Friday, October 09, 2009

50th marathon and beyond

Tomorrow I will be running Dick Collins Firetrails 50M, thats going to be my 50th marathon and beyond race. Also I will get to meet Legendary Ultrarunners Carl Anderson and Ann Trason.(RDs)

Ann Trason: In her career she has held every trail and road record at some point in and around US. One of the illustrious record is of her winning Western States 100M 14 times and once she was almost Overall winner, Until Tim T finally won it. (She came in overall 2nd)

Its been a fantastic running journey so far. Since the time I started trail running, my love for running has been purely driven by desire to see places. As a reflection into past few years of running I thought would list some of my favorite races in various distances, most of my criteria of choosing these races has been beauty of the course than anything else.

1. 5k run:
Forest of Nisene Marks, Aptos, CA
Beautiful run through Nisene Marks park, easy 5k and a PR course. emotional favorite as it was my 1st 5k. It is very well organized with other longer races by friend and ultra-runner Carol Cuminale.

2. 10k run:
Palo Alto night run
One of the few night runs on a full moon day, nice easy course by palo alto baylands.

3. half-marathon:
San Francisco marathon
Organized as part of SF marathon, there are 2 half marathon options, the 1st half is the most prettiest (little tougher) run through fisherman's wharf, marina, up-the hill to Golden Gate bridge and run on the bridge. Some days when it is cloudy and misty; views of beaches and the bay is sublime beauty.

4. marathon:
Big Sur marathon
You need to see to believe this magnificent course, Highway 1 is one of the country's best routes and running 26 miles through this highway is a rare opportunity to experience the beauty of the course, It has different genre of musical bands almost every mile and the views of the coast; highway 1 from hurricane point is well worth the entry fee. Post race feast is exceptional. Its a excellent family race destination as after race one can have liesurely time in and around small cute town of Caramel, enjoy 17 mile drive(ya right after a marathon) and Monterrey aquarium is a excellent attraction.

5. 50k:
Headlands 50k
Most of the races organized by are my favorite. but this is the best run through marin county. Lot of hills, but views are worth the effort.

6. 50 mile:
Quicksilver 50M
Pretty course, constantly changing elevation profile. Excellent friendly volunteers and a Sumptuous post race Grill and Massages. Also it was my 1st trail 50m, barely made the 45 mile cutoff by 90 seconds. Usually it tends to get hot.

7: 100k:
Miwok 100k
Of-course, any race in Marin county has to be by default the best course in bay area. Apart from that Tia bodington and lot of volunteers do a fabulous job of organizing this event. Great views, excellent post race food and fun swag bag.

8: 100mile:
Tahoe rim trail 100m
In short as the RD says "Glimpse of heaven and taste of hell", a tough beautiful course. With generous cutoffs. Folks without altitude issues can do the 100M at a slow pace.

Based on feedback from other running buddies I have to yet run through Bishop 50m, Cascades 100, Big horn 100 and ofcourse Hardrock 100(someday). I havnt yet decided on 1 or 2 100's I may run next yr. (leaning towards Big horn 100m)

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Gear Review: Petzl Myobelt

recenly used Petzl MyoBelt, it uses 3 AA batteries and manufacture claims it lasts 80-170hrs (in max(85 lumens) or economy mode(70lumens) )

my experience so far
1. battery slot is not on head and headlamp is lighter, and for colder races you can put battery unit inside jacket for longer use
(v good for mountaineering)
2. economy mode was good enough to run clearly through night,
3. sometimes the battery unit makes it clumsy while running, but you get used to it.
4. buttons to change mode were small, found it hard with gloves on(I dread using it with mittens)
5. quite pricey but hopefully will recovery using rechargeable batteries

Overall, I liked the long battery life and strength of headlight. I recommend it.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Tour of Sonoma: Bike and Run in Wine country.

Vineman Triathlon,
Aug 1st 2009

This is the closest I will ever come to multi-sport event(I think), I lack the motivation to learn swim or I am wussy of getting drowned, I truly admire folks for their commitment to train for more than 1 disciplines which takes up as much as a full time job, only true passion can encourage you to train for 8-9 months.

I am proud to have friends who swim through 2.4 miles like dolphins. Its commendable what some of my friends have accomplished at Vineman 2009.

my wine buddy Rajeev Char had mentioned about Relay event at Vineman and it was going to be my event of 2009. Char also helped me sync up with ChandraMouli Subramanium (a.k.a Mouli ) for Vineman relay, that worked great. I have been pondering over doing multi-sport event for almost 7 yrs now, but found it tough to get out of whirlpool of Ultrarunning, I just loved my comfort zone i.e just run. But in 2009 I decided to focus more on biking with Rashmi.

