Sunday, October 15, 2017

Waldo 100k Recap

(Editors Note: This was written the day after Waldo)

Fast forward two Saturday's from the failed AC100 and my mojo is back. I guess I left it in Oregon on the Pine to Palm course last year, cause it took me almost a year later to be back in that beautiful state to find myself at Waldo 100k. Oregon vibes are infinite times better than SoCal. I don't know why I was picking SoCal races this year, but I'm not doing that again. I've run enough races that I only want to do the ones that I find appealing.  Waldo has appealed to me since I moved west, but it's always near Pine to Palm so I've never put in. It's a small race, less than 150 people, with an awesome course and homey feel. (Read: no loud music and blow up banners and interviews and cameras). It's not flat and has plenty of singletrack. All things that I like in races.

Waldo was part redemption, part gut-check, part just-get-the-freaking-WS-ticket. Redemption because AC sucked, even if it was just my mindset. Gut-check because do I even like running anymore? Just-get-the-freaking-WS-ticket because I'm zero for five and I'm not letting my tickets expire. A massive shoutout goes to Salomon for sponsoring Waldo and letting me race.

I didn't set expectations for the race. I didn't really even look at the map or course description. I took the map with me and looked at it about five times mid-race, which was actually pretty nice to have. The course was beautiful. Big evergreens and hanging moss, probably 60/62 miles of singletrack, just gorgeous.


1. I talked to almost everyone that I ran with, and was enjoying the company instead of pushing it away. Everyone knows this, but running with people is so much better than running against people. It seemed like most everyone at Waldo adopted this philosphy and was happy to chat while jogging.

2. Without expectations, I wasn't concerned on competing. Could I have finished two, three, or maybe four places higher? Probably, if I really wanted. But I was running hard as is, and stopped to take in the smoky views and lingered a bit in certain places to run with people instead of alone.

3. My roommate and her boyfriend, both oblivious to what ultrarunning races look like, volunteered to crew without me asking and did a great job boosting morale and giving me pedialyte and chips at a couple of aid stations.

4. The course was beautiful, but I did start to get frustrated near mile 40. The climbs are visibly climbs on paper, but on the actual trail they're insanely drawn out and low-grade. I would hike for 10 seconds then have to run for 20 seconds, then hike for 10 again. It was tough to get a rhythm when the trail grade's aren't consistent.

5. If it wasn't for the mild altitude (5000-8000 ft), I probably would have ran everything minus the last climb. 5 or 6000 feet isn't that high, but it is a difference when you live at the beach.

6. The last climb was dope. It was properly steep at the top, and I was enjoying pushing the hiking.

7. Camping at the start. Nothing is better than camping at the start. I didn't even mind the 5am start time which says something in itself.

A few years ago I would have been more concerned or worried about my placing or time. But now I was more relaxed and my mind was at ease. I could tell a few of the guys around me were trying to be competitive. I suppose I conceded a couple of places at the end, but I was at Waldo to find my mojo and get the states ticket, not to crush souls. I did find that mojo and that ticket, and am pretty pumped about it.

(Oddly enough, it's 7 weeks removed from Waldo 100k and I'm not really running. I'm the least running fit I've been since 2011. I'm still following all of the running stuff, but am not motivated in the slightest to get out and go for a daily run. Work has been stressful; I've gotten sick twice whereas I used to never get sick. I gave up on my 3,000 mile yearly goal. I'm not sure what's going on, but I'm not forcing it. I don't know when I'm going to run consistently again. I've been biking and rock climbing a little bit but nothing steady. I'll come around at some point, but for now I'm taking that extended, non-focused, not even really being a runner phase for as long as I need it. Like actually. That means I'm running 0-20 miles a week, not 40-50. I'm also doing my best to not look at Strava, which is quite freeing. Will I quit running? Doubt it, but stay tuned to find out on this episode of "watching Rudy's life through the lense of running." ) 

Monday, August 7, 2017

What Happened at AC100?

