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Monday, September 10, 2012

Wasatch 100 Race report---(sort of)


Pop……and it was over.

Before I put this report together I had the following thoughts:
  • Should I even do one?
  • This will be the shortest report ever!
  • Who cares?
  • Save the boo-hoo story.

Well, I will take this time for me. Maybe throwing this out into the universe will help with the coping. Maybe it will help me get it out of my system. Maybe one day I can revisit it and laugh. Well, no matter what the outcome, I will do this one for myself.

Wasatch 100 is my favorite race. It is the toughest race I have ever done and I love it. This year was to be a year of great achievement. I thought I had a great game plan coming into 2012. Lined up a lot of great races, fantastic training runs, started Pilates and was very consistent with everything. This was my year! I was ready from Day 1. I am fortunate to have the best running partners on the planet- The HUMR’s.  Running with this group of people makes it so much fun and I look forward to getting out on the trails. They all played a major role this year- got me out the door, pushed me to go farther, pushed me to go faster, kept me consistent and most importantly- made it enjoyable. Thanks you all!
Leading up to the race I was sure I would finish (I was 2 for 2 heading in) and my main focus was under 28 hours. I did sub 30 last year so with the year I have had I knew it was more than possible. When I arrived at the start I was a little nervous but I have been here before. This was my superbowl, my big dance, my 2012 rolled into one race. I shared “good lucks” and “see you at finish” comments before the game was on. My plan was simple enough- get out quicker and not get stuck on the long climb. Well, I did just that. I felt great and hit Fernwood right where I wanted to be. Throughout the climb to the top and I was enjoying it. I was looking forward to different sections on the course and the AS and looking forward to seeing all the familiar faces throughout this journey. When I was up above chinscraper I was still very excited. I was ahead of where I thought I would be time wise and still felt good. I stopped at the spring and filled my bottles to ensure I would take enough in before I hit Francis Peak. I knew it would be hot and I wanted to stay ahead a bit on hydration. I holstered my bottles and was off. About a ¼ mile from the spring while enjoying some beautiful single track I felt a POP. It kinda felt like someone shot me. I immediately shot straight up and fell to the ground. The 2 runners right behind tried to avoid me but no luck on the small trail- the fell right over my legs. We all apologized for the pile up and they politely asked if I was okay. I responded- “oh ya- sorry about that.” Inside I knew I wasn’t. I got up- dusted off, wiped the blood from my knee and shin and started to assess the damage. What the hell just happened- I thought.  I walked a few steps and my right hamstring felt like it was about to cramp. I was hoping it was just a tight hamstring and that I could work it out in a mile or 2. I do believe part of me was in denial. In the back of my mind I knew I was in trouble. I had 88 more miles to go. I kept thinking- if I make it to Big Mountain and see my friends and family maybe I can rally.
The service road to Francis Peak is very runnable and I was hoping to get there and coast in. At Grobbens Corner I filled my bottles and tried to get down the road. Fellow HUMR Jim Skaggs caught me here and we discussed what was going on. He said- “maybe it’s just tight and it will loosen up”, that sounded good to me and I was hoping for the same thing so 2 votes was a good thing. Nothing he could do here to help and I watched him take off down the road.
I made in to FP and saw Rick Robinson there with my drop bag. He saw something was wrong and we talked briefly about it. He offered to drive over to Bountiful B if I wanted to continue to see if it would indeed loosen up. Why not? I had nothing to lose. My calendar was free so I wasn’t going to be wasting my time. I left FP and did everything I could to get moving again. A few miles down the road it became even more apparent something was wrong when I had a hard time getting y right foot off the ground and over rocks and trees. I was tripping everywhere. I tried to enjoy this section because I knew I was done. Runners were passing me asking if I was okay and I just let them know I was fine and wished then luck on their way. When I finally hit the Bountiful AS I was devastated. I tried to keep my emotions in check because there were so many people around. I signed the DNF paper and it was over- just like that.
On the drive down with Rick, we shared some good stories. It helped take my mind off what just happened but by the time I got home it really hit me. I was absolutely crushed. It felt like a dream. This wasn’t really happening.  Dropping out 24miles into a 100 mile race- are you serious! What about my pacers? They take time off work and I stood them up- nice……
The past few days have been pretty dark. I turned off my phone and just tried to process it all. I was so disappointed. I hurt- not my leg but my insides. How do I explain this to my kids? They think their dad is super human. They were looking so forward to running on the grass across the finish line at the Homestead. That was their time………
The road to recovery has begun- physically, mentally and emotionally. I really have no idea how this will turn out and when. I don’t deal well with failure. The disappointed I feel still after 3 days is a little overwhelming. Yes, I know part of me is most likely having a pity party but this is tough. I was ready this year. I was ready big time. I prepared all year and had some great visions of what the day would be like. I never once thought I wouldn’t finish. I was not prepared for this…….

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Wasatch 100 Pre-Race thoughts

2011 Finish with the girls


Its here- Wasatch 100 2012. The lottery took place on February 4th- which seems like such a long time ago. I remember being out on a training run and hoping for the best. I have run Wasatch twice and was eager to give it another go. After I saw my name that night I remember the feeling of excitement and a bit of anxiety as well. I had 7 months of training and racing ahead to prepare which I knew if I stayed injury free would be enough. I began to pick up other races to help build for Wasatch and set me in a better mind set. It looked like this:
February- Moab Red Hot 55k
March – Buffalo Run 50
April- Grand Canyon R2R2R
May- Zion 100, HUMR Beer Mile and Timp Trail Marathon
June- San Juan Solstice 50
July- SpeedGoat 50k
August- El Vaquero Loco 50k

So I knew heading into Wasatch I would have some good races and plenty of training runs. Last year I only raced a couple times and didn’t run in July before running hard for 3 weeks in August just in time to start my taper.  This year is different, other than a few little nagging aches I have run much better, started doing Pilates and being much more consistent on my training.
So, with all that above I should be more than ready right? Well, I hope so. 100 miles is still a long journey and we all know anything can happen. There are so many variables that enter the equation- some you can control, some you can’t and some you should.  After last year’s crazy final 14 miles and a sub 30 finish I am not sure if that set me up with confidence or more pressure. I always want to become better and whatever I do and this year has seen 4 PR’s in my racing calendar already. Can I go under 29:46.30 or was my finish just dumb luck? If I finish over 29:46.30 is it a set back? These are only a few thoughts that are going through my mind.
 I am fortunate to have a STRONG group of pacers to help me cover the last half of the race. I am fortunate to have been able to train with an amazing group of people (without them I would be not be as consistent). I am fortunate to be running relatively injury free (far as ultra standards go). I am fortunate to have great support from friends and family as well. But what about my mindset? I feel like I have always been a strong minded, gut it out, git er dun type of person but the last couple weeks I have had a hard time with that mental edge. That is until I read a great blog post from a friend and fellow HUMR- Lindsay Lauck. I could try and paraphrase what it says or try and sum it up real quick but I am afraid it wouldn’t do it justice. This post really hit me- it spoke to me if you will. It was something I needed not just to hear but read so I could go over it and over it again. I pasted it below (I hope Lindsay doesn’t mind):

I ran on new trails this week, pushed myself up hills, climbed mountains and - most significantly - enjoyed it!  Ryan said something to me when we were running at Snow Basin this week.  He was coaching me along, proud of my consistency this week, and helping me stay focused and keep up the pace (probably because the sun was setting, and we were both hungry).  He said, "Most importantly, remember to Be Here Now."  I think I said something smart-assed to him, like "I am here now".  I don't remember. But, he had a point.

