a one mile loop and I knew that I wouldn't get lost.

"We're going to start in ten seconds," announced my dad, "5, 4, 3,
2, 1, start!" As soon as I heard 'start' I immediately took off. At first,
I sustained the leaders' speed, keeping pace with the elite runners who had
come from all over for this race. But, after awhile, I slowed a bit and
tried to run relaxed. My first lap was 7:37, my second was 8:48, and then I
gradually slowed even more, trying to conserve my energy for the long day
ahead. However, my mini-goal of ten miles in less than two hours stayed in
my head - I wanted to be able to tell Mrs. Longua, my P.E. teacher, about it
on Monday. I achieved that goal with almost 10 minutes to spare.

Even with ten hours left, I knew that I hadn't gotten to the hard
part yet. I walked the whole eleventh lap, by then knowing that my socks
had holes in them and my shoes were rubbing up and down against my heels, so
I felt as if I was starting to get blisters. As I came into the aid
station, I immediately notified my mom that the shoes I was wearing were
hurting. She said that we were lucky that Sports Basement was just across
the street from the far side of the loop. She then went with me as I
started my twelfth lap. When we reached Sports Basement, we picked out a
pair of new shoes and socks to buy. It was then, when I was trying on the
shoes, that I noticed a blister was actually forming on my left heel. My
mom and I waited in line, paid for the new shoes and socks, threw away my
old ones, and sat down to put on the new ones. My mom and I walked out the
door minutes later with me wearing my new shoes and socks, feeling much

Back to the course I went, continuing to run and walk my laps. On
my eighteenth lap, I had realized how hard going even 50 kilometers was
going to be. I also started to think about stopping at twenty miles,
because my previous record was 19 miles, set when I was 7 years old. I told
my mom that I was having doubts and mentioned once again about stopping at
20 miles. And she told me that, instead of stopping for good at 20 laps, I
should take a break at 20 and "see how you feel".

At the 20 mile mark, I decided to take that break. My stomach was
bothering me - I hadn't been eating much during the run, and I was starting
to feel low on energy. After 45 minutes and eating a sandwich, I decided to
go for a marathon, which was only 6 more laps. I got to 'rest' and chat
with my friends who walked with me while I did these 6 laps. As I was
completing the marathon, my mom asked if I thought I wanted to try for the
50 kilometer mark, the goal that we'd talked about so many days ago. I told
her, "Now I do! At 18 miles I didn't, but now I do!" From this point on, I
had no more thoughts of stopping until I reached my goal of 50 kilometers.

This time through the aid station, I ate some pizza and headed
back out on the course. It seemed much easier now that I only had to finish
5 more laps to reach my goal. I counted down the number of laps that I had
left. It got gradually darker, now that it was after 7:00, until I finally
needed a flashlight. With just two laps left, I started running again. I
ran most of the 30th and 31st loops, crossing the finish line for the last
time to the cheers of my family and friends.

Now that I was done, I had all the time I wanted to play with my

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Tapering II

A easy 20 miler in saratoga with Rajeev, all seemed fine untill last few miles when I started pain in my glutes, same problem which bothered me in aug, this sounds little dissapointing considering all has been great so far, but I am optimisitic of the race day.

2 more weeks to HK.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Tapering: Time to rest and patiently wait for HK 50

Yesterday was my last long run for HK 50. Since I was in Santa barbara, I decided to do a hard 20 miler on treadmill, which is lot easier than running on asphalt, also surface is easier on the knees.

My training mainly consisted on following three phases:

Base build up(may - aug):
No structured training, but consisted of running 50k and 50 M every month, more or less about 35-40 miles per week.

Sharpening/Buildup(6 weeks):
I would consider this phase as the crux of my training for HK 50, with no racing but a consistent 50 miles per week of runs, consisting of 20-31 mile long runs. This period has been most fruitful. when I started out I could barely do a 20 miler at 10:30 pace, but end of this period I was able to do a 9 min mile (on treadmill).
I think I do see a improvement by atleast 1 min, mainly because
a) long tempo runs of of 8-9 miles
b) reduced weight
c) hard long runs.
d) avoiding racing allowed me to focus on specific training

It's not my favorite part of training but I see benefits of a good taper period, so starting today my taper for HK 50 starts. For next few days
- reduce mileage by 25% every week
- do some short intensity workouts (6-8)
- weight training
- watch diet
- cross training

Just hoping for this period to go through without injuries and weight gain.

Patiently waiting for HK 50, 19 more days to do!

Ultrarunning 101

Fluid and Electrolytes 101

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Ultrarunning: Fluid and Eletrolyte 101

Ultra running puts extreme stress to body; Optimum energy, fluid and electrolyte replacement/refueling plays a very important role.

The following FAQ's written by Dr Lisa Bliss, Medical Advisor of WS 100 board, clearly illustrates different conditions faced by the athlete during the race, and how to deal with them.

Thankyou Lisa.

This article is copied from WS 100 website:

Lisa S. Bliss, MD

Maintaining fluid and electrolyte balance during the Western States Run seems to come naturally to many runners. They just eat and drink and run and are merry. For others, it's not so easy. They eat and drink and slosh and puke and lose and gain weight and become sick and confused about what they are doing "wrong" and, even more, what they should do to better their situation so that they can make it to the finish line in one piece.

I will attempt to answer some common questions that come up in training for and participating in the Run. I must first toss in the important disclaimers that 1) fluid and electrolyte balance is far more an individual art than a science, 2) what works for one person might not work for another, and 3) knowing what works best for you in practice is the most important way to answer these common questions. There is no substitute for trial and error, practice and experience!

That said, here are some answers to the questions I frequently hear.

My weight is down and I feel fine. Should I do anything special?

Weight is the simplest indicator of hydration status available to runners in training and on the course. Some weight loss during WS is expected and acceptable. In general, 2% weight loss is considered "acceptable." All things being equal, if you are down 2% of your weight, you can drink a little (1 pint fluids = 1 pound weight OR 1 liter fluids = 1 kg weight) and get your weight back up. No big deal. The concern in longer arduous races like Western States is that, well, you have to run 100 miles, so an early trend towards dehydration, if not turned around, could mean that you will continue to lose weight during the run, putting yourself eventually at risk of dehydration further down the trail. At WS, we like to have runners stay close to their starting weight, not more, not too much less, simply because you have a long, long way to go. Even as little as 3% weight loss can affect performance by putting strain on the body's cardiovascular system. Additionally, staying hydrated will keep muscle breakdown materials (myoglobin) flushing through the kidneys. So, if your weight is down and you feel good, just slightly increase your fluids and continue on your way down the trail.

My weight is down and I'm puking? How can I stop puking?

