Sunday, August 16, 2009

Psychedelic Climacteric 50k

Woah! What a name. Don't try looking it up online. It's a small run put on by Mike Palmer every year. Mike is a well-known figure in the Bay Area community who is also known for his in-the-know e-mail list.

12 of us gathered at the starting line on a small dirt track near (on?) the UC Berkeley campus. There were lots of hugs, smiles and laughter. A few speedsters were there. Mark Gilligan (1st TRT 50 mile), Joe Binder (3:47 at Skyline 50k) and Rob Silva (5th at Ruth Andersen 50mile). But no one was really there to race. We were all out to have a good time!

The PC is a tough course. 7000 feet of elevation will do that for ya. You get a course description, hope that there may be an aid station at mile 8 and perhaps a few ribbons and chalk arrows on the ground. Old school. And I like it that way. (It turned out that the course was pretty well marked actually.)

I settled in with Rob, who was returning from an injury. We got to Volmer Peak without any issues, passed the aid station and headed to one of my favorite spots in the area: Wildcat Peak. It usually has sweeping views of the entire Bay, but it was hazy that day. Bummer. We hung out for a bit anyways.
View towards the Bay on a clear day (with a bad camera).

Somewhere past the ensuing downhill things started to not go so well for Rob. We were slowing down considerably. Time to walk and see if I can get him out of the funk. But things were just getting worse and worse for Rob. After about two hours, Rob declared he was going to walk the whole way back to Lone Pine (another 2.5 miles or so). I decided it was time for me to move on. Rob had a cell phone, the next group of runners was going to happen upon us soon and we weren't too far from the Jewel Lake parking lot (to get picked up if necessary). We said our good-byes, and I took it up a notch.

I ran a couple of sub-8s without much effort. Bought some M&M's at Lake Anza and headed home. I was surprised at how relatively easy it felt going back up to Strawberry Canyon. Still running the uphills. Good stuff! I know the firetrail like the back of my hand and that energized me even further. In the end, I finished in 6:19. I ran the last 12 or 13 miles in 1:45 and felt very strong throughout the day. My summer training has definitely come together well. Now, it's time to take that into the fall.

My thanks to Mike, the aid station guy (sorry, didn't get your name) and whoever else helped in putting this event together. It was psychedelitastic!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lessons Learned Sweeping the Headlands Hundred Course

This past Sunday, I volunteered at the Headlands Hundred. I took on the task of sweeping 17 miles of the 25 mile loop. Armed with a ton of podcasts, sunscreen and a camelback I set out to clean up the course that witnessed local Nathan Yanko take home the win in his very first 100. Nice job, Nathan!

Course Markings are Heavy!
It may have been the fact that this was an overnight race, but, sheesh, course markings are heavy. Course flags, clothespins, glow sticks, those little metal flag thingies, signs and tent stakes (!) add up quickly, especially on a course as well marked as this one was. Between the start at Rodeo Beach and and Tennessee Valley, I picked up at least 15 lbs worth of stuff (including a few gel wrappers). I was glad to leave those course markings at the Tennessee Valley aid station and head back out with an empty bag. (Btw, it was fun to hang out at an aid station for longer than 30 seconds for once. I enjoyed my 45 minutes there).

It Takes Longer Than You Think
With all that extra weight and the time it takes to pick everything up, it really takes some time to clean up a course. I ended up doing 20 miles (added some out-and-backs for good measure) in five hours. That's probably about two hours longer than it would have taken during a normal run.

Sweeping Is A Fantastic Workout
Boy, was I tired. You run 20 miles, but it's more like a 25-28 mile effort. I was BEAT afterwards.

You Become An Ambassador For The Sport
About 20 people must have stopped and asked me what the course markings were for. "A race" was my usual answer. The reactions were all over the board. Some were "just happy that people are finally cleaning up after themselves" while others (most) were completely taken aback by the distance (50/100 m) of the race. You end up talking a lot about your sport. "People run for that long?" Yes, sir, they do.

Saturday, August 8, 2009


As you were leaving great comments on why you deserve a free pair of running shoes, I started thinking about how to pick the winners. The dilemma I was faced with is that I know some entrants, which inherently introduces some bias. Not a fan of bias.

Soooo, what is an MBA student to do? What is it that they teach us to use to solve all of the world's problems with?* EXCEL! All you of you were assigned a number (in order of submission) and I entered you into a little Randomizer I put together (randbetween function for you excel geeks). That left each person with exactly a 21.43% chance of winning. Not bad!

Without further ado, here are the winners:

Ben, Robin and Leslie, please e-mail me at davidrschoenberg gmail dot com. I will put you in touch with the Vibram people, who will send you the shoes. You have until 8/14 to contact me. If I haven't heard from you by then, I will choose another winner as a replacement.


*(that's an exaggeration, of course)