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Survival Dash 8.18.12 race notes

I went out to take pictures for the Survival Dash race by the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco today.  It was a small 10k race put on by Leila and her crew.  I love the small races because you get to be with the people who are racing and hosting the race.  We had people from all over the place joining us for today’s race.   It was fun hearing people talk about their goals for the race.  Some people planned on running the whole time, without stopping.  Other people wanted to win.  A common goal was to break a 10 minute per mile pace.

When you have a race with less than 100 people, there are no fancy amenities.  You have Ted taking pictures and posting them on Picasa.  You have Leila running the show and designating a volunteer to shout the ready, set, go command.  A lot of the snacks are made by the volunteers.  Who can say no to homemade brownies?  They also had beer, leis and grass skirts.

The pictures can be found here.  They are in two folders and posted in the order taken with edited pictures appearing at random.

The big bridge birthday celebration is this weekend.  If you are like me and like to play in the Precidio and Crissy Field, parking may be difficult.  I am going to head north and ride my bike up MT Tam or some place like that.

I have to admit, the Golden Gate Bridge Commission knows how to throw a party.   Here is a copy of their flyer.

Golden Gate Bridge 75th anniversary! – Sunday May 27th – 11am – 10pm

Join the celebration next weekend….by foot or bike or bus and leave your cars at home in SF or Marin …

Key details on transit and road/bridge/parking closures at the link below. Presidio is closed to all vehicles All Day. Bridge will be closed to bikes/peds at 6pm and to cars at 9pm Sunday night for fire works. Tell a friend and share

All access from Bay Bridge/101/19th and north of GGP will be impacted 100% all day. Encourage all to take bart, muni, bus or other.

Please share this with everyone you know coming to the city on Sunday.

Alameda’s Bike to Work Love

For those of you looking forward to Bike to Work Day, here is a map of some festivities you can look forward to on the island:

Click for a better look.

I am still out with a knee injury.  To help fill up my Saturday morning, I am going to attend the Foot clinic at the REI store in Berkeley at 11:00am on Saturday morning.  This is a bad time for most cyclists and people on the bigger training days but it may work for the rest of us.  There are still 31 seats available and the clinic is free.  The Berkeley REI parking lot fills up fast but there is plenty of street parking on Saturday mornings.  I will be sporting my SFtri T-shirt.  If you see me there, come say hi.

Berkeley REI — Foot Care for Any Sport: Fit, Blisters & More
Date: 4/14/2012
Event Location: Berkeley REI
Event Fee: Free
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (PDT)
Presenter: John Vonhof
Group Size: 50

Description: John Vonhof is an expert on foot care. An ultrarunner, hiker, and backpacker for more than 25 years, he has pushed his feet to the extreme. As a paramedic and orthopedic technician, he has treated athletes at top adventure and endurance races around the world. In today’s interactive class at REI Berkeley’s Footwear Festival, John will share his secrets for healthy feet, featured in his book, “Fixing Your Feet: Prevention and Treatment for Athletes”, now in its 5th edition. Come learn about fit, insoles, socks, toenail care, calluses, hot spots, preventing and fixing blisters, properly taping your feet as a prevention/treatment measure, and more. If you register for this free class at, we will hold a seat for you until the scheduled start time. Seating may be available at the door, even if registration is closed.

A quick update for today’s post.  My marathon is tomorrow.  I am supposed to go for a very easy 2 mile jog but I am going to skip it to give my sore legs a day to rest.  This will be my third attempt at CIM.  I did it two other times but I did not finish well.  Hopefully, I did everything right and finish running.  I was planning on running with some friends from the running club who are planning on finishing in 3:40.  I decided to slow down and run with the first pace group after 4:15.  Maybe changing things up will give me a better shot at success.  I am very excited to go back and tackle a challenge that has defeated me twice.

Now that I am finished with my marathon training, I started swimming for triathlon training.  When I was taking it easy and only training for a marathon, Finis sent me a swimsense, swim monitor to review.  I had to send it back after I reviewed it.  I liked it but I was not swimming a lot to give it a really good review.  I started swimming a few weeks ago, when I started to taper for the marathon.  I really missed the swimsense.  It is not exact but it is usually off by 25 yards over the course of a mile.  When I am out for a swim, I don’t notice the difference between 37 and 38 laps.  I was considering buying one from Amazon for about $200.  This morning, I found they sent the Swimsense back!  Christmas came early.  I don’t have “consider” anymore.  I have “mine” back.  Thanks Finis.

Wish me well for the marathon.

I was supposed to go out for a 20 mile training run today but I decided to go take some pictures at Rocky Ridge for Brazen Racing.  The cool thing about Brazen is, all of the pictures are uploaded to Picasa and are available for download for free.  We are not professional photographers with the snazzy equipment but we do okay.  The photo album can be found here.

You may ask yourself, “Why would an Alamedarunner skip his long run to go take pictures at a trail race”?  The answer is simple, to be social.  Trail running is generally more social than road racing.  Road racing can be fast while trail running is a bit slower and hillier.  Going uphill is hard on everything.  Walking uphill can be a serious challenge to the legs but your breathing is good enough to talk.  Going downhill can be dangerous so people slow down and chat.  All of this leads to a community atmosphere.  Sam and Jasmin, the event organizers, are very friendly too.  All of this creates an atmosphere where people want to be.  The volunteers are usually people like me, who are training for something else, family members or friends.  I was out with my friends, taking pictures of my friends.  My wife and son went out to volunteer as well.

I went up to the top of a big hill of about 1800 feet, to get some pictures with a nice view.  One advantage of taking pictures on top of a hill is that everyone gets spread out.  When people are spread out, I get to try more things with the camera.  Unfortunately for the half marathon runners, they had over 3,500 feet of climbing on their legs when they got to me.  I got a lot of good pictures from the top of that hill.  It is always great when people stop to pose for the photographer.

This was a hard race for every distance.  It was hard on the volunteers who were out on the course.  Do you ever wonder how the volunteers make it to the top of a big hill to set up an aid station?  The lucky ones get there stuff delivered for them.  Many volunteers put the water, table and other supplies in wagons and haul it to the aid station.  They also send a volunteer out on the course with trash bag to pick up the cups that get thrown around.  Most trail runners hit the trash cans or come really close to hitting the trash bin but we always have to check.  The runners frequently stop to pick up the trash that others drop.

If you want to run in a friendly event, try a trail run.  Even the type “A” racers lighten up a bit for the trail runs.

Sam and the rest of the Brazen Racing family are friends to us here at Alameda Runners, and we often enjoy racing and volunteering at their events. As such, here are a few of the upcoming Brazen races that runners can learn about (sent out by Sam) that will be hosted over the next six weeks.

Here are the three upcoming races:

  • Hellyer Half Marathon/10K/5K (Sunday, May 22):Here is the Hellyer website.

    Except for a very short star/finish on grass, these races are entirely on paved trails through Hellyer Park and along Coyote Creek. By normal Brazen Racing standards (comparing with many of our trail races), this is a “flat” race, but for those a little more accustomed to road races “very gentle, mild rolling” might describe it better. There are no major climbs, but there are sections that are slightly up and slightly down. No matter the description, it is a nice fast course!
  • Nitro Trail Half Marathon/10K/5K (Saturday, June 4):Here is the Nitro Trail website.

    The original Brazen Racing event, Nitro will take you along the bay-hugging trails and eucalyptus groves of what was once the company town of the Atlas, Giant and Hercules Powder Company. All courses have a few rolling hills and offer plenty of great views with temperatures that are typically about 20 degrees lower than you’d find inland, making for perfect June running conditions.
  • Trailquake 2011 Half Marathon/10K/5K(Sunday, June 12):Here is the Trailquake website.

    Back to the South Bay for a run through the eastern side of the Santa Cruz Mountains! These courses run along the always-gorgeous San Andreas Trail in Sanborn County Park, under the shade of redwood and pine trees. There will be some hills to climb, but then you get to come right back down them too!

It’s amazing to see Brazen continue to expand as Sam has created a following that looks forward to his events.

Every Step Counts Fun Run 2011

Today was the Every Step Count run day.  The weather sure did cooperate.  Who knew you could see the Golden Gate Bridge from San Leandro?  It was great to see all of the people out running and trying to run.  Not everyone could run the whole distance but everyone tried.  Every time you get out and try, you get better.  I love to see the effort.  I tried to get a picture of every race participant.  The pictures can be found here.

Every Step Counts is a race hosted by the Stepping Stones Growth Center, an organization to help young people with learning disabilities.  Life skills involve making every step count and taking things one step at a time.

Mike’s note:  At a time when the state and national governments slash budgets for parks, education, and other vital programs, it’s great to see Stepping Stones Growth Center and similar programs making a great difference.

If you’re in the SF East Bay and want a local 5K to race this weekend, the Every Step Counts 1 Mile Walk/Run will be held on Saturday (April 30) from the San Leandro Marina Park.

The event, hosted by the Stepping Stones Growth Center non-profit social services agency, helps children and adults with disabilities get better life skills.

The race has a $30 entry fee (includes race entry, t-shirt, one free entry to prize drawing, goodie bag, and post-race snacks). You can head to the event registration page for online race signup.

For anyone thinking about attending the race, here are the particulars:

Date: Saturday, April 30, 2011
Location: San Leandro Marina Park, 13800 Monarch Bay Dr., San Leandro 94577
Race check-in and day of registration: Begins 7:30 a.m.
Opening ceremony and walk/run: Begins at 8:30 a.m.
Closing ceremony and post-event festivities: Begin at 10:00 a.m.

I’m currently working on an upcoming article related to the SSGC, its work in the community, and the impact of its 5K race.

As expected, the 2011 Oakland Running Festival helped the City of Oakland generate around $3 million in revenue from the 1300+ out of town athletes.
Athletes from outside the Bay Area spent around $445 to stay, eat and race in Oakland during festival weekend.

Here is a tidbit from the Oakland Tribune story:

While the economic windfall for Oakland was positive, the races also showcased the city to many who otherwise might not come to Oakland. The field represented people from 39 states and six other countries, and so far the feedback has been top-notch, said race spokesman Dave Gell.

“The financial impact is accountable, but the public relations impact should be assessed as well,” said Greenlight spokesman Ryan Chamberlain. “I’m not sure how you quantify the goodwill generated by several thousand people from all over the world going on a 26.2-mile street-level tour of the city and then reporting back nothing but good stories. This event makes Oakland look really good.”

If CSE (Corrigan Sports) wants to help ORF grow to the same size as the Baltimore Running Festival (25K+ runners, then economic success for Oakland is an important step. The feedback from the race was positive (again) as runners and visitors were able to look beyond the city’s sketchy public image.

Editor’s Note: It’s also worth noting that it’s excellent CSE pays the OPD overtime pay (roughly $100,000) so the City of Oakland doesn’t have to pick up the tab. It seems unlikely the community would be as willing to support the race if they had to pay for officers along the course.