Well, things didn't quite go as planned. Hiking up the first hill at 5am I couldn't get this lady out of my head--a customer who is quite demanding and overbearing. "YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO SWITCH MONDAY AND WEDNESDAY. I NEED BOB AT 730AM ON WEDNESDAY. NOTHING ELSE WILL WORK. I HAVE NEVER BEEN TREATED LIKE THIS EVER BEFORE. I WILL CALL THE HOME OFFICE ON YOU!" Her voice yelling through my phone was basically on repeat in my brain. I couldn't enjoy the pink sunrise. Long story short, I have every right to switch Monday and Wednesday, and there's nothing wrong with her plants. I get that she's an 80 year old woman who has an abundance of money and lives in Stinson Beach and probably has gotten everything she's ever wanted in life, but sorry, I switched my whole calendar (and subsequently my colleague's calendar) to accommodate you for Monday, and now you're trying to switch back? No. And you're going to complain about the price? Double no.

So that's just a microcosm of how I've been feeling. While the company I work for has many pros and I am thankful to have a job that's providing me skills to take elsewhere, the cons have increasingly spilled over into off-work hours. It's affected my training and relationships, and everything came to a head at AC. As soon as mile 5 the thought of dropping popped into my head. I didn't take the thought seriously until I got dual side stitches when trying to run downhill on the highway around mile 28. From there, the run turned pretty bleak and very un-fun. Even so, I was running pretty well. But I honestly got bored run-walking the 7 mile highway stretch. The thought of continuing sounded appalling. There was no alacrity. No pep in my step, just plodding along because that's what I was supposed to be doing.

I felt, and still feel, disheartened about the whole thing. I quit because I wasn't having fun. I feel like I let down my awesome crew of Rebecca and Franz who were both looking forward to pacing me later in the race. I told everyone that I was going to run 100 miles again, and now I have to explain why I stopped at mile 38. Not fun.

After my last blog post many people reached out to me via text, email, phone, and comments. Everyone was extremely supportive, saying that they understood my plight really well, and that the day was mine and I didn't have to worry about anything other than getting to the finish line. I really appreciated every single message. I was taken aback at the amount of love and support coming from my friends. Even when I thought I was distant from all of these people they all showed that they care, that this community is special, and that is a good enough reason alone to keep running. I'm not alone not wanting to run. And even though it's a sad thought, I'm not alone. Yeah, we all have our first-world struggles that seem big to us. They are big to us. But we're not alone. I made the decision to quit something that I started and I'm sticking to it. I wasn't meant to run AC100 this year, maybe never. And that's ok.

By the grace of Salomon, I'm going to run Waldo 100k in Oregon in a couple of weeks to maintain my states tickets. I'm more excited about this race than AC. I love Oregon and I've always wanted to put in for Waldo but never have due to its proximity to Pine to Palm. I don't want to run 100 miles right now, and I'm so grateful to Salomon for slipping me into Waldo. I started AC in the Sense Rides, and you should go buy some too. Plush, flexible, and protective. They'll make you want to run.

Not all of AC was terrible. I enjoyed the hike up to Mt. Baden Powell and the exposed semi-ridge running after the summit. The volunteers were fantastic (they defied my perceptions of SoCal people). I do like the AC route, minus the whole running on the highway part. I don't know if I'll go back, but it's a good race. I ran most of the 38 miles alone but did meet a couple friendly folks. I admitted to one runner that I was having some mental issues with motivation, and he told me "what's the point if it's not fun?" Multiple people have told me that before, and I try to force it too often. Did I quit to save my mental health or to further destroy it? I think the former, I hope the former. But we'll see. I hope to write more in the future. Thanks for reading. Redemption at Waldo in 12 days. I can swallow 62 miles.

Happy for this moment.      Photo: Terry Majamaki

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Pre-AC100 Update

I haven't written a blog post since early January this year, woah. That says something about my running I guess. Not super stoked. I started a few blog posts but stopped after I became frustrated every time I unsuccessfully tried to edit the layout.

How did the first 8 months of the year look? I'm calling it 3/4ths of a training year. I've run regularly but not entirely focused. That last fourth is a major difference when trying to compete, if only for the confidence. At this point in my running career I know I can do most things. It's more a question of if I want to do those things. I've skipped plenty of routine weekday runs (and even a couple weekend runs) due to San Francisco weather, work stress, wanting to spend more time with Rebecca, and just flat depression. Stress is a cascade effect and I haven't figured it out. Nobody has, or else we'd all be happy and crushing it at our jobs. For the most part I'm doing well at work but not happy. That's backwards.

