Thursday, July 2, 2009

Angel Island 50k and beyond

It's been a busy few weeks, especially with June a prime training month for me. Having set it as a month to really drive home my training, I've spent a lot more time out on the trails and roads than in front of the computer. It's been good to focus on those things and I've been blessed to have been given that space by my new wife. The Badwater Ultramarathon has always been the #1 focus of this training, and this year it's no different. 2 years ago, I ran the Angel Island 50k as a way to tune up a week before the Badwater. This year, it was 3 weeks before, which gave me the perfect opportunity to race harder (but not all out) and get the kind of quality 50k workout that I needed at this time.

So, on June 20th, I went out to the Island. I didn't have a Garmin on during the race, but the rough split came out to 2:03 1/2 in the first half (all 3 loops) and 2:22 in the second half (all 3 loops again) for a 4:25:XX finish which was good for 5th place overall. While the overall place doesn't matter, what does matter is that I ran a 4:53:XX two years ago. With a comparable effort for this tune-up "training" race at 85%, I was able to shave 28 minutes off of my time. Although it's one of the tamer Pacific Coast Trail Runs' courses with a little over 4000' ft. of gain, it was still a nice race. Most importantly, I felt spry and strong and didn't suffer from the "fade". While I would've liked to have held on for 4th, it is what it is. I appreciated the nice, warm day and had a good run to boot.

Overall, in spite of not going all out, I think the time reflected a couple of good omens going into Badwater. #1) Weight-loss does make a difference, particularly when it comes to climbing. Right now, I'm hovering a touch above 170 which is excellent. I was 181 (with shoes) at the start of last year's Badwater and probably a comparable weight for the race in 2007. I will probably end up around 169-170 before race day, which makes a huge difference as far as the pounding my body will take over 135 miles. #2) My general fitness is better. I wouldn't have necessarily said this a month before this race, but the proof is in the pudding. I felt relaxed and kept my focus on my goal coming in of a sub-4:30 race the entire time. People would pass or be passed regardless.

Now on to bigger fish to fry. With Badwater in less than 2 weeks, I've been pleased that I will end up with 400+ miles in the month like I had hoped. Most importantly, I've gotten the 100 miler under my belt, ran a good 50k trainer, and kept my running and diet consistently good. My eyes are still on that sub-30 goal that I had at the beginning of the year, but now that the physical taper is on, I'm working with my crew chief to make sure our pacing plans fit with our goals and my current strengths.

Two other things: 1) I just added a Twitter page, so check that out if you please. 2) I'm working on adding a Spot Messenger to friends and family can track my crew's location (and by proxy, mine) via GPS on Google Maps. When I have that info, I'll give it to everyone before the race. I'll have a friend back home Twitter the updates on how we're doing and what's going on.

I am excited for this race! Also, if you get the chance, please consider giving to support the Wells in Uganda project. Go to and click on the ChipIn icon on the right hand side of the screen. I will hopefully have big news to report on supporting this project in the next week, with some charity runs in the works and some other possible tie-ins. Fundraising's been slow, but we've been blessed generously by a few folks in particular. We'll just keep trucking away through the summer to hit the goal.

If you want to follow the race, go to or you can track me at

God bless and see you all on the other side of this race.


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