Monday, October 2, 2017

Revel Mt. Charleston Marathon Race Review

Revel Mt. Charleston Marathon Race Review
By: Leslie Sanchez

If you are a BQ hopeful, the Revel Mt. Charleston Marathon may be the race for you.  

I had Boston Qualified at the California International Marathon in December, with a little over a 2 minute margin of my qualifying time.  Running the Boston Marathon is a bucket list goal for me and I wanted to run a follow-up race that would give me a large enough margin to guarantee registration. The Revel Mt. Charleston Marathon in Las Vegas was it.

Revel put on a very well organized, small field size race.  Communication from race organizers was great; packet pick up was super easy; executive shuttle buses transported the runners to the start line; and there were more than enough port-a-potties at the start line area to keep lines shorter.

The course begins at just over 7500 ft above sea level on Mt. Charleston, which was still snowcapped during our race. Temps were in the 30s at the start line. I ran in a tank top and shorts knowing it would warm up as I ran down the mountain. The Mylar blanket and gloves included in our swag bag from the expo came in handy while I waited in the start area. I kept the gloves on until about Mile 10.

Despite the annoying headwinds and crosswinds throughout, it was a fast downhill course, particularly during the first 21-22 miles. The last 4-5 miles included some rolling hills, which felt really challenging after running downhill for so long.  It got very bright and sunny as the morning progressed, but it wasn't anything a hat and a good pair of sunglasses couldn't take care of.

If you’re okay with minimal crowd support to keep you motivated during long distance races, this race IS for you.  Roads up Mt. Charleston are closed off to thru traffic, so aside from the water stations located approximately every two miles, THERE IS NO CROWD SUPPORT DURING THE FIRST 21-22 MILES.

If you can fit in long run training on downhill terrain, this race IS for you.  The net elevation drop is 5,126 ft over the marathon course.  Your quads may be screaming at you well before you cross the finish line if they're not adequately conditioned for this course, as it did for many who ended up walking.  In addition to doing eccentric load exercises to strengthen quadriceps, my training group and I did several downhill long runs starting at the top of Mt. Palomar, ending down in the Lake Henshaw area, to prepare for this race. The group I trained with consisted of veteran marathoners who had either Boston Qualified in the past or were really close to their BQ time in a previous marathon. Six out of seven of these SDTC runners that trained for Mt. Charleston together BQ’d.

Lastly, Revel Mt. Charleston IS also for you if you can live with the criticism from other SDTC runners about achieving a Boston Qualifier on this course.   I was shocked at the negative comments I had read on public forums from fellow SDTC runners delegitimizing the accomplishment of those who BQ'd in Mt. Charleston.  This is a USATF certified Boston-qualifying marathon course.  Where is the spirit of camaraderie that is supposed to be reflected in the slogan "Boston Strong"?  Any runner who disses (disrespects) the efforts of their fellow runners should be ashamed of themselves.

I hope to be running long distance races for many more years to come.  I hope I can continue to get faster and improve running efficiency.  But I know that a healthy diet and active lifestyle today will not necessarily guarantee my good health or ability to run well tomorrow.  Running the Boston Marathon is a bucket list goal that I really wanted to accomplish in this lifetime.  The Revel Mt. Charleston Marathon was the golden ticket race that will allow me to register and crush that goal sooner rather than later.

If qualifying for the Boston Marathon is a bucket list goal for you, then it is best to carefully consider your qualifier race, the time commitment and practicality of training for that race, as well as your fitness level/health and ability to sustain such training.

Personally, I enjoyed the Revel Mt. Charleston Marathon experience (and celebrating in Vegas afterward).  Would I do this race again?  Absolutely.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Twenty Years and Making a Difference

Twenty Years and Making a Difference
By: Bill Aaron

Twenty years.
Who knew way back in 1998 that we would be celebrating twenty Rockin’ ‘n’ Runnin’ Training 

That’s twenty 10K’s, twenty, 2-hour pace runs, twenty train runs.

