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Dateline November 19, 2040

By Andy Chan

October 21, 2015

Cross Country

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Cross Country only Pamakids Can

(Contributed by Andy Chan, Pamakid member since 2001)

LINDLEY MEADOW, SAN FRANCISCO…The Pacific Association Cross Country Championships were run yesterday morning in Golden Gate Park and for the first time in team history, the Pamakid Runners Open Women brought home the team championship. Before the meet, longtime club member and former President Andy Chan gathered the team and gave a pre-race speech reminiscent of a speech he gave at Lake Merced in December 2014. “Great moments are born from great opportunities. That’s what we have today. That’s what we’ve earned. One race to determine the PA Champions,” he began and then went on to say something about this being our time, 2040 being our year, and all of us about to be Champions!

The Pamakid Open Women were led by five second generation Pamakid Runners – Ms. Rebecca Sonstein, Ms. Haley Jones, Ms. Zadie Rose Ou-Mikecz, Ms. Rosemarie “Romey” Rodwick, and Ms. Amelia Tong. All in their mid-20’s, they have been aiming for this championship, literally since before they were born. Running in her final race as an Open Runner before she joins her longtime friend, Jane Stephens on the Masters team, was Anya Durgerian.

Due to overnight rain, the course was slick and wet so Haley Jones made sure she was careful through the slippery downhill section in Lindley Meadow, well aware that her mother once slipped there and NEVER lived it down.

As the race ended and it was clear that the Pamakids Women were going to be victorious, Chan began beaming halographic championship pennants to everyone via virtual telepathy. In the finish chute he beamed them to Haley and Zadie who looked at them as if to say, “I feel like I’ve seen this before,” before moving on to join the celebration.

The Pamakids Senior Women’s team won the PA XC championship thanks to solid races from Danielle Jones, Yvonne Ou, and Ashley Rodwick. This marks the seventh year in a row the Pamakids have won the Senior Women’s title, a streak that began in 2033, when Jones turned fifty.

The first annual Pamakid Cunneen Family award was presented after the meet to the first three generation family to all participate in the same Pacific Association race. The award went to the Nguyen-Dang family: Megan, Merick, and Missy.

Sept 2015 – the future Pamakids Women’s Open team was on its way.

Sept 2015 – the future Pamakids Women’s Open team was on its way.

Zadie’s first (but not last) time seeing a Pamakid Championship pennant.

Zadie’s first (but not last) time seeing a Pamakid Championship pennant.

Back in 2015, they were the KIDS of pamaKIDS: Jane S, Rebecca, S, Anya D.

Back in 2015, they were the KIDS of pamaKIDS: Jane S, Rebecca, S, Anya D.

In the Masters Men’s race, Felix Tong ran in the Super Senior division, saying, “I only signed up to run because we needed a third runner.” In that same race, the 69 year old Chan came in just ahead of his rival, 75 year old Jeff Hongo. Chan could be heard saying after the race, “I can’t wait for next year when I’m finally a Veteran.”

Proving that some things NEVER change, the Open Men came in sixth….but had a lot of fun, especially when a college aged Huizinga kicked by a 14-year old Novich….way to pick on a kid….your dad probably taught you that.

Danielle falling in the mud at the 2011 PA Championships.

Danielle falling in the mud at the 2011 PA Championships.

Haley and Zadie’s first Rites of Spring in 2015.

Haley and Zadie’s first Rites of Spring in 2015.

The 2014 Miracle at Lake Merced speech.

The 2014 Miracle at Lake Merced speech.

 

Cross Country: are you tough enough?

By JohnG

July 29, 2015

Cross Country

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Contributed by Justin Mikecz (Pamakid member since 2008)

Cross Country: are you tough enough?

The best, and hardest, sport ever. It is also a precursor to hell.

Cross country involves dying everyday, and then going back for more the next day.

by Ain’t Jamama February 26, 2009 (Urban Dictionary)

With the Pacific Association (PA) cross country season just around the corner, I asked some veteran Pamakids for insight as to what attracted them to running cross country with the club. While mostagreed with me that cross country was their favorite running season of the year, the reasons cited were quite varied.

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Getting in touch with nature was one common reason given. Anya D. said cross country was her “favorite season because I like running through nature on trails instead of running on the roads.” 

I love how XC gathers many of the competitive runners in the PA circuit together and sets up stages for great performances.  While it is serious competition, it is also fun venturing out with your teammates to various parks in beautiful locations throughout the Bay Area and beyond. – Monica Z

Let’s face it, in Northern California the weather during cross country can’t be beat. – Felix T

And some Pamakids take “getting in touch with nature” literally…

 

Mike A. took it a step further and waxes poetic about getting in touch with our primal nature.

My first memory of high school cross country as a JV runner was watching the varsity race disappear in a pack into the woods. Then a few minutes later a single runner emerged, 50 yards ahead of the pack. That solo runner, a senior from our team who went on to All-State honors, looked to me like a warrior or chief, leaving the lesser mortals behind. Here was something magical, epic, primeval, a test of our animal abilities without the interference of judges, rule-makers, voting. Thirty years after my high school and college days, cross country still gives me that thrill. I love road racing and track, but only cross country really puts you in touch with your animal nature.

Confronting a range of different topographies, we’re less concerned with our time than our place among others. As we disappear into the woods, the cheering gives way to breathing and we’re brought closer to who we are in this world, our animal nature. We dig deep up that hill to stay close to a rival or solve the riddle of the course that has continued to stump us. Then, in a moment of truth, we emerge from the woods and run towards the line with the last of our strength to find out if we have it that day and how we stack up against the other animals. – Mike A.

 

The Team. Another common reason why club members love cross country over the traditional road race is the emphasis on the team over the individual.

I love the team aspect, and scrambling to get enough runners. – Felix T.

Denis compared road races and the emphasis on individual performances to cross country where the team is front and center.

Most of the year a lot of us race on the roads- 5K to Marathon — some of these are goal races — but it’s usually a time to beat — a personal record to best…

For most of us, road races boil down to an individual time trial with little regard to those around us. But cross country racing is not a time trial. It’s a team sport, where each place and every position matter. The top 5 score and the next 2 can displace other teams’ runners — our team has won on multiple occasions by the sixth place runner displacing the next guy. Even splits and pace obsession are useless. The courses will bust your rhythm. I like to think of it as a race between you and the guys next to you — it doesn’t matter if you are in the lead group or the back of the pack — beating the guys around you matters. Over the course of the season you get to know these guys running in your pack on the other teams — they become respected rivals. I know these guys’ names — and they know me. Some of us keep a mental scorecard against our rivals and some of us keep the record on the fridge. This is what I love about the cross country season. It’s a chance to race in the purest sense — forget the watch and the pace — just race the runner next to you. – Denis G.

Cross country also gives you an unique opportunity to be both a participant and spectator in the same event. In a typical PA cross country race, there is one women’s race (open and master’s)  and two men’s races — one for open men (39 and under) and one for masters men (40+). I love getting to watch the other two races and cheer on my teammates from various vantage points on the trails before or after I race myself. The enthusiastic support is always returned when it comes time for my race.

Yeah, it’s great when teammates cheer for you along the course — up a particularly steep hill or over a bale of hay. It’s even nicer when said teammate (aka future husband) actually calls you by the right name. No, not all Asian women look alike! – Yvonne O

The Rivalries. Professional sports have their famous rivalries: the Yankees vs. Red Sox, the Cubs vs. Cards, F.C. Barcelona vs. Real Madrid C.F. While they are at a much different scale, the recreational but competitive PA cross country series breeds rivalries because it has the same ingredients as professional sports: intense and tight competition, unpredictable results, and repeat match-ups throughout the season. The rivalries can be between two competitive teams or individuals — often there is a rivalry at both levels — and while they often go unspoken, rarely is either side unaware of the rivalry:

The interesting thing about these PA races is, you see many familiar faces at the race and you surround yourself with these running friends and “rivals”. Of course some of the Impala woman are always good anchor for me to measure how well I run a particular race, and I would also set sights on Tamalpa women.  – Monica Z.

A favorite part of cross country for me is developing rivalries with clubs like the River City Rebels and Asics Aggies. Over the years, I think we have really earned their respect, not because we are so good, but because we show up and compete. Shaking hands with them or exchanging a high five and some pre-race good luck wishes are part of my cross country experience that I look forward to every fall. After the race, it’s great to either “talk a little trash” with them or commiserate about the latest injury or lack of training. On a personal note, there is always a little more skip in my step for my cool-down if I have beaten my rival! – Andy C

It’s not my rivalry, but I love watching Zack vs. Kenley – Felix T

Another club member agreed. “Zack vs. Kenley. It has the potential for a complete bloodbath. It’s like Good versus Evil, only both are Good so it’s like Obi-Wan Kenobi versus Luke Skywalker. Except, in my eyes, the only good one on race day is the one wearing green.” – Anonymous

Not all rivalries are limited to the PA series. One trip to Club Nationals in 2011 was all it took to cultivate a rivalry for the Open Men.

“The best cross country team rivalry is of course: Pamakids Open Men vs. Rolling Thunder…Even their uniforms are eerily similar to ours.  Let’s hope for a rematch at Club Nationals 2015.” – Raymond “Tower” Y

The Post-Race was another common theme. We may not be the fastest club, but no one rocks the post-race picnic quite like us. In cross country, it is socially acceptable to drink a beer at 10:00 am and in our club a potluck picnic often accompanies the beer.

 

There are many other reasons why your fellow runners think cross country is the best season of the year.

Danielle B. loves the change of the season and “how the first few races are in the blazing heat (Santa Rosa, Hayward), but then the weather shifts to cooler mornings, frost on the grass, and leaves changing colors (Sacramento, China Camp). I love driving in the morning when it’s still dark and getting to the race and the sun starts to come out. I love carpooling with teammates and getting to know them outside of running. I love warming up or cooling down while cheering for the guys. I love the first beer (while cheering for the guys) at XC champs. I love cooling down and the high energy and excitement, recapping our race. – Danielle B

I’m not looking forward to being not in shape and running just so we have a scoring team…ironically I’m also looking forward to this. – Felix T

I love and hate that XC races are very short! They are a great way to come out for a few hours and see people in Pamakids and other clubs that I have gotten to know over the years. I love that team members who are not running come out and cheer along the course with their kids and dogs. I love that you are finished running in roughly 30ish minutes. Given that I tend to warm up after about 10 miles this does not bode well for my results, but I still like it. – Kelly H.

