Saturday, November 3, 2012

Photo Essay: Evening Hike/Run in Desierto with Dean and Dogs

Desierto de Los Leones

  Second time up to Desierto this week. Above is the view from the trail going up to the ridge that lies west of the peak. This route is a much more gradual climb than my normal route (which goes straight to the top) and is --in theory-- runnable, though I was dogging it (hiking) up most of the climb. We discovered that the road eventually swings around the back (north) side of Cerro de San Miguel. We bushwacked a bit off trail to circle the summit and then head down. A dark descent. Just over 20k, 3:27. Can't find my "ant stick" so no garmin data...

The "short-cut"

Lola in the dark

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Interlude/10k race with student runners

Rest Week
  Time for a short break.
First trail marathon run on August 12, first road marathon on September 2, 33k mountain race on September 30 and then last week's 40k with 5,000 feet of climbing. 
  This week? It's Saturday night and I've run a grand total of 15k. Three 5k runs. Tomorrow morning I'll take my student runners to a local 5k/10k and run the 10k with them. That will put me at 25k/15 miles for the week, which is the lowest mileage I've logged since August of 2011. I'll start to ramp up the kilometers in the coming weeks. On February second I will run the Ray Miller 50k in the Santa Monica mountains, and then on February 3rd I'll run the Surf City Half-Marathon in Huntington beach. Ray Miller will be my longest race and most climbing: 6,000 feet in 50k. The Surf-City half is flat as a pancake all at 0 elevation. Will be painful on fried quads, but it's going to be great fun to run with Meggin and Jeremy. 
  Sunday update: ran my best 10k with my students this morning. Negative splits that resulted in a 48:52, an improvement over my 51:19 from last 10k I ran in May.  I hope to get out to the mountain this weekend, maybe even sneak out for a summit on Thursday and test out the headlamp.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Lesson Learned (Finally): UTMX 40k Race Report

Rancho Santa Elena in Hidalgo, Mexico
  Hidalgo, Mexico doesn't seem to get its due.  Thirty minutes up into the mountains outside of Pachuca, Hidalgo is pristine forest and mountains knifed through by rugged (and eye-popping) canyons. Rancho Santa Elena, outside of Huasca, Hidalgo, was the location for the Ultra Trail de Mexico 80k and 40k races. I've spent the past year and a half building up my running base, completing several trail runs (from 14k to 26k) and two Marathon length runs in August and September (the latter on the road), but I didn't feel ready for the 80k. So the 40k it was. I was apprehensive because my last race, a 33k run in the mountains around Mexico city, went poorly. The final 10k was especially brutal, as I could barely run and a handful of runners passed me. Walking the flats while the parade goes by=humiliating bummer. My goal for this race was to take it out easy, especially on the downhills. I love to fly down the hills, but it seems to catch up with me at the end of the race.

Omitlan, Hidalgo.

 The trip to Hidalgo from Mexico City was made more pleasant by an early departure on Friday, skipping the last interminable "professional development" meeting of the day (in the unlikely event that any administrators are reading this blog, please note that it is lightly fictionalized, ie: that part about skipping out early) . Tania and I stopped at Entre Manzanas y Peras, a little restaurant in Omitlan that has an outstanding soup: bacon and apple. Our entertainment for the evening was provided by the local butcher who hung, skinned and butchered a pig while we watched. By the end of the meal, only the head was left hanging. 
  For me, Mexico never loses its charm.

Table-side entertainment in Omitlan
After the dinner/pig-skinning, we checked into our cabaƱa in Santa Maria Regla and then did a test drive to the ranch as I was anxious (read: paranoid) and I didn't want to be trying to navigate unmarked back roads and pleading for directions in a got-to-get-to-a-race panicked state at 6:30 in the morning.

photo: Tania Baram
                                                                                                                                       photo: Tania Baram

This was a different crowd from the usual suspects that run the Solo Para Salvaje circuit around Mexico City. I saw a few familiar faces, but I think if people knew how outstanding this course it, more would have made the trip. There was a contingent of foreign runners and a few Tarahumara runners (who were running the 80k, except for the 12 year old Tarahumara girl who passed me at the end of the first 12.5k loop). I can now add being passed by a 12 year old girl wearing huaraches and a long skirt to my list of running achievements. I took out my camera and literally sprinted (fastest split all day!) to catch up with her to get a photo. I was fumbling with camera, trying to keep up, wondering how stupid I would feel if I sprained an ankle trying to get a photo of a young girl running in sandals and a skirt. She disappeared into the distance. As a consolation, I got a nice photo of a guy sporting a 1980's Laker-era terry-cloth-more-recently-revived-by Lebron-headband and the race-issued cotton-T. 
  To each their own.