More than 9,000 runners have come through the gates of Balboa Stadium and onto the streets of San Diego to run what was then a very novel idea, running a marathon with bands on the course.

In those early years, there was just a San Diego race and it was a marathon distance.  The event has now of course morphed into a both a marathon and a half marathon, sports an open stream of different music on the course and there are musically races all over the world.

Making a Difference.

Phrase, Philosophy, Mission Statement.  Every year Rockin’ ‘n’ Runnin’ strives to meet that standard of making a difference, and this year we adopted it as our 20th Anniversary Year slogan. 

This year’s training program started like all the others, on the first Saturday of the month of January at Balboa Stadium under clear blue skies, Coach Paul entertained us with his relatively short orientation and we set out on our first of many Saturday long runs. 

For some it would be their very first day as member of the Rockin’ ‘n’ Runnin’ Nation, for others, their twentieth, for others, something in between.  Mixed in this group would be our Boston Marathon Qualifiers, Mountains 2 Beach and would be Rock N Rollers.  We all started out with a common goal, to survive 22 weeks of training and make it to our races pumped and ready to run.
The runs came and went, first the Kook 10k, the Pace Run, the Low Tide Run, the Train Run, then the Longest, even a Tour of San Diego.  Each one a measure of the runners’ tenacity and endurance and each time making a difference in our lives.  What is phenomenal is the excitement that was on display each those Saturday’s, because for many, some of these runs where the longest they had ever run.

Flash forward race day.  All were gathered at the appointed hour and at the appointed location.  Emotions were high, you could almost cut the excitement in the air with a knife.  Following our normal gathering up, warm-up run and dynamic stretch exercises, we were released to our respective corrals where we awaited our starts.  Race day conditions that morning was overcast skies that stayed with us throughout the races.  In the mix of about 15,000 half marathoners and 5,000 marathoners were about 300+ Rockin’ ‘n’ Runners.  

We haven’t gathered up the data, but among our finishers, many PR’d.  More than a few ran their first races at either the half or full marathon distances, some even BQ’d.  A handful ran (or in the case of one, walked) their 20th Rock and Roll Marathon.
Twenty Years and Making a Difference.

Each and every one of you that made up the 2017 20th Rockin’ ‘n’ Runnin’ Nation made a difference in our lives and we are very proud to count you as Rockin’ ‘n’ Runnin’ alumni.  I hope that we made a difference in your lives.  Side note, the Rockin’ ‘n’ Runnin’ Training Program is always looking for new ideas and planning team (the CORE group) members, so if you have any ideas or wish to member this this wonderful group please either contact Coach Paul Greer or Bill Aaron.

Thank you for choosing San Diego Track Club’s Rockin’ ‘n’ Runnin’ Training Program as your training partner.  

Boston Training Group

SDTC Boston Training Group
By: Ellen K. Fleischman

Boston Marathon training with Coach Dave Hutchinson (“Hutch’) was the most awesome experience!  We started training in November for the April marathon.  Hutch gave us a calendar, usually a month at a time so we wouldn’t look ahead and freak out.  He also sent weekly e mails with training tips, humor, and words of encouragement that I looked forward to getting. 

We started with a base of 30-35 miles per week and built up to 70+ miles at the peak and gradually increased the mileage on our long Saturday runs. Whenever possible the Saturday runs were coordinated with the bigger Rockin’ ‘n’ Runnin’ group, which made it fun.  Hutch drove his van along the course and was ready with Gatorade, water, and always had donuts for after the run!

The higher weekly mileage was challenging, at times with the demands of work and school, but the schedule was planned so well, and the mileage increases were gradual.  Several of us talked about how we surprised ourselves with how we managed to fit in longer weekday runs before work.  Hutch was also very helpful with modifying workouts based on schedules and injuries.  I felt really well prepared for the race by the time April arrived.

