Thursday, December 04, 2014

Reflecting on 2014

It's already Dec and I have failed in most of my resolutions, except for one, i.e spend more time with A, I got to do lot of fun activities this year with her and see her grow to a cheerful, adventurous girl. I still plan to take her to Zoo and Discovery museum again before the end of the year.

Dec '13, I was busy making plans for '14 races and after tons of racing this year, I havn't been able to capture any of them on my blog, mainly coz I am always in look ahead mode. With 3 days left for CIM '14, this being my 6th CIM and probably 3'rd BQ attempt, I decided to jot down few of the races I did past year and reflect a bit.

Racing season started off pretty early, with this flat 50k, I was trying to go close to 4:10hr finish, I was on pace for a good 24 miles of the race, then ended up slowing with a bloated tummy and finally finished around 4:30, still a good race effort. I won't be doing this any time soon, too early in season for me.

Quicksilver running club was known to put great races (25k/50k/50m) and fantastic post race food.  It had been standard races for all preparing for summer/fall 100m runs. But that changed when Western States board decided to move the entry criteria for the race to 100k and 100m races, Quicksilver decided to re-reroute the 50m course and design a new course. 

Race started from Hacienda park heading towards Sierra Azul, climbing all the way to bald mountain, mount sombrero getting down to lexington dam and getting back to finish at Mockingbird entrabce (which at that point was mi 42), from that point it runs mostly on the previous 50k course. Course was advertised to be epic with 13K ft of climb over 62 miles, did seem like a v hilly run. I was able to get moderate training nothing monumental but good enough to give me confidence to finish.  One of the memorable moment was heading to Bald mountain aid station just at sun rise, it was epic. Rajeev Patel and QRC did put up a excellent race. and I am looking fwd to doing it again in 2015.

This was a accidental race, we were exploring travel options and Bryce/Zion seemed like a good idea and when in that area this race seemed like a great option. Ultra-Adventures are known to organize scenic trail races around national parks, currently they have few races around Utah and Arizona canyons. This was run along with 50k and 100m races. 50M is a point to point and 100m course is out and back.

Race starts on the outskirts of the bryce national park, but that doesn't change the topography, we ran through hoodos up and down, ran the ridges with deep canyons , into the canyons and back up. It was a hard race, most of the race race is over 8000ft high so breathing does take a toll. Our long drive from bay area didn't help either. I was more than glad to be done at 50M point. I was lucky to find a wife of one of runners who dropped me all the way back to our campgrounds. (Thanks friend)

Great experience, but much harder for Rush , A and Zo in the campground, need to plan better next time. I may not do this race again, but will surely do other races by Ultra Adventures. I highly recommend this race.

Marathons and Pacing:
I did a bunch of pacing this year @ SF marathon and MHM, it went mostly as planned. Also I was planning to race at Mountains to beach marathon but my training didn't go as planned due to all fun times with my cousin and brother in feb/mar/apr, that didn't help. But it was memorable coz my friend Dharmendra had a awesome race running 3:03 to secure a Boston Qualifier 2015

Sep: Headlands 100M:
Most of 2014 I wanted to get a hardrock qualifier so was planning to run Pine to Palm 100m in Oregon, but things didn't workout, it was turning out to be hard to do this race so decided to do a local one at Headlands 100 . I hd done 50M in 2013 so knew what to expect, logistically it was much easier. As a bonus my brother Ajith decided to pace 26miles of the race, which was fabulous he kept me awake for most parts and restrict my sleep to just 1 hr :)!! I did manage to finish in 29hrs. Its a good local 100 option, RD and volunteers do a great job.

As I write this I am 3 days away from CIM, after Headlands I focussed my training towards CIM, in attempt to run under 3:!4 and secure a BQ for 2016. This will be probably my 3rd attempt at CIM. Previously 2 ended in 3:14:47(PR, 2011) and 3:25:0(2012, rough weather), this time I have got good training cycle, felt very strong most of the time. I plan to stick with 3:15 pacer until mile 16 and slowly pick some pace to get under 3:14 by finish. Lets see how that goes.

Overall great running year. Met another milestone of running 20K miles between 2003-2014. my gratitude to Rush for all her support and all the friends with whom I have shared these miles.

Update on Dec 29th:
CIM turned out to be a disappointing finish, 2 days prior felt sick with sore throat and had hard time recovering from it before the start, I think it did take a small toll on me, I couldn't make 3:15 but ran 3:21, hard effort but not pleased.

