Race Results

(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.

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!

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.

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!


(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)

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)

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.

(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!!
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.
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.
Approaching Hwy 49.
Noe taking care of me.
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.

Janeth 19
Pictures courtesy of Myles Smythe. Thank you for being there!
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.

Janeth 21
Janeth 22
Crossing the finish line with my family. Photos courtesy of Myles Smythe.
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.
Finally touching my buckle for the first time.
She is a beauty!
She is a beauty!
Blessed to have a supporting and loving family.
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.
With coach Franz Dill.
My amazing Crew. Noe, Ace, Jenni, Erica, Lavy and the hubs.
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.]