As you may have heard, race day was unseasonably warm.  It was scary to see how many people were walking on the course early on, bent over with cramps, or getting medical attention in the medical tents.  Many of the really strong runners in our group did not have a good race.  What helped me was that instead of fighting the crowds at the early water stations, I carried a bottle of water for the first 7 miles.  I loved the course and the crowds.  There is so much to say about the event itself, but the training, traveling and socializing with the group when in Boston, and the celebration when we got back to San Diego made it all a once-in-a-lifetime experience! 

Thursday, June 1, 2017


“My Story”

By: Paul Baumhoefner, (Former) SDTC Equipment Guy
Originally Published: San Diego Running, Spring 2000

First of all, over train, make this decision early, like in January so your legs are really tired when you get to the long runs in April. Oh, and don’t take that day off when you feel you need it because you must adhere rigidly to the R-N-R schedule Coach Paul Greer has given you. Then as the marathon approaches, don’t take 2 to 3 weeks to taper down. You can do it in say 5-days (like 5 months isn’t enough).

Now it’s 2-days before the marathon & I’m thinking how in the heck can these legs go from tired to fresh? Having limited options, I go for a massage with Margaret Gregory (wow, that counts as good advice) that gave me what felt like an extra day off. So when I arrive on race day I actually felt pretty good.

At 5:45 we all assembled by 6th and Laurel for our last pre-race picture and instructions from Coach Paul Greer. Of course I go to check my bag quickly at the UPS truck #2 which ends up being the next to farthest away truck so I miss the picture. It’s 1-hour before race-time & Ernie Mendez approaches Dan Trone and I about taking over his 3:10 pace group leader job he acquired from Runner’s World, that he had been trying to delegate away since he got the job at the expo. Now Paul Greer has said if you can run a 3:10 marathon then add ½ hour to that time and then you can safely assume that you would be able to lead that group of runners (3:40 marathon time) and survive in the lead position from the start to finish. Well Dan Trone was smart enough to repeatedly say no to Ernie. On my best day I probably couldn’t do a 3:10 even if the weather co-operated. But I figured I was shooting for a 3:10 that day so volunteering for that responsibility, I could somehow will myself to stay on pace. Ha Ha.

As I headed to the 1st corral with the big cardboard sign, strangely I noticed my friends drifting away until, positioned inside the 1st corral, I was now all alone with my sign. It didn’t take long before runners I didn’t know started collecting around me, quizzing me on race strategy. Soon, the race announcer is pointing me out & I’m realizing I’m not going to get any stretching done holding that sign up.

Luckily I notice fellow track club member Paul Grinberg standing near me. He has the mile splits for a 3:10 marathon on his wrist band. So I tell the group around us if I go down they now have a back up … Paul. The mile splits for a 3:10 marathon are 7:15 per mile. The 1st 2 miles we are exactly on pace so I make the decision to stick with Paul Grinberg’s pace. The next 2 miles (3&4) being down Park Boulevard we can’t seem to hold back so now we are going 6:55 miles. My legs are not feeling good & I’m expressing this to my group as we approach the 1st medical aid tent. I pulled off the course to get some tape on my left calf to give it support because it felt like it was gonna pull. There are 12 guys in red shirts standing there holding Popsicle sticks with Vaseline on the ends. I yell as I’m coming in that I need some tape. I waste about 10 seconds as the workers stare at each other unprepared for their first customer. I can’t wait any longer so I left unsatisfied. Now I have to run hard to catch up to the group.

About now, we are leaving downtown heading uphill on highway 163. My intention had been not to push the pace until we reached the 10-mile mark at Friars Road. But the next medical station I had the same problem. A bunch of guys in red shirts with Vaseline Popsicle sticks, with a great view of the race. Someone finally located the tape in a box, as he is unsealing the plastic bag, I announced again it’s too late I gotta catch up to my group. Again I’m pushing the pace uphill all the way to Friars Road. I never did catch up to them, but by the time I got to Friars Road I was weary & stopped at a medical tent. This time I saw the tape & wrapped my left calf myself.

