Monday, August 4, 2008

Cruising at Cool

On Saturday night (at 7 p.m.), I joined around 90 runners for the 2nd annual 12 Hours at Cool night run. I really liked this event last year and with two weeks remaining until my 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail run, this was the perfect time to do some more night running and to fine-tune my night-running setup (headlamps, waist lamps, clothing, and so on).

Last year, I ran six 9-mile loops at this race, but I knew I could definitely run seven loops on a good day. Seven loops meant averaging 1:42 per loop, including breaks, so my plan was to go out slower than last year and run lap 1 in 1:20, lap 2 in 1:30, and then try to cover as many loops as possible in around 1:45. That would then leave a little bit of a cushion for the last two loops. It proved to be a great plan and with the help of my new Nascar pit crew (my boys Sean and Rocky) and my friend Troy who paced me for loops 4, 5, and 7, I was able to execute it almost exactly as planned.

With RD Nancy Warren

My main aim for this race was to try out my three-piece lighting setup. It consists of the following pieces:
  1. Brunton L3 3-Watt LED Headlamp -- Simply, put, This headlamp rocks! It is the brightest LED headlamp in the world, featuring a 3-watt LED that lights up the night.
  2. Amphipod Xinglet with a 4-Led Petzl -- An light, reflective harness with a convenient spot to mount an extra 4-watt Led light about 4 inches above the waist.
  3. Brunton running belt with another 4-LED lamp--Having a waist lamp (a regular headlamp mounted on a running belt) provides better depth perception than a headlamp, especially on rocky terrain.

Light Up the Night!

With all those lights I looked like a Boeing 747 coming in for a landing, but one thing's for sure: more light equals faster times. It was not hard to put it all on. In fact, it took Sean and Rocky only 33 seconds to outfit me with the complete, three-piece night-light setup!

Some other items I tried out on this run:

  • My brand-new Dirty Girl Gaiters. I could not imagine running without these super-comfortable gaiters on such a dusty and rocky course.
  • Power Bar Gel Blasts--like Clif Shots, but better tasting. Good stuff!

The New Dirty Girl Gaiters

I started almost a minute per mile slower than last year and watched the early race leaders disappear out of sight. Team Red Bluff (Pre-race favorite Beverly Anderson Abbs and last year's winner Alan Abbs were up front along with Joe Palubeski). Unfortunately Bev and Alan had to call it after about three or four laps. I could not believe Beverly was actually running here so soon after winning first place masters title at TRT100 two weeks ago.

With Joe Palubeski (3rd overall)

I ran the first two laps with Sean Lang, talking about his upcoming Cascade Crest adventure, swimming and Judo. I was surprised to find out that ultrarunning is less injury-prone than Judo! We must be doing something right. Tony Overbay was right behind us, looking strong.

My friend Troy joined me for loop 4 and 5. Troy offered to pace me for a section of TRT165 and wanted to try out what it was like to run at night. Troy just recently got back into running, inspired by some of my running DVDs and books. Though no stranger to running (How is 2:42 for a marathon PR!), this would be Troy's first ultra experience. I think we'll see more of Troy in the near future.

With Troy at the Finish

I started loop 6 in third place, about 30 minutes behind Joe. This was probably the toughest loop of the race. I started getting a bit tired (pulling an all-nighter at work just a few days earlier probably did not help much). I finished the loop in the slowest time, but still had two hours to spare for the last loop.

Crew Member Sean, Hard at Work

My stomach was a little bit upset and I grabbed some soup at the aid station in the hope that this would settle it down. I told RD Nancy Warren that I would be back in less than two hours and walked over to the crew truck, where Rocky started rattling off the different food choices available. None of them sounded very appetizing and the soup did not seem to do its job either.

A few seconds later, I found myself bent over, throwing up on the edge of the parking lot. Maybe 6 loops was enough? It's easy to give in to these thoughts in a twelve-hour run, since there is no specific distance that has to be covered. In other words, you can't really DNF. Troy was going to join me for the last loop, but stood there slightly puzzled, wondering how he could help and what was going to happen--welcome to ultrarunning!

