Portola Valley Ranch

There are so many sweet places to run around here it’s tough to make up my mind where to go! I ultimately settled on Portola Valley Ranch, a spot I enjoyed on my one other run there a few weeks ago. The Ranch was lots of fun again, providing 66 minutes of sweet trail running (around 9.5 miles as a rough estimate). The weather was sunny, the birds were chirping, and there were wildflowers everywhere! I actually designed a run through the area that only repeated 1/4 mile section of trail the entire run. All the trails were quality, including the switchbacking Arroyo Trail, the super fun and narrow singletrack on the Toyon Trail, gradual ascents of the Coalmine and Old Spanish Trails, and a great new find in Sweet Springs Trail to complete the Los Trancos Trail/Sunrise Trail loop. Now I need to decide where to run tomorrow!

Easy Run

The easy run came to fruition today as I ran the trails and soft surfaces around campus for 52 minutes (8 miles). I was expecting my legs to feel stagnant after the 50k effort on Saturday, but they felt alright. Hopefully I will have time to hit some trails tomorrow!

Arrillaga Gym

Today I hit up Arrillaga gym for my first complete gym workout in a long time. I have always enjoyed going to the gym to get “the pump” through some high rep weightlifting. I used to go 4-5 days a week first and second years of law school when weekly running mileage was 20-25 miles per week, but it’s tough to hit the gym when the runs are longer and I have to drive to them. Today I mainly worked the chest, shoulders, and abs. My legs feel pretty good on the whole but I’d like some areas of lingering soreness to completely clear before I resume training. I hope to do an easy run tomorrow and then resume longer trail running later this week. One spot I want to check out for a nice hill run is the Black Mountain trail via Rhus Ridge off Moody Road in Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve. I have heard great things about this trail and the 2,500 feet of consistent elevation gain will be a good hill workout. I have also not been to El Corte de Madera Creek Open Space Preserve in some time and with the dry weather of late trail conditions should be good.

PCTR Skyline Ridge 50k

I was fortunate to run in another great Pacific Coast Trail Runs (PCTR) event this weekend at Skyline Ridge! This time I participated in the 50k run. I ended up finishing first place in 3:58:11, my first sub four hour effort over 50k on a relatively tough course with continuous hills throughout (some steep) amounting to 5,190 feet of elevation gain. The weather started out partly cloudy with temps in mid 40′s and finished bluebird with temps warming into the mid-upper 50s. Blustery 20-25 mph Northwest winds provided some additional challenges atop Russian Ridge. There were several points along this spectacular course where I felt very lucky to be a resident of the Bay Area!

Due to my relative inexperience, I didn’t have any specific goals for the run other than giving a good, consistent effort. I also wanted to take all the steps (hydration, salt intake, solids) to avoid cramping, which haunted me from my one other experience running a 50k – the Cle Elum Ridge 50k in WA state last September. At the Cle Elum event, I started out too fast and was not diligent in hydration resulting in severe cramping in my calf beginning 15 miles into the race. This caused me to jog/hobble for the rest of the race, substantially curtailing my potential. I have never had cramping like that so it was something new for me – a learning experience I did want to repeat!

The Skyline Ridge course is divided into two sections: the first 23k is an out-and-back south from Skyline Ridge to Long Ridge and features 2,170 feet of elevation gain and spots where the runner can get into a rhythm in the forest. The final 37.5k involves two identical loops north of Skyline Ridge to Russian Ridge. Each of these loops entails 1,510 feet and numerous hills to negotiate on an exposed ridge.

The first 23k was really nice and I felt super comfortable running 7 minute pace because this is my usual “long run” training distance and pace. I came through the 23k aid station at 1:42 and after fortifying myself for a few minutes, I set out for the first of two 13.7k loops at 1:45:40. The first loop continued to feel good despite blustery 20-25 mph Northwest winds on Russian Ridge. I finished the first loop in 63 minutes, arriving at the aid station just after 1:49.

At this point I thought about the course record (3:55:05 by Chikara Omine in 2005) and my chances of improving it. I was briefly encouraged by the fact that I beat his 37k split time of 2:52:47, but as I left the aid station at 2:50:28, I quickly realized running up the first hill that a 64 minute final loop would be a very tall order for me. I simply didn’t have the kind of finishing strength necessary to hammer out another 63 minute loop and I encountered difficultly with the hills over the final 8.5 miles. Also, due to a change in the finish location, the race directors told me an additional .3-.4k was added to the course (2-3 minutes by my estimate, so it may have still been close). I ended up doing the second loop in a little over 67 minutes, a noticeable slowdown from my earlier pace. Nonetheless, I am very pleased with the result and the fact that I did not cramp this time.