Post Championships catered brunch!!!! – Felix T

Each course is fun and challenging in its own way, and you get to survey so much interesting Bay Area outdoor natural terrain – from redwoods and bridle trails, to exciting grass field finishes, and even a log or hay bale to jump over! – Tomas P

Another aspect we love about cross country is the variety of courses. There are killer hills (Garin Park); logs to jump over, tree branches to dodge, and sand traps (Golden Gate Park), beautiful trails among redwoods (Santa Cruz); swimming holes (Santa Rosa); flat, fast courses (Martinez and Willow Hills); brutally tough courses (Presidio); and races with free mugs and beer (China Camp). We all have our favorites.

Races I recommend for a first timer: Santa Cruz opener, John Lawson Tamalpa race in Marin and the Golden Gate Park races are really fun and special – Tomas P

Felix’s least favorite is “the traditional XC Championship course because the open men need to go around it 3 times.” [Author’s Note: Felix will be spared this year. The PA Championship race will be on the National course in Golden Gate Park this year so no 3-loop course in Lindley Meadow]

I like Santa Rosa…good location, picturesque and fairly local and usually hot coffee and good snacks at the end. But I love China Camp..even nicer, closer location, less hilly and there’s beer, free beer mugs and coffee at the end…can’t beat that!! – Fiona M

The Competition. The competition can be fierce. Often at any given cross country race, you’ll find many of the best local runners.

I’d rather be clipping my toe-nails, waxing the car, or dealing with the IRS than running XC – George D

The All-inclusiveness. Despite the impression that the high caliber of runners in XC can give, everyone is welcome (especially on the Pamakids). The more middle- and back-of-the-pack runners that come to these races, the more inviting it will be for fellow runners of all teams with the same ability. It is important to note, you can never hurt the team by showing up and running, you can only help us. In most age groups, the top five on each team scores and the next two displace (i.e. can worsen other teams’ scores). Thus, if you finish in the top seven on the team in your age group, you helped the team. If you didn’t, you didn’t hurt the score and undoubtedly contributed to the team experience in other ways.

Advice. If you are new to cross country, here is some advice from your teammates.

Choose two or three races, sign up in advance and put them in your calendar. Look at the course map, and query fellow Pamakids for tips and what to look out for (like that hidden hill at mile 2!) Think about your transportation needs: could you drive someone? Need a ride-share or carpooling option? Post it on the Google doc and start asking Pamakids who are also signed up.  And most importantly, think about (then post) what potluck picnic item you could bring to make the post-race celebration that much cooler! – Tomas P

Don’t go out too fast…but you will, we all do. – Felix T

It can be a little overwhelming for newbies to cross country to look at the race calendar and see 12 or 13 races on it. Don’t worry, generally no one goes to all of them (although I think Louise did one year). A lot of us just pick a handful to go to. In cross country, half the battle is showing up. You don’t get a score if you don’t have a team. It does help to try to get as many team scores as possible so if you are willing to travel to Sacramento (or even Redding), you can help us put a score up that we might not otherwise get. As extra incentive, these are the races that often are a little less competitive and thus easier to place higher as an individual and a team.

The great thing about having a whole season of races is you can see and feel yourself get stronger and faster as the season goes on. While the first race often feels like the slowest and hardest, it is exciting to notice your times gradually getting faster and the races easier as the season goes on. How can you notice improvement when each course is different and times are irrelevant? Here are some thoughts on that:

How do I know I’m running well: I feel “on” the whole race and am able to kick at the perfect time to pass people and have nothing left after the finish line. – Danielle B

If every part of your being is telling you to slow down but you haven’t, you know you are running well. – Felix T

So we hope you consider giving cross country a try. Even George D comes out to a few races. If you have never run cross country before or just have never run cross country with the Pamakids before, you are definitely encouraged to come to the Pamakid XC Kickoff Meeting (and BBQ) in the Presidio this Saturday, August 1st (see your email for more information). Just come to learn more; no commitment required. If you have run with us before, you are also encouraged to come for the food and camaraderie, fill out a generic XC form, and to meet the newcomers. Go Green!

Just how thin can that air be?!

By JohnG

June 12, 2015

Member PostRace Report

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(Contributed by Chuck Amital, Pamakid member since 2009)

The short answer is “pretty thin,” although if you run long enough, you could almost pretend that you’ve gotten used to not having enough air to breathe.

You couldn’t say that we hadn’t been warned about this race. Some teammates who ran it last year had these things to say about it:

“A sublime hell on earth!”

“Up, around, down, up, down!”

“Peavine, the biggest little climb in the world… or at least Reno.”

“Did not start…damn you’re smart.”

And perhaps the most prosaic:

“Flat? No. Air? No. Re? No.”

However, some of those very same teammates were running again this year. So, it really couldn’t be all that bad, could it?

Silver State 50/50 Pamakid Runners crew. (photo credit: Eduardo V.)

William, Erica and I made our way together to Reno, where we were going to meet Denise, John G., Kelly, Kyria, and Tower. When we took a break in Auburn, I got a text message, “Ohlone cancelled. No reason given other than park issue.” I was hoping that was an omen that we had chosen the right race to run that weekend. We posted an invitation to our teammates, who could no longer run Ohlone, to join us in Reno. Helen took up the challenge on her own, thus completing a mixed 50k team. (We had men’s and women’s teams for the 50M.)

As we approached Donner Pass, light rain turned to light snow, which was also gathering on the trees. When we arrived at the local pizza place in Reno to pick up our race packets, we were greeted by cold weather and more light rain. We were told that runners who were marking the course reported that there was snow on Peavine Summit (elevation 7800 feet), which meant that there would be mud. We went to sleep wondering how cold and wet it would actually be on the following day.

The following day dawned with as close to ideal conditions as it gets: Cold, but not overly so (50s). Overcast skies, but no sign of rain, or of snow, thankfully!

At 7:00 a.m., the 50-milers among us started to make our way up the hill to Peavine, some 12 miles and a 3200-foot climb away. The elevation at the starting line was 4600 feet.

You know how trail races are mostly about going uphill only in order to go down again? Or about going downhill only in order to up again? Well, this race was no different. We climbed. A lot. We gave back any elevation gained on the descent. We went downhill. A lot. And so it went.

Peavine really was the climb that went on forever — from 4800 feet to 7800 feet — on the way out to the turnaround, but more, especially on the way back from the turnaround. You know how there’s always someone at a race who says, “It’s all downhill from here?” Well, that’s what “they” said when the 50-milers crested Peavine again, with 11 miles to go. Sure, it was net downhill, with quite a few rollers thrown in for good measure. “They” were really going to make us work to make it to the finish!

These races always look so much easier to me on paper, as I sit in the comfort of my home, by my computer, trying to prepare myself, mentally and logistically, for the distances between aid stations, elevation gain or loss, etc. I forget that “the map is not the territory,” and that no matter what distance I’m running, I always start at “Mile 0.” There are no shortcuts, and it doesn’t necessarily get easier with time, but perhaps that’s just because with each successive race I’m able to push myself a bit more.

“Was it fun?” you might ask. For the most part, except for those few “dark moments” that weren’t so fun. (Can you say “long slow slog from the turnaround to Peavine?” And “long slog back from Peavine to the finish?”) Fortunately for me, the off-hand comment that I made to a man volunteering at the aid station at mile 44, “Are you going to pace me to the finish?”, yielded the response of “No, but she will.” And he pointed to a woman who had run in to volunteer at the aid station (and whom I subsequently discovered was a very accomplished ultrarunner!).

“Was it scenic?” you might ask. If you like the high desert, you were in for a real treat.

“Would you do it again?” you might ask. In a heartbeat! Those of us who ran that day might not have felt it at the time, but hopefully, the R.E.M. song, “All the Way to Reno,” captures how we feel when we look back on the experience. (Thanks Denise.) But don’t take my word for it, check the course out next year. Here’s the song to inspire:

 

Don’t Call it a Comeback!

By JohnG

April 7, 2015

Member PostRace Report

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(Contributed by Anthony McGrath, Pamakid member since 2010)

“Don’t call it a comeback, I been here for years!” –LL Cool J, Mama Said Knock You Out (1991)

It’s been quite a journey to get back to this place, picking up where I left off as a Masters runner while I got a bit smarter in the process.  This LL Cool J track has been my unofficial theme song as I recovered from surgery and began a rehab process that got me to the start line of the Reach for A Star 5K in Brisbane. This is my journey from July 2014 until now. Hopefully I can offer some tips I’ve learned along the way.

Oh my hips! Or is it my groin?

After a busy spring of racing in 2013 I started feeling shooting pain in my hip flexors that radiated into my adductor (groin) area. I tried rest and home remedies, but the symptoms persisted. I couldn’t  run more than 20 miles a week before the pain started, making the days and nights miserable. After about 9 months of this, I became proactive and got some steroid injections that helped to diagnose the origin of the problem — the effectiveness of the injections ruled out the hip labral tears an MRI had indicated.  I found Dr. William Brown in Fremont who specializes in adductor repair.  On July 19, 2014 he repaired both adductors with outpatient surgery. My rehab began in earnest two weeks later.

Rehab and Clean Up

 

I lucked out and found great PT at Therapydia here in San Francisco. Lindsay Haas built me back up and focused on strengthening my hips and glutes. I zeroed in on my running form, what was wrong with it, what was right, and what could use some help. It’s important to look at your form, especially as you get older. Wear and tear can be worsened by over reliance on certain muscles (in my case the adductors) and under reliance on others (usually glutes in runners–and I was no exception). I encourage you (yes you!) to have your form evaluated and see if it can be “cleaned up” to maximize efficiency and minimize over reliance on muscle groups that aren’t designed to carry the full load.

Cross-training and making friends with the Treadmill (boo!)

