Old Goat 50M - race report

This past Saturday I ran my first big boy ultra, the Old Goat 50. It takes place in the Santa Ana Mountains of Southern California and boasts nearly 14,000 feet of gain. The most talked about climb is the 8 mile continuous "up" from Holy Jim to Santiago Peak accounting for 4,000 feet.

My main goal was to finish the race...under my own power...and before the 14 hour cutoff. To do this my main focus was to be on nutrition and hydration. If this stayed solid I knew I could sustain the slow steady pace needed to finish, barring any unforeseen circumstance of course.

Friday night I drove down to stay with relatives in Laguna Hills. It saved me an hour of driving in the morning and let me get up at the later 3:30am time. That was a huge help, even though I didn't sleep well and probably only got 2.5 hours of sleep total.

I left in plenty of time for the 6:30am start but had a very difficult time finding the turn off route 74 in the dark mountains. I finally parked the car at 6:37am and still needed to get to the start line, check in my drop bag, and get my bib number. Needless to say I was stressed. I grabbed all of my stuff and ran to the start line (about half a mile) where thankfully they had not begun the race. With the help of volunteers I got my race bib pinned on and drop bag in place as the final race instructions (none of which I heard) were finished being announced. I crouched down to tighten my laces just as the race started. That was close. Thankfully that was the only issue I had with missed turns for the rest of the day.

The next three photos below were taken by Benjamin G. His wisdom was helpful in keeping my pace reasonable so that I had enough left for the climbs ahead.

the tunnel reminds me of a scene from Lord of the Rings

From pretty early on until the aid station at mile 11 I was stuck near the front of a 28 person train. That's a lot of people on single track. It broke up pretty good after that and people got into their own rhythm.

At mile 21 we could access our cars and so I stopped quick to switch out my socks and swig some electrolyte drink. As I began a climb a few miles later I was running alone and decided to plug in the company of my iPod. About a song and a half later I caught up with a local and Old Goat racer, Garmon. He had previously hiked about 30 miles of the course and told me the major snow covered peak I could see in the distance was San Gorgonio. Cool. Good memories of that from my hike with Stitch.

rocky dry trail

I met several other cool people along the way including Jay and Ben. It was also Jay's first 50 miler. Apparently this is an ill advised first 50 due to difficulty, but many of us were out there to attempt it. Deborah who was also completing her first 50 miler knew the course really well and helped keep me company as well as provide "tour guide" service. Also in the Bear Springs area I met Jennifer, who despite throwing up for hours during the run, somehow powered on and finished before the cutoff.

the Santa Ana Mountains

The volunteers and organizers were also amazing. They had kind words and provided great service when it was really needed. I appreciate all of their hard work and support. Thank you.

The photo below is me heading into the aid station at Santiago Peak. The last couple miles to the peak were tough, but the rest of the race was very manageable. I felt better and more consistent than in any 50k that I've run. Mentally I felt very strong the whole way too. No real low points. That was huge. Must have been the Night Owl singlet (thanks to Evan and Zach for their support and encouragement).

photo by Charles Borlase

The rest of the race was a blur. Going from aid station to aid station, not believing there was only 13.2 miles left, 10.5, 5.2, etc. A lot of this was downhill which was painful but manageable on trashed quads. If anyone knows better, correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think anyone passed me the last 22 miles or so of the race. Of course being in the back of the pack there aren't statistically as many people left to pass you! However, I'll take this as a positive sign that I didn't crash and burn later in the race.

Final time 13:18.48. I was 81st of 135 starters. Not a bad day in the mountains.

Post race...

I'll leave out the less glamorous post race stomach issues and inability to keep down anything, even water for several hours. By the next day I felt great and had a big appetite. My quads are still a little sore but I can handle stairs and slow running. I'm on my way to a really good and fast recovery.

I had no feet issues with my Inov8 Roclite 315s and Drymax trail lite socks. The only "injury" I sustained was in the last 1/4 mile while running in the dark when I ran into a tree branch with my shoulder. Apparently I wasn't the only one to smash into this branch! The iPod got only 5 minutes of use and mental clarity was much greater...hmmm.

Again, someone correct me if I am wrong, but I thought the weather was amazing. I never felt overheated or too cold (with the occasional aid of my windshirt). This could be due to finally properly hydrating and thermoregulating for a race. All in all an amazing experience.

great swag at the Old Goat

Thank you most of all to my beautiful and amazing wife Nicole. Without her support through all of the training and preparation this race would never have happened. You are the best!


