On May 13, 2017, I ran the Quicksilver 100K event at Almaden Quicksilver County Park in San Jose, CA. By just reading the Quicksilver 100K information on their website, I knew this was a tough course. The race started at 4:30 AM PT for distance of 62.2 miles with elevation gain of 13,000+, and time limit to complete in 17 hours or 16 hours to qualify for Western States 100 Miles Lottery. With that said, I completed this brutal course in 16 hours, 30 minutes, and 38 seconds. I earned my first 100K buckle!
For 2017, my goals were to complete three races: Zion 55K (8-Apr), Mt. Charleston Marathon (29-Apr), and Quicksilver 100K. My training plan was to focus on Mt. Charleston Marathon. I used Zion 55K as a trail training run and Mt. Charleston for speed to get a better Boston Qualifying times. For me, the combination of these two races were good enough to race at Quicksilver 100K. Since each race was two weeks apart, I had enough times to recover and no further training was needed. The overall plan worked out well. Due to a lot of raining days, I didn’t train much on the trails and ended up with a lot training runs on the road
Fast forwarded to the race day. I wasn’t nerve nor excited. I did all my due diligence throughout the week of May. I started asking for crew supports and pacers from my running friends in early May 2017. By Thursday, 11-May, I have my crew and pacers confirmed & we did a shakeout hike at Mission Peak in Fremont, CA. My crew were Andrew Romey and Michele Sun. My pacers were Marcia Duong and Al Villareal. Peter Chan and I were plan to run together if it was possible. I found Jay Lee to be Peter’s pacer.
I drove to start-line area around 2:00 AM PT. The staging area gate opened around 2:45 AM PT. I picked up my bib (#455) and volunteered for directing traffic until 3:30 AM PT. Peter and I met up. Then, around 4:30 AM PT, we toed at the start-line and met many of our trail running friends. The race started after a brief announcement from our race director, John Brooks.
The race plan that I put together worked out well. I estimated my pace (minutes/mile) and estimated times I arrived at each AID stations (AS). I was ahead of my target times for each AID station. I did power walks up the hills. When the course permitted to use the hiking poles, I used them for uphills and downhills. The weather was perfect. Cool in the early morning and late evening but brisk winds during afternoon with full sun. Every Time I ran in full sun, it felt like a warm blanket wrapped around me.
Since Peter ran like a jack rabbit at the start, I ran on my own with occasionally ran into our running friends (Sean Curry, Liz Coxon, Josam Mulinyawe, Satpal Dalal, Tammy Perez, Darlene Shimamoto, Itao Tsai, Michael Li, & Chihping Fu) for 41.4 miles (Hacienda AS). My crew team, Andrew, Marcia, & Al, supported me at Kennedy Road AS, Hicks Road AS, and Hacienda AS. Then, Marcia and Al took turns to pace me from Hacienda AS to Mockingbird Finish (20.8 miles). Michele was volunteering at Bull Run AS and supported us when we arrived. I gave my hydration and food to her prior race day. I didn’t complain and didn’t talk much as I just focused on one foot in front another so I met all the cut off times. We were on track at Bull Run AS but somehow it took us a long times, about an hour and half, to run from Bull Run AS to McAbee AS (5.7 miles). When we got to the McAbee AS, we were 4 minutes late to the cut off time! OMG, but the course monitor allowed us to continue since we were ‘look like fresh & not tire’. Thanks goodness to Al, Marcia, and Andrew for taking care of me at every AS we were together. They ensure that I ate, hydrated, and re-supplied before we headed out to next AS.
From that moment on after McAbee AS, we were conscious of times and decided to do quick “IN and Out” for the rest of AID Stations. We were at mile marker 53.1 and the time was around 6:40 PM PT. We still had another 9.1 miles to finish and a lot more hills to climb. At that pointed, I decided that we didn’t meet the 16 hrs cut off for Western States Qualifier (WSQ). Thus, I just wanted to finish. We started faster pace during downhills and power walked uphills. We made good times back to Bull Run AS and passed many runners that were ahead of us. Finally, The LAST THREE MILES to finish. Thanks goodness again to Michele and her volunteers still there at Bull Run AS. She rushed over and gave me a small piece of Pop-Tarts… That was sweet and tasty! Al refueled my hydration flask, Marcia checked the times and we were off. I told Marcia and Al to pick up the paces during the downhills unless it was really steep downhills, then I slow down.
We passed few more runners that were ahead of us. Then, as we walked uphills, Marcia chatted with couple runners and told me that our cut off times was not 8:30 PM but 9:30 PM PT. The 8:30 PM was for WSQ. I was so relieved, however, I felt great so we kept up the faster paces. I finished strong at the finish-line. I was so glad to see many of our friends still there to cheer us finish!
Overall, every ultra runners should run Quicksilver 100K. The course was brutal, the uphills and downhills elevations were doable but yet challenge your quads and toughness of your mind. Lastly, the swag of 100K belt buckle and hanging out with your running friends for 16 hrs, PRICELESS! Congratulations to all finishers!
Happy running, everyone!
* Photo Credited: I-Tao, Michael L.
Crew and Pacers:
* Andrew, Al, and Marcia had their breakfast while I was out running!
* Photo Credited: Marcia
Bull Run AID Station
* Photo Credited: Michele S. and I-Tao
Heading out from AID Stations/ Uphills climbs:
* Photo Credited: Andrew and Michael L.