This is a little trickier. For some, puking is a common part of their ultra experience. Certainly, the stomach can simply rebel, and getting rid of all the stuff that's been sloshing around in there can be liberating. Many runners say they feel much better after puking and can "start anew" with fluid and calorie replacement without any problems. Puking, in that sense, seems to be part of the solution to a problem. But what if puking is the problem itself? What if it can't be stopped, and despite an ultra effort, calories and fluids refuse to be absorbed from the gut and you become more and more dehydrated and fatigued? In this case, the runner should stop or walk and let the body rest because the body needs that fuel to propel it down the trail. You must let your gut recover.

As you know, running an ultra is stressful on the body….way more stressful than many even think they know it to be. When you place demands on your muscles to keep moving you forward, the blood in your body gets "shunted" to those muscles to fuel them with the oxygen they need to work. And if the muscles are hogging the blood, then some other parts of the body must be sacrificed at the expense of the muscles. Unfortunately, the gut is often sacrificed. And if you keep shoving precious fluids and calories into a gut that cannot absorb them, then they have to go somewhere, and they may come back up and out. So, if your weight is down and you cannot keep fluid and calories down, then you must slow down or stop - decrease the work of the muscles and let the blood get back to the gut so that it can work and absorb like it's supposed to. Unless you can run without fluids or calories (not recommended at WS!), this is your best bet for remedying the problem. Remember too that heat can exacerbate this problem. That's because much of the body's blood is also "shunted" to the skin to facilitate sweating and thus cooling, leaving even less for the muscles and gut. So, if the body is hot and you are sweating profusely and your weight is down and you cannot stop puking, you must cool down your body first. When running in the heat (and you are likely to encounter some in the Canyons), Ice is Nice! Dousing your head and trunk with water also aids in cooling. Cool the body first, then try to resume fluids and calories. Some tricks worth trying (which may not overwhelm the gut while you are slowing down and letting the blood redistribute back to the gut) are sucking on ice or hard candy, and sampling other simple calories like gels that don't require significant processing by the gut. Some runners find that ginger in various forms can be helpful as well.

My weight is up and I feel fine! Is that OK?

Weight gain is fluid gain. You can acquire too much fluid by too much input (drinking) or not enough output (e.g. low sweat rate in slow runners or in cooler temps, or not peeing out the extra because of ADH) or both.

I repeat: weight gain is fluid gain. The weight of salt is obviously negligible. There is also some contribution from foods, but the dry weight of food is not the primary reason for weight gain. If your weight is up, think fluid, not salt. Sure, it is true that salt can cause you to retain fluid if you take too much, but weight gain reflects the amount of fluid on board and therefore it is the fluid that must go if you are gaining weight. Cutting salt while continuing to drink will not solve the weight gain problem (even if you have "overdone it" on the salt). Similarly, adding salt to an already fluid overload problem will not solve the weight gain problem. This will only cause an overload of both, which is difficult to remedy. The ONLY way to solve the weight gain problem is to get rid of the extra fluid. So, if your weight is up, the most important question to ask yourself is, What should I do with my fluids? Try to keep it simple.

That said, what holds true for weight loss also holds true for weight gain: a little weight gain is usually not harmful - IF you feel fine. Still, in that case, you definitely should decrease your fluid intake so that your weight is down by the next medical check. Do NOT continue the same rate of fluid intake because, well, it's too much! Always remember that if your weight is up, you are in NO WAY in danger of dehydration; you are, in fact, overhydrated. So, decrease the fluids and get your weight back down. If you are feeling fine and urinating fine, then simply decrease your fluid intake and reassess at the next medical check. If you are feeling fine but you are NOT urinating, then the situation is a bit more precarious. That's because if you keep drinking and sweating at the same rate, and you are not eliminating those excess fluids, your weight will go up quicker and you are putting yourself at risk of the dangerous, much talked about, fluid overload hyponatremia, where your sodium literally drops too low from getting diluted in the blood. So, remember, just because you are feeling fine at one point doesn't mean you will be feeling fine down the trail. Take care of the little things as they come up, make small adjustments early, and prevent problems down the trail.

So how much is "a little weight gain?" Dang! I wish you didn't ask me that! That's a tough one to answer. Let me just say that it depends on how you feel. If you run into Michigan Bluff and your weight is up 3% and you're feeling great - with NO problems - then you should follow the advice of "continue on but decrease your rate of fluid intake so that your weight is back down at the next medical check." If, however, you stumble into MB and your weight is up only 2% but you are NOT feeling fine, and you have symptoms of hyponatremia (including headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, lack of coordination….think "intoxication"), then that "little" amount of weight gain for you IS harmful and you should stop drinking and follow the directions of the aid station personnel. This doesn't necessarily mean your race is over, but if you don't take care of the problem, it certainly may be! The bottom line is, if you are overweight and feeling fine, decrease your intake and get your weight back down. Take care of it early to prevent trouble later, and beware of repeating the same thing later in the Race!

Remember that one way to lose fluids from the body at WS is through sweating. Sweat rate also increases with a faster pace, and decreases with a slower pace. That may seem obvious but there are a lot of runners who believe if they are slower and "out there longer" that they are more likely to get dehydrated. Reality is, these runners not only sweat less, they also have more time to drink. They are actually at a greater risk of becoming fluid-overloaded. Also, smaller body types have less room for error when it comes to maintaining a proper sodium concentration in the body. So, smaller folks are also more at risk of getting fluid overloaded, just because it is easier - based on total body water - to do so.

Note that a runner does not have to gain weight to develop hyponatremia. One can be dehydrated and still get it. This usually occurs in faster runners who sweat out a lot of fluid and electrolytes and inadequately replace both. Symptoms are similar in either setting.

My weight is up and I feel shitty! What should I do?

Simple. First, stop drinking. Second, pee. Putting more fluids (including electrolyte drink) into an already fluid overloaded body that feels shitty is asking for trouble. So, no water, Gatorade, GU2O or even IV fluids! The only acceptable thing to imbibe is a concentrated sodium mixture, like 4 bouillon cubes mixed in 4 oz of water or soup broth with an extra bouillon cube or two mixed in. The goal is to get a little sodium while NOT adding extra fluids. Salty foods are ok too. BUT, that's just the initial step. You are not cured just by doing this! You should not continue down the trail doing the same thing and expect different results, i.e. to feel better. Depending on how you feel (or how you present to the medical personnel), more needs to be done….and peeing is key. You must rid your body of the extra fluids. And sometimes this is the toughest part of running an ultra….making yourself pee off extra fluids when your weight is up and you feel shitty. Continue on....

My weight is up and I can't pee. So now what should I do?

