Adventures: > Quadruple Babble - 2005

     by Peter Holleran

     In December 2002 I wrote the definitive and now classic article, How to Run the Quadruple Dipsea and Have Fun Doing It, in which I argued at length that even-pacing was the way to go for achieving ones best in the Quad. I wrote that the first lap should feel TOO EASY, the second RELATIVELY EASY, the third HARDER but not too bad, and the fourth ALOT HARDER but still manageable at the same pace. I offered the suggestion that one approach the Quad much the same way one would run a mile, with four more or less equal laps, avoiding the dramatic fades that are so commonplace when we scan the list of results - even among the usual suspects who record some pretty fast times.
     Some readers posted my gazette article to the refrigerator and studied it again and again until the message sank in. Most, however, fell for the same temptation: run the first Dipsea or two as fast as possible based on the reasoning that since they will only get tired anyway they might as well get a couple of laps out of the way as soon as they can. When a friend of mine ran up the stairs on leg one, announcing, “out of the way, please,” I felt like taking him by the throat and shouting, “listen you poor soul, there are FOUR legs in this race, not one!” I could see the handwriting on the wall right then and there. As Dana Carvey once said while impersonating H. Ross Perot, “folks, it just don’t work that way.” On the Quad, if the tank is rapidly emptied it cannot easily be refilled. Even a "slow leak” can cause problems.
     So once again we found the knowledgeable and perennial smooth pacers at the front of the pack. Roy Rivers ran a swift 4:14 with very stable splits of 61-63-67-64. That does not happen by accident. Three weeks before the race I was down in Hauke Hollow on another Dipsea guerilla mission of trail beautification when Roy passed by me three times over the course of a couple of hours. I asked him what he was running and he said “I’m doing a triple.” Having done the same thing before to give myself confidence in my ability to go the distance in the Quad, I knew what he meant: a training triple is a double Dipsea, plus out and back to Cardiac. Now, when I do this, I'll keep a pretty good eye on my time to Stinson Beach and back, and then make it to Cardiac as best as I can, but basically lose interest in my time by that point. Roy cheerfully informed me, however, “I find running a double and going to Cardiac and back only three minutes off of the pace for an actual triple.” Whoa! Just three minutes off! Like, what does that tell you? Does it say that here is a guy who is serious about the race, who knows exactly what pace he is running at, in order to be able to make such an exacting comparison? I think so.
    During the race when Stinson-bound for the second time I met Roy barreling back down Cardiac towards home, and having seen the leader pass just a minute or two before looking like he was struggling, I yelled to Roy, “the first guy's only a minute ahead and fading, you can take him!” - which is just what he did. The moral: “fast and steady wins the race”. (Roy confessed that he wasn't in quite as much control as I made him out to be, but he'd still take the good press). His PR was even more outstanding because by general consensus the 2005 course is 3-6 minutes longer than that of previous years, due to the addition of the little trail at the top of the third flight of stairs as well as the re-routing of the Dipsea trail around the Lone Tree section. Now, if he could only break four hours at age 50 that would really cement his name in the record books. Roy says, "yeah, but what about Carl Anderson?" I said, "don't worry about Carl, Roy - he's getting old." (Roy agreed, and took my advice to dust off his copy of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray. He was last seen wandering around internally conflicted, mumbling from the book: "If only it was the picture who was to grow old, and I remain young. There's nothing in the world I wouldn't give for that. Yes, I would give even my soul for it" (Gray), and, "If I could get back my youth, I'd do anything in the world except get up early, take exercise or be respectable" (Henry Wotton). Ah, such is the burdensome dilemma for those at the top!)
     In fourth place, back in top form (and showing he has finally overcome the rigours and demands, as well as rights and privileges, of the first years of married life) was Greg Nacco, Tamalpa’s best pacer of all, running 67-66-65-67 for an excellent 4:25, a forty minute improvement over 2004. A few years back he gave us all a lesson by clocking an uncanny 63-63-63-63! Now THAT'S really how this thing is supposed to be done.
     A mind-blowing accomplishment farther back in the pack was turned in by Sergio Silva, who seems to have decided over the past two years that he enjoys running every race at his Western States pace. I find this performance almost unbelievable: 104-106-106-105 ! One must be in a veritable trance to metronomically go on like that for so long. I would have probably forgot what I was doing and ended up lost somewhere on the southern flanks of Mt. Tam.
     Even-pacing requires a reasonably accurate estimate of ones capabilities, in order to determine an approximate finishing time in advance. Most importantly, it requires the courage to let ones competitors go on ahead without succumbing to an early chase. To aid one in this I recommend repeating the following divinely inspired jingle, courtesy of the Dave Clark 5: "Can't you see that she's mine, I'm gonna reel 'em in my own good time; no matter what the people may say, or try to do. Don't you know I love it so, when they lose their heads and go, go , go; and if they stay that way, you know I'm gonna waste 'em all, too... dat da dat da." (Be careful using this - since it came to me several days ago I can't get it out of my friggin' head! It does seems to have a remarkably good rhythm for running).
    By the way, I must correct an omission in the December Tamalpa Gazette results by affirming that I did in fact run the Quad, placing 64th (1st for 55-59), in 5:47. This type of snafu occurs if you forget to write “Tamalpa” on your race application, thus becoming invisible to the gazette’s radar. Don’t forget that if you expect to retain any bragging rights in the future!