LA 26.2

Congratulations to all those who ran the LA Marathon today. It was a great new course this year, starting at Dodger Stadium and ending less than two miles from my house at the Santa Monica Pier. I took the opportunity to head down to the finish line and watch people finish. It was not too hot and the sky was overcast. Lots of spectators were on hand and 25,000 runners made their way along the 26.2 miles. Below are a couple of photos I took to remember the day.

Nacho Libre finished in a very respectable time

One of a couple barefoot runners that I saw. Neat.

Finish line...to the pier...to the beach party!

After watching the race for just over an hour I headed over to REI then to the library. I wanted to read the Runners World article in this months issue about Scott Jurek. I thought the article was so so, but that's just my opinion.

Tonight Nicole and I had a delicious dinner and saw Shutter Island. She had read the book, I had not. We both loved it. Very well done. Better than The Book of Eli which we saw earlier in the week. So there you have it.

6 more sleeps until the Old Goat.


The Passing Lane...

The taper isn't going too well. Or maybe it's just right? Who knows. My overall mileage is down but I have been getting in plenty of good trail miles. I'm going by feel in terms of actual tapering. I hope that serves me well.

The Old Goat race is 9 days away. I'll have some stories to tell after that. Hopefully with a happy ending...more soon.

Related to the past post about the Matthew Good concert that Nicole and I saw last weekend...

It rocked.


Canadians, Vegans, and Endurance Athletes Oh My...

Nicole and I are going to see Canadian musician, author, activist Matthew Good perform tonight in Hollywood. I don't think I've ever seen him put on a bad show in the dozen or so times I've seen him. Last time was in a tiny club outside of DC about two years ago.

Earlier in the week we met with another Canadian, Brendan Brazier, for a book signing and Q&A at a Whole Foods in Glendale. He is a professional endurance athlete...and vegan. Yes the two can go hand in hand quite nicely. In his book, Thrive, he shows how. Brendan also contributed to the course content for a certificate in Plant Based Nutrition available through eCornell. We chatted a bit, he answered some specific questions, we talked about farmers markets and then Nicole and I headed out for dinner with huge appetites.
It felt like vegan endurance athlete week in Southern California, because I also had the pleasure of taking in a presentation from legendary (vegan) ultrarunner Scott Jurek. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 65 people came to Mother's Market in Santa Ana to listen to him speak. It took me over two hours in horrible traffic to get there. I met people that came from even further away and one that even took the day off work to make sure they would make it. The trip was totally worth it. After the talk, about ten of us went for what was to be a 30 minute night run with Scott. We went through a park and along the streets where he continued to share knowledge and provide advice. The run turned into over an hour, but everyone survived without incident. I did however make the awful joke during the run that the next aid station was "just up around the next corner". Sorry for that.

Scott and I before the run

Last but not least...on Thursday I got up at an insane (for me) hour to join with the SoCal Coyotes running group on some Santa Monica Mountain trails before work. It was my first time running with this group. There was a good turnout of great people. No surprise there. I'll join up with them again for sure.

And well, that's that...


Malibu Creek - one for the road

Congrats once again to all those who ran, volunteered, and helped to organize the PCTR Malibu Creek run over the weekend.

Night Owl Racing race report


Malibu Creek trail run- volunteer race report

The storm clouds never came together and so the weather turned out beautiful in Malibu today for the PCTR Malibu Creek trail run.

pre-race photo at Malibu Creek State Park

There were three distances being run. The 10k, 25k, and 50k. PCTR puts on great races and if you have ever run them you already know this. Since I am beginning to taper for my run at the end of the month I took this opportunity to volunteer. For the first hour and a half or so I helped out with parking as runners arrived. From there I moved to a tent with another volunteer, Sheri, and we handed out race shirts to finishers and medals/ribbons to age group winners. Sheri is quite an accomplished runner and will be running the Western States 100 mile this year.

the tent where we handed out shirts and awards

I waited around for a bit when my volunteer shift was done to watch the first 50k runners come in. First place and smashing the course record by some 25 minutes was my friend Evan. About 15-20 minutes later one or two other runners came in under the old record looking strong. It was not soft competition.

Evan (1st 50k) and Brandon (4th 50k) after the race

In this picture Evan (representing with the Night Owl Racing singlet) had just asked Brandon what races he had coming up, to which he replied, "I'm running the Old Goat in a few weeks". Someone off to the right of the photo chimed in, "man that's a nasty course, tough race". Evan is pointing at me saying, "hey, Dave is running that one too". Uh oh.

It was great to see familiar faces such as Billy and Stuart and of course make some new friends. These pictures were with my phone, I took a couple other pictures with someones camera and will put up any that turned out in a future post. Until then, congrats to all those who participated today and thanks as always to the volunteers!