Under "normal" conditions, if you drink too much, you simply pee it out. However, there is not much "normalcy" in running a 100 mile race through elevation, temperature, and diurnal changes! Running WS puts your body under a great deal of stress. One of the body's common reactions to stress is the secretion of a hormone called ADH (Anti-Diuretic Hormone). Remember that a diuretic (like coffee) causes you to urinate more. So, an anti-diuretic causes you to urinate less or not at all, depending on the level of the hormone in your body. Under "normal" conditions, if you drink a lot of fluids, ADH is suppressed, and this cues the kidney to "diurese," i.e. pee out the extra fluid. However, under stressful conditions, sometimes ADH is inappropriately released and it causes the kidney to hold on to the urine. It is an inappropriate release because if you are fluid overloaded, ADH should not be hanging around inhibiting your kidney from dumping that extra fluid. This ADH is often the nemesis of the ultrarunner that can't pee. (Note that moderate dehydration will also cause the kidney to hold onto urine too….Argh! It gets complicated, I know!). The key here though, is that if your weight is up and yet you can't pee off those extra fluids, ADH is the likely culprit.

So, what should you do in this situation? Well, these are the things you run across at ultras that can cause ADH to be released even when you don't want it around (like when your weight is up and you need to pee off the extra fluids): nausea, stress, and hypoxia (elevation). There is LOTS of anecdotal evidence that decreasing the stress load on your body can help the body to "relax" and get rid of that inappropriate ADH hormone and thus allow the kidneys to urinate. Decreasing stress at WS may seem impossible, but there are definitely things you can do. Slowing down or walking is a good place to start. Cooling down if hot is also helpful. By decreasing the stress on the body and allowing the body to get rid of the ADH, you will eventually see (or hear or feel) the flood gates open and your kidneys will dump that extra fluid. Slowing down and cooling down are likely some of the reasons why runners tend to diurese during the night portion of the run.

How much salt should I take and how can I monitor it?

If you chose to supplement with salt, you must practice this in training. Every runner is different with regards to salt intake during ultras. Some runners take no supplements and get some sodium with the foods and drinks. Others prefer to drink water or sports drink and take salt supplements so that they can better regulate their intake. There is no right or wrong way.

In an ultra, sodium is primarily lost in sweat. It can also be lost with vomiting or diarrhea. It is also excreted in the urine. Some researchers say that all sodium lost in sweat should be replaced; others say it does not need to be replaced at all (at least in shorter, "easier" runs). Many ultrarunners swear that supplementing with salt during the Run is helpful or even necessary. For now, I will side with the experience of the ultra masses that encourages some sodium intake whether by supplementation or salty foods.

For the average runner: Sweat rate averages between 1.0 and 2.5 liters/hour. Some runners sweat more, some less. When heat trained, sweat rate increases (you sweat sooner and more), and the sodium in your sweat decreases (the body conserves sodium). Sweat rate also increases with a faster pace, and decreases with a slower pace. Average sweat sodium loss per liter of sweat is between 900 mg and 1400 mg. Some lose less, some much more. For a mental picture of how much sodium that is, 1 teaspoon of table salt (NaCl) has about 2300 mg of sodium (Na) in it. The amount of liters of sweat per hour can be determined by weighing nekkid before and after running...though I warn you that sweat rate for the same runner may vary tremendously over the course of 100-mile race. So, while it may seem like it comes down to just math, numbers are really just general guidelines and if, followed too strictly, can get you into trouble. There are just too many variables, not only from ultra to ultra, but within one race too (affected by training, changes in pace, altitude, food, temperature, etc.).

Still, the best *general* recommendation I have found is to supplement with about 300 mg to 1000 mg per hour. It doesn't matter how you get it, whether it's through sodium supplements or from the diet. This amount may not replace all the sodium lost in sweat, but we don't know if a runner NEEDS to replace ALL the lost sodium for optimal results. So, nothing replaces your own experience. And remember, do not make drastic changes on Race Day!

Also know that not all supplements are created equal! Succeed! Caps contain 341 mg sodium each, Thermo Tabs contain 160 mg sodium, and Hammer e-caps contain 40 mg sodium (the label says 100 mg of sodium chloride NaCl, but NaCl is only 40% sodium by weight).

All that said, I know there are many runners that do very well with lower sodium amounts than what I state here. That is fabulous. There is no right answer. You should do whatever works for you.

I'm getting muscle cramps. What should I do?

There are 2 main theories on muscle cramping. The first is that they are due to neuromuscular fatigue and the second is that they are due to electrolyte depletion and dehydration.

The best thing to do for muscle cramping is to try to prevent them in the first place. Nothing substitutes for training. Specifically trained muscles will be adapted to the tough conditions at WS. Sometimes, however, cramps are unavoidable. So, if cramping occurs in one muscle like the calf, for instance, then you should do a prolonged stretch of that muscle until the cramping subsides, repeating as necessary. If you have multiple muscles cramping or cramping more proximally, like in the quads, you should assess your fluid and electrolyte status. Is your weight too low or too high? Both may contribute to more diffuse cramping due to dehydration or sodium depletion respectively. Some experienced runners take extra sodium or potassium to help with cramping. It is worth a try! Still, the best advice to try to avoid cramping may be to train specifically for the Race.

Will I know if I am getting heat stroke?

Heat stroke is a medical emergency. It can come on quickly but there are usually warning signs. It does not have to be 90 or 100 degrees Fahrenheit for heat stroke to occur; it has been known to occur even in the 60s. You must prevent heat illness and know how to treat it quickly if you suspect it.

Know that the body's muscles create an enormous amount of heat. Harder working muscles create more heat, so faster runners generate more heat than slower runners. That heat must be expelled from the body. Heat accumulates in the body when heat production exceeds heat loss. Slowing the pace is one way to decrease heat production. The evaporation of sweat from the body is one way to increase heat loss. Sweat does not evaporate as well in humid environments, so humidity increases the risk of heat illness if other factors (like speed) are not modified.

Things to look for: feeling overheated, profuse sweating, and flushed skin as the body shunts blood to the skin in effort to promote sweating, headache, nausea, vomiting as the gut shuts down at the expense of blood being shunted to the skin. If any of these are present, start cooling your body by dousing with cold water and start generating less heat by slowing down or stopping. Ice wrapped around the neck is a very efficient way to help cool the blood as it makes its way to the brain. Consider buying a WS Ice Cap or Ice Bandana! These are priceless in the heat! Scarier symptoms of heat illness include dizziness, confusion, and irritability. Any of these symptoms should prompt a medical evaluation. Sure, some runners get irritable without having heat stroke or another serious medical condition, but an evaluation is necessary. Listen to the concerns of other runners, family, or medical personnel. Because some conditions cause confusion, others may be more aware of the danger signs than you!