I think I am ready to stop comparing myself to others.  Or, to the version of myself I wish I was.  That's not to say I'm not focused on improving and getting better.  I'm about to run the biggest race I have run yet -50 miles.  That's nothing to shake a stick at.  But if you had asked me how I felt about it two months ago, I would have been positive that failing at this race would mean the end to my running career.  I've said it a few times this year, "I need to find another sport."  I just felt inadequate compared to others.  I'm not fast enough.  I'm bad at this. I walk the hills.  I take breaks.  I like rest days.  Beer is delicious.  I don't look as cute in these shorts as some of my running friends.

So, what?

 I like running! I enjoy this!  Actually, my favorite way to see anything is on foot.  I love summiting mountains.  I saw a goat the other day.  Deer!  Moose! I get a rush out of running downhill fast.  I love being outdoors.  I'm going to continue pushing myself.  I will get stronger, better, faster.  I know it takes work, and I am willing to put in the time.  40 mile weeks will become the norm for me, and I will put in longer ones.

But, I am also going to enjoy them.  I'm going to have a good time at races, even at the back of the pack. One day, I will be in the middle of the pack.  I'm going to run new races, and run farther in the future ones. But I will keep in mind that training, running, racing is enjoyable to me. Even at this level.  Even if it isn't as good as other people's levels.

And, I still think beer is delicious

Not much else needs to be said on my part. Pretty much knocks it out of the park. I will always set goals for running and races but maybe the order of my goals will change- #1- Be here now- enjoy it. I truly believe without #1, no matter how well you do, it will not be as fulfilling.
A lot goes into “ultra” running but if you are not present, why do it. If you are not in that moment and not enjoying what you do- is it really worth it?
I want to wish all my friends Good Luck on their journey this week. I hope to share a few beers with you all at the finish. It should be a great day + in the Wasatch Mountains. Thanks to everyone for their support and kinds words. You can follow the race by going to www.wasatch100.com – I will be wearing bib #146.
2012- My goal is 27:30- can I shave 2 more hours? Who knows….I will let you know Saturday.
What I do know is that in a few short days I will “Be Here Now”. And there is no place I would rather be……..
2011- Trying to believe it.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

El Vaquero Loco 50k - Race Report

Yes- this place is real.


Warning: This report may be long so I broke into parts. So much happened and I really hope I don’t miss anything and can do it all justice.

PRE-RACE
Let’s start this at the check-in……Afton, Wyoming is a small town so we approached the RD Ty to get some ideas for dinner. He referred us to a local Tex-Mex restaurant on Main Street in town. We parked the car and threw on our brand new cotton race hoodies. Once we got there I looked over the menu for something bland. I wanted to make sure my stomach was in decent shape for the day ahead and what I would normally order at a place like this was sure to cause havoc. I opted for plain nachos and a quesadilla. Was this the right decision??????(More on that later). After dinner we went over to Maverick to get some snacks and beverages for the night. The 3 of us opted for PBR tall boys! As we were checking out I was very happy that the cashier only asked for my ID. She said- “of the 3 of you, you are the only one I questions.”- Oh how I love Afton, the oldest one of the bunch must have looked rather young in his “I Love Bigfoot” trucker hat.
As we drove up to Cottonwood Lake campground to find a place to set up the tent we couldn’t help but notice how beautiful this place was. The mountains were so green and lush, gorgeous streams and the temps were perfect for a guy like me. Unfortunately all the campsites were taken so we got a little “cheeky” and thought- hey let’s just throw our sleeping bags on the picnic tables and sleep under the stars at the race check in…BRILLIANT! We unloaded the car and got our bags and pillows out and I set off to find the port-o-john (Tex-Mex was just setting in). As I strolled back to “camp” I felt a few sprinkles and when I looked over I see Joe and Sue (names have been changed to protect reputations) struggling to put up the 3 room Kelty tent I brought.  I immediately jumped in to help….after I put my tall boy in a safe place. Before we knew it the skies opened up and in the darkness of the pouring rain we looked like a bunch of soaked dogs. About 10-15 minutes on fumbling around in the dark I looked inside the tent and it more less resembled a blow up pool. DAMN! Now what? We decided to drag the tent close to a tree and go to plan C. Joe happened to have a one person back pack tent and Sue and I got the joy of sleeping in the car.  After we all changed into something dry we hunkered down for a few hours of shut eye. About an hour later as I try to sleep, you hear the sound of a car horn- WTH! Scared the Tex-Mex right out of me. It was Sue trying to get comfy. I had enough of the Lexus recliner so I grabbed my sleeping pad and bag and laid it outside next to the car on the wet gravel lot (rain had stopped by now). I tried to sleep but hearing all the cracking of limbs in the woods as well and the big crawlies that kept trying to get in my sleeping bag it was futile.  I think I got a solid 2 hours before the alarm went off at 4:30 am. Ahh---refreshed and energized I awoke and started off to the port-o-john yet again (do you see a theme coming on here?).

Game Time
I got my UltrAspire Kinetic vest ready, run gear on and slapped on my brand new HUMR trucker hat and I was good to go. Joe and I were set as we toed the line for a long day in the hills. Sue opted for the 25k since she had a larger animal tame in 7 days time. I did the best I could to wake up and get ready but the lack of sleep was no bueno. Ty hollered- Go and we were off. We ran through the campground a few hundred yards before we jumped on a trail and started our 4 mile climb. I got a little worried after only about a half mile. My breathing was really labored and my heart was racing way to fast. It was early and I had to really back off to a pedestrian pace (yes slower than my normal pace) to see if I could get things under control. I felt like the entire field passed me here and I started to wonder what in the world the day had in store for me. After about 4 miles of heading up we hit the top and WOW- what a view. It was stunning! My legs felt heavy still from SpeedGoat but I finally got my heart rate down and my breathing under control. Here is where I knew I had to go hard to catch up on some lost time. We had a set of switch backs and we descended quickly.  We hit the first AS and I just filled up on a little water and kept on trucking (I was in a trucker hat after all). The next few miles I just tried to keep my head down and slog away on my tired legs. The scenery was unreal and I stopped many times to take a few pictures and just take it all in. 



After running on plush single track surrounded my wildflowers and passing a few waterfalls we hit the first lake. Breath-taking! As we ran past the lake I couldn’t help but feel so lucky that I was able to be there right then. Ultra-running has given me such a blessed life of seeing some of the most spectacular things I have ever seen.
Almost to the first lake

There it is
After lake #2- hands on thighs buddy

We passed the lake and headed up a sort steep little climb only to come up on another beautiful lake. We descended a few hundred feet and started up a real steep climb that would lead us to 7 miles on downhill running to the turnaround. Here I had to make a few Tex-Mex stops which are never fun and just tried to cruise into the turnaround. We ran through waist high to shoulder high flowers, crossed streams, ran through meadows and pockets of trees- this my friends was surreal! About a couple miles before the turnaround the 25k runners started heading towards us. I saw Sue as she went across a stream on a log.
At the turnaround I saw Joe and he waited a few minutes while I refilled my bottles and we started the long 7 mile climb back to the lakes. 
Heading back after the turnaround

This section was a grind! If it wasn’t’ for the view this day would have felt like an eternity. As we approached the lakes we knew we only had a few more climbs and 4 miles down to the finish. It was uneventful through here and when I got to the last AS I saw the long switch back climb back to the top. YUCK! I was in no mood for this. When I do these silly races I like to stay motivated and play games in my head. My goal in every race is to not get passed by anyone after the last AS. Today would be a challenge. I was beat. I left the last AS and started the steep grind. It didn’t last too long but I was on tired legs and fueled by Tex-Mex. As I slogged up out of nowhere some guy came cruising by me. WTH? He had to be a 25k runner..checked the bib…nope 50k – DAMN! This too was no bueno.  As I approached the top I tried to keep him in sight because being passed was not acceptable. I hit the peak and now it was time for business. The descent to the finish was steep and rocky. It was flat out ugly. I had about 4 miles to catch this yahoo and I was really in no mood for it. I took off down the mountain and didn’t see anyone in front of me. I started to increase the pace best I could considering my condition. After about a mile of this I saw him….walking. BONUS! He then glanced back and saw me and was off. Okay- you wanna play that way I thought. I kept gaining on him until I was side by side- I said hello and nice job but he was silent…..dink. As I passed I felt him fall right in behind me and match my pace. So this was how my day was going to end, a 50k course and I would be racing 2+ miles of it. After a few hundred yards he was still right on me. I knew what I wanted to do but doing was going to be no fun at all. With about 2 miles to go I decided it was time to go to the pain cave and see what I had. I immediately picked up the pace and took off. The bandana wearing drafter stayed right with me. Uh-oh….the plan was not working. I took it up a notch and kept my head down. He was still there. I knew I didn’t have another gear this far from the finish so I just kept it there and hoped for the best. We were approaching a small hill and I decided to try one more thing- when we got to the base of the small hill I gunned it! (okay it felt like I gunned it). I kept my head down, told my legs to shut up and do what I told them- literally I spoke out loud. Once I started down the back side of the hill we had about a mile to go and when I glanced back he was gone. I kept the pedal down and didn’t take any chances. As I approached the campground and the finish I felt a sense of relief. People cheered and kids gave a few high-5’s and I strolled across the finish in 8:07. Much slower than I predicted but oh well. I closed it out and felt good about that.

POST RACE
After the race I spoke to Ty, got my finishers award and just plopped down in the closest chair. Sue (who had been done for a few hours) got me some Ultragen and water and I just relaxed and cheered on the other runners. The guy I battled came in about 5 minutes after me- my guess is he almost walked it in. I was happy to see Joe come across followed by Emily. Bryce was done long before us and we exchanged how great and tough this course really is. It was a great day for HUMR nation and the most beautiful course I have had the pleasure of running. Overall this was another good trainer for Wasatch that is just over 3 weeks away. I recommend this race to all and I will definitely be back. Ty does a great job and the course is second to none. El Vaquero Loco- you got a huge fan! Congrats Bryce, Emily, Joel and Shawn (oops I used real names) - proud to know you all. Lessons learned: No Tex-Mex the night before and get at least a decent night’s sleep.

THOUGHTS
Sometimes I focus too much on my time, place, finishing and how slow I go when I need to shift my focus on where I am and what I am doing. This race was a great reminder (even if it has taken a few days to figure out). I am healthy and have a great life. I have great friends who I get to share my mountain passions with. I belong to a unique community that is hard to understand unless you too are a card carrying member. I am lucky to be able to do these crazy things and for that I am truly thankful. Running ultras has taught me that I really can do anything I set my mind too and with the support of so many it can even be fun. I am healthy. I am happy. I am lucky. I am blessed. I am a HUMR!


Tuesday, July 31, 2012

SpeedGoat 50k Race Report 9:07

The HUMR Crew (Post-race)- Photo: Lori Burlison

I must admit that when I register for races I rarely if ever read the waiver. I skip all the mumbo jumbo and sign it or initial it. After running.....scratch that- hiking this race, I went back to read the waiver and NO WHERE on it does it have the warning- "This may cause potty mouth". News Flash...IT DOES.
Post-Race- taking it in...Photo by: Lori Burlison

I only decided to run the race a day or 2 before. Even though I have been registered for months I have been battling a sore hip/buttocks and wasn't sure if I really wanted to test it out on this monster of a course. I knew with Wasatch a little over a month away that this would be a solid run to have under my belt to maybe add a little confidence. In ultra running you need to become intimate with pain and today felt like a good day to be a little frisky with her.
When I arrived at the check in it was a who's who in ultra running.....boy was I ever out of place. As I waited in line for my bib I saw some familiar faces and played catch up with people I don't see too often which is always a high light. We got our last minute instructions and meandered over to the start area for the beginning of a very long day. I have run this race 2 other times but once again there were some changes with the course. Knowing Karl I knew this year would be the toughest yet. 
The race was one and I watched the leader take off- pretty impressive! I filed into my usual area- about mid pack- and started up the mountain. I woke up extra early for the race to work on some stretching and foam rolling to see if I could get nice and loose for the initial climb. After a few hundred yards I was a little disappointed to still be so tight. I dropped even farther back and was not thrilled about how my butt and calves felt. We climbed for a bit then descended some and I was hoping this little section of downhill would knock some things loose and allow me to pick up the pace to the top. When we started to climb more I was still pretty tight but I just kept my head down and tried to push through it. We hit mile 4 and I filled a bottle and kept on going. I knew I needed to nail my nutrition and hydration today if I wanted to survive this SOB. My goal was to hit the top of the first climb in 2 hours and the closer I got the more I realized it wasn't going to happen. I started to feel pretty good before we hit the cirque and I fond another gear. I hit the top about 2:20. Not thrilled but hey- I made it to the top. There was a crew of HUMR supporters (best people on the planet) up there that really lifter my frown and when I looked up I also saw Bryce, Cory and Bryce (from UltrAspire). Cory and Bryce quickly came over and offered a hand. I felt like royalty. I look up to both these guys not only because how amazing they run around the trails but because they are amazing people to boot. They had me in and out in no time. Next up was a long descent though some wild flowers and boy was it purdy! I can usually move pretty quick going down so I was ready to make up some time. 
                                            Heading down from Hidden-  Photo by: Lori Burlison

Made it through the flowers and came across Curtis and Joel, hit a little climb then it was time to navigate a pretty tough and technical section on the way to Pacific Mine. Here is where things got worse.....it hurt to run. Crap- I am in a trail race/run and running downhill hurt. Problem- there are only 2 types of sections in this race- up and down. I hobbled ever so slowly into Pacific Mines and my mental state was fading. There is a mile or so section that is an out and back and you have to opportunity to see some runner a head of you and lucky for me there were some familiar faces that help quickly change my mood..(so a special thanks to Jared, Steve, Shawn, Jill, Jim, Breein).
Love the flowers- Photo by: Lori Burlison

 I hit Pacific Mines, filled the bottles and was off. It was now time for big climb #2. On the way up to Larry's Hole I just wanted to stay consistent. No stopping and no slowing down- one foot after the other. Over half way up I came across Ryan who was having a tough time but still managed to shoot me a smile and a "go get em" attitude- thanks Ryan! I came through the next AS and Mike was there with some very encouraging words. There was s tough climb back up and I still just kept my head down and grinded it out. I was on top of my nutrition for sure! My climbing legs were holding together nicely and I got a pep in my giddy up. I made the top of the climb and began a small downhill on the service road before the climb to baldy. As I slowly trotted down the service road I tried to look ahead to see where we were going next. I saw runners high on the ridge heading to Baldy but couldn't figure out how they got there. There in the middle of the road was a volunteer and he was looking up. As I arrived he said "turn here and follow the flags." ARE YOU KIDDING ME!- I thought. It was straight up and no trail to speak of. This section almost crushed me.
Once I finished the climb and was on top of Baldy it was time to descend back down to the Tunnel. As I  hit the service road there was Britta and Bryce (UltrAspire) with some atta boys and smiles. WOW- did I ever need that! 
 After Baldy- heading towards the tunnel-  Photo by: Britta Trepp

