Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I started running ultramarathons about 2 years ago with the goal of doing Western States 100 (considered by most to be the granddaddy of all U.S. ultramarathons). There were others races I wanted to do such as Leadville, but Western States was my main goal - similar to Kona being my Ironman goal.

So I entered the SF One Day and did my first ultra running 53 miles in about eight and a half hours. This qualified me for the lottery to get into Western States. I wasn't drawn. Then I qualified the following year - and wasn't drawn. That made me a "two time loser" which meant that I was automatic if I qualified for the 3rd straight year. I did. Then they changed the rule and did away with the 2 time loser lottery. But, for those, like me, that would have been automatic entry, we were given our own lottery for 2009 that would give each a 1 in 2 shot of being drawn. Those not drawn there (or the general lottery) would be automatic for 2010.

But.....this year Western States was cancelled due to wildfires (first time in its history). So all 2008 runners were given the spots to 2009 - but for a small lottery of about 50 spots. I wasn't drawn.

So....they had a separate lottery for the remaining two time losers for 2010. I wasn't drawn. But was given an automatic entry (once I qualify in 2010) for the 2011 race.

So.......I have finally made it to the big dance. Sure I have to wait a few years, but I am "in". In the meantime, I will enter the general lottery for 2010 and hope I am drawn meaning I will be in both for 2010 and 2011.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


This year, instead of running the F&L 50km/50 mile run put on by our great friends Don and Gillian from ZombieRunner, I volunteered at the race. This gave me a chance to rest my leg today and drink heavily last night.

I was given Mile 14 aid station - considered by all to be the most vital of all aid stations and was always entrusted to the most devoted and trusted support volunteers (although when I ran through this spot where the station was supposed to be last year, ZombieRunner Don hadn't quite got there yet....the line was long at Starbucks I suppose. Consensus was this year's Mile 14 aid station made the race).

Rare for San Francisco, it was a cold, foggy, slightly rainy start, with fog blankets whipping around the top of Twin Peaks.

Mark Tanaka readies himself for the race.

This year's crop of Fear and Lothers line up:

Don and Gillian bark out orders....oh, OK, they politely explained the course and wished everyone good luck :)

Then the fast and furious start was on:

On the top of Twin Peaks, there are coyotes to go along with the road runners:

Runners had to follow these signs throughout the city (for laughes some of us snuck out last night and flipped them in randon directions):

Down below Twin Peaks runners were just visible through the fog:

The highly organized and top-of-the-line Mile 14 aid station:

Front runner Mark Tanaka flies into Mile 14:

There Mark quickly empties the trunk of all food and drinks leaving nothing for the other runners ("You snooze you loose" he stated):

Next, in second place, is Pacific Coast Trail Run co-RD/Owner/Guru Wendell Doman ("What?! Where are all the supplies.....that darned Tanaka!"):

Next comes in KapnKirk who would have been there sooner but got sidetracked at a Trekkie Convention downtown:

This group of fun loving runners show up and re-fuel. This group consists of (in no particular order and probably with wrong names anyway....I wasn't really paying attention as I was eyeing a sushi resturant across the street): Fred, Gavin, Rick, and Steve.

Here comes the first woman - Ellen is actually an employee at ZombieRunner who I think was sent to make sure I wasn't pocketing any of the ZombieRunner supplied supplies. This was her first ultra and she trained well with some tough 5K's in college:

Then flying down the hill Mariza and Penny lead the way for Steve. The three of them stop for a bit and comment how much nicer it is to have an aid station actually in existence at Mile 14 this year compared to last.

Mariza and Penny found my stash of Thunderbird in the trunk and helped themselves:

They chose not to share the fine wine with Steve who was making breakfast crepes on the wall in the background:

One can see the strong effects of a fine vintage of Thunderbird as Steve wonders why the ladies were going so fast:

As all the runners went through my station (except those who took short-cuts or got lost), I headed over to Coit Tower at mile 17. There it was a big party (these shots were taken right before everyone donned togas and the keg was delivered):

Instead of helping these runners at Mile 17, I was taking photos of the beautiful city skyline (hey - I was volunteering....maybe ZombieRunner can actually pay us next year):

I left from Coit Tower, passing by the runners as if I were in a car and they were on foot:

I was always keeping a close eye on our runners to make sur....hey...is that a sushi restaurant?

The toga runners enter the 20 mile aid station (guess they left their togas hanging from the rafters at Coit Tower along with an empty keg, 3 cases of empty whipped cream cans and a trapeeze):

Here comes Chief Toga Runner with Ellen (who quickly ran over to snitch to Don and Gillian that I was keeping all the supplies to myself. Despite the empty energy bar wrapper in my hand, I quickly "explained" that Tanaka took them all and everything worked out well):

End of the race - back on top of Twin Peaks (surprise....fog). First place overall was Mark Tanaka who even beat Gillian and I back to the starting line (we are reviewing all videotapes of taxi cabs and buses in the city):

Mark is awarded his first place bottle of high quality wine made from Kazakhstanian prunes and bottled in the finest Mongolian wineries:

Here is Mark and Gillian with Mark showing of his wine and finisher's mug (I did note that when Gillian went to get the mug, Mark grabbed a couple cases of salt tablets, gels, and energy bars from her trunk....really Gillian, it was Mark...not me)

Here comes second place 50kmer Kap'n Kirk doing warpspeed 7 up 7th avenue towards the finish line:

I would have stayed longer but like I mentioned, I wasn't being paid....plus I had a trunkfull of supplies to empty.