One thing in my favor during my injury woes was cross-training.  Cardio-Tone is near my house and offers spinning, TRX, core and more! I could spin to my heart’s content during this injury, so I became a dedicated spinner. Shannon Boughn made sure I wasn’t sandbagging and I got some great workouts under her guidance. I still incorporate spinning twice a week in my training regimen and is a secret weapon when used as active recovery. As I ramped up the training, I started to incorporate treadmill running. It’s a great way to get in the miles without too much pounding. You have more control over pace and it’s a great place to focus on your form. I have some great recommendations for podcasts now that I get on the treadmill twice a week.

Race Time

 

I had a good build up over the winter and was ready to test my fitness against the PA’s finest at the Reach for A Star 5K (formerly Zippy) in sleepy Brisbane. 5Ks are over before you know it, so with that in mind, I decided to pace aggressively for the first mile and let the chips fall where they may. Shortly after mile 1, the first woman caught up to me. I had raced her before, the formidable Kris Paaso of Strava Racing Club (formerly NB Silicon Valley). She and I duked it out for the next 1.5 miles. She really made my race. I was able to gap her in the last 800 but she was right on my tail the whole way!  My chip time was 17:01 which is a road 5K PR for me.

The Road Ahead

I’m happy to get the “Don’t call it a comeback” race over with, and I’m looking forward to a great year of racing on the PA circuit for both road and cross-country. We have quite a group of talented Masters Male runners and we hope to build on the success of what the Masters Women achieved in 2014. Everyone has a role to play and contributions, large and small, are made by Pamakids like me and you. I’m proud to be part of a “big-tent” inclusive club like Pamakids and also want to inspire my fellow Pamakids to be the best runners they can be. Follow me on Twitter @runtony67 as we have a great 2015! Go Green!

Redding Railroad

By JohnG

March 22, 2015

Member PostRace Report

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(Contributed by George Durgerian)

Braving Friday rush hour traffic, Fiona dragged both 13 year-old Anya and slightly older me a full four hours up to Redding (“The Jewel of Northern California,” per Wikipedia).  The epic journey for a race most would finish in 1/8th of total travel time included a novel 3-in-one dining experience at a Franchise trifecta of an Arco Am/PM, Baskin Robbins and Togo’s.  No better night-before meal than that!

 

The Mighty Sacramento

Arriving at the retro-chic Thunderbird Motel (“Jewel of Pine Street” per the owners) we enjoyed a late-night symphony of trains, food chains and automobiles, before enjoying the long, sweet sleep you get when a race has a 10:00 a.m. start time.

Mighty Captain Dennis

Heading out the next morning, we noticed a stainless steel bowl laden with drying chili peppers the owners put out for their evening meal.  That cool bit of culture was chilled by the noon check-out time.   Dreading a return trip with an hour’s worth of runners’ aroma, I vowed to finish the full ten miles in less than 90 minutes.  Ambitious, yes, but worth the effort.

The Mighty Captain Monica

There was a nice atmosphere about the place, with friendly locals and kids everywhere. The race started below a 100-foot tall railroad trestle, a pedestrian bridge and a auto bridge, all crossing the mighty Sacramento River. The gently rolling path followed the river, crossed yet another bridge, and returned.

The Mighty Green

Dennis, David Ly, Bill Wheeler and Mike Axinn made up the core of the men’s team, teeming with actual running skills and stamina (as opposed to their 5th member), and finished very well.  The strong, swift women’s team of Louise, Riya, Monica H., Fiona and Anya also finished quite well.  After gaining consciousness, I joined the family, rushed to that shower, and gathered with the entire team at the Lumberjacks’ Restaurant, “Where the Big Boys Eat”.  Huge meals and 22-ounce beers covered a table that could have been every waitress’ nightmare: 11 San Francisco foodies.  But Pamakids would have made Andy proud with plenty of good conversations, clean plates, and a generous tip.

Entering Beast Mode

By JohnG

February 14, 2014

Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon and 5KMember PostRace Report

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(Contributed by Steve Lloyd. Steve joined the Pamakid Runners in June 2010 after his brother in law convinced him it was the best running club in the Bay Area.)

I still haven’t seen the leaders.

This wasn’t my first time running down the seemingly endless Great Highway, eager to hit the turnaround just before the ten mile mark of the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon. In previous years, I was always stunned by how early I saw the leaders on their return trip. But here I was, well past the nine mile mark, and the other side of the road was still empty.

By the time they finally went by, the turn was in sight. First, a lead pack of three just beginning to break up. Four, five, six, and seven were strung out, then a gap. Eight and nine rolled by as my pack of five was about 100 yards from the turn.

We’re fighting for 10th place.

I immediately dropped the pace to the low 5:20s and left my pack behind. I didn’t really think about the fact that there was still 5k to go, and six weeks earlier I had only been able to manage 5:27/mi for a 5k time trial. Or that I was about to hit ten miles almost 2:30 faster than I had in my 1:16:30 half marathon PR from 2011, when I faded hard in the sun on a tough grind back in to the finish. Or that there were at least ten guys within striking distance of me if I ran out of gas.

If I was thinking anything, it was that there was a reason why I titled my pre-race shakeout run ‘Countdown to #BEASTMODE’. That yes, my goal of 1:14:59 was being conservative, or ‘sandbagging’ as a couple fellow Pamakids might say. That I had been running aggressively since the first mile with thoughts of a top ten finish in the back of my mind. I was in unknown territory, but confident that my training would carry me to the finish.

The rest of the race was a blur. By the time I made the last turn onto JFK I was in 9th, and I passed two more guys going up the hill to hit the line in 7th overall with a 4+ minute PR of 1:12:13. My last 5k took 16:53, three seconds faster than my 5k time trial six weeks earlier. The most common word I heard others use to describe my race was ‘unbelievable’.

 

At the finish.

So how did that happen?

I have no training secrets. I post every single run publicly on Strava (Disclaimer: I am employed by Strava, Inc.). Every run, from my fastest workouts to my ugliest bonks, is online for the world to see. Here’s a view of my training in the lead up to the race:

January Training

 

More Volume, Fewer Workouts

I’ve recently been experimenting with higher mileage and less frequent workouts. In the past, my volume would generally range from 50-60 miles per week, with two workouts and one long run each week. In this training cycle, I pushed my mileage up to 75, but rarely had more than two harder efforts (one workout, one long run) in a week. The extra recovery has also allowed me to run my long runs a little harder. It takes me a little longer to get fit with this strategy, but it has paid off tremendously with late race strength. This was the first half marathon I have ever run where I actually felt like I was racing in the closing miles.

Race-Specific Workouts

I have a tempo loop in Golden Gate Park that I run at half marathon effort about once a month. These tempo runs have helped build up confidence that I can really push the pace on the downhill sections through the park. Two weeks before race day, I ran half marathon effort from Stanyan to Great Highway on JFK as part of a workout.  My three miles going downhill were 5:33, 5:17, and 5:19. On race day I hit those same miles in 5:26, 5:14, and 5:14, confident that I could attack the downhill without costing myself later on.

Stroller Resistance Training

“Beach and Back with Kaia” is my staple Sunday recovery 10 miler pushing my daughter Kaia in the baby jogger. I’ve yet to average under seven minute pace with the stroller, but I’m starting to get close. It’s hard, but it makes running without the stroller seem that much easier.

What’s Next

I’m currently forcing myself to run short and easy to recover from the half marathon before kicking my Boston Marathon training into gear. Boston is only 10 weeks out, and it’s tempting to try to really push my training even harder, but I know that I’m already in shape for a big PR. The important part is getting to the starting line at 100%, and I can let Beast Mode take over after that.

Jed Smith 50K (2014)

By JohnG

February 13, 2014

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(Contributed by Danni Baird. She joined the Pamakid Runners in early 2013.)

For those who don’t know me, my name is Danni Baird. I joined the Pamakid Runners Club early in 2013 and have loved being a part of the ultra team. I have also run a couple of the other races too but my passion lies with the ultras. I’m not a fast runner but I love the endurance aspect of pushing boundaries.

Pre-race team picture.

February 1st 2014 was a chilly early morning with an amazing group of 18 Pamakid teammates gathered together ready to take on the Jed Smith 50k. Jed Smith is the first PAUSATF race of the season. This race is also unusually flat for an ultra marathon, which presents a different kind of challenge. The course consists of one short out and back, followed by 6 loops. Being able to see faster teammates and cheer for them is nice, and also having a personal aid station of your stuff can be quite handy. We had our little Pamakid rest stop/aid station just before the finish area.

I’m not usually crazy about flat races because the repetition really wears on me and I start to get bored. I like hills — using the uphills to recover and the downhills to speed up. But I’m trying to become a more versatile runner and have some big races coming up that are quite flat so this was a good challenge and preparation. And I really love running with the team! So I jumped on the opportunity to run this race.

Jenni and Danni after both getting new PR’s!

The first few laps went great, and the day went from chilly to pleasant running weather. The fourth lap was difficult mentally and physically as the miles were adding up, and I hit a bit of a wall. But I rallied, pushed through and kept it going. As I was nearing the end of that lap it dawned on me that I was well ahead of pace for my PR and it was possible to keep going and score a good PR, even if I slowed down some. The last two laps were challenging but exciting with the possibility of a PR, and knowing that the finish line was approaching. And then that amazing moment, I finished with a whopping 40 minute PR! And my previous PR had been a downhill trail 50k! Couldn’t believe it. Running with friends and teammates is so encouraging and it helps me push myself (and the flat course might have helped too!). The weather really was perfect — being cool but not too cold and warming up without being hot. To top it off we didn’t have drop of rain (unlike the Kaiser San Francisco Half Marathon the next day).

After the race there was a fabulous post race potluck of all kinds of great foods and lots of wonderful socializing. Truly a wonderful day!

Pamakids relaxing at the post race potluck.

Special congratulations to our Top 10 individual finishers:

  • Charles Wickersham- 4th place Men

  • Colin Alley – 8th place Men

  • Kyria Wilson- 3rd place Women

  • Noriko Bazeley- 5th place Women

Since Jed Smith had 91 finishers in the 50k and 18 of them were Pamakids, the course was quite covered in green! It was very encouraging to see so many teammates running, and fun to cheer for each other. GO GREEN!

