Friday, December 21, 2007

URL of my New Blog

As I close this chapter I decided to begin my next one. My latest attempt at my next blog is at:

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Epilogue - 8 Weeks Later

Waking up at 2 a.m. Monday morning the day after the race, I was unable to put any weight on my ankle. A moment of inspiration hit me that it might have been a good idea to ice a sore ankle after a 100 mile race.... duh, you think? After taking off work that Monday, I spent the next 2 weeks on crutches.

Not much definition in my right ankle!

As time moves on, I remember all the good times and the bad times now seem like good times. I continue to be thankful for the challenging moments and find strength in them. Although my ankle has no swelling I have a little soreness in the mornings and I am still not back to running. I hope to start again in January, 2008. As far as my statement to Cindy an hour after the race, which was something like, "I will never do this again". I am not quite so sure, but will see where my feet (or perhaps ankles) take me.

Monday, September 17, 2007

AC 100 Race Report

This weekend I felt truly blessed to be able to run in the 2007 Angeles Crest 100 mile run.
The day started with the alarm going off at 2:30 A.M. Cindy and I departed our home in Palmdale in order to arrive in the mountains for a 4:00 A.M. check in and a race start at 5:00 A.M.
My largest concern for the day was my lingering ankle problems, but I knew I had to put that worry aside and let the day unfold as it would.

0-25 miles

The start of the race heads up the main street of Wrightwood and then an eye opening climb of 2150 feet for the first 3.5 miles. If you weren't awake... you are now. While us middle pack runners were making it to the top of the mountain the sun was just cresting over the horizon. Just when one could not ask for much else.... the Brady Bunch song "It's a Sunshine Day" just happens to be the next song on my IPOD.

I think I'll go for a walk outside now

the summer sun's callin my name

(I hear ya now)

I just can't stay inside all day

I gotta get out get me some of those rays

everybody's smilin
sunshine day

everybody's laughin

sunshine day

everybody seems so happy today

its a sunshine day

For the record I would like to declare that I do not personally own a Brady Bunch CD, rather it was graciously loaned to me by the White family.

These first 25 miles fly by and I can't say anything more that wasn't already said by Greg, Marsha, Peter, Jan, Bobby and Cindy.

26-50 miles

I'm beginning to worry at about mile 26. Everything is going almost too well, and I am way ahead of the pace I set for myself. Even though I have never done a 100 mile run before, I do know that it is a recipe for failure to go out too fast. I wasn't supposed to see Cindy until mile 52, but she saw my pace on the Internet and made the hour long trip to Eagle's Roost (mile 29) to tell me to SLOW DOWN!!!

-----------------------------------------------Photos by Christina Hennesy

I continued to plug along and by the time I was around 50 miles I was thrilled to know my ankle was doing well, my legs felt good, and mentally I was having a blast. Could this possibly continue on the second half??? The question would soon be answered with a resounding NO!!!

Heading out of Three Points (mile 42) aid station ---------------->

Mile 51-75

Mile 59 was a special surprise to see the Mitchells, Myers, Dan, Christina, Cindy and Teresa all there to cheer me on. Just as the sun was beginning to set and at Shortcut Saddle Aid Station I kept my fears to myself about my ankle. I knew it was beginning to hurt and I still had over 40 miles to go. It appeared the "Sunshine Day" song playing in my ears the first half of the run was going away. I was still in high spirits after leaving all the cheers and excitement at Shortcut and was making nice progress until about mile 64. A combination of tired legs, sleepiness, hurt ankle, and the climb up to Newcomb's Saddle were putting my finish into question. Taking a 30 minute rest at Newcomb's Aid Station and drinking some chicken broth and four cokes did the trick. I was rejuvenated and on my way to Chantry Flats (mile 75).


