Run, Sacramento

News and observations for recreational and competitive runners in Northern California.

June 15, 2010
Run, Sacramento blog reaches the finish line


Runners know all about numbers. It's what we're judged by, ultimately, in our training and in races. The clock doesn't lie.

So running readers no doubt will understand why The Bee's "Run, Sacramento" blog is leaning into the tape and crossing the finish line after nine months of service to the Sacramento running community. The reason this space is shutting down today and going to whatever happy place in the ether where discontinued blogs dwell is simple: Lack of numbers.

June 14, 2010
Dipsea Race Recap: And a child shall lead them...

reilly1.jpgAn 8-year-old girl in pigtails and wearing all pink won the 100th running of the Dipsea, the country's oldest trail race. But she had to outkick a 68-year-old woman to do it.

See, that's why we love this event.

The Dipsea is an age- and gender-handicapped race, which evens the playing field (although scratch runners, males 18-29, might say unfair advantage) and often delivers unexpected winners.

Sunday was no exception. Mill Valley fourth-grader Reilly Johnson (pictured) won the centennial race with a time of 47 minutes 30 seconds. That's eight seconds ahead of Melody Schultz, a 68-year-old from Ross. Both runners received the maximum 25-minute head start on the scratch runners. (The Dipsea whittles away the head start, by every two years, until the speedy 20-something men take off.)

Don't you just love that photo. Her winner's black shirt fits her like a dress.

Johnson not only won the race, but she was a veritable quote machine when speaking to the media afterward. (Believe me, if you've ever tried to interview a fourth-grader, it can be darn tough to get a complete sentence out of them.) Here's the Marin Independent Journal story on Reilly.

More than 20 local runners competed both in the invitational category (those who have raced previously and qualified to return) and those in the "runner" category (who got in by lottery and started after all the invitational runners.)

Once again, Sacramento's Iain Mickle, 49, earned a coveted black shirt for finishing in the top 35. Mickle, coming off an injury, finished 34th with an age-adjusted time of 53:37 (actual: 58:37). Rounding out the top 10 invitational runners:

  • 113th John Howard Jr., 22, Sacramento: 58:35 (scratch runner)
  • 134th Bruce LaBelle, 54, Davis: 59:37 (actual: 1:07:37)
  • 169th Sam McManis, 50, Davis: 1:01:19 (actual: 1:07:19)
  • 192nd  Matt Talbott, 32, Davis: 1:01:53 (actual: 1:02:53)
  • 207th Jason Howard, 19, Sacramento: 1:02:25 (scratch runner)
  • 241st James Flanigan, 60, Davis: 1:03:24 (actual: 1:15:24)
  • 268th Krista Callinan, 29, Davis: 1:03:56 (actual: 1:11:56)
  • 315th Brian Olson, 35, Elk Grove: 1:05:17 (actual: 1:06:17)

(Note: The dad of the two speedy Howard boys, John Howard, finished 359th at 1:06:13; actual time: 1:12:13. For compelte results, click here.)

In the runners division, which starts after all the invitational runners take off, the top three locals are all sure to have qualified for invitational status next year.

  • Chris Korzer, 41, Rocklin: 1:23:04 (58:04 actual)
  • Mark Helmus, 56, Davis: 1:30:06 (1:12:06 actual)
  • Randy Anderson, 46, Folsom: 1:30:32 (1:07:32 actual)

You may have noticed Your Boasting Humble Blogger listed there among the locals. Yup, I survived another Dipsea. This year, strangely, the downhills seemed more precarious than usual and the uphills just as hard as last year. But the race is still like being on a self-propelled rollercoaster for an hour or so -- fun and terrifying in equal parts.

I achieved my three goals:

1. Make sure I run fast enough to qualify for next year's race.

2. Beat my time from last year (2009, I ran 1:08:47)

3. Don't get injured

So, I was feeling pretty good about myself until going over the race last night with my 13-year-old soccer-playing daughter. When she found out that I only beat an 8-year-old -- Johnson, the winner -- by 5 minutes 11 seconds in "actual time," she mocked me for the rest of the night.

Had she seen the talent and guts that this incredible 8-year-old possesses, she wouldn't have been laughing.      

June 11, 2010
Video Friday: Celebrating the Dipsea

The 100th running of the nation's oldest trail race, the Dipsea, takes place on Sunday. I'll be among the runners going 7.4 miles from Mill Valley over Mount Tamalpais to Stinson Beach. I ran the Dipsea last year with a bad back, struggled, but qualified for invitaional status for this year's race.

