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No Fear or Loathing, but Plenty of Running

November 9th, 2010

“There was madness in any direction, at any hour. If not across the Bay, then up the Golden Gate or down 101 to Los Altos or La Honda …. You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning ….”

–Hunter S. Thompson

There were 18 of them. Smiling bravely and donning layers of rain gear and hydration packs. The poor fools. Wait til they see those goddam bats… or something like that. The weather wasn’t the best but the day turned out to be a great run (so they said) for all who turned up to experience our version of San Francisco. And all the volunteers who agreed to be there smiled the whole time too.

The run mostly follows the 49 Mile Scenic drive through San Francisco, taking a few detours to consolidate the distance down to 50K. The start and finish is at Twin Peaks, where, weather permitting, you get an awesome view of the City.

Due to nasty conditions, all runners were convinced to run the 50K course, rather than the 50 mile. It’s a little known fact that only the 50 mile course actually passes by an innocuous looking residence, formerly of the race namesake – 318 Parnassus Ave. From lonelyplanet.com:

How this building survived Hunter S Thompson’s tenancy here in the mid-’60s is anyone’s guess. On the otherwise unremarkable bay-windowed facade, you might notice the odd bullet hole – mementos of parties that invariably degenerated into Hell’s Angels orgies and shoot-outs. Gonzo journalism was born when the inimitable Thompson narrowly survived to tell the tale in his book Hell’s Angels: The Strange and Terrible Saga of the Outlaw Motorcycle Gang, and state his motto: ‘When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.’

The finishers arrived in small groups at the top of Twin Peaks. By the time the last ones came in the weather broke and a rainbow appeared across the City view. All finishers (and volunteers!) received the much coveted Fear & Loathing t-shirt, carrying on a tradition that was started 26 years ago.

Thanks to everyone for coming out!


Across the Years into 2007

January 3rd, 2007

We’ve run at the Across the Years 24, 48, 72 hour event several times in the past, always doing the 24 hour run on New Year’s Eve. This time we did it differently. We drove to Phoenix two days before the start of the whole thing, and did our 24 hour event on the first day. That way, we could do whatever we wanted for the two remaining days of the event and celebrate New Year’s Eve with the runners and race volunteers. It was great to see a lot of familiar faces. Each person has some kind of personal goal, whether it’s super high mileage or just to survive. Everyone has a story.

So, even though my knee injury from a few weeks ago prevented me from running or even attempting ultra mileage, I was lucky to be able to walk the course for 23 miles and chat with runners, volunteers and visitors. I also got to see the medical volunteers do some magic and take care of a couple serious situations. In fact, Andy Lovy fixed me up early on and my knee is doing better than it was at the start of the race.

Don ran 101 miles, which means he has completed 100+ miles in every 24 hour that he’s run. After our 24 hours were done, we slept and caught up on emails. Throughout the race we visited several times, seeing how everyone was doing. Don took photos and I walked a lap with a friend every now and then. We made sure to be at the race for midnight to ring in the new year with everyone. We had champagne (or sparkling cider), wore party hats and watched terrific fireworks! Tradition is that everyone pauses and does a lap together. It was really great. We got some more sleep and returned for the finish of the race.

So after all that, we feel like we’ve properly welcomed 2007! All the best to everyone for the New Year!


San Francisco One Day

November 2nd, 2006

MG 5793

We had a great time in San Francisco last weekend. We were the race sponsor for the PCTR SF One Day 12/24 Hour Run. It was a superb first-time event.

The photographs DC took are now up on our web site.

RDL – Running Dead Last?

September 30th, 2006


So what’s more fun than running a hundred miler? Helping out at one, and seeing a bunch of your friends finish. We knew we would be there at the Rio Del Lago 100 Miler for Carmela, who we’d been coaching for her first 100, but as it turned out, we were also there for George, Jakob and Rajeev, also finishing their first 100s! The weather was warm but not hot, and with so many aid stations accessible by crew and supporters, it was a great way for us to spend a weekend with a bunch of friends.