Ice application is the easiest first line treatment. Place ice packs in areas of major arteries - around the neck, in the arm pits and over the femoral arteries in the groin region. Never assume that an oral temperature accurately measures the core temperature! The only accurate core temperature measurement available at WS is a rectal temperature. So, please, take heed, and when heat illness is suspected or even in question, just start cooling the body!

What if I get dizzy when I stop running? What should I do?

This is very common and is likely due to postural hypotension. That is, your legs have been working to pump the blood back up and through the body for hours. When you stop, you suddenly take away that pump and the blood can, in a sense, pool in the legs, causing you to feel faint. The best solution….keep running! Or at least, keep moving. However, if you need to stop and cannot keep moving, pump your feet and march a bit in place, and that will help keep the blood circulating up towards your head. If that is not successful and you feel too dizzy and fear you may fall or pass out, then lay down before that happens….or else your body will do it for you! A few minutes of elevating your feet (and even hips) will utilize gravity to get the blood to your head. The dizziness should subside fairly quickly in this position. If it doesn't or you are concerned, seek medical attention.

Dizziness (and even passing out) can happen after finishing the race, even up to an hour after finishing! It happens for the same reason - you've turned off the pumps in your legs. Again, the best thing to do is to keep moving. BUT if you are taking a well-deserved break by sitting or lying down, it is prudent to "pump" your feet and legs to get the blood moving before standing up. It can take some time for your body to adjust to your legs not moving, so it's good to be aware that this can happen, and that it is in fact, fairly common. Also know that dehydration has nothing to do with this kind of postural hypotension. Symptoms should resolve with lying down with your legs up. It may take several minutes or even an hour before the dizziness resolves upon standing. If you or someone you love has any concerns whatsoever, seek out medical personnel.

What if I get dizzy and lightheaded when I'm running or walking? What should I do? This is more serious than the above scenario. If you are dizzy or lightheaded on the course, the first thing to consider is your blood sugar level. If that drops too low, you can be overwhelmed with fatigue and can become light-headed and even your mood can change drastically. A secret handed down from one of the best ultrarunners around is to always carry some simple sugar with you, like some hard candy or similar. This is the time to indulge in that sugar! If low blood sugar is indeed the cause of your symptoms, then you will notice a dramatic recovery. If that is the case, get yourself to the aid station and fill up your tank enough so that it doesn't happen again. Cokes and 7-ups have plenty of sugars too and will perk you up. If, after trying sugar, the dizziness and lightheadedness continues, you should seek medical attention. It could be due to a number of things, including heat illness, hyponatremia, even a problem with your heart. It could also be due to simple fatigue, but in any case, you should err on the side of caution and get checked out. Even dizziness from fatigue alone is hazardous on the trail. The opportunities for falling are many, and that alone, can be very dangerous.

Some final musings...

Peer pressure: Some runners will literally drown in the amount of fluids that other runners require. In general -- but not always -- women tend to require less fluid than men. They tend to have lower body weight and perhaps we really do not sweat as much in general. It seems that they also tend to get in a little more trouble with ADH. Perhaps there's a hormonal reason for that. Probably. But it hasn't be proved yet. So, no matter your gender or what the issue, don't do something based on what works for someone else. Do what works for you!

Swelling: It could mean too much fluid or too much salt or too much of both, or it could just happen from arm swinging or just because it does. Finger swelling is not a very reliable indicator of fluid or sodium status. Generalized swelling, however, like including the wrists and forearms, is more likely to indicate fluid overload.

Spitting: The convenient and inexpensive Spit Test is a good test of hydration status. If you can easily work up a spit, chances are, you are well-hydrated!

Finally, I must conclude with some Psych content. We are, after all, biopsychosocial organisms! More often than not, problems that arise during your Run at WS can be addressed and remedied. Awareness is the first step in addressing a potential problem. After spending months of physical and mental preparation for the Run, it can be difficult to accept that sometimes things occur during the Run occur that require acceptance and adjustment. Listen to your body. The goal of the Staff at WS is to get you SAFELY to the finish line. They want that as much as you and will do their best to help you achieve your goal. However, safety is foremost. So, be prepared, know your body, train smart, arrive uninjured, run wisely, adjust as necessary, and arrive safely at the Finish to celebrate your monumental achievement!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Memorable Long Run at Hellyer

Date: Oct 7th 2006
Location: Coyote creek trail, (Hellyer)

my impromptu decision of bunking Big Sur marathon, convinced me to do a long run at Hellyer, it had to be similar intensity as Big Sur marathon, since I was counting on this run to be my peak run. So decided to do a 30 mile run at Hellyer.

Carpooled with Char and Arul. Initially I thought Asha run was from Metcalf entrance instead it turned out to be start of trail (hellyer side).

Hellyer vs Big Sur trail, is a like pancake vs saw-tooth. I had to justify my run and get over the guilt of bunking a race :), so I had a urge to do a
hard long run. Coyote creek trail is a 15.5 mile trail, so decided to do out and back, with a refueling at the end of the trail.(morgan hill)

I mainly carried following:

Ultimate Direction Diablo hydration pack:
40 oz water
20 oz clip2(2 extra packets)
3 Powergels
3 sportsbeans

Based on my other training runs I had decided a 11 min pace would be very good goal, so for the first half maintained a 10:30-11 min pace till turn-around, reached turn around by 2:45hr, almost 11 min pace, and was hoping the same the other way.

After the turn, I started feeling more into running rythm, my legs and cardio were in sync and was running at 10 min pace with walk breaks comfortably, at mile 20 called Char to let him know not to wait for me, since I thought would take longer than 5:30 hours, but Char said
"10 miles hai kitna time lagega".

That triggered the thought of doing a hard 10 miler till the end, from this point I got into a zone and I started treating this long run as a race, once mind was set with a goal, I started running 9:30 pace for the rest of the run with walk breaks. I was surprized to reach mile 26 in 4:25 almost close to my PR pace of 4:17, never since SV marathon 2004, I felt so good running a long run. I was thoroughly enjoying each stride and was confident of reaching mile 31 within 5:30hr.

Last few miles close to the hellyer were shaded which made run even easier, I was pleasantly surprized to reach the end of trail in 5:18hr, and could maintain the same pace for few more miles.

Never ever did I have such a pleasant feeling of running a hard long run, probably this was closest to feeling
runner's high. I could feel my training since aug 2006 was paying off, and just hope I can maintain this during HK 50 miler.

My longest run couldnt have been any better, on our way back I told Arul I was supposed to run a marathon but did this long run today, he suggested one benefit would have been a finisher's medal, but I was thinking I got much more than that, I felt my body like a well oiled machine, all parts working in unison towards reaching the goal in a good condition.

I just hope I can do this kind of run again during HK 50 on Nov 4th!!!