I didn't hesitate to enter again. Running the Dipsea is like giving birth (or so I'm told). You tend to have selective amnesia afterward and forget the intense pain of the moment and want to do it again.

This is a Marin Independent Journal video from the 2008 race. It gives you just a little taste of the race, but hardly does justice to the beauty and treachery of the terrain.


June 10, 2010
Western States runner recounts bear encounter on the trail

Thumbnail image for markmurray,jpg.bmpLocal elite Masters runner Mark Murray saw his heart-rate unexpectedly shoot up while making the long climb up from El Dorado Creek to Michigan Bluff last Friday - his last long run before his first Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run later this month.

The reason for the spike?

A black bear emerged on the trail about 20 yards ahead of him.

Thumbnail image for blackbear.jpgThat freaked out Murray a tad. We presume the bear also was freaked out, since those Western States ultra-runners are well-known as hardcore badasses.

To explain: It was a weird day overall for Murray. He got a late start on his long run last Friday, then found two trail runners (friends Jenny Hitchings and John Blue) begging for a ride because Blue had left his keys in Hitchings' car. By the time he dropped them off, he still wanted to get in a solid seven-hour effort along the second half of the Western States course before the sun went down.

I reached Mark afterward for a full recap, so I guess you know now that he lived to tell the tale. But there were some dicey moments because (a) Mark was alone on the trail, and Sierra rangers don't recommend that; (b) he didn't make a lot of noise, as rangers also recommend; and (c) he didn't give the bear a 50-foot buffer, another recommendation. But let's cut the guy some slack. It was a freakin' bear!

(Click here for the "bear encounters" tips on

Anyway, as we pick up the story, Mark is running up toward Michigan Bluff and remembered that he'd planned to meet his pacer, Ed Randolph at Foresthill to do a loop.

"I had my cell with me," Murray says. "As I'm running up Michigan Bluff, maybe a mile up from El Dorado Creek, I heard some cracking of branches. When I hear things like that, I always think mountain lion. I've never seen one running. I'm thinking, 'Geez, this would be bad. There's nobody on the trail.' But I'm rational enough to think it's not likely to happen.

"So I'm halfway up and I decide to check the cell phone while running to see if I have coverage. I put the phone back and notice I have only one of my hand grips. I'm halfway up Michigan Bluff. I thought, 'Oh (darn), I've got to run back down and try to find this grip.' I go down three minutes, find it and backtrack up.

"On the way back up, I ran into a beautiful snake with a red belly. I'm thinking, 'Wow, that's neat. A little wildlife. How nice to be out here and experience wildlife.' On a good day for me, it's a 45-minute climb from El Dorado Creek to the top. I'm waiting to see the manzanita. When you pull out of the oaks and get to the manzanita, then you know you only have a half-mile to go to the top. I'm staring up ahead, looking for it.

"Right at that moment, this bear comes from the trail's left side. He's going uphill, as well, from the ridge side. Or she. I think maybe it was a she. So the bear is looking up trail, not at me. I was smart enough to stop. I'm just staring at this thing, saying, 'Oh my God, what can I do?' I don't want it to notice me, so I don't want to make noise. I'm closer than I'd like to be, maybe 20 yards.

"I must have made a noise or it smelled me or something, but at that moment it really slowly turns around. I see its face, full-on. There's a scar, a line down the right side of the face. As soon as the bear registers that it's a person, it just bolts. But there was a split-second there when I was thinking, 'Gosh, I wonder what kind of encounter a bear like that must've had to get a scar like that.' Within that next split-second, this bear is off the trail and barreling (downhill) through the manzanita. All I'm hearing is just this crashing of branches. Then I realize, that's probably how it got the scar, jamming down that steep downhill.

"At that point, I decided I was going to go up (the trail). You know, bears definitely have a robust smell to them. When I got to that spot, you smell this funky, animally aroma. I was actually pretty happy that I was only a half mile from the top."

What was the bear doing out at 3:30 in the afternoon - not usually bear hours? 

"I don't know," Murray said. "It was clearly scared. Once you get to the top of Michigan Bluff, there are a bunch of houses there. Maybe (it was hungry)."

This wasn't Murray's first bear encounter. Last year, on an evening trail run in Soda Springs, Murray saw two cubs frolicking with a dead-tree stump. The problem was, Murray couldn't locate the mother right away. He gingerly took off.

So, for those keeping score at home, it's Mark 2, Bears 0.