I think I had the best two cups of coffee of my life at Chantry. I was feeling good and ready to get going on the last 25 miles of this journey. Anytime after mile 52 a pacer may join a runner so good friend, Teresa, would be coming along on this last leg. There is not much to report on this section. For the most part I was in no mood to talk and Teresa was the perfect pacer seeing how she is a "professional" talker. Eventually she learned that I wasn't going to respond much, and therefore she chose topics that didn't need a response. I gained some life after Sam Merrill aid station (mile 89), not sure whether it was the ginger candy or the sun rising over the mountains, but we were on the home stretch.

At approximately 9:24 A.M. Sunday morning we crossed the finish line, with loud cheers from the Hursts, Whites, and Cindy. I felt a day full of reflections about family, friends, and God. If I learned anything, it's that even with some dark times, it truly was a Sunshine Day.

Below is a video taken by Cindy off and on throughout the day, special thanks to Dan & Christina for all the added support and Barbara and Jim Medlin for watching our new puppy Jac so Cindy could be with me on the course.

AND if possible, please consider supporting Ryan's Troopers (click here) in their pursuit to end juvenile diabetes.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Report in the next couple of days

Thanks for all the good wishes and support.

Report coming soon. If you didn't see the Live Data Results at I did finish with a time of 28 hours 24 minutes.

If you would to view hundreds of pictures from the race a very supportive Christina and Dan helped crew and took many pictures. Pictures of the race can be viewed here, and pictures of the awards ceremony can be viewed here.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Last Preparations

Dear Friends and Family,

This will be my 2nd to last post. My final post being my report after my first attempt at a 100 mile run (finish or not) through the Angeles Crests Forest on September 15th and 16th.

After about 2 years of preparation for this race, I have only a few days before it starts. Without a doubt it has been more about the journey rather than the destination. A few people have asked me if I will continue to pursue 100 mile runs. I have no answer. If I have learned anything over the years running or not, it is that it is hard to predict what is around the corner. For now, I will stand in the dark at the starting line in Wrightwood at 5:00 in the morning on Saturday (9/15/07) and play out this hand.

My goal is to finish in 31 hours, which means I will arrive at Johnson Field in Pasadena by Noon Sunday. I certainly won't be disappointed if I finish sooner and avoid the heat of the second day. The race has cutoff times I must meet or else I will be dropped from the race. If I am going much slower than my goal times, I am probably in danger of being dropped as the overall time allowed is 33 hours.

Also, it is my hope to add something positive along with this experience. My cousin Ryan (really cousin Sharen's son Ryan... is that 2nd Cousin???) has juvenille diabetes. Since being an infant he has had to endure the constant pricking to check blood sugar levels and shots sporadically day and night. The family continues to walk in fund raisers by the JDRF to help find a cure for juvenille diabetes. I would like to help out in my own way by asking all of my friends and family to consider donating some money to JDRF in Ryan's name for every mile that I run. Whether you donate 1 cent a mile or 1 dollar a mile, the donation will be greatly appreciated. If you know me personally, I hope I am worth at least 2 cents a mile. :-)
You can donate (it's tax deductable) at Ryan's Troopers walk for Juvenile Diabetes.
If you know someone that needs a tax deduction for a worthy cause, or maybe they owe you a favor, please email them this web address and hopefully they will help contribute.

The race starts on Saturday, September 15th from Wrightwood, CA. If you have a few minutes on Saturday throughout the day you can see if I am still hanging in their by going to and clicking on a link that will say something like, "Live Data 2007" , hopefully it will be easy to find my name. If you have trouble, I probably won't be able to help, since I will be in the middle of the San Gabriel Forest climbing some hill wondering why the heck did I enter this race???

Anticipated Aid Station times to compare with the Live Data.

