This Bulldog Has Teeth...

It's in the books. Saturday I ran the Bulldog 50k. I now have sore legs and a huge appetite. Here's the brief race report...

I got up at 4 am Saturday morning to get dressed and headed up to the mountains off the coast of Malibu for a 5:30 am check in. Nicole was good enough to get up silly early with me and drive me to the park. Parking spots are rough to come by at this race, so it helped to be dropped off. More importantly, she came back up to take me home. Not having to drive home was especially nice.

Leaving just before 5 am with a gel flask in hand.

It was still dark when I arrived at the park and found the area to pick up my race number. There was also a 25k being run and both groups started at the same time. The 50k was essentially the 25k course, twice. One thing on my mind was the challenge of the second loop since it would be much warmer by the time I got to it a few hours into the day. The combined 8000 feet of elevation gain was also on my mind...

Ready, set, go! And they're off... The race started at 6:30 am and it was nice and cool in the mountains. The first climb of the day up Bulldog Mountain was smooth and fairly easy. In fact perhaps it was a little too easy. I had set out with a goal time of 7 hours for this run. A little slower than my first 50k, but I felt that the heat and elevation challenges would put me right around that mark if things went well.

The first several hours were pleasantly overcast but a little humid. I took this too lightly in terms of fluid intake. I drank plenty so that I was never thirsty and enough to get me through an easier paced 15-20 mile training run, but this was a harder effort pace and 10-15 miles beyond that distance. Towards the end of the first loop, around 14 miles in, my calves started to twitch with the telltale sign of cramping. I have never had this earlier than 18 miles into a run, but whatever. I immediately upped my water and electrolyte intake to help combat the cramps. When I hit the start/finish aid station 10-15 minutes later it was about 2:45 into the run (5 hour 30 minute pace). This was way too fast especially with my legs beginning to betray me.

The second loop was...well it was rough. I essentially gutted out the last 16 miles of the "run". The cramps persisted and spread to my quads. The overcast humid day masked the fact that my body was being robbed of fluids and electrolytes. I couldn't believe how much water I was putting into my body along with electrolyte replacement capsules (endurolytes), and other drinks (HEED and Gatorade) without relief.

My pace dropped significantly from this point and the climbs on the second loop seemed massive and endless, unlike the first loop on fresh legs. I powered through it with no regrets related to my effort, but disappointed by the limiting factor of my legs. Part way through the second loop was also when the sun made its appearance.

The last mile or two is flat gravel and park road. I knew that there were a couple people close behind me and was determined not to be passed by them due to my crawling pace. I picked it up and finally approached what I thought was the finish. A race volunteer told me just follow the cones, you're not done yet. Cones, more cones, where am I going?! Now I'm back at the park entrance, what's going on where is the finish? My finish line surge was not going to last another half mile. Another race volunteer stopped the line of cars coming and going from the park and told me to run across the road and up onto the scorched brown field "follow the cones". Man, when do the cones end?! Finally I could see a hundred yards or so ahead was the finish and strided through at 6:59 and change, just under my 7 hour goal.

Shortly after the finish eating a slice of pizza with my hydration pack and goodie bag in hand. There would be submarine sandwiches, burritos, tacos, loaded nachos, and tons of fluids consumed throughout the evening.

Thank you to all of the organizers, volunteers, and participants of the Bulldog. It is a very well organized event and the aid station volunteers were awesome. I loved that they had Hammer Gels and HEED. Hammer Nutrition is my primary fueling during training.

After the run Nicole picked me up and we headed down the PCH back towards Santa Monica. We stopped along the way so that I could take a quick dip in the ocean as per tradition.

The Inov8 Roclite 315's. I wore them with Drymax lightweight trail socks. My feet held up great.

Overall I am pleased with the run. It was another great learning experience and I feel good for never having let up when it got difficult. I also know that I gave it everything in terms of effort and despite the challenges made my goal time. Now I am looking forward to my next run. It will likely be the Santa Monica Mountains 50k in late November. Nicole is looking at running the 9k or 18k for that one.

Today my legs feel better, but the quads will probably be sore for a couple days. Not bad for running twice as long as I slept the night before.

I'm looking forward to a slow, short, and easy trail run next weekend. Actually what I am looking forward to is 4 hour training runs, but I'll have to ease back into that. Until then...back to the beach.


Tick tock...

I pick up Nicole from the airport in a few hours. Excited doesn't describe it. The house is clean, the dogs got baths, and her car is washed and waxed. Now the waiting... I'm thinking a trip to the grocery store and library is in order.

Here is and interesting article about distance runners and their knees.

It's hard to escape the knowledge that much of the reason I am excited about the 50k next weekend is because completion will mean I am physically and mentally a bit closer to running 50 milers. After all, my running desire is not to go faster, but farther.

See you at the finish line.

Just found out that Scott Williamson and Adam Bradley broke the Pacific Crest Trail speed record by about 21 hours finishing in 65 days, 9 hours, and 58 minutes. That's over 2600 miles from Mexico to Canada chasing David Hortons record. Amazing.



Nicole comes home in less than 48 hours after three months in Thailand.

I have run 615.1 miles of trail in the past 225 days, on pace for 1000 on the year. National Trail Running Day is the same day as the Bulldog 50k...so I'll put in my miles that day.

In a few weeks Benton turns 2 years old,

and Roxy turns 8.

And those are the stats...



Last night I finally busted out the food dehydrator. It's been too long. I dried about 14 bananas and several apples. The same problem occurred that always does when I dry fruit. I can't stop eating it. It's so good. Seriously.

I still have to write up a post on the homemade energy bars that I made last week. That batch has been consumed and I have the supplies for another batch, with a little variation. More to come...

Be it simple or complicated, what's your favorite food to snack on?


The course...the plan...there is none

Here is a link to a pretty sweet photo gallery of the upcoming Bulldog 50k run I'll be doing. There is more fire road than I would like...but really great views, so there is some balance!

Nicole gets back in 8 days.

It's Friday. I need a weekend plan. Nice taper run tomorrow 12-14 miles. Probably 3rd street tomorrow night for some good people watching.

In an upcoming post I'll tell you about my first attempt at homemade energy bars. I won't keep you in suspense. They were delicious.

p.s. best wishes to all those running the Headlands Hundred tomorrow. Live updates and results here.


100 plus...posts

I just realized that Nicole and I have over 100 blog posts here. Thanks for checking it out.

Yesterday was the official peak of my 50k training, and now...the taper. For those not in the know, tapering is basically easing back on training before a goal event or race. It gives your body time to heal and strengthen and is based on the premise/fact that a few weeks before an event like this your training is in the bank. If you didn't put the work in by now, all you can get from pushing it is a nice injury to take with you to the starting line.

Anywho yesterday was a wonderful 20+ miler with about 5000ft in elevation gain. The first hour or so was cool and overcast, a nice treat. It heated up considerably through the rest of the morning, but I felt strong. I crossed paths with my new friend Devy, owner of Andes Adventures. His company was rated in National Geographic Adventure magazine.

Just about 12 more days until Nicole returns from Thailand. In the meantime she has great family visiting and hanging out with her. 12 days...