Sunday, December 2, 2012

North Face 50 Mile Championship San Francisco, CA.

46.7 miles or so 7:00:05
33rd Overall out of 391
Course was cut short and rerouted due to the heavy
amounts of rain. We ended up running 2 23 mile loops.
The mud and rain were epic. We started at 5:00 am
in the dark. The rain came down hard and it pretty
much rained the entire time I was running. Course
was bad first loop and only got worse as we ran it
a second time as all the other 50 mile runners and
50k runners passed through for their first loop.
In sections you could barely even walk on the steep
ups due to the mud and no grip. Physically I had
some cramps that would come and go and around mile
32 my IT band became very sore. My IT band is still
very sore today. I hobbled around at the airport.
Overall happy with my race of course I would liked
to have placed better. Was a great experience even
though all the rain and mud was not pleasant.
Enjoyed visiting the area and seeing some of the
sights. It's a beautiful part of the country and
can only imagine how pretty those trails would be
with some sunshine and no fog.
Bethany was my crew and she was a trooper. She had
to stand around in the pouring rain and stand in
puddles for hours. I am very much appreciative for
all that she did for me. She's AWESOME!!!
Alex Nichols had a great race 5th overall and Justin
Ricks also did very well 18th overall. I'd say we
represented the area pretty darn good.
Going to take it easy for a couple of weeks. My next
race will be a local 10k on New Year's Day.
So I end the year with 4 marathons 1 50k and a 50
miler plus a bunch of shorter races. Not a bad year
at all. Look forward to 2013!

Bethany wrote a crew report. Hope you enjoy her take
on things...
Thursday we left for California with a lot of running
and rain gear. Good thing we had stuff that covered
both categories. My brother had been sending me emails
along the lines of “they are forecasting a ‘river of
rain.’ This could be epic.” He wasn’t kidding. Over
8 inches of rain fell on the north bay area from
Wednesday until Saturday morning. On Thursday evening,
after enjoying an, if not soggy, lovely walk around
the Mission district, we discovered that the race had
been rerouted. No more Dipsea stairs. Everything north
of Muir Beach was being cut out as the forecast for
the state forest land was even worse than the Headlands
forecast. The race organizers hustled to get the
reroute/course marking finished plus get out new course
guides for the racers/pacers/crew. One local runner
took a look at the new course and said ‘Oh, those steps
down to Pirates Cove are gonna be murder.’
Saturday morning, the alarm woke us at 2:40. Off to the
start line in the rain. The traffic direction was to
park in a mud pit. I told Brad that I was dropping him
at the shuttle and then I left for Tennessee Valley.
The new reroute made TV a ‘hub’ aid station as the
runners had to pass through 4 times before heading to
the finish. I was the first crew in the lot at 4:45. Another
car pulled in next to me and I looked over to find Denise
Ricks. Our Colorado support was gathering. The two of us
plotted methods for staying dry and how to get out of the
area as the spectator/aid station/crew traffic became
insane. The rain and wind got even crazier as we waited
for the runners to arrive. A car blocked me in. Oh boy,
I thought, I’d better go talk to them to see if I’m going
to be able to get out. It was still dark and I had no clue
who I was talking to. She was short with me as she unpacked
her things in the rain and their crew got ready. I would find
out later that I had exchanged terse words with Anna F. and
team Salamon as they had gotten their crew station ready.
Out of the dark we heard “Runners!” Bobbing down the trail,
we could see the headlights coming. We prepared, as we
stood in a gush of water coming down the hillside, the
wind pelting us with heavy rain. First runner through
was flying… almost 10 minutes faster than last years’ time
at that aid station. Hot on his tail was Sage Canaday.
It was a joy just to watch the fastest ultrarunners compete
so fiercely and watch the carnage that the conditions would
wreak. Out of the dark we heard someone yelling “ALEX!” and
knew that Maddy Schmid was just across from us, crewing
Alex Nichols. Once Alex had flown through commenting
“Those guys are nuts!,” we got Maddy and Alex’s dad to come
over and join the contingent. Justin was next through for
our little team and he moved on. Brad was close on his heels
and we took a breath to wait for the next time. The 3 of
them stayed in that order but spreading out time wise for
the remainder of the race. The rain and wind continued for
the balance of the race. While I stood by myself (Denise
and Maddy had left for the finish line), Sage Canaday came
walking into the aid station, looking as bad as any runner
I’ve ever seen. He was shivering and covered from head to
toe with mud. I knew his day was over with only 5 miles left.
Rickey Gates came back to the Team Salamon crew station
as he had dropped after the first lap. It was a tough day out
there for anyone. But typical of Brad, everytime he came
through for help, he was focused on what he needed to do,
obvious that he was hurting. But at mile 41, it just didn’t
matter anymore. Out he went to the finish and I knew it was
in the bag. In the end, I watched him cross the finish line
at 7:00:05 in 35th overall place. Alex placed 5th and when
we asked him how it was out there , he said “It was World
War 3 out there!” Justin was 17th and seemed to feel good
the entire day. Pretty proud of our hometown boys. It was fun
despite the weather. I guess we lucked out as they cancelled
all of Sunday’s races. Will we be back for another round
of North Face adventure? Maybe. Just maybe.



HappyTrails said...

Good stuff! Great job out there Brad - way to get it done in poor conditions! BTW, was that your longest race?

Brad Poppele said...

Thanks Steve!
I have run 3 previous 50 mile races.
It's been a few years since I ran one.