As close as I got for a photo....coming into the 12.5k aid station/finish line for those in the 12.5k
Despite the mad pace of all the 12.5k runners around me on this first up and down leg (they started about 10 minutes after the 40k race) I kept to my plan. When it was flat I jogged, I climbed the steeps steadily and I was mellow on the descents. I didn't like stepping off the trail to let people pass me on the descents, but I kept to my plan. I knew there was a good chance I would pass the runners bombing down the hills this early, because I've been that guy before. Keep it feeling easy until the fourth and final climb and descent, which would come around the 25k mark in the race. Then I would push....if I had anything left.

Race Profile. 5,000 feet of climbing, 5,000 of descent.
The trail --and everything about this race with the possible exception of the t-shirt (though the Lebron guy might disagree)-- were spectacular. There were some two-track roads, but they probably accounted for only 10% of the race.  Everything else was winding single track. After we got past the 12.5k and headed back up the mountain it felt more like a trail race: not many people around. I climbed for a while with a gentleman from Monterrey until he twisted his ankle and had to stop to get it wrapped up. He finished the race.  

Before turning his ankle over, the gentleman from Monterrey leading through this beautiful stretch of rocky mountaintop. 

After finishing the first two major climbs, the trail went around and then across a lake. After about two steps both I and the guy behind me realized the bottom was sandy and we could have taken of our shoes for this crossing. Note for next year?

trail (?)
Perfect day in the mountains

  After slogging through the lake, I approached the final climb. My feet were heavy from the lake water but I tried to keep the pace up (read: not walking) and knew my shoes would eventually dry out. The trail started going up and this was where I needed to make a move. A group of four or five runners in front of me were hiking the trail. I had been passing them on the climbs all day and then they would pass me on the descents. I hiked quickly past the group and then started running to get put some distance between us. 
 Man does it feel good to have a little gas this late in a race.
 On that final long climb I hiked everything as hard as I could and ran when the grade permitted. I arrived at the 30k aid station and ate a couple orange slices, took a few more potatoes, drank some gatorade and moved out. The aid station workers assured me the major climbing was "almost" done. I hiked to the peak, passing two more runners. And then it started going down. The trail was less technical in this last section,  and that had me worried as I thought someone with a little more leg speed would catch me here. The early descents had been really rocky and I was hoping for this type of terrain for the final descent, but it was not to be. Damn. Was I going to get passed again in the final part of a race? I tried to push it on any sections that had a long range of visibility, reasoning that if I kept out of view of anyone behind me, that would be to my advantage. I was totally alone in this section, running scared and not sure if anyone was behind me, but I wasn't going to look back.  I continued to descend until I could hear the speakers at the finish and there was one more runner ahead of me. I didn't have much speed left, and I wondered how hard he would fight when I passed him. We were on a dirt road at this point, but then the last part of the race was a steep, grassy incline that climbed up to the last flat stretch before the finish.  We hit this last little hill at the same time I started running up it but then I realized I could go much faster doing a hands-on-knees power hike, which seemed to pull me to the top, where I resisted a final look back, and "sprinted" to the finish. 5:45ish. Forgot to stop the watch and the official results haven't been posted yet.  Here's the garmin data for the race.

                                                           Happy Face at the finish.                                                                   Photo: Tania Baram

  I finally got it right this race, and it paid off in the end as no one passed me in the latter half of the race. Patience. All of the runners I had been leap-frogging with all day I passed for good on the final climb. I kept up with hydration and though I lost two GU in the early part of the race I was able to keep up with nutrition with the potatoes from the aid stations. And I got lucky: zero stomach issues (which plagued me at the last race and the legs never turned to iron like they did at the end of the Mexico City Marathon.
  Of course, that leaves me with a lingering doubt: how much harder could I have completed the first portion of the race and still had enough in the tank for the strong finish. I'll be sure to ruin my race next time trying to find out.

 I stopped taking photos after the lake crossing, but here are some I took during the first part of the race and some that Tania took as well.

The real deal; winner of the 50 mile race, I believe.            Photo: Tania

"Deer"-in-the-camera-flash-look that I rationalize posting here only because my grandmother (Nina Carlin; Nina Cheney doesn't use a computer) is one of the 5 regular readers of this blog and she is the one person in the world who might be interested in seeing a picture of me even if it is an awkward self-portrait that, in retrospect, I was only using as an excuse to stop because I was tired.