Clarksburg Country Run

By JohnG

February 4, 2014

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(Contributed by Riya Young [Riya Suising in other clubs]. Riya joined Pamakid Runners in 2013.

This is my first year with Pamakids, and the Clarksburg Country Run Half Marathon was the most fun race for me with the Pamakids team so far.  I have been running for 5 years now, and I also run with DSE Runners and the Palo Alto Run Club, but it’s always fun and exciting to race with Pamakids in the green singlets and to join the post-race potlucks.  What better reason is there for racing?

The club-sponsored races are always a big motivation, but earning PAUSATF points for Pamakids is always an exciting and competitive thing to do, for both myself and for the team.  For Clarksburg (near Sacramento), I decided to join this for two simple reasons – I had some free time in my schedule that weekend (actually I had a client appointment Sunday afternoon which I was able to push out to fit in the race), and I had a very convenient carpool to join, to make it all the merrier!

 

Go Green!

The race itself was a major local event.  The event had 20-mile, half marathon individual, half marathon relay, 10K, and 5K categories, with the half marathon individual being the PAUSATF championship race.  So besides lots of other fast PAUSATF runners at this event, we also had a share of local runners come join the scenic course through the local Clarksburg vineyards.

The course was flat, fast, and scenic.  The half marathon course was an out-and-back route with several sharp turns, but coming back the exact same route, so we knew exactly where we were all the time on the return and could expect when to turn next and when the next aid station would be.  In my carpool to the race, Mike Axinn warned us of a small “hill” in the first mile where we would cross over a levee.  We never noticed that, but did notice a slight downhill decline in that area on the way to back to the.  The “hill” must have been at most 3 feet in elevation.  The only other change in elevation I noticed on the course was approximately a 6-inch dip in the shoulder on the tight turns.  Besides that, the course was super flat and mostly straight, almost to the point of being boring even with the colorful vineyards, but strategically useful for helping me focus on my own pacing or counting the miles or aid stations.   The out-and-back course was also tactically helpful, to let me watch the leaders come back in, and I could also count my place back from the leaders, and focus on whom to pass on the way back to the finish, if I was able to maintain my pace.

The final mile of the race was fast and exciting.  Even though I was tired and looking forward to finishing, I could hear the crowd in the distance cheering on the finishers, which gave me the motivation to put in a final boost rounding the curves in the road approaching Delta High School.  Scoring was done on gun time only, as there were no timing chips, and timing and scoring was done manually but very accurately by race officials as finishers were pretty well spread apart at the finish.

The race itself was simple and local, but very well organized.  Arriving at Delta High School, a number of volunteers were guiding us to the athletic fields for parking, lining up the cars efficiently into rows, Disneyland-style.  Registration and bib pick-up were clearly organized in the high school gym with the port-a-potties and start line visible right outside.  We all got a very nice black, colorful, long sleeve tech shirt, but small sizes all ran out, and just a few were lucky enough to trade down sizes post-race.  The finisher medal was nice and colorful, and all runners were treated to a complimentary yet modest lunch in the school cafeteria, which had some real restrooms in addition to the port-a-potties outside.  Volunteers were friendly and plentiful at the event and throughout the course, making it a great experience to attend for the weekend and worth the sub-2-hour drive from San Francisco.  Registration fees were only $50-60 for the half marathon, making it very affordable for all runners, even as a non-sponsored race.

Probably the best part of my experience was carpooling with some of the Pamakids runners and getting to know them better, as I was a new member myself.  Louise Stephens drove her Honda Pilot SUV, and was able to take a total of 6 in the car, including Andy Chan, Mike Axinn, Roy Clarke, Danielle Hashem, and myself.  I’ve learned from races that my most memorable experiences come not from the race itself, but from the weekend experiences I spend with my travel buddies.  Besides enjoying the running, we were all able to enjoy our love for Peet’s Coffee both in San Francisco at Potrero Center before departure, and at Davis on the way back.  I scored an extra brownie point when I got a $1 discount off my Peet’s holiday drink from my Yelp check-in, and helped my teammates get the same discount off of theirs.

 

Louise, Riya, and Danielle before the race.

At the end, our carpool got back to San Francisco right on time, and I was able to quickly shower and get to my client appointment in San Jose 2 hours later, right on time as well.  Besides my carpool, other Pamakids at the Half Marathon included David Ly, John Spriggs, and Theo Jones, who placed 2nd in his age division.  It was a great weekend for a very nice race, and awesome to be able to run with a talented and supportive racing team.  Thanks everyone and Go Green!

Event website at http://www.clarksburgcountryrun.com/

Results at http://www.clarksburgcountryrun.com/results/2013-results/

How hard could it be?: Whiskeytown 50k

By JohnG

November 8, 2013

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(Contributed by Chuck Amital. Chuck joined Pamakids in 2009, when he started running ultras. After a 2½-year hiatus, in 2013, he started running 50ks again.)

Truth be told, going into this race, I was thinking more about the one that would be coming 5 weeks later – the Quad Dipsea, with a total elevation gain of 9200 feet over 28.4 miles. Somehow, even though it was right there on the website, I missed that the elevation gain for Whiskeytown was going to be 6120 feet. I was aware, however, that most of the running was at 2000 feet. For some reason (call it denial if you want), my pre-race assessment of Whiskeytown was “not too shabby,” although not quite as impressive as some of the other 50ks that my teammates and I had already tackled this season. (Can anyone say, “Headlands 50k,” with 7300 feet of gain?!)

And so, with the race set for Saturday morning near Redding, John (G.), Kelly and Lavy piled into my car on Friday around noon and headed north. One of the things that I enjoy so much about hanging out with other runners is the common language and shared love of running that enables us to establish a sense of camaraderie so easily. Most of all, I enjoy the ever-so-dry sense of humor that so many of our teammates possess in spades! Suffice it to say that the four of us quickly fell into an easy rhythm of discussion, question and answer, call and response, banter, etc., about running and a host of other topics.

We arrived in Redding, picked up our bibs, checked in to the Thunderbird, and headed over to Black Bear Diner, where my companions’ orders roundly disabused me of the notion that runners dine on pasta the night before a race! After a series of errands, we found ourselves back at the motel at 7 p.m. with some time on our hands, so we decided to head out to the movies to take our minds off the race. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, in Gravity, were just the ticket.

Arriving back at the motel after the movie, each of us organized our gear before settling in to get a good night’s sleep before the race. Not that I ever sleep well the night before a race. Thankfully, morning eventually arrived, and a more serious mood took over, as we all went through our final pre-race rituals, before loading up on caffeine on the way to Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. Time compressed in the last hour before the race as we made our last-minute preparations and connected up with Noriko (who had driven up with her husband), for a pre-race team photo. Then, off we went.

 

Before. (Photo by Roger)

Ultras are just my speed because it usually takes me 4 to 5 miles just to warm up and begin to find my sense of rhythm. Being out on the trails for 5½ to 8 hours means that a race is comprised of lots of moments. Some of those moments seem unforgettable at the time, but they become a blur, even during the course of the same race. One recurring moment that I’ve learned to embrace is my “Forrest Gump” moment – that inevitable point (or points!) in the race when I wonder what the hell I’m doing there, who the hell I think I am that I can pull this off, and on and on and on. Although that “moment” sometimes lasts longer than I’d like – for example, the length of that god-awful climb up to who-knows-where – it, too, often becomes a fond memory. I enjoy both the solitude of the trail – this race had lots of that – and the companionship of other runners (misery loves company after all) – which this race also had.

A few moments, however, do stick out in my mind:

Coming upon Lavy and Noriko, who were having way too much fun chatting (personally, I’m in it for the suffering!), as we were contouring along a tricky section of the trail that was covered in shale.

Running through scrub oaks in glorious fall color.

Exchanging shout-outs with Kelly at an unexpected overlapping point in the trail.

Crossing Mill Creek multiple times. (I stopped counting after 7.) It doesn’t sound like much, but try rock-hopping across a stream after 18 miles of trail running. I took the RD’s advice, and waded through most of them, cooling my paws in the process.

Tripping and falling around mile 26, only to have my left calf seize up, picking myself up and running on (“running” being a relative thing 5 hours into a 50k), although my calf kept telling me who was boss.

True confession: I was relieved to cross the finish line. With both of my calves wrapped in ice, John and I waited for the rest of our group, who arrived in dribs and drabs shortly thereafter. We relaxed for a bit, and Noriko’s husband took an “after” shot of the group.

 

After. (Photo by Roger)

We folded ourselves in the car for the ride back to SF, and more enjoyable conversation. We all agreed that Whiskeytown was harder than we thought it would be. Although we all swore that we won’t be back again next year, I don’t believe it for a minute.

Race Results.

Bras for the Cause

By JohnG

November 5, 2013

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 (Contributed by Malinda Walker)

In 2012, Andy and Malinda dressed up in bras, walked a 10K and for our effort raised $2,165 with a huge proportion of the money given by Pamakid Runners. We were humbled and grateful. In 2013 we planned to do it again, and both felt a little intimidated and challenged by the amount of money we had raised. How could we fundraise to that level again? The charity and cause are just as important this year as they were last year, but seeing Andy in a bra? Been there. Done that.

However, again, you our running family, were there to support us. Yvonne Ou and Justin Mikecz, while making a donation decided to ask a funny question in the donor message section: “How much does the team have to donate to get you to coach track in a bra one night?”

 

We immediately checked the numbers from 2012 and came up with a dollar amount. If Pamakids donated to either one of us, to reach a total of $1,500 (a number partly chosen because of Andy’s love for the track & field race, the 1500 meters) Andy would wear a bra to coach a Tuesday night workout.

 

The donations started pouring in. The ones from the Pamakid Runners were kept in one tally to chart our progress towards the $1,500 goal. Someone from the Impalas, one of the other running clubs that works out at Kezar on Tuesday night got word of our fundraising effort (and the coach in a bra challenge) and she made a donation. There were also donations from other friends and family members. Every time we received a donation, it made us think about that person and our memories of spending time with that person. As many of you know, Andy cleverly e-mailed a thank you that included the wording: “Thanks for the SUPPORT!”

