Monday, May 31, 2010

Western States training camp: so long for me

I cannot believe how much difference a year and external conditions can make... Last year I was all fired up to do the second edition of my own local camp instead of driving up to Auburn for the official Western States Memorial Weekend training camp. Of course I was sorry to miss the fun of running with so many other Western States aficionados, furthermore training on the mythical Western States trail, but I was looking forward to replacing the time driving up there and staying out of town with some valuable family time. So, in 2009, I ran 122 crazy miles in three days and more than 28,000 feet of cumulative elevation, all that in the heat.

Based on my great racing this year, I thought I would top that. However, a big difference from last year: I entered the long weekend not only tired after a few short nights, but with a big milestone at work over the weekend (proposal due on Sunday and presentation on Monday night). So long for a public holiday... With that, I was not able to enjoy the time on the trails, I always felt I could use the hours to put in the project and other professional to dos. The good news though is that, albeit in a limited time, I could experience my first heat crashes of the season, for my first heat training steps this year. At least and at last...

Mission Peak Madness

On Saturday, I drove back to the parking lot of Mission Peak Park, on Stanford Avenue in Fremont, 6 days after Ohlone. Despite the expected affluence for such a special weekend, I just had to wait a few minutes to find a parking spot, so I could set my personal aid station in the trunk of my car. The weather was as wonderful and clear as a week ago, with a nice breeze and gorgeous views all over the Bay. During the first climb, I forced myself to walk some sections to save some energy for later. I reached the summit pole in 35', using the short and straight fire trail (as opposed to the Southern trail we use in the Ohlone race). On the way down, I ran, or rather flew, for a couple of miles with a group of mountain bikers. While they were putting on their brakes by courtesy for the many hikers, I saw no reason for using my brakes and just let it go. After taking an S!Cap and changing bottles, I was up for the second loop, 57' after starting my run. I had thought a reasonable pace would be 1:10-1:15 per loop, evidently I was not on the correct pace.
My second loop was slightly slower, 40' to the top and 1:06 for the round trip. I was wearing two layers of long sleeves to simulate the heat training and was getting quite hot and sweaty with the bright sun and as we were approaching noon. The third loop was still pleasant and completed in 1:04. With the focus on work instead of preparing this running weekend, I left home without much of my usual ultra food such as potato chips or banana, but only a couple of Snickers bars.
One mile into the 4th lap, a hiker asked me if it was my second or third time up. I replied 4th and I still felt OK but wondering if I could indeed keep up with this pace and do the 8 laps as I was hoping for, or at least 6 like last year. The last 2 miles were tough on this loop and I started walking more, completing the loop in 1:22. Back to the car, I thought I will take my camera only for the 6th loop, to make sure I was keeping some motivation for going more than 5 loops. Unfortunately for the pictures of the gorgeous views, I walked so much in the 5th loop that I decided to call it a day after completing this last round trip in 1:29, thinking that it would take me at least 2 hours to crawl the next one. So no picture to share with you, sorry... I am still calling the run Mission Peak Madness like last year because people completing the loop once can relate, this is quite a brutal climb of just over 2,000 feet, worth a canyon on the Western Sates course. Here is the distorted elevation/time chart from SportTracks:
And, as you can see below, I lost quite some salt, this one on my shorts doesn't come from a swim in the Ocean!
By the way, as an occupation in my 4th and 5th laps, I started "collecting" trash along the trail and here is what I found. Sorry for the picture, on the gross side, but I hope that makes the point: watch your pockets, ladies and gentlemen on the trail!

PG&E repeats

Last year I had run the entire Quicksilver 50-mile course on day 2 of my local camp. I certainly did not have the time nor the energy to go for that this Sunday after the set back on Mission Peak, so I decided to go to Rancho to do a repeat. The most I've done there is 4 times the outside loop, alternating the climbs to Vista Point via PG&E (shorter and harder) and Rogue (respectively clockwise and anti-clockwise).

Like on Saturday I put on two layers of black long sleeve tops and felt quite warm just a few miles into the PG&E climb. Before starting I had seen Cathy and Muriel who were looking for a parking spot and told them that I was setting up my camp for 9 hours on the trail as I was hoping to complete 6 repeats to make up for the previous day, in a conservative 1:30 for each lap (my lap record is just below 1:05).