Next year I will be back, and I'll be back for the 80k because humans have no good memory for pain. At least I don't. Also, this race is too beautiful to miss. The trails are so stunning you don't want the race to be over 
(honest qualifer: almost). Bet you can't say that about your last road race. I certainly can't, anyway.
 No races on the calendar right now other than a 10k with some of the runners from the school team next weekend. It's time to stay off the legs for a bit before ramping up the mileage again. I'll spend some time on the bike, stairmaster and those ridiculous looking "elipticals." Or maybe I'll just drive out to Desierto and run for 4 hours in the mountains and screw up my recovery and get even slower.....
 Future plans include the Jemez 50 in Los Alamos, New Mexico on May 25 with Randy Grillo and, if I can swing it, a trip out to LA to run the Ray Miller 50k or 50mile, possibly with Jeremy if these photos can convince him that running in the Santa Monica Mountains is going to be so much more awesome than running past The Gap and BillABong in the surf city marathon.... 

Friday, October 5, 2012

No bad days in the mountains: Camino Largo y Sinuoso 33k

The start (I know what shirt I want for Christmas) and Dean coming down to the finish  Photo of Dean: Virgilio Regalado

  This race got lost in the shuffle of all the other races. I was focusing on the trail marathon that took place on August 12 and then the Mexico City Marathon at the beginning of September. The next big race was the UTMX 40k on October 20. But this 33k I didn't want to miss. I knew part of the route would be up around the Cerro De San Miguel where I have been running when I can get out of the city, and I thought it would be a good way to learn some new trails.
  I felt that I recovered nicely from the marathon in September, and the race was only 33k? How hard could that be?
  Pretty hard, it turned out.

                                                                 Photo: Virgilio Regalado

What I neglected to remember is that I haven't been able to squeeze in too many mountain runs. In fact, I looked back and since the August 12 Marathon (4,171 feet of gain) I've had one 3,000+ run (Sept. 8) and another that was 1,600. Nothing else over a 1,000 feet.
 The numbers don't lie: I haven't been running in the mountains.
  This race has a very simple profile: up and down, then up and down again. Starting at 10,500 feet it goes up to 11,900, back down the back side of the Cerro to 10,300 and then back up to 11,900 again. And then back down again. I thought my time would be around 4:15 because that was my time at the 33k mark in the Rover Marathon which had similar (a few hundred feet less) elevation change.
  The course starts on a narrow winding singletrack that climbs up to the first bit of open, flat trail that runs around a ridge. This single track started about 20 feet after the start so there wasn't any passing here. I saw a few goons trying to pass in the thick brush that surrounded the trail, but I just took it as a warm up and followed the line to the top, moving at a fast hike/jog. It felt effortless and I tried to enjoy.
I knew it wouldn't last.
  After almost 19 minutes we arrived up to the flat ridge trail people started moving. Too fast I thought. I knew what was coming. Lots of folks went flying by here, and I saw Dean who was running with his dog Waky. Lola had already disappeared. This was a very runnable section with a couple stream crossings but nothing that necessitated getting wet. At the 49 minute point I hit the bridge that brought us into Desierto de Los Leones and the long road to the top. I tried running sections of this but it just didn't make sense. I would run for a bit and realize that for all the added effort I really wasn't gaining anything worthwhile.
  I saw Dean here at the aid station and I remarked that I thought people were moving too fast. Little did I know that was me. I climbed steady but not crazily. Dean was moving a bit faster, but was in sight. I didn't try and catch up as he was in the 23k race and this would be his last climb of the day. I felt certain that the real test would be the second climb. I reached the top feeling good at 1:34.
  I then descended the most technical trail of the day. Rocky, loose, sometimes cut between rocks, this trail that wasn't really a trail was awesome and as usual on this type of terrain I was passing people. Unfortunately, it didn't last more than a kilometer and we were kicked out onto a two track which flattened out for a bit and then headed down to what would be the halfway point. Another long road down to about 10,300 feet. This was the turnaround point. 2:13. So I was hoping for 4:30. Ha!
  I didn't have any illusions about running any of the climb. But I was hiking well, so I thought I could keep a steady pace. I hate being passed on a long climb by people who were heading down while I was headed up. But I soon felt weak. I kept eating gu, trying to maintain some energy. Trying not to worry about letting the people in front of me go. I was alone for a while. But then the footsteps started coming. I was slowing down. People were passing me. Not a good sign. This would be the tale of the climb.  Even on the flat area I couldn't manage much more than a jog. More folks passed. It wasn't an all-out bonk: I was still moving, wasn't sitting down or lying on the side of the trail. Just kept moving and eating and hoping to start feeling better.
  At the top I took a few moments at the aid station, drank a couple gatorade cups and talked to the aid workers. I knew I was in trouble when even the down hill felt like work. Stomach still felt terrible so I ducked into the woods to try and find some relief, which didn't really do much other than lose me another few minutes. Finally got down to the bridge and what I had remembered as a flat section along the ridge was actually slightly uphill. Damn. Mixing walking and running. Waiting for footsteps. All alone trying to move as fast as possible, thinking that the last few kilometers would be down hill on single track which would be fun to run fast. But it took forever to get there. This section seemed three times as long as I remembered it from four hours ago. Three people passed me on this trail and then two more flew by me on the final single track. I tried hard to catch them and when I emerged from the woods for the final stretch they were in sight, but not close enough. I ran it in for 5:01:19.
  Didn't see that one coming.
I was fit, but I need to get out to the mountains more frequently to do better in these races. It was great to learn new trails, and it was a good experience to gut it out all day even though I was never really feeling it. The single track sections are awesome, but there is too much two-track running for my liking.   I don't feel like I went out too fast, but my splits say otherwise.
 I didn't give this race its due, and it showed. My quads were very sore from all the descending and I didn't run Monday or Wednesday and just some slow stuff on Tuesday in the AM (4k) and then another 3k and some walking in the afternoon. It was Thursday before I got a decent run in, but even that tempo run was significantly slower than what I have been doing.  The big bummer of the race was not my mediocre performance, unfortunately, but the disappearance of Lola. One of Dean's dogs ran off during the race and he hasn't been able to find her. We go back on Saturday to take another look.
  The UTMX 40k is coming up on October 20. Trying to find the right balance of rest and maintaining fitness. That race will have significant elevation as well. My goal will be to start very, very conservatively and see what I have left in the tank at 30K. If not, well...I know I can finish and I'll enjoy the scenery of the new trails in Hidalgo.
There are no bad days in the mountains.