Mile - Aid Station - Estimated Check in Time
9.3 - Inspiration Point - 7:14 a.m.
13.85 - Vincent Gap - 8:06 a.m.
25.91 - Islip Saddle - 11:04 a.m.
29.05 - Kratka Ridge - I don't think they post times here
29.98 - Eagle's Roost - 12.11 p.m.
37.54 - Cloudburst Summit - 2:11 p.m.
38.37 - Pajarito - no post?
40.4 - Glenwood - no post?
42.72 - Three Points - 3:20 p.m.
49.08 - Mt. Hillyer - 4:53 p.m.
52.8 - Chilao - 6:09 p.m.
59.3 - Shortcut Saddle - 7:58 p.m.
67.95 - Newcomb's Saddle - 10:47 p.m.
74.55 - Chantry Flats - 2:13 a.m. (DAY TWO!!!)
83.75 - Idlehour - 6:13 a.m.
89.25 - Sam Merrill Trail - 8:34 a.m.
95.83 - Millard Campground - 10:35 a.m.
100.53 - Johnson's Field (Finish) - 11:54 a.m.

Yours Truly,

Chris Jensen

About a Week to Go

The Orthopedic Doctor believes the ankle is from overuse and did not seem too worried. Beyond trying some orthotic insoles and Aleve, there is not much else I can do.

My mileage has been quite low in order to rest my ankle the last couple of weeks which makes me more nervous about finishing. Hopefully my mileage this summer get me through the race. I have gotten in a couple of hikes and runs in the mountains with Cindy and Teresa (pacer for last 25 miles) but other than that things have been a little slow.

Since there has not been very much running I have had plenty of time to hang out with our new puppy Jac, see below.


Getting ready to learn how to swim

Jac likes his toys

Jennie stops by to visit

Thursday, August 30, 2007

85 down 15 to go - Hanging in There

After my disappointing drop from the Mt. Disappointment run a couple of weeks ago. I haven't been pushing myself very hard, but have gotten in a couple of good quality runs.

On August 19th I ran 24 miles by Baden Powel (9000+ ft.) to Vincent Gap and then back with about 15 other runners at an AC Training Run. On the way there a group of us were delayed on Highway 2 because a motorcycle rider had gone down and had to be airlifted out. We didn't know it at the time, but it was Gary Hiliard, the race director for the Mt. Disappointment 50. After being in critical care for quite awhile and losing his spleen and I believe a kidney I understand he is doing better, possibly due to his good health through ultra running and tireless hours working on maintaining trails. Best wishes to a successful recovery.

I was fortunate enough to be invited to run with a few guys last Friday night on the last 40 miles of the Angeles Crest 100. We started our run about 6:30 p.m. and arrived at our finishing point in Pasadena about 7:30 the next morning. It was great to see the trail and enjoyed doing my first all night run. My lack of full time running due to my ankle was obvious and I certainly struggled the most of the four of us. I learned many things about night running as well as what the last 40 miles of the AC100 was like, well at least what the trail is like in the dard. What I learned the most is that if I ever do anything like this again I need to be sure to bring caffeine!!!!!!! I ran with Jay Anderson (an outstanding runner and leader of the group), Barefoot Ted (a guy that leaves you in awe watching him run for 40 miles at night, running part way barefoot and the other part in his five fingers or almost barefoot, and I hope he doesn't mind I snagged the picture below off his website) and Robert Schipsi (thanks to him I was able to tag along otherwise I wouldn't have known about the run, not to mention after watching him run, he should do very well on his first 100 miler coming up in 15 days).

Photo by Barefoot Ted

As far as my ankle goes, I continue to rest it plenty disappointed that I am not out on the trails. After an x-ray and then a CT scan, the dr. called to inform me that I needed to see an orthopedic. Apparently the CT scan showed "bone fragments", not sure exactly what that means, but I have an appointment for this next Wednesday... yikes.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

67 Down 33 To Go - Mt Disappintment 50k

For me Mt. Disappointment was a big DISAPPOINTMENT!!!!!!

The event was terrific and the volunteers were wonderful. To get right to the point somewhere around mile 8 my ankle (same ankle that has been hurting off and on since April) begin giving me troubles. At about mile 15 it was hurting too much so I began walking and arrived at the 20 mile aid station hot and depressed. Cindy was waiting there for me to cheer me on, instead I had to make the decision to drop from the race in hopes of lessening the damage and still keep my hopes alive for the AC100.