 

The Pamakids were giving donations but it was unclear if the $1,500 mark would be reached. Suddenly Yvonne and Justin threw down the gauntlet again. For every new Pamakid that made a donation, they would donate $5 more. It was going to be close. On the actual day of the walk, just hours before we left the house, two anonymous donations came in, one for Andy and one for Malinda. We had good reason to suspect that these donations should be credited to the Pamakids’ “See Andy Coach in a Bra” account. Within the hour were able to confirm that it was so. The goal had been met. We were off to walk a 10K.

The event honoree was Denise Wolf, a colleague of Malinda’s. Denise was also the person who gave us the new additions to our family – guinea pigs that we named Sheldon and Leonard. This year’s bras were decorated with fur to look like a wolf (Denise WOLF!). Purple WolfPack shirts were made. And Andy supplemented his ensemble with a hat that some of you may remember from a Bay to Breakers centipede costume in 2011.

 

After the walk, Denise gave a moving speech about fighting cancer. It was a reminder that cancer is an awful disease and that while it was fun to banter about seeing Andy coach in a bra, what really was important was to fight breast cancer.

In total, the event raised over $120,000 and with their other fundraising events the Tri Valley SOCKs were able to donate $150,000 to four charities. $70,000 was donated to UCSF, $30,000 to Axis Community Health, $30,000 Valley Care Breast Cancer Services and $20,000 to the HERS Breast Cancer Foundation.

Of this, we raised $2,645, almost $500 more than 2012. We received donations from over fifty different people. It’s a good feeling to have supported this cause. We truly believe that it’s these “small” donations that add up to the “big” dollar figures that make all the difference. It is people coming together to support a cause together. That’s community. That’s support. That’s our friends and family.

 

We owe a huge thank you to Pamakid Running club family. Please let us know if you have ideas about how Andy can reach yet another new level of embarrassment in the name of a good cause next year.

Thank you for the wonderful support for the Bras for the Cause walk.

Part III – Dancing at Night! (2013 WSER100)

By JohnG

September 7, 2013

Member PostRace Results

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(Contributed by Janeth Badaracco, Pamakid member since 2012)

Read Part I here.

Read Part II here.

The weigh in at Forest Hill went perfect. Up one lb. Things happened very fast. I remember sitting on the chair eating a nice warm soup while lots of hands were all over me. My shoes were off, clothes were everywhere. Like Pam Smith said in her race report, I felt like a pornstar. The girls kept me lubed, wet, and excited.

 

Best crew!!

I was happy to finally see Noe. He started to crew me in the early evening until the end.

Noe Castanon “The Mustache” is like a brother to me. He has been crewing and supporting me ever since my first 100. He paced me at Rocky Road 100 and keeps saying he won’t help me anymore, and keeps “quitting me” every time. I love Noe. He is such a good man. A selfless runner who would drop everything to lend you a hand. We have gone through so many things together and I feel safe when he is there. The hubs will be in good hands. Noe is here!

I didn’t get to see my boys and give them a kiss goodnight. I got there too late and my parents had taken them to the hotel already.

Fueled and dressed in clean clothes, I was ready for the next section. This is where the race begins, as Coach Franz would say. If you can run this section and run this long sweet downhill stretch, you have done a good job saving your quads.

Lavy “My HURT Princess” would pace me until Rucky Chucky and I was happy to have her company. I knew she would push me hard and take no BS from me. I love this girl.

With Macklemore blasting “Can’t Hold Us” in my ears and my legs feeling good, I started running hard. I was in trail heaven and loving it. We ran hard and nonstop until the next AS. We passed lots of runners. I remember passing The Dirt Diva, Catra Corbett, and I knew something was wrong with her. I have never been able to catch her or even been close to her pace at any 100. I said “hi” to her but I barely got a “hey” from her. She eventually would drop due to stomach issues.

It was a clear night but hot. Lavy and I were sweating like crazy. We ran strong until Cal 3. It was tough watching runners drop at the different aid stations. Lavy would let me sit for bit while I ate solid food, and all I could think was making it to the river.

After Cal 3 my running turned into shuffling. I was getting sleepy and there was no way I was gonna even ask Lavy for a break. She would have slapped me – I was warned from the beginning. We still had another 5 miles or so before the river. I kept running behind her in hopes of getting some “sleep running” but she would notice and then run behind me. Dang it!

We finally made it to the river crossing and I was hoping the cold water would wake me up.

There was a line of volunteers from one end to the other along the rope guiding your every step. Rocks everywhere waiting for you to trip I thought. The cold water felt amazing on my legs and it reached above my waist. I didn’t want my pack to get wet so I gave it to the guys and they passed it to each other as I crossed the river. Now this is what I called full service! My crew just thought I was a diva. Meh!!

I could see Noe on the other end calling my name. I took my time to pose for the photographer of course 🙂

Mile 78, less than a marathon to go. Woohoo!

I was so happy to see Canadian beauty Kelly Haston still with us. Between her and Erica they got me all changed and perfectly matched. To my surprise, we were 30 minutes ahead of schedule. We were finally able to make up some time.

Ace would take over pacing me from here. I kissed the hubs and we headed up Green Gate. I noticed he looked tired. My poor hubby. Later on I would hear the story of “the freaking tote.”

To get from the car to the river crossing it takes about 4 miles down and 4 miles up on the way back. I had a drop bag at this AS but my crew decided to bring my tote just in case I needed something else. This tote had everything I might need and it was heavy (I heard) :).

Apparently, they all took turns carrying this thing up and down. Even Chris Jones had a chance to carry it since everyone else was getting tired and annoyed by it. I heard Noe was yelling at everyone and telling them to stop whining and that you had to be positive and do whatever it takes for your runner. I could just imagine the cursing and whining.

 

Picture of my precious tote.

Even now I still have to listen to the hubs complain how heavy this thing was and how he had to climb all 8 miles in the middle of night while Noe crewed him and Kelly paced him. (He has a full crew now if he decides to run his first 5K. Just kidding!”Let’s boogie” Ace said as we started the climb up to Green Gate. I didn’t remember how long this part was. Last year when I paced him at this same race, We had Tony Nguyen crewing the crew and he carried all of Ace’s stuff. Good thing Ace only had a little tiny cooler.

Ace ran, I shuffled. Only 20 more miles to go and I couldn’t wait for the sun to come out again. Ace kept pushing those dang awful GU’s. At this point, I was so sick of them, but I was also sick of any food. I was looking forward to the morning pancakes though.

We ran, we walked. I was not sleepy at all. This was the easier part of the race but it was about mile 80 something after all and my leggys were finally tired.

I was driving Ace crazy asking him “what mile?” I must have asked him over 100 times. My watch had died already and I was wearing Noe’s watch since Foresthill. But I couldn’t even add 1 plus 1 at this stage of the race.

The sun was finally up and it gave me some energy – I was able to run for a while. Ace kept running in front of me and he would turn every few seconds to check on me. I was worried that he would fall and hurt himself, but he never did. Thank God!

Ace is the coolest and nicest guy you could ever meet. I met him in 2011 at a CTR race. We have run a few 100’s together ever since and he knows how to make running fun. He ran Western States last year for the first time, in sub 24 with hardly any training miles on his legs. He is just a natural fast runner. The Fool! I love Ace and Tiffany, his wife. Cutest couple ever!

We took a few pics once the sun came up, then we kept on going. I picked up the pace and we started passing runners. A lot of them were struggling and it was starting to get hot again.

We got to ALT AS and I was hoping to see George Miller and several of the Coastside Running Club members. I met George back in 2011 when I ran Miwok for the first time. He is a wonderful man who always has the best advice. He gave me the most valuable advice after my first DNF at Rio de Lago. I still remember and live by those words now. Thank you George!

Unfortunately, George was doing foot care this year and was at Foresthill. Bummer. I wanted that hug.

I saw Ron Little with a huge smile and beautiful Sabine helping out. Ron Little had DNF’ed the race Saturday due to some IT band issues. He decided to join his Coastside mates and help out all the other runners. Way cool! I ate and grabbed what I could while Ace took care of my pack.

At one point we caught up with Greg Lancroft and his pacer Loren Lewis.  He is such a fast and strong runner but he was struggling.

Running 100’s are no joke. It doesn’t matter how strong or fast you are – anything can happen in 100 miles. We all have good days and bad days. As coach says, train smart and respect the miles. But again, anything can happen.

Off to Brown’s bar we went. You could hear the loud music there from far away. I grabbed some pancakes and off to Hwy 49. I would see my crew there again yippie!!

The heat was definitely getting to me. At 8am it was already 85 degrees. It felt like a punch in the face. As if I hadn’t had enough heat the day before, I was getting another taste of it. This time I was not ready for it.

All the heat training really paid off for the first 25 hours. I sat in the sauna almost every day for the last two weeks while getting in trouble at my club because I was doing weights while I sat there. I had to maximize my time there – I couldn’t just sit there and watch other people eat or flash their business at me 🙂

Really, who eats at a sauna?

We approached Hwy 49 and it was fun to see people again and hear all the cheering out loud. I had one of the best smoothies here. It felt so good! I saw Jenni, Jesse, and Noe again. Seeing their smiling faces really gave me more energy. I got a hat from Noe and asked them to meet at Robbie Point so we could all run together to the finish. The hubs had gone to get the boys and my parents from the hotel and would meet us at the finish. 6.5 miles to go!!

 

Approaching Hwy 49.

 

Noe taking care of me.

We had a nice, gradual 2.7 mile downhill run to the famous No Hands Bridge. Once there I dosed myself with water to keep cool.

As we were leaving No hands bridge I saw Ken Crouse and got a “you got this” from him. I met Ken this year at the training runs in May and was introduced to him by Annette Mensonides, who was running States for the third time.  He had run WS in 2009. He was kind enough to give me a ride from FH to Robinson Flat. On the ride there I was also introduced to Tim Twietmeyer. Little did I know that I was riding with Western States legend, 25 time sub 24 finisher Tim Twietmeyer! It was an awesome ride listening to many Western States stories and getting some advice from the master.

To me the hardest part of the race was approaching. It’s only a mere 5K from this point but the last two miles are pretty much all uphill and the last mile on road. Really?

