Friday, August 31, 2007

the calm before the grand storm

i have an internet connection and nothing but time on my hands before the 6am start.. so one last post.
van with a view

i have to thank matthew noell, justin angle and everyone who has wished me luck through email and blog posts - thank you! you have collectively brought me out of the doubt cave i was in yesterday. i have a sports hernia, there i said it - it's not a hip/ab/groin injury.. it's a hernia. i've had it since last october, i've run well with it. it doesn't hurt that bad usually. yesterday i let that tailspin me into the sea of doubt, second guessing myself and whether this was smart or not. my guess is it would have happened with any injury or issue, but the hernia happens to be my biggest issue at the moment so it got all the attention. i've run fast with this injury (i got it at the ron herzog 50k last october), it's had 2.5 weeks to heal up during my taper and won't be a big deal unless i make it one. i'll see the dr. when i get home.

this is part of the course the dirt road on section b, before the 3.3 miles of pavement per loop... ugh.

i just got done with check in, and weigh in. i was happy to be 142 lbs after this taper i feel like i'm 242 (i still think the scale is 5 lbs low however). there was a pam reed sighting involved.. you might remember her from this 2005 outside article where her and dean karnazes fist fight. that sighting was followed by an olga sighting, nice to see her out here to support the race even though she can't run the 100 as planned.

the weather looks to be partly cloudy with highs of 88 and lows of 51. thundershowers are probable for both saturday and sunday. it rained for hours today... let's hope if it rains it passes quickly and happens at the hottest time of day.

#16 is ready to "rip one" as karl meltzer likes to say

there is lots of talk about who will win. smart money says andy jones-wilkens (2006 usatf national 100 mile champion, 1st at vermont 100, 4th at western states). i'm happy to be mentioned in the same sentence honestly. i have been told darren worts from chatham, mass is another one to watch, as well as local stud damian stoy who won the grand teton 50 miler last year - in 8:52.

ty draney and matthew noell show up late tonight. i will hopefully be asleep but that doesn't usually happen the night before a big one. i'll only have a few minutes in the morning to quickly go over my gear with them.. compared to 24hr mtn bike racing this will be easy for matthew (who used to be my mechanic/crew for those races).

numbers are pinned, drop bags are filled, baggies of pills and nuun are ready.. now if i can just go to sleep!- ok i'm out.. follow along live on gt100 website!

self explanatory

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I Made It

well i've arrived. what seemed so far away earlier this season is finally just two days away. yesterday morning i started my drive from seattle to alta, wy.. home of my first 100 mile ultramarathon race course at grand targhee ski resort. i took my time, taking naps when i got tired and simply marveling in the scenery of idaho and montana - so beautiful.

today i met up with race director and fellow montrail-nathan teammate lisa smith-batchen and colleen wood from her crew. nuun is supplying some pretty cool prizes - the male and female winners of the 100 mile race get nuun free for a year! that is sweet. nuun will also be available on the course in your standard 5 gallon jugs so you can refill on the go.

the terrain here is amazing. i ran the first section of the course today, 5.6 miles. it's a 2.8 mile and 1,840 foot ascent to the top of freds mtn at 10,000 feet... then back down the same dirt road to start/finish area. i could feel the altitude while i was running/hiking (it's steep!), but i feel pretty good. pacing jamie proved my knees are feeling good, but my sports hernia is not. it didn't hurt on the short run today but kind of did after. we'll see - part of this is in my mind i'm sure. every big race (for me) i do i go into with certain doubts and concerns - this one is no different.

oh yeah you can follow the race live here!! we start saturday morning at 6am!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

2007 Cascade Crest 100 Mile Endurance Run Updates

just spoke with becky gifford. apparently stan holman is leading the race. followed closely by a group of guys running with darcy africa, who is leading for the woman. it's assumed these guys don't know who she is!.. and are running themselves into the ground trying not to get chicked.. ha.

justin angle and i are headed up to snoquamlie now. we are meeting with becky gifford and hopefully will see jamie come through olallie meadows (mile 47.7). i pick him up at hyak (mile 52.7) and run 15 miles (i have my own 100 next weekend) up and over keechelus ride to kachess lake. at kachess lake (mile 67.9) justin will pick him up and run him into the finish. it's going to be exciting. jamie has the most finishes on the cascade crest course going into this race with 7! he's won and held the course record as well in 2004.

