Monday, August 27, 2007


Saturday August 25, 2007: 5:30am Tanya and I arrive at Malibu Creek State park, we are running the Bulldog 50K. In years past we camped at the park the night before the race, but this year decided to drive out to the park in the morning. When we arrived it was still dark, and stars filled the sky. It was going to be a beautiful day. We picked up our packets, spoke to lots of ultra friends, and prepared our packs for the day. In recent races we have been relying less on the aid stations, and carrying our food and supplies. We have also been eating fewer calories during the races and it seems to be working for us. I have been depending solely on gels and less solid food.
Race time! Tanya it's time to wake up, time to go trail running. "I'm not sleep" she says "I'm

just day dreaming that I'm still back home in Bermuda enjoying a day on Horse Shoe Beach". California Beach's are nice, but there is no place like the water and beaches of Bermuda.

I sigh, and say "I know, I know" but "let's go kick some "Bulldog"". The race consists of a double loop around the Park. The park is a very interesting place located in the Santa Monica mountains which rise straight up out of the Pacific Ocean. Though the park is only a few miles from the ocean, the canyons don't get much of the ocean breeze's and can easily reach 100+ degrees.
Nancy Shura the race director dedicated the race to Gary Hilliard, and gave us our final instructions. Tanya and I decided to run solo today, and so after the start I did see much of her. Her pace is just a step faster than mine so she slowly pulled away from me. That's her in the yellow short's dropping me on the first hill :)

The course runs through the old "MASH" site where the television show was filmed. There are old army jeeps left there, I guess as a tourist attraction. I can't say I ever watched the show, but I do remember always watching the opening credits and then changing the channel.

The biggest challenge of the race is climbing Bulldog hill, not only once but twice! I think it is important to be conservative on the first loop, so you will have the legs on the second loop to finish strong. Because the race is located near the Los Angeles area the run attracts a lot of first timers. They are easy to pick out, many haven't learned yet what I have; run the flats and downhills, walk the hills. So there they go running up Bulldog Hill, often will and attitude "I run marathons and I never walk". I just say to myself see you later Buddy. And more often than not I see them later "sucking wind or trying to stretch out a cramp"(smile).

So I finish the first loop right on schedule 2 hours and 59 minutes, just keep moving steady ahead. If I'm able to repeat that time on the second loop it will be a good day. As I run by this rock formation at the top side of Bulldog hill, I take a long look. The rocks are very smooth and have caves that look to have been hollowed out by water. WOW! this rock on top of a small mountain was once submerged underwater.

And I start to think about global warming is the planet just going through a natural warming cycle which is causing glaciers to melt all over the planet. Or are the scientists right, man is the cause of present warming of the worlds climate. Then thoughts of Kevin Costner and "Water World" came to mind, will we one day have gills? Enough thoughts of disaster I have another loop to run!!

Down the hills I go, Malibu Creek state park has spectacular rock formations.

As I approach Bulldog hill for the second time, the temps have begun to climb, and the humidity is high. My clothes are soaked with sweat, but I'm feeling good. Tanya is long gone by know, and hopefully having a good run also. Up, up, up I go kicking it into second gear, I finally make to the top then across the backbone. I can see the Pacific Ocean to the right of me, absolutely beautiful.

Going downhill can be worse than going uphill at times and Tapia hill is one of those long downhills that cause yours knees to scream. But I suck it up cause I know when I get to the bottom it is only 3 miles to the finish. At the finish there will be pizza! and I love pizza.

I finally made it to the finish line in 6:29:34 about 20 minutes behind Tanya . I slowed on my second loop but still had legs to finish strong. Another run down :) Straight to the pizza man! got to feed those muscles! (lol)

Tanya is there at the finish waiting for me, she makes sure I don't eat to much pizza. We say our goodbyes and hit the road.

