Friday, September 28, 2007

recipe for disaster or for a fast 50?

... i'm not sure.

sunday night 3 hours of sleep
interbike outdoor demo setup
4 hours of sleep (the smokey hotel started to make me feel sick, sore throat, wheezey)
on my feet all day in the desert at the outdoor demo
repeat for 3 more days
30 hours of travel back east

now i feel sick and exhausted - today i got out of bed, ate, then laid down again. my mother on the other hand put in her 2.5 miles and followed it up with a free weight workout.

i'm leaving tomorrow for my vermont 50 checkin at the ascutney mtn resort in brownsville vermont. the weather in brownsville looks to be cold at the start with highs of 64 degrees. my right side hernia is puffy, my knee still hurts and i'm sick - i can only hope i start to feel better.. or this could be a tough one.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

hernias leaves and interbike

after flying from vegas to seattle, seattle to new york (red eye), and finally new york to portland, maine. i'm finally here in the shire, the sticks - freedom, new hampshire. no cell service, but deathly slow dial up internet. i feel awful. interbike and the travel has crushed me. i'm on the verge of becoming really sick. it's a pretty time in new england right now, the leaves are turning and the foliage is beautiful. it makes me very excited to run this weekend in vermont. if i wasn't feeling so beat up i'd be itching to get out into those white mountains and run.

hernias: yep. talked to my dr. yesterday. ct scan showed i have bilateral inguinal hernias (hernias on both sides). i am still running the vermont 50 miler this weekend. pain is temporary. surgery is scheduled for friday oct 12th, a couple days after i get back home to seattle. doesn't matter if i have to work on paying this off for the next 5 years - it has to be fixed.

interbike: i was too busy to take photos or blog while there. the outdoor demo was awesome, dusty and hot.. perfect for nuun. i hope to at least add some photos soon.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


my status - well i grow increasingly frustrated with health insurance in this country. i spend $280 a month.. for what? with deductibles i still have to put my ct scan on my credit card. anyway i should find out monday if i have two or just the one hernia and what type.

i leave first thing tomorrow for interbike with nuun! - then this young man heads east! flying into portland maine... hanging with family in freedom new hampshire.. visiting friends in portsmouth new hampshire... heading to brownsville vermont for the vermont 50 miler... then recovering on the cape with family! it's going to be an awesome few weeks!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Double Down

surgeon: "put your fingers here. you should feel something pushing through when you cough."
me: "hmm.. i guess." i think to myself, check the other side to compare.
me: "doesn't feel any different to me than the other side."
surgeon: "let me check."
surgeon: "thats cause it feels like you have a hernia on both sides."

awaiting ct of pelvis for confirmation.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

building blocks

first - congrats to justin angle for running a really strong angeles crest 100 miler! justin finished 4th in 20:38, with a strong field of top runners (results). also have to congradulate ashley nordell for taking 2nd place female in 22:14! great running guys! congrats!

also congrats to my coaching client max israel for his 16th place at the grand columbian ironman. he's been training hard and it paid off on what sounded like a brutal course (results). congrats max!

in other race news.. no big suprise that that brian morrison won the cle elum ridge run today (results).. congrats brian! i volunteered at this one last year and hope to run it one of these years.

i'm slowly coming back to life. the grand teton 100 miler, as expected, put me in my all too familiar recovery hole. each time an ultra distance race puts me there i feel like i'm get better at recovering and dealing with it. it's tough mentally. krissy calls it going from the best shape of your life, to the worst. sure feels like it. now that i'm feeling better and recovered a bit i can build on this progress. as ajw was kind enough to show me in the teton mountains sept 1st - i have a long way to go before i can compete with the best in the sport. but that is the fun of it... training hard, working hard toward my goals, focused effort... achieving the small day to day goals that get me closer to my big intimidating monster goal.

my next race is just 14 days away.. whoa. it's the vermont 50 miler (with 10,000 ft of gain) in brownsville, vt (ascutney mtn resort). i will still be recoverying by the time it gets here. but i'm going to do my best to be ready to run fast.

i'll have this week, well actually just the next couple days to get some key workouts in. today it's speed work at the track, tomorrow it's my last long"ish" trail run of 15 at cougar mtn. then next weekend i'm headed to interbike with nuun. once there the taper starts. daily short runs if i can fit them in, if not that's ok.

then the fun really begins. i'm traveling back home to the shire. my sister lana is loading up the camper!... and the kids! (my neice and 3 nephews!!!) and they are crewing me at the race. this will be one to remember with them there. i'm so excited. hopefully i can find the juju to run well and give them a show. =)

after that it's recovering on cape cod with my family.. i'm excited for that too!

great read in outside on sustainable homes, yep for 10% more than it costs to build a normal house you can build one from recycled materials that is mostly off the grid.