June 10, 2010
Study: Running prevents you from getting *#@&% angry

yelling-man.jpgA headline I stumbled across last night really ticked me off. I mean, I was really steamed. I don't know why, but I just felt this incredible rage and wanted to strike out against the world.

It read: "Exercise May Ward Off Anger."

What, are you suggesting I have a freakin' anger management problem? Are ya, pal? Huh? So I get angry. You gotta problem with that? Want to step outside and settle this? Didn't think so, punk. 

Uh-oh, obviously I didn't get my run in before reading the story on the WebMD site.

Ah, but after my morning run today, I'm pretty cool -- in fact, absolutely tanquilo -- with the preliminary findings of a University of Georgia researcher who tested angry people and showed that exercise (i.e. running) mitigates an angry mood and helps you better deal with bosses who tend to push your buttons or clueless, cell-phone-chatting drivers who cut you off in traffic.

The study suggests that, if you know you'll be facing a situation that'll make you angry -- say, another pointless staff meeting -- be sure to go for a run and finish 30 minutes prior to the start of the meeting. Exercise, the theory goes, boosts serotonin levels in a similar fashion as Prozac and its pharmaceutical brethren.

WebMD quotes researcher Nathaniel Thom as saying, ""exercise acted like a drug, protecting against angry mood induction, almost like takingg aspirin to prevent a heart attack." 


June 9, 2010
Does practicing carb depletion on long runs awaken fate stores?


no_carbs.jpgThis morning, I ran 10 miles, seven of which were at half-marathon pace, and I felt strong.

Big whoop, right? People do that -- and much more, much faster and more efficient -- all the time in training.

But, for me, it was a moderately big deal because I did it without my favorite middle- to long-distance crutch aid: carbohydrates. I had no carbs (no banana or toast) before leaving the house and no Cytomax or gels during the run. I drank six ounces of water, tops.  

There has been a lot of buzz among runners recently about carb depletion training. The thinking is that if you limit the carbs you ingest during a run it teaches your body to access the fat stores for energy, rather than just depending on the glucose your liver pumps out via carb ingestion.

Some dieticians and coaches posit that runners hit "The Wall" in marathons because they're not used to using fat as a fuel source. But by limiting carbs during training, they can access more muscle glycogen late in a race.

So, if I really wanted to awaken my sleeping fat stores, I probably should do my long runs (20 miles or so, sans gels) and see how it goes.

New York City Marathon champ Meb Keflezighi is a big proponent of the training method, as are many of the top competitiors entered in this month's Western States 100 Mile endurance run. Most runners don't do away with carbs altogether in training; they'll mix long runs with carbs with long runs without.

Here's a recent study on carb depletion, featuring cyclists (but it's the same principle).


June 8, 2010
Where do you keep car keys when running?

carkey.jpgI've been spending way too much time reading running posts on social media sites, so I can't be certain where I learned that a running acquaintance had accidentally locked her/his keys in the car before a trail run.

Strangely, that same day, while lurking on the message board, I happened upon athread asking runners where they keep their keys when they run. (That's assuming, of course, that they aren't running from home and don't need the car.)

Aside from the usual sophomoric humor -- example: "I usually run with a partner. I always lock my keys in his car and he, in turn, locks his keys in my car. Works great." --there were a bevy of real answers. 

 Among them:

  • Hand
  • Shorts pocket
  • Shoestrings
  • Fanny pack
  • "On the ground behind my car tire"
  • Hidden in windshield wipers
  • Next to the gas cap
  • Zip pocket in shirt
  • "Under the seat, car locked, use security key pad"
  • Pocket clipped to shorts
  • Magnetic case attached to metal under car
  • Hidden in sprots bra
  • Safety-pinned to shorts
  • Hidden under a rock
  • Inside cotton gloves you wear

OK, so what's your preference?

C'mon. Don't be shy.

June 8, 2010
Auburn Trail Run results are in

The Auburn Trail Run, which covered distances from 34 miles to 8 miles, has posted its results from the weekend races.

The 34-mile race proved to be a tuneup for several Western States 100 Mile Endurance run participants. The top two finishers -- Alan Abbs (5:30:24) and Ray Sanchez (5:48:57) -- both are Western State runners. The top women's finisher, Lanie Callahan-Mattoon (6:20:35), also is running Western States on June 26.