I intentionally signed up for more races this year to make me run more. Turns out that plan didn't motivate me to train, just ended up with me very pissed off at 4:50am a few Saturdays before races. I ran hard at Marin Ultra Challenge 50k, Leona Divide 50, Double Dipsea, and Tahoe Rim Trail 55k. They were all solid results. Leona Divide was the goal race for the spring and I felt like I raced all 50 miles, which was good. Pacing Leif at Western States for the last 38 miles was also a major highlight.

Watching Leif run States, and Jordy/Brett/Trevor/JB at TRT100 reminded me that you have to run 100s easy. No training is ever really 100 mile pace. Everyone is the Bay Area just sprints all the time. Pacing a 100k is still dramatically different than pacing a 100 miler. And I'm nervous as hell for Angels Crest in two days for that reason. My confidence isn't high. It's going to be hot. I'm going to be tired. I'm already tired. Honestly it feels a little like before SD100 in 2015 where I dropped out and had strep throat. Except this time I'm not sick. I'm just tired. Mainly tired of work and the fog and being depressed. Summer flew by, and I haven't camped at all or adventured, the two things I need to make me happy. The weekends have all become races or trying to regain some semblance of rejuvenation before the never-ending work chaos begins again.

So my main goal at AC is to just be happy. I have 24 hours (more or less) to get the thing done, and that's what it is this year. Get it done. If it wasn't for a dumb race called Western States where you have to earn your tickets or loose them for entry, I would have pulled out of AC a month ago. I can finish the thing, I just have to want to do it. I'm hoping I can settle in after the first 10 miles, then just go on autopilot. I get to have a day-date with Rebs for 30 miles, then spend the darkness with Franz as they pace me to revelatory victory. Definitely looking forward to all of those miles. I realize this post isn't necessarily motivating, but it's 60 degrees and foggy outside when it should be 80 and sunny and that doesn't make me very happy. I need to move away from SF, ha!

A little honesty never hurt. Heart on sleeve or whatever. Now that's off my chest I'm going to pack, put my chin up, and go sweat on some dirt in the mountains. Go time.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

2016 Review

The annual review. They aren't getting any easier. Matter of fact I hadn't updated my training log in three weeks. HOW MANY MILES DO MY SHOES HAVE? I will never know for certain. 50 miles are lost to the universe.

2016 was a better year of running than 2015, which was cool because 2015 was lackluster. 2014 was still the best year. Will I forever live my life trying to run like I did in 2014? Oh my, I peaked in college when I didn't have anything to do besides run and party with my best friends. No wonder it was my favorite year. I'm also very nostalgic and tend to remember things in an exaggerated light. But 2014 was still the best.

I didn't run many races in 2016. I ran three ultras and a couple other races. I didn't run a 50k. Black Canyons was cool but that was February and winter still feels like the previous year so that doesn't really count. Siskiyou Outback was a killer weekend, one of the highlights of the year. Pine to Palm ruled, per usual. The Double Walmsey (R2R2R) was also a super fun adventure weekend. I did a good handful of 30+mile training runs for P2P, and they paid off. But I'd like to race a bit more in 2017. I'd like to run hard for some of the year, not just run forever.

Cool. We have that out of the way. I feel rushed. I always feel rushed these days.

Miles Vert Total Time
Jan 303.5 37,235 46:11:00
Feb 211.8 24,202 35:53:00
March 260.7 31,561 38:58:00
April 186.9 22,381 27:46:00
May 270.1 45,517 43:21:00
June 325.2 48,310 57:33:00
July 368 62,095 64:31:00
Aug 345.9 61,611 64:08:00
Sep 215.1 34,912 47:08:00
Oct 247.9 47.118 49:07:00
Nov 190.1 33,025 33:37:00
Dec 108.4 16,539 19:53
Total 3033.6 417,435 528:06:00

Opposed to 2796.06 miles,  435,296 ft of gain, and 474:33:00 time in 2015                                     And 3,673 miles, 575,833 ft of vert, and 630:37:32 total activity time in 2014.

