This is totally late. Forgot it was sitting in my drafts queue…
New Equipment & Such:
- HydraPak Reversible Elite Reservoir. In February, I picked up a Ultimate Direction SJ Ultra Vest 2.0 and really like it. In March, after trying several bottle options on the vest, I picked up and really liked HydraPak’s SoftFlask, as it solved the “sloshing” effect encountered with standard bottles and was certainly more comfortable when used in the vest since they conform to my body. This month, I picked up a 2L Reservoir to enable myself to run unsupported for upwards of 6 hours or more (depending upon the climate.) I wore the reservoir quite a bit on my weekly runs before carrying it on a longer, trail run…just to make sure about fit and ease into carrying the weight on my back. Overall, I really like it and carried it on my 4-hour long run with no issues. I didn’t really notice any adverse affect on my posture or any soreness after my run – probably because I had carried it enough to prepare myself/body. One thing I did notice was that the fluid heats up based on body temp. When carrying plain water, it can result in a pretty bad taste. When carrying water with Tailwind, the taste was actually great. I probably won’t use/carry this on all runs, but will work it in occasionally to make sure I am still OK with the added weight on the vest and my back.
- A run-focused training plan:
- MON: 8-10 mile run
- TUE: 20 mile bike
- WED-FRI: 5-10 mile runs
- SAT: REST
- SUN: Long Run – 12-26 miles
- 5/18: Bay to Breakers [report]
Back on May 18th, I ran the 103rd Bay to Breakers; or, as aptly described in the tweet below:
@arasmusKTVU Favorite analogy: #BaytoBreakers is the “mullet” of races. Business (elite runners) in front, party in the back
In my recent Big Sur race report, I wrote how that race was an “experience” and not just a race or run. The same can be said about the Bay to Breakers, though in a slightly twisted way. It is something to be experienced: the beauty of running through the City over to the coast, the challenge and notoriety of Hayes Street Hill, the smell of eucalyptus through Golden Gate Park, hoping to see the Bison in the Paduct as you run by, and the relief when the Pacific is in sight…all chased with the scenery of wild and crazy people in creative costumes (or nothing at all), various scents along the way (food, urine, marijuana, etc.), blaring music from official and unofficial bands/DJs, and people from the neighborhoods (or those just hanging out along the course) cheering, yelling, high-fiving, twerking, etc.
Yep, Bay to Breakers is a crazy, crazy event and experience. I will say that it seemed crazier this year – and I was in corral A. I can only imagine what it was like in the other corrals.
All that considered, it was a blast and I will run it again…and again.
Finishers. It’s not obviously stated, but, after a review the results pages, for the overall event, there appears to be 28,253 “official” finishers, for a male/female split of about 45/55. Of course, there are the hundreds, if not thousands, of bandits – which is typical of B2B. When I crossed the finish line, there was a couple of guys who were collecting their third medals of the day!
Weather. The weather was perfect for a run: 63 with a light breeze. Once at the coast, it was pretty windy…but you’re done at that point.
Course. The course is a point-to-point from the Bay side of the City, through various districts, neighborhoods, and Golden Gate Park, to the seaside part of San Francisco. The course was slightly different at the end from the 2012 route.
Management/Support. As I mentioned above, this year’s race seemed to be a little crazier than the last time I ran it – an observation that has been shared by many. Still, the management was pretty good. The biggest fail I noticed was when a group/crowd of several hundred slowly, en mass flowed onto the course at the Moscone Center. They effectively choked the route down to about 1/4 or less, forcing runners to move to the sidewalk or simply dodge and weave through the mass. I personally ran into a few people. It was a pretty bad scene and one that could have resulted in people be trampled or injured. Not sure if there was even any security or PD on that part of the course, though I’m not sure what they could have done. Aside from that, things were pretty good.
Post-Race. The finish chute and post race area had a great flow, though I read on a blog or two that later in the race, things got pretty backed up with people. One thing that I felt was missing were more food vendors and a merchandise tent for B2B stuff. They had a stage for the awards and bands later in the day, but I was gone by the time that started.
Medal/Shirt. Each finisher received a medal and event shirt. Both were pretty nice – pictured below. One thing I did notice was that the shirt did not have the event date on it. Hopefully, this doesn’t mean that the design will be recycled next year.
This was my second Bay to Breakers. My first was in 2012, when I ran it with my brother. He’s a bit slower runner than me, so we agreed to stick together. This year, since it was just me, I planned to make good time; so I seeded myself in corral A when I registered. It was pretty nice being up front.
As far as goals for the day, I had three:
- Run Hayes Street Hill without stopping/walking
- Try and finish under one hour
- Of course, have fun
In the end, I accomplished two of the three: I ran Hayes Street and I did have fun. I missed one hour by 2:57…oh well, next time.
In an image, here was my 2014 Bay to Breakers:
I kept this race pretty low key. I caught the race shuttle in Millbrae, got to the start line (finally, after our driver got lost twice), was user #1 on a portapotty (always awesome!), and then just hung out in the corral until the start. Unfortunately, the start was delayed by about 30 minutes, due to a “unstable archway” at Hayes Street hill. People were antsy – I just hung out, threw a few tortillas, people watched, and chatted with those around me. I really felt bad for the elite runners as they had all warmed up for an 0800 start time and now had to effectively cool down. Most of the elites finished under 40 minutes, so they still made it home before breakfast!
The race itself was a 12K blast. Being in corral A meant that I missed the more serious partying, but that was OK with me – I still saw my fair share of wild and crazy costumes and nudies: all part of the experience that is Bay to Breakers.