Pushing on by myself I quickly found SDTC Pretender John Unden who I knew to be fast & I thought I could tandem up with him & still make it as we were actually ahead of pace (another bad signal).

Along the river before the course heads around Ingraham St, my running partner Dan Trone pulls up alongside me and announces, “I’m toast”. So I admitted I’m fading as well & my legs are shot. Meanwhile, I’m trying to stay on pace. That was the last I saw of him. I tried to keep my pace but about a mile later on Crown Point, I also started to fall off the pace. Mile 15, I was starting to sense that I had made a mess out of my 3rd R-N-R. Then at about mile 17 Jayne Garrett’s mom (Anne) was positioned with run bags full of personal items. Some of us had pre-packed these bags & given them to her to assist our attempts at personal record times that we all envisioned. Like a champ, she had her arm extended (I still question how she spotted me). She was holding my chocolate GU & my Stop the Pain spray out as I was coming by. Now that’s a prepared aid station worker. Maybe I owe her a red shirt.

All race long I had been dreaming that the spray would cure my legs if I could just hold on till mile 17. Well maybe in retrospect I shouldn’t have relied on an instant recovery solution. It didn’t work as you can guess. But, alas at 17 ½ miles down the course, my old training partner Jayne Garrett pulls up beside me.

Funny, at mile 1, I passed her. I was too good to run with her then. I was busy pacing a bunch of 3:10 marathoners. Well, she offers words of encouragement & continues off into the distance ahead of me like the Energizer Bunny. Now it’s mile 18, I’ve eaten 5 GU’s, 1 Cliff Bar, 18 Ultimas & poured that many waters down my throat & over my head. My shoes are wet, my legs are tapped & hurting & now I’m feeling worn out. My 7:15 mile pace that I held for the first 14 miles is now increasing 30 seconds per mile. Folks, this is called hitting the wall. Something I seem to be able to recreate every year at R-N-R.

Well, shortly after Jayne went by I pulled over to the side of the road. I really had a huge cramp in my right calf. Thus I tore my 3:10 sign off my back. I wasn’t giving up on finishing, but I couldn’t endure 8 more miles, with the thought people would be laughing at road-kill, with poorly thought out goals. I backed off a lot, all the way down Morena Blvd. I had to walk, there was nothing I could do and my attitude was in need of correction. At this point, I quit keeping mile splits on my watch. At mile 20, I spotted another medical aid station. I wasn’t so cocky this time with the volunteers. Meekly, I presented myself to them face down on a cot. One aid iced my legs as the other aid took down my personal info on the clipboard. I didn’t care how long it took. I wasn’t going for a 3:10 any longer I was going for the finisher’s medal now. Demoralized I got back up onto my feet after several more cramps & now both calves were taped. I headed back onto Morena Blvd. I alternated walking and running as my mind & body fought to stay in the race. As I walked, spectators would offer words of encouragement that earlier I never heard. Now, I was at a pedestrian pace.

The last 6-miles 1,000’s of runners were pouring past me. At mile 21, I found an aid station handing out beer! About now I was willing to try anything to shock my body into running again. Refreshed from the beer, I headed back on the course again. At mile 22, I guess you all ran into the megaphone wielding coach there. So now I’ve got Paul Greer introducing me to the crowd. Yelling, “great job Paul from SDTC, your gonna make it” or something positive like that. But just the same I wasn’t really looking well enough for the spotlight intro to the crowd. Around the corner, at the San Diego Track Club water station I had people waiting to run me to the finish line. I won’t bore you with anymore details except that Joe Crosswhite & Margaret pushed me along the last 4-miles. But when they left me on my own in the finish chute I collapsed 100 ft from the finish line. I could hear the PA announcer calling out, “for those who wanted to break 4 hours, you have 2 mins” As I lay on my butt trying to clear another leg cram, a race official was asking if I want to finish & if I wanted to lean on him. I only wished to clear that cramp at the moment.