Back in February, we had the first training run and covered the last 20 miles of the course. I recorded every step from Robbie Point to the track. I had played and seen this part so many times, and always thought how much I dislike this part and knew that I would be struggling on race day.

The climb to Robbie Point was brutal. I was really trying to push hard but I was hot and feeling nauseous. Every step was a struggle. I lifted my head and saw Jenni, Lavy, Myles, and Noe running down to meet me. At that moment I knew I was gonna make it. All of a sudden I couldn’t hold it anymore and just threw up this nasty black stuff. Ace said that was so “cool”.

Jenni kept pouring water on my head and I started to feel a lot better.

We all ran up to the paved road together. There were lots of people cheering on the sides. That first grinding climb to the “Mile 99” sign is a killer, but I could not feel or hear anything any more at this point. I was just talking to my mom up in heaven. I did it mommy! I did it! Are you watching me? I was also thanking Pete for pushing me up those hills. He would be so happy for me I thought.

Pictures courtesy of Myles Smythe. Thank you for being there!

If you know me, you know I am a cry baby, but for some reason I had no tears. I was just happy. Myles kept taking pictures of all us. At some point Ken “All Day” Michael joined us. It was the most wonderful feeling to have all my amazing friends running this final mile with me. I saw the white bridge and knew the track was within reach. My heart was pumping so hard. Macklemore’s song playing in my head “na,na, na, na, na, na…So we put our hands up like the ceiling can’t hold us.”

I stepped on that beautiful red track and saw my babies and my parents. They ran towards me and I held my baby’s hands and we ran together the most amazing 250 yards to the finish. Just like I had been dreaming it for a long time

Crossing the finish line with my family. Photos courtesy of Myles Smythe.

28:51:13 of the most wonderful, rewarding hours of my running life.

The big dance was over and it was a million times better that I have ever imagined.

Finally touching my buckle for the first time.

 

She is a beauty!

 

Blessed to have a supporting and loving family.

My Amazing Family and Crew: My Dearest husband: Thank you for being my number one fan and supporter. You are my rock and I am nothing without you. Thanks for supporting this crazy journey of mine and living my dreams with me. I love you!My Parents: Thank  you for always being there and helping with the boys while I run all my crazy “marathons.” I love you!Coach Franz Dill: Thank you for teaching me to become a smart and strong runner. Your knowledge and support were key to my success. It was not easy but you helped me push and fight through all the obstacles that came our way during training. You are an amazing coach, runner, and father. Congratulations on your sub 24 finish!Lavy Sin: You are my “pacer” princess. I owe you so much and could have never done this without you. You are like a sister to me. You get me and understand my crazy life. I love you girl!

Noe Castanon: You are like my brother and you can’t ever quit me. You make me feel safe and know how to put me in my place when I struggle or whine, as you call it. Thank you!Andrew Ewing “Ace”: Thanks for being you and making me laugh so much. Thanks for dealing with my slow turtle pace. Please no more strawberry banana GUs!Jennifer Jimenez: You are one amazing woman. Thank you for taking the time away from your beautiful family to crew me. You always had the right words to say and kept me going strong. Thank you!!Erica Teicheira: Thank you for crewing me and for keeping me coordinated. I hope you had a great time and enjoyed the WS experience.Allen Lucas: Thank you for helping me with this report. I am an awful writter and you made it easy for me.

Thank you!!It took a village of amazing friends and family to get me to the track. I will never forget this journey. Western States is by far the most amazing 100 miler race out there. I am so blessed and proud to be part of the 2013 Western States family. I am already looking forward to next year. Running it or not, I will be there!On to my next Adventure!

 

With coach Franz Dill.

 

My amazing Crew. Noe, Ace, Jenni, Erica, Lavy and the hubs.

[Editors Note: Janeth is well on her way to running three more 100-milers this year including the San Francisco 100, Headlands 100, and Javelina Jundred.]

Part II – The Journey Begins – Time to Dance! (2013 WSER100)

By JohnG

September 4, 2013

Member PostRace Report

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(Contributed by Janeth Badaracco, Pamakid member since 2012)

Read Part I here.

Own the day” as I started the first climb. Coach’s words kept filling my head. “Don’t go up too fast,” “don’t get stuck in the back train,” “take advantage of the cool morning,” “eat, drink” – so many things to remember.

I knew I had to push a little until at least 11am. It was a cool morning and I had my long sleeve “lucky” white shirt on. I love this shirt because it was the shirt I wore on my last run with my dear friend Pete Mingoa. He passed away last year from a brain aneurism. We both wore the same shirt on that awful race at Mt. Diablo last year. He would keep me safe, I thought.

As I climbed, I kept turning to appreciate the view. It was beautiful. I also kept my eyes on how far behind I was. I never saw Catra to get that hug. I hoped the hug I got from her the day before would be enough.

I made it to the top and posed for Luis Escobar. If you know me, you know I am always ready for a good picture. Most people don’t care too much – I do. These are memories that will last a lifetime.

Time to let my legs loose I thought. I had no cramps at this point. Thank you Jesus!!!

I started running; my legs felt good. I started passing as many runners as I could, trying to keep my goal pace and trying not to get stuck behind anyone whose pace was not mine. This was a big deal to me. In past races I had tended to just follow others and didn’t realize that I was running their pace, not mine.

The weather was still cool and I had a smooth run, enjoying the technical trails and views as this was my first time running this part of the race.

At Red Star Ridge, I picked up a handheld from my drop bag, filled it with water and ice, and used it to keep my head wet at all times. The run to Duncan Canyon was nice and smooth, and I was looking forward to seeing my crew for the first time on the course.

 

Coming down to the Duncan Canyon Aid Station.

I was feeling good and strong at this point. As I came down to the AS, I could see my crew in their bright pink t-shirts. I got some hugs, refueled, and to my surprise, the hubs had gotten some Hi-chews for me. They are these Japanese delicious chewy candies in all different flavors. I started getting them for my boys, and then I got addicted to them. I was a little bummed I forgot to get them – I love to chew on them when I’m struggling on steep climbs. It sweetens the pain I believe.

 

The girls glamorizing their crew shirts. Loved it!

Fueled with a turkey sandwich, Hi-Chews and hugs, I left happy and strong. I would not see my crew again until Dusty Corners.

It was awesome to see so many safety patrol runners on the course with their bright red Western States shirts on. You felt safe. I think I would love to do that if I don’t get in next year.

At Robinson Flat, I was happily surprised to see Pamakid teammate Kelly Haston cheering on us. She had just arrived from Europe the day before. She knows how to cheer me up with that potty mouth of hers.

I got myself soaked and headed up the short climb knowing that there would be a sweet downhill stretch coming up.

At the top, I rolled my ankle hard on a rock. It was painful and I had to stop for a while. I kept walking slowly, waiting for the pain to subside. Every time I tried to step all the way down, it would hurt. I kept running and watching my step, just stepping half way down.
After a few miles trying to figure out how to step without pain, I decided to call someone on my crew to see if they could meet me at the next AS to try to fix this problem. Unfortunately, there was no crew access at the next AS so I would have to suck it up and wait until Dusty Corners.

Once there, I wrapped my ankle really tight and prayed it would work. I was glad to see our Pamakid president, Andy Chan, and his wife Malinda. It was awesome to have so many members of our club along the course for support. This was the first time in Pamakid history that we had a full team at Western States. Colin, John, and I were so proud to represent our club. It was a little bit of a challenge for our teammates to follow all of us on the course as we were all running at different paces. There was super speedy Colin Alley, speedy John Gieng and me, turtle slow Janeth. Somehow, they managed to spread out well as I would see them many times.

 

Pamakids and Western States board member Tony Rossmann.

All wrapped up, I headed out, unsure but hopeful. The canyons were calling my name and I was ready to face them. I would not see my crew again until Michigan Bluff. Towards Last Chance I went.

This part of the course was beautiful, with views of Screw Auger Ridge. After a nice downhill I reached the Last Chance AS. My ankle was still hurting but it was manageable. I was looking forward to this AS. I knew Allen Lucas will be volunteering here with 600 lbs of ice. He posted on FB the day before that he would be bringing lots and lots of ice. I loved this AS. It had a Hawaiian theme and everyone was happy and cheerful. I got weighed here. I kept telling the guys not to say my weight out loud – it’s a girl thing I guess. Everything looked good and I was only 1 pound under at this point.

Next, I was welcomed to the “car wash.” Allen made sure I got sponged off pretty well before I headed out towards Devil’s Thumb. He took a couple of pictures and I thanked him for being there. As I was leaving I started to see these awesome signs on the trail and saw the one with my name. That brought a huge smile to my face. That Allen sure knows how to treat his runners. Thanks a million Mr. Notthatlucas!

 

Thanks Allen for the sign!!

I knew the next 4 miles would be fun. First, the descent is gradual, passing old mining equipment, and then it turns into single track. At this point, my right knee started to hurt. It was a sharp pain on the outer side of my knee. I figured this was due to my ankle problem as my form was a mess and my step was awkward. I strapped my IT band tightly and hobbled my way down the steep downhill. Fear and tears took over and all I could do was talk to my knee and bargain for more time. I was told once that if you talk to your injury and show it some love, you could find relief. I had been practicing doing this a lot over the year since my stomach issues and IT band issues started.

I kept bargaining with my knee. I kept promising it lots of rest and caring after this was over. Many of the runners that I had passed a while back were catching up to me now. I  knew my knee wouldn’t hurt as much going uphill. The swinging bridge at the bottom of the canyon was near and as I got close I saw my friend Chihping Fu. He decided to walk down to the river under the bridge. I thought to myself, why not do the same? Soaking my knee in the cold river for a few minutes would be nice. Plus, the 1800 ft climb with its 36 switchbacks in the next two miles would be hot and long.

We played in the water a bit and I watched many runners run over the bridge, thinking “you don’t know what you are missing.”

I started the climb up Devils Thumb feeling cool. The knee didn’t hurt going uphill and I started power hiking it with lots of energy. I had ran this part once before and I knew what to expect. During my training, coach had me running on worse hills than this and I really didn’t think it was a big deal. I was too busy talking to Pete and asking him to “push” me through the uphills.

I really don’t know why I picked trail running. I dislike uphills very very much – I guess everything else makes up for it. I love to talk to my “angels” when I run uphill. They lightly push my back and keep me going while I suffer on the climbs.

I could see lots of runners having a hard time here. I kept passing one after another and that made me feel good. I pulled out the Hi-chews and things just got sweeter. I saw a lady just sitting on the side of the trail looking spent. I offered her a Hi-chew and told her to get her butt up so we could chick some guys. She laughed and followed me for a bit. I really enjoyed this part on the run. The devil had nothing on me I kept saying to myself.

I could hear the AS station about 1/4 mile away. This little boy was on the side of the road reading our bib numbers through a walkie talkie (so they could have our drop bags ready I guess). He was getting eaten by bugs and offered the runners some bug spray. I passed on the spray and gave him a Hi-chew.

I was feeling a hot spot on the bottom of my foot here and I wanted to take care of it right away before descending into the next canyon. All those water crossings were keeping me cool but they were messing with my feet. I got weighed in again and was offered a Popsicle. It was just perfect.

I sat on one of their lounge chairs and one of the amazing volunteers started to work on my foot as I enjoyed my Popsicle and watched Chihping taking pictures with all the volunteers. I love Chip . He is such a nice guy with a beautiful smile. He was going for the grand slam of Ultrarunning this year. WS was the first of 4 100’s he would be running in the span of 4 months. Just awesome!

I felt like I was in a salon getting a pedicure for a minute. Everyone was so friendly and happy and we were just chatting away. The volunteer was taking too long so I grabbed the tape and took care of my feet right away. I needed to get out of there ASAP. I was still on time, but I knew El Dorado canyon was next. I fueled up and thanked everyone. This was a long descent and my knee was feeling a lot better. Between the IT strap and all the sweet bargaining I did with it, I think it paid off.

I had a blast running downhill listening to my crazy playlist. I think this was one of the longest downhills, almost 5 miles.

At the bottom of the canyon was the El Dorado Creek AS. I saw Tina Hyde and thanked her for being there. I was thinking, how in the heck did you guys get here?? Wow! Volunteers Rock!!! She asked if I had seen Annette who I had passed a long time ago. I figured she was not far behind me. I had a lot of cold watermelon and refueled my ice water bottle.

The next climb to Michigan Bluff will be long. Steep at first, but then it levels out towards the top. It was here where, for the first time in the race, I felt the heat. You know the heat you feel when you open your oven door? Just like that and just for a second. I dowsed my head with ice water and felt good. I had kept myself soaked with my long sleeve shirt on throughout the day so I had no problems so far.

I power hiked as much as I could. At one point I noticed that I had not seen any ribbons for a while. Did I go the wrong way on that 4 way split? This girl and I kept climbing and yelling out “hello” and “Kah kah” but no response. We decided to run back to that split. Half mile down we saw some runners coming our way and they reassured us we were going the right way. Phew!! We just wasted 20 minutes though I thought.

On my way to the top, I saw beautiful Jeanne running down. Always nice to see her. I knew I was close to the Michigan Bluff AS. I was sooo happy to see Jenni and Jesse there. I needed to change my socks. My feet were hurting. I was also surprised to see Ace who was ready to run with me to Foresthill. (If you get to this AS after 8pm, you are allowed a pacer from this point on.)

 

Jenni, Jesse and Ace providing foot care at MB.

Jenni and Jesse helped me change my socks, but I had no socks there. Jenni just asked Jesse to give me his socks. Bless his heart!! Ace got my pack ready and we were off to Volcano canyon. I was so glad he started pacing me from there. I was getting tired at this point and it was starting to get dark.

This part consisted of dirt road, some single track, and some pavement. We stopped for a picture before the sun went down.

 

“Let’s boogie” said Ace. Half way through this part Lavy joined us. I was so happy to see my girl. She would pace me from Foresthill to the river.

But right now I had both pacers with me. How lucky was I? I felt so good but my legs were tired from running downhill.

I was looking forward to getting to Foresthill. I would see my babies and change all this wet gear. We didn’t even stop at the Bath Road AS.

Read Part II here.

Part I – Running Momma and her Big Dance (2013 WSER100)

By JohnG

September 1, 2013

Member PostRace Report

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(Contributed by Janeth Badaracco, Pamakid member since 2012)

This is my first attempt at writing a race report. It is super long because I want to remember everything about this wonderful experience. Maybe read it to my children and grandchildren 30 years from now. I also wanted to share it with all my friends. I hope you enjoy it.

Running Momma and her Big Dance

December 8th 2012 was the day my running luck changed and I was picked in the lottery to run Western States for the first time. I had been waiting for this moment ever since I read Born to Run, over 8 years earlier.

I knew right and then that I would need to train smart and stop running  “junk miles” as I called them. I also knew that I needed the help of a great coach to get me to the finish. Franz Dill came to mind immediately. He is a 4 time Western States finisher, smart, speedy and an amazing guy. Plus, he lives on the other side of Montara Mountain, very close to me.

 

Lottery Day in Auburn. A few of the lucky runners. Coach Franz Dill is on my left.

Training started in January and I was looking forward to the first Western States Training Run in February.

Part of the plan was to run many races and use them as training runs. In mid January I started having these odd cramps while running. At first, I thought it was a hydration issue. As time went by though, they just got worse.

After months of many, many visits to doctors and many painful tests, I had to deal with ulcers, gastritis and colitis while training. I don’t think I had one long run without cramps. None of the medications worked. All I kept thinking was you won’t stop me! You won’t win!

Lake Sonoma 50 was the longest training run with cramps. I hurt  the longest at this race, and to make it more fun, I got this awful rash all over my body due to the heat and antibiotics. To this date, I still have mild cramps and I have taken a break from dealing with doctors.

 

What else could go wrong?

Coach kept saying “this is just making you stronger. Come race day, you will have nothing to fear.” Really? I was praying he was right. The long sleepless nights were normal. I would cry myself to sleep dreaming of those final steps on the Placer High School track holding my baby’s hands.

The cramps became a daily problem whether I was running or not. I was tired of dealing with my GI doctor. I found some relief with acupuncture but not enough. Listening to Kelly Clarkson’s song “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger” was a must.

Race day was approaching and training turned into “running while managing the cramps.” What else could I do? Just suck it up and run. I might never get this opportunity again.

The Big Dance is almost here!!

We arrived in Squaw Valley the Wednesday before the race and stayed at my friend Erin’s condo, only 20 min from the start. I wanted to attend as many of the pre-race festivities as possible. I also wanted to enjoy some time with the family. The kids could enjoy some pool time and the hubs could get some rounds of golf.

Hiking up to Escarpment and attending the flag raising ceremony was my favorite. It was a beautiful ceremony and it was also the first time I would set my feet on the first climb of the race.

I was so happy to share this with my friend and pacer Ace Ewing, “The Fool” who had finished Western States the year before sub 24 hours. I had asked him to pace me the same day my name was picked in the lottery. After the flag ceremony, we hung out at the pool with my boys on top of Squaw. They loved taking the tram. I kept thinking “would they notice if I took the tram on race day?” Maybe not a good idea.

 

Ace Ewing and I at the top of Escarpment for the Flag raising ceremony.

I was getting nervous at this point. The heat was getting hotter and hotter every day. While it had rained a few days earlier, talks about being a very hot race year were in full force.

Coach had me doing heat training a few weeks before the race to get me ready for the heat. I spent lots of time in the sauna, plus having the heater up high in the car was a norm. I was happy for a change the AC was broken in the Momma Mobile. The hubs was not happy and the boys were used it. I remember Ethan complaining one day and Josh said to him “it’s for WS training, just deal with it.” That’s my boy!

The Friday before race day was a little crazy. I was getting really nervous. My cramps were still there but not too bad and the heat was getting hotter and hotter. I  kept texting coach; I guess I was just looking for reassurance. I was also looking forward to seeing my awesome crew and all my running friends.

Ace and many friends were running the Montrail 6K challenge that morning. I had the boys with me while the hubs played his last round of golf. I knew I had to check in and go to thru the medical check – things were becoming real. I started to freak out that morning and kept calling the hubs to get back right away. I was getting upset for no reason. I was truly thankful when Jenni showed up and helped me with the boys while I went to check in.

I walked in and saw Stan “The Man” Jensen handing out the yellow wrist bands that I would wear throughout the whole race. Stan always brings a smile to my face; he is like my grandpa. I feel at ease when I see him and I just want to hug him. I took a picture with him and moved onto the blood pressure area. The lady was super sweet and told me not to be nervous and asked how I was feeling. I just started to cry feeling overwhelmed for no reason. I wished David was there to hold me. I saw my friend Janet Freeman, whose husband was running the race as well. She grabbed my camera and volunteered to be my photographer while I got weighed in and got my mug shot taken for the online tracking.

 

Stan Jensen helping with runner’s check in. Love you Stan!

Next, I was in line to get all the swag. Yes! I love race swag and I will run just to get some cool swag. I remember last year after running Firetrails 50 a week after running Rio De Lago 100, I was so beat up and tired and the hubs asked why did I do it? I said to him “I ran it because I wanted the cool jacket you get after you finish.” It was worth all those painful 50 miles with the sweeper on my ass for most of it.

I promised my body I would never do that again.

Next was the mandatory race meeting. The day was hot and there were few shaded areas left by the time my crew and I got there. Craig Thornley, the RD, introduced the elites, and all I kept thinking was how awesome it would feel to be that fast just for a day. I know that no matter how hard I try I would never be that fast. A girl can always dream though. Like I always say, I like being a middle of the packer. I get to “spend and see more” of the trail, mingle with all my friends, and there is still food left for me at the aid stations.

Well, that is what I say to make me feel better 🙂

He talked about the heat, hydration, and how we should throw away any pace charts. With all my cramp issues my goal of 28 hours had already changed to finish in 29:59 and now with the addition of high temperatures, I was doomed!

 

Team Ace back at it again. This time Jenni, Erica and Jesse would be joining as well.