I was successful in staying on top of hydration and nutrition. I took in four gel shots over the course of the run, half of a Powerbar, and this new product – the Clif Shot Block Cramp Buster (7 blocks). I think the Clif Shot Block was pivotal because I was able to consume something solid (calories) and absorbable that my stomach did not object to. The Shot Block Cramp Buster was the source for the vast majority of my sodium intake and it was sufficient. I was intending to eat two Powerbars, but a half bar didn’t even sit well. However, I did feel the half Powerbar was ultimately helpful.

It was great to chat with both familiar faces and new friends at the end of the race and munch on the great post-race food. Congratulations to the other runners who participated in this fabulous event. Without looking at the results for other performances, I can already comment that the men’s 50k was definitely the finest field ever assembled for this event, including Jon Olsen (2nd – 4:08), Thomas Clarke (3rd – 4:11), Kevin Weil (4th – 4:15), Sean Lang, Ryan Commons, Scott Dunlap, and Mark Tanaka.

The effort today was a huge personal improvement from the inexperienced cramping debacle at Cle Elum. While I don’t plan on racing 50k for a couple months, I know there is also much potential for me to improve at the distance, especially in the latter stages where both physical and mental strength are imperative. Thanks PCTR for another fun day in the hills!

Elena Road Run

Today I did a 7.5 mile run at Los Altos Hills (Elena Road Loop) that took about 45 minutes. The weather was great and once I got the sluggishness out I felt alright. Tomorrow I head up to the trio of open space preserves at the top of Page Mill Road (Skyline Ridge, Long Ridge, and Russian Ridge) for a beautiful run. Hopefully I am able to beat the gusty winds that are in the forecast for Saturday afternoon!

Huddart

Another spectacular day with temperatures in the upper 60′s and clear blue skies. I was fortunately able to take advantage with a run at Huddart Park, one of my favorite places to run trails. I did my usual loop within the park up to Skyline Boulevard. Total running time was a bit over 63 minutes (~9.5 miles). I felt pretty sluggish going up the hill but the downhill was fun. Tomorrow I plan on giving my legs a break so they won’t feel good just going down the hills :)

Trail Runner Article

Here is a link to Trail Runner Magazine’s online news story about the 2008 La Sportiva Mountain Running Team. I am mentioned at the bottom as one of the additional people named to the team – there is nothing really to write about me yet, hahaha. I feel honored to be a part of such a talented group of mountain and ultra runners – they are all very inspirational!

Today I did a little weights at Arrillaga Gym for back muscles and also ran the trails around campus for 52 minutes (8 miles). It was a spectacular day to be outside with temperatures reaching into the mid-60s and clear blue skies.

Baylands Preserve

I was looking for a soft surface run that would not be a mud pile after the recent rains and the Baylands came to mind. In addition, I wanted a flatter run so the Baylands seem to fit the bill. Indeed, there was little mud at the Baylands and essentially zero elevation gain. The run was exactly 60 minutes with about 9.5 miles covered. Fortunately, the heavy mist that was occurring at Stanford all afternoon was not a factor next to the bay and there was even a few peaks of blue sky.

A new boy!!

There is a new member in my family – my sister Talli gave birth to a boy this evening! Big congratulations to her and her husband David! The name of the boy is Bram, which originates from the Hebrew name Abraham and is used in the Netherlands (part of the boy’s heritage is Dutch). The birth was apparently not easy as this was my sister’s first baby, but it’s now over and she is recovering in the hospital. The baby was on the large side (7 lbs, 12 ounces) and already has some of David’s dark hair! I now have a niece and a nephew.

Yesterday I went on a long run for 23 miles and it felt fairly decent, but it still made my legs quite tired so today I only ran 5 miles and worked out a little at Arrillaga gym.

Huddart and Skyline Trail

Today I ran at Huddart Park and a nice section of the Skyline Trail (Bay Area Ridge Trail) heading towards Wunderlich Park. Total running time was 1:30 with about 13.5 miles covered. I felt stagnant at the beginning (common for me after a rest day), but finally got into a rhythm about 45 minutes into the run. Trail conditions were moist, but the weather was partly sunny and temps were in the upper 40s. It was quite windy in the upper parts of the park, but the thick forest shielded me from the brunt of the winds.