Picked me right up and I shifted gears and cruised into Tunnel. I passed Lindsay on the road and she was smiling and taking pictures (they turned out amazing). At the Tunnel I was once again taken care of this time by Shane. He had me in and out on no time and on my way through the Peruvian Tunnel and down the service road en route to the last climb...."the ridge".
The past two times I have run this race the ridge broke me. This year I was determined not to let it get to me. It isn't the toughest climb but it sucks! When I finally started up the ridge I was hell bent on not slowing or stopping. I popped a Pre-Race cap, took some big swigs of EFS LS and set my mind to attack mode. I didn't waiver and though I was getting worked I really wanted to get to Hidden quickly as possible. I hit Hidden and I was pumped. I did what i set out to do on this section and though its short and not the whole race I felt like the other two times it took something from me and I wanted it back. Well, thank you very much "Ridge"- I got "IT" back.
On top of Hidden I was greeted by Larry, his wife and daughter. They more than took care of me. I quickly took off my pack and grabbed a handheld I stashed in my drop bag. I wanted to hit this last 5 miles quick. PROBLEM: running down hill hurt too damn bad. I set out to go sub 8 which quickly changed to sub 9 but once on Hidden I knew that would be a stretch. The next 5 miles were uneventful  and slow and go. My hip and butt wouldn't allow me to push but in my mind I was just happy to be finishing. 
I came across in 9:07 (almost 12,000' of gain!). Not a time I was looking for but got the finish and gained a little confidence heading towards Wasatch. I nailed my nutrition which was a HUGE positive.....Hopefully I am getting the hang of this a bit more.
Overall, the day was a success. I got to trudge around some beautiful mountains and share it with a awesome group of people. Congrats to all my friends who took on SpeedGoat - well done! 
A special thanks to all those out there that shot me a smile, words of encouragement and lent a hand. You all played a HUGE role for me and for that I am grateful. 
Next up El Vaquero Loco 50k- August 11th.....
Oh- see you next year SpeedGoat......you SOB.

                                                 Post- Race pain- Photo by: Lori Burlison

Thursday, June 28, 2012

San Juan Solstice 50- Race Report


“This next section is all downhill.”….ah horseshit! (heard at mile 30 AS)
SJS Elevation.bmp
 The San Juan Mountains are big….big and beautiful. For the last 4 years I have really wanted to attempt the San Juan Solstice 50. I waffled a bit this year but finally decided to pull the trigger. On an early morning training run earlier in the year I even talked a few of my trail buddies into joining me. The race itself I knew would be amazing but with the crew I traveled with amazing would be just the beginning!
The drive down is worthy of its own blog post but due to information shared (and the fact I blacked out- not really); you will not see that post so this story will start after the 8+ hour drive. Jon was behind the wheel and we were just excited to finally be in Lake City and out of the car. We drove around town a bit before we arrived at our cabin. We unpacked the car and did a quick recon of our arrangements…rustic but nice. We hopped back into the Soob and drove over to the armory to check in. Here we would eat a nice spread of pre-race food laid out and get some beta on the race and course. After that was over there was only one more thing to do……grab a beer! We knew we needed a few more carbs so we went out and found a water hole and tried to let our minds relax.

Race morning our nerves were on full alert. We packed our vests and filled our bottles as Chewbacca noises filled the morning air. It was almost 4:30 am and we headed down to check in and begin a LONG day trying to reach the sky. I had the pleasure to see some friends- Robert (Bobby) Knight, Brad and Danielle and met a few new ones too. We slowly walked out to the streets to begin and before I knew it…GO! We were off. After about the first 3 miles I could tell the altitude may be a bit of an issue. I had the chance to take a Cialis (which is supposed to help with altitude but I heard really helps with ED) to help with the altitude but the thought of taking that and the a Pre-Race capsule scared me. I didn't want to chance them both working in perfect harmony against me. We were just under 9000’ and we were making our way to 13,000. For those of you who are not familiar with altitude, there isn’t much oxygen to go around up there. Once we got off the dirt road we hit some amazing single track. There were 5 or 6 river/creek crossings and I took advantage of the logs (it was warm so they were not slick) and used my new found Pilates skillz to get across. No wet feet…bonus! The views on the first climb were breath taking- both literally and physically. 

The San Juan’s have a reputation and only a few miles in they were living up to the hype. I was in awe. After a climb that seemed to last forever we peaked out and I felt like I was on top of the world. My legs still felt solid but my breathing was definitely labored. We hit a nice downhill section that took us back to the next aid station around mile 15. On the way down I even got a huge burst of energy and the smile I was looking for when Jared and Lori said hello. Seeing people you know on the trail does more for your mental state than you could imagine! The next few miles were on a road then a dirt road that seemed to never end. We climbed and climbed and finally got to the Carson AS. I arrived at mile 21.5 in decent shape and was real excited to get to mile 25 and run downhill for awhile (was I mistaken). Leaving Carson I decided to go lighter and left my jacket and gloves. The pre race temps called for 70-75 and on these peaks anything is possible but unfortunately for me race day was hot! As we got closer to the top it started to really heat up. I took advantage of the creeks and the little snow that was left and got my bandana wet as well as my hat. The water was ice cold and felt like heaven. As I got closer to 13,300’I noticed a cloud moving in. DAMN! I had no jacket or anything warm and my shirt, hat and bandana were soaking. I thought to myself- this could be bad. However, the closer I got the more I realized that these were not rain clouds but clouds of smoke from the fires that have been burning for so long in Colorado. Looking back, I would have much rather taken rain clouds than these lung fillers.

Since I started running races about 4-5 years ago I always run with a spent shell casing from my father’s funeral. He had a military burial and every time I race I take the same casing along and it helps me remember why I fell in love with the outdoors. As I walked past the Continental Divide and peaked out for the day I stopped momentarily to take in the views. 
The pole reads "Continental Divide"

I looked and notice a large rock cairn that had 360 degree views. It was there that I decided I was going to leave the casing. I kept thinking how much my dad would have loved the view. I knelt down said a few words and kept pushing forward. It was a good thing I was running solo through here because the next few miles got pretty emotional.
If you look close you can see the casing on the rock


 It seemed like I was above tree line FOREVER! I never thought I was going to make it to the next AS. It was supposed to be 9 miles but it felt like 15. Once we got back into the trees I picked up the pace and put my head down. Once I arrived at mile 31 I couldn’t have been more relieved but when I noticed my time relief slowly stepped aside for disappointment. I was nowhere near where I thought I would be time wise. I guess the climbs and the fact I was moving slowly gasping for air took a bigger toll that I thought.
I asked the AS crew what to expect the next 9 miles to the next stop and they told me- “It 9 miles of downhill…cruising section.” SA-weet, I thought. I looked at the profile and I knew it was downhill but they knew the area and I thought I had a shot to make up time. I took off with a smile which shortly turned to a frown when I saw more climbing- not climbing like we have done but it was still climbing….little rollers as they will be known from now on. I ran what I could and walked when I couldn’t. The last few miles before the AS were nasty- technical downhill that made your quads a little unhappy. As I approached mile 40 there was a pretty good size crowd and the cheers and “atta boys” really lifted my spirits. I saw Jared and he let me know that Bj wasn’t too far ahead and was just waiting for someone to catch up to him. I quickly grabbed an otter pop, refilled a bottle and tried to get mentally ready to hit the last and final climb- 1700’ in a couple miles. I hit the climb hoping to catch up to Bj and run it in with someone but as I slowly began to realize, this wasn’t going to happen.  I started to slow and my breathing got more labored. I started to feel a little dizzy then my vision got a little blurry. I decided to sit down and try and regroup- only 6 or so miles to the finish. I ended up lying down and by the time I came too (about 20-30 minutes) I was covered in ants. PERFECT! Once I dusted them off I kept up the climb. The downhill was pretty technical and made my toes hurt. I really just wanted this to be over and when I hit town I down shifted even more. I had a nice trot going until the final stretch so then I decided to pick up the pace. I finished in a blazing time of 14:49! Okay, not blazing but if you go back to the last sentence there is a word underlined…go ahead and look back, I will wait…….yep- FINISHED. 