So yay! I exercised more than 2015. I didn't finish my yearly goal of reading 12 books/year, but maybe I will this year. I said I'd run 3000 miles and I did. Then I more or less stopped. My calculation had 3,047 miles, so the computer lost a half marathon in there. Achieving 3k miles and PRing at the 100 mile distance at P2P were numerical highlights of the year. 

I haven't made firm running goals for 2017, because I'm more preoccupied with other stuff if you can't tell. AC100 will be a thing this year, and maybe Pine to Palm as a fun little double. 

Many cheers, 

The one and only Lowdermilk Productions. 

Monday, October 3, 2016


I wake before my alarm like my body knew there was trouble in the night. People connected to me had bad nights, and my empathetic conscious turns in the night. It's October, so it's fully dark at six am. Oh how I could sleep forever. I'm up before my alarm by three minutes, and that means I get to make egg burritos for breakfast and lunch.

I drive in silence. Across the bridge I turn on my phone. A voicemail this early, never a good sign. I purposefully procrastinate turning my work phone on this early for just this reason. If my day's going to ruined by someone not showing up to work, I at least want the peace of my 20 minute commute. But it's never peaceful. My anxious conscious turns before I unlock the gate to the yard. My foreman's called in sick, lingering dental problems causing no sleep. My empathetic conscious turned all night with him. I wonder how or if I'll be able to deliver today's job. It's ok, I had a great weekend. I'm resilient and unfazed at the Monday morning bump. I even laugh a little.

Before I get through Mill Valley I receive a text. A text before our 7am safety meetings is never a good sign. Someones going to be late or boss is adding to my to-do list. Working this early is high on my list of least favorite things. I should be running at this hour, not working. The text is a forwarded message from my climber. His son has an emergency heart transplant. He will not be in today. He had to fly down to LA in the middle of the night. My empathetic conscious flew with him last night, keeping me awake. I feel for him despite the business to which I need to tend.

It's my turn to lead the safety meeting. I forgot. I stumble through it, summarizing the history of ANSI safety standards. The morning passes. I can't focus on one task because there are fifteen to do. I don't really get anything done. I like the taste of my tea, but the flavor reminds me of when I was depressed last December.

I sell some work and meet a nice woman. Her tree's declining, is over-mature. I can't help but draw parallels to the people of this town and this city on the rainy morning. We're going to cut this tree like we're excising tumors. Cable the tree like we're stitching broken joints or broken hearts. I'm pessimistic in this automatic association, but I'm singing in my car which means I'm pretty happy.

I get back to the office. I forgot I had an online meeting with a company big wig. It's an hour of more red-tape. It's always more red-tape. Never-mind, I suck it up. The meeting ends and I go back to singing Modern Baseball so I'm pretty happy.

I get called into my managers office. High-strung woman complaint. Can I continue to work with her? I'm fazed by the question, like I'm unable to deal with her and I need to turn her over to one of the more seasoned vets in the office. I can deal with her. I can deal with anything...if I want to. I wonder if I should tell manager that I don't want to deal with this woman but I elect not to. Her headaches still make my salary. That's all work is. The more headaches you deal with the more money you make.

The phone rings for the twentieth time, interrupting my tenth task although the list has grown to twenty five now that it's 3pm. I get chewed out by an old militaristic customer because our prices are too high. It's not me, he likes me, it's the company. We're pricing ourselves out of business and there's nothing I can do about it but I have to listen to him lambast my company and my selling techniques for fifteen minutes. On top of it I have to give him a discount because he refuses to pay for my crew's travel time.

I'm starting to feel beat down. I tried to leave the office at 4 but it's now 5:30. I get back in the car. The Modern Baseball I've been singing has turned from happy to cathartic. My climber calls. He's almost crying. No health insurance, he has no idea how he's going to pay for his son's heart transplant. His country from which he emigrated was covering 70% of the expense, but two years has passed and they will no longer pay. He's having the worst day of his life. How am I supposed to stay positive? I tell him everything is going to be ok and he doesn't have to worry about losing his job right now. Just focus on your son.