I went and had my ankle X-rayed but the dr. felt it would not help and she was right... the results showed nothing. I will be making an appointment for a CT scan this week that may or may not show something.

Friday, August 3, 2007

57 Down 43 To Go - JULY Part 1

The month of July was a good month for running bad for blogging.

The month of July started off with a trip to Eric and Cherie's place in Oxnard near the beach along with mom and dad and Cherie's mom and dad. We rode kayaks (picture of Eric and dad) in the canals literally right in their backyard. Sometimes we took the boat (Eric and Cherie) for dinner and other times just for a sunset cruise. We saw a great fireworks show on the fourth right from their deck.

The first day I ran down the beach to Ventura and after about 7 miles stripped off the Ipod, shoes and shirt and went for a swim in the ocean along with a little body surfing.

I learned a valuable lesson... it is important to put socks and running shoes back on the feet without getting wet sand in them. The run home was more difficult and involved frequent stops trying to leave the sand where it belonged. The next days run I brought a camera to get some self portraits and a picture of a shark that had washed up on the beach. Since Cherie didn't believe I had seen a shark, I was determined to get a picture on my run the next morning. After searching for it I realized a fisherman had moved it and had already begun disecting it for some "Ceviche" as he informed me. The visit was great and got in some good running miles... July was looking good... we're off to our cabin in Cold Springs in the mountains the next day.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

57 down 43 to go - July Part II

There's too much too say about our 3 weeks in Cold Springs. In short, our group we call the Cold Springs Running Club spent many days running around the lake in the mornings and occasionally through the hills of our community. Often times I would run to the lake and meet them there and then run home as a good way to keep my mileage up. One morning Cindy drove me to Kennedy Meadows (a 45 minute drive) and dropped me off with basically water, map, and granola bars. I ran back through the Stanislaus National Forest. The run was approximately 27 miles and the first 20 miles I only saw two back backers that gave me a look of "who is this crazy fool running through the middle of the forest".

We took day trips to Calaveras Big Trees, Bodie, and enjoyed the laid back lifestyle of the mountains. Good friends visited, but we needed to get back by the end of the month to finish out July with a boating trip to Laughlin.

Calaveras Big Trees

Jennie Keeping Us Fed

Bodie Ghost Town

The view just before taking off from Kennedy Meadows

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

57 Down 43 To Go Part III

We were back for just a few days and then we were off to Laughlin. The "fun" started before we reached our destination. Just outside of Needles (30 minutes from our destination) our tire blew out. No problem I will put on the spare. 15 minutes after getting the spare on and lowering the jack, we learned that the spare was flat... it seemed low, but I guess I didn't realize how low. After calling AAA and learning it was going to be 2 hours in the 110 degree hot sun on the side of the highway we thought we would make a few calls to let our friends know we were going to be a little late. Not much longer Mat and Shelly drove by with an astonished look on their faces but due to traffic they weren't able to pull over for about 1/4 mile. No problem, I put on my running shoes and Shelly a 1/4 mile away did the same... we met half way and had a nice chat on the side of the highway. Not much after we met in the middle of nowheresville, Bill and Susan were passing by at 60 mph. We learned later at dinner that night that just before Susan recognized who it was she was announcing in the car, "What num-nuts would be out on the highway in the middle of nowere?!" They also stopped but I told Shelly that there was nothing they could do, and both cars should go on. About 15 minutes later Juan and Shelly (another Shelly) drove by and I saw that same look that I had just seen on Susan's face earlier. Good thing I had my running shoes on, after a quick chat they were on their way. We didn't think anyone else was coming by so we found some good rocks to sit on and had a picnic in the 110 degree weather, and got out the cards to play gin rummy. You know your lucky when you have a wife that is happy having a picnic and playing cards in the desert at 110 degrees on the side of the highway in Nowheresville.