We headed to the condo hoping to be in bed by 7pm. I had prepared my pre-race dinner ahead of time and was looking forward to a nice roasted chicken and pesto pasta. I packed all our bags and got everything ready for the hubs and the boys so they would be ready to go on race day.

I kissed my boys and told them to be ready to run on the track with mommy on Sunday morning.

Feet taped up, I laid in bed thinking about the big day. Was I ready? Did I train enough? Does my outfit match? Will I be able to run 100 miles with cramps?

I couldn’t sleep. I knew Lavy, my HURT warrior and pacer was on her way. I watched the movie “Unbreakable” for the 110th time really quiet so the hubs wouldn’t notice I was up. Once Lavy arrived around 10pm, I just woke up and wanted her to braid my hair. They were mad I was up but oh well. She braided my hair beautifully and I finally went to bed around midnight.

The alarm clock went off at 2:30am to one of my favorite songs “The Beauty and the Beat” by the Bieber. I was ready to go.

Lavy drove me to the start. It was great to see most of my crew at the start. We talked and took pictures. I loved how awesome my crew looked in their bright pink crew shirts.

I knew I wanted a good saying on the shirts representing how I felt. The song by Macklemore “Can’t Hold Us” was  perfect:

This is the moment
Tonight is the night
We will fight til it’s over
So we put our hands up
Like the ceiling can’t hold us

 

 

Our Pamakid team was ready. John and Colin were gonna rock it. It was great to see a lot of the Pamakids there – Andy, Malinda, Tower, Tan, Jerry, and others. We hugged and wished each other good luck and headed to the start.

I am Peruvian and have lots of superticions. Believe me, it’s no fun.

I consider Catra Corbett my running angel; it just happened that she had been running at all the 100 races I ran in the past year. I always get a hug and kiss from her. To me, this is a good sign that I will finish the race (I know, it’s silly). Race day morning I kept asking Chris Jones “Where is Catra? I need my hug!”

I could not find her.

 

Team Ace ready to roll.

Almost 5 AM and I am here at the starting line of the big dance. The race I have been waiting and dreaming of for years. Wishing my mom was there and hoping she was proud of me watching me from above.

Read Part II here.

Read Part III here.

Mock Trial: Oscar Pistorius

By JohnG

August 18, 2013

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(Contributed by Karma Quick and Asit Panwala)

Pamakids conducted their own trial by jury of Oscar Pistorius on Wednesday, May 22, 2013.  Judge Karma Quick held court at the home of Andy Chan and Malinda Walker.  The famous blade runner is currently charged in South Africa with murdering his girlfriend of four months, Reeva Steenkamp.  Mr. Pistorius is alleged to have shot Ms. Steenkamp in the early hours of Valentine’s Day 2013 at his home in Pretoria, South Africa.  Prosecutor Nadim Hegazi led the state’s case against Mr. Pistorius, while defense attorney Asit Panwala vigorously defended his client.

 

“Oscar” Lee Novich swears in.

Testifying on behalf of the prosecution were: former detective Hilton Botha (Tomas Palermo), who inspected the scene of the incident; Gina Myers (Danielle Bisho), Reeva Steenkamp’s best friend; and Samantha Taylor (Malinda Walker), a former girlfriend of Mr. Pistorius.  Testifying in defense were Kevin Lerena (John Spriggs), a good friend of Mr. Pistorius, and Mr. Pistorius himself (as played by Lee Novich in an Oscar-worthy role).

 

Prosecutor Nadim Hegazi (L) and defense attorney Asit Panwala (R).

Mr. Hegazi repeatedly emphasized that Oscar’s version was patently unreasonable.   He argued that Oscar would have awakened Reeva Steenkamp prior to shooting his gun if he believed an intruder was in the house.   He described him as a reckless man who owned tigers.   Meanwhile, Mr. Panwala described Oscar as a victim of a horrible tragedy.   In a country beset by violence, Mr. Panwala argued that Oscar was only trying to defend his home and his girlfriend when he accidentally shot her.

 

Judge Karma listening very carefully to the arguments.

A jury of 7 individuals deliberated the evidence. The jury ultimately hung as to what charge Mr. Pistorius is guilty of.  4 individuals found the blade-runner guilty of murder, and the remainder found the defendant guilty of manslaughter.  Generally, most Pamakids had a bad feeling about Oscar’s actions.

[Editors note: As of this posting, Oscar Pistorius is due to reappear at Pretoria magistrates’ court.]

LLPF: Betty Cunneen Memorial Bench

By JohnG

January 29, 2013

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(contributed by Heather Johnson)

 

Betty Cunneen bench view at Lake Merced. (photo by John Spriggs)

On Martin Luther King Day, a large flock of Pamakids gathered at Lake Merced for club president Andy Chan’s Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon tune-up run. This year, the race-pace miles took a back seat, if you will, to the dedication of a commemorative bench for Betty Cunneen, Pamakids’ first president. At a time when many people still believed that running would cause a woman’s uterus to fall out, Betty helped found an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU)-sanctioned club to accommodate the race-oriented athlete, as well as a family-friendly group open to men, women and children: Pa, Ma and Kids. (And of course those rascally Pamakid Indians.)

But even before all of that, there was a woman and a boy, a young mother and son, running around Lake Merced, hand in hand. Countless Wednesday nights, Pat and Betty (mom and dad), daughters Connie and Kelly, and sons Garrett and Pat Jr., ran and played around the lake with their friends and fellow club members, often rewarding their efforts at a local pizza place.

Pamakids cherish Betty Cunneen and the rest of the Cunneen family not only for their work in developing and growing the club, but also for fostering this sense of family, friendship and fun.

When Mrs. Cunneen passed away on March 25, 2012, Andy and several others knew we wanted to honor her. Naturally, we would organize something special at the 2012 Rites of Spring, an event that she loved so much. Phyllis handled that task beautifully. But could we do something more? After a short burst of brainstorming and approval from the Board of Directors, the club decided to donate to San Francisco Parks Trust for a commemorative bench in Betty’s honor. Would someone be willing to take on this project? Of course I would.

Bringing the bench to fruition was a team effort: John Gieng took photos of potential location sites. John Spriggs helped me decipher the SF Parks topo maps. At Rites of Spring, John G and S found a new potential location that proved better than any of our other picks. Luckily, SF Parks agreed and gave us our first-choice spot.

Many nagging e-mails to SF Parks, a staff change, and more nagging e-mails later, a bench in Betty’s name sits overlooking the lake. To know how much it means to the Cunneen family to have a place to sit with their mom, grandma, wife and friend at a location that’s so special to them, makes all the nagging worthwhile. To know that our club members also have a nice respite to remember Betty is icing on the cake.

As Pat Cunneen said on MKL Day, LLPF (Long Live our Pamakid Family)!

(photo by John Spriggs)

(photo by John Spriggs)

 

Soonar or Later

By JohnG

January 21, 2013

Music

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In 1971, the same year the Pamakid Runners Club was founded, the song “Sooner or Later” by the Grass Roots went to #9 on the US Billboard charts. The following remake of the song, dubbed “Soonar or Later”, lyrics by Yvonne and sung by Jackie, was debuted at the 2012 Pamakids Holiday Gala in honor of launching this blog.

(Lyrics by Yvonne, sung by Jackie)

Soonar or later, Pamakids will get ya
Soonar or later, we all get together
Soonar or later, Pamakids won’t let ya
Soonar or later, Pamakids will win!

It’s just a matter of time
Before you make up your mind
Come and run with us and stop your hidin’
It’s just a question of when
I’ve told you time and again
Pamakids have fun there’s no denyin’

Chorus

You say you’ll never be mine
But darlin’ there’ll come a time
Come and run with us and stop your hidin’
It’s just a question of time
Before you make up your mind
Pamakids have fun there’s no denyin’

You’ve been lookin’ at clubs, in all the wrong places
You’ve been lookin’ at clubs, in all the wrong places
Run with us, you won’t be disillusioned
Save your heart from all this confusion

Chorus

It’s just a matter of time
Before you make up your mind
Come and run with us and stop your hidin’
It’s just a question of when
I’ve told you time and again
Pamakids have fun there’s no denyin’

Chorus

Betty Cunneen Bench Dedication, Lake Merced, San Francisco

By JohnG

January 21, 2013

Special Events

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President Andy Chan and Pat Cunneen dedicated on behalf of the Pamakid Runners Club a bench to Betty Cunneen at Lake Merced, San Francisco.

“In Loving Memory, Betty Cunneen, 1933-2012, Founder, Runner, Friend”

First off, we wish to thank the Pamakid Family for a wonderful tribute to Betty. It was too bad daughter Connie and family couldn’t make the dedication as they live in Georgia. Son Garrett was in Paris and son Pat was on a long planned holiday ski trip with his family. But everyone was here in spirit. They were also overwhelmed with gratitude and emotion.

Betty was a special person born to be a loving mother, RN, wife, and a friend to many. She also loved to run and organize. She didn’t know or care to know about the technicalities of the sport — just the freedom the release and all that goes with it. One thing that helped her to run with a group was when I told her that I began running with a small group, some with families at Lake Merced. They go to pizza after the run and if she came she wouldn’t have to cook dinner on Wednesday evenings. Well, next Wednesday evening she and the four kids were at the start line with their running shoes!

Most members are aware our Club began mainly because of the iron fist of the then AAU not allowing the DSE to be considered a bona fide running club. It was considered two distinct clubs with two AAU charters. And women and children couldn’t belong to these men’s clubs anyway. Also, many men didn’t want to be members either and pay dues.  At this time, runners, after paying about a dollar for a sanctioned AAU race, could get the race results mailed to them (no Internet at this time). Well, folks got tired of being listed as unattached in the results and wanted a club that would be listed. Recall at this period women and kids were not even allowed to run the Bay to Breakers, let alone other sanctioned AAU runs.

Betty was a natural organizer because she had a way of not getting people upset no matter what. She just smiled and could settle disputes without arguments or rancor. It just seemed no one could get really get upset with her. I know she is looking down on the Pamakid Family and is so pleased and happy.  LLPF!!  (Long Life Pamakid Family) she must be saying.

 

-P. F. Cunneen

Pamakid Runners