I was back to the parking lot after 1:22 of running, taking 6 minutes to eat and refill my bottles as I was already over heating and it was not even mid day... It took me a lot of walking in the second climb, stops at every creek on the way to cool down and a total of 1:41 for reaching the parking lot for the second time and without the will to go further. With that, I was back home early enough to have lunch with the family, take a nap and go back to work until 11 PM... From a running perspective, I need to re-learn how to behave in the heat. After these two runs, I was down to 121 pounds, 4 less than what I consider my optimal race weight.

This Monday the weather was still great, nice breeze, some clouds in the morning, but I did not feel at all up for running and worked all day instead, except for writing this blog post and shortly sneaking in my FaceBook account to see how much fun others had in the real and official camp up there (some even saw a mountain lion crossing the trail, phew!). I am looking forward to seeing you all in 4 weeks!

Ahh, sometimes, life/work balance means less running and more work. I hope to catch-up with some hill and heat training next weekend, after a 2-day trip to DC tomorrow for the departure ceremony of Alex on Capitol Hill (the end of his amazing Congressional Page program). Still 4 weeks before the big dance!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Ohlone 2010: older yet faster

I could have titled this post "Unusually chilly" or "He did it again!" or "Not further but faster", but "Older yet faster" is what came to mind naturally, and to Gary's mind too, so here it is. Read on! Or, if you don't have time or the patience to go through this race report, skip to my Picasa photo album...

I like this race. Actually I love it. The course is tough, it is usually very hot (and not only do I do better in the heat, but I usually need heat training in May), and I won the race twice! I also love the Native Indian connection and the spectacular views of this wilderness. It is also very easy access from Cupertino and my parents have happened to be at the finish twice in the past. This year was my 4th run and I got assigned the bib #2 after placing second last year, to Leor.

Agnès was nice enough to drive me to the start which we reached at 6:30. While I chatted with Stan, Tom, Chuck, Lee and a few other early birds, Agnès was correcting copies from her 120 French students (Lynbrook High School). And I also helped her for a few copies too. Here is Tom Kaisersatt and Stan Jensen (
By 7 AM, the early starters were sent on the trail with Chris ringing the bell:
Then, around 7:30 the three school buses off loaded hundreds of runners who had parked at the finish line and formed two long lines: one for the check-in, and one for the bathrooms.
We took the start at 8 AM after listening to the last instructions from Race Director Rob Byrne. The weather was unusually cool but the sky was so clear that I expected a lot of sun and chose to only wear my Quicksilver/RhoQuick singlet. It proved to be ok although the wind was really chilly especially at the top of Mission and Rose Peaks. I was expecting a duel between Leor and Gary and that is exactly how it started, with Leor charging up the hill at an amazingly fast pace. Simon teased me that he will let us go and catch up later (Simon has been coming every year for a while now to run Western States and a few other local races in the Spring).

After a few hundreds yards, I was in 6th and that is how it will stay for a while, something I had not really planned for, not knowing the three runners who settled between Gary and I, except that Jim Magill had met with one of them and told me he was a rookie on this distance but a 2:32 marathoner.
The last 2 miles before Mission Peak were so "grassy" it was hard to see the uneven trail and, wearing my Brooks Racer ST5 flats, I decided to slow down to make sure I was not twisting an ankle. The pace of the leaders was too fast for me anyway in these steep miles, so it was better this way. When I passed through the first aid station, I told Hollis Lenderking, our Grand Prix Director: "All these guys make me feel really slow this year!" Again, I was in 6th, something which never happened to me at this race before.

I briefly stopped at the second aid station to get some food and one S!Cap and could see the 5th runner about 90 seconds ahead, but no sign of the front runners. At the third aid station (Backpack Area), I missed the coaching advice and encouragement of ultra stars Ann Trason and Carl Andersen but the volunteers helped me refilling my GU2O bottle and get some food before the long climb to Rose Peak. I didn't dare to ask how far Leor and Gary were, I did not need any discouragement before the climb.

After the fourth aid station (Goat Rock, mile 15), I kept pushing the pace and started closing on the two runners ahead of me. One was wearing a blue Tamalpa jersey and I thought it was Brett Rivers. I passed this runner just before the summit and the 2:32 marathoner fellow one mile after the 5th aid station (Maggie's Half Acre, mile 19.7), in the section which I call the roller coaster, in which I cramped so bad in my first run, and moderately today.

