Steedman Gets the Coveted Black Shirt at the Dipsea!

Steedman Gets the Coveted Black Shirt at the Dipsea!

By Doug Steedman

The Dipsea is the second oldest running race in the US, after the Boston Marathon. It was first run in 1905. It is a tough and quirky 7+ mile trail race in Marin County, CA. The course starts in Mill Valley, climbs up and over the shoulder of Mt Tamalpais, and finishes in Stinson Beach. One of its traditions is that of the "headstarts", wherein runners are set off in groups, one per minute, according to age and gender. The oldest (66 year-old women and 74 year-old men) and the youngest (6 year-old boys and 7 year-old girls) start first, with the 19-30 year-old men going last (25 minutes later). Since the awards are mainly based on order of finish, the winners can (and often do) come from the early starting groups. Thus, unlike most races, the winner almost never comes from the ranks of the 19-30 year old men, although there is a separate award for the fastest runner over the course.
 
This year was my 13th (consecutive) Dipsea. I ran my first when I turned 50, and thought of it as a one-off. But the race has gotten under my skin, and I seem to keep coming back. One reason is that the handicapped start means that my chances of a top finish have actually been increasing with my age, as I am slowing down less quickly than I am gaining headstart minutes. This year I was to start 14 minutes ahead of the young bucks. And when I say "a top finish", I am referring to another Dipsea tradition - the "black shirt" for each of the first 35 finishers. Each shirt is numbered with finishing place writ large on the back. Some of the top Dipsea exponents have amassed a large collection of these shirts over the years, with (I think) the record being almost 30. Although the Dipsea has never been a big race for the Aggies, a few have their collections of shirts from back in the day: Hank Lawson, Gordon Abbott, and Rosemarie Lagunas each have a few, Tim Minor also.
 
The last couple of years I have come into the race thinking a black shirt was a definite possibility for me. I even warned the family that I might be late back from the race in case I had to stay for the awards ceremony! But it didn't happen, and each time I took the first post-race shuttle back to the start and got home early. My best place was 46th, from 2013. In 2016, I did a lot of training on hills (did I mention the race is kind of hilly?) and was confident. Then I got sick with a bad cold a couple days before the race, and it was all I could do to finish the race on rubber legs with a 10-minute personal worst, doing just enough to re-qualify for 2017.
 
This year, I doubled down on the hill work, and even found myself doing strength work in the gym (first time in my life). I also did some practice trail races and felt good on the uphills. Then again, frustratingly, I got sick in the week prior to the race. This time it was a 24-hour fever thing with some indigestion issues. But by race day I felt OK, albeit not 100%.
 
The highest point on the course is "Cardiac Hill", about two-thirds of the way through the race, with the tough climbing past and mostly downhill to follow. To that point, I was just a little off my goal pace, and had been passing a lot of folks who started ahead of me. I could sense the younger, faster runners closing in on me from behind (although only one person - the eventual winner Chris Lundy - had actually passed me to that point). Imagine my surprise and pleasure when the spectators at Cardiac told me I was in 8th place! This was unknown territory for me. The second person to pass me was my training partner Clay (who is a couple of years younger and started 2 minutes behind me). He maintained pace and place all the way to the finish and ended up in a superb 8th place in his first real Dipsea.
 
I am not great at the downhills and got passed by quite a few of the younger runners, including a group of six that all came past at once in the last quarter mile. But I still ended up 25th, got to take part in the awards ceremony, and finally got home late, proudly wearing my first black shirt. With one minute more headstart minute next year, I'll be hoping to improve my spot and add to my new black shirt collection! And who knows... perhaps some of my HOKA ONE ONE Aggies teammates will make their way to Mill Valley on an early June day, and join me for "a little run over the hill to the beach."

 

Messerly 2nd at Rock 'n' Roll Marathon

Messerly 2nd at Rock 'n' Roll Marathon

By Brandon Messerly

The San Diego Rock 'n' Roll marathon was my second race at the 42K distance. I came into this one with much higher expectations than I had for my debut marathon. In that race I was focused solely on not blowing up. This time around I came in with a specific time goal of breaking 2:30. Even with a slight setback (catching a cold the weekend before the race), I was confident that with a slightly easier course and much more consistent training I was ready for a big PR. 