I looked at my watch: 10:03 (5:03 a.m.). If I left now, I could easily make the last loop with some walking breaks and it was going to be light soon, which would make it a little bit. Apart from feeling nauseous, nothing was really hurting. Pull it together! I drank some water and some flat coke, grabbed my bottle and started walking with Troy (at 10:05). We walked up the first hill and as soon as we reached the top, we were running again. The nausea cleared up quickly and I started feeling good. After a few miles, we passed Joe Palubeski (and his wife) on his way to a 59.5-mile finish (3rd overall). Watch out for Joe in upcoming ulras--this was only his second 50-mile+ ultra! Of course, he's been training with Alan and Beverly, so that explains a lot!

At the Finish

Troy and I ran the rest of the loop, passing a few other runners on their way to the finish. We caught up to Frank Plucker, who is going to pace me from Echo Lakes to Barker Pass in two weeks and he ended up finishing 54 miles (6 loops) in his first night run. I finished second overall in 11:44.

With Jose, Ray, Mario and Another Runner at the Finish

Race winner Greg Bomhoff was flying all night and won the race about an hour ahead of me. I guess he could have gone out for another half loop, but instead he kindly left something for next year ;-) Aaron Sorenson, who has also kindly offered to help and pace me at TRT165 (Aaron is planning an unsupported TRT attempt) was out on the trail with his girlfriend, Christine, who took 2nd female with six loops.

I have to still pick the excuse for not winning the race from the following list (I think it was because the winner used up all the best oxygen!):

A big thank you to Nancy Warren and all the volunteers that made this race possible and for the great pancakes at the finish line (as ususal)! Special thanks, also, to Norm and Helen Klein for running the remote 5.5-mile aid station (voted best soup on the course!)

Sean and Rocky had a blast staying up all night (well, almost all night) and could not sleep once they got home. I, on the other hand, could not wait to get some sleep (and stopped for a quick nap in the car on the way home)!

Next up: My long-awaited Tahoe Rim Trail 165-Mile run. Starting at 4 p.m on Friday, August 15th close to Stateline, NV. (complete itenerary posted here).


Chihping Fu 傅治平 (超馬阿爸) said...

Great job Pete and congrats to your 2nd place finish!

Nightly running is tough but no less enjoyable as daytime running. Hope your gears and this nightly run help you get through the 165 TRT and, at the same time, enjoy as much beauty of the trail.


Mark Tanaka (Ultrailnakaman) said...

Great job! Way to puke and run fast anyways. Real ultrarunners puke sometime.

You owe me $20 for using my photo of you and Joe, but since you gave me that ride, we'll call it even.

Good luck on your Rim Trail run!

Anonymous said...

Great job, Peter! Really enjoyed the report, sounded like a fun race format. Best of luck on the TRT!


Paul Charteris said...

Great Stuff Peter

I am not a great night runner but I really enjoyed last years night run at Cool. You are going to really kick it on the Tahoe Rim Trail.

Best of luck!!

Cheers, Paul

Sean Lang said...

Peter, you make a great light! Things went bad after you disappeared and I didn't have your uber light to illuminate the trail.

Great race, and it was cool catching up with you,


Gretchen said...

Nice report, and great job on 7 laps! I was bummed to miss the race this year since last year was so fun, but I couldn't even bring myself to think aobut it only 2 weeks after TRT. Looks like you are running strong.
Love the pics and report with all the familiar faces--Team Red Bluff, Sean Lang, Ray Sanchez, etc. Rest up now so you can rock the TRT adventure!

Bev Anderson-Abbs said...

Nice job Peter.It was good to see you out there. Joe is a crazy one, he has been known to leave us in the dust when we're out training.
Gretchen, I wish I'd had that same idea. My knee certainly was not ready for that one. Oh well, a forced month off to get functional again. Hopefully I'll be back in the mix by the end of the year.

Catherine said...

Great seeing you run by during the night. And I thought MY light was bright! I wonder if the number of lights needed is in direct relation to how fast you run. You needed 3, I needed 1 :)

Yes, now rest up for TRT (and hopefully in a more comfortable position than the front seat of your car)

hao said...


it was great seeing you. great job finishing 2nd. you almost lapped me again this year! luckily, i found the solution to that problem, stop running before you come in. :) sorry, i won't be able to partake in your record attempt. best of luck and run safely out there.



PowerBar said...

Glad you enjoyed the Gel Blasts. Keep up the great running!
From your pals at PowerBar.

Notleh said...

Peter, I just found your blog and I love it!

As a Reno resident who plans on running the TRT this year, I was very excited to read about your experiences and inspired to try some of the runs you have done. I would like to ask you a couple of questions about your lighting setup, so if you would please contact me at I would appreciate it.

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