i'll be text messaging updates to my blog - not sure how much service i'll get out there but i'll try to do it frequently so you can follow the race.

nuun active hydration proudly sponsors the 2007 cascade crest 100 mile endurance run!
race site : course map

Updates consolidated below

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Stan Holman 9th in 23:34
posted by Hart at 9:37 AM

Bill Huggins 8th in 23:28!
posted by Hart at 9:35 AM

Sam Thompson in 7th at 23:14... yelling "worst race ever! no course markings!" and slaming his water bottle to the ground.
posted by Hart at 9:21

Bruce Grant (Montrail Ultrarunner) 6th in 23:05
posted by Hart at 9:14 AM

Phil Shaw 5th in 22:54
posted by Hart at 8:57 AM

Keith Kniplin 4th 22:13
posted by Hart at 8:22 AM

Eric Peitzsch from from bozeman 3rd in 21:45
posted by Hart at 7:56 AM

Darcy Africa 2nd in 21:15!
posted by Hart at 7:53 AM

Jamie Gifford (Patagonia Ultrarunner) wins in 20:52!
posted by Hart at 7:03 AM

Jamie Gifford, still in 1st is now on the road about 20 min from winning 2007 ccc 100!
posted by Hart at 6:46 AM

I saw Darcy Africa come at the kackess lake aid station. She is working her way back up after getting off course, i think she was 5th over all 1st woman.
posted by Hart at 12:00 AM

Saturday, August 25, 2007
I just paced jamie in 1st for hyak over kechelus ridge. He was super steady & said that was the most he had ever run of that climb. it rained on us pretty much the whole time. jamie let me wear one of his patagonia 9 trails jackets- super sweet! with my nuun headsweats beanie i was warm enough to help propel him up the boring dirt road climb.
posted by Hart at 11:57 PM

Darcy & Sam got lost. Bad course markings sent them the wrong way. It was actually mis-marked. This allowed jamie & bill to take lead.
posted by Hart at 11:52 PM

Just thru olallie meadows, mile 47 - Sam Thompson? North face guy in 1st. Darcy Africa out 2nd, Stan Holman out 3rd, then Bill Huggins out 4th and our own Patagonia Runner Jamie Gifford out 5th!.. the savy vet is no doubt biding his time before making a move!
posted by Hart at 7:47 PM

Friday, August 24, 2007

coaching endurance, and success

just wanted to give a public congrats to two runners i've coached that have done outstanding!

congrats to ellen parker who ran her first 50 miler on july 28, 2007 at the white river 50! that is one tough first 50 too. ellen ran a strong 9:55:01.

also congrats to matthew noell who has done so much for me i can't even tell you.. he's one of my best friends and has been a huge part of my success in ultra distance racing. he's an amazing friend, bike mechanic and motivator (aside from being an amazing dad, business owner, martial artist and microsoft exec!).. yeah he's that good. it was a blast helping him train for his first marathon.. and in true coaching endurance form he didn't just decide to do a marathon, he decided to do one of the hardest marathons in the country as his first - the crater lake marathon!.. and he rocked it in 5:24:07. nicely done dood.

the photo is from the 2005 24hr solo mtn bike norba national championship - matthew was my mechanic and crew. he's balancing his son wilder who was part of my crew as well. here is another photo of matthew "doin work!"

i threw an email out to my close friends asking if anyone wanted to come to the teton mtns and help crew me for what i described as "one of my biggest challenges yet". lots of my friends talk a big game about wanting to be a part of my crew, year after year. as usual matthew was the one who stepped up. he will be my main crew person for my first 100 mile ultramarathon - the grand teton 100 sept 1-2! i can't tell you how excited this makes me. i was truly touched when he threw down and booked his flight. =)

i am lucky to have such a good friend. with him crewing and montrail ultra stud ty draney pacing me the last 25 miles - i have no excuses, and no worries.. just one foot in front of the other.. for around 273,600 steps or so.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

this weekends excitement!