I began my training in Jan mostly relying on coaching/guidance from Veteran of multiple Ironmans Char, I was lucky Rashmi loves to bike as well so we ended up biking some pretty scenic and tough courses around woodside, portola and pacifica. My bike training was mostly training for Tour De Cure. And for runs I mainly relied on running couple of ultra's around bay area. I got some good running base after doing
- Sonoma 50M
- Ruth Anderson 50M(RD Rajeev Patel)
- Miwok 100k

By July mid I was waiting for the training to get done, I was tired of those long bike rides and endless butt pains, really admire all these Tri-athletes who can endure this pain year after year.

myself and swim buddy Mouli synced up on our preparation occasionally, thanks to Rashmi and Renuka who kept monitoring his swim training :), he was terrified of any encounters with them.

Carpooled with Chars on Jul 31st eve for Pre-Race checkin. I was glad to meet up with Bay area Tri gang(Stan, Abhijit, Tandy, Doug, Manisha, Som and Mouli) at the expo, Char briefed me over transitions, special needs bags etc. Also met with ultrarunning friend Dr Mark Tanaka who seemed pretty casual about Ironman distance, he had got just 1 long bike ride but had huge running base(150 mile run in April :)) well he was'nt short of endurance but probably speed on bike.

We had another group of elite Relay athletes Tandy(swim), Kevin(Bike) and Tony Fong(TeamAsha coach and runner) who were brilliantly put together by Char and the only link between them was Renuka Char, inspite of that they went to win their age division in 9:40hrs(almost close to my bike time).

(prerace dinner @ Mary's Pizza Shack courtesy Rajeev)

Some of us joined for pre-race dinner at Mary's Pizza Shack, Tandy very thoughtfully got some home made cookies(yummyyy) and Stan shared some of his motivations behind doing Ironmans.

(pre-race showoff)


"Anil , Mouli is done with his swim" Shouted Chakry

Whatt.. its just 1:30 mins into swim, well he is done with his swim.. that means I need to bike and run.

I started off by bike in the most bizarre transition in history of Vineman, Relay teams theoretically supposed to have near zero transition, but our team took 6+ mins to transition from jeans to bike gear. Oh well here I go ..

(Transition 1 buzzing with swimmers)

Earlier in the morning I had carpooled with Mouli and Veena, it was exciting to see all the athletes preparing for swim leg, As per my understanding Mouli was expected by 8:40-50am(1hr 50 mins for swim) so I was sleeping in their car until 8:10am, Picked up coffee on the way to swim/bike unfortunately couldn't even enjoy my coffee because my partner was too good at swimming 2.4 miles, he beat his expectations.

Tandy was very upset with my casual attitude :), but she did advise me to take it easy as I had 2 stages to go. well Finally Felt was put to use, I was feeling pretty good during the 1st loop I knew I was biking beyond my intended pace but wanted to take advantage of the cooler weather(it couldn't have been any better). I was enjoying moderately undulating course through wine country. I Refueled at special needs area, my nutrition worked great, towards the end of 1st loop met up with Mark and we chatted about our upcoming events. Towards the middle of 2nd loop caught up with Abhijit and Char, who was riding easy due to his ITB issues. Abhijit seemed very well paced for his 1st Ironman.

By mile 90 I was looking forward to T2 and knowing that most of our friends would be there. Got into T2 and ready for run, which felt great, Mouli/Krishna got me some sandwiches but didn't feel like eating much, so carried on with loop 1, Each loop had about 4 aid stations and running between them just passed pretty quickly, on the way chatted with few Ironman finishers from Team in Training. I wasn't running hard just enjoining my experience. The loop format made it much easier to see other runners.

Tony was running hard to finish his 3rd and final loop, Doug was in his 2nd loop, Stan seemed to be in distress, later got to know he had stomach issues so decided to call it a day.(sound decision). I was running close to Char and Abhijit most of the time.

Char was close to his sub 15, we ran together most of the 3rd loop and got a strong finish. I wanted to finish with Mouli but he wasn't in sight. (he was busy running errands and helping us out with post race rides). Abhijit soon followed with a sub 15 finish on his 1st Ironman. Our relay team finished under 14:28hrs.

(Anil and Mouli:Vineman Team)

It was exhilarating to cross the finish line, all effort seemed worthwhile. Congratulations Vineman athletes, it was so much fun to be finishing this event in a big group. Thanks to Rashmi for her support during long training for this event. We were very fortunate many of our TeamAsha friends showed up from bay area to cheer us throughout the event. I am indebted to my wine buddy Rajeev Char for sharing his Triathlon experience, helping with bike issues and just being out there.

(Congratulations Abhijit, Tandy, Doug and Rajeev)

Overall I was pleased with the way our event turned up. IMHO without training for swimming, it was more time consuming to Train for Ironman distance races than a 100 mile run, effort wise probably it is close to a hilly 100k race. Will I do it again, hmm... probably if I can sync up with a swimmer and this time I promise to be on time.

(Photographer and my bike buddy Rashmi)

All pictures courtesy Rajeev and Rashmi.