Some photos I took during the race:


Thursday, September 6, 2012

What to say about a road marathon?

Kilometer 23: When everything was good. High-five with Kristen.
Photo: Jordan Maas

  Just finished my first road marathon. I'd been wanting to run the DF marathon for years and finally got it done.  What to say about a marathon?
 A first it felt way too easy. 
And then it felt just right.
And then someone snuck lead into my legs and I couldn't keep up with my pace goals.  

  I felt I had done solid preparation to run 3:59 and change. 5:40 kilometers. 28:20 5ks. Should be able to run those one right after another until the cows come home....  Which is correct if the cows come home around 25k and really start showing up in force at 31k.
  A four hour marathon is not fast; it's not remarkable. It's like shooting an honest 99 for 18 holes. With practice, most can do it. Some could do it without practice. A four+ hour marathon is pedestrian. Perhaps that's why Paul Ryan shaved over an hour of his time. Sub-3 hours is something. Like shooting an honest 68 at a tough course. Anyway, I digress....

My four hour plan slowly started to unravel around kilometer 24. My 5:35's turned to 5:45's, 5:44s.....  And it only got worse. Anyone who runs marathons knows that most people slow down in the last 10k, but I really believed I had chosen a reasonable pace that could be held for the duration. Nope.
  I ran the first half in 1:59, the second half in about 2:11. 4:10:52 was the official chip time.
  I had been obsessed with the watch early in the race, but finally had to stop looking at it.  
  My first races I ran without a watch; I need to go back to that. The garmin is a fine training device and I love the data, but I hate being tied to a watch during a race. Run on effort. Maybe cover the watch and look at the data later.
  A road marathon is a strange beast: for me it started out feeling way too easy, but by the end it felt harder than anything I have run. This past August I ran the Rover Marathon up over the mountain pass from Mexico City to Cuernavaca, which took me nearly 1.5 hours longer than this race, but it was somehow easier.
  I enjoyed the race. Jordan and Kristen came out and cheered me on, which helped a lot. Tania supported me on the course and the girls made posters. Even when I felt my sub-four slip away, I didn't stop enjoying the race. I usually end races with something in the tank, but I had nothing at the end. My last two kilometers were my slowest. 