I call my mom. I feel like I'm 16 and just got dumped by my prom date.
I flop down on my couch thats firm-comfy but I kind of hate it because I bought furniture and that means I'm permanent and can't run away. I am fully aware that if I continue to sit my mental will erode until I go to sleep frustrated and sad.
It's misty-raining outside which I normally hate. It's fitting for my mood so I put on my running shoes. I feel like I'm moving through quick sand. Oh yeah, I ran a 100 less than a month ago. I don't worry. I listen to music and run for an hour.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Pine to Palm 2016

I write, eating frozen salted chocolate in bed, desperately not wanting to return to the real world tomorrow, and I bask in the afterglow of the sober elevation of mile 98 flow. I hope it never stops. But I know how it goes. I know that self-surprising feats of performance are rare, and that if they were frequent they wouldn't ever be meaningful, nonetheless special. I know that every day can be purposeful, however truly phenomenal moments only occur in truly phenomenal settings and scenarios. My friends, the 2016 Pine to Palm 100 Mile Endurance Run was a phenomenal setting and scenario.


That paragraph was great. I couldn't keep writing after that and haven't written in a week because that paragraph was nice and poetic, and I can't romanticize Pine to Palm at this moment. I did that in my 2014 report and last year in a really emotional finish. Pine to Palm is hard. It's diverse, singletrack, roads, vert, heat, a small tad of altitude for us seadwellers. It's small, mostly old school, slightly unorganized, just fabulous. This year was my third year finishing the 100 mile odyssey in Ashland, Oregon. When doing races multiple years in a row, it's tough not to compare your experience to the previous years. "I was in such good shape in 2014!" "I was overconfident in 2015--but can I even run close to that 2014 time?"

2016's P2P was different. I knew the course. I committed. I wasn't distracted by girls, or anything. I committed. I put in some legit (but not excessive!) training. I logged the vert, the time, and the miles. Pacing four different buddies at hundos this summer really helped too. Elan at SD100 just crushed it, was happy the whole day. Jim at SD100 was pulling through a tough day, but was fully committed on finishing and did everything he could to grit it out. Seb at Bighorn100 slogged through the night, contemplating dropping, but rallied and made it to a strong finish. Aylwin at AC100 was consistent as a hundered miler could ever be, running steady for 28 hours. They were all endlessly inspiring in my P2P preparation. And personally, I just "dated running again" which was fine by me. You get out what you put in.

The other reason P2P was different this year was because of Franz. Franz and I logged a good number of long training runs together this summer, and spent two whole weekends together traveling and shredding. His commitment, his first hundo, inspired me to do my best. Franz and I are very similar in speed, and I was just hoping to keep up with him during the race.

This is Franz. (All photos Wyatt Lowdermilk Productions)

Put the icing on the cake, Wyatt and Jordy were flying out to crew. It was bound to be a spectacular day. The setting was phenomenal. We just needed to execute.


It was a true team effort. I literally ran with Franz from miles 0-10, and 25-98. I was chatty on the climb up Grayback, which is always a good sign because I'm notttt that chatty. I was comfortable. I was on one of my favorite climbs, a favorite trail, my favorite people, my favorite state, my favorite race. The hike was strong, and it would stay strong all day. Social miles turned into somewhat lonely miles on the long road that eventually went to the first aid station at mile 28. Franz caught up on the road after I put a little space on the downhill just because I wanted to run my own strides down the mountain. We rolled into the aid a couple minutes shy of 5 hours, just perfect. We looked good. We felt good.

The folks at the aid station recognized us from the last two years, and commented on the efficiency of the crew. Shirt off, new iced crop top on, ice bandana on, sleeves on, pedialyte, PBJ in hand, food in pack, pack on, ice in sleeves, hat, sunnies, go go go! Wait, HIGH FIVES! Bye!

Franz and I had run the next section together during a training trip, and I knew it was important to hike the whole climb even though it is runnable. A runner Brian caught up to us, we snapped a couple photos on his phone, and continued down to the lakes. I think P2P was my 30th ultra in a race-setting, and this was my first time ever stopping mid-race to take a photo. We were having fun, not rushing it, just living life on a beautiful day.

