Full circle- SOB 100K Race Report
Last year I DNF'd the inaugural Sean O'Brien 50 Miler, as I have wrote about before I was at a low point in running and it culminated in that race.  Turning the calendar a full year at SOB this weekend was great on many levels.  Not only was I fortunate enough to have a great day, I enjoyed being on the trails for almost every mile (Bulldog loop climb not so enjoyable) and as we all know thats what its all about!
 

Off season
I took a nice chunk of time off after AC last August, wanting to re-charge and enjoy other hobbies that ultra running can sometimes push to the side.  I have come to realize since moving to LA, I'm not much of a "winter" runner.  I always blamed growing up in the Midwest with the subzero temperatures and snow that kept me indoors, but really I just like a few months of hibernation:)

 25th Birthday hike at Point Reyes National Seashore

25th Birthday hike at Point Reyes National Seashore

On another note- our running group of friends have formed a team, Pacific Mountain Runners.  It is a pretty awesome group that you can find plenty more about here: http://www.PacificMountainRunners.com/
 

Training
My build up to SOB was a bit up and down.  Between work travel, some minor injuries, and short days I wasn't quite sure I would have the fitness for a 100K.  Fortunately I was able to get in some really solid long runs and a few strong weeks from mid-December through January.  Including pacing my PMR teammate and good friend Andy Pearson through the night at Hawaii's HURT 100.  He's an animal and I was exhausted from just running the last 40 miles with him.

  Long run with PMR

Long run with PMR

  Getting miles on the SOB course with Keith

Getting miles on the SOB course with Keith

  Post pacing Andy at Hurt 100, what a race!

Post pacing Andy at Hurt 100, what a race!

I did not feel like I was AC fit, but for a 100K in February I was happy, injury-free, and ready to go!

Start to Kanan #1 (mile 13)

  PMR representing- Guillaume, myself, Peter and Dom far right

PMR representing- Guillaume, myself, Peter and Dom far right

We took off at 5:00 AM from Malibu Creek State Park, forecasts were predicting cool temperatures with a bit of rain.  Not exactly a normal SoCal day, but great running weather!

I settled into a conservative early pace and was more than happy to let my faster PMR friends zoom off ahead.  With the 100K boasting more than 16,000 ft. of climbing I wanted to make sure I had plenty of legs left for the Kanan-Bonsall loop and the dreaded Bulldog climb 50 miles in. 

I came in to Kanan #1 in 2:09 a few minutes slower than I anticipated, but feeling totally fresh and ready to get my day going.  Just like last year, Kanan was a party of SoCal friends.  One of my favorite parts of racing in my backyard is seeing so many friends either running, helping out at aid stations, or even just hanging out and cheering.  What made this year even better for me was having my girlfriend Josie out supporting:)

  "Hey guys hows it going?"- feeling fresh

"Hey guys hows it going?"- feeling fresh

  Josie already holding sweaty clothes and water bottles for me:)

Josie already holding sweaty clothes and water bottles for me:)

Kanan #1 to Kanan #2 (13 - 37)
I did this section twice in training and both times happened to be in cooler temperature and rainy days so I lucked out to have such similar weather on race day.  This year I was looking forward to the 5,000 ft. of vertical in two solid climbs this loop offers.  By the time I got to Bonsall aid station (mile 22) I was feeling great and starting to make up time on other runners.

Only bummer was to see my good friend and Pacific Mountain Runner (PMR) teammate Dom sitting at the aid station.  He looked to be in some pain and seeing how strong a runner he is on a weekly basis I just hoped there wasn't anything seriously wrong as he has an exciting 2015 of racing coming up.

I was in and out of the aid station and ready to climb.  In the next eight miles I climbed strong and started passing runners I had seen flow by me to start the day.  Before I knew it I was back to the single-track heading to Kanan and starting to feel the miles on my legs. 

Kanan #2 to Finish (37 - 62)
Heading out of Kanan #2- time to do work

Just when I was starting to feel my energy wain, I got a great boost by seeing Josie and all my friends again at Kanan.  I took a couple minutes at the aid station as I assumed that this would be last time I got to see her and my friends.  As always, she surprised me when I popped out to the Corral Canyon Aid Station (mile 43) Josie and our PMR team were cheering runners on!

Heading into Corral my thoughts turned to the last 20 miles of the course.  To get the "extra 12" miles to turn SOB from a 50 miler to 100K this year Keira added a climb that I love, but never thought about doing 50 miles into a 100K that already boasted a solid elevation profile.  I knew this section would make or break my day and as I was starting to feel the miles I tried to keep my focus steady and pace even heading to Corral.

As I was a couple miles out of the aid station I caught PMR teammate, Guillaume Calmettes, I saw him as I was coming around a bend in the single-track and he was doubled over stretching.  This was my only other bummer of the day.  Like Dom, Guillaume is an incredible runner and while id love to catch him in a race one day, I never want to catch a friend because they're injured, or in Guillaume's case cramping.  I tried to give him some encouragement, but could tell by his expression that he was in some serious pain.  I wished him luck and before I knew it I was running down towards MASH on the Bulldog loop and trying not to think about the return climb.

Lucky for me I think this is where the weather really worked in my favor.  The cool temperatures and light rain most of the day had kept me feeling pretty strong and I was able to move efficiently back up to Corral (mile 55).  It was great to be at the last aid station and I knew it was all downhill from here.  I gave Josie one final sweaty hug and kiss and took off to finish my race!

The last seven miles were a nice quad buster.  My legs were really feeling heavy and I just let gravity bring me down the mountain.  It was great seeing so many other runners racing various distances and accomplish their goals and I tried to wish each one good luck on finishing out there race!

  Worked and happy to be done!

Worked and happy to be done!

  Going for the Montrail Dunk

Going for the Montrail Dunk

My goal for the day had been to go sub 10:30, and was happy to cross the finish line in 12th place in 10:26:55.  Overall it was an amazing day and special thanks to Keira for putting on such an awesome race.  If you haven't gotten a chance to run one of Keira's races I highly recommend it.  She puts on challenging races, with great course markings, the best volunteers, and always great SWAG:)

Thanks to all of our SoCal community for coming out to support, it was great seeing all of you and looking forward to cheering many of you on as well this year!
Next up

Im signed up for San Diego 100 on June 6th.  I have been wanting to do this race ever since I paced my good friend Josh Spector, and he put together one of the guttiest performances ever there a few years ago!  Im looking forward to training for SD and a hopefully a great 2015!  I am in the Montrail Last Chance sweepstakes for Western States this year, so pending the lottery (fingers crossed) I could have a chance to toe the line for that epic race!

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