Thursday, June 28, 2007

103 Miles of White River

friday i headed down to the crystal mtn area where the white river 50 mile course lives. the race is put on by seattle running company owner scott mccoubrey and is only 1:45 drive from seattle. the views of rainier on course are reason enough to run this one... but there are many others.

i've been coaching my friend and massage therapist ellen with the goal of running her first 50 mile ultra... the rugged white river 50 mile on july 28th. being her coach i suggested a weekend of camping and running the course. the plan: run the first 27 miles of the course saturday, the last 23 miles sunday.

with the pressure of my first 100 miler (the grand teton 100) weighing on me i got all excited and went down there a day early. my plan was to run with ellen on the weekend and add a day before and a day after so i could get 100+ miles in 4 days.

friday: 27.4 mi - 5:51:14 (12:47 / mi) with 5,187 ft of gain
ahr:129 max:157 shoes: montrail highlander
"rain doesn't bounce" and "isn't this the last day of june!?" where some phrases that came out of my mouth during this solo endevour. but it was awesome, albeit cold for an hour or two. i ran a modified first 1/2 of the white river course. since i was running it the very next day with ellen i decided to come down the deep creek trail 1196, simply because i never had.

saturday: 28.09 mi - 6:03:16 (12:55 / mi) with 5,095 ft of gain
ahr:127 slept:6hrs shoes: continental divide

ellen and i ran first 1/2 of the white river course. it was a perfect partly cloudy day and mount rainier was out in full force! there is also some massive downed trees to still clean up before the race.

sunday: 26.25 mi - 5:10:23 (11:48 / mi) with 4,464 ft of gain
ahr:123 max:153 slept:5.0 shoes: montrail nitrus (.5 size bigger bc my feet were swollen)

another beautiful day out as we ran and power hiked the 3,000 feet up to suntop peak. running the suntop road down sucks. however you quickly forget about the pounding once you hit the skookum flats trail. there was a massive section of skookum flats that had been washed into the white river.

monday: 21.13 mi - 4:15:36 (12:04 / mi)
ahr:124 max:149 slept:5.0 shoes: montrail nitrus (.5 size bigger bc my feet were swollen)
today i ran up suntop again, this time solo and not stopping or hiking... ran every step. once up there i couldn't bring myself to run the dirt road down again so i ran back down suntop trail, the way i came up. i had planned to get another 10 miles out the dalles trail. however once i started out on it i felt a twinge in my left inner thigh. since i already had my 100 trail miles i decided to be smart and turn around rather than finish with an issue. i'm happy i did.

great weekend of training and i have to say that soaking in the white river was key to my daily recovery. it was freezing! but i felt way better than i would have without that 10 minutes of torture.

Monday, June 25, 2007

hal koerner wins western states 100 miler - bev abbs takes 2nd place

just now back from western states 100 mile endurance run. as i said two posts ago i was cheering for my buddy hal koerner to win this year... and he did! the guy ran an amazing race and led from start to finish.. congrats hal! just incredible.

i paced bev abbs the last 38 from forest hill into the finish. we had a blast, and she ran super strong placing 2nd female and 13th overall in 19:31:18. we were not able to catch that nikki kimball who is, well, probably the best female ultrarunner in the world and ran 18:12:38. bev was happy with her race, and stoked to take 40 mins off her best western time - see the results here.

seattle runners to note; greg crowther (50/100k national road champion) - before the race greg announced on his blog he'd finish top 3.. at western.. running his first 100 - bold. he dropped at mile 62; brian morrison (who was my second hope for the win - after hal) also had to drop. he mentioned to me the day before he was getting over a cold, but thought he was past it.. he wasn't and dropped at mile 38.
i'll be blogging an update on this whole wild road trip asap.. until then enjoy this photo of one of my heal blisters from big horn last weekend.

montrail runner and amazing photog luis escobar has updated his site with some pretty shots from western - check 'em out!