Yes I am disappointed with my time but finishing is really my ultimate goal. After Zion a month ago I don’t want to take finishing too lightly. This is one of the toughest races I have done but also one of the most beautiful. No doubt the altitude and elevation played a lot into it but there is always something...right? The people, RD, volunteers, runners, stores…everyone were fantastic! It is well organized, well marked (whew!) and just all around well done. I will be heading back to this race without a doubt. It will always hold a good memory and leaving the spent casing there was the perfect thing to do.  We all run these races for different reason and I may be finally figuring out why I love it so much.

The results are not posted yet but a huge congrats to my fellow HUMR’s- you all did amazing. It was a privilege to be down there with you all and to share that time. The car trip is our little secret though…..right?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Timp Trail Marathon- Race Report

Moab Red Hot 55k- nope, Buffalo Run 50- nope, Zion 100- ha-ha-ha -NOPE, Timp Trail Marathon- Whew- Finally! A race for 2012 that I can hobble away from and feel pretty good about.\
I ran this race during its first year a couple years ago and immediately fell in love with the course. Amazing views, killer climbs, water falls, meadows, quakies, quad numbing downhill- this race has it all- 26+ miles of of bliss.
On the way down to the race I was absolutely not feeling like running let alone racing. I was tired, mentally not ready and tired (yes, I already said that). The start/finish of the race is located just down the street from the Squaw Peak 50 and it is one of the better venues I have been to. Once we pulled up and checked in we had about 10 minutes to get ready and over to the start. I took a chance and just wore a short sleeve shirt with no jacket or anything. Forecast was calling for rain but not until late morning/early afternoon. I thought this would help me remember to get it done before the rains hit. We mingled for a few minutes, took a few pictures with friends and the next thing I know people were running. I started the watch and began a nice little grind on the service road as we started to go up. I hadn't put much thought into the race and only took a waste belt with one handheld (which proved to be perfect!). The first 200+ yards I began to see how the legs and mind felt, both seemed like they were responding okay considering there were lingering thought of the Zion 100 just 2 weeks ago. After a long straight stretch on the service road I had a game plan- go out hard, hit the big climb to the waterfall and see if you had anything left. Simple. This wasn't a focus race and I was only 1 week out of the epic HUMR Beer Mile (placed 3rd). Once we got off the service road there is some real nice singletrack through a meadow then onto some more service road then some sweet singletrack again- all runnable. I just kept my pace steady and would not allow myself to back off the pedal for a minute. In and out of the aid station and feeling pretty strong. I had one handheld loaded with water and EFS along with a couple flask of EFS Kona LS. As i came to the first climb I wanted to try and attack it a bit to ensure I made good time. I felt pretty solid heading up and soon came to the top and hit some more sweet singletrack. Once the long climb up to the waterfall started I felt my energy take a dip so I threw down and Pre-Race capsule from First Endurance. That was very well played! I immediately regained some zip and kept on churning. About mile 14 my good buddy Jim passed me and I heard him comment we wanted to go sub 5. I thought to myself- try and keep him in sight and I had a good chance to go sub 5 too. As we continued to climb I felt pretty good and when we hit the waterfall I still had sight of him. I must have missed a nip or 2 on the Kona flask because again I felt a small dip in juice. I was expending more energy and not refueling. I hit the flask hard a few times and before I knew it the zip had returned. Above the quakies we finally hit the top of climb and the breath taking meadow at the top. It was time to open it up again and go for it. Once I cleared the meadow we started so technical steep singletrack and I just kept it in gear. I caught up to Jim and he mentioned if I kept it up I could go sub 5- damn you Jim! I went into the race looking for a 5:30-5:45. Now that I had about 10 miles to go I decided to go for broke. The last 10 miles kind of reminded me of last years Wasatch race for me. I was getting after it and my quads were letting me know- sub 7, sub 7:30 (hey, that's fast for me). Once I finally popped out to the service road to see the last mile plus to the finish I saw I was not going to go sub 5. Once that hit me I just pulled back a bit and really enjoyed the last mile. I came across the finish in 5:11 and felt great. PR's the course by over an hour and even surprised myself a bit. (16th overall and 4th in my age group)
Besides the race, the trail, the views, the weather and everything- the thing I noticed most was my smile. I had FUN! It was one of those days/times that I can look back on and smile. After Zion I was a little beaten down. I tend to get pretty hard on myself (so I am told) but after Timp it was all washed away. I was re-charged. I went into the race with no real expectations, no real thought and really no game plan. It reminded me of my college soccer days when people would tell me - not to think, just play. Well today I didn' think I just ran. At times I probably looked like a kid on the playground or even Phoebe from "Friends"- but I didn't care. It felt as pure as IPA on tap.
I also want to congratulate some of my running peeps for the race they threw down:
 Britta- 1st place female and CR (ran Ogden marathon a week earlier in 3:11- next week SP50)
 Ryan- was resting and laughing before I saw the finish
 Jim- right behind me with a PR
 Shawn- 3rd female overall and age group winner
 Breein- looking smooth and happy as she worked the finish chute
Alicia- fighting the rain to get one last long run in before SP50
Congrats to everyone on the day.
And if you see me on the trails in the future- tell me to smile!
Next up San Juan Solstice 50- time to get my vert on!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Zion 100 Race Report




Well, let’s just say that things went well and according to plan for awhile then…..umm….not so much. So pull up a chair....this is a long one!


The trek to Virgin was pretty uneventful, made it to check in, grabbed some food at a cool little trading post then went into Springdale to check into my room (thanks to my awesome sister for hooking me up!). Once at the room I got everything laid out and ready so when the alarm went off at 4 am all I had to do was get dressed and drive back to Virgin for the start. Looking at the weather report I knew Friday would be tough but I really had no doubt I would finish if I played my cards right. The plan was to get out a little quicker than normal to log some solid miles before the heat hit. Once the sun started to cook me I knew I could go a bit slower then rally in the evening and morning. Solid game plan……check. I had all my ducks in a row and drop bags laid out, split cards looked good and even a bit conservative I thought. From here I would turn off the lights and hit the hay.

The alarm went off right at 4 am and I got up and started to get ready- shower, breakfast, pack the car and I was on the way to run the first ever Zion 100. At the start we weighed in and the RD went over the course and how hot it was going to get. There about 120 runner and about 20-25 first time 100 milers. I got to see a few familiar faces and meet a few more. Once the countdown started it was game time! GO! We took off up the road and headed for some ATV trails heading towards the Smith Mesa. There were a couple of miles of windy up and down hills that led to the trek up to the top. We started up Flying Monkey Trail and had a rather good climb for about 1.1 miles. There was a section with a rope and a nice single file line- first one to the top gets a $100 (Congrats to Jay Aldous for the $100 and a pretty amazing 1st place finish). Once on top we ran on a dirt road for about 15 miles. Around 7.2 miles in I came around a corner and sure enough, there was a flying Monkey (more of an Ape but who cares, it was pretty cool).

There is a Flying Monkey!

I hit the first aid station in good shape and was moving pretty good. I felt I could have even pushed a bit harder and still been okay but decided to keep it calm. I was about the 20th person through. I got to run with Mike Place and Dan Widerburg for a bit and it always nice to run with familiar faces. The road was long and dry and felt like it would never end. I still was moving along fairly well heading in to AS #2 around 18.5 miles. Once here you finally get off the road and start on a pretty crazy trail with rope and ledges and rocks and a small waterfall- it was my favorite part of the course (that I saw anyway).