keep an eye on these events this weekend:
  • cascade crest 100 miler - this is like a seattle ultrarunners home town course, running through the snoqualmie pass area. i was sooo very excited to pace patagonia runner rod bien, but he got injured and had to drop (send him some good healing vibes please!). today i get an email from patagonia runner jamie gifford asking if i'd pace him! i'm in.. this will be my last real run before my 100 miler. i'll run only 15 miles, hyak to kachess lake. i'm super excited to help him. word on the street is "Jared Campbell had to drop with an injury and Phil Shaw ran Leadville last weekend so he will be on tired legs."... also "julie fingar bailed as well". i didn't hear why however and i don't know her.. but i hear she is fast.

  • tour du mont blanc ultra - this one starts tomorrow! with karl meltzer (2006 ultrarunner of the year), scott jurek ('07 hardrock winner and western states god) and hal koerner ('07 western states winner) all in attendance to do battle with the euroes who have won in previous years this will prove to be an amazing event! sounds like my kind of course too - it's now on the "must run" list.

    i love the northface press release for the tour du mont blanc... it mentions karl meltzer, hal koerner and... dean karnazes? "the extreme runner of the The North Face team who is specifically training this year for The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc". my 2 cents? wait for it.. dean's chances of winning this race are slim, and the north face left out scott jurek (possibly the best ultrarunner in the world right now) intentionally because of his comments about dean during his endurance interview.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Running Around the Sisters Mountains Video

i created this video on jumpcut.. and it's ok. but the bugs in their software are bad and frustrating - i tried. it slows and skips for me at every transition, and there are a lot of transitions.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Colonel's 100 Miler Boot Camp

i am fresh back from my last big effort before the grand teton 100 miler on sept 1-2. now i have 2.5 weeks to taper - perfect. the colonel (sean meissner) is a true ambassador of ultrarunning. he offered to host fellow montrail ultrarunner ashley nordell and i for "the colonel's 100 miler boot camp" in the sisters, or area. ashley is getting ready to defend her title as the angeles crest 100 miler champion. this sounded perfect to me, 2-3 big days of running new terrain. sean and ashley started their camp on sunday by both taking 2nd place at the haulin aspen trail marathon. congrats to both of them! i ran monday - wednesday for 3 days total.

the beauty of doing a few big days in a sweet new location is that you have nothing to do but run, eat, get ready for the next run and hang out. i easily forgot about my car and work worries and just had a blast.

day 1 monday: 45 miles w/10,226 feet of gain
this was the our biggest day. we ran around the three sisters, with a summit of the south sister which is the highest at 10,358ft. the sisters are the third, fourth and fifth highest peaks in oregon. this run was awesome, diverse and challenging... perfect right?! a few hours into the run we started up the south sister (pictured above). this was a 4,000ft climb. we stopped for lunch just shy of the summit to avoid the wind at the top. from there around 9,000ft i started to feel light headed and strange from the elevation. it went away after about 15 min of hiking. i'll try to put that out of my mind during the grand teton 100, which hits a high point of 9,840ft.

anyway from there it really got tricky. sean had planned our descent on a "climber's trail" that he had never seen before, but was lightly marked on the map. this was no trail, it was loose rock, sand and scree. it took us 3hrs to travel about two miles! yeah it was that bad. check out the video for more on that - i almost died! i guess not really, but let me tell you free falling head first in a boulder field of sharp lava rock will make your life flashes before your eyes. very scary.

after that we had another good 25 miles to run to finish our loop, which was super fun.. well except for the fact that i had giardia and had to make frequent stops - that sucked!. unfortunetaly when we arrived back at the car ashley's window was smashed and my bag was gone. lost my wallet, my favorite arcteryx pants and jacket, my montrail sweatshirt and some recovery stuff. i only wish we could have caught the creaps who did it.

day 2 monday: 15 miles w/2,136 feet of gain
the longer plan for this day got screwed up with ashley and myself having to deal with the car being broken in the day before. but we salvaged it and ran rod bien's loop in the tumalo falls area.

day 3 monday: 21 miles w/581 feet of gain
this day we did some recon for sean on the mckenzie river trail. he's running the mckenzie river trail run 50k sept 8th. we ran the trail from mile 11 to the finish line. great smooth trail along the river with a net loss.

amazing weekend, great company, good times. video of it all coming soon! i'm off to orcas island.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

An Interview With Karl Meltzer, the Wasatch Speedgoat and 2006 Ultrarunner of the Year

[Karl is a friend of mine. I could have just asked him these questions on the phone and kept them to myself. But I figured the rest of the ultra world might be interested in what is going through his mind these days. So I asked him if I could post an interview. He was kind enough to oblige.]

