San Francisco, CA
6:45 AM, March 31 2007
2006 Feb -Apr has been one of the toughest times of my life, this is when my brother was diagonised with a non-malignant growth in the brain and he went through severe distress and pain in those 3 months until a successful surgery and a much longer period of recovery.
It was tough to see him suffer in pain, tough to see the uncertainty of life. But fortunately with God's grace, Medical advances and Specialized Doctors like Dr Thompson his surgery was a success and he came out successfully in this painful test of life.
Thats when I realized what it means to celebrate life, each moment of it. To realize how gifted one is when they are healthy (mentally, physically and emotionally).
This year marks 1 year of this celebration and I had decided to run Ruth Anderson 100k as a celebration of this momentous day and also as a joy of seeing my brother Ajith, whose fighting spirit has been a big inspiration. And whose presence has been utmost joy. I also believe being a sportsman himself he endured pain through this long phase patiently and successfully. Wishing him many more healthy life ahead.
It gives me immense pleasure to see his enthusiasm for his First 2 day bike ride in July.
Ruth Anderson 50k/50M/100k is organized by Bay Area UltraRunners(BAUR), in honor of Ultra running Veteran Ruth Anderson, who has been tremendous influence on the sport of Ultra running. A very nice bio Ruth Anderson is listed at Scott Dunlap's Blog.
Also a brief history behind Donkey as the logo is listed on the BAUR homepage. Briefly "Burro" stands for small donkey in southern US.
Ruth Anderson ran around lake merced a loop of 4.47 miles 14 times totaling 100k in 1978, and BAUR started this race in 1986 in her honour.
Bay area ultra runners(BAUR) has been one of most prominent organization mainly responsible for nourishing ultra running events in bay area. Their club hosts some of the oldest, finest and most popular Ultra's in the country. Each ultra highlights the beauty of bay area. From Miwok 100k on the North west coast to Ohlone 50k on the east bay.
I had signed up for 100k distance; One of the few races where RD's give a choice of shifting between three race distances 50k,50M and 100k, that makes it difficult for longer distance runners to continue when they see 50k runners rejoice at the finish. But thats part of the challenge as well.
Rajeev picked me up promptly at 5am, for a 6:30 race start, we landed in time for check-in and met lot of friendly faces, most of the Ultraholics gang where there: Yuki, Chihping, Rajeev, Alan.
Peter was running at Pony express 100k, another race of similar format.
My goal for the day was to complete my first 100k in 13 hrs, a intermediate goal of 10hrs for 50m seemed reasonable. RD's(Amy and John Burton) decided to start the race 15 minutes later, giving us some light on the course.
100k runners had to run 4.47 mile loop 14 times around lake merced, some of the sections didn't have dirt sidewalk which was tough on my knee during the later half of the race. Each loop had 2 aid station which is very generous for a such a distance. Each of the loops were meticulous recorded by Stan Jensen and BAUR volunteers.
I settled into my easy pace. In couple of loops I joined Chris Miller, who was shooting for a sub 10 hr for her 50 M. She shared some of her running experience at Coastal Challenge multi-day run in Costa Rica and her plans going forward. At end of lap 4 , Alan passed me for the 2nd time,and finished his 50k, he seemed to be in pain but still carried on and completed in 3:53 to secure overall 2nd place.
For the initial 5 loops we were consistent with 11min pace, I didn't have any issues so far, the loop format worked really well as I had easy access to my drop bags and regular supply of Clip2 and Ensure. The temperature was in 60's which worked really well for me. At the end of loop 6 I was puzzled to see Rajeev taking pictures he had decided to stop at 50k, due to his hamstring strain, and take caution for the big races ahead, a smart runner he is. Nevertheless he did his PR of 4:59 hr for 50k, what a performance!.
I saw few more 50M runners deciding to stop at 50k, and I was convinced that I wouldn't be going further than 50M, Instead started thinking about a sub 9:30 finish for 50M, It was one of the best days to run, I was feeling strong and wanted to end this one a high note.
At the end of loop 7 I met Soon Gaal, who seemed determined to do 62 miles as a prep for her WS 100M in June. I was throughly impressed and motivated to join her and continue with her instead of stop at 50M, I had no reasons stop now, She shared lot of her race and life experiences, and her preparation for Western states 100m this year. She has given her best shot so far in her prep and seemed to be in great shape. Her husband Dr Stephen(A WS100 veteran) was cheering her every loop.
During our loop 8, Yuki finished 50M, impressive time of 8hrs 40 mins, after his PR 50k a week back. And we knew Chihping was going strong for his 100k, who finished in 10hrs 40 mins, good for his age group win. These athletes never seize to surprise me. They have very rare combination of speed and endurance.
(Soon and myself at the end of Last loop)
By loop 10, Rashmi and Vineeta joined us during our 50M finish, and from then on it was a breeze to continue on to 100k, the last loop Soon and myself pushed for a sub 13 hr finish and were happy to do it in 12hr 50 mins, good for Age group win for Soon and Surprisingly age group win for me as well, got the lucky prize.
I am grateful to Soon for her determined spirit to finish 100k that day, I lacked motivation to continue beyond 50M. Hats off to her spirit.
Later I found Chris Miller had completed her 50M in 10hrs, in spite of her pain, very valiant effort. Chuck wilson was there cheering us the last few loops after finishing his solo 50k in Marin headlands.
Overall a great day running around loops, running on the asphalt was tough, my knees hurted pretty bad that night. Thanks to RD's and all volunteers for such a fabulous event, its going to be a regular feature for me next year. Thanks to Rashmi and Vineeta for pacing in those last few laps, that kept us entertained.
Race report from RD is at: