Sunday, May 22, 2016

11 years of Quicksilver'ing

11 years with Quicksilver Running Community:

With 2016 year's edition of Quicksilver Races, I completed 10 years with Quicksilver racing community. 8 years as a runner

and 2 years as a Volunteer (2009 Dam Overlook with Striders and 2012 50M Sweep).

I thought this was a good time to recapitulate a decade's worth of craziness with the most cherished community of runners.

2005: 50k (7:05)

    This was my 2nd 50k and Rajeev had decided to make his 1st Ultra as well. This was the year when I met several of my ultra running friends Chihping, Yuki, Carol, Mylinh, Joe, Wini, Kishor and Lee Jebian. We both started running on our own and soon ended up running together the whole race. It was a blast. Rajeev has detailed report.

               with friends at 2005 finish.

 2006: 50m (12:10) 
  This year I decided to up the game and run 50m. That was a tough year, life was on roller coaster ride and getting long runs was harder. I was doing part-time PhD, commuting to Santa  Barbara every week and some months I was in Detroit providing care for my brother. needless to say I had rough time doing all things and almost everything suffered. anyways I started the race with the goal of running as long as I can. 

Rajeev had done Miwok 100k prior week so he decided to stop at 50k, I continued towards Sierra Azul, section from Mocking bird to english channel, really took a toll on me it took forever to cover this section and lost most of my buffer over cutoff, by the time I reached hicks AS(mile 36) 

Janice said " you have missed the cutoff"
I said "No, I have 2 mins"
She said " OK, get back in 2 hrs"

I continued to slough next rolling 8 mile section. I just made the cutoff by 90s at mile 44, then I was golden, finished just around Wini Jebian running strong at 60+.

With Veteran Carol, myself, Arun Simha, Rajeev

Arun Simha ran his 1st 50k race there, he had to fight to finish after a early injury in the race, but being a trooper, he got to finish.

2007: 50k (6:05)
 This year myself and Rajeev had run Miwok 100k prior week and planned to run 50k, and it so happened we both ended up running our then PRs close to 6 hrs. We had solid training block for upcoming TRT 100m.

Classic Spring Quicksilver View (PC Scott D)

 Uber blogger Scott Dunlap, Rajeev and Myself (port 2007 finish) PC Scott D)

2008: Missed
 Couldn't run the race, since I was working back in India.

2009: Volunteer
 I ran Miwok 100k prior week, hence decided to take it easy and volunteer @ Dam Overlook  with Stevens Creek Striders.

2010: 50m(10:50)
  Had a steady 50k, ended up running with Sandy Baker for quite few middle miles, it was fun chatting and cruising along. Got hot during noon, so run back English Channel was still tough, but later sections were much smoother, was happy to get a sub 11. Sandy and Darshan ran similar times as well.

Rajeev and Anu ran 50k, Anu was training for her 1st 100m @ Lean Horse she went ahead and finished strong in sub 30.

Met Rajeev around Dam Overlook in 2010, one of the spectacular points on the course.

2011: 50k (6:04)  
 This day was kind of unique, till date only day where I was running 2 separate races. My company had a team running Napa to Santa Cruz relay, they were short of 1 runner so asked me to do few legs.  I had local section to run. They were at Sat midnight. so I was supposed to run 2 legs between Millbrae and Woodside.
Enroute to finish in 2011 (PC Chihping)

Knowing that fact I took morning 50k easy, but when running with friends I ended up doing a decent 6hr 50k, leaving me with some 12hrs to recover and finish another race in the night.

A memorable day indeed. This was the year Ahana was due in few weeks as well (May 29th)

2012: 50M Sweep 
Yes of Western States for me, my training for WS 2012 was going very wel,l had very good training block, I couldn't run this race since my folks were traveling back to Bangalore, so I dropped them in morning and headed back to Mockingbird to sweep the 19mile section of 50M course. Had fun experience seeing friends finish in the last few hours. Pierre was the RD that year.

Also managed to do trail maintenance with Pierre and teamon New Almaden Trail.

 Sweeping 50m course in 2012

2013: DNS
 I had signed up for 50k, but was having a low spot that year and missed the run.  Instead ended up traveling with R.

2014: 100k (14:55)

 This was the year Rajeev Patel took up RD'ing Quicksilver 100k. A brand new distance, from the details it looked spectacular. Greg Lanctot, John Burton and team had stitched together a amazing course. I was awed by the course, signed up on first day. As usual I had a memorable experience, except for last 20miles. I was mainly training for Mountains to Beach Marathon, didn't get much hill running but good fast runs.

   with my 2005 singlelet buddies @ 2014 100k finish.

2015: 100k (16:22)
 This probably was one of the worst year's of my life, I was hitting another low spot in training, I was planning to just wing it up. I had done AR 50m with Ajith, but that was the only decent run.  Duke was running his 1st 100k as well (he went on to finish string in sub 16hrs) so after doing 1st 43 miles in abt 10hrs I ended up taking 6:22 for next 19 miles, this section brought me to my knees and slept on course many many times.. just barely finished in 16:22. Ran most of the initial 40 with Satpal, Jim, Chihping, they all finished much better.

I had to come back with a vengeance. so was patiently waiting for 2016 QS 100k...

2016: 100k (14:14)
Once I got into this race, I had decided to make this my 'A' race. decided on running lot of hills in March and April months and build my training around following long runs
 - Feb : Run for Amma 50k: excellent course, gentle 50k.
 - Mar: Marin 50m: good steady run and long time on feet.
 - April: night marathon and 20 odd miles prior day, great night running in marin.
 - April: Quad mission peak and 10 miles prior day
 - May: few short hillier speed workouts.

Life was kind and I was able to execute above plan v well. Except for section from Bull Run AS to Tina's Den was much slower than I hoped, but that cost me abt 15mins I think. I was content with 14:14hr finish, a 2hr 8min faster than previous year. Good training does make a difference.

I was pleased to see my friends finish their 1st 100k, (Thom, Ramiro and Cece). Satpal did double 100k in 2 weeks and getting WS qualifier as well. Franco Suriano got a good sub 15h finish after getting BQ earlier week, Jim Magill finished yet another Quicksilver and sub 16 as well. There is no limit to human endurance. Always amazed and inspired by each of them. Congratulations to all the finishers, it was a great day of racing.

Pleased to meet Chuck Wilson, 2016 100k

As a special treat Rashmi, Ahana and Zoey showed up at 2016 finish. Thanks to their support for all these years of craziness.

In 2017, Trail to baldy mountain was closed due to trail destruction so QRC did the next best thing by adding 8mile roundtrip to Kennedy Road and Back, that added 1000ft extra climb and made the race atleast tougher by 30 mins. As usual great to meet many friends during and after race, this was a cool day great conditions. Chihping captured this pic on the Kennedy trail section.

Rashmi, Ahana and Zoey got there in time for the finish this time and what a joy to see them there and enjoy some post race food. which is always the best.

Thankyou Quicksilver Running Club and all the Lead people working tons of hours through the year., I hope to continuing to be part of race as long as I can.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Quicksilver 100k 2016 race report.

Quicksilver 100k,
May 14th, 2016
Almaden Quicksilver County Park,
San Jose
Finished in 14:14 hrs

From the set of posts around Quicksilver one can guess how excited I was for this day, this was my 'A' race of the year.

Race started at 4:30, after chatting with my ultra running friends, carried on towards the cemetery in the dark and eventually towards hick's road, where I dropped my headlights and extra layers .

once we pass Hick's road around dawn and I look fwd to climbing towards Bald mountain, sunrise from the summit, is a sight to strive for. From that point its a downhill back to Hicks Rd and climb up to el sombrero which is about 19 miles . This is a fun aid station manned by Loren Lewis and team. This is the point I like to get in the zone and run a good clip to Lexington dam, a 5 mile downhill section. I caught up with Franco he shared his stories from Mt charleston which encouraged me to run the race in 2017 to PR. Once I hit lexington dam, I got stuff from my drop bag, got some ensure and gels and started a good climb up priest rock and dog meat section. That's my favorite section of the race, a 1.4 mile climb with 1000 feet elevation gain. Top of dog meat leads to kennedy rollers back to wood rd AS, after a quick refill, its another good 6 mile downhill to Hick Rd AS.

Next 12 miles were quite easy section and went as planned, I hit Mockingbird in 9hrs and was helped by Duke and others. Duke was waiting to Pace Ramiro. After a quick re-fueling and cold coconut water, I started off to climb to Bull Run, its a gradual 4 mile climb, its a steady 1hr+ effort. In 2015 I had a hard day so was pretty keen to do better on that, Incidentally met up with WS legend John Trent after some sharing some stories he carried on. Eventually hit Bull run AS, which is manned by my running club Stevens Creek Striders. after a quick refueling carried on downhill towards Tina's den, this was much slower than what the terrain calls for, I would like to pick pace on this section next year. Though it was slower it was much better than 2015, where I bonked pretty bad and had multiple breaks.

Once I passed Tina's den, I usually start feeling the finish, though it is a good 9 miles away, but its just 1 climb and 3 mile downhill to finish. Rest of the finish was more of celebrating the run, I acheived my goal to run a strong race and was looking forward to seeing Ahana and Rashmi a finish and have a nice beer and burgers which Quicksilver is popular for.

It was a perfect day for a long day in Sierra Azul OSP and Quicksilver County park. my training for this year went very well, all races and long runs were as planned and got lot of good hill training. I came into this race well rested as well. my goal was to finish sub 14hrs, I ended up running 14:14 hrs. I will take that. Life has been kind and Thanks to my dear wife Rashmi, Ahana and Zoey.

I am thankful to quicksilver running club, John Brooks, Rajeev Patel, Greg Lanctot, Kristina Irivin, Paul Fick, QRC and many many volunteers at the race for a heck of a experience.

#8 Quicksilver in the books. I would like to hit #30 running of Quicksilver races in my life time.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Looming Quicksilver 100k

Quicksilver 100k is scheduled to start on May 14th, 4:30am.  Another 3 days away and I am more anxious for this yearly ritual of heading to Quicksilver county park on 2nd Saturday of may every year.

This will be my 8th QS since 1st one in 2005, when I finished 50k with Rajeev. Since then I have tried to include this bay area classic ultra every year except for few misses due to other life events.

                                               Quicksilver 100k Course Profile.

Quicksilver running club has been organizing this race I believe since 1984, prior to 2014 it had 3 races: 25k,50k and 50m held on same day and lot of the course overlapped. But in 2014 QRC decided to add 100k eliminating 50m (which was a classic 50m by itself). This course was beautifully designed going all the way up to Los Gatos and back and running another 20 miles in the park. I started running 100k since 2014 and plan to tow the line as long as I can. This course stitched together Sierra Azul OSP and Quicksilver County Park, soon Mt Ummnum will be open and I can see that being part of the Race, adding another 1K ft.

                                         Quicksilver 100k Course Map

Last year I was unable to get sufficient training and did pay a big price during the race and just barely managed to finish in 16:22, I vowed that day to be better prepared for 2016 and was eagerly waiting for registration in Dec 2015. Luckily got in few minutes, race filled up in few hours.

Life has been kind, Thanks to R and A I was able to log good training since middle of Feb, until now I got some real quality training with lots of elevation gain. Marin 50m and Quad Mission Peak runs were very good confidence boosters. I have set a goal of running under 14hrs, anything around that will be satisfying as well.

Brief History of my runs at QS 100k:
2005: 50k, 7:05  (ran with Rajeev, chatting with lot of ultra veterans)
2006: 50m, 12:10 (barely made 40 mile cutoff by 2 mins, running alongside wini jebian)
2007: 50k,  6:05 (fast 50k, best race day)
2008: out of country
2009: Volunteer (ran miwok and volunteered with Stevenscreek Striders @ Dam Overlook)
2010: 50m, 10:50  (ran with Sandy Baker, hot day)
2011: 50k, 6:04  (and Napa relay with Akamai at night)
2012: Volunteer (Sweep for 50M section)
2013: DNS
2014: 100k sub 15hr
2015: 100k hard and humble finish 16:22

All these years Chihping Fu has been a regular feature, we end up running around each other for quite a few miles, I enjoy his company and attitude.

I want to keep running this race as long as I can. Anxiously waiting for the big day..