Monday, March 23, 2015


Heading down from the Mt. Rose summit, 10,776 ft.
Photo credit: 
Juan de Oliva

In my life, I have learned to enjoy various things.  One measure I have taken to ensure that I am able to allot time to them all is to loosely arrange them in a prioritized list.  I don't consider this life management skill of mine to be terribly unique, but I'm quite happy with the fact that I've managed to prioritize these things in such a way that I'm able to a. enjoy my favorite things (which aren't always in-line with societal norms) and b. navigate myself through life in a way that is generally well-accepted by society.  I don't think much needs to be said as for why I like part 'a',  Part 'b' is important because it seems to be quite helpful with respect to maintaining relationships, generating income, avoiding incarceration, etc.

Somewhere among my nifty list of priorities lies the task of typing out a few of my thoughts and experiences, tossing in some pictures, and clicking "Publish" (to my blog).  Firmly seated in a higher position on that same list is my running, training, and exploring our natural environment.  While I've not been blogging frequently, I have certainly have been able to dedicate some time to those other three things.  This is good because I have two difficult races on my schedule (Lake Sonoma 50 Mile and the Miwok 100k) and delving into such events, without having practiced a bit is a treacherous idea.

Quick recap of my 2015 running:

February 7, Jed Smith 50k:  This race has been going on since 1987 and has been on my radar for a while.  After a 2-3 month break from consistent running after my Cuyamaca 100k race, I logged about 160 miles in January and felt I was in good enough shape to drive to the Jed Smith 50k starting line and register on the day of the race.  I set an 'A' goal of running a sub-5hr race and a 'B' goal of running my fastest 50k (sub ~5:29).  I did not feel fantastic, but I did eek out a fastest 50k in 5:26:02!  'B' goal... check!

February 21, FOURmidable 50k:   This was my second time running FOURmidable (the FOUR is a reference to the four major climbs in the Auburn/Cool area, which are incorporated into the race course).  This is an awesome race, put on by Single Track Running (STR) and absolutely covers the most challenging and scenic trails (some of which aren't very well-known/traveled) in the Auburn and Cool area.  I didn't run a whole lot between Jed Smith and this race and suspected I would be maybe 1/2 hour slower than I was the previous time I ran it.  Bingo!  I finished in 7:04:06, twenty-nine minutes slower than I had previously run it.

Cool and foggy start to the FOURmiddable 50k.
Finishing up a FOURmidable course.  31.5 miles, 6,000+ ft of elevation gain.

March 7, Way Too Cool 50k:  With roughly 1200 entrants, WTC50k is the largest 50k race in the world and is right in my back yard.  It's the unofficial kickoff of the ultramarathon season and a great way to catch up with friends, meet new ones, and to knock out 50k of running on some awesome trails.  This was my 4th WTC and I broke my streak of running each one slower than the previous year.  5:57:02.

One week prior to this event, our Folsom Trail Runners group lost a friend, Steve Avilla, who was to run WTC50k.  We honored his spirit by sporting his bib #89 on our backs and a handful of his friends and family ran the entire course together with Steve's actual bib.  I did not know Steve well, but as a fellow runner, I do feel a connection with him and his untimely passing serves as a reminder to us all that tomorrow is not given.  RIP Steve.
Running down to HWY 49, mile ~11.  Photo Credit: InsideTrail

My 4th consecutive WTC 50k, in the books.

The trails have treated me well so far in 2015.  Here are a few more highlights:

Castle Peak w/ Lucy in February

Castle Peak w/ Lucy in February

Jumping off arches near Rattlesnake Bar, Folsom Lake.

A huge bald eagle's nest, seen at mile ~24 of the FOURmiddable 50k.
Relaxing near the TRT between Spooner Summit and Snow Valley Peak, early March.

Young sharp-tailed snake, caught and released near Mormon's Ravine along the Pioneer Express Trail.

Pioneer Express Trail, just south of Rattlesnake Bar.

Pioneer Express Trail, south of Avery's Pond.

Looking towards Dowdin's Pt., from Mormon's Ravine.
Mt. Rose summit - 03/22/2015:

We spent a lot of the day traversing steep, mildly exposed snowy slopes.

Final push to the summit

Lunch on the Mt. Rose summit (10,776 ft) with Paulo and Juan.  Frozen Macro Bars with 50-60 MPH winds and temps in the 20's.

Mt. Rose summit, 10,776 ft.