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Bev Abbs Western States Endurance Run Race Report

Western States 100 Endurance Run – June 23, 2007
By Beverly Anderson Abbs

This year was the 3rd time for Alan and me to run the Western States 100 Endurance Run, an amazing event that starts at Olympic Village, Squaw Valley and travels west following old mining trails and roads to eventually end at Auburn, California. We were both hoping for very hot weather, similar to last year when temperatures were well over 100 degrees in the canyons. Unfortunately, as the weekend drew closer, it became obvious that the weather was going to be pretty close to perfect likely making this a fast year.

At 5:00 am Saturday morning the gun sounded and 400 runners began making their way up to Emigrant Pass from the Village. The race begins with a 2000 foot climb over 4 miles and I was feeling pretty good in the cool morning air. I reached the top quickly in first place for the women and set off down the single track to the first aid station at Lyon’s Ridge with Nikki Kimball, the 2004 and 2006 winner, right behind me. I arrived at this station almost 10 minutes faster than last year and a few minutes faster than my goal time.

Nikki and I left the aid station together and kept each other company along the rocky ridges. She pulled away as I stopped to adjust a shoe and I arrived at the next aid station, Red Star Ridge, just after her, refilled bottles, grabbed a bit to eat and hurried on down the trail. Between Red Star and the next aid at Duncan Canyon, there is a significant amount of rocky technical downhill, something that Nikki excels at, and over this section she started pulling away from me. I ran carefully down the rocky parts to avoid crashing like last year, and made it to Duncan Canyon a few minutes behind Nikki. Red Star Ridge would be the last place I’d see her for the rest of the race.

To this point I had seen no other women on the course and was hoping to keep it that way through the end. Robinson Flat, the next aid, is the first place we weigh in and get to see our crews and I arrived here about 20 minutes ahead of last year’s time. The weigh in is to make sure runners are not gaining or losing too much weight. A gain may indicate that you are taking in too much salt so your body is retaining water, or that you are taking in no salt and the water is sitting in your stomach and not moving into your blood stream. Of these, the latter can lead to a condition called hyponatremia as the water eventually moves into your bloodstream and dilutes your body’s salts. Recently this condition has resulted in hospitalization and even death in the case of a radio talk show stunt. Losing too much weight means you are dehydrated and need to take in more water and salts or risk renal failure if it becomes extreme. The goal is to maintain your weight within a couple of pounds of what was recorded at check-in.
I weighed in about 2 pounds up from my check in weight meaning I needed to cut back a little on my salts so my body would get rid of some water. My crew and Alan’s were working together, knowing that we would be fairly close this early in the race. They were jumping up and down to get my attention and had everything I could possibly want ready for me. I grabbed two fresh bottles, a couple gus, a new packet of salt tablets and some little baggies of food I could easily eat on the run.

As I was leaving the aid station I came upon Mark Lantz having some difficulty. One of his eyes had lost depth perception and running down those rocky trails was proving to be very difficult for him.

This next section seemed to fly by as I passed through 2 aid stations on my way to Last Chance, and the next weigh in. The past 2 years I’ve run this section with Dean Karnazes and we’ve pushed each other pretty hard, his absence this year made it tough to keep the pace up. I came in to Last Chance and saw Sunsweet teammate Matt Simms. He had started very fast but by the time he arrived at this aid station he had lost 10 pounds, putting him in a dehydration danger zone. Volunteers held him here until he was able to get some fluids in and keep food down.

Matt and I left together and were about to enter the first of the canyons. We had a long rocky descent to the stream and swinging bridge to look forward to. We stayed together to the bottom catching Glen Redpath, but on the climb out the boys easily outdistanced me up to Devil’s Thumb. I labored up the climb and as I was approaching the top a woman called ahead that I was coming. I heard the cheer long before I reached them. My friend Diane had a popsicle waiting and I got hugs and pats from all my friends. I filled up and headed off again to the next canyon. On the descent I caught Matt and Glen as well as Greg Crowther, one of the favorites to win. I made it to the bottom of El Dorado Canyon and started up the next climb to Michigan Bluff, where I would see my crew again.