At 30-seconds till 4 hours I righted myself and, oblivious to the crowd noise, I started picking up speed till I felt I was moving at a pretty good clip. As for the excitement of finishing before the clock ticked 4 hours. I noticed everyone in front of me had made it! Then I crossed the finish line in 4:00:05. My claim to fame in R-N-R 2000, I WAS THE 1ST RUNNER NOT TO BREAK 4 HOURS!

Marathons require endurance, pacing consistency & intelligence. Nowhere does the word speed appear in that statement. Times of my training partners: Jayne Garrett 3:18, Karen Johnson 3:22, Sally Rogers 3:23, Paul Baum 4:00, Dan Trone 4:13.

Ernie, next year when you want to make a pace-group-leader switch at the last minute, I suggest you pick a woman. They’ve got some game, too. Some other advice toward no one in particular: work with others in the Club; don’t just isolate yourself with the schedule & a clock. You won’t get there on time and you probably won’t be having as much fun, along the way. The marathon is a long athletic endeavor and let me assure you the rabbit doesn’t always win, unless you happen to be Kenyan.

Next year I’m going to take Jayne’s advice (3:18 marathoner, 2nd in her age group) I’m sacrificing speed for consistency & going back to training & racing pace smart with the SDTC R-N-R training group.

Oh and Dan I’ve got you 4 races to 3, next one’s yours!


If you would like to read the scanned original article, it is available here.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Tina Breen Win’s USATF San Diego's Volunteer of the Year

Tina Breen Win’s USATF San Diego's Volunteer of the Year

I've been training with the SDTC Rockin’ ‘n’ Runnin’ program this year.  Upon joining I was asked by Coach Paul to be the Safety Pacers aka "Yee Haw" Coordinator. Why not? Sounds like fun!

I'm also the volunteer Membership Chair for USATF San Diego and sit on their Board. I was recently awarded Volunteer of the Year for USATF San Diego at the USATF Annual Meeting in Orlando Florida and at the USATF SD Association Banquet. Being retired I'm always glad to lend a hand. I've been involved with SDTC for only a year now and have enjoyed my experience, being appreciated for helping out always feels good. As Coach Paul says, "Let’s make a difference!

As for racing this year I participated in the Cardiff Kook 10k February 5 with the RnR program and as part of USATF SD Long Distance Running series. I was 3rd in my age group 61-65 with a 52:35, the up-hill back certainly smacked me in the face. Then I ran at the City Heights 5k Cross Country course February 25th, 28:00 in change and 1st in the 50+ AG.

And then of course the San Diego Half Marathon 5k. Probably one of the most fun 5k's you can do.  It's like riding a roller coaster and when you finish you are just pumped because it was so fun. I placed 1st in the 60-64 AG with a 23:11 and 3rd Female Masters OA. My hubby was teasing me and said that’s because nobody showed up. He certainly keeps my ego at bay.

Other than that I'm getting ready to run with my SDTC Women’s Masters Team at the Carlsbad 5000. I have a blast at that one too and our Women's Masters 60+ Team is full of some really fast ladies who put me to the test. But no worries to get beat by them it’s all good. My respect for them means more to me and I just have fun just trying to hang  

What’s the rest of my season look like? Well I'm never one to reveal what’s up next. I enjoy the process of training and the racing is just a test if I've been putting in the training. I look forward to continue wearing my San Diego Track Club colors this year and doing my best to always Represent.

Yours, Tina Breen 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Men’s Masters 60+ Takes 2nd at USATF XC Nationals

Men’s Masters 60+ Braves Oregon Snow,
Takes 2nd at USATF XC Nationals
By: Greg Wagner
Our SDTC Men's Masters 60+ traveled to Bend, OR for the USATF Cross Country Championship race. The race was an 8K (four laps) held at the Riverbend Golf Course on Saturday, February 4, 2017.

The race turned out to be a race of attrition, both before the race and on the course. We started with (7) runners and with a maximum of (5) runners per team (3 score), we had a SDTC "A" team and "B" team. Unfortunately, two weeks before the leaving, Gary Blume pulled a hamstring muscle and was unable to make the trip. Three days before, Jack Nash came down with the flu. Finally, on the way to Bend, Hugh Molesworth's flight was cancelled due to snow and he never made it to Bend.

So our intrepid travelers, now down to (5), began to arrive in Oregon. Greg Wilson and Greg Wagner arrived Thursday evening just as the snowstorm hit the area. After 40 minutes of trying to find a ride, they discovered a taxi driver willing to drive through the snow 18 miles to town. Incidentally, he turned out to have an encyclopedic knowledge of all things NFL and gave a player by player preview of the Super Bowl.

The next morning the Gregs found their way through 20" of snow and a balmy 17 degrees to the course for a preview run. There were crews with snow blowers and shovels trying to clear the course. We ran the course on about 6" of frozen, slippery snow and then retreated over the bridge crossing the Deschutes River to the Riverhouse Hotel and warmth. After his brain thawed, Greg Wilson decided that his hometown in Maui was warmer, has less snow, and was at a much lower altitude (Bend is about 3700' elevation and Hana about 78'). No more winter races for him!

Thankfully, it started warming up hour by hour so that by race day it was in the mid 40s. That meant the snow was rapidly melting and the course, while winding through a tunnel of two feet deep snow, became a grassy water slide generously interspersed with deep mud baths.

In any event, our remaining five runners bravely faced our 10:45 am start. We lined up in our assigned chute 21 at the farthest left side so that we could enjoy running through the water pond on that side of the field. Those of you who have run the course before know that there is a wide flat start across a grass field that stretches at least 10 or 12 meters before you head straight up a long hill.

From there the course gets steeper, both up and down. It is all hills. But at least it's at altitude so your lungs hurt worse than your legs. And just for the entertainment of the course marshals, there is a very large tree right in the middle of the first steep downhill. Seriously.  So you either head left into 6" of shoe sucking mud or you head right to go over ruts and rocks.

To add to your sense of adventure on the steepest uphill, there are large boulders in between flowing mud that you get to navigate. You can go over or around the boulders while the spectators laugh hysterically. The comedians who designed this course thoughtfully painted the boulders with bright orange spray paint so that when you fall on them you're sure it was the rocks and not the mud that got you.

Then you repeat that for 4 laps. There were plenty of slips and falls during the race. Not wanting to be left out of the fun, our team captain and fearless leader, Paul Baumhoefner, decided to spike himself in the calf while trying not to fall down a slippery slope. That also gave him the perfect strategic excuse to slow down. In another masterful execution of strategy, two Cal Coast runners, who were holding a lead over Greg Wagner for nearly 3 laps, decided to launch themselves headfirst into a well-executed mudslide and slammed into the snow bank. As they continued to roll, one could be heard to yell: "I knew we should have worn spikes!" Meanwhile, Greg astutely recognized that this might be an opportunity to pass the arch-rival Cal Coast runners.

At the end of the slowest (and most exciting) XC race any of us have run, we finished in second place with 11 points to Genesee Valley Harriers who had 10 points and were 12 seconds ahead of us. Sheldon Subbith finished 2nd, Greg Wilson 3rd, and Greg Wagner was 6th. Paul Baumhoefner and Robb Latimer rounded out our SDTC Second Place National Championship Team. We were happy to beat our rivals from Cal Coast who finished in third with 24 points and multiple cuts and bruises.

Post-race, several of us took advantage of the free beer at Deschutes Brewery and the gathering at the first class FootZone running store. Robb and Grace Latimer spent the afternoon snowshoeing. We all met later that evening in the town of Bend which, by the way, is full of great people, great hospitality, and great fun. However, nothing could match Paul's post race recovery celebration as we learned he had spent the afternoon in the hotel jacuzzi with the UCLA women's team. Despite his generous offer, they apparently don't need another coach!

Bend was a great experience and we'll certainly miss running there when the race moves to Florida next year!