What worked:
Clip2: Since 24 hour run , this drink has been a excellent source of energy for long runs, this is a must for ultra's from now on.

Sport beans: Don from Zombierunner suggested this product after my horribly tough run at Mt Diablo, at Rajeev's recommendation tried this product and it is a instant success. It is a great suppliment as a energy source and some electrolytes. (it is not a replacement for suceed though)

Walk breaks: 10:1 rocks

Total calories consumed: 1000 kcal, followed by Ensure as a recovery drink.

Big Sur Trail Marathon

Location: Big Sur, CA
Date: 10/07

Big sur trail marathon was planned as a last training run as a prep for HK 50 on Nov 4th. I had heard rave reviews of the course and beauty of Big Sur country side, so was anxiously waiting for this day.

Course description:
Course description indicated a very hilly course, so was expecting to walk a lot, but wanted to push harder than previous races. my preparation throughout September was great.

Famed Bixy bridge
(picture from envirsports.com)

One of the attraction of running this race, was the views of Pacific coast and bixxy bridge
which had captivated me during Big Sur marathon in 2004. Course also included run through Big sur country side

(picture from envirsports.com)

Race day morning:
Had great sleep, when I woke up in morning at 5:45am, was contended to get a sch a long sleep. while taking shower was thinking about the directions to race, were to park etc etc, suddenly I thought why am I driving 4 hrs back and forth to run a marathon, I will be back by 6pm and will loose the entire day and in the process some precious time with Rashmi who had come for 3 days from SB.

In a spur of the moment decided not to do Big Sur marathon, and my race ended there :). For sometime it felt very stupid, untill I completed my long run at Hellyer the same day.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Curse of racing

my runs so far this year have been:

Feb 1st week: woodside 50M
April 1st: Martian marathon
May 13th: Quicksilver 50k
June 3rd: Nisene marks marathon
June 10th: Mt Diablo 50k
July15th: Tahoe 50 mile race

During March and April months I could'nt do much of running and racing as a result when I got oppurtunity to race again from may, I just got carried away with all races around, at the end of July I was not feeling good with my recovery from races, especially glutes pain, some pain in hip flexors etc.

So after 24 hour run in Aug I decided I should take a 2-3 week recovery break from running and start out gradually building up for Helen Klien 50 mile race in Nov, for which I have a time goal.

So since then I graudally built up and maintained 4 weeks of 50 miles per week. Past 6 weeks has been one of the best time of the year, with no racing but 3 to 4 focussed runs every week my body is responding well to gradual increase in mileage. I realized racing frequently doesnt allow me for a structured training, and that is the approach which works for me.

Going ahead I hope to follow this kind of routine.
with 2 more weeks of training left, I feel much prepared for HK 50 and hope to perform to my abilities.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Training for 100 Miler in 2007

Advice from Matt and Shawn seems interesting and doable:

Schedule listed by Nancy shura is a consideration:

Some options for 100 milers:
WS(qualifying and lottery dependent)
RDL 100
Vermont 100 ??
Arkansas 100

For a 100 miler in june/july:

Build up as follows:

Dec: 30 + miles (3 days of running)
Jan: 30+ miles (3 days of running )
Feb: 35-40 + miles (woodside 50k, 4 days of running)
March: 40-45+ miles( pirates cove 50k, 4 days)
April: 50-55+ miles(ar 50miler, 4 days)
May: 60-65 + miles per week(miwok100k,qs 50k,ohlone 50k,WS training camp)
June: taper +race

For 100 in sep:
Peak in july/aug instead of april/may

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

First 24 hour adventure on foot

Date: Aug 12th, 2006


West Valley College Tracks
Saratoga, CA

Total Distance: about 63 miles

To run/walk for 24hours around a 400 mtr track. primary goal was to be on feet and see how it would be to run all night.

History of 24 hour runs:
Running around the tracks is not a recent phenomena, the first multi-day walking across the tracks was accomplished by E.P. Weston. Listing a section from Multidays.com

It was at Washington State Rink in 1874 where Edward Payson Weston attempted to successfully walk five hundred miles in six consecutive days. There were 6,000 spectators in attendance composed of all classes of society including the Mayor and the Chief of Police. It was almost necessary to alert the Newark police force and the militia to guard the soon to be prized and historic pedestrian. This was the third time that year that Weston was attempting such a feat. His first attempt was in 1861 where he tried to walk to the inauguration of Abraham Lincoln. He started at the State House in Boston on February 22 and finally arrived on March 4.

Over the years Sri chinmoy have become the defacto organization for multi day running, infact worlds longest ultramarathon of distance 3100 miles is organized by Sri chinmoy organization. Runners particpating in such events believed in going beyond the mental and physical barrier, and attaining a spiritual state. The winner of these races takes about 40-41 days of continuous run/walk.

Why 24 hour run?
During QS 50 I had thought of running a race longer than 50 miler. I was not prepared for 100 miler but was interested in doing a 100k distance or a 24 hr run. After few days Rajeev
expressed similar interests. After googling we couldnt find any organized 24 hr run in Aug, 2006 timeframe.

So we decided to organize our own version of 24 hr run at West Valley college.

Main motivation behind this run was to get experience of
- all night run/walk
- find refueling strategy that would work for longer races (say 100 miler)
- to meet long lost friends

For Rajeev it was a training run for his RDL 100 miler in Sep, 2006.

One fine day on foot?
The idea of running around circles seems very crazy, infact Rajesh had rightly said
"It will be interesting to see what gets you first: boredom of running on the track for 24 hrs or just exhaustion"

Since we werent concerned about distance, we knew walking(one of greatest gift to mankind) is always a option, but I was more concerned about boredom and the impact of running around the track on the body.

During the race week we decided to shop for elaborate list of items required for the run, as listed by ultra running resource. It turned out our expenses were more than the race entry, now going forward I knw race entry is totally justified.

Rush had flown from SB on thursday night, she was our lone support crew in the first 12 hrs, we had decided to start at 6 am on Aug 12th, but we decided to postpone by an hour so as to get some extra sleep.

Race week I had some nagging gluteas pain, but Race day morning seemed totally different, I was feeling great and we were pretty comfortable with the idea of running for 17hrs, based on our time at Tahoe rim trail 50.

Rush dropped me to tracks and after unloading, setting up the aid station we started at 7:15am. We had decided on 20/10min run/walk ratio for the initial few hrs. That worked very well.

(Setting up aid station)

Our Support/Pacer's for the day?
I like Trail running/Ultra running mainly because of the runners, it's a small community, we share our experiences during and after the race. I knew I am going to miss that community during this run, but I didnt know what was in store for us:

Friends from Asha community joined us to pace and support at different points of the day.