For those uninitiated Karl Meltzer is the man. Last year, this man won six 100 mile ultramarathons, including two of the toughest; the Hardrock 100 and the HURT 100. Along the way he set four course records. So far in 2007 he’s won the Moab Red Hot 50k, the Massanutten 100, and the Big Horn 100 (course record). In July he also won the 2007 Everest Award for best outdoor athlete.

OK let’s get right to it. The whole (ultra) world is talking about Scott Jurek’s comments about Dean Karnazes on What is your take on that situation?

As far as I am concerned it is their deal, The whole controversy between Scott and Dean is really between them. I do agree with Scott that the media should recognize the real champions. When Dean Karnazes wrote his book and was on David Letterman promoting it, it is hard to say if he knew he would be labeled as “Americas greatest runner”, but it happened and now we have controversy. And Dean is NOT the best Ultrarunner out there. I am sure he knows that.

First off let me just say that the front runners at this years Hardrock 100 made it soo exciting to watch. You are all amazing! How did the race go for you? Will you be back next year?


The race went as expected, Scott, Mark Hartell, Ricky Denesik and myself. I completely expected this. The race was super fast at the halfway point, mostly because of the excitement and the perfect weather. I was just cruising the whole way and not really pushing the downhills much, my quads really weren’t all there, they were about 90% ready, and in this race they needed to be 100%. Most of the ground I lost before Telluride was all the downhill. My strength is climbing and there I held my own. While climbing out of Telluride, for some reason I got very sleepy, and lost a lot of ground, when I made it to Chapman (mi. 85), I sat and got hypothermic and had to get warm before continuing. The two hour nappy-pooh was what I really needed. I had no intention of dropping, it is never in the gameplan.
I will not return to Hardrock next year, I have other plans. I will return in the future.

Just 6 weeks after Hardrock you and Jurek meet again in France for the Mont Blanc (160k/99.4 miles, with 9,000m/29,527ft vert gain). Which is just two weeks away now. How are you approaching this race? How are you feeling, recovered and healthy?

I feel recovered and ready to rip one off. As long as I don’t consume too much wine I should be fine. I plan on running my own race as usual, I do my best with this method. I will not focus on any other runners plans, only mine. I have a few secrets up my sleeve.

The press release on Mont Blanc made it sound like the field was stacked with all of Europe’s ultradistance elites. Who else do you see as competition?


I would have to say, the competition is real stiff. The last 4 winners are all present, as well as Mr. Koerner. I can’t really say much about the other runners mentioned because I do not know their history. Any way you look at it, it’ll be fast start and just hanging till the end will be tough.

How in the world do you run so many 100 mile ultras? It simply doesn’t seem possible to be recovered enough to run so many. Let alone be winning and setting course records. How do you recover after a 100 to get ready for the next one?


I recover well be not running much for a week after my races, my body gets to heal quickly this way, I play It by ear mostly and run how I feel. As far as my speed, it is the speed I run, remember we only go 5-6 miles per hour and that really is not that fast.

Let’s talk training a bit. What does your typical training week look like?


My weekly mileage is around 50-60 mountain miles, but really it is all how I feel. After I put on the Wasatchspeedgoat 50K I was fried and took a mandatory 5 days off, now I feel back to normal. Again, it goes back to running how I feel.

How many miles a week do you average? And how many miles is your big week before a taper?

I average about 50-60 mountain miles a week, I usually take a couple of extra days off the week before the race.

Where do you find the motivation to train?

Just love to run, I don’t’ really train, I consider it time to just go out and play in the mountains. I sometimes think of the people out there that work all day, knowing I will always avoid that whenever possible is a great motivator.

What’s next after Mont Blanc for you Karl?


The Bear 100 is on September 28, the record is soft and ready to be broken. If I can find a willing runner to compete with at the Trans-Rockies Multi-day race I might do that instead and chase the $4000 in prize money. We’ll see.

You and the other Wasatch speedgoat (Scott Mason) recently put on your first trail race, the Wasatch Speedgoat 50k. What was the motivation? How did it go?

Scott and I have always talked about putting on a race, and it finally became a reality when I left working at Snowbird. This time I got to watch people suffer on my home turf….I was not disappointed. I want this race to be the best in the US, with the venue we have at Snowbird it is a great possibility, and putting a race on where headphones are very much accepted is nice as well. The USATF banned headphones, who needs an organization that just wants to tell us how to run.

What other products to you use [sponsor plugs please]?


I have many sponsors, RedBull is my greatest supporter with a large chunk of my travel money covered. Montrail has been supporting me since 1999 and have been great sponsors. First Endurance products are the best out there and help me recover very quickly. Its amazing how I have done so well since using these products starting 3 years ago. Powerbar supplies all my gels and are very efficient and generous, much better than any other gel sponsor. Petzl for the best lights, Ryders eyewear for my sunglasses. Nathan Sports are also the best packs and Bryce at Nathan made me a custom fanny pack to suit my needs, this is the kind of support we appreciate so much. Nathan also has an incentive program for me as well as a small travel stipend. NUUN also supplies me with an electrolyte drink that is out of this world and always refreshing when I drink it. All of my sponsors are first class and without them I would not be living the dream life of an ultrarunner.

Best of luck to you at Mont Blanc. We’ll all be following along online! And thanks for the interview!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Staircase to First Divide - 33 miles

since i was already in the olympic national park i had to stay an extra day and run another big one. that is the luxury of the vw eurovan, i can sleep anywhere with very little effort. the drive from graves creek to staircase sucked however. i was stressed. the van had lost it's muffler the day before, and it just wasn't driving right, no acceleration.. less than normal.

as i mentioned in my previous post i had planned a 65 mile loop. since we ran the biggest section of it the day before (see previous blog post) i was out to run the other big section - staircase to first divide, and possibly to duckabush and back, for anywhere from 29-38 miles.

i allowed myself 8hrs of sleep after the stress of the nigh before (not to mention the 37 mile run). i woke up, had a red bull (forgot to bring the french press), some oatmeal, a banana and hit the trail. starting at staircase campground i ran up the north fork skokomish river trail. this was great beautiful trail along the river and a gradual climb to the nine stream camp ground (very cool place to camp). from there it climbed up to first pass. when i arrived i met my 3rd park ranger of the day. i had one of those conversations that happen to ultra runners all the time. "you are doing what?". he had never heard of anyone making it to first divide in 3hrs apparently. i wasn't moving that fast truth be told. my heart rate never exceeded my anaerobic threshold all day.

after first divide i dropped down to the home sweet home campground and then started the decent before the climb to duckabush. it was obvious that if i attempted duckabush i would be another 4-5,000 feet of climbing and a lot more time. that combined with the fact that there were "37 downed trees on the trail up duckabush" made me turn around after just a short decent.

map of both routes (this one is the eastern most marked in red)
the entire olympic national park map

on the return trip i stopped to refill my water bottle. the great thing about running with nathan quickdraw handheld bottles on an adventure run is how easy they are to fill and treat with iodine. i then used my lemon lime nuun as the nutralizer and was good for the rest of the run - a match made in heaven. i felt really good on the return trip.. it's always a lot easier to run downhill of course. i was in my zone running up a small knoll incline when i saw the head of a black bear on the other side of this knoll! she was standing right in the middle of my trail back! the bear saw me at the same time. i stopped in my tracks and started to sing.. "black bear, black bear go away". since i couldn't see where the bear was i wasn't sure if it had moved at all. i walked slowly up the little knoll. as i arrived at the top i saw the bear was another 30 feet down the trail standing on it's hind legs looking at me, a cub right next to her. i sang my song and hoped the bear would move. they watched me, then moved up slope, off trail, but then stopped, still very close to the trail. after a minute of my song they both got bored and moved on deeper in to the woods - i'm not a very good singer. i ran past that section at lightning speed! i had to check the watch and it read 4:12/min miles! man.

i arrived at the car and had to just over 3 more miles to get 70 for the two days so i headed down a spur trail along the river. then i soaked the legs in the north fork of the skokomish river for a few minutes and headed back to seattle. amazing weekend, amazing park.. and i'm now ready to put that loop together for one big run. actually i'm torn. run the big 65 mile loop or run a different trail in the park? hmm..

