On May 9th I had the pleasure of running the Quicksilver 100k in San Jose, Ca. Quicksilver sold out extremely quickly the day it opened for registration, so initially I was a bit bummed. It had been on my radar, but I couldn’t sign up as I was still trying to figure out what 100 I wanted to do. As that I played out, I realized I should probably not be spending money on loto tickets because I don’t win.
In mid February DPMR Board Member Betsy Nye brought a contest to Truckee that was put on by the Quicksilver Running Club. Betsy hid a lucky silver coin on the trails of Truckee in the Waddle Ranch area, and the individual who found the coin would get a free entry into the race. Once I heard about this, I spent the next 4 days of my life consumed with the clues and searching for the coin. I clearly am not good at scavenger hunts because I had to go to the same spot 4 times before I dug deep enough to find the coin. Nonetheless, I got it, and I certainly hope the contest comes back to us next year!!!
Fast forward to May 8th, and I had the opportunity to get down to San Jose, check-in to my hotel, and get my and Betsy’s bib at packet pickup. Once Betsy arrived, we all went to out to dinner and had the finest pre-race meal there is. Mexican Food, of course!!! The race start was at 4:30 am so it was bedtime early as I was getting a ride to the start at 3:30 with Betsy. Morning came quickly, but I was ready to roll.
There was a pre race briefing 10 minutes before the start, and before I knew it we were off. It was dark of course, and everyone was half asleep still, so the race went out fairly slow in the grand scheme of things. I honestly felt really good to start the day. This was my first ultra in 11 months though, and I hadn’t run over 25 miles in a training run this year. I had a lot of back to back long runs on the weekends, but I still lacked confidence that I could get this one done.
I felt really good for the first 18 miles just cruising and feeling strong. I was racing with my Salomon pack for the first time. I had 70 ounces of Tailwind in the bladder plus my gels on me, so I didn’t have to stop at any of the early aid stations. Once I got to 18 though, we reached the second largest climb of the day, and I hit a small down patch. Once again doubt crept in, but I was able to work my way up to the Kennedy aid station. I spent some time there getting my pack refilled and mixed with Tailwind. I also started my go-to ultra fuel of choice: coca cola. I made sure to drink down a bunch, and frankly it was probably too much. I also ate watermelon and oranges, and I would continue that for the day as well. One final note on nutrition is that I took 2 S-caps, per coach Fain’s instructions, at every hour.
The next part of the day was pretty uneventful as I worked my way around a loop that brought me back to the Kennedy aid station. The only real highlight was taking on the Dead Kennedy Rollers and a climb called Dog Meat because there was a Strava segment challenge. I am slightly addicted to Strava, so any time I get to enjoy the use of it makes things a bit more fun for me.
From the top of the mountain we got basically 3500 feet of downhill, so it was time to test my legs. I had a small stomach issue that required a pit stop in the woods from taking in too much soda and fruit a while back, but all was well after the brief stop.
I knew that at the next aid station I would get to see my wife and daughter, so it was easy to start charging to Hacienda, where the race also started. My daughter Siri and I have been planning and plotting all year to howl like a dog before she can see me so she knows I am coming. This really was the highlight of my day, and I knew this would be the opportunity to give it the first official test run. We also plan on using this method at Leadville as well. I got a peep of the aid station through the trees to I let out a bunch of howls. I worked my way down and into the open and rounded the corner into the field and sure enough there was my Erin and Siri waiting to see me. As soon as Siri saw me, she started sprinting towards me to come escort me into the aid station. There really is nothing better than the support the two of them give me, and it always inspires me to get done quicker so I can go enjoy time with them. Siri helped get me some fruit and I talked to Erin for a few. Of course Siri asked if I found any shortcuts and the aid station captain got a nice chuckle. Of course, I showed him my watch to show him I was at 40 miles.
After seeing my family, I was inspired to charge the final 21 miles. Plus, I had two runners in front of me whom I was able to catch up to quickly and pass. I worked my way over to what is the finish area but also represented an aid station. It was about 3 miles there so it was nice to keep hitting aid stations quickly.
The next section proved to be pretty fun. We hit the day’s first real single track and worked our way over to what everyone was calling the rockpile. Basically out of nowhere we were heading straight up a rock/scree pile that was not super long, but with 45 or so miles on my legs, it hurt. I had a few choice words for the rockpile but made it to the top. At this point I started to catch up to the 50k runners as well. If nothing else, it offered a way to occupy my mind. I made my way up to the Bull Run aid station as I had conquered another climb. At this point, the day started to heat up a bit more, so I started dousing myself with water.
Once again I was on the downhill head to Tina’s Den, named after one of the 4 cats of the park. Sadly, I never saw her, but I still had really good downhill legs and felt like I was still pushing the pace pretty well. At this point, the miles were going by a bit slower, but I knew I was going to finish; I just attempted to push as much as I could. Tina’s Den certainly seemed farther than advertised, and this was confirmed by the eventual 3rd place runner Darcy Piceu as she questioned where it was. I passed her at this time, but alas, it would not last.
When I started the race my main goal was simply to break 11 hours. I knew at Bull Run aid I had about 3 miles left, and I knew it was going to be close. Darcy caught back up to me shortly after leaving the aid station. I chatted with her for a minute and asked for a tow. I was able to really push the pace for a while and it was nice to see I had that in my legs. I ran side by side with her for about a mile until we hit a nice little uphill. I power hiked, she ran, and I wouldn’t see her until the finish. After a brief climb, I was able to turn my legs over again and worked my way to down to the finish. Once again, Siri was there waiting for me, and she ran out to greet me. We held hands as I crossed the finish line at 10:58:12, and my day was over.
It was a really great day of running and the Quicksilver Running Club put on a truly top-notch event. All the aid stations were run as well as any. The event and all the runners were all super positive, and I had the best cheering section a Dad could ask for. I got to drink a few beers and say hi to some runners I don’t normally see. The after party is always the best and getting to hang out with fellow local runner Annie Rutledge along with her boyfriend and cousin was just the capping of a great day.
Pretty quickly it was time to go enjoy Mothers Day festivities with Erin and her Mom, so we were out of there and off to Petaluma. I am now looking forward to Leadville and putting in a huge training block between now and August.