I then started to see the runner in 3rd in the hill after Stewart's Camp and closed the 5-minute gap we had at the top of Rose Peak down to 90 seconds by the 7th aid station (Schlieper Rock, mile 25.7). I did stop to mix more GU2O in my bottle for the final 5 miles and get more salt to take care of the cramps and lost contact with my new "prey" in the tortuous switchbacks down Williams Glutch. No sign on the steep climb on the other side in which I was cramping pretty bad so I thought I lost him. I passed Catra and her pacer just before the ridge. Catra was finishing her 4th Ohlone today for a total distance of 132 miles in 47 hours! The previous years she was "only" running 100 miles on the course while we were doing our short 31-mile trot...
On the ridge, I pushed the pace again and finally saw a runner about 60 seconds ahead. I rushed in the downhill, literally flew through the last aid station (Stromer Spring - Sorry guys, I usually really enjoy the water pool there when it's hot), and pushed, pushed, pushed, until I finally caught up with him, right before the final steep down hill to the finish. In my flats, my heel where burning with the speed, but I was not going to pass on this opportunity to take on 3rd overall, since I knew Leor and Gary were out of reach today. I crossed the finish line in 4:37, my Personal Best on this course (my best was 4:41 on my first run/win when I set the new age group record for M40-49). Placing 1, 1, 2 and 3 for my first four Ohlone editions, I am a happy man tonight! Happy too about running faster. Apart from Way Too Cool in March where exercise-induced asthma kicked-in, it has been a great year so far, given that I don't get younger... Yet, faster!

As it stands out, Leor did a phenomenal performance in this cool weather, clocking 4:16 and improving the course record he had set last year of 4:29 (CR which Kevin Sawchuck had previously set in 2002 with 4:39 and which held for 6 years, if we don't count the off-the-chart times of Dave Scott in the nineties on the previous course). Gary took second in a no less impressive time of 4:33, setting a new age group record.

Agnès, Greg and I stayed for 90' and left as Charles Stevens was finishing. See my Picasa photo album for today. We left most of the pictures of the top finishers although quite a few pictures are blurry (sorry about that).

Overall, a very unusual chilly weather for this race which allowed for some good times today. Ohlone is on my must-run list for next year (and beyond!), I will be back. Now the question is when are we going to get our heat training before Western States...??

A big thank you to the race directors, Rob and Larry, the many volunteers in such remote aid stations and with their cool blue tie-die t-shirts, the chef and his assistant, the generous sponsors, especially: Zombie Runner, GU (my favorite brand!), Johnson Lumber for the great awards (I like my collection of posts), and Succeed! (I used many S!Caps today). See you all next year!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Tokyo: back to the imperial times

No, I did not live in the imperial times in France nor in Japan but I am referring to my first visit to Japan back in 1990 when Edouard, our then VP Sales, Agnès and I stayed at the Palace Hotel. Without listing all the neighborhoods of the capital of Japan, there are many amazing and mythical places in Tokyo: the skyscrapers of Shinjuku, the electronic malls of Electric City in Akihabara, the shopping streets from the Edo era in Asakusa, the museums of Ueno, the shopping fever in Ginza, and the numerous temples and shrines. I even discovered this week the surprising island of Odaiba with a strange mix of working and leisure atmospheres. While the hotel I stayed at was located next to the IBM Japan office and the convenient Tokyo City Air Terminal (T-CAT), the project I consulted for this week is based in Odaiba, a piece of reclaimed land with very modern architecture and office buildings next to huge malls and entertainment centers and amusement parks. But, among all these places, my favorite place in Tokyo remains the Imperial Palace. Well, not the Palace itself which is closed to the public anyway (maybe Alex can get me a pass now that he has so many connections in DC...), but the periphery of the Palace and its gardens which represents an optimal running loop. Right on 5 kilometers (3.1 miles), no street to cross, perfectly even asphalt, marking every 100 meters, several restrooms and drinking fountains on the course, some elevation to vary the pace and the effort, the healthy feeling of running around the largest "lung" of the city, a green oasis into the megalopolis, like Central Park in New York City.
Anyway, this past Sunday, I landed at 2 PM in Narita, caught the 2:30 PM Airport Limousine Bus for T-CAT and was in my room by 4 PM, early enough to go for a run and take advantage of the sunny afternoon to mitigate the jet lag with the 16-hour time difference with California.
I ran a total of 15.5 miles with 4 loops around the Imperial Palace plus the 3 miles to get from and to the hotel, going through Nihonbashi and coming back through Ginza and its luxurious fashion stores and bright neon lights. I actually appreciated to have my GPS to find my way back to the hotel as you can see on the map. I am going to let you "run" through my photo album, especially my blog readers who do not have the opportunity to visit Japan.