Updates from friends

Dharmendra D: He qualified for Boston 2015 at Mountains to Beach Marathon, v proud of him. Awesome dedication and focus to goals that mattered to him.

Rajeev Patel: Took up RD'ing 3 races in 2014, I had a blast helping out at RdV 100 as well. Going great guns coaching Team Vibha as well.

Rajeev Char:  he did several Tri's and stayed away from Ironman distance, but plans to be back in 2015 Ironman Tahoe. His legacy is encouraging 1000+ asha runners to marathon finish and several 100's to Tri's. He completed 10 seasons coaching Team Asha as well. What a year, Respect!

Vinod Vishwanath: Did a double 100 in Aug(RdV 100) and Sep(Headlands 100) with minimal training, a  beast.

Bipul Talukdar: Did his 1st 100m at RDL, congrats Bipul, looking fwd many more accomplishments.

Kiran Karadi: ran marathon at MHM on his 40th birthday

Satpal Dalal: did many many races, apart from 125M run at Razorback race. He is running v strong

more updates after CIM 2014.

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Quicksilver 100k a new addition to WS qualifier

Past weekend Western States Board updated their list of races and I was very pleased to see Quicksilver 100k added to the list. Quicksilver 50M was a regular feature in WS qualification, but when the qualification standards were updated in 2013, QS added a new race from 50M to 100k and going forward that classic course is a qualification as well.

This is a classic bay area gem organized by Quicksilver running club and RD Rajeev Patel, I look forward to get back and run this year after year.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Training: May update and beyond

This year started out to be year focussed around Mountains to Beach(M2B) marathon, but that got derailed due to my lack of training in Feb and Mar. But I was able to regroup a bit and log some good miles in past 6 weeks and managed to get a decent finish at Inaugural Quicksilver 100k(14:58). With a course like that I was glad with a finish of any kind and I did fairly well.

But my goals for M2B changed from a quest for BQ to probably 3:15 and around kind of performance. I was not hitting splits for my BQ which was 3:10. I suppose it has to wait another training cycle, maybe sometime later in the year at CIM 2014.

So with another 10 days from the race, I am just focussing on a good recovery and do my best on May 25th. my friend Dharmendra is here from Bangalore to attempt for BQ and I am very hopeful of this performance there.

Beyond M2B I have slowly started dreaming about possibility of a 100M at Pine to Palm 100 in Sep my running clubmate Dennis has signed up as well. with a 100k under my belt it says I need to go out and train more !!

Some races/training runs going fwd would be:
Jun 14th:            Bryce 50M
Jul 10th(Friday): MP to Mt Rose 40M training run
Jul 11th(Sat):      20M training run (Lex to Mt Sombrero repeat)
Aug 2nd:            SF 50M
Aug 23rd:           30M training run(maybe 15 Fri + 20 Sat)

O Well.. these are just plans.. lets see how life plays out.

Inaugural Quicksilver 100k, 2014.

Quicksilver 100k,
May 10th, 2014
San Jose, CA

This was the 31st addition of Quicksilver 50k/100k races and 1st time Quicksilver running club was introducing 100k distance. In past 50M race was a standard affair with runners training for Summer/Fall 100s. Since Mid peninsula open space preserve, Sierra Azul and beyond opened up for public, QRC decided to be very creative and revamped both distances (50k and 100k).

I have been running Quicksilver races since 2005(this was my 6th Quicksilver), missed few times due to various commitments, but this year I was determined to start the inaugural 100k.  Moreover this happens to meetup of many of my bay area ultra running friends. It was RD'ed by my friend Rajeev Patel, Quicksilver 50k, 2005 was his 1st 50k and being the RD was a special moment for him. I was excited to be back running this.

Course was diligently designed by Greg Lanctot and John Burton it promised to be epic hilly 100k and by god it was everything it promised to be.

Elevation profile(pending).

From the profile it seems like after that first 35 miles most of the hills are done, but that is misleading even until mile 57 there were relentless hills. We were lucky to have some great weather and gentle breeze, I can't imagine doing this in 80+ weather, should be a awesome race to do though. During the race It was a treat to run with lot of my friends at various points, lucky to be running with Chihping Fu who captured tons of pictures of the course.

Overall, this was beautifully organized by RD Rajeev Patel with amazing support from Quicksilver running club and Stevens Creek Striders and lot of volunteers, course was tricky and course monitors and course markings played a very important role. This continues to be a gem of a race in Nor Cal and regular fixture in my calendar. The post-race Barbeque is already known to be best of its class.