I planned to run the first half conservatively, which for me meant running splits of between 5:40-5:45 per mile. I talked with fellow Aggie G-Money before the race, and he had the same plan as I did, so we decided to work together. After running the first four miles much quicker than I had planned to, Gordon continued to pick up the pace. I decided to let him go, knowing that even though I was feeling good at the time I still had a lot of running left to do. This did mean that I would run almost all of the remaining 22 miles solo, but I was confident in my plan and did not want to get in over my head. However, the excitement of the race still got to me, and I ended up going through the half in 1:13:30, well ahead of what I had intended. The second half became a struggle. A giant hill through miles 23 and 24 led to by far my slowest two miles of the race.

In the end I missed the goal I had been so focused on by 14 seconds. I finished with a time of 2:30:13. I don't know if it was due to going out too quickly, or due to misjudging how hard the final hill would be, but I know I will be thinking about those 14 seconds a lot during the coming months. Those 14 seconds aside, I am quite happy with my overall performance. It's hard to complain too much after a four minute PR and taking second place to a runner who has run under 2:11. It was a great experience racing close to home for the first time in three years, and I'm happy that I was able to represent the HOKA ONE ONE Aggies well.

Shoes: Tracer

Noel Takes 3rd at San Diego R 'n' R Marathon

Noel Takes 3rd at San Diego R 'n' R Marathon

By Eric Noel

Last weekend in San Diego I laced up my HOKA ONE ONE Claytons for my encore 42k this season. This version of the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon closely followed my pinnacle Spring race last month: the Lincoln Marathon in Nebraska (that state east of Colorado).  While I’d never recommend engaging in consecutive marathons with such a brief time lapse in between, I couldn’t resist one last opportunity to race in the Golden State before returning to the Cornhusker State for grad school.
 
It was just before the 21k mark when I quickly realized that this would be more of a character building experience than a grinding race.  That’s a nice way to put it.  You see, in a marathon, experience is currency.  Will power alone won’t see you to the finish.  Fortunately, I have run the distance enough to recognize that the wheels were falling off the bus early, and I needed to conserve enough fuel to reach the famous RNR after party; a place where indulging in adult beverages before 9 AM is publicly acceptable without judgement.
 
In the final miles, I hallucinated an accidental detour to Tijuana, where I panicked upon realizing I didn’t have my passport in my frustratingly undersized pocket.  Clearly my body hadn’t forgiven me for my previous 42k effort in May.  Despite these adversities, I managed to finish on the podium while sincerely enjoying my stay so close to the border with fellow HOKA ONE ONE Aggies teammates.  I am already looking ahead to the California International Marathon (CIM) in Sacramento at year’s end, where I’ll be focused on shaving two minutes off of my PR to achieve the elusive U.S. Marathon Olympic Trial qualifier standard.
 
SHOES: Clayton 2

Terry Wins State Street Mile on a Back-to-Back

Terry Wins State Street Mile on a Back-to-Back

By Darius Terry

I had set myself up for a busy weekend of racing: I entered both the 1500m run at the Jim Bush Invitational and the State Street Mile. With these two races within the span of 17 hours, I knew that my race tactics would play a major role in the outcome of my races.

Geiken 3rd at Marin 10K

Geiken 3rd at Marin 10K

By Will Geiken

For me the Memorial Day 10k marks the continuation of what has been one of the best spring seasons that I have had. By comparison, at this same race in 2016 my teammates (eventual winner and runner-up, Chris and Sean) were long gone after the opening quarter mile. The pack that I started with began their own race at the 5k mark, while I ran most of the second half of the race on my own. I finished a moderately disappointed 10th in a time of 32:01. Given how training with plantar fasciitis had been going, the result wasn’t too surprising, but it hurt all the same.

This year I started the race on the shoulder of the leader, Malcolm Richards of West Valley, and ran with the leaders for the majority of the race. Instead of running by myself, I was able to be a factor at the front and make some moves of my own, which is a fantastic feeling. In the end Phil split the group apart with just under a mile to go, but I was able to hold on for 3rd, and finished over 1:30 faster than last year.

While I don’t think of this year's race as being perfectly executed, the degree of personal improvement that I have seen in the past year is something that I am grateful for. It speaks to the quality of my teammates and how supportive the HOKA ONE ONE Aggies are as a club. I look forward to keeping the season rolling with this great crew.