Nancy , Larry, and the Volunteers until next year. We had a great day, and where treated great. Thanks. MJ

Friday, August 24, 2007

Mt Disappointment 50 miler Report

We would like to first send our prayers out to Gary Hilliard the awesome race director of Mt Disappointment 50K/50 miler who was unfortunately in an motorcycle accident 7 days after the race. Gary, have a speedy recovery and God bless!

(Gary H. giving final race instructions)

I'm writing this report a few weeks late, because the Sunday after the race Tanya and I flew to Bermuda for a little vacation and a wedding.

Back to race day, Saturday morning August 11th. I had been dreading this day, my training had not been the greatest. I had been feeling a little burned out leading up to this race, but what the hay we had already registered to run. Tanya and I woke up early, we had about a 80 mile drive to get to the start. When we arrived at the Mt Wilson observatory (start/finish area) the buzz of race day had already begun. We said our hello's to friends (Kirk, Michelle,Carmela, Ben, Charlie, Alex, Andy) and picked up of race packets, and started to focus on the task ahead, it was going to be a long HOT day.

This was our third year running this event, but was the first year the 50 mile distance was offered, and since we a gluttons for punishment we didn't hesitate to sign up. The 50K had kicked my butt previously so I knew the 50 miler was going to drop kick it! The run begins at the Mt. Wilson Observatory which is at roughly 5500Ft and then the course quickly descends into the Angeles National forest.

The early miles passed by quickly, I love the tree covered single track. Because the race starts with downhill miles it is easy to go out to fast, which I believe came back to haunt many runners. The forest is extremely dry this year because of a long drought in So. California, which was causing a lot of dust. Me and others were coughing dust clouds.

Because the 50K and the 50 miler share the first 26 miles and I have run the 50K two times previously the miles just seemed to pass by. When Tanya and I made it to mile 26 there is an Aid Station. The volunteers where directing runners, 50K'ers go this way "only 5.2 miles to go"! Man I wanted to go that way!, but no! I had 24 more miles to go which included the infamous 5.2 mile climb back up to the Mt Wilson observatory the finish. But, as much as I wanted to drop down to the 50K race I knuckled down and stayed the course, and besides Tanya was continuing on. So we headed out together, not knowing what was in store for us. It was Brutal, to say the least, it was hot, dry and no shade. I was saying to myself is this some kind of sick joke!

Tanya and I continued on, we decided to stay together, which was good for me. At times I felt like a tired donkey chasing a carrot, but having Tanya leading the way kept me moving.

The beauty of the Angeles forest is incredible and breathtaking; but after a while I was "full of it" and just wanted to get to the finish line.

We finally made it back to the final aid station and the final climb out. Tanya gave me that look, and it was time to "Rock". Though I was tired, I wanted out and the only way out was to climb. We knocked this section out in 1 hour 28 minutes and passed about 7 runners. I found energy somewhere, but boy I was shot at the finish.

We finished in 13 hours and 28 minutes, and earned every minute of it! To Gary, Pam and the volunteers "Thank You"! Mt. Disappointment has become one of my favorite ultra's, the organization, trail markings, and the aid stations are second to none!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Fun in Santa Monica

A few weeks ago we went to the infamous Santa Monica stairs for an early morning workout, and what fun we had! There is no better way to get those legs PUMPED!!!
We are all smiles, that was soon to change. There is Yvonne, Emily, Me, Claudia, Tanya, and Tim. Hey where is Bernadette? Oh yea she must be taking the picture.

Wow! coming down is sooo much easier than going up!! Hey Bernadette, you work it Girl!!
What a way to get ready for those upcoming fall marathons and 1/2 marathons!!

Hey that's me and Tanya, up,up,up and away. Wow that's a lot of steps! can you believe up above there is another set.

That's it Claudia stretch it out, Emily knows what to do stay hydrated and keep those energy reserves up.

NO MAN! The beach it that way!! Marc, Tim are you sure they want to go that way. Yes Dear.

Peace Out Baby, we knocked it out!

We are smiling but our legs are shaking, another great workout down, until the next time.
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