I went back for two other loops for an early run on Tuesday morning, after quite a special night: I woke up at 4 AM for a first conference call with the US, went back to sleep for one hour, jumped on a second conference call at 6:30 AM, then the run, a quick breakfast on the go before going to the project site in Odaiba... You need to be flexible to squeeze the running into you work life and travels...
Prior to these escapades in Japan, I was able to run two PG&E/Rogue laps at Rancho on Friday, just one minute slower than my PR (1:11 for the first loop and 1:08 the second). Then 9 miles in Cupertino before going to the airport for my flight on Saturday morning.

With that busy week, I got some "forced" tapering before the exciting Ohlone 50K race this Sunday. With Leor and Gary toeing the line and the unusual cool temperatures in the Bay Area this weekend, this is going to go very fast and several course records will fall (Leor in the Open Division, and Gary for the Masters). Stay tuned, the race is held this Sunday!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Quicksilver 50K 2010: ultra racing

Phew, I just posted my belated Miwok race report, one week after this tough hilly 100K, and it is time to blog about another ultra race again, which I ran yesterday. American River 50-mile early April, then Ruth Anderson 50-mile mid-April, followed by Miwok 100K two weeks later, Quicksilver a week after, then Ohlone in two weeks... The ultra Grand Prix season is in full swing!

Actually, at this frequency, races represent a great way to work hard in my weekly long runs. Furthermore, it is not easy to figure out what is harder and more tiring between this "fun hard work" and my first job which is quite intense these days. As a recurring pattern, I did not sleep much the past nights, spending the week in Las Vegas for our annual user conference, Impact, with 6,000 participants, dozens of meetings with clients and colleagues on the side of a conference rich of 500 sessions. Phew!

I came back home at 7 PM on Friday evening, got a pasta dinner with Greg before going to bed at 9 for about 6 hours (kind of a recovery sleep for me...). Greg and Agnès were volunteering from 6 to 10 AM at the Dam Overlook aid station with the Stevens Creek Striders and they dropped me at the start at 5:30 AM (for the 6 AM start).
Last year I had a great 50-mile run on this course after a poor performance at Miwok (12:12 and hypothermia), but I felt too tired to switch to this distance today and preferred keeping the safer option of the "shorter" 50K distance. Many familiar faces at the start for this local race organized by my other running club, the Quicksilver Running Club of San Jose on our local turf. Also a strong representation from our ultra racing team (RhoQuick) on both ultra distances (there was also a 25K race which our teammate Gary Gellin won while improving the previous course record set by Leor Pantilat last year).

This year, Leor was part of the fast guys lining up on the 50K along with Victor Ballesteros. They actually took the lead immediately and I was not going to see them again during the race. My other teammate, Toshi, followed them along with the lead runner of the 50-miler. Although on the 50-miler too, RhoQuick member Sean stayed on my heels for the first 16 miles, along with Dylan Bowman who was visiting from Aspen, Colorado. The below 8 mile/minute pace was certainly reasonable for the 50K, but quite aggressive for the 50-miles.
Although I was really focused and pushing the pace given my current form and fatigue, it felt great to pass through the Dam Overlook aid station three times and see Agnès, Greg and so many familiar faces from the Striders. It was also nice to see so many runners on the trail as we were doing our respective loops on this convoluted course and wide fire trails.
I kept a good pace until mile 24 then walked some of the uphill sections afterward. My new Garmin 205 GPS seemed to be off by a mile compared to the mileage advertised for each aid stations. The discrepancy actually occurred in the first 7 miles of the course during which we mostly run under the trees with quite a few switchbacks around the creeks (New Almaden trail). In the last 7 miles, I kept thinking of the current 4:04 M40-49 age group course record. I thought I had passed the 50K mark last year in 4:06 or 4:08 but re-reading my 2009 race report, it was actually 4:03, even faster than the the 50K course record! So, as I wrote last year, I knew the 4:04 record was at reach. Yet, I could not run all the uphills in the final "roller coaster" this Saturday morning and had to really sprint in the down hills to make up for the lost time. Passing 25K runners, I rushed to the finish to cross the line in 3:58:58, barely breaking 4 hours.
Leor Pantilat had set a new overall course record in an amazing 3:30 and change. Victor finished second in 3:45. According to Agnès' pictures, he had a 7 minutes lead at our 3rd passage through Dam Overlook, which grew by 6 minutes in the final 7 miles as I was struggling. He told me at the finish that he had never started as hard as today while following Leor as far and long as possible. Victor will run SilverState 50 next week while I will see Leor and Gary at the start of Ohlone (and not much longer after the start!). Gary (Gellin) won the 25K today and even improved Leor's overall course record. Man, the competition is getting tougher and tougher!
Our teammate Miki won the 50K, clocking 4:45:
I had to leave early and before the barbecue to attend a synchronized swimming show in San Jose so I could only see the 50-mile runners going through the 50K aid station but not wait to seem them finish. I helped out at the aid station and we left around 11:45 AM. As of this Sunday night, the results are not yet published on the Ultra Signup site but Sean sent me this update with regard to the 50-mile race: Zachary Landman (23, of San Francisco) won in 6:50 followed by Rob Evans in 6:53. Pierre-Yves took 5th followed by Sean in 7:15.