Kilometer 35ish....the slow down. Trying to be ok with that.
Photo: Jordan Maas

My goals were to run 3:59, finish, not get injured. Two out of three ain't bad.

My training may not have paid off with the time I wanted, but it certainly helped in one area: I feel great. I took Monday off, ran easy on Tuesday, maybe 5k. And then a steady 7k Wednesday morning. Heading to Cerrro de San Miguel to make a long overdue run up and down the mountain. And I'm heading out right now to run before "Back to School" night begins.

  I will probably return to the road marathon one day, but not for a while. At least a year, I'd say. Maybe longer.

 For now I've got a couple great races coming up in the mountains and I'm really looking forward to them. And then, make the next step and find a 50 miler......

 Back to the hills, back to the trails.....

Sept 30: 33k Camino Largo y Sinuoso.

October 20: UTMX 40K

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Rover Marathon Race Report: The Ups and Downs of Running from DF to Cuerna

Rover Marathon: Mexico City to Cuernavaca

  I slept soundly until three and then tossed and turned until my alarm at five. It was raining steadily. Rain in Mexico City is a daily event, but almost never in the morning. Hurricane Ernesto had other ideas. I unpinned my number from my short sleeve shirt that I had so carefully prepared the night before, pinned it to a long sleeve and then hesitated over my gore tex rain jacket that is most definitely a hiking jacket, not a running jacket. The thought of being up at 3,000+ meters under a freezing downpour convinced me to put it on. That and it was really cold out and I had to walk about a mile to the metrobus station, and I didn't want to be wet and cold before the race started.
  The adventure started a bit earlier than I would have liked. I arrived at the metrobus station only to wait ten minutes for a bus to show up. It was packed with people and there was no way I could have squeezed in. I was starting to get impatient and worry about missing the start of the race when finally another bus showed up. I haven't seen any form of public transportation so crowded since I lived in Tokyo and white-gloved men in suits would literally shove the passengers into the train so the doors can properly close. So I exited the station and caught a cab, which turned out to be a brilliant move and the best 100 pesos (7 bucks) I ever spent on a cab because I made it to the race start just in time to hit the bathroom at the Pemex gas station.
 I was still waffling over the jacket. There were people in short sleeves; there were folks more bundled up than I was. There was a "guardaropa" service that would haul any clothes you put into a trash bag to the finish. The deciding factor was that the line for the "guardaropa" was endless and the race was about to start. There is no chip time in these events: they are timed by hand. I started trudging uphill with a few hundred other people. I was already getting hot in my jacket.

Heading up. A rainy start.

  The Rover Marathon is the oldest marathon in Mexico. It starts in the south of the city, and climbs up over and down the mountains that divide Mexico from Cuernavaca.  According to my Garmin Data the course climbed 4,100 feet and descended for 6,000 feet (Cuernavaca is lower than Mexico City) A basic course description would read as follows: Run (ha!) Hike up for 20k, Run down for 20k. Somewhere in there is about 2k of flat. Try not to get lost. 

Runners in the mist.


  Without knowing the course, it's really hard to pace in these events. I started conservatively as I almost always do trying to feel things out. The course just went up and up. Finally the neighborhoods thinned out and we were --finally-- in the woods on trail. I would estimate the first 10k was 80% hiking. I hiked all but the shallowest grades and ran anything that was runnable, but it wasn't much. I started to get a little panicky: my marathon moment has arrived and I'm hiking?? At about 10k was the first aid station. They had small cups of gatorade.
  Advice #1: Despite the advertised aid stations, this --and every other mountain race I've run in Mexico (5 and counting)-- are essentially self-supported races. Unless you can run for 4+ hours on an hourly cup of gatorade or water (and the next aid station only had water) and the rare quarter slice of banana, carry what you need. The good news is that this marathon cost me 250 pesos (not quite 20 bucks) to run, which is the going rate for these types of races. What are they charging for the NYC Marathon these days? 250 bucks?? Ok...back to the race

Between 10 and 20k I started getting into my groove. I felt good and was starting to run up any hill that was remotely runnable. I passed a lot of people this way. At one point I lost some position because I had to duck in the woods for a moment. I discovered that I had 2 squares of toliet paper. One-ply. Do the math. It wasn't pretty. With a mental reminder not to shake anyone's hand for the next few hours, I got back on the trail.

The rare aid station.

Advice #2: Buy two-ply toliet paper. You might thank yourself one day.