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

"A Solid 37" - Graves Creek to Anderson Pass Olympic National Park

montrail runner sean meissner and i started our drive south from seattle monday morning around 5:45am for the olympic national park. along the way i lost exactly one muffler and we picked up exactly one patagonia runner.. jamie gifford. jamie is a former cascade crest 100 course record holder, and is "15 for 16" at 100 mile ultramarathons - amazing. what was originally a six person crew for this adventure run had somehow dwindled down to us three.

i am infatuated with the olympic national park (my goal is to run every inch of trail in the park). it's so close and so amazing i had scoured the map for a long loop to put together and run. last year krissy moehl and i ran a 74 mile loop that i planned. it was an amazing run and i have been eager to back out to play in the park. so i created a 65 mile loop that we ended up collectively deciding needed to be pared down to say 30-40 miles for our purposes.

the plan was to start at graves creek campground and head north east on the quinault river trail to run the enchanged valley hike. we would then continue up to anderson pass (4,464ft) to make sure we got our requisite climbing in.

map of both routes
the entire olympic national park map

a drizzle on the drive to graves creek campground turned into beautiful sun as we started to run. we chatted about all things ultra as we slowly gained 2,000ft in the first 13 miles to the truly enchanted valley (sometimes referred to as the valley of 1,000 waterfalls). we were quite literally stopped in our tracks by the waterfalls on the burke range and the glaciers above.

then the fun began when we fast hiked in the sun to anderson pass. there we had some lunch, which included my very first baby ruth! so good (thanks sean). we then started our run back on the fun technical trail. it was a great mix actually, with sections of rocks/roots, buttery smooth/soft sections interspersed with river crossings. along the way meissner bonked, took a spill and spilled his lunch (out of his mouth)! i'm not sure if that made any sense.. meissner threw up like 3 times! after sean's first bonk where i said to him "you haven't been eating 3 gels an hour like i have".. i got hit with my own bonk. should have kept my mouth shut. i simply got into a zone and forgot to eat. however after 450 quick calories i was back in a few minutes and never really slowed down, just wasn't talking much. jamie must have thought "these montrail guys are total rookies!". also jamie put me on to nuun being a great nutralizer for iodine - a fantastic idea that i've passed on to the nuun high ups. since the run was just over 8 hours we had to treat our drinking water after we ran out of our initial pack and bottles full.

awesome day out, perfect weather, great company... and we ran "a solid 37" miles in about 8:13 (time is start to finish including breaks/lunch/treating water, etc) w/5,965 feet of gain, and i got some cool video and pictures - enjoy!

my gear:
shoes: montrail continental divides
socks: teko ecopoly
packs/bottles: nathan hpl #020 and one nathan quickdraw plus
fuel: clif shots (2-3 per hour) and a baby ruth
electrolytes: nuun

Saturday, August 4, 2007

My Favorite Quote

"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired and success achieved. " - Helen Keller

Musings of a Mad Man

what's on my mind lately? 100 miles naturally. i just raced a 50 miler pretty well. i'm happy with the outcome and my training/preparation for the race. by wed of this week i felt pretty well recovered (thank you recover-ease!). of course then i taught two pretty hard spin classes and rode yesterday with justin for a couple hours easy. problem was it didn't feel easy to my legs. although my avg heart rate was 117 my legs were zapped and tired. like being smacked in the face with the obvious.. take some time off the legs. i am writing this to fight the urge to ride out to my buddy cory's house in issaquah (75-80 miles round trip) right now to watch the red sox beat the mariners. doing this won't get me any closer to my goal - at least that is what i keep telling myself. i need to rest today and tomorrow. damn yoga class was cancelled too!

back to 100 miles. i only have 4 weeks left! i've been asking friends how i should go about it. i am very lucky in that i have some incredible runners on my advisory board: sean meissner, rod bien, justin angle, jamie gifford, and krissy moehl have all offered great advice so far. i had an urge to do a 70+ mile run this week. there was a unanimous "no" from the board on that one. the recovery from that would outweigh the benefit. ok, agreed. so i'm splitting it up instead, back to back 35'ers on mon and tues. since i've run a fast 50k, 50 mile and 100k most of the advisors also warned me to start the race slow. "this will be hard for you" one of them said. indeed. this course has never been run under 24 hours. another one menioned a few times was "take care of yourself during the race". i think i'm pretty good at this. i'll liken it to 24 hour solo mtn bike racing, which will be great experience for me to draw from. rod pointed to specificity, something i always stress to my coaching clients. do lots of training runs at the pace you will race the 100 at. tempo runs of 6:20/min miles won't help 80 miles in when my pace is 15/min miles. sage advice... thanks guys!

the training for the grand teton 100 has me almost more excited than the actual race. this prep will include two days of 35-38 miles in the olympic national park, one of the greatest places on earth. then the following week i'm going to sean meissner's 100 mile boot camp in sisters, or. where he will hammer me and ashley nordell (she won angeles crest 100 last year) for 3 days; 8, 42, 25 miles on some beautiful and new terrain (for me). from there it's riding the taper for 2.5 weeks. it's going to be sweet!

unrelated - i'm totally grooving on this rhymefest & citizen cope track right now.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Justin Angle's White River 50 Mile USATF Trail Run Championship Race Report

White River 50 USATF Trail Run Championships
Patagonia Ultrarunner Justin Angle's Race Report

I’ve never written a race report before, but since Matt asked nicely, I figured I give it a go.

This past Saturday, I raced the White Rive 50 USATF Trail Run Championships held on the spectacular trails near Mt Rainier. I toed the line with excitement and nerves – my first race back after a long battle with a persistent heel injury. (Kind of ironic that I had a heel that just wouldn’t heal…)

In the last few weeks my foot was feeling better and better and I was able to build miles with no adverse effects. White River seemed like the perfect chance to test it out, as I knew the course well from training runs and running the race in 2004 and 2005. It’s an incredibly beautiful course with breathtaking views of Mt Rainier and her foothills. This beauty, however, does not disguise the course’s difficultly, with 17,400 cumulative feet of up and down running.

We arrived at the start in time to say hello to some good friends and get in a little warm up. The weather was perfect, but it felt like it would get hot and dry later. As I lined up I saw some of the familiar heavy-hitters and some other fast-looking folks. I tried to ignore the competitive jitters as I was committed to taking it out easy and being careful early in the race.

The first four miles are flat and rolling terrain – an excellent way to start and get into a good rhythm. Some fast cats took off and I settled into what felt comfortable. The feet felt light and the legs rather snappy, hopefully a good sign. As I came through the first aid station at Camp Shepherd, Mike was there with a nervous smile and handed up two fresh bottles for the long climb ahead. After the aid station the trail stays flat for another mile or so and then the party starts: the long slog up to Ranger Creek at 11.9 miles. This climb isn’t particularly steep, but it is steady and long. With my heel injury, I had been avoiding long descents and the only problem with that is it’s hard to train your climbing when you are trying to avoid downhills! As the trail started to climb I told myself to stay relaxed and take it easy. If people pass you, that’s OK…lots of miles to reel them back in. About midway into the climb I was caught by the women’s leader Nikki Kimball. We had met in passing at a handful of races, but never really had a chance to chat. Turns out we had a lot in common as fellow New Englanders. She went to boarding school at Holderness Academy, about 20 min away from my hometown. After about 10 minutes of somewhat breathless (at least on my part) chatter, she surprised me by saying she needed to back off a bit. I was a bit shocked as I was expecting her to blow by me at any moment. Well, that pleasant feeling didn’t last too long, as minutes later she decided it was time to pass. I let her go knowing that to chase I would have push too hard early in the race.