Thankyou all the folks in putting this classic race. will be back in 2015, and next time I will do 100k specific training on the course :). As usual wouldn't have been possible without support my loved ones at home(Rashmi, Ahana and Zoey), both during training and on race day, takes a lot to be around the company of a long distance runner.

Excellent race coverage by Chihping Fu @ Quicksilver 100k Photos

Thursday, March 20, 2014

What next: Elevator up Everest

This news just cracks, a ladder up Hillary step to increase safety. In recent years rush up the sacred mountain Everest is increasing and to increase safety of "climbers" ministry of tourism has decided to install ladder!

In my opinion, why not severely restrict permits, it should be tied to specific days, so that there isn't unreasonable rush on specific good days.  Making it easier to climb will encourage naive climbers, that isn't the solution but problem down the road.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Jan is running strong and resolutions are firm

While I was logging my miles for the week realized it was already 2/3rd into the month and it was time to visit some of my resolutions. So far R is doing great with her commitment to workout more regularly and getting her dose of WE hike/bike. my year so far has been lot of quality miles as part of my training towards Jed Smith, so far so good..

I still need to schedule some of the classes planned for year. The book of the month is 'The Willpower Instinct". There are plenty of research articles listed, thought process in various situations are well illustrated by the author.

Activities with A are coming along good, we are spending more time on her fine motor skills and speech improvement... still some ways to go.

One of the interesting article I came across this month was a comparison of cost of Climbing Everest by Alan Arnette. Cost seems to be soaring to climb the big one and doesn't look like their is any dearth of climbers/tourists out there. It is interesting to see the number of articles which come up when we search "everest traffic jam", not sure how one can feel sense of adventure amidst that apart from just bragging rights? As Reinhold Messner had mentioned in one of interviews, every generation needs to define their own challenge and adventure and climbing everest in this form doesn't seem to be one of them.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Resolutions 2014

New Year brings with it new hopes to start life afresh, along with it comes new resolutions to lead a purposeful life. It's quite possible quite a few of them are forgotten by end of Jan, but that never discourages most to commit to some form of Resolutions in the first week of the year.

In 2013 myself and R had following common resolution: learn something new every quarter. It sounded reasonable with all commitments at the same time exciting opportunity to address a few of the TODO's on the list. few of the things I wanted to accomplish was

1. Race Direct a Race:     Accomplished as part of co-RD for Ruth Anderson 
                                      Ultra-marathon races.
2. Chinese cooking class:  Missed.
3. Read more:                  Accomplished About 6 books for the year.
4. More time with Ahana: Accomplished, turning down ultra-running miles did help with getting                                        more time with A. I want to continue with that going into 2014.

Apart from this I was able to accomplish 20 runs in my cherished Trail PG &E @ San Antonio Rancho park.

Time for new resolutions and continue with some good old habits for 2014.
1. Learn something new every quarter (Cooking, Blogging tips, Mountaineering Class, ??)
2. More blogging and pictures (Goal of 26 posts for the year).
3. More activities with A.
4. 24 runs @ Rancho or Ohlone Wilderness Trail.

R has set aside following two
1. Focus on getting healthier (More time biking and hiking).
2. More activities with A

Happy blogging.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

Make it happen: Pine to Palm 100

After days of anticipation and planning for 100M in 2014. 2014 is here and I have signed up for Pine to Palm 100, now I need to make it happen on the training front, balancing family, work and play.

This is relatively a new 100 organized by Rogue Valley Runners, Race directed by WS 100 Champion Hal Kroner. Course info from race website

A remote and rugged classic point to point course traversing the Siskiyou; Mountains Range in Southern Oregon. Starting in Williams, OR the course winds it way east to Ashland, OR on a mixture of single track trail, dirt road, with less than 4 miles of pavement. The course boasts over 20,000ft of climb and 20,000 ft of loss with 3 epic climbs to 7,000ft and fantastic views of Mt Shasta and Mt McLaughlin. 

It has  a challenging course profile consisting of mainly 3 epic climbs. Few of bay area runners have joined so far, Darshan has committed himself to this race as well, which should make it much more training for this epic race.  To say I am excited is a understatement. Looking forward to long trail runs, probably in Ohlone wilderness area and Diablo Mt, which very well mimics the course profile