Once through that section its back to a dirt/rocky road with no cover and the temps were really picking up.

Some rare shade....for about 30 yards.


Well this looks a little warm and dry...

 I slowed a bit to be sure to make it through the heat of the day and came through AS #3 about Mile 27. I got refueled, stood under the mister and took off. This next section was more brutal- 4 miles on road/pavement downhill – YUCK! After those 4 tough asphalt miles we hung a right and worked our way on some more ATV trails. I started to slow a bit more here and could tell I had not taken in enough calories to this point. I had hydrated well and got my electrolytes but because of the heat and my drop bags cooking in the sun, my EFS LS was super runny and very warm…a.k.a. really tough to get down. The heat was starting to get to me and any type of food or calories was just not agreeing with the heat and my stomach. I finally stumbled into AS #4 at the highway (mile 35) and picked up my first pacer- Shawn. This was a longer stop than I wanted but I was trying to get my temperature down a bit and take in a few calories. Far as time goes, I was ahead of my splits and under a sub 26 hour finish.

Shawn and I took off through the DAMN DESERT. I could feel my stomach turning, my energy starting to slide and the heat starting to kick my ass. Those that know me know I HATE HEAT! Hate it. Anything over 80 degrees is horrible. So over the next few miles I kept asking Shawn and myself- “What the hell was I thinking?- This is the son of a bitchin DESERT!” We both would laugh and meander along.

The sweet, sweet desert...

 This proved to be a tough section on me and I lost a bit of time. Shawn had bought a small spray bottle and would shoot me with water every so often which definitely helped. We finally reached AS #5 at mile 42 and I told her I needed to really gather myself, eat something…anything to get some energy for the climb ahead. We were there and watching people come through in bad shape. The heat was really getting to people and the fact the AS ran out of ice proved to be even more troublesome for many. I finally got up and we marched on.

Thinking WTH?

About mile 45.5 we hit a water only AS right before the big climb to Gooseberry Mesa. Here it was- the most daunting part of the course (besides the heat or so we thought). As I walked over to the cattle trough a guy was yelling at me not to drink it…really? I may be a little slow minded but come on. Shawn and I giggled about that and headed out. There I was the base of the climb. It was a bugger and turned out to be steeper than advertised. It was a beast!

The Climb

 A little over a mile to the top and we did it- not before encountering our first snake though. Once we hit the top there was a small station set up offering electrolyte slushies…man were those ever tasty!

Having a slushie on Gooseberry Mesa

 We followed the rocky windy trail over to Gooseberry Mesa AS- (Mile 51.5 and 52.5). I was there a bit and noticed I was behind my splits but mentioned to Shawn that the toughest part of the course was over and I thought I could rally and make up some time. My stomach still wasn’t 100% but with the night creeping in and the temps dropping I liked my chances. We grabbed our headlamps and headed out. Our night clothes were at the next AS- Mile 62.75 so we had about 10 miles to go to get there.

Here is where everything went wrong. We followed the course best we could. The marking were not real visible and there were no glow sticks, lights, balloons anything. We followed white dots on the rocks and a few transparent pink ribbons. We got off course 4-5 times through here but quickly turned and got back on track after Shawn would go ahead and scout it out. We were literally a few feet from the edge of the Mesa and a 2000’+ drop- Shawn and I laughed about that a lot but I think that helped us cope with it. I probably hit my lowest point here and had to stop and lay on a rock for about 5 or so minutes. The energy was zapped but I was still trying to nip the old LS flask much to the disagreement of my stomach. We were less than one mile from the next AS (so we thought) when we ran into 3-4 lost runners. They were absolutely frantic. They had been lost for over 4 hours. Once we got together and tried to assure them they were now on the right trail we came across multiple different markings and then another group of about 5-6 other runners…LOST. We all huddled together and looked a map that one of the guys had on him. We decided where we needed to go next. After about 25 more minutes of this, we ran into 2 more runners….you guessed it- LOST! They thought they knew where they were as well so we all started out. We wandered around a bit longer and I kept thinking- we have gone too far, we should have hit it by now. The wind was picking up and the temps were dropping. Shawn and I only had our run shirts and shorts- no gloves, sleeves, jackets, beanie…basically nothing warm. A while later we had found the trail again but something wasn’t right……wait- we see headlamps coming right at us. We asked where they were coming from and they told us- “Gooseberry AS”- WHAT? We were heading back to Mile 52.5…this proved to be huge blow to us. There we gathered and thought of our next plan. We could turn around and go another 8 or so miles and try and find the next AS but since it hadn’t been located in over 7 hours I didn’t think our odds were good. Most were out of food and water and it was really starting to get cold. A group of 5 of us huddled together to come up with the next game plan. Here is where I thought long and hard and really knew there was only one “smart” choice. I battled inside my own head for a few minutes but it seemed like eternity. If I do the “smart” thing, I would DNF and my race was over. If I chose option #2, I would be risking more I thought. Listen, I hate to fail. I know nobody likes to fail but I HATE to fail! It eats at me. It makes me questions myself more than normal. It makes me sick. With all this going through my head, I leaned towards Shawn and quietly told her I decided it would be best to head back to Mile 52- Gooseberry and call it. She knew it was the right choice as well but I think she wanted me to decide since it was my race. She helped every step of the way up to this point and it was my decision. We told the other 3 and 2 of them decided they would try again to find that AS. One person, Martin from San Jose, decided to come with us. After about 30 minutes and MORE searching in the dark and taking a few more wrong turns we found the AS. It was time to drop. The way over there I was lagging behind a bit- partly because of a couple bad blisters but the other part was I was in a bad place mentally and I wanted to be alone. I was disappointed with myself, angry, hurt, upset, discouraged, saddened and just plain mad. We were out there for over 6 hours and ended right back where we started. We finally talked the HAM radio guy to let us sit in the truck to try and keep warm, he offered a jacket, blanket and even offered one of us a chance to share his sleeping bag in the back of the truck…I will let you guess who the lucky lady….errr I mean person was. The 3 of us (not the radio guy) piled into the front of the truck and waited for someone to come get us. Shawn and Martin slept a bit but I just couldn’t sleep. I kept replaying everything through my head and couldn’t get over the disappointment and also wondered if the others were safe.

When morning broke, someone came to get us and we headed back to the start/finish. We found out we were really no where even close to finding that AS and that there were over 30 people that got lost. Some ended up on the highway wandering around, some showed up at the wrong AS and many just dropped like I did.

Overall, this will take some time to get over. I still feel like I made the right choice but I am still having a difficult time of wondering what if. Even though the trail was poorly marked through a few parts of the race and the area we got lost was not marked well for night time, I still recommend the race to those who like desert, heat and something different. Matt (RD) and his group really did put on a great race. It was the first year but I have been to many other races that could learn a lot from the Zion 100. I have no doubt that next year things will be different and better than ever. The volunteers, runners, RD, sponsors…everyone was extremely nice……even the radio operator that offered to cuddle. It’s unfortunate of to what happened and I really don’t blame anyone. I guess it is part of racing. Sure there are plenty of what if’s but I am trying to convince myself that what if’s are just that and nothing I can do now. I am excited to get back on the trail. Maybe I am just not a 100 mile runner. I still have another 100 miler this year- Wasatch, and I am hoping to PR it again and go sub?????? but until then I still have some beauties on my schedule.

Huge thanks to Shawn for helping me get as far as I did. I made it to Mile 52 and it only took me 73 miles to do it. HA! And Jim, I am very sorry you drove all that way and didn’t even get to pace. I am extremely humbled by all the support I got leading up to the race: the calls, the voicemails, the texts, the facebook comments…everything. Truly humbling and I definitely feel like a lucky guy. As I type this I am still scratching at the Cedar Gnat bites all over my legs and wondering if I will go back next year. I am not one to make excuses though….I just didn’t get it done this time.