Again, Matt and Glen passed on the climb but I kept a steady pace and arrived just after them at the top. I was starting to hit some of these aid stations a little slower than goal although still 15 minutes ahead overall, so I knew I was starting to suffer.
Michigan Bluff is one of those rare small towns where the entire town comes out to support this race and it’s very exciting to come into it. After I weighed in, my crew grabbed my bottles and walked with me as I refueled; 2 new bottles, half a chocolate slimfast, some candy, some baked beans, and turkey, cheese and avocado on white bread for the trail. A bottle of water dumped over my head to cool me down and I was ready to run. Matt was just ahead and I was catching him again. I caught him before the descent into Volcano Canyon and kept going. When I reached Bath road with just under 2 miles to the next major aid at Forest Hill, I ran into someone coming down the hill to meet Craig, another Sunsweet runner not far behind. He ran me up the hill until my pacer came out to pick me up and run in with me. From Forest Hill (mile 62) runners can be accompanied by a pacer for safety, mine was Matt Hart of the adventure racing team DART and he was determined to not let me slow down. He ran me through the weigh in, then to my crew who were again ready to walk with me, carrying everything needed to get me set up for the next section.

Food, water, salts and I was ready to go again, following Matt as he set a pace that I hadn’t kept for a quite a while. I tried to hang on without whining and was doing okay on descents. Small climbs however, were becoming very painful by this point and I was reduced to a walk for even what would normally be seen as a bump in the trail. I forged on trying to keep his pace. The drink mix I had opted for out of Forest Hill did not agree with my stomach and by the time we reached the next aid station I’d had very little to drink. I emptied the bottle and had it filled with gu2o and ice.

Matt pushed hard and got us to Cal2 pretty close to my goal time. We filled up, ate a bit and headed on. I knew this section well and knew we had 6 switchbacks before leveling out and coming to a dirt road. At this point was the worst climb of this section of the course. I tried to forget about the upcoming climb and focus on going fast on the down hill section but my legs weren’t moving as fast as I wanted. This was my first really low point so far in the race. I struggled up the hill, trying to joke about it, hating every step and wanting desperately to stop. Finally we reached the top and the next aid station. The next station would be at the river crossing and I was hoping that the cold water would help get me moving well again.

We slogged along to the river where I weighed in again, so far very consistent through the day, and got ready to cross using the cable. Safety volunteers were there to help runners across the river. The water was frigidly cold, but made my legs feel a little less heavy. After the crossing was another 2 mile climb so I grabbed a cup of soup and some snacks and headed up, being chased by a photographer who wanted me to run. I hadn’t wanted to run for the past three hours so this was a big request. I slogged up and eventually reached the top where I had planned to change socks and shoes. I sat down and took my footwear off to see both of my second toes completely obscured by huge bubbles of blood blister. No wonder they had been hurting for a while. I pulled off a number pin and had it heated with a lighter, popping and tearing the blister skin so they wouldn’t refill, put on fresh socks and shoes, got my lights and another shirt, drank a can of espresso and some more soup and set off. Dave Terry had passed while I was dressing my toes and we caught him again pretty quickly. I was now only a couple minutes ahead of my goal time so I tried to push a little faster. Matt kept me moving and if I stopped to walk, he would count out 25 steps then get me running again. By the time we were getting to the next aid station, it was dark and we were using our lights.

We kept pushing along, more or less matching my goal times to the HWY 49 crossing. This aid station is less than 7 miles from the finish but is followed by two climbs that can insult the body pretty badly. My crew was there to meet me again, as well as Alan’s, indicating he was only 30 minutes behind me and looked pretty good. The final weigh in, 2 cups of potato soup, down to one water bottle for this last push and I was off again. I was told that a friend from Oregon, Rod Bien, was only 8 minutes ahead and I could catch him if I wanted to…hmm. I really hadn’t “wanted” to do anything for a while, but that was a carrot that might get me moving. Matt and I arrived at the final aid station. Three miles to go, with “just” the climb up to Robie point and a mile to the High School left. I checked my times and wondered how it could possibly have taken almost an hour to do this section last year, it’s only 3 miles!

We cruised out of the aid station and after about a half mile of running we hit the actual climb and suddenly I remembered why it took almost an hour! I was reduced to a hike that I couldn’t even call a power hike, literally having to crawl up the wooden steps in a few places as they were too high for me to step up, and finally reached the road with the knowledge that this was actually the steepest part of the climb. Near the top there was a street party going on with people out cheering on runners. The little boost that gave got me up the final bit of climbing and into the last mile. The finish is on the Track at Auburn High School, visiting now for the 3rd time!

I finished in 19:31, 40 minutes faster than last year and 5 minutes faster than my goal, and 2nd place female…again.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run - Fri

today at squaw valley it's gorgeous sun, amazing weather for the race and considerably cooler than last year where many racers suffered from the heat.

sean meaisner, ashley idema (who won angeles crest 100 last year) and i tried to head out early for a run up to squaw peak. with camera crews everywhere i got caught up in the mix. the film crew interviewed me, and then bev and i for 20 min or so. that was kind of cool... but i wanted to run! after a couple hours and more running and downclimbing scree than we originally planned we were back to the promo area where all the action was. great run, and it was long over due for my legs to get out and run again. thurs i just rode 32 miles, and yesterday i took completely off - so running felt great.

bev and i went over splits, the course, expectations, etc. i am to motivate her to move fast by all means necessary. if that means swearing at her i have the green light.. although i hope it doesn't come to that. i am so excited for this run!

3am breakfast tomorrow. 5am start of the 2007 western states (they will have live updates so follow along!) i'll be joining bev's crew before i start my packing at forest hill (mile 62 for bev). with that schedule i won't be able to blog until after the race most likely.

the race hasn't even started and i already want to run western sooner rather than later.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run - Thurs

sean and i arrived in tahoe today. after big horn we spent two days running in grand teton national park - my favorite place on earth. then one day with ty draney in afton, wy.. where they ran ty's 50k course and i "took it easy" with a 32 mile road ride - i am pacing bev 40 miles afterall on saturday. from there we spent a night in salt lake city with the wasatch speedgoat karl meltzer and cheryl.

today we drove 9hrs from slc to tahoe. i met up with bev and alan abbs. i'll be pacing bev the last 38 miles of western states. there is a lot of talk about the woman's race. nikki kimball won last year, kami semik is "more fit than ever", and bev as i've seen is super focused. it's going to be very exciting.

today we visited the montrail house. it was quite a production with annette bednosky, bev and andy jone-wilkes all being interviewd by nbc sports tv crew. this is "the show"!

i'm hoping for hal koerner and bev to win. follow along real time on the western states 100 website - i hear they do a great job.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Static Divide Run Grand Teton National Park

sunday (6/18/07), the day after the big horn 50k/50m/100m sean meissner and i loaded up my van and headed southwest. we drove through the yellowstone and stopped at old faithful. that was cool. although it would have been great to have run a long one in yellowstone park we needed a rest day after our races, so we drove most of the day. through yellowstone and to the john d. rockefeller memorial parkway, which is located between the south end of yellowstone and the north end of the grand teton national park. we camped in an awesome spot by the snake river last night.

we awoke at 8am after a well needed long nights rest and headed south to grand teton national park. it's just two days after i ran 32.4 miles as hard as i could and sean ran 50 miles as hard as he could. but we had to run. we were in the grand teton national park! sean used to live here, he is like having my own teton tour guide.

he took me on one of his favorites. we started our day running up the death canyon trail and were going to do a 25 mile loop that took us over static peak and back via death canyon. after climbing up and over static peak divide we started to loose the trail under the snow. it was amazing terrain, i took tons of video and pictures because the tetons just blow my mind. i have been entertaining thoughts of moving to jackson.

back to the run... once over static divide we tried in vain to follow the trail but were unable. with so much snow it was taking a lot longer than we planned and we made a good decision to turn around and make it an out and back. we got in 19 miles with 6,000ft of gain in 5:46. it was a great run, amazingly beatiful and we both ran the best we could with what we had.

yesterday i couldn't really put pressure on my right heal it was blistered so bad from the race. not only could i not run on it but i could barely walk on it. today it was feeling 100 times better. the 6,000 feet of up and down had me worried i would loose the skin too early and have an open wound. i ran the downhills with an exaggerated forefoot strike and that helped. our feet were soaked by the end from postholing so that didn't help. i am hopeful every day it will continue to have marked improvement.

my tour guide sean had nachos on the brain and assured me that these nachos would be the best i'd ever had. we headed straight for the signal lake lodge and chowed down. he was right - now we sleep. the plan tomorrow... a super sweet 10 mile trail loop run, then i'm going to bust the bike out and ride from jackson to the top of teton pass and back!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

2007 Big Horn 50k Race Report

meissner and hortonsean meissner and i arrived at the foothills campground in dayton, wyoming on thurs night. shortly there after karl meltzer, his wife cheryl and scott mason arrived. we shared a camping spot in the most perfect of locations. right next to the playground picnic area where all the big horn mountain wild & scenic trail races finish. big horn is unique in that they have 30k, 50k, 50 miler and 100 miler. and they are all scheduled to finish around the same time so that everyone can see you finish. david horton was just one camp spot away and we all had a good night of hanging out and chatting about races, race strategies etc. most notable was karl's strategy to not be in front before mile 60.

11am friday the 100 milers started. i was kind of bothered being there knowing i was supposed to be running this 100 miler, but was able to put it behind me. watching them leave made me jealous. from there sean and i headed up to the dry fork aid station which was mile 13. first in, just 30 feet in front of karl and mike wolfe (who won white river) was josh brimhall. a few minutes back was northface runner topher gaylord looking really strong. sean and i got to crew david horton, van phan, olga varlamova and a few others come through the aid station. that was fun. it was amazing to me how many runners looked so terrible at mile 13 of 100. i would assume that none of those runners finished. that was our last aid station visit as the rest were significant drives of a couple hours. karl's wife cheryl did a great job crewing him.

2007 big horn 100 mile race start

sat morning sean was up at 3am to bus to his 50 mile start at 6am. i woke at 5am and had just enough time to make and drink some coffee, eat and get ready. i was very excited about the coffee since i instituted my "no caffeine one week before a race" rule this week, for this race.

we arrived at dry fork for our 8am start. i chatted with northface runner topher's wife who said he was dropping out there, just 17 miles from the finish.

the 50k race started at 7,850 feet and was about 3,600 feet of elevation gain and 6,800 feet of descent, a net loss. i chatted with some racers at the front of the line who all looked fit enough to win. then we were off at 8am running straight up an open ridge for 1,600+ feet of gain to start the race. within 10 minutes my heart rate was 177! i haven't seen it that high in.. well ever. it was clear that i was not going to run below my anaerobic threshold at altitude. there were four of us off the front. then three. then one guy in orange took off in first, hammered the hill and within 45 minutes was completely out of site. sean's buddy cam, who runs for underarmor (that's him in the ad) ran really strong up the first climb too and within 1 hour i could no longer see him either. i was running a steady even pace and felt like i was running smart, for me. after they dissapeared i readjusted my expectations and came to peace with the fact that i would most likely not win this race, they were more fit than i was and deserved it. now, i could just run my best race and not worry about anyone else.

i ran with a guy named trea for a while in 3rd and 4th. he found out i'm a coach and was asking advise while we charged through this beautiful wooded section with lots of downed trees and redirected trail. we got a bit off track after the first climb on the way down the grassy fields to the aid station because the course markings weren't very good. we lost some time and added some mileage there and two runners snaked in front of us. through the aid station at mile 9 we quickly regained 3rd and 4th place. i was running the hills from the start, trea walked and i pulled away a bit. then without warning he was charging uphill past me a few miles later. coming back around our 15 mile loop to where we started at dry fork my steady uphill run had worked and i was just a hundred yards behind him going into the aid station.

at dry fork we had our one drop bag. i drank some nuun, took a shot of some red bull, grabbed a new bottle and was out. i following trea up the road as i burped red bull, ugh. i was running my 50k maintainable pace, it just so happened to be slower than trea's pace. so he slowly pulled away once again. "more power to him" i thought. "he's running well." in the back of my mind i thought, "he'll blow up". from there we started to run into or lap the shorter course 30k runners. it took a lot of effort to run off the trail around them. most didn't know enough to get out of our way no matter how much warning we gave. luckily trea had to deal with them too. through the last aid station before the last big climb there were so many 30k runners that i didn't even stop, i just dodged and ran through - this would prove to be a mistake.

up the last big climb before the long canyon descent we started. this is where i caught trea, this was about 3hrs into the race. i knew we had probably around 2 more hours of running left, and lots of downhill. my shoe size ended up being a big mistake. i went up a size in continental divides and they were too big. there was so much room in them my feet slid around. by this point in the race i had blisters the entire size of my heals, on both feet (photo of the aftermath). every downhill was a nightmare for me changing stride and grimacing. ugly running..ugly. trea was hammering the downhills. i figured i had to catch or stay close to have a chance at 3rd place. so i just went back to normal heal strike hoping to pop the blister on my right foot (the bigger more painful of the two). it blew, but it didn't have the desired affect. the raw skin hurt worse once popped.. damn.

down the canyon we ran with trea seemingly getting stronger and faster. i was now completely out of water and starting to feel twinges of cramps in my calf muscles. i never cramp (not a big sweater)! we ran down this canyon for what seemed like forever, trea getting farther away and i was in severe heal pain and slowing. "where is this damn aid station?" i thought. as we reentered the trees, bam! i ran full speed around the corner into it. first thing i saw there was cam, the underarmor guy with his shirt off looking like he was all done, fried. then i thought i saw trea, but i didn't care. heed in my bottle and i was out.

seeing me leave trea followed. the race was on! we had probably 8 miles to the finish. the trail crossed a little wood bridge and started up hill. i ran.. i ran hard and luckily i had it in me. at the top of the climb i looked back, no trea in sight. i wasn't sure, but i thought i was in 2nd place now. i ran probably 7-8min miles for the up and down along the river to the road. at the aid station before the road i was told i was in first place. sweet! the guy who blew past us all on the first 1,600 foot climb had dropped.. nice. i ran hard out of that canyon with fear in my stomach that these guys had had a rest and were charging.

the finishline was an amazing party with a band, bbq and every racer and crew member just hanging out on the grass in the sun cheering for finishers. as i rounded the corner into the park i took one last look to make sure i was going to win this thing, then i turned it on and crossed the finishline in 4:47. the race staff yelled out "you won! you won!".

the day before the race, at registration michelle the race director was giving me a little bit of crap. she said i went from the varsity race, the 100 miler, to the freshman race, the 50k. so after i finished i went over and told her "i just won your freshman race". she got a kick out of that. there was a woman standing right there waiting to talk to me. turns out she was a writer from the local paper and had overheard the "freshman race" comment. she interviewed me and all the other winners about our races. what a day, what a race (results). i will return to big horn to run the junior varsity race (50 miles) and the varsity race (100 miles) at some point without a doubt.

karl meltzer (100 mile winner) & ty draney (50 mile winner)

50 mile winner ty draney rockin' the nuun tattoo!

sean meissner after running the big horn 50 miler - worked

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Big Horn 100/50 mile & 50k

quick update:
  • karl meltzer won the 100 miler taking 11 mins off the course record - he's a machine!
  • mike wolfe came in an hour something later for second
  • darcy africa won the womans race and placed 4th overall! in 23hrs something
  • ty draney won the 50 miler
  • sean meissner got 7th in the 50 miler
  • i won the 50k - most beautiful 50k i've ever run! rugged- both my heals are complete blisters, but my knee and hip/ab injuries were fine the whole 4:47 it took me. the race started at 7,850 and climbed 1,600 feet right away - with no altitude training i suffered like a dawg. more on that later.
  • olga and van phan did great and finished the 100 miler!
  • unfortunetaly david horton had to drop =( but he's ok.
  • everyone is sleeping now!! but we have a pancake breakfast tomorrow morning for the 100 and 50 mile awards - 50k awards were a few hours ago - i won a cool mug and some socks.
  • the plan now is to head to the tetons and run sean's favorite 20 mile loop. then head to slc, utah to hang with karl and run his wasatch 50k course.. then head down to western states 100 where both sean and i will be pacing.

Friday, June 15, 2007

update from the big horn mountains!

big horn 100 - dayton, wyoming: the big horn mountains are so amazingly beautiful i can't believe it's taken me this long in my life to get out here - already planning a return trip. now i know why sean meissner has run this race 5 years now.
  • karl meltzer, josh brimhall and mike wolfe (won white river) all left the 13 mile aid station of the big horn 100 together, well in front of the next group and ahead of record pace.
  • darcy africa came through winning the woman's race by a long shot
  • david horton came in, surprisingly downed a full throttle!.. and headed out
  • van phan came in rockin it and looking great
  • then olga came through looking strong as well
  • sean meissner is primed for the 50 miler (which he won last year)
  • i wish i was running the 100, but i'll stick to my "freshman" race of 50k tomorrow and see how fast i can move
feeling ok - my groin/ab/hip flexor is giving me some greif...more to come later!!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Youngs Lake Ultra

today i ran the youngs lake ultra - 28.8 miles with 2,700 feet of gain. for me this race was a "c" race. meaning no taper or reduction in training before it. i ran 35 miles last weekend at the blanchard mountain ultra and had a 23hr week of training going into this race. this was my "race pace" long run... which is almost impossible to do to yourself outside of an actual race. i felt like this relatively flat course (in the ultra world) would be a good test of my leg speed, kick and general fitness. i was hoping to run close to the course record time, and clock somewhere in the 7:30's per mile. i knew this would be tough at this point in my training. i have just started running again and have done all of one speed session so far. the race consisted of three 9.6 mile loops with 900 feet of gain/loss each.

mission accomplished!
total time 3:39 - 7:36 min pace per mile - 4th overall (just 2 minutes off of the course record)

1st lap: 1:11 (avg hr 153)
even though my goal was to run 7:30's for the 29 miles i got caught up in chasing james varner out the gate. this was a bad idea as he was running to break his course record and he did - congrats james! watching him disappear played mind games with me. i was over my anaerobic threshold and he was ever so slowly disappearing. i am now painfully aware that i am almost too competitive to do races as training sessions. i was a bit wheezy from the dairy i had last night. i was tired from not sleeping enough and drinking too much coffee yesterday.. i basically had no spunk and my legs felt like they had nothing in them. this is undoubedly also because of the 23 hours of training i put in this week. i should have expected this to happen really... but somehow i was not mentally prepared to feel this way.

i once read an interview with ned overend that stuck with me. he spoke of early season races where he'll get his ass handed to him and have tons of people ask "what happened?". his response was something like "what do you mean? that went well!".

2nd lap: 1:13 (avg hr 150)
ran by myself and tried to focus on keeping my heart rate as close to my anaerobic threshold as possible. this was harder than it should have been because of my general energy deficit. my legs still felt flat. but this was great mental training. focusing on my hr kept me from thinking about how boring the course was and how i still had over 1.5 hours of hammering to go.

3rd lap: 1:14 (avg hr 152)
although i felt like i was super steady this lap it was a delusion. as i neared the finish i realized i was a few minutes off pace. i somehow found enough to poured it on at the end going well over my anaerobic threshold for the last couple miles... at one point felt like i was floating!

i learn something every time i race - what did i learn this race?
  • no dairy in the week before a race, and certainly not the night before! (but that cheddar cheese the frasers served last night was sooooo good!) damn. i was congested this morning, and wheezy during the race.
  • always have my asthma inhaler available in drop bag (how many times do i have to learn this one?)
  • the continental divide is my ultra race shoe! most had race flats or road shoes on. i have moved up a 1/2 size in continental divides. they were certainly overkill for this race.. however i didn't want to be testing them for the first time at big horn or western. they worked beautifully with my sole custom footbeds... perfection.
  • don't let negative thoughts invade. this only happens to me when i'm overtrained or tired going into a race. i had a lot of negative thoughts during the first lap because i was getting smoked. after i realized i was on track for 7:30 min miles i was fine. but that is just plain dumb. i knew it too. i kept changing my negative thoughts to positive thoughts, focussing on what i could affect. it was hard to pull my head out of it simply because i felt flat, empty and tired during the first lap. so much of ultra distance racing is mental - i gotta work on that.

