Monday, June 8, 2009

Squaw Peak 50- 2009 report

Well, it just wasn't my day. I know anything can happen in a race but I was sure hoping for more. I got to the start in time this year which was a plus. I dropped off my drop bags and began to focus on my 3rd running of the race. Once again my goal was 11:30 and I really thought I could do this. To put it in perspective, the winner finished in 8:05.

I lined up next to my buddy Phil and the race began. I wanted to get off the bike path ahead of a lot of runners in order to be in good shape at the beginning on the dirt trail and climb. I settled in behind Tom and Kacey. As we hit the dirt I felt like I put myself in a good spot not to get stuck behind too many people on the first climb. After a stop to take care of a wardrobe malfunction I was off again. I decided not to look at my split card until AS #6. I didn't want to put any added pressure on myself and just wanted to run according to how comfortable I felt. I felt strong early on and just tried to keep on top of my nutrition. I was hoping for a little cooler temps and even a little sprinkle during the day but no luck. I came into AS #5 and knew I needed to run Hobble Creek road in order to have a realistic shot at my goal. In the two prior years I walked almost if not all of the road. I HATE running on roads! I ran about 90% of it this year and was pleased with the effort. I got to AS#6 and checked my split card for the first time. I was 2 minutes off my projected pace. At that point I was psyched. Last year I felt I had a great second half of the course and looked forward to getting it on again. I left 6 and about 15-20 minutes later, all hell broke loose. It started with my Achilles. It felt great all day and I hadn't even thought about it but I got some good pain and then what I would describe as "spasms". I sat on a rock to assess what was going on. I rubbed my Achilles for about 5 minutes and began to push up the dirt road. Out of nowhere my stomach turned south. I decided to walk ab it to see if I could gather myself. I knew by going this slow I would need to push somewhere else along the way. I hit AS#7 and still wasn't feeling that great. I looked forward to leaving 7 because I love this section of the course. Fortunately/unfortunately it lasted long enough this year to enjoy it. I came into 8 and knew I couldn't stay long. I grabbed my drop bag, reloaded and off I went. After the endless climb I got into a little groove and ran the single track do the bottom of Windy Pass. It looked like a death march up the mountain and I was next. Half way up I came across a guy who decided 2- 10 ounce water bottles were going to be enough for him. SURPRISE- it wasn't. He was in pretty bad shape so I gave him some of mine and kept on going. As I was going through the bowl on Windy there was another guy just shivering on the side of the trail. I gave him my gloves and arm warmers in hopes that would help. As I got into AS #9 a few other runners already notified the volunteers about the dude shivering on the mountain so they grabbed a blanket and went after him (I hope he was okay, I never heard anymore about him- you can keep the clothes though). I left 9 knowing my goal was out of reach and could only think about my wife and kids waiting for me to show up at 10. Poor family waited along time. I bombed down the mountain and before I got to 10 I saw my 2 kids and my sister. What a rush! I then saw my wife who took pictures of her ego broken husband. I limped into 10 and spent a few minutes with the family before heading down the final 3+ miles of road. I HATE road! With about a mile and a half to go, my wife jumped out of the car and paced me the rest of the way. Boy did that ever help. Without her I wouldn't have gotten my PR. I would have probably walked it in-Thanks honey! As like the 2 years past, I met my 2 beautiful girls and we crossed the line together. 12:26:44. YIKES! Not real happy about it but hey- what can I do about it now. Overall I am disappointed in the result. Yes I got a PR but my time was less than stellar. No excuses- I just didn't have it on this day. My littlest one said' "what took you so long", my response- "it just wasn't daddy's day". No excuses, the mountain beat me down.

It was great to see so many friends and family at the finish. I feel so lucky to be surrounded by so many great people. Thank you all for your support and friendship. Congrats to all those who ran- too many people to mention. Congrats to Corky Esquivel for a PR of 13 hours- good luck at Wasatch this September. A huge congrats to Scott Jaime- 1st place in 8:05 and 8th fastest time ever. Way to go Fast Eddy! You deserve it!

It's too early to break down what went wrong/right but I am sure I will figure some things out. Prediction for 2010- under 11 hours! No question. Squaw Peak is already my focus race for next year. Race results are not up yet but I will post the link soon.

Hey- did anyone else get cut to hell on all the over growth?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Squaw Peak 50 Preview

Well the time is here- Squaw Peak 2009- my first focus race. I think of it as my favorite because this is where I was able to cross the finish line in 2007 holding one daughter and running holding hands with the other (photo). My wife was at the finish with a huge smile and a much needed hug. We did it! From there a tradition was born. Seeing my 3 girls at the finish with huge smiles more than made it all worth it. To have them tell you they are proud of you will always bring a tear to my eye and make the pounding in my legs go away- only if for a moment.

This will be my 3rd running and takes me back to my 1st 50 miler. My first year 2007, it was hot and I don't like heat. Last year 2008, it snowed and rained half the day which was welcomed. This year, it looks like scattered thunderstorms and a high around 70....PERFECT! My training leading up to the race has been better than years past. I got a late start on training due to my Achilles but it seems to be accepting of my running. I have gotten some great longs runs and more vertical than the past as well. I was on a run yesterday with Joel and Cory to give the legs a spin and it was funny thinking how much I enjoy trail running but sure can tell when the races are close. In 2007 I just wanted to finish, that's it. I remember the joy of crossing the finish line in a whopping 14:27. Time didn't matter. 2008 I wanted a 12 hour finish (time mattered) crossed the line in 12:44. Rumor was the times were almost 1 hour slower due to the weather but in my book it was 12:44. I missed my goal but was still pretty pleased with how I felt. It was a truly EPIC race. This year I have a goal. Attainable- sure. Putting a time on my race really makes me nervous. Running to finish makes me feel a little better. My goal for 2009......(drumroll).......11:30. Now lets put that in perspective. I believe the winner will go sub 9. That makes me at least 2.5 hours off the leader. Crazy to think how amazing these athletes are. In my mind I know where I need to make up some time from last year but doing it is another thing. I need to "take chances" (thanks Fish). As many know, anything can happen no the course. 50 miles is 50 miles for everyone. Nutrition, hydration, weather, pace, injury and attitude all play factors in the run. I hope most of those come together for me.

The race is sure to be competitive. There are some great athletes toeing the line: Christian Johnson, Erik Storheim, Brian Beckstead, Kevin Shilling, Leland Barker and Scott Jaime to name a few (sorry I know I left out many others). It will be great standing at the start with some great people but I am looking forward to being there next to Fast Eddy. He paced me back in 2007 and was vital to me finishing. There will be a lot of my training friends there as well: Joel, Cory, Phil, Matt, Kacey, Shane, Tom, Jaime and Ron. Good Luck to all of you and thanks for letting me share those training runs with you! Should be a great day in the mountains and sure beats yard work.

Again-GOOD LUCK to everyone and see you all at the finish line!