Monday, June 25, 2012

San Diego 100M - June 9, 2012

Photo Jason Perez
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June 2011 I DNF'd at 52 miles into San Diego 100. I was sick and thought it was unwise to continue when I couldn't hold down nutrition. Kerry and Michele Harmon went on to finish while Joe Clapper and I crewed the rest of the 2011 race. This year I was 'pulling an Art Perraud at Masochist' - unfinished business, I wanted to finish it.
After we came back from the race last year, we talked up RD Scott Mills race so well that a contingent of trail runners decided to head out west and check it out for themselves. The result was a pretty large group Va., DC. and Md. crew.

VHTRC contingent in San Diego. Back row: Joe Clapper, Quatro Hubbard, Suzy spangler, Scott Crab, Doug and Kerry middle row: Michael Campbell, Keith Knipling, Tracy Dahl, Michele Harmon, Smitty front row: Gary Knipling, Devon Kiernann. -photo Devon Kiernan

The race starts and finishes at the Al Bahr Campground in Laguna, CA - 59 miles east of San Diego in the Anza-Borrego Desert State Wilderness. It traverses the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), Noble Canyon, and Cuyamaca Trails. The start is about 5400 ft, climbing to just under 7,000 ft.

Joe Clapper out in front - Glenn Tachiyama
 Kerry saw me off at the very reasonable 7AM start and would meet me to crew at several sections throughout the day and evening. I was able to hold back earlier on this year, having gone out too fast in the first 33 miles last year.
mile 33 aid - Glenn Tachiyama
There is a 7 mile descent taking you to the lowest point on the course at 3,700 ft around mile 33. At that 33M point you have a challenging 5 mile loop back to that aid station in the heat of the day with little relief from the sun. Right after that loop you climb back to 5,600 ft. in 4 miles. That's pretty much what did me in last year as I couldn't even hold water down and without water you're screwed.

Much of the rest of the course is on single track pine forest and  lower growth jeep roads. The air is crisp and cool with a high of low 80's and low of mid 40's in the overnight. Without much himidity, the weather is perfect for running.

Doug about 20 miles in
The RD, Scott Mills used to be the RD for Bull Run Run back here in our region before he moved out west. He really practices what he preaches - for example; he just ran Western States June 23rd 2012 for his umteenth time and came in with a new age group record at 61yrs in 21H:10M. Incredible, and a great guy. (he puts on a 50K on one difficult part of the course in Sept, check it out here).

mile 52/80 AS - Glenn Tachiyama
I got to the 52 mile aid station at 8PM to see Kerry and eat some soup. This is where I called it quits last year at 9PM, so I had not only started slower and more conservative but had managed to take an hour off last year's split at this point. I felt great leaving the aid station and Kerry told me she would go back and sleep in the cabin and meet me back there at mile 80 to see how I was doing. I won't say it was all rosy overnight because I did encounter stomach issues again, but I think I learned more about what I can run through and what I can't.

I got back to mile 80 AS just before 7AM and Kerry said I was doing great. She ran up the canyon with me for 4 miles or so to ask what she could get me and just to see how my motivation was knowing this was important for me.
unknown runner around mile 85 - Meg Yu photo
I saw her again at mile 96 where she ran me in to the finish. She told me I could break 30H if I pushed it. I ran that last section as fast as I could, passing about 10 runners. Unfortunately, I missed 30 hours by 6 minutes, crossing the finish at 30:06. I'm happy with my finish time and hope to keep getting better as I learn more about nutrition and what I can keep in my stomach. Ginger, Pepcid AC, soda, it seems nothing is scientific for everyone. It also depends on the weather and what you eat the 24hrs prior to.

Next up, Hardrock 100 - July 13-15. Kerry and I are both running it.