The next several miles, the rest of the climb actually, were spent in solitude and this was rather nice. It allowed me to focus on my own running and not worry about where I was relative to others. I passed through Ranger Creek right on my goal split and started to move pretty well along the ridge to Corral Pass. I passed through Dusty Olsen and enjoyed a little BS with him. The Dust-Ball is never at a loss for words and always provides a good laugh. Getting ahead of him was a bit of a relief as well as I knew Scott would bust my chops hard if Dusty beat me.

At the turnaround I met Neal and Mike and got in and out rather quickly. They had my bottles and gels ready and I wanted to keep moving. They told me I was in 8th place and I thought that sounded OK. There was a long downhill ahead and I know I can run downhill pretty well. I ran the 4-mile grind back to Ranger Creek alone and caught intermittent glimpses of Nikki and another runner ahead of me. It felt good to know they were at least within striking distance. The downhill from Ranger Creek is a screamer and you must take care not to push too hard, as you will pay later. I told myself to keep the turnover high and the feeling light. About mid-way down I moved through Michael Collins and then caught up to Nikki and another runner named Brad. The three of us came through the Buck Creek aid station (27.2) together. Jurek popped out of the woods with a yeti mask on and gave me a little laugh, but at this point I was starting to narrow my focus. Coming through the mid-point in 5th place, I started to think things could get interesting. Mike and Neal had my goods ready to go. They offered the iPod and I waived it off.

The long climb to Suntop is not very steep, but it cuts through some dusty clear-cuts with exposure to the heat of the day. I pushed the water and settled into a slow grind. Brad and Nikki dropped off the pace and I caught up to Michael after he had passed me through the aid station. Michael seemed to be hurting and asked me a couple times how far it was to the Fawn Ridge aid station. I gave him my best estimates and encouraged him as much as I could. He stayed tight on my heels all the way and then took some time to deal with his drop bag. I just filled my bottles and kept going.

About 5 minutes after the aid station I looked back and saw what I had known would be coming…Brian Morrison. He was smoking and I told him if he could keep up that pace, he could likely win. I wasn’t happy to get passed, but I was pleased to see my good friend Brian running well and feeling good after a very difficult stretch of racing for him. For the rest of the climb I did my best to keep him within sight. I soon moved through another runner and I recognized him from the Way Too Cool 50k….interestingly enough, I passed him there on a climb late in the race too. This was indeed a boost, but I was really starting to suffer and I had to hone my focus to keep pushing.

I was able to grind out the climb to Suntop and the folks at the aid station seemed pretty excited. They told me I was in 4th place and closing in on both 3rd and 2nd. This was a bit psychological boost, as I knew I could move well on the downhill. My long legs are at least good for something!

Krissy Moehl helped me with my bottles and firmly told me to “get go’n!” I trotted off and settled into a nice rhythm down the dusty road. I soon caught a glimpse of Neil Olsen and picked it up to move through him. I was definitely pushing and starting to question the sustainability of this effort level. I was not feeling good and knew I needed to make some sort of adjustment to set myself up for a strong finish. Then I saw Brian ahead of me and all hell broke loose. I got excited and started hammering to catch him. By the Skookum flats aid station, I was about 30 seconds back. I grabbed my bottle from Mike and Neal and took off at a hard pace trying to close the gap.

It didn’t take long for this pace to push me over the edge and I soon blew up. After some walking and a nasty bout of puking, not to mention Neil Olsen passing me back, I was able to shake it off and get moving again. I ran decently, holding on the 4th and welcoming the finish as not one moment too soon.

So I guess I’m quite happy with the 4th place, but a little stung over what might have been. I saw a chance at 2nd place and I took it. Better to try and fail than sit back and later regret it. Mike and Neal were fantastic crew and many thanks to Scott and Leslie McCoubrey and all the super volunteers for putting on a fantastic race.

Gear: Patagonia Airius T, Patagonia 9-Trails Shorts, Patagonia Endurance Socks, Brooks Racer ST-III. Nathan Quickdraw Plus Insulated Bottles.

Food: Clif Shot, Nuun, Succeed and water.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Mount Hood PCT 50 Mile Pictures

me running up to mt hood to the turn around

me and olga looking at the free pair of montrails i won! who do i give
these too? -my crew at the grand teton 100.. sweet gift!

female winner floren ansley right after she finished

see the rest on