Flat tire in Nowheresville

Cindy at our picnic

Cindy is lucky the tow truck arrived when it did, I was just about to beat her at Gin.

Yes, we finally made it to the lake and had a great couple of days!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

21 Down 79 To Go

When Cindy and I got up this morning at 5 A.M. I started wondering WHY again......

This morning we headed up to Wrightwood (about an hour drive) for me to run part of the AC course. When we got near to our destination we drove down Route 2 to see how far we could make it by car, as Dan and Christina had warned me that the road had been closed for quite a while due to landslides. They were correct and we could only get as far as Vincent Gap, about half the distance I wanted to run . Instead of driving back to Wrightwood we decided to send me on my way and I would run the trail backwards back to the starting point of the AC in Wrightwood (about a 13 mile run) with one place along the way where Cindy could meet me at Inspiration Point to refill my water.

<---- Ready to head up the trail from Vincent Gap. (sorry mom... still have the beard)

The run to Inspiration Point went great and my estimated time I gave Cindy was 1.5 hrs. but I was there in 1 hour. Cindy was not there yet, I later learned some mountain bikers and hikers had come through and she stayed and chatted.

The next section had some good climbs and eventually I arrived at the top of Moutain High Ski Resort, and to my surprise the Pacific Crest Trail wound through a few of the ski slopes. Again the run was going smoothly, but according to my crude map I needed to spot Acorn Trail that took a 90 degree turn off the Pacific Crest Trail and headed down to Wrightwood. I didn't know if there would be a sign and when I saw a trail heading down the hill to the left I figured there was a 50/50 chance, I decided to take it. After traversing the hill steeply for about a mile and seeing the trail come to an end, I realized this one of those times in life where I picked the wrong 50. The hike back up to the trail put me behind my 10:00 arrival time in Wrightwood, but I knew Cindy had a good book and would find a nice cup of coffee in town. After another half mile I was pleased to see a big sign that said "Acorn Trail" and this time I was smart enough to pick the correct "50".

After a couple miles of downhill switchbacks I found Cindy drinking her coffee on an outdoor table in Wrightwood reading her book just as I pictured... I was only 30 minutes off my estimate. After a quick change of clothes, we went next door and had breakfast at a quaint small restaurant and while I was eating my omelette and drinking my coffee after a great run in the beautiful mountains, the WHY question was answered again.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

10 Down 90 To Go - A Lull

After some nice fresh air in the mountains and some good runs around Pinecrest Lake in the mornings I have hit a lull. I don't know if it is the heat of Palmdale or my ankle pain that won't go away but I have been taking it easy. I think I will take it easy from posting for a little while as well... I had originally planned on posting every day during the 100 days, that didn't work out (both running and writing currently).

As much as it hurts mentally, I am going to try and rest my ankle for a while and get it as close as possible to 100% before running again.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

4 Down 96 To Go - Why Do I Run?

Today's Mileage = 3 miles

I am on my way to the mountains for 4 days. I look forward to running around Pinecrest Lake (about 4.5 miles) in the fresh morning air as the sun rises and all the campers are asleep.

There are many reasons why I run and some of them are stronger than others on any given day. The paragraph above is often one of the major reasons why I run. Other times it is the feeling of being in better shape, watching the sun rise, feeling less guilty about eating that extra bowl of ice cream (I had three helpings last night), getting to feel the endorphins kick in when you least expect it, or sometimes it's just plain fun.

According to the August 2006 Runner's World (p. 48), "University of Michigan researchers found that women who work out to lose weight are less committed to exercise than those who do it for social benefits, stress reduction, or enjoyment of the activity". Since I run solo 99% of the time I probably don't do it for the social benefits, but the other two definitely fit.

I would not recommend running to someone trying to lose weight, rather I would recommend running to someone that wants to enjoy the fresh air and great feeling of getting a good workout at the same time. It just so happens that weight loss is a repercussion... as long as we stay away from that 3rd bowl of ice cream.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

3 Down 97 To Go - Crewing

Today's Mileage = 8 miles. Put Electrolyte drink in my bottle instead of water. I seemed to feel more refreshed.

Since I have never run a 100 mile race before I have never had a crew before with the exception of Cindy being at an aid station along the way with supplies. I never have felt much of a need for the supplies since races are very good about food and water at aid stations. To my surprise the mental boost of seeing her has been very important.

At the moment my crew for the AC100 is Cindy and Teresa and I believe one or both (at different times) will be a pacer for me... I'll save "Pacers" for another post.

At this moment I am beginning to come up with what I will want different from the usual food at the aid stations that my crew will have for me.

Injinji socks - I get few to no blisters with these socks
Ensure - The drink gives plenty of calories and works well in my system. Some posts suggest 50% calories from food and 50% from liquid over the duration of the race. Some runners swear by only liquid... I don't think that is for the slow poke like me though.
Cliff Blocs - I prefer these over gels.
Also, Sunscreen, Heed, chapstick, shirt, mole skin... I am sure the list will grow...

Of course the crew will need good maps if they are not familiar with the course and Christina and Dan have informed me of a road closure... when they read this perhaps they can give me more specific details where the closure is at since I can't seem to find out much about it on the Internet.

Friday, June 8, 2007

2 Down 98 To Go - Hydration

Today's Run = 13 miles. (hills)

Most runners would probably agree hydration is the single most important thing to maintain in a race. Of course in a 100 mile race nutrition may be equally important and certainly more complex. These posts merely brush the basics and as I learn more I will update them and add links to more knowlegable information. Back to the topic of Hydration...

Staying hydrated is fairly simple drink plenty of water in a race, just not too much.
Too much intake of water can cause hypnatremia where one becomes too diluted with water and therefore the sodium levels drop, a good reason races have pretzels at their aid stations. Of Course too little water causes dehydration.

I have been fortunate to have always run in races with a good accompaniment of aid stations. Sometimes I carry my Nathan pack with two bottles and other times I carry my hand held bottle. Through trial and error I have found that as much as I crave Gatorade on a long race, it does not work well in my system and gives me cramps. The different electrolyte drinks that contain sucrose, fructose, and other sugars have to digest through the kidneys and make your already tired system work harder. I don't know if this is the scientific answer to my problems, I just know I don't like pains in my side. The last race I ran I only added a Heed mix that contains maltodextrin to my water and my system felt much better. This runners post has a good write up about the stuff. As I understand maltodextrin it is processed synthetically from a derivative of corn and rather than having to go through the kidneys it is absorbed directly into your system.

I don't know if the above is correct, I just know that my system felt better sticking to Heed and staying away from Gatorade in the last race. Unfortuately my legs hurt just as much, but I will work on that in the weeks to come, as well as continue to experiment with hydration. Gels work basically the same way and contain maltodextrin, I just find drinking a sugary water much more pleasurable than trying to choke down a gooey substance.

Also tried Nuun tablets put in my running bottle. Very convenient for electrolytes and my stomach seems to handle them well.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

1 Down 99 To Go - The Journey

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.
-Lao Tse

I began running in June of 2005. I am not sure exactly what the date was I just remember it was some time in the middle of the month and it was the same day I quit my job that I had done for the last 10 years. At that time I was about 30 pounds overweight and not quite able to run one mile. I also don't remember when I wanted to run a 100 mile run, but even though I was not very familiar with 100's it became more and more clear as "The Journey" began.

My training over the last 2 years has been inconsistent. I have run for 20 straight days but also due to injuries (knee, broken toe, ankle) have gone as much as 60 straight days without running. My hope for the next 100 days is to maximize mileage, and keep excuses and injuries to a minimum. I hope to cross train with biking and swimming as well. If my ankle is flaring up I will put in more mileage on the bike. Although I will do most of my running in the early morning hours and evening I will also run in the heat of the day to keep the body used to the heat I will experience at the AC 100.

There are many great sites like Stan Jensen's (no relation) run100s site with great info about runs and training. On my posts my training will speak for itself as I am not mapping anything specific out, rather I am looking forward to being creative in my training on this journey. Below is my first attempt at putting video on my blog from youtube, I don't know if I will use his method, but I like how this guy thinks.
My mom once gave me a shirt that says, "Those who wander are not necessarily lost". I am thankful my mom understands me.

Let the JOURNEY begin!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

0 Down 100 To Go - Intro

Today is the Day I begin the countdown.

In the next 100 days I will research, train, and prepare for running the Angeles Crest 100 miler. I may edit/change various posts due to suggestions or later reflections so comments will be greatly appreciated. I am hopeful someone out there will find my journey helpful, interesting, or entertaining.

At the very least I hope to have searched within myself and come out a better prepared runner and perhaps person.


Sunday, June 3, 2007

Goldilocks Runs Shadow of the Giants 50k

I realize I am putting myself out there, especially after I take enough ribbing from all of my "manly" buddies due to the fact I am a regular watcher of Oprah. Now I'm taking it to another level by calling myself Goldilocks... I hope none of those "manly" guys read this blog. I will get back to the part about Goldilocks in a little while.

Friday I departed from Palmdale for Fresno to stay the night with my parents. I grew up in Fresno and lived there until I was 18, my mom likes to say, if she knew I wasn't coming back when I went away to college she never would have let me leave.

Cindy was unable to come with me since she stayed home to dog sit a friend's dog.

<-------Daisy (our guest for the weekend)

Our friend helped us out many many times by watching our dogs (before they went to doggy heaven) when we went away and weren't able to take the dogs with us, and Cindy was happy to help repay the favor.

Ben and Maxine ----->

The run was in Fish Camp just below the entrance to Yosemite. I was out the door by 5:30 and arrived at Fish Camp just after 6:30 only to get a little lost trying to find the place. How anyone gets lost in a town with a population of 12 is beyond me, but I have some special abilities. My parents were going to arrive around noon in order to see me cross the finish line. I had the impression that my mom expected me to be crawling across the finish line gasping for air after 31 miles and I hoped I would be able to change that perception.

The reason Goldilocks came to mind was because I have run in 50k's that seemed too flat, and I have run in 50k's that seemed to steep, but like the bowl of porridge, this difficulty seemed just right. The course had plenty of climbs but most of the time it was a nice gradual ascent. There were still quad pounding descents and steep hills near the end that kept you plenty humble so that you would not forget that Papa Bear was still in charge.

Shadow of the Giants is a perfect name for the run as the giant sequoias are constantly protecting you from the sun. The volunteers at the aid stations were awesome, and Baz the race director was never without an ecouraging word. Near the end I thought the race would go on forever, and my time seemed a little too long for such nice day. I heard rumors after the race that the course is more like 33 miles than 31 and whether or not this is true, I am sticking with the 33 mile distance in my head.
It was nice to see my parents had driven up, and my mom was right on top of her job to snap a picture as I finished; after I crossed the line she was worried she missed the shot so she had me circle around and cross again... didn't she know I had just run 33 miles?

As always I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to run in such a beautiful place on a beautiful day. What a pleasure to have my parents there with me and then we went out for a lunch in the nearby town of Oakhust. I'm just glad I was able to get up from crawling on the ground and gasping for air just before getting to the finish line. :-)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Road Less Traveled

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
~Robert Frost
This weekend I'm attending a family reunion in Fresno, and I headed out this morning on a 20 mile run along a new (new to me) bike trail along the San Juaquin River. I noticed a nice dirt trail leaving the asphalt so I decided to give it a try. After about a half mile the trail got smaller and smaller and smaller until there was no trail. I was determined to plod along hoping to be rewarded by my persistence with a nice meandering trail. The trail never came to fruition but the reward was the beautiful wildlife. Five deer, a bobcat and numerous birds all around. Yes, the road less traveled has a lot of rewards.... and, also a lot of stickers that get caught in your shoes and socks.