Saturday, December 15, 2007

Quest for a Sub 24hr 100Mile run

San Francisco 1 day race
Crissy Fields, SF, CA

We humans have never ending quest for self improvement. This craving/curiosity/ inner drive has differentiated us from millions of other species who for millions of years continue to lead their lives the exact same way! nothing wrong with that, just our craving for self improvement is so innate, its never ending.

It was in July, I completed my first 100 mile run at Tahoe, and since then I was trying to improve my performance in Ultrarunning and SF 24 hour seemed liked a great venue:
- flat course
- perfect weather
- easy access to food/gels.

I was eying this race last year as well, but my focus was mainly on getting a good race at Helen Klien 50M so decided to skip. But this year I was all prepared, with lot of good long distance runs and several months of base, I was hoping for a peak performance.

I even consulted Zombierunners for their tips on optimum performance, and was happy to get some great tips before the race. Come race week I was all prepared, except for my sore throat and mild headache, didn't have bodily injuries.

I decided to get some extra sleep by sleeping at our friend's place Deepak/Aruna. myself and Rush packed all the required stuff and dozed off at SF, just 10 mins from the race start. Seeing my sore throat state and constant coughing Deepak offered a potent concoction of honey and pepper, by god, this worked great, by morning my sore throat had almost disappeared. I still had some mild headache.

Race day:
Could not resist a coffee at Starbucks so went looking for one, at the cost of reaching the start little late. Got just in time, to settle down with my chair, ice-chest and all the paraphernalia for the day ahead.

Met with few of the usual ultra gang: carol, mariane, barbara, mylinh, joe and tom. They all seemed to do a 80+ mile day, that seemed reasonable to me, not knowing what that distance means on a loop course.

runners set to conquer their goals.

I had decided to shoot for 55 miles in first 12hrs and do my best for next 12 hrs. The race started at 9am, we had some fast guns like Akos Konya for 12hr ; Jon Olsen and Kermit Cuff for 24hr. Just before the race I taped my feet for blister prevention, which turned out to be too tight and started bothering my landing, so after
3 laps, changed into just socks.

Barbara preparing for warmer parts of the day

I got into a comfortable pace of 13 mins per mile pace, as the day progressed crowd for another event gathered around Crissy field, providing us some distraction and entertainment. Thanks to Hao to running few laps, it was fun to share some of his plans for following year.

Aaron: age 12 works diligently working towards his marathon

The first 12 hours went as planned, I was slowing down, and could feel the fatigue. I ended up doing about 52 miles, right then I got some hot rice noodles and potato soup , that was very refreshing. Rush and Deepak kept me entertained for some laps.

Golden gate bridge, how could one not run 24hrs here!

As I continued on for more laps towards my 62 nd lap I saw some familiar face at distance and was thrilled to see Shekar and Vinod herur coming all the way from south bay to cheer and run few laps. Soon I saw RajeevP, RajeevC and Renuka and laps started ticking faster.. after they left I made a mistake of taking a nap in a chair in a cramped position, that was a bad move, when I got up my quads where jammed, I could hardly do one lap which convinced me to take a longer nap in the car this time. A 2hr sleep turned into 4 and as I got I saw GG bridge and Sun rising and glimmer of light on the bridge, I thought to myself why am I wasting my time, get my butt off and head for more laps.

So from 6:30am till finish I got some more laps totaling to 74 miles, just a marathon short of 100 miles. Deepak and Rush again turned up in the morning to share few laps and take some great pictures of the Golden Gate bridge.

Hung(2nd place), Carol and Barbara running strong last few laps

Meantime Carol, Barabara and Tom diligently worked hard and did 80+ miles and mariane ended up doing 100 miles in 24hrs. It was a inspiration to see all night runners working hard and getting over those tough nights miles.

Zombie anil getting last few laps

Running around loop:
As easy as it looks, in spite of being a a flat course, running around loop is hard, there is no cutoff and no distance goal, and to achieve one's best, mind has work hard every moment. Taking a break is lot easier and those minutes add up to hours easily.

It was a great learning experience, for now I am not sure if I will try another but I will always have those 4 hours of sleep haunt me for some time on second thoughts I do think I will go back and get that 100 miles one of the days.

I am indebted to Rashmi and Deepak for their support that weekend and tolerating this zombie runner the next day. All the pictures are courtesy Zombie Don Lundell. More pictures from him at Zombierunner photos. Thanks to Don and Gillian for their tips on pacing, nutrition for this race they were all very timely and good suggestions. I just lost the looping game!


"Sherpa" John Lacroix said...

Thanks Anil! Don't be a stranger!

Good luck to you in 2008!

Alan said...


Awesome report and run. BTW- our Blogs are mirror images! Great minds must think alike :)

Oh....TAG - you're it: