Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Moab Red Hot 55k Race Report

Nipples can break off but you just gotta keep going….
The Moab Red Hot has never really been kind to me and this year proved to be no different. I knew heading in that my training was well off of what it needed to be. With all this snow and cold and crappy air, I haven’t been able to get the long runs in like years past. As frustrating as that was I was really hoping that almost a year of Pilates and getting my ass handed to me at Bomber Athlete for the last few months could help fill in the void. In the end it became apparent as ever that nothing can replace running.
Heading down to Moab I was a little nervous just from the sheer numbers- 800 runners. It has almost doubled since last year and I was a little concerned how that would all work out. In hindsight I now know that it does no good to worry about something I can’t control and the real concern should have been with my training. Last year I ran 6:17 and was disappointed when I finished knowing I should go under 6 hours. Even though that was the goal this year I started to realize that may not happen either. I was however really looking forward to all of the HUMR group that would be down there to help kick off 2013. The weather was fantastic the air was clear and the trails were red.

A few HUMR’s at the start.- Photo: Jo Agnew

After a nice dinner at Pasta Jay’s it was back to the hotel to get things ready for Saturday morning. I decided to take 3 flasks and one handheld with me for the race. I filled 3 small flasks with 2-3 ounces EFS Liquid Shot and one heaping scoop of EFS electrolyte drink topped off with water. I threw them in my UltrAspire Spry vest with my iPod and took along an isomeric pocket handheld filled with plain water. My plan was to take small nips off the flasks- each lasting 2 hours a piece. The handheld could easily get me to each aid station and after that it was up to me. As we gathered at the start it was ripe with HUMR’s. It was obvious we stole the show (wink-wink). Between the HUMR group and the HUMR Ultra Team it made me feel a little more at ease knowing I would see many of them over the course of the next 30+ miles. When the RD said GO- we all took off. I tried to settle in a bit and plot a plan for the first hill- would I power walk or run- decision, a little of both. Once we hit the small little climb I settled in to a comfortable pace but for whatever reason had a hard time getting my breathing under control. I think the problem was the air was too clean. For the first mile or so I seen a few HUMR’s up ahead and a few started passing. Kelly was nice enough to pat me on the buttocks as he passed and soon after I got a HUMR heckle from behind- here comes Ryan, Bryce and Bj. As they caught me I decided to match their stride for a bit and go with them. I knew it wouldn’t last long since these 3 are so gazelle like in their efforts. Once they left I ran with Kelly for a bit until we hit the first aid station. Leaving that I still felt pretty good and looking forward to the next section. Unfortunately this is where I had my first problem of the day- BROKEN NIPPLE. As I stopped to tie my shoe I set my handheld down for a moment- well it rolled off the rock and BOOM- my nipple just popped clean off! My handheld slowly drained and my heart sunk just a little. Here I was at mile 9 and I have a broken nipple and no water. I stood up, threw on my big boy pants, put my head down and trudged forward. When I pulled into the next aid station the 2 girls asked if I needed anything. I replied- “my nipple broke.” They both looked up with a snap of the neck with jaws open……they responded- “we have water and Heed.” Once I set them straight they laughed but didn’t have anything for me to use to carry water in. I guzzled as much as I could and headed off. Over the next few miles I panicked a bit more and tried to think of what else I could do.  You see, I need water. I love it. I am what you would call a heavy sweater- not the Christmas type either. As I got closer to the next aid station I saw a white truck off in the distance and had a little calmness come over me. It was Lane Farka, Pam and Steve. They had driven out to cheer and drop off water at the aid stations. As I approached I saw Jared and was a little concerned. I asked if they had anything to carry water and Forrest had an extra handheld there that I was able to use- I was saved! Lane filled it up and as I was heading out Jared joined me. He was feeling very well but he is a tough SOB and kept on truckin. I ran with Jared for a bit when Jim caught up then Shawn. The next bit was the climb up the slick rock around mile 20 and I knew I wouldn’t see them all again until the finish.

Jared pulling me along. Photo by: Joel Schenk

The rest of the race was uneventful except for the few times I stopped to lay down and stretch. As the mile slowly went by I knew a sub 6 was out and a chance of a slower time than the year before was inevitable. The last few miles were tough-mentally. So many things went through my head and I was just disappointed. As I approached the finish line I heard a lot of cheers which felt amazing but I just wanted to be done. 6:40- YIKES! 23 minutes slower than 2012, not exactly how I wanted to start the year.
This next segment is stolen from my friend and fellow HUMR Harrison “Clean & Jerk” Fluman.
Things I learned from Moab:
  •   It’s only when I forget to bring baby wipes I need them.
  •   Losing a nipple can cripple.
  •   Race photos are not like glamour shots.
  •  Some people do run with Yamaka’s.
  •   Just because you went to Penn State doesn’t mean you like to tickle.
  •   Sitting in pee-pee is not for mee.

Trottin to the finish. Photo by: Cammie Burlison

At the end of the day though, I was pumped for so many people. The HUMR’s truly represented. Ryan Lauck had an amazing performance, Misty, Debbie and Ms. Dennis ran their longest race, Jared rallied big time to finish strong, Jon running his first race in some time since he has been homeless and there are so many more. The one thing they all did was finish with a smile. Once again I left a race thankful, thankful to have so many amazing people in my life. Race season is here- I guess I better start showing up.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

2013 Schedule - GULP!

So the schedule is set and it’s more than a little spooky. You know how easy it is when you are just sitting in front of a computer and looking at races. They all look great. There are the familiar ones, your favorite ones and of course the bucket list ones. I missed out AGAIN on Western States and Hardrock which is really not that surprising. Looking at those 2 and the number of lottery entrants increase every year there is a good chance I will never run these. Once those were ruled out it came down to going with Plan B and Plan C.
So let’s start with the familiar/favorites. Every year I look forward to the Moab Red Hot 55k. It is a great chance to get out of town after a long winter, test the legs, see the red rocks and the best part is seeing all the people. When I say all the people I mean my Ultra Friends. It is always nice to catch up and see some familiar faces. Next up-  the Buffalo Run on Antelope Island. Living in Utah and so close, this is a no brainer. It was my first ever trail race many years ago and I have run it every year but one (due to injury). The course is amazing, the RD is great (and a friend) and it organized and run better than any. Another favorite and local is the Timp Trail Marathon. I can see myself running this every year and never getting tired of it- Great course and not too far from home. The last and my favorite race is the El Vaquero loco 50k. I got to run it for the first time last year and fell in love. Ty does a great job and the course is breath-taking! The start/finish is awesome, the huckleberry soda and burger hit the spot and you get a sa-weet race hoodie! Enough said!
Now the “other races”:
Zion 100- need a little redemption from last year and getting lost after mile 52 with about a dozen other lucky soles.
Bryce 100- super excited for this one. Beautiful location and great RD. Just look at the photos of the course.
Tahoe Rim 50- been on my bucket list and things worked out perfectly. It also gives me an excuse to miss out on SpeedGoat this year.
Wasatch 100- really no explanation needed. This race will be the main focus race for the year. Gonna be all in for this one!
Bear 100- only 3 weeks after Wasatch but this one has been on the bucket list for years. Been pacing and crewing it for 5 years so its time!
The one run that I haven’t mentioned is “Softrock”. My good friend Scott Jaime will be taking on Hardrock again and invited me and some friends down to Silverton at the end of June to hit the Hardrock course over 3 days. This is gonna be brutal for sure but may be the one run I am looking forward to the most.
All in all 2013 will be huge for me. Lots of miles and at least a race a month from Feb-Oct. I have my eye on a few Nov and Dec races but I figure I better see where I am later in the year. Being a middle of the pack runner my schedule is real doable since I will not be red lining every race. I will have goals going into them but they will all be setting me up for Wasatch. (complete schedule on the right of the blog)
I hope to see many of you on the trails this year. Here’s to a safe and healthy 2013- set your Goals and CRUSH ‘em!