I will say that this year, there seemed to be more crowds infringing on the course and interfering with runners – at least when the corral A group ran by Moscone Center. I read one article that seemed to advocate a “pause” of at least two to three years for the event so organizers could “reset” and gain some control. I don’t think that would solve anything. They have put more controls in place for the neighborhoods; but there are and will still be people who simply don’t care, ignore the controls put in place, and mess things up for everyone else. That is the way it is in life…B2B is no different. In the end, short of them cancelling the event, it will go on and I will continue to run it…always seeding myself in corral A, of course.
Fueling. Since this was a short distance race, I didn’t really do any structured, pre-race, carb loading. Race-day fueling: Bagel with 2T peanut butter at -3 hours. During the race, I drank one serving of Tailwind Nutrition’s Mandarin Orange mix.
Equipment/Kit [head to toe]: Buff cap, tech shirt from the 2012 San Jose Giants run, Armpocket armband, Garmin 910XT, Road ID (Slim), Amphipod handheld, ASCIS 55 Shorts, CEP Compression Sleeves, Road Runner Sports Dryroad socks, Altra The One shoes.
Some photos from the day:
- Bottom line: Fun event. Ran Hayes Street Hill. I will finish in less than one hour next time!
- Post-race meal: Got home and went to Sweet Tomatoes with the fam. Not the traditional, post-race, big meal, but this was a shorter distance…
This would be the ultimate on my running bucket list – even before Boston. Someday…
Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!
April 2014: The build to Big Sur.
Yep, that’s what April was all about – the final stretch in training for marathon number four. It was a great month of training. Some quality runs, though none completed on trails. Based on my Big Sur race, and in reviewing my April training, I need to do more hill workouts.
I also finalized my 2014 race schedule. With a theme of “Let’s take it to the next level”, it definitely will be a solid 2014 and, for certain, a pretty challenging second half. Woohoo!
I did have a quick biz trip to San Diego. I worked in two runs while there: a 21-miler (last 20+ before Big Sur) and a 10-miler. Both were great!
- HIGH: Ran my fourth marathon and finished with a new PR by 18 seconds.
- LOW: Not really a LOW; but, based on Big Sur, I discovered that my training needs to include more hill work.
As far as new equipment & such:
- Altra The One shoes. With the mileage on my Altra 3-Sums getting up there, I picked up a pair of their The One lightweight running shoes. They actually are similar to the triathlon-focused 3-Sum and only a half ounce heavier. I really like The Ones as they do fit similarly to the 3-Sum; however, they seem to be cut slightly different which results in a weird gathering of the upper when I lace them. I still like the way the feel and run. These are the shoes I wore for Big Sur and my feet felt great at the finish. The one change I did make was switching out the stock laces with some Lock Laces that I got free a while back. The stock laces were too long and I liked the speed laces on the 3-Sum version. Altra just came out with a new version of this shoe that is getting rave reviews. I am at 156 miles in these right now, so I will definitely get a pair of The One2 to have waiting in the wings. I seem to have switched to mostly Altra shoes at this point, using their Lone Peak 1.5 for trail, the Instinct 1.5 for general training, and the 3-Sum and The One for training and races. Altra has also recently come out with some maximalist shoes that I may try at some point, since I really like the zero-drop/wide toe box aspects of their design.
- Lock Laces. See above. Like them and may use the extra pair I have on my Altra Instinct 1.5s.
- Tailwind Nutrition. This is a quick take on this, as I plan to write a review post about Trailwind at some point. I had been reading about Tailwind on Twitter and Facebook a lot and decided to give it a try, looking at using it instead of my usual gels, salt tabs, and electrolyte drink mix for Big Sur and beyond, if it worked out. This stuff worked as advertised. I didn’t miss the gels, salt tabs, and electrolyte drink combo at all. In fact, even though I didn’t really have stomach issues with the gels, salt tabs, and electrolyte drink combo, I always seemed to have mild diarrhea after a long run or race distances over 13.1 (since I would ingest more quantities.) I think my stomach just couldn’t handle the combo, though the result was quite a bit milder than some I’ve read about who have switched to Tailwind. I really like the mild taste (Mandarin Orange is my fav) and it dissolves very fast. When I did my 21-miler in San Diego and again with Big Sur, I had absolutely no stomach issues and felt fueled sufficiently. The biggest thing was that I didn’t miss then gels, salt tabs, and electrolyte drink combo at all, which was a concern. I was nervous about not taking the salt tabs, as the have been good at controlling/minimizing/preventing cramping in my calves; but with Tailwind, I had no cramping on the 21-miler or on Big Sur. Bottom line, this is a really great product, with a personable owner – they include a note in each shipment and even write your name on the packaging, just for that personal touch. More to follow about my use of Tailwind in a subsequent post – probably after my June 50K.
- The North Face Better Than Naked Long Haul Shorts. My utmost, go to, favorite running shorts have been out of production for a while now: ASICS’ 55 Running Short. I love having 5 pockets! I have a good supply of them for training, even a few stashed for the future, but have been looking for an alternative short for a while. I picked up a pair of TNF Long Hauls and liked them, though they did seem to cause some light chaffing on my left thigh because of a seam on the inner liner – nothing that some Glide couldn’t combat though. They wear well and the pockets are great. If I didn’t have a good supply of the ASICSs, I’d consider working these in, though probably only on long runs and races – they are pretty pricey.
- A run-focused training plan:
- MON: 8-10 mile run
- TUE: 20 mile bike
- WED-FRI: 5-10 mile runs
- SAT: REST!
- SUN: Long Run – 12-26 miles
- 4/27: Big Sur International Marathon [report]