 At about 20K we arrived at the top of the course. I grabbed a cup of water (to conserve the water I was carrying, which turned out to be stupid) and began running downhill.  There was some cool singletrack in this section and it was a very enjoyable section of the race. However, run downhill for long enough and a very strange thing will happen: you will start wishing for uphills. As we descended into Tres Marias, the course flattened out for a bit, and for me this was even worse. I'm not fast; I don't have a lot of leg speed. I have never broken 50 minutes for a 10k (PR: 51:19). So the second most miserable part of the race for me was the big, fat, flat road that we had to run into Tres Marias.

  The good news here was that Tania, Dean and Amanda had made the drive out to Tres Marias. This provided me a huge mental boost and kept me moving on that miserable road. The other great thing was that I had carried my phone for photos and sent a frantic text to Tania early in the race: Plz bring handheld bottle! I dumped my Nathan pack with my gore tex coat tied on to it and grabbed the bottle. Man, this was how I should have been running....

Shedding the Nathan Pack in Tres Marias    Photo:Tania

Big Boost from seeing Tania, Dean and Amanda at Tres Marias.   Photo: Tania

  About 11K to go but the descending continued through some really cool trails that were also treacherously slippery and washed out. This was another very enjoyable section but I had left my phone with Tania so I have no photos of the trail. At about 39 K we emerged into the city. Mercifully, this pavement section was all downhill. I'll be honest, if there had been an uphill in this section, I would have walked; if there had been a flat section I would have cried. My knees were done, but I could smell the barn. Jose Luis and I had been leapfrogging back and forth all race and I thought I had finally put him away in trail descending from Tres Marias. But there he was on the other side of the road cruising. They don't close streets for these races; we run with the cars. I was too tired to care, and the thought of being run over by a bus was not entirely unpleasant at this point.
  I didn't think I could match Jose Luis's pace, but as we turned into the stadium I saw the finish line and got a burst of speed and I was gaining on Jose Luis...

  ...And then I realized it wasn't the finish line but I had to run all the way around the track. This was the worst moment of the race. Seems silly in retrospect, but at that moment it was crushing. Dean was there taking photos and I actually started walking for a moment. Jose Luis was gone. No one was behind me at this point, but walking in was ridiculous, so I picked up the pace and finished the race. 5:33:55 according to my watch.  It will be at least a few days before official results are posted.

Entering the stadium, closing in on Jose Luis...  Photo: Tania

What? I have to run all the way around the thing? Jose Luis finishing and I'm way back now. Photo: Tania

Done.                                         Photo: Tania

  Incredible experience, from beginning to end.  Now I have two weeks to the Mexico City Marathon. This is going to be a completely different beast, as I won't be weighed down, there is no real climbing, but that means I am going to have to run the whole thing at a real running pace. It will be harder than this race, strange as that may seem. My knees felt terrible earlier today, but they are better now. I'm supposed to do a 10 mile Marathon pace run on Thursday, which at the moment seems about as daunting as going back over to Cuernavaca.  I will stay flat for the next two weeks and see how the legs feel. My goals for that race are:

1. Don't get injured

A goal: sub four hours. The Mcmillan Running Calculator predicts a 4:05 finish, but I think I can best that. 
B goal: 4:00
C goal: Finish

Running Geek Stuff:

Smart things I did: 
   •ate a gu every 45 minutes. Never came close to bonking, except my mental bonk at the end when I realized I had to run 300 meters around a track.
   •slow start, but started running hills at 10k. 
   •ran all the flats and downhills no matter how miserably slow I was moving.
   •Stayed on course. The course was erratically marked. At times it was over marked, and you would find three orange ribbons in a 100 meter section, but there were at least three key forks that were not marked. Twice I had to wait a moment for someone to catch up who new the course. 
   •Brought the gore tex jacket. Even though I never needed it, I think it's usually smart to respect the mountain.

 Dumb things I did:
  •I loaded my Nathan pack with 2 liters of water. When I dropped it off with Tania it still had 1 liter of water left, which I needlessly humped over the mountain. Yeah, I need to drink more, but if I'm not going to do that, I need to carry less. Two handheld bottles would be the way to go in this race, as they could be refilled at the aid stations. Refilling a Nathan Pack is also possible, but takes too long.
  •Neglected to order a Patagonia Houdini Jacket when Dean was in the U.S. This would have been the ticket. Enough protection from rain, provides some warmth and can be compressed to the size of my fist.

  I wore Brooks Cascadia 7's with Smart Wool PHD socks. No foot problems.