The lake loop, the lake dip, the flawless crew transition, then more hiking. Franz and I started to feel the heat coming into mile 50, but we hung tough and made it to the crew spot, still looking good and feeling in control. Up to the peak, grab the flag, down the peak back to the crew spot. I sat, refueled, and got outta there.

Looking REAL good

The next section is a lot of road. I wasn't bored, but I just needed to zone for awhile so I started some tunes action, apologizing to Franz for being antisocial. Tralala, we were going to make Dutchman Peak at sunset! In 2014 I had my highest high ever at Dutchman at sunset. In 2015 I arrived about an hour and a half after sunset. One of my goals for the race was to make Dutchman at sunset, just because it's so freaking beautiful. We hiked up, squad strong, Franz, Brian and myself three-wide on the fire road. We were one short of a boy band, but Spencer was hiking in tow not far back, so yes, threes company but fours a squad. Squad deep up to Dutchman. Wyatt snapping all the photos. Cheers from the loyal crew members and ultra families. Soup, smiles, we didn't rush it. We probably could have ran a bit, but my goodness we basked in that sunset. That breathtaking sunset. I was happy.


Pure stoke.

Headlamps on. SFRC squad deep. Still with Franz, we both picked up pacers so it was just a jovial 35 mile group run in the dark to Ashland. I started to get sleepy, which I knew would happen, but I plodded along. I switched shoes into Sense Pros (dumbest move I've ever made in a race--hey let's switch into a more narrow shoe!) which made my feet scream instantly.

Jordan Chang literally gave me the shoes off his feet on the side of the PCT in the middle of the night. 

Franz started running some uphills, Brian caught back up to us, and I had to listen to music to stay awake. I was still hiking strong, so I didn't worry.  Jordy and I didn't talk too much, but man it was nice being with him. I could follow Jordy all day, anywhere. I caught back up once I recognized that we were on the SOB course, and we rolled into the mile 80 aid station only like a boy-band could, all flair. We didn't stay long. Switched up the pacers and gave heartfelt hugs to Jordy and Mario. See you at the finish!

New section of the course for this year. Meandering. Started to get over it, the race itself. Mile 80 you're sorta ready to be done. But I was walking in the woods, a little chilly, behind my best friend and all was right in the universe. We finally made the out and back after what seemed like forever of really slow, half-caring miles. We moved down the back of the mountain, this time without huge blowdowns (thank you Forest Service!). I tried not to think of previous years. I mainly stayed in control--just try to keep it stable. I wore off my sleep cycle, felt the caffeine, the temperature was no longer frigid, and followed Wyatt into the abyss. Franz' headlamp batteries died, and Wyatt and I would wait in the aid station for him.

We strolled into the last aid station, mile 90, and saw the next place runner eating there. I hadn't seen this guy all day. I had no idea what place we were in. He left before Franz came into the aid, Wyatt and I waited. Franz had waited plenty for me during the last 19 hours, and I wasn't going to leave my man behind here. Later I said that Franz got me to the aid stations and I got Franz out of them. Team. We took a couple minutes in this aid, not rushing, in control like we had been all day. Right before leaving the aid station I saw the aid station captain write down our places on a sheet of paper. Sixth and seventh?! That guys in fifth! Oh shit.

Wyatt asked, "do you guys want to catch fifth?"
Franz and I simultaneously, instantly, and emphatically responded "no!"

Franz ran ahead. He started to walk. I ran past, stating that if I stopped to walk I wouldn't start running again. Franz started running. John B started running. Wyatt started running. Hey, we were running under 9 minute pace.

We saw the headlamps ahead. Nobody said anything. We started to dip closer to 8 minute pace. Nobody said anything. Four wide, headlamps beaming, Wyatt hollered. We were going to catch this kid.