Congrats to all the people who not only finished down there but those who toed the line. Now the healing process begins…..physical and mental.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Zion 100- Pre-Race


 


 
Well, the time is finally here. The much anticipated Zion 100. Actually, it did sneak up on me- I could use another month to get ready to be honest. The training has been pretty good. I got in some early season longer runs/races to hopefully help. I started Pilates and Power Plate and feel relatively strong. HOWEVER- being this is the first year of the Zion 100, I am a little very nervous. There is nothing to go off far as splits and general times between AS. The heat is looking a little frightening and then there is the course. I have never run in Zion before. There will definitely be a few sleepless nights this week.

 
On the flip side, the RD seems to have thought of everything! They are shuttling pacers to and from AS, the start/finish is the same location, the buckles for 100 mile finishers (hopefully I will be on the list) are made of materials found in Zion, the race shirts look slick, the course sounds like it will be marked well- they even have helium balloons with lights in them that will float in the air. I really am looking forward to the race and something a bit different to run on. I just hate to see things like this as course info-

 
Mile 45: The hardest hill of the race climbing to the top of Gooseberry Mesa. You’ll ascend around 1,500 feet in less than a mile. It is rocky and steep, and there is a high probability that your lungs will feel like they are filling with molten lava. I’d plan on hiking this section.

 
Yippee!!!! I can’t tell you how excited I am for that! The photos and talk of rattle snakes and mountain lions make me feel warm and fuzzy too.

 
I have entered three 100 mile races: Wasatch 100 (twice)-2 finishes and the SwanCrest 100 (DNF), so my experience isn’t a strong point. My goal is to finish, it’s early in the year and it isn’t my focus race so I want to make sure I do it right. Saying that, I am a little on the competitive side with myself. Not other runners or the course or even time….just me. I expect maybe more than I should from myself. I realize that training is the key and I am solely responsible for that but you never know- ANYTHING can happen during a 100 mile race. Those that have run one know of all the adversity you can encounter but the 2 factors that always have me concerned: stomach issues and heat. I HATE HEAT! I have tried (a couple times) to embrace it but it just sucks. Far as the stomach goes, that is an ongoing battle of wit and luck. Some days I think I have it dialed in and when I do- BAM! - it turns and so does the race. Since I am an old dude though, I am trying to dial in the mental game. I feel like I am a pretty mentally strong person and let’s face it- at the end of the day this could very well be our biggest strength or weakness.

 
Whatever happens in Zion.... happens. I can control some things and there are things I cannot. I don’t feel ready and even if I had more time to train I am sure I would feel the same way. It is what it is and it is too late now for me to do anything to get ready. So, time to embrace it and hope it embraces me back. I hope by the end of the week there will be another blog post of elation and triumph. I hope to come away with a PR while I am at it (sub 29:46- not stout but a PR is a PR). So whoever reads this post, send me some positive vibes, I am gonna need them.
A few of my favorite race mantras/sayings/whatever you wanna call them:

  • No excuses, No Regrets- Leave Nothing. (Manners)
  • Take chances. (BFish)
  • Today is a crossroad where everything you want will collide with everything standing in your way.
  • I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul. -W.E. Henley
  • I am powerful beyond measure.
  • Bring it home empty.
  • This is what you came for.
  • Strength and courage.
  • Be the hero in you own life's story.
  • Take it!
  • I will soar on wings like an eagle, I will run and not grow weary.- Isaiah 40:31
  • I'm all in!
  • Get out there and see who you are.
If you do read this and have a few more....please post them.

 
Here is a link to the race: https://zion100.wordpress.com/

Here is a link that was sent out of some course recon: http://www.fastcory.com/2012/05/zion-100-course-guide.html

Here is a link if you wanna track me- I am bib #563: http://ultralive.net/zion100/webcast.php


 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Buffalo Run 50 mile Race Report

Whew- glad this one finally ended. I have never felt this bad after a race...any race! More on that later though. Since Moab a month ago I have been battling shin issues. I have been to therapy, I have taken time off, I have had fantastic training runs and I have had very poor runs a missed a few all together. Needless to say I was heading into this race with very little to no momentum. I had thought of dropping down to the 50k or even the 25k and a few thoughts of dropping out of the race all together but with the race schedule I have lined up, I thought I might as well give it a go. Ultra Running is a choice, you do not have to run, you do not have to prove anything, you can do whatever you want. Yes, I have been less than 100%. Yes I have been struggling but when you toe the line- all excuses go out the door. YOU chose to be there and if you let those excuses inhabit your thoughts then you are setting yourself up for a DNF. I was taught long ago that if you start something like this it is by your own choice and no matter how it turns out, you decided to be there.
As I drove out to the island I had those all too familiar butterflies after all its race day. I parked the car and started to slowly get things in order. I decided on 2 dropbags- one at White Rock and one at Lower Frary (passed through there twice). I carried one UltrAspire handheld and an UltrAspire Fusion MBS belt (it holds 2- 8 ounce flasks). In the handheld I carried water and in my flasks I carried 4 oz of EFS liquid shot and one scoop of EFS electrolyte mix. Over the past year this has proven to be my fuel of choice.
After I got all prettied up I walked over the the tent to drop off my bags and see some friends to wish them luck. It was a beautiful morning and the temps were perfect (that would later change).
When Jim said GO- we went. To my surprise I felt pretty good. My goal was to go out a little slower on the initial climb and make sure I didn't use up too much. Well, I ran all the way to Lone Tree and was feeling pretty good. Once we hit Elephant Head the sun was up and things looked amazing. It was pretty uneventful until about mile 19 when we hit White Rock AS and the HUMR crew. It was great to see more familiarr faces. I was in and out pretty quick and just getting prepared for the long haul to the ranch. On the way to the ranch I could feel the temps climbing. I do not do well it heat and it was about to show.  After Lower Frary where i switched out a couple flasks, the front runners started coming back. It was nice to see some of the speedy bastards- Bj, Bryce, Corey and Ryan. I ran near Curtis for a good portion and saw him and Dan at the Ranch. The heat was really starting to get to me and I had a few doubts how this was going to turn out. The shins were aching and I was "just off". I tried to stay with Dan and Curtis and piggy back on their pace but right before Lower Frary I hit a wall. I had the pleasure of seeing Breein, Forrest and Shawn which helped perk me up a bit. At Lower Frary, Erik Storheim dumped a big bucket of cold water on me and I was hoping this would do the trick. I left Lower Frary in a walk and had no desire to run. I was sore and hot and just didn't want to be out there anymore. I managed to get the legs going and trot along. The last 10 miles were very uneventful but I tried to make a goal of not letting anyone pass me. I was hoping to finish under 9 hours and when I saw I had no chance I lost alot of motivation. I think I could have easily gone under 10 hours but I just didn't have the drive. I tried to think back to Wasatch 2011 and that finish but it wasn't going to happen today. I really don't know why I couldn't get things going and over the last 8 or so miles I just thought about the rest of the year and where to go from here. As I trotted down the long gravel road and up the small climb to the finish- thanks for that Jim :) - I was never so happy to see a finish line. I didn't look up at all as I came down the chute, part because I was tired and a big part because I was so disappointed.
Finish in 10:07 good enough for 45th place and well off my goal. I did PR the 50 mile distance for me but this makes 2 races and 2 disappointing times.
After the race I had to go to my car and lay down for 30 minutes to try and compose myself. I was feeling horrible....okay I really felt worse than that.
My thought know go to what's next. Part of me thinks I just need to shut it down until I get my shins healthy but the other part doesn't want to lose any fitness either. Regardless of what I decide to do there are a few things are are obvious. I hope to work on those things after the sting on the race wears off.