Reid Wins Marin 10K (Again)

Reid Wins Marin 10K (Again)

By Phillip Reid

The 2017 Marin Memorial Day 10k was a fine showing all the way around for the HOKA ONE ONE Aggies.  Taking home my 6th individual title, along with sharing in a dominant Open Men's team win, demonstrate our commitment to the training, and repping our Aggies squad this season.

Saturday before the race I contracted a violent bout of food poisoning, leaving me feverish, achy, and useless for several hours.  So I did what I'm sure any reasonable human would do; I drove to the Bay to run a 10k the next day with Sean.

The race set up well with Malcom Richards of West Valley handling the bulk of the early pace work before Will and Scott took pulls after 4 miles.  With a mile to go I found myself leading with Scott and Will charging hard behind me.  In the end, I was able to pull off the win, but in a bigger sense, this race reaffirmed one of my foundational philosophies of competitive distance running: working together as a TEAM.  Racing alongside my teammates and having many Aggies in attendance cheering gave me the confidence to push through the pain.

WINNING SHOES: Tracer

Bauhs 2nd at Marin 10K

Bauhs 2nd at Marin 10K

By Scott Bauhs

I came into this race with little idea of what to expect.  I have had some good workouts over the past few months, but those didn't translate into the races I was hoping for.  As a result, I have been bipolar with my training by overdoing it a few weeks ago and then bringing the volume and intensity way down the week before this race.  On top of that, I had a busy Sunday and was on the road much later than is ideal the night before a race (including an extra hour of driving when I realized I forgot my bag and had to turn back).

With all of those qualifiers stated, I'm quite pleased with my second place here.  The 5 minute opening mile was much more manageable than the paces at my other recent races, so I was able to build confidence gradually as the pace grew swifter.  The second half of this race was certainly brisker than the first, but I felt good and stayed with the lead group as I was still in the hunt.  I'm not sure I could say the same if our splits were turned inside out. 

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't point out that for almost the entire race I was sitting on Will, Phil or Sean as we all let Malcom Richards of West Valley do all the work.  This added another layer of comfort.  I wasn't completely selfish, as I made an aggressive move with about 8 minutes of race remaining, intent on securing a HOKA ONE ONE Aggie sweep.  This move ended up working roughly as intended, but I would be lying if I didn't admit that 2 minutes after making the move I was questioning my decision.  In the final mile, Phil took over and I did my very best to hang with him but he's simply too fit right now.  I managed to best Will, something that probably wouldn't have happened if I had done the same workout that he and the others did the prior Wednesday instead of my much easier workout.

Finally, it felt great to have a good race after a few disappointments.  It felt even better to do it with friends.  I'm looking forward to the next stage of training before I resume racing later in July.

Geiken Reports From Winning Men's Centipede

Geiken Reports From Winning Men's Centipede

By Will Geiken

On the Friday before Bay to Breakers a few of the San Luis Obispo HOKA ONE ONE Aggies were discussing the upcoming weekend on our run. As we reminisced about years past, each of us broke into kid-in-a-candy-store style grins, imagining the fun that was to be had. For us, B2B is as exciting as Christmas is to a five-year-old. We get so excited that we can hardly sleep.

As a second generation Aggie, I’ve been listening to stories about the centipede for more years than I’ve been running. For better or worse, I knew about the 'pede long before learning about most of the more famous aspects of B2B, i.e., nudity, the Panhandle, etc. During my adolescence I heard tales of garbage bags, the great Lenichi, and even fist fights between competing teams that were definitely started by the Power Bar team. So, when the time came for me to join the 'pede last spring, I was stoked. Of course, no one mentioned that running a 12k whilst being simultaneously pulled forwards and backwards by bungee cords isn’t actually fun. It’s only fun to look back on as you laugh over a cold one. In any case, the experience as a whole is one that I remember quite fondly, and I was more than excited to be back this spring. For one, I felt like we had a faster team and might not be as pressed by West Valley. Secondly, I was more fit, which meant that I should only have bungee tension in one direction this time around.

