Monday, January 26, 2009

Does this race make my ass look fat?

The Fremont Fat Ass 50K has been a great way to start the season the past two years and I still wanted to be a part of it this year even if I wasn't prepared for the full distance. With my long bike rides, I felt my aerobic condition was fine. The question was more about how much pounding my calf could put up with. My goal was to just run for 2-3 hours, perhaps 15 miles or so. I would still be aiming to keep my heart rate under 145bpm so I would start with the back-of-the-pack runners. It would be nice to go at a more casual pace and socialize after pushing it last year to finish under 5 hours.

I started out running along with Drs. Cynthia and David, two PhDs who work in the patent law industry. Having had to deal with software patents from various fronts in my job, we had some very interesting discussions. About half way to Coyote Hills we came upon Jim Winne. Jim has an arrythmia condition and was having some heart rate issues this day. He said it was common for him and he would be fine so long as he kept his HR below a certain level. He was doing so with frequent walk breaks. He said he was probably going to turn around early and asked us to let Catra know if we saw her.

Since I was taking it easy anyway, I decided to just stick with Jim. If he was going to turn around early then it would be good incentive for me to do the same. Besides, it's always interesting spending time with some of the people who have been around this sport much longer than I have. Despite the slow pace, we were approaching the entrance to Coyote Hills before we knew it. I told Jim that this was pretty much the last chance to cut it short and he said he was going to go ahead and finish the whole thing. I decided I'd better stick with him for safety sake. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! OK, the truth is I am just too pig-headed to stop. If Jim was going to finish and my calf was feeling fine, then how could I turn back early?

As we made our way to the water stop at the Dairy Glen area we caught up with Linda McFadden and Barbara Elia who had started early. I ran with Linda for a bit at Coyote Two Moons last year and Barb, well, you can't really run ultras in the Bay Area for long and not know who Barbara is. I've seen her at so many races that I've joked that maybe she just runs from the end of one to the start of the next. She has been running ultras since I was in high school and has probably run more miles than just about anyone on the planet. I ended up sticking with Barb for the remainder of the race. I've talked with Barara before, but this was the first chance I have had to spend extended time hearing about all of her amazing experiences.

I finished the race in 6:37 (nearly two hours slower than last year) and my average HR was 144. Ron Duncan, whom I'd met two years ago at this race, came in first and was kind enough to go out and buy pizza and beer for everyone behind him. No that is a tradition that I think this race should adopt! My calf felt fine the entire race and the only pain is from being out of conditioning. After running with my wife for a little under 10 miles more on Sunday evening, I still feel fine. For some reason, my thighs are actually the most sore and there is a pain in my left glute that will need some work this week. I guess that is sort of par for the course. Besides, I know I can be a pain in the ass to my wife with my running obsession, it's only fair that I should end up with one at the end of one of her runs.


Drs. Cynthia and David said...

Hi Steve,

Good title!

It was great meeting you and talking during the run on Saturday. I'm so happy your calf is now behaving itself! I had quite a bit of pain, but it was manageable. Gotta figure out how to fix it though- learning to use those tennis balls!

I'd love to run with you again sometime. Let us know if you're interested in doing more training runs with company.


Stuart said...

You know, two hours slower is better than not finishing which is better than not starting, good to read your calf is co-operating

Jo Lynn said...

I thought that was you I saw out there! I was running with a few friends and our doggies. I did smile and say hello as I ran by you. Next time I see you, I will make a point of getting your attention. Until then.....

Baldwyn said...

Nice job, Steve, it's great to have you up and running! Thanks again for the ride.