Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Inaugural Faye 50K

I ran a handful of marathons as a kid, completing my fifth and final race as a seventeen year old high school senior. That was thirty one years ago – and I haven’t run the distance since. I’ve always stayed active, but over the past two decades, my running has been focused on getting in shape for backpacking trips. Week long trips in the mountains are much more enjoyable when one is in shape. My first backpacking trip in 1995 was painful, as I was out of shape, and I vowed never to put myself in that situation again. I trained for six months each year, preparing for summer backpacking trips in the Sierra.

I was introduced to trail running in 2007, when I ran a 17K at Muir Beach with Sue and with Faye running the 50K. In the spring of 2013, I was sitting at my desk at work, reminiscing about the fun we had on the trails that day, and I e-mailed Faye, asking for a recommendation for my next trail run. Her reply was something along the lines of, “Oh, do I have a recommendation for you….you can pace me at the Leadville 100.” I can still visualize the smirk on her face as she was typing that e-mail to me. That fateful day revitalized my running program and got me excited about running again; running for the sake of running and not running as a means to an end. Nearly two years and two thousand miles later, trail running has become my mental and spiritual therapy.

A part of me loves formal races and another part of me enjoys “just running.” The atmosphere at races is amazing. I love the energy and buzz in the air, and I’m inspired by the competitors pushing themselves to their physical limits. On the other hand, I love running for the sake of running and I haven’t found the need to run in a “real” race. Races are expensive and Lord knows I don’t need another t-shirt (or race swag). Trail runners, particularly ultra-runners, have what they call ‘Fat Ass” runs (pardon the term). The mantra is, “No fees, no awards, no aid, no wimps.” These are informal, self-supported runs…just for fun. Yesterday, Faye and I had such a run. I’ll call it the inaugural Faye 50K, a 30.5 mile run starting at Lake Chabot Regional Park, meandering across beautiful trails to Redwood Regional Park, and looping back, with wonderful views from the hills overlooking Lake Chabot. This was my longest run since the 1983 Honolulu Marathon and the longest run of my life – and I crossed the magical line between marathoner and ultra-marathoner. I didn’t receive a t-shirt or shiny medal at the finish line, but I left there with water in my shoes, mud on my gaiters and a smile on my face. Thanks Faye for a great run!

Here are a few photos from our run.

It's been a wet December in the San Francisco Bay Area and the swollen creek gave Faye an opportunity to finally get a bath.

This is a fence near the border between Lake Chabot Regional Park and Redwood Regional Park.

Pre-run selfie. Faye hates selfies, but she should appreciate the opportunity to have her photo taken with trail running arm