For the first half of the race Carmela, Rajeev and Jakob all ran together in a happy group. Things got tougher later, but Carmela hung in there, while I was pacing and Don and Gus (Carmela’s husband and crew extraordinaire) gave her great motivation at each aid station that they could. Early in the morning Carmela put on the speed (so much that I couldn’t keep up) guaranteeing that she would make the final cutoff in the race. She had dug deep and found her reserves. Don paced the final 10 miles and Carmela finished with a beautiful smile. The rest of our runners came in after her, also smiling. I’m sure they are still smiling now. The runner’s high from a first 100 miler seems to last for a while. Congratulations to all the finishers!


Bad Feet at Badwater

August 2nd, 2006

The Badwater Zombies in Action

We had an amazing time helping out at the Kiehl’s 2006 Badwater Ultramarathon. We brought along Cool Off bandanas and Ultimate Directions FastDraw bottles, and runners and crew snapped them all up before the race. Each runner had a foot kit from us, to help prevent and treat blisters. So, when we headed out on the course looking for blister patients, we hoped that the kit would help.

John Vonhof, author of Fixing Your Feet, also joined us to repair blistered feet. John mostly made himself available with the medical team, while we scouted the course in the Zombie mobile. There were no blister events until later in the day, at Stovepipe Wells, mile 42.

At that point, the foot fixing was non-stop, from Shannon in her hotel room to Josef in the middle of the parking lot. Crews were always happy to see us, because they typically had tried something with the runner’s feet that didn’t work. We worked late, and then got a shower and a nap on the floor.

Early in the morning we headed out to Panamint Springs, mile 72. We found more patients there, and I found good chairs and a table on the front patio, which made it easier to work. I spend quite a while working on Heike, who had tried some other blister patches on the heel and ball of both feet. Eventually we drove the stretch from Panamint to Lone Pine, stopping for almost every runner to make sure things were going ok.

At Lone Pine, things were sporadically exciting. The gaps between runners were long and the runner visits usually brief. John was there too, so between us we fixed a few feet. I got the impression that most runners just wanted to leave well enough alone and get on up the climb to the finish. So, we eventually got to sleep that night before visiting the finish in the morning. As we parked at Whitney Portal and walked up, we saw Heike, who had just finished! She was so happy that I had fixed her feet. I was so happy to see her. Very cool. We also enjoyed seeing our friend Dan Marinsik finish, with a very happy crew.

We headed back to the Bay Area to get ready for the San Francisco Marathon Expo (we only had one day in between). Going on very little sleep, we set up at 8:00 am Friday for the 11:00 am opening of the expo. Boy was it busy! We had our Badwater shirts on, and surprisingly, we saw several Badwater runners who were also going to run the SF Marathon. Even more surprising was that one of those runners was Josef, my patient at Stovepipe. He had already thanked me for patching up his feet so that he could go from hobbling to actually running downhill after Townes Pass. His crew chief was really nice too. He said, “Hello Doctor.” We all smiled and they took photos and got some more blister stuff.

It was such a full week, but everything about it was great. Most of all, we had the chance to help runners achieve their goals. That’s the coolest thing of all.


Hanging out in Park City, Utah

January 27th, 2006
Park City base cam

We’re sitting (Gillian in one over-stuffed chair with her laptop, me in another with mine) in the Alpine Internet Cyber Cafe in Park City, Utah, working on the ZombieRunner Web Site. The photo is from a live web camera at the base of the hill — it’s been snowing today. There’s a chairlift right across the street; lots of skiiers and snowboarders wandering around. But, the skiing population is far outnumbered this week by the crowd here for the Sundance Film Festival. (The director of Letters From the Other Side just stopped by and gave us promo cards for her documentary.) We may try to catch a film tonight or tomorrow night.

We’re here for the Outdoor Retailer Show – it starts tomorrow. If the August OR show was any indication, we’ll return home with a raft of new products.

For now it’s wireless laptops and lots of good food. Yesterday’s dinner was oysters, Alaskan king crab, clam chowder and a whole lobster at the Market Street Oyster Bar in downtown Salt Lake City. Lunch today was small plates at the Easy Street Brasserie and Bar here in Park City. Some of the best French Onion soup I’ve had.

- dc