We started breathing. The headlamps ahead turned back and started running faster, away from us. We dipped below 8 minute pace. I started falling back, trying not to say anything, trying to hang on. I caught up, breathing. Franz started to fall back, trying not to say anything, trying to hang on. He caught up, breathing. We were literally running a tempo workout, nearing or below 7 minute pace, 95 miles into a 100 mile race. What were we doing? How were we doing this? Our eyes were wide. Our pacers were flawless with pushing us but not killing us. We were a team.

We caught the runner, exchanged a couple of words, and kept running. We were hammering. It was 3am above Ashland. The most perfect sentence I've ever written. I realized PR potential was in the books. Franz had fallen back slightly, I couldn't stop. Would he catch up? Wyatt, what do I do? We ran this whole thing together, we have to cross together. We're still racing. That kid is still fighting, look, they're still close to each other on the switchback. Wyatt, do we stop right before the finish line and wait? Do you want to stop on the road? No, it's too steep. We're going to PR. Wyatt, this moral dillema is killing me. Do we wait? I can't stop. I can't stop. We turn the corner. We're going to PR. We're about to finish this near perfect day. This day that was shared by amazing people, best friends, beautiful trails, endless memories. Our happy place, our secure community, where we can be us, and don't have to deal with all of the bullshit. We're crossing the finish line, Jordy's there. Eyes wide. Eyes so wide. Eyes wide.

Franz finishes two minutes later. Holy goodness Franz finished his first hundo in style! We did it we did it we did it. Thank you thank you thank you. We did it we did it. Together.

I'm living high. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Siskiyou Outback 50m

Yeah, it woulda been nice to have run a faster time. It woulda been nice to have been vying for some top 5 action, to be outwardly valued as "fast." But I didn't give a fuck at mile 38. I had been thinking of competition and how the times have changed since my first ultra, 20-something of them ago. But at mile 38 I was running hard downhill, flowing the fir-clad singletrack. I was happy, both legs churning powerfully, thinking how I haven't felt that way in at least six months.

Siskiyou Outback 50 mile was simply splendid. Good camping near the start. Stars, stars, stars! Huge views of big mountains, layer after layer. No clouds in the sky. Perfect temperature in my SFRC crop top. I was sharing the course with some of my best friends, and the rest of the field was friendly in return. I couldn't run that well uphill as I was gasping for oxygen at 7000 pathetic feet, but I could crush downhills. My legs felt good, and I was proud of my training for Pine to Palm thus far. I didn't feel fast, but I felt strong and sturdy, which is more important for 100s. I successfully troubleshooted some minor issues, didn't listen to a lick of music, and stayed present for the entire run.

Happy pre-6am

Besides trying to unemotionally think about how so many people are running fast ultras these days, I really only had four thoughts all race.

1) Where is Dmack?!
2) Let my body go to work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work
3) Donald trump
4) Ashland.

1a) Dmack CRUSHED SOB. He ran through the first aid station while I spent all of 15 seconds topping off my water bottle. He was gone, gone, gone. I spent the next seven hours trying to catch up to him, running purposefully. At the turnaround, which had an awesome short off-trail portion to a peak, he was about 10 mins ahead of me. I smashed the downhill after the peak and never even caught sight of him. Around mile 45 I realized I wasn't going to catch him, and was truly happy that he had such a killer race. I don't think Dmack has ever beaten me, and I was happy knowing he was happy. I would have loved to run with him as I ran about seven hours alone, but he finally had a good training block and didn't bonk. At mile three I told him, "don't you bonk today!" He quipped back, "don't you bonk tonight (at the bar)!" Deals a deal--he didn't, and I didn't.

2a) Song of the trip.

3a) I didn't think much about that guy, but just the name popped into my head.

4a) Ashland, my favorite summer spot, has only good vibes and memories associated. Lots were linked to previous years and previous relationships. Even though that was an age ago I had to reminisce. I wear my heart on my sleeve, thanks to the Taking Back Sunday albums that raised me. (Can I grow out my hair and paint my nails black again, Bartlett?) I run emotionally. Not sorry.

The boys rallied hard after showering and shotgunning beers in the bathroom. We slept horribly, went to my favorite bakery, and proceeded to make the six hour drive home in relative silence. We're back at work, the world still spins, but our heads are still freezing on the ground, wrapped up in sleeping bags, excited for what's to come.