Friday, September 14, 2007

our new nuun shirts!

our new nuun shirts for interbike.. pretty cool!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

super secret trip to the north cascades

this past weekend the patagonia ultrarunning team's "green ultrarunner" justin angle, mike adams and i headed out to the north cascades in washington. i can't believe i haven't spent much time out there. here are photos.. and here is justin's blog on our super secret high altitude retreat. he's getting ready for angeles crest 100 this weekend and he's going to rock it!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Red Bull During Endurance Events? and socks

interesting info on red bull i thought i'd share (click image to read it). this is from my favorite tech magazine.. wired. i used to be very "natural". no caffeine or stimulants and certainly no "meat sugar"! however after the 2005 24hr solo mtn bike world championship, where i raced hard and suffered immensely, that all changed. i was reading up on a racer who came out of nowhere to chase 6 time world champion chris eatough to the finish line... ernesto marenchin. he wrote about what he consumed on his blog. 12 cokes and 4 redbulls in 24hrs as i remember it. now that is extreme, i've been able to find a good middle ground in my red bull consumption. i've also witnessed guys like karl meltzer and david horton drink red bull pretty early during 100 mile efforts, so there must be something to it. have a read and decide for yourself. i think i probably drank 4 total during the grand teton 100 miler and i feel as though it helped.

also i get a lot of questions about my sock sponsor teko socks. they are an awesome company based in boulder, co and are absolutely committed to creating an eco friendly product. here is the backpacker magazine "green award" clipping they received.. it quickly describes some of their efforts - it's quick, so have a read!

some very exciting races happened this weekend:
  • wasatch front 100 was dominated by montrail-nathan wonderkid kyle skaggs. in his first 100 miler he broke karl meltzer's course record by 8 minutes. liz irvine put in a good show as well breaking krissy's previous course record. and congrats to roch horton who pulled of a sub-24hour finish.
  • disgraced tour de france cyclist floyd landis took 3rd at the shenandoah mountain 100 with 6 time world 24hr solo champ chris eatough withdrawing with a mechanical.
  • special congrats to rebecca rusch who won the the 24 hour solo mtn bike world championship in leguna seca.. huge congrats reba! tinker juarez is like ned overend.. these guys are 100years old and better than anyone in their prime - unreal... tinker won the men's race.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

2007 Grand Teton 100 Mile Ultramarathon Race Report

this was hands down one of the most amazing athletic experiences, and one i will cherish. i'll say it again, lisa, jay batchen and zach barnett put on a very special event in the teton mountains.

short version: in my first 100 miler with 20,000 feet of gain i ran a 20:53, for 2nd place. andy jones-wilkens won the race in 19:35 and we both crushed the previous course record of 24:17. matthew noell and ty draney were my amazing crew.

long version: if you read my previous post about this race then you know i was struggling a little bit with the mental side of things. sometimes a persons biggest suppressor to success can be their own ego looking for an excuse for possible failure.

the night before the race i slept a total of about 3 hours. in adventure racing we are usually up all night working on the maps and rarely sleep much before the race. so i try to not worry about it, i'd slept pretty well in the week prior. i actually woke up before the three alarm clocks set for 4:15am. i felt bad waking the boys, but it was 'go time'. i went over my gear with a groggy matthew noell while i ate my my pre-race meal of oatmeal and banana. the coffee, no matter how bad (i'm somewhat of a seattle coffee snob) always tastes so good after my self imposed week off prior to big races.

the course is 100 miles and 20,000 feet of elevation gain. it's four laps of a 25 mile clover leaf loop with three sections; a "fred's mountain" - big 2,000ft dirt road climb up to 10,000 feet and the top of the ski resort; b "mill creek trail" - the southern section of the course including some awesome single track, massive down and subsequent uphill, 3.3 miles of steep pavement, and c "rick's basin" - the final 5.3 miles, smooth fast singletrack with a couple of moderate climbs. more course descriptoin here. 6am start: it was still dark. i went back and forth with ty about whether or not to take a headlamp. in the end i did not. i can't even recall the countdown, if there was a gun or not. i was lined up front when i heard "1 minute to start". olga gave me some good advise and next thing i knew we started running uphill. it was dirt road all the way up section a. i had run/hiked this section on thursday. it was steep. andy pulled out in front and was leading. i was content just keeping him in sight. we were all running too fast for a 100 miler anyway. something ty said to me the night before was replaying in my head "go slow. if you think you are going too slow, slow down". i had so many friends, who are also top ultrarunners give me the same advice... "don't go out too hard". i heard it so often in fact that if i blew up in the early stages from going too hard i would have to hide in a hole for a month after this race.. embarrassed (it almost happened too).

andy, and mass guy darren worts and i traded positions just 10-40 feet back. tom got to the top of fred's first, then andy and me just 3 feet behind him. the downhill is where we really spread out. andy just disappeared. i can run downhill pretty well i think. when he disappeared i didn't care, i wasn't going to blow up my quads on the first lap. at the bottom we were a minute behind each other, andy, then me (tom somehow got lost for a bit). we were now 5.6 miles into 100 miler.