Rashmi, Rajesh Agarwal & Sarita, Arul & Gayathri, Kalyan, Mohan, his Dad and Satyavati, Shalmali and Vidyamani, Anurag, Arpana, Dinesh, Anu & Raj, Vandi, Suchu, Anju, Antara, Meghana, Naina, Trisha, Nishad, Malhar, Sameer, Shaunak, Aseem, Sandhya Mohan, Deepak & Aruna, Abhijeet & Anjali, Arun Simha & Sowmya & Vibhas, Anil, Shekhar, Sunil &Renu, Rajeev & Renuka Char, Anu Mayuran & Ganesh Pattabiraman, Venkat Kalkunte, Kaarthik, Pavan, Kasturi, Pragati, Samanvitha.

Rajeev's blog has very well captured the series of events and how each one of them made the difference to us. It was overwhelming to see how each one of them turned up at such odd hours:

- some @ brutal heat
- some waking up at 1:45 am and making coffee for these freaks
- some fighting jetlag, still there to support
- some fighting the tooth-ache but delivering lunch/dinner at the right times
- some being their with their usual enthu after a tough race
- some fighting the boredom of tracks but still doing the long run with us
- some reminding us , our motivation "its the beer "
- some fighting the sleep, but still being their to pass-on the support baton
- some fighting the morning sleep and being their with finish banner
- some promtly showing up at 4am to lead us to finish
- ALL being their, inspite of their personal commitments
- ALL being their with their cheerful self
- we were their to relish upma,chai, idlies..in the morning

Thanks for being there friends, it meant a lot to us. Appreciate all your support.

My experience:
The first 12 hours seemed to pass by fine as expected, pacing by Rajesh, Arul in the initial hours were very useful, time just flew by. Rush joined us for some time during the lunch after her root canal, which seemed to be quite painful for her, inspite of that she promptly got us pasta and pizza in evening.

(8 hrs into run, Arul, Rajeev, Rashmi looking strong)

I couldnt eat much of pasta during lunch, but in the evening we were waiting for Cicero's Pizza. At 8pm much needed pizza arrived, we took a break to relish the best pizza in bay area, followed by change of clothes for the night ahead.

9 pm -12 was the busiest time at the tracks more than 10 of our friends joined us to pace, cheer and party, it didnt feel like a long run. that really helped us get over the to midnight without much issues.

12-2am was the period when I slowly started to feel the sleep, Venkat had promised coffee at 2pm so body was waiting for it, and Shekar was entertaining us with his songs. At 2am we took NoDoze caffiene pill, and also hot coffee, that instantly had the affect and we could carryon for some more time. Also by this time my foot had swollen a bit I wasnt comfortable in my shoes, in order to avoid blisters decided to run barefoot with socks. That felt lot better. Rajeev didnt have any issues with foot.

2-4am this was the most quite and pleasant period, temp was in 50's and we needed additional top and windbreaker. Again this section we had the lot people cheering so that made it easier.

4am -7am by this time coffee and nodoze losts its affect, we decided to take another pill and a 15 min break on the tracks, I was waiting for sunrise, coz I had heard sunlight brings new spurt of energy which can carry us to the 24th hour. By 6am the tracks lit up so did our mood and energy levels, we new the finish was getting close.

At 6:30am we decided to stop our adventure and decided to wrap-up. Sam, Anu helped us clear the place and as we were about to leave, some of ours friends turned up with finish banner and camera. In the interest of posing with the banner we did some dummy laps and took pictures with every one.

(Friends Vidyamani and Sam with the custom-made finish banner and balloon)

Infact we also got a finisher's medal.

(Anu with the shiniest finisher's medal)

This was followed by delicious upma, idli and much needed chai. Next day was spent mostly
with some occassional dozing and waiting for a long night sleep.

what worked:
- clip2+cytomax+succeed: We relied on this potion as energy drink for the entire day, it went very well with stomach, had no issues with salts, energy levels.
- cool-off bandana
- Cicero pizza
- NoDoze/Coffee: running overnight is not very tough, it is the middle 3-4 hours which one needs to conquer and once sun rises, we DO get over the sleep threshold and can carryon for few more hours. Ofcourse this is presuming one has same set of pacers joining us in the night :).

what didnt:
- pasta at lunch
- extra wide shoes: I need to carry some older shoes, so that I can cut the front part for extra width

Overall it was a very satisfying experience, all went as planned, no surprizes in terms of injuries but we didnt expect so many of friends to show up and make it such a special event. This will be one of the most cherished run's for me.

The team

Thankyou all you for being there.

Ofcourse this run wouldnt have been possible without Rajeev the runner, he is the best in whatever he does.

Ultrarunners Prayer

After our 24hr run, our friend Arun Sharma sent us this poem,
Thanks Arun

The Ultrarunner's Prayer

Watch over me today as I run.
I have paid the price to run this race through the summer heat,
the winter winds, and up those hills.
There are other days and other races,
but this is the day
and this is the time for this race.

Watch over my body.
Keep it free from injury.
As I run, may the tiredness and the pain
be the symbol of victory and not the reason for defeat.
May I acknowledge my limitations,
but not accept less than my potential.

Watch over my mind.
May I be intelligent as I run.
May I listen to the signals from within
as I enjoy the scenes from without.
Keep me from foolishness at the start
so that I can finish with wisdom at the end.

Watch over my spirit.
As time passes and my committment dims and blurs,
may the inner resources that You give me
come forward and give me the resolve to press onward.
Remind me of the relative shortness of this race and life
and the victory You give at the finish.

Watch over my competitors.
As they face the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual challenges
we all face, may they find the peace and strength
that I have found through You.
Remind them that we all are struggling equally
and that their personal Victory is a result of your guidance.

Watch over the trails and mountains.
As they seek to challenge me, may they also offer
havens of comfort and shelter from storms.
Please allow me to seek out that shelter
and give me time to enjoy the boundless beauty they possess.
Let the mountains offer me a test and a challenge
but also a passage through which I may safely pass.
As I continue to press to the summit,
may the trail lead me where You want me to go.

Let me win.
Not by coming in ahead of my friends, but by beating myself.
Let it be an inner win. A battle won over me.
May I say at the end,
"I have fought a good fight.
I have finished the race.
I have kept the faith."

- Carolyn Erdman & Jay Hodde

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Running Resources

ultrunr.com: Ultra running resource, with all the tips/advice/experience/information on running a Ultra

List of all 100 milers in US

ZombieRunner.com: Online store for running related products, predominantly ultra running.

Multidays.com: Site with all calendar of multiday races, training tips.

Running Injury related websites:

Courtesy: Coach Rajeevtherunner.

Run Related products that works

Listing products which has worked great for me.