Here is Rob at the first passage through Dam Overlook:
Pierre-Yves at mile 9.8:
And Sean at the 50K mark while he was still in third:

A special thank to Paul Fink for organizing this event, to Pierre-Yves for co-directing it, and to the many volunteers working prior, during and after the race for making this race series a success. And a special mention to my fellow Striders for manning the busiest aid station of Dam Overlook (more than 1,000 runners passing through the aid station between 7 AM and 2 PM!).

See more pictures taken by Agnès and Greg in my Picasa album.

Miwok 2010: perfect conditions

Perfect weather, sunny with breeze, pristine trail, dry but still soft, great competition, gorgeous views, the perfect conditions for a perfect race... But ultra requires a few more stars to get aligned to make it seamless and easy...

More context: I came back from a business trip to the East Coast on Friday afternoon during which I had again a series a very short nights (4-5 hours) including sleeping in the luggage claim area of Dulles airport on my way to Armonk, NY, due to a last minute flight cancellation. On top of sleep deprivation, I got a cold on Wednesday. With that, I woke up at 2 am last Saturday, sweating and wondering how much fever I had but could not find the thermometer so figured out a good long run in the hills will take care of my febrile state... I drove to Mountain View to carpool with Coach Greg, from our Quicksilver Club, and we arrived at Marine Headlands at 4:15 AM for an early check-in. Greg was volunteering at the start to get as many cars in the limited parking lot.
The race started on time at 5:40 on the Rodeo Lagoon beach as it was still dark. Although I was on the front line at the start I took a slow start and got stuck in the first single track uphill at the end of the beach having to walk, probably a good thing for my lungs. I ran the first miles with my red Buff covering my face to protect my lungs from the fresh and cool air, until sunrise.

The first miles of the course were changed due to some construction on Conzelman or Simmonds Road. Instead of going around the Visitor Center, we had two out and backs which allowed to see the whole field twice, before seeing every runner again at the Randall Trail turn around.This was the opportunity to see many familiar faces and get encouragements from local runners.

Carrying two bottles, I did not stop at the first aid station (Bunker Road). On the way up Rodeo Valley Trail, I caught up with Jenn Shelton. I told her how cool it was to run with the Born To Run heroin, but she admitted she wasn't a big fan of "that book" (people who have read it may understand why). Anyway, I kept pushing the pace and passing a few runners in the way. I ran a couple of miles with Rob Evans, before and after the Tennessee Valley aid station. Rob was very happy to have ran a 2:46 at the Nappa Valley marathon in March (same time as I ran last year for my 45th birthday) then a great 6:37 at American River. He felt his legs were still tired and he would eventually drop later when he saw he was not going to break 10 hours.

A quick stop at the Muir Beach aid station, long enough to get the encouragements, in French, from Suzanna Bon. Scott Jurek and Suzanna are going this month to Brives, France, to represent Team USA in the 24-hour World Championship. On the long way up to Pan Toll, I passed Brett Rivers and Thomas Reiss, and wondered if I was not going out too fast but felt ok 1/3 in the race. At least, no sign of asthma again today, phew!