As it turns out, we did have a faster team, but so did West Valley. For the first three miles we ran next to each other, exchanging curious glances and occasional banter. Fortunately for us, a few surges in the park gave us enough breathing room to settle into a tempo that we could all hold. It also turned out that, while I was more fit, so were those around me, which meant that I hardly had any bungee tension at all. That fitness is a double edged sword though, and I almost cost us the race as a result. Nearing the final series of turns before the finish I saw my family on the sideline cheering us on. Given how well things were going, I decided to give them a thumbs up and a smile. A note for the uninitiated: in a 'pede, never take your eyes off of the person in front of you. Because we were running slack, my lack of attention led to my flat-tiring the runner in front of me. That would be Phil, who also happened to be carrying several extra pounds of equipment for a video feed of the race. A series of expletives and a quickly jammed heel on Phil’s part had us safely through, but it could have easily gone from bad to worse. Fortunately, luck and Phil’s dexterity were on our side, and we moved on to the finish and another win without further incident.

In the finish chute I apologized for my lapse, and we all exchanged quick hi-fives before moving on. I still felt guilty for making such a rookie mistake, but everyone was in good enough spirits having accomplished our primary goal that I was allowed to forgive myself. From there we were swept up in the magic of Golden Gate park, and we settled into another time honored tradition of the 'pede: talking about how we’re really going to go after that club record next year. We’ll have so and so, and we’re getting X number of new guys, and we might even be able to take down LinkedIn’s course record. Even if it’s just talk, it’s fun to go over which individuals we would need and how we would break down the splits. And who knows, maybe next year we will have so and so. Maybe we’ll even get X number of new guys. We might even chase LinkedIn’s course record.

GEIKEN'S WINNING SHOE: HOKA ONE ONE Tracer

Hillis Reports From the Women's 'pede

Hillis Reports From the Women's 'pede

By Mary Hillis

Being a part of the HOKA ONE ONE Aggies centipede at the 2017 Bay to Breakers (B2B) was one of the most unique racing opportunities I have ever experienced. Never before had I raced while physically attached to 12 teammates, as we ran a hard 12K through the streets of San Francisco. The course starts by the Bay, takes you up and down the steep city hills, then through Golden Gate Park, and finally to the sea. Despite parading down those streets tethered together with masses of entangled carabiners and bungee cords, our crew somehow managed to appear almost ordinary amongst the more colorful participants. Weaving between unicorns, superheroes, and a giant pink gorilla, I witnessed more adult male anatomy than I care to observe! But having said that, the depth of diversity at the B2B is a testament to the participants’ imagination and commitment to celebrating fun.

I have been an Aggie for almost one complete orbit around the sun, and this was my first experience of the legendary B2B weekend. For some runners, this is the pinnacle race of the season. For others, it is a time to let loose and run with their fellow lady teammates. But for all of us, it is an event where the HOKA ONE ONE Aggies always display their toughness and competitive spirit. The veterans lead the way through the crowded start, persuading the rest of the ’pede to follow, while encouraging a sustainable, coordinated cadence. We battled all the way until the end, finishing second, with the front of our ‘pede finishing in sync with the tail of the winning team. Can’t wait to see what next year’s B2B brings!

Plow Plow Plow!

The Shoes: HOKA ONE ONE Tracer

 

 

Messerly Takes 3rd at SLO Half

Messerly Takes 3rd at SLO Half

By Brandon Messerly

This was my second consecutive year running the San Luis Obispo Half Marathon.  It has become one of my favorite races.  This year there was a much higher quality of competition.  I was excited, hoping that the tougher competition would lead to a fast time.  

I am in the middle of training for the San Diego Rock & Roll Marathon and did not really back off of training for this race, but I had recently strung together some of my most consistent training in a while and was hoping that it would translate to a fast half time.  I talked with fellow Aggie Gordon Sturgess, and we made plans to run the first half controlled and together, and that is how it played out.  Ben Bruce and Joe Thorne, who would end up taking first and second, were a class above the rest of the field, but Gordon and I made up the second pack along with one other runner, consistency clipping off between 5:20 - 5:30 miles.  At around 7 miles in we took a sharp turn and began a tough and hilly next three miles. It was on these hills that I broke away from the group I was in.  From there I was on my own, and cruised in the last three miles to finish in third place.  

Overall it was not quite as fast as I was hoping for, but I can’t complain too much about a 30 second PR on a tough course, and an awesome HOKA ONE ONE Aggies debut.  I look forward to representing the HOKA ONE ONE Aggies again in San Diego in 5 weeks time.

THE SHOES: HOKA ONE ONE Tracer