Refueling/ Nutrition/ Electrolytes:

Clip2: energy drink

Cytomax: sports drink

Succed Electrolyte capsules

Endurex recovery drink

Heat acclimitization:
Cooloff Bandana

Hydration gadgets:
Ultimate Direction Diablo

Trial Food:
PBJ, Banana, Pototoes, Chips, Fruits, Soup

Foot care:
Zombie runner footcare kit

Lights (night running ):
Petzl tikka plus
Fenix L2P

Running Apparel:
- Patagonia windbreaker
- Brooks runnerder-wear
- Brooks singlet
- Brooks shorts

Road shoes: Brooks Addiction (comes in wide, extra wide)
Trail shoes: still looking for a good extra-wide trail running shoe

Training for 100 Miler in 2007

Advice from Matt and Shawn seems interesting and doable:

Schedule listed by Nancy shura is a consideration:

Some options for 100 milers:
WS(qualifying and lottery dependent)
RDL 100
Vermont 100 ??
Arkansas 100

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Ultra Races: Wishlist

My Ultra wishlist

Non-race Trail runs:
Grand Canyon RRR: 1 or 2 day run. (Completed May 21st 2010, 15:30hrs solo)
Run through Yosemite (Touleame meadows)
Run some sections of Yellowstone
Western states training camp (3day 70 miles)
Rockies 14er's hike/run
New Zealand Trails
UTMB Trails

American River 50M (Completed 2006)Boston Marathon
Desert races
Ohlone 50k(East bay, CA) (Completed 2006)
WS 100(Auburn,CA) June 2012Swiss Jura Marathon: 6 day staged ultra
Everest Marathon(Nepal, Save as DraftEBC hike done instead)
JFK 50 Mile (Washington county, Maryland)
MMTR 50M(Virginia)
Miwok 100k(Sausilito, CA) (Completed 2007, 2009)
Pikes Peak Marathon
Quad Dipsea(Mill valley, CA)
Quicksilver 50M(San jose, CA) (Completed 2010)
 Sqauw peak 50M (Utah)
Shadow of the giants 50k(Fish Camp, Yosemite)
San Juan 50M(Lake city, CO)
Trailwalker 100
Tour De Geants, Italy
The Coastal challenge multiday run(Costa Rica)
Pocadello 50, Idaho(June 1st sat)
White River 50M(Seatle, Washington)
Western States 100m(Completed 2012, 29:39hrs)
Way too cool 50k(Cool , CA) (completed 2006)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Mount Diablo 50k race

Where: Mount Diablo State Park,
Clayton, CA

June 10th, 2006

Time: 10 hr 44 mins
This was one of the unplanned 50k's. I had run nisene marks marathon a week back and was planning for a Mt Whitney climb via mountaineer's route with Pavan and Girish, my Climbing buddies ;). But this climb didnt materialize.

After few email exchanges with Rajeev decided to signup for this hilly 50k, also thought this would be a great training run for the upcoming Tahoe 50 miler in july.

Race Day:
Rajeev had just landed from New Zealand on friday evening and he decided to run inspite of his jet lag. I was supposed to him up but due to his jet lag he got up early and picked me instead.

We reached the start at 7:30, and after small chat with Sarah, Wendell/Sarah(Race directors) decided to start early at 8:00am(being a optimist had thought of driving to Santa Barbara after the race)

Total Elevation Gain: 8900 ft

Elevation profile:

Pretty much we run/walk course to Mt diablo summit twice. We started with a easy pace,
first couple of miles were runnable, soon we start 2 mile steep climb on a narrow trail, the first view of valley:

After the initial steep section we have a downhill section, which allowed us to catch some breath,
1 hr 20 mins into race, lead runners catch up(we started early) with us. 50 k was lead by Garret and Rod.

Followed by Ultramarathon man Dean Karnazes
, 4 miles into the race he seemed pretty strong and I was hopeful of him completing this tough 50k. Incidentally after a brief chat with him realized he was again doing the double Ultra this year (Western states followed by Badwater Ultra).

We soon hit another steep section, and my favorite steep, as it opens up the view of entire east bay region:

1 hour 45 mins into race, we hit Juniper campground aid-station, manned by 3 friendly volunteers:

After about a mile of shaded flat section, we again start the last climb to summit, by this point mid-pack runners catch up with us. The steep section wasnt as tough as it seemed and soon we were at the summit, which offered great views of the east bay region, we could see Silicon Valley from the summit:

After a short break at the summit, we start our 7.5 mile downhill. Interestingly we follow different trail way back which is lot gentler on the knees, and the last few sections are covered trail besides a creek, making this section lot pleasant and easier on qauds.

First loop was all about enjoying the course, taking pictures and just appreciating the Nature's beauty. On the way to start point, did my usual quad, calf, hamstring check and all sounded in pretty good shape.

4 hrs 40 mins into race, we were back to start line, we quickly re-fueled with ensure, potatoes, PBJ,chips and succeed. Both of us were feeling good, Wendell convinced us to take steeper section going up as our way back would be lot easier.

2nd Loop turned out to be lot tougher than I thought mainly because of following mistakes:
- re-fueling between start and juniper aid station.
- carrying less water for 5 mile uphill on a hot day was very naive.

After 8hrs 10 mins into race we reached for the 2nd time summit, Rajeev was in great shape, he was waiting for me at the top, Micheal (aid station volunteer) handed me a much needed enegry bar. I was on a all time low on sugar at this point, Rajeev handed out another gel, but I kept thinking I am doing fine with refueling. About 5 mins break at summit gave me a break and we started our run to base.

One of the best pictures of this run was taken by Michael:

Running with Rajeev was a big support, he kept my mindset upbeat and we followed a steady run/walk routine to the finish point. I cannot comprehend how Rajeev managed this run after his 12+hr flight and jet lagged state, he is one tough Athlete, extremely strong physically and mentally.

Thanks Rajeev you made this finish poissible, I owe you one.

After a good break at the finish, Rajeev and myself headed to Anu's place for sumptuous saru/anna and sabjeee. I was never so tired, my legs were cramping every moment due to extreme fatigue, I was just waiting to go home and sleep for few hours, before my drive to SB, which turned out to be next day morning.

In the book "A Step Beyond" one of the article mentions, each ultra is different, every ultra teaches a lesson and if you dont remember then the lesson is repeated untill you remember.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Quicksilver 50 mile race

Almaden Quicksilver Park,
San Jose, CA

May 13th 2006
Time: 12 hr 20mins

After HK 50 last year, I had wished to do American River 50 but due to some family emergency I was out of town fighting a different kind of race. In that race I was mainly the crew member, my brother was the racer and Dr Thompson was the race director. After a 30 mile long run with the big-sur gang, I decided to do miwok 100k, but race registration closed early so the next choice was local race Quicksilver 50.


