Geoff just called me to let me know he finished fifth in the North Face Endurance Challenge 50-mile ultramarathon in San Fransisco! He was happy with the result, but not necessarily with his race. He was leading the race until mile 24, when his quads started to "give out" and he was really hurting. He had a similar problem in the Miwok 100K, and he thinks the main culprit is the "hardness" of California trails. He's used to training in Juneau, which is full of muddy, mulchy, mossy trails. Great for training the legs for technical running - but not so great for training muscles to get used to the impact of California dirt.
"It was like running on pavement," he told me. "Between mile 30 and 40 I felt horrible. I was contemplating dropping out for a while. I didn't want to thrash my body any further just to do OK in the race. But as soon as I decided to keep going for sure, I felt much better after that."
Geoff told me he finished the 50-mile run in 7:12 - which for someone of his discipline (he's really a 100-miler, and doesn't think "short" races are his strong point), and for a course with that kind of elevation change, is pretty fast! He said he was really happy with his uphill strength, and felt that until he started to fade after mile 30, he seemed to be the strongest climber.
He told me Matt Carpenter won the race in 6:49. Ulli Steidl finished second in 6:53. "This dude from Japan" finished third in 7:01, and Kyle Skaggs finished fourth in 7:02. Geoff was a little bummed about not finishing "in the money" (this race had a $10,000 prize for first place.) But the big purse and North Face's recruiting efforts brought in the strongest ultrarunning field in any race all year. "Speedgoat" Karl Meltzer finished 20th, also an amazing result this soon after his assault on the Appalachian Trail record. Geoff left for San Fransisco thinking he'd be lucky to make it into the teens, so I think after he's had his big burger and a nice long sleep, he'll feel pretty proud about his race. I sure do.
EDIT: Geoff's an even faster blogger than I am. His race report is here.