Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Loch Ness Marathon 2012

      This is a tough one to write about.  In one sense, it was a smashing success.  I ran 2:55:50, finished 25th overall, first in my age group, and even won a £100 gift certificate to a local running store, along with a beautiful quaich.  I did a heck of a lot better than the last time I ran the race, in 2008, when I was forced to drop out at about mile 10 with atrial fibrillation.

First Place 50 and Over
Quaich (Scottish Whiskey Cup)
       On the other hand, this was the toughest and least pleasant race I can remember running.  None of that had to do with the course or the weather; it was entirely my fault.  I simply was not mentally nor physically ready.  I came through the first half of the race in about 1:24:00, and faded badly after that.  From mile 20 or so on, I had a bad cramp in my left calf.  I walked through the last three aid stations.

The Finish Line

    But most importantly, I had the support of my friends on a tough day.  And, I got to see Scotland again, the most beautiful country in the entire world. I can't wait to go back.

Whitebridge, near Loch Ness
Me and Stan Carmack in the distance

Point of Sleat on the Isle of Skye
Scotland is the most beautiful place on Earth

The 47th Annual Mt. Baldy Run to the Top, September 3, 2012

      Mt. Baldy has long been one of my favorite races.  The seven mile course starts at the parking lot for Mt. San Antonio Ski Lift, elevation about 6,000 feet, and finishes at the very top of the mountain, at 10,064 feet above sea level.  The course plays right into my strengths.  With the exception of the first half mile, it is all uphill, but the trial is not overly technical.  If I ever have to pick a course for a match race, this will be the course I choose.

The drive out to Mt. Baldy is often beautiful

 The Start Line: Number 552 is Robert Leonardo, a highly accomplished local runner about my age who almost always finishes ahead of me.  This is only the second time I bested him.  
      I had a good race at Mt. Baldy this year.  Usually, I start out rather slowly, and am in about 50th place or so at the first mile.  This year, I ran harder at the start and was in perhaps 10th place at mile one.  By mile 4, the Notch, I was in 5th, and by the end I was in 4th overall, third male.  That's my highest finish in about ten attempts at this course, although my time of 1:16:16 was about four minutes slower than last year.  It is also the first time I've been beaten by a woman on this course!  The first woman, Annie O’Donnell, finished third overall, just ahead of me.

Mile 6 or so