Muir beach 50k and Woodlands 50k were very good training runs, mainly because of the tough weather conditions, which proved to be a good training ground for my attitude during the race.

Since most of march/april I was in Detroit with my brother, I couldnt run much, but
managed to do couple of 20-30 mile runs, and did some back to back runs whenever my little nephew permitted.

Pre-race dinner:
Arun and Soumya jee hosted a sumptuous pasta dinner for me and Rajeev. Arun was ready to do his first ultra.

Race day story:
Got a good night sleep, I was ready to go to race at 4am. In 2005, myself and Rajeev had done a 50k here and we got a 6hour overcast weather so we had very pleasant memories of the race. But May 13th didn’t seem that way.

(carol, myself, arun, rajeev)

Met some of our ultra-running friends: wini, carol, yuki and chiphing at the start, the race started
promptly at 6am and myself, Rajeev and Arun settled into a steady pace, walking ALL the hills, after about 3 miles, I went ahead and followed my steady pace keeping in mind the first cut-off of 7 hr 50 mins at 50k, which I thought should be easy. My goal for this race was to do in 12 hrs.

Miles 6.6-9
This stretch was through the covered trails on new almaden trail, very pleasant running through and spent most of the time talking to fellow runner Jim Yee who was attempting for this first WS 100 mile race. Reached mile 9 aid station in 2:05 hr, Stevens creek striders
managed Dam overlook aid station and were very supportive of runner needs, soon saw Rajeev running towards the aid station.

Miles 9-19
From this point we followed Randall trail to mine hill trail and back to dam overlook. Soon started feeling the heat of the day, which was hitting about 80's. Towards the end of this section we had a long downhill, most scenic part of the course.

(winding mine hill trail)

(Dam overlook)

Miles 19-23
We pass through Dam overlook for the 2nd time and follow gaudulupe trail for another 4.5 mile loop, ran with Wini for sometime, she is a amazing runner, going steady and smooth all the time. No one would tell she had done miwok 100k a week back. so had Rajeev, he was doing his 3rd long distance race in 3 consecutive saturdays.

(Wini Jebian: maintaining a steady pace)
Mile 23.3: 27
I continued ahead of Rajeev, was feeling great at this point, met Roger at this point who had done 25 k. He mentioned. “just a marathon more to go” I wasn’t sure if it was good news. Run towards Englishtown was unevent full, but the aid-station volunteers were very cheerful and pepped me up for next 4 mile tough section.

(With yuki at Dam Overlook , he was trainging for WS)

Mile 27- mile 31.3
Toughest part of the course, rolling hills, uncovered trails and peak time of the day made this a tough run, reached the finish point and saw Anu cheering and she was all set to run with me, but asked her to wait for Rajeev, who seemed to have some quad pain.
I took 5 mins off and had my ensure, clif bloks, and cap filled with ice to cool my body(excellent idea by famida and aid station volunteer) that kept me going for next few miles. At this point I was well ahead of cutoff
by 30 mins.

Mile 31.3-35.3
This section started out with a constant climb I was doing ok, still fresh from the aid-station re-fueling
but was not aware of the heat ahead and how I will feel later, met arun on one of the climbs, unfortunately he had twisted his ankle early and walked the last 12 miles in the race. That’s the spirit which pulls you across any ultra.

(Arun: Proud first ultra finisher)

(Friends and family patiently waiting)

Soon I came across the rolling section of hacienda and my ensure had not kicked-in, I was out of gas in this section, so ended up walking even the downhills and eventually lost all my buffer.

Miles 35.3- 37.3
From this point the race to beat the clock started, its not fun to run when you are trying to make cutoffs, as you don’t get to enjoy the course but just are conscious of time. But that’s the part of being a back of the pack runner and sometimes that makes Ultra's interesting because finish is not granted .

I Re-fueled, filled my cap with ice and set out for a 2 mile run within 30 mins, that wasn’t too bad, until sweeper Steve Jensen who manages Ultra repository www.run100s.com joined me, that’s the time I realized I was last place and I had to keep moving and was close to missing the cut-off

Steve said, "give your best shot"

I picked up my pace and met the next cutoff with 5 mins to spare. At the aid station there were 3 others fighting the cutoffs, myself, Allison cook and wini jebian.

As we passed the aid station RD Janice said, we have 2 hr 5 mins to cover next 8 miles, and we are just on the bubble.

Miles 37.3 – 41
That meant next 4 miles uphill had to be covered in 1 hr 5 mins, At this point I wasn’t sure if I will make the cutoff but was sure, will run till 45 mile point and I may have to drop. This was predominantly a uphill section. Saw a rattle snake basking in the sun. After abt 1 hr I was expecting turnaround, soon saw Carol followed by Wini who encouraged me and said

"you can make the cutoff, keep moving".

It is humbling to see her so strong 40 miles into the race. I made to top in 1:10 mins and had about 55 mins for next 4 miles of downhill. my pessimistic side prepared me for drop out, various thoughts consoling myself came in. but I was feeling good and was ready to run the next 4 miles as hard as I can.

Miles 41- mile 45.2
With the goal infront of me clear I was set into a steady pace, listening to some peppy hindi music, miles flew by fast and I reached aid station right in time, at this point

Janice said ” sorry we have to take you out”, what… I think the cutoff is 11:30hr and I still have 90 seconds, Janice confirmed and said yes I can continue and I was most thrilled, As if I set a new world record J, inspite of being the last runner :). It reminded me of Lance's book Every Second counts, which was the case , from the past 12 miles I pushed and saved 90 secs to make the cutoff. I tried to call rush but signal was weak.

Miles 45.2 - Finish
Next 4.5 miles were the most blissful, knowing the fact that I didn’t have anymore cutoffs and I was sure to complete this race. Later I found out lady behind me missed the cutoff by a min, that’s very unfortunate, but
Race officials have to draw a line somewhere.

Last mile I met Wini again, by this time Pradeep and Rush had hiked the last mile to run with me. I was thrilled to see them and could sense the finish running down the virl Norton trail, soon I could see the parking lot and entered the last 100 meters of dirt section and I crossed the finish line dead LAST in 12 hour 20 mins. At finish Anurag and Aparna were waiting for me, thanks friends it means a lot to me.

I couldn’t make the 12 hr goal I had set, but I was fortunate and pleased enough to make all the cutoffs and enjoy this 50 mile journey. All the time my brother's struggle with his health kept me motivated, he is my hero and I am thankful to my body and health which supported me in such distances.

my hero of the day:
Wini Jebian she did miwok 100k and Quicksilver 50 miler back to back and won her age group at quicksilver at age 62.

All pictures courtesy