My third year for this race. I hoped this time my new focus on strengthening my glutes would make for a less painful race this time. It's the toughest half marathon race I've yet done. It's got 3 big hills, each long enough to waste both your uphill muscles and your downhill muscles. I carefully measured the elevations on a topo map and got 2720 ft of total climbing. I notice another racer's blog says about 2700 so it seems about right. Lake Chabot is pretty tough too, but it's hills are smaller and gives you much shorter stretches of uphill vs downhill muscle groups, and totals 2285 ft of climbing. Weather was perfect - late fall blue skies, cool in the morning, and 50's during the late morning, which is perfect for running. Earlier in the week, I kept myself up by doing some easy miles; 2 on Monday, 2 on tuesday, 4 on Wednesday, 2on Thursday, and on Saturday morning an easy jog to Noah's Bagels to have an egg burrito and watch the small town parade. Later, I packed up and drove up Hwy 1, stopping at Waddell Creek where I did a walk on the beach to cool my legs in the cold salt water. Meanwhile, Diane and the girls were on a shopping marathon in SF. Lululemon seems to have gotten a major part of their business.

Jonathan, Maria, and Luke were doubley ambitious - Luke did his first marathon, and Maria joined him. Jonathan decided he'd do a 10 miler; the half marathon course minus the 2nd hill. Luke did great! And Maria, who predicted it would take her 8 hrs, came in in 7hr. This was on Saturday. When I arrived at 4:30, Luke, Maria, and JC were still enjoying the post-race glow (in the form of some cold beer) and I got a few shots.

JC, Maria, and Luke display their swag bags

Marathon Man, and Mom

Our gang was Diane D, Joyce, Sonia, Carmen, Nancy, Christa and I. Six girls, and lucky me - "Rick's Harem", Sonia joked. We stayed at the Marin Hostel, main building. I cooked up pasta and sauce, while Sonia made the salad and Nancy shredded a couple of cooked chickens for our filling dinner. Diane got us two rooms upstairs; Christa and I slept together. Er, I mean, we shared the same room! She wanted the top bunk, I got the bottom. Everyone turned in early for bed - 8:30pm. I read a book from a friend - "Happiness" - till 9:30, then I faded too. We were up a little after 6am. My breakfast was oatmeal with a banana.

Carmen and Nancy, psyched

Sonia - supremely confident it appears

Now, a good stretch session

Quads for me, a little yoga for Christa

Then, it was off to the 8am race start, about 100 yards from the hostel door. My Lumix camera is still on the fritz, so no photos during the race for me. I started in the middle of the pack, and the rest of our gang started closer to the front. I passed Carmen and Nancy a few hundred yards later. I inched ahead of Joyce 2/3 of the way up the first big ridge, and she passed me back about half way down the other side, towards Tennessee Valley. I never did see Diane and Sonia, but I could hear Diane's whooping for the first 5 miles or so, way on up ahead. I'd been a little worried about my right knee, which had twinged a bit on recent runs, but today is was fine. So was my illiotibial band. I was less worried about my left hip/psoas/hip flexor issue, but that was a mistake. That old friend is still with me, on long races. I tried focusing on my glutes, and each time I did it seemed to help my running, although it wasn't long before I decided it wasn't helping with my hip pain, and later it even seemed to make it worse. By mile 9, only minimizing articulation helped some with the pain, forcing my left leg to work more than it's fair share. On the last, long downhill Carmen sprinted past me. Sonia came in at 2:27, Diane came in at 2:47, Joyce a bit after, Carmen about 3:10, and me at 3:14. Nancy I think was sometime after me.


Joyce and Diane

Victory smiles

Is that an icepack in your pants, or are you just glad to see me? (remember, that's a riff on a famous line from Mae West)

OK. Party's over, and time to go home

Showing our booty! No, not Joyce's, I mean the case of Zico cocoanut water (on roof rack). Just like our score of cases of Accelerade after the '08 race, on the walk up to the hostel, we noticed the truck people still had plenty o' Zico and Di asked if we could have one. They probably thought she meant 1 bottle, instead, each of us thanked them as we gripped a case per person. The sponsors'll be happy it was so popular, so everyone wins.


Yes, that's an icepack, kindly supplied by the med people at the finish line. I'm writing this on Sunday night, after returning from the race. I had the ice bag over my hip for a good hour, and took two ibuprofen upon getting home about 3pm. Unlike 2 years ago, when my hip gave me severe pain for days, my hip pain now is gone. Was it the prompt ice? Two years ago, I took much stronger pain killers, darvon, and it didn't take me out of my pain. I also note that a few days ago I did a couple of miles of running barefoot through the surf in Santa Cruz - delightful till the next day, when my calf was sore, and that night I awoke at 3am with a huge cramp. In the morning, I strapped on a blue ice pack very tightly over my calf, worrying I might have wrecked my North Face race... in fact, the "charlie horse" pain disappeared after the ice, and was not an issue at all before or during the race. Ice truely has some magical properties. I'd love to know if the ice experience is telling me my hip pain is bursitis, or is instead weak hip flexors and/or psoas. The calve cramp was certainly muscle tissue, and it resolved just as quickly with ice.

Now it's Wednesday after the race. Tom Smith, DC, says that my ice experience doesn't differentiate between muscle pain and bursa pain, so alas, I'm still in the dark. He advises continuing the lunges and step exercises to work my glutes. I felt fine late Sunday, and Monday. But Tuesday I felt like a Mack Truck had run me over. Tight sore thighs, and a general feeling of being almost nauseous with fatigue. Today, I only feel like I was run over by a small SUV. Progress! I should be good to go by Saturday, when Steve Kruger and I do a major day of hiking through Pt. Reyes, right?