A huge thanks you to all the volunteers and people who make this race happen. This was my first ever trail race 7 years ago and still a favorite! Thanks Jim.
Major kudos to Bryce, Bj, Cory, Ryan,Shane, Curtis, Nick, Lindsay and Harrison.
A special "Atta Boy" to Larry Adams for nailing the 100 miler!!!!!
Forrest and Breein- way to go! First ever 50 milers and did it in style. Breein damn near passed me too.....
Thanks to the family for making it to the finish to see a tired and wore out guy cross the finish line!
It was great to see all the familiar faces a the race- look forward to seeing you all again soon.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Moab Red Hot 55k Report

Photo: Compliments of UltrAspire

The first race of the year! It finally arrived and I was very excited to get out of town and head down to the red rocks. I left work Friday afternoon just in time to get to the packet pick up. We arrived at Eddy McStiffs as they were cleaning up the check in. Grabbed my goodie bag then walked over to eat a late night pre-race meal. Before I sat down I was approached and got to say hello to some great folks from UltrAspire. We chatted a bit and I sat down for dinner. I ordered the usual pre-race IPA and decided to go with the vegetarian lasagna. After dinner, Jim and I headed over to the hotel to get settled and ready for the next day’s festivities. Moab Red Hot is not just a race but a party. The quicker you get to the finish the quicker you get to have fun.


I tossed and turned all night long, apparently the lasagna just didn’t agree with me. When the alarm finally went off I was still in bad shape. Not only was I worried about a week’s worth of shin splints but now my stomach wasn’t being friendly. I tried to take care of that issue before we left to the start but no luck. Showing up to the start line in Moab is always a joyous occasion. So many familiar faces that you haven’t seen since the fall are all there with grins from ear to ear. I wandered around a bit saying hello and found my place at the start line. The thought was to go out at a decent clip and see if I could get myself to throw up. When the RD said GO, we were off. After about 20 yards I realized that taking first place wasn’t going to happen. After about 30 yards I realized a podium spot was just out of reach too. Dang! Oh well, time to find a rhythm and go. The first 20 miles were pretty uneventful. I locked into a solid pace and though at times it was just a bit faster than I wanted, I wanted to treat this as a long training run but also take a few chances. About mile 21-22 is when the grind up the red rock starts and ironically is when my shin splints kicked in for the first time. I looked at my watch and knew I was primed to go sub 6 which was my goal. I have run this race 3 other times and knew the downhill starting about mile 26 was a point where I always made up time. SPOILER ALERT! - This year would be different. The red rock was bringing me to my knees with pain in my shins. By the time I hit the downhill I was in bad shape. I could not take the pounding on my favorite part of the course. I knew I needed some things to change if I would hit my goal. For the next 4-5 miles I became a slave to my watch. I looked down continually and tried to do math in my head to predict my finish time. It wasn’t until I knew that a sub 6 was out of reach that I quite looking. For about a mile or so I was a little bummed but that soon passed when I started to think about the year I had in store. Was this my goal race? No. Was this going to determine my season? No. Was this race going to set the tone for 2012? No. SO I decided to cruise in and play an all too familiar game. Near the end of a race I like to watch the runner in front of me. If they turn around to check where I am, when that happens the game begins. When I see that, I tell myself- pass them. So there are races when I hope they don’t turn cause I don’t want to go faster but today I needed the fun. Well it happened to only 3-4 people but it worked. I came through the finish line in 6:17- 43 minutes faster than last year but 17 minutes short of my goal. This tells me 2 things- training is getting better and I still have a long way to go. Luckily I get to train with some of the best people I know so it’s easy to get out the door. Overall I consider Moab a success- a good place to start. I already look forward to next year on the Red Rock. Congrats to all my friends on their day. It was great to see so many people I know. I am already looking forward to the Buffalo Run 50 miler in a few short weeks. As for the shin splints- there still there but if I ever ran pain free I may be in too much shock to run.

As for some details…. I used my amazing UltrAspire Isomeric Pocket handheld bottle to carry straight water (it was a balmy 60+ degrees during this one). For nutrition I used First Endurance Liquid Shot mixed with EFS drink and water. I combine 3 ounces of liquid shot with one scoop of EFS powder and top off the 10 oz flask with water- PERFECT! My energy and hydration were spot on all day. No issues at all. After the race and before the beer I chugged down a bottle of Ultragen-cappucino style!
Photo compliments of UltrAspire

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My dad and why I run

The few of you that stop by and read this blog are here for stuff about my running. Well this post will do 2 things:


1- Talk about a great man

2- Explain a major reason why I run

February 19th, 2005- my relationship with my father changed. It has taken me 7 years to figure that out but I figured it out on my last run. When my dad passed away unexpectedly 7 years ago, it could not have come at a worse time. Not that any time is good for something like this but the fact my daughter was due to arrive was only 3 short weeks away. He was so excited to see his grand-daughter and the months leading up to that he spoke of it often. So his passing 3 weeks before Aspen’s birth was devastating! I wanted to mourn but the excitement of her birth was building for months. I was trying to be strong for many reasons and I never grieved properly. Well fast forward to this year- it wasn’t until recently that I figured out that I hadn’t “lost” my dad but I realized our relationship had only changed. I have never “lost” my dad, he has always been there-everyday. Just like any relationship, it takes work. It is never a one sided deal and there is always compromise. It’s about being there for each other and bringing out each other’s best. It may be more complicated now but that’s what makes it so strong. There are no more hugs or high 5’s, kisses on the forehead or pats on the butt. But there are still conversations, moments of pride and sadness and lessons learned. I have tried to take the best from my dad and not focus on anything negative. He wasn’t the perfect man but the example he set was a way for me to learn. We may spend more time together now than ever and trust me it’s quality time. I still miss the feel of his rough hands and unshaven face, how course his full head of hair was when I gave him hug and the sound of his voice. I miss them but I have not forgotten them, I have not lost him. Dad, thank you- thank you for the lessons you still teach me and thank you for instilling that little bit of grit that gets me through the tough times.

Why do I run? I get asked that question more times than I care to count. Why do you run so far? Why do you run in bad weather? Why do you run so fast (okay maybe not that one). Why do you, why do you, why do you…..? I guess it is a valid question. I never enjoyed running. It didn’t appeal to me. If you threw a soccer ball out on the grass I could run forever! Running to get somewhere never really appealed to me. About 7-8 years ago, I had the privilege of watching a close friend run the Katcina Mosa 100k then the Wasatch 100. It sure didn’t make sense and I was asking all the “why do you” questions. What the hell was Scott Jaime thinking? (Ironically enough, my dad thinks the world of Scott, so coincidence?) What the hell were all the other people thinking? After hanging around the Big Mountain aid station at Wasatch I thought it would be cool to pace him the following year- whatever pacing was anyway. The next year I paced him and though I am sure I wasn’t the ideal pacer, I was hooked (little did I know).

Since then I have been slowly and very inconsistently running. I have run a few ultras and too few training runs. It is on those mountain trails I have noticed I have become closer to my dad. It may have not been the initial reason or maybe even the only reason but it sure is a big reason. My dad loved the outdoors and I grew up appreciating them. Being in the mountains reminds me of the time I spent with my dad, learning to fish, learning to set up a tent, learning to start a fire without a match and how to cook a gourmet mountain meal. So when I don’t have the desire to get out the door or lace up my shoes, I try to remind myself that it is an opportunity to spend time with my dad. It’s up to me if I lose him or not……

Its been 7 years dad- I Love you dad and I am grateful for our relationship.