Archive for April, 2008

Diablo Marathon 2008

April 14, 2008

I did the majority of my training runs for the Honolulu Marathon on trails, and I prefer trails to roads, but until this year I hadn’t been on any organized trail runs. Then I found Pacific Coast Trail Runs, and did my first run with them in January (the 21K in Pacifica). I followed that with a couple of 30K events, and started branching out in my training runs as well, rather than sticking to the same trails over and over again at Rancho San Antonio. I saw they had a trail marathon at Mount Diablo, but the elevation gain of 7950 feet was intimidating. Finally, on the last day before the price went up, I decided that even if I had to walk the whole thing, it was worth a shot, and I signed up.

So a couple of days ago I got up a bit before 4am in order to make it to the start on time. The event had sold out by then, with 200 total participants. They said that 90 were doing the marathon, which means that 110 crazy people were signed up to run (or more accurately, cover) 50 miles. Worse, I overheard at least one of them saying that they had done a 50 mile run the previous weekend. Wow.

Oh, and it was hot, getting into the middle 80’s in the afternoon. Before I knew about the temperature, I had thought that I would be glad to finish it in under 8 hours, and one calculation I did led to a prediction of 8:53. So given all that, I’m not complaining about my 8:35.

I know I didn’t have much more to give at the end. At one point late in the race I was on a gentle downhill fire road, with no traction problems. And still the fastest I seemed to be able to jog was at about 14 minutes per mile, and mostly I walked. I also found to my surprise that a heart rate of only 135 got me as out of breath as I normally would have been at 25 beats higher. I guess after 8 hours there just wasn’t much left in the tank.

Speaking of which, that was literally true. I miscalculated on fluids and ended up without any for the last 5 miles. Given how good I still felt at the last aid station around the 18 mile mark, I think this significantly affected my ability for those final miles. I’m sure glad I had my new water pack, which held twice as much (64 vs. 32 ounces) as what I used to use, or it could have been even worse.

I learned recently that anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen can lead to increased risk of cramping, and I had experienced some minor cramping in long events before this one. This time I used acetaminophen and had no problem, so I guess that’s tentatively confirmed.

I also finally learned to use a hat so that I didn’t have to put sunscreen above my eyes, which was a major improvement over the extreme burning in my eyes that I experienced in other events. And lastly, the toe socks from Injinji seemed to be an improvement over conventional socks. So, yes, running is yet another excuse to buy stuff.

I hear this course is harder than many 50K trail events, which is cool, since that means I should be able to do one of those this year and call myself a beginning ultramarathoner. But next up I may try a 6 hour event, where you see how much distance you can cover in a given time. That could be a very different kind of event so long as I don’t get bored going around the same 3.1 miles over and over. But the fact that it’s flat seems like it might be a nice change.

Note that my GPS data indicated “only” 25.66 miles and 7131 feet of climbing. I don’t think I missed any of the course.

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Tre

April 14, 2008

Tre is a film about four 20- or 30-somethings named Tre, Gabe, Kakela, and Nina. Gabe is a horse trainer who is living at his beginning screenwriter girlfriend Kakela’s place, and Nina is staying with them after a falling out with her husband. Gabe’s longtime friend Tre comes to stay as well after breaking up with his girlfriend.

This is director Eric Byler’s third feature film, the first of which was Charlotte Sometimes. Both films have more sex than anything you might call a plot. But the earlier film worked much better for me, I think because the acting was consistently believable, whereas here that was less consistently true.

I saw this on 3/16/2008 at the Camera Cinema Club. I’ll give it a 2.5 stars out of 4 stars.

Eric Byler, the writer/director of the film, was at the screening to answer questions, which he did for quite a while. There are very likely to be spoilers below.

  • He called this an anti-romantic feature
  • The characters are more direct than in Charlotte Sometimes
  • He thinks most people have had a week like this (the audience disagreed): things before lead to it and things afterwards are the result of it
  • Everything really mattered to them at this time
  • This is a sequel, kind of, to Charlotte Sometimes–it did grow out of a workshop that followed that film, from Kimberly’s (the actress who plays Kakela) partial script
  • Kimberly had in mind a small man for Tre, but the actor who showed up was Tre
  • The film was co-written with Kimberly–the director was too embarrassed to write the sex scenes with her there–he played Tre to her Kakela, recorded on tape–he had to keep his eyes closed as they “acted”
  • It was filmed in Calabasas, CA
  • Most of the cast came from a live theater background
  • What did she see in Tre? Her only person to talk to is someone with another agenda
  • The center of Tre’s character is a fear of not being worthy of love
  • Kakela is bi-racial, as is Tre and the director
  • It’s not a story about someone to stay together with forever, but about the people along the way, who really aren’t sure where they fit in
  • Smoking: Kimberly brought that since the director never has–Tre and Nina smoke easily, Gabe doesn’t, and Kakela only smokes when stressed
  • The film contains a fair amount of improvisation, when caused some scenes to have to be re-shot based on other scenes–it was shot on DV, which made this possible–the last scene was shot last, and was darker than expected
  • The improvisation approach makes the actors really listen, which is a big part of why the director does it–everything they do matters–even if the words stay the same, how the previous words are said and acted can change the meaning–and it did
  • Also, the director wants the story beyond the end of the film to matter to the viewer
  • He is thinking about a third movie with characters from the other two
  • Kakela is a Hawaiian name, and Kimberly is part native Hawaiian
  • The characters of Kakela and Tre were trust fund babies, but they downplayed that to make them more sympathetic
  • The goal is to become invested in the characters, but not to be sure where it’s going or even where you want it to go
  • The film was shot in 18 days over three weeks
  • The film has limited distribution due to a post-production disaster–but it is coming out on DVD on May 6