Friday, June 8, 2007

today it's official!

i've sent in my entry for the grand teton 100 miler! this will be my first 100 mile ultramarathon ever. i'm excited and a bit scared. i got excited about running a 100 miler last year after the hurt 100k - when i was in good ultrarunning shape. i got to see how the elite do it first hand watching krissy take 2nd overall and break the female course record. i had the feeling i could have slowed my pace and finished the 100 in good standings. i was also witness how karl meltzer, the wasatch speedgoat prepares/races/recovers/etc. i wish my camera was working the night before the race when he sat down in front of golf game (match?), with a frozen pizza in his lap bigger than the chair!

side note: karl just won the 2006 everest award for best trail runner - congrats karl! well deserved. (how hard is he working in the photo?!)

since then there was an injury and long period of no running and detraining basically. last weekends 35 miles w/6800 feet gave me confidence. it proved that although i'm not in great ultra shape, i am not as bad off as i thought.

tomorrow i run the lake youngs ultra, 28 miles with just 2,700 feet of total gain. to be honest i was in a rush when i signed up for this race and hadn't really read much about it. now that i have i'm not that excited about the course. however it will be a great test of my leg speed and turnover - and a superb training session. perfect training really for the big horn 50k (may 16) that i'm headed to on wed of next week with fellow montrail ultrarunner sean meisner. the 50k race is a net loss in elevation with 3,000ft of gain and 6,500ft of loss!... guaranteeing a quad pounding 4-6 hours (that is if my knee holds up).

Thursday, June 7, 2007

King James

i grew up playing basketball. i still love it (and i can still cross you up rvg!). watching lebron and the cavs beat detroit was a true pleasure. i haven't seen a single player dominate like this since mj. don't believe me? watch this nike commercial of lebron james - it gave me tingles. even the most hardened endurance athlete has to appreciate his athleticism.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Pacing at Western States 100 Miler = Motivation

western states 100 - it's the oldest and most prestigous 100 mile ultra in the world. they run from tahoe to auburn california.

fellow montrail-nathan ultrarunner bev abbs lost her pacer.. and i've been asked by to pace her for the last 40 miles of the course! how sweet is that? bev, who holds the course record at the vermont 100 and won the coastal challenge this year (among other incredible ultra feats) - wins a lot. she's placed 2nd twice at western. i'm looking forward to helping her run her best this year. it's going to be awesome to finally get to experience this race first hand. i can't wait!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

The Blanchard Mountain Ultra

ran the blanchard mountain ultra today. the race is made up of three 11 mile loops with 2,000 feet of gain each loop for a total of 33 miles and 6,000 feet of gain. that is if you don't chose to take a wrong turn and add 2 miles and about 800 feet of descent and subsiquent climb back up! proving once again that there is such a thing as moving too fast. my time was 5:21, including the 30 min detor, which got me 1st place - my splits were 2:00, 1:37 and 1:43. the course was 2 miles of fire road and 9 miles of sweet single track with some great views of the puget sound that literally stopped me in my tracks! although the course seemed to climb the entire time there was one notable STFU climb which was a killer. i had heard before the race that montrail-nathan ultrarunner jim kerby runs it - hmm. not sure that is possible as i was scrambling up it with all fours. either his reputation preceeds him or he's superman... you could make an argument for the latter considering how this guy runs.

great local low key ultra. saw some familiar faces; michelle maislen was there preparing for the white river 50, jim kerby ran 4 loops as he prepares for vermont 100.
i also met some new runners which was cool... including fellow montrail-nathan ultrarunner and the first guy to finish the plain 100 miler tim stroh. he still currently has the course record and most finishes. this sounds like my kinda race - no support, so you gotta carry everything with you and no markings so you gotta read a map.. perfect. if it wasn't the same month as the grand teton 100 i'd be signing up right now.

my gear: