Local Race Information

One of the most common topics of conversation among runners is what their next race will be, or how their friends did in recent events. This week we’re keeping you up to date on local running news - or as our Wednesday Night Laundry Runners newsletter puts it, “All of the news of the fit in print.”

If you are thinking about running the Big Sur International Marathon on April 29th, 2012 – we know it seems like a lifetime away – you better enter NOW. Marathon entries went on sale July 15th and close to 1,500 people registered the first day and 2,000 the first week. Race entries are limited and the field is already about 65% full. Go to www.bsim.org to enter.

The Big Sur Half Marathon on Monterey Bay on November 20th is about 65% full as well. The 5K and JUST RUN 3K on November 19th are going to be in downtown Pacific Grove this year instead of Cannery Row. Races will start at Jewell Park, be on fairly rolling paved streets, and finish at Forest and Lighthouse.

The 2nd annual Salinas Valley Half Marathon is August 6th and is extremely close to a sellout even though the field was expanded from 1,300 to 1,800 this year. This popular race also added a fitness expo at Hartnell College, open to the public, from 2PM to 7PM on August 5th. The elite men’s field is like a who’s who of former Salinas Valley high school and Hartnell College runners that have become national stars. Included are Diego Estrada, Danny Tapia, Jesus Campos, Mario Mendoza, Miguel Nuci, and Anthony Solis.

The very next day, Sunday August 7th, will see the Carmel Valley Fiesta Mountain Run, a challenging trail run for everyone with a sense of adventure. Some hardy local athletes are doing the SV Half and the Fiesta Run on back to back days, and the Fiesta run will recognize those runners with their own race category. Register at www.active.com.

The Just Plane Fun Run, kids’ mile and half mile races, will be September 25th at the Salinas Airport. Put on by the Salinas International Air Show and the Just Run program, kid’s last year started near Monster Trucks and did a few laps on the runway after they were “cleared for takeoff” from the control tower. Kids and their families received discounted tickets to air show events as well. This one is a “can’t miss” if you have kids under 14.

Some other local favorite races you should put on your calendar are the RLS Run in the Forest (5K and 10K) on October 8th and the Big Sur River Run (5k and 10K) on October 22nd.

Finally, a couple of local running notes: Congratulations to Dan Zulaica from North County and Stella Gibbs from Marina for competing well in the master’s (over 40) track World Championships in Sacramento last week. Stella finished 10th in the 50-54 age group 5,000 meters on the track. Dan finished 13th, and 2nd from the United States, in the associated 50-54 marathon.

We hope to see you at all these local races.

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Ten Rules From Above

A few days ago we were running in the heat to get Donald acclimated for a 100-mile run on the Tahoe Rim Trail this coming weekend. It was a long hilly run on the trails of Fort Ord, at the hottest time of day in the mid-afternoon. We were both wearing thick cotton sweats and hadn’t had any water for a few hours.

We had placed water bottles under a large rock a few days earlier, but when we got there the bottles had evidently been tampered with, and water was spilling out from under the rock, completely undrinkable. Disappointed and parched, we continued up the hill. At the summit, the sun shone brightly from behind a bush that made it look like it was on fire.

It was then that we heard the voice.

Each of us thought it was a hallucination, but we both heard it: deep, powerful, and mysterious. “Fear not,” the voice said, “for I have wise advice for you.”

Donald was too overwhelmed to talk, but Mike said, “What advice can you give Donald for his 100-miler?” The voice replied sternly, “Listen carefully to these ten rules.”

“First, and most important: I will be your only coach. Don’t take advice from anyone else!” We both nodded our agreement.

“Run only for enjoyment and personal challenge; don’t idolize the finisher’s medal or the glory of spectators.” That sounded profound, and it seemed like the voice was indeed rather wise.

“When the miles grow difficult, don’t start cursing me. Remember, you’re the one who signed up for this crazy thing.” Fair enough, we suppose.

“Take a good long rest at sundown on Friday until your race begins on Saturday morning. It probably wouldn’t hurt to say a few prayers that night, either.” That sounded reasonable.

“Be thankful for the slow twitch muscle fibers you inherited from your father and mother, and honor them by not overworking your muscles to cause lactic acid buildup.” Apparently the voice had some exercise physiology background as well.

“Speed kills! Pace yourself wisely throughout the race, and don’t race to keep up with any competitors.” Coincidentally, this is one that Donald struggles with quite often.

“If your pacer [a safety companion for the last half of the race] is a female, be careful of becoming too emotionally involved with her!” Our wives would appreciate that rule. Suddenly the sun started to set lower in the sky, and the voice began speaking really fast.

“Eat and drink properly at every aid station, but don’t steal anything from another runner’s drop bag!” That one seemed like common courtesy.

“Don’t exaggerate or complain about factors that might slow you down, like illness or injury. Everyone faces similar challenges, and nobody likes a sandbagger!” The voice seemed to be scolding us a bit, before taking a more respectful turn …

“Don’t covet the lifestyles of your neighbors who seek short term pleasures. You’ve trained diligently and faithfully – now run with perseverance, and in striving for the larger prize you’ll be generously rewarded.” And with that, the voice fell silent.

We stared at the bush and each other for a few minutes in silence, then started back down the hill slowly. Donald said, “Well I guess we know what our next column is going to be.” Mike replied, “Sure … but who will believe us?”

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