A longer stop at Pan Toll to refill my GU2O bottle and eat a few chips with a GU (I know, this does not seem like the best culinary recipe). Nothing too notable for the next 8 miles apart from the gorgeous views, which you cannot really enjoy as the trail is so narrow it feels like running on a beam sometimes, and not even a flat one. As usual, it felt good to get welcomed by the cheerful volunteers of Bolinas Ridge aid station, especially for this first passage where they are still focused on the few runners going through (the second passage is more confusing as runners come in from both sides on their way out and back). I don't have good memories of this section from previous runs. On the map is shows as a relatively flat section (ridge), but it is actually quite rolling. Then there is this 1.7 miles plunge to the Randall Trail aid station in which we loose 1,000 feet of elevation just to have to climb them again. This year I saw only two runners before going down on Randall: Tony Krupicka had just taken the lead over Michael Wardian and was "riding the wind" (Tony's blog name), really making like it was easy... See this video from Jim (Hydrapak) of the race leaders at this point:

Just after passing through the gate I crossed Hal Koerner, then a few more of the lead runners, I believe 11 or 12 of them including World Champion Kami Semick. I feel nauseous just as I was getting into the aid station which is very unusual for me and did cost me a few minutes as I was trying to figure out what I could eat before getting back on the long climb. My pacer and teammate Gary Gellin was here to encourage me before we meet at Bolinas Ridge for the last 20 miles. Thinking of Tony and keeping in mind how easy him and Hal appeared at the top of the hill, I ran almost all the 1.7 miles. It felt good that I was able to do so but it was probably not very wise as I then struggled in the next 6 miles on Bolinas Ridge, starting being passed by a few runners. At some point, Thomas Reiss passed me and I was amazed by his "diesel mode" which I had seen Hal Koerner use at the North Face Challenge when I was pacing Michael Wardian in December 2008. For me it is hard to run that slowly and I either goes too fast or need to walk. Anyway, I followed Thomas for a while and eventually passed him before the aid station.
At Bolinas Ridge, it was really cool to get my bottle filled by ultra legend Scott Jurek. Gary was excited to get on the trail with me. With an elite cross-country background, Gary is super fast (and competitive!) and I warned him that I was not feeling so well at this point. I was probably in 15th position by then and here we went on the gorgeous Coastal trail. This time, not only was it challenging to stay on the "beam" but we were crossing the tail of the pack with runners going out of their way to let us pass: like at Way Too Cool, a sincere and big thank you to all of you for losing these precious seconds, not to mention every bit of energy, as you are yourself competing against the clock and the cut-off times. A couple of runners passed us and we found Agnès at Pan Toll. A handful of other runners passed us between Pan Toll, Highway 1 and Tennessee Valley aid station. On the climbs, my back and shoulders started hurting so bad that I had to switch to very slow walking. This back pain is something new that I get on long runs after my accident on the way to American River (in which our minivan got wrecked from behind). Need to work on this before Western States...
Stan Jensen ( welcomed us at Tennessee Valley and teased me that I looked better than my pacer. Sure... Stan has seen me in worse conditions the previous years so he knew he could joke about it. He told me later that he was actually glad to see I had managed to break 10 hours. Because, to him (and to me too!), it did not seem like a done deal even with one hour to spare for the remaining 3.8 miles...
Alternating walking and jogging, we got to the last hill where I got a surge and ran even some of the steep sections then sprinted down the hill to the finish line to cross it in 9:48:45. Disappointed not to improve my 9:41 PR but happy to finish under 10. 22nd overall, 5th in my age group, I'm still learning on this distance... See the overall results on Stan's Miwok website. Tony did not improve the course record but got his Western State spot easily with an amazing 8:02 finish (read his race report on his Running Times blog and see how hard it is to go fast even if it seems easy...). Although he didn't need the WS spot given to the second overall runner, Hal had also an amazing race finishing in 8:20. Kami took first in 9:10 followed by Devon in 9:36.
Miwok is such a great race, it is a privilege and luck to make it through the lottery. A special thank to Gary for enduring my slow pace in the last 20 miles, to Tia for perpetuating this Miwok tradition in a gorgeous place, and the many volunteers who made this ultra party possible! Hope to be back next year for my 5th Miwok.
More pictures (mainly from Agnès and a few from Gary, taken with his cell phone) in my Picasa album (mostly of the top 5-20 runners).