In the 21-mile race, Granite Bay's Kirk Edgerton (3:23:30) got the win, 1 1/2 minutes ahead of Rocklin's Luke Garten. In the 25K, Citrus Height's Dan Napieraski (2:20:17) was the male winner, and Kelly Garman of Roseville (3:38:41) the women's champ. In the 8-mile run, Jonah Davison of El Dorado Hills was the runaway winner (48:40) while Casey McCowan of Morgantown, Ga., led the women (1:32:25).

June 7, 2010
Race Results: Marty ends Schneider's reign in all-women's 5K


marty.JPGTwo of Sacramento's fastest Masters women, both coming off injuries that limited their spring racing, battled Sunday on the streets of downtown Sacramento in the Fleet Feet Women's Fitness Festival 5K.

And the winner ...

Jaymee Marty (left), 42, took control from the start and cruised to victory, covering the 3.1-mile distance around the state Capitol in 17:57. That was well ahead of Kirsten Schneider, 41, who finished second at 18:39. Third place went to Reno's Carmel Papworth-Barnum, 44, at 19:04.9. 

FL KIRSTEN SCHNEIDER.JPGThe top non-Masters runner was 28-year-old Emily Mah-Nakanishi, fourth at 19:28.

Schneider (right) had won the previous three runnings of the all-women's event. Marty's time Sunday was just two seconds off Schneider's course record of 17:55, set last year.

In other weekend races:

  • We're still waiting on results to be posted from Saturday's Auburn Trail Run. Check back later.
  • In the Mount Diablo 50K and 25K Trail Run, the top local finisher was Elk Grove's Sean O'Dwyer, age 33. He finished 23rd at 7:27:45. Auburn's Glenn Meeth was 36th at 8:09:42, and Tanya Meeth was the top local woman at 8:15:50.  In the 25K, Dixon's Mike Lammert placed 28th at 3:14:59 and Folsom's Ellen Crouse 53rd at 3:33:21.
  • In the Nitro Trail Half Marathon and 10K in Richmond, Rocklin's Mark Eger finished fifth overall in the 13.1-mile half at 1:38:35. Sacramento's Lance Salisbury finished ninth in thre 10K at 48:58.
  • In the Lynch Canyon Trail Run Half Marathon and 10K outside of Vallejo, Davis' Justin Morejohn, 28, was the 10K winner at 44:38. Finishing second was your humble blogger, Sam McManis, 50 of Davis, at 46:26. The top 10K woman was Jessica Olson, 28 of Davis, at 1:05:30. In the half marathon, the top two local finishers were Fair Oaks' Carol Chiodo, age 48, at 2:11:41 and Sacramento's Derrick Tsang, 29, at 2:14:20.
  • And, just to show that our Masters runners can be versatile, sub-2:50 marathoner (and blog contributor) Daniel Weintraub, 49 but racing as a 50-year-old, finished 12th overall and first in his age division (2:10:32 for the 1.5K swin, 40K bike and 10K run) in the Tri For Real triathlon at Rancho Seco in Herald on Sunday.  


June 7, 2010
All-Time Dipsea champ must sit out the 100th running


RCB_2010602_SAL_ 007.JPG

I had the pleasure of spending a morning recently with Sal Vasquez, a 70-year-old Carmichael resident who is probably the most celebrated Masters runner who few people know -- at least in our area.

Sal has won the fabled Dipsea race seven times, but ankle surgery a year ago still has him sidelined. So he won't be competing in Sunday's 100th running.

Click here to read about Sal's incredible Dipsea reign.  

June 4, 2010
Celebrate National Trails Day by running a trail race



OK, so National Running Day kind of snuck up on me earlier this week.

But I'm ahead of the game this time: Tomorrow is National Trails Day.

Why not celebrate it by doing a trail race this weekend. There are several within a short drive on Saturday:

June 4, 2010
Running Tweets of the week

Response was overwhelming last week (OK, two people said they liked it) when I featured some running-related twitter feeds.

So, back again, this week's funniest, most bizarre Tweets that I've read:

From seeksboston26mi: "For the women runners, how do you do it? I gotta nasty bra rash from my new polar HR monitor strap."

From Pete Danko: "Geb to run NYC. (Me, too, but oddly, no AP story on that.)"

From trying to qualify: "Passed so many walkers on Springwater this morning I felt like a Kenyan."

From shermingham (a cyclist): "Hiding in the bathroom from the religious lady at my door. That will teach me to procrastinate going on my ride."

From ericasara: "Wish I had my foam roller at work. I have a bad cramp in my right butt cheek! Ahh..the joy of running."

From RunAddicts: "It's rude to count people as you passthem. Out loud."