i felt really good. in the excitement i was running harder than i should have. i stayed a few minutes behind andy. the course was awesome, with great views and super smooth singletrack. i watch my heartrate and convinced myself if i kept it under 160 i'd be fine. the first 25 miles and 5,000 feet i ran in 4:15 and andy ran a 4:08. just three more laps right..? nothing.

the second lap was my worst. honestly this was very unexpected. i mean, i can run 50 miles pretty easily at this point. so i assumed laps one and two would be super easy, then lap three would suck and lap four i'd have ty to take me home no matter how much it hurt. as i started up big climb to 10,000 feet for a second time i was feeling awful. my mind started to wonder why. "was that first lap too hard?". "it's the elevation, damn seattle for being at sea level!". "maybe i can't run at the front of a 100 miler after all."

i suffered the most on my second climb to 10,000ft

the doubts that flooded my mind were quickly washed away by the fun of running downhill. once through the aid station again i was feeling much better. after another loop of b i sat dwn to apply some sunblock. lisa gave my legs a massage which was great.. i mean how many races can you attend and get a massage from the race director (i bet some you would rather not =).

i was so spoiled!

at some point i started getting that oh too familiar heal blister on my right foot. rod bien and sean meissner had stressed to me to slow down and take care of my issues. that was sound advice as i would have just run with this blister for a while. now i was obsessed with fixing it. the picture below shows the mad scramble to fix it. no one knew how the blister pads went on bc i've never used them. so i rubbed some hydropel on the heal and left again.

my awesome crew working on me.

i knew this was a temporary fix and it wasn't working that well. the blister was still growing. olga raced down from the top of fred's to meet me. she did some kind of magic trick. that blister never came back the rest of the race... thanks olga!

before my section c on the second lap i was offered a quick massage. i looked at ty and said, "is this stupid?". "no" was his response. i didn't need a massage per se, but it never hurts. so as i laid there we discussed the plan while i drank a balanced. i had been in and out so fast it was a good chance to catch up with my crew, who were by all accounts the greatest crew in the history of the world. matthew had mentioned to me in seattle that he might want to pace me some of the course, maybe the hike up to fred's. because i was assuming this third trip up to fred's would hurt the worst i asked him if he'd join me, but let him think about it as i ran section c to finish the second lap.

my third lap i started to catch fire a bit. matthew was ready to run when i returned and we headed up the dirt road to the top of fred's for a third time. we chatted and breathed heavy. matthew was awesome and kept my spirits high with complements about how i was running and how impressed he was. we made it up this time i think in 53 minutes. 3 minutes faster than my sufferfest on the second loop.

at the bottom i dropped off matthew and picked up the ipod. wow, i was feeling great and the tunes were really making me happy. i was high on this lap, flat out, laughing and smiling and singing out loud! section b lead to my crew at the opening of teton canyon and then the dreaded road. but i was feeling so good i didn't care. at the top of the road where the course turns back onto the trail my crew told me i'd just picked up 15 minutes on andy, and was now just 34 minutes back. whoa, sweet. i didn't react really. i didn't want to ruin the feeling i had. matthew said, "did you hear us?!". i replied "yes but i am feeling good and i can't worry about andy" as i ran off into the woods. i tried not to let that new information make me run too fast.

after section b i came through still rocking. ty had decided to run an extra 5 miles with me and joined me for this section as well as the last loop - this was great! (the video shows this).

ty is an amazing pacer. from start to finish he had me running well. he monitored my walk breaks and made me run tons of sections i might not have have. i was able to talk a little bit at first and we discussed many things including our mutual admiration for ultrarunner roch horton. we climbed fred's for my last time in 56 or something, i was happy with that. we hit section b knowing that an under 22 hour time was possible. i kept reminding the guys to keep and eye on third. i've been surprised before late in a 24hr mtn bike race and i wanted to make sure that wasn't going to happen.. paranoia was setting in.

we strapped the petzl headlamps on, tikka plus on my head and the myo xp around my waist, and headed out for the last 20 miles! this is when ty really put me to work. he was talking and the best i could do was groan in response if i wanted to keep up with him. i still feel bad that i couldn't chat with him more. my general feeling is that as we started out i was having trouble keeping up to what he wanted. then as we decended section b i felt like i was running before he would look back and expect me to. my confidence started to increase and i was feeling good.

as we got back on trail ty and i discussed breaking 22 hours. it seemed doable. as we got closer i was really "on the rivet". pushing myself to make it in under 22 hours. at some point i started to do the math. as we approached the climb i thought if i can get up here in 19:45 i can make the run down in 15 minutes... leaving me an hour to break 21 hours! i pushed up that hill, ty stopped for water and i knew i was moving well because it took him a while to catch up. we got to the top of the climb in 15 minutes. i was going to do this, but i had to work for it. we ran down ty let me know he was stopping for a bathroom break. he was going to run ahead tell matthew what i need and he'd catch me later.

as i approached the downhill i knew i was at 20 hours even. in the light i could see matthew standing without a bottle. so i decided to just keep running. i ran into the aid station doing nothing but dropping my water bottle.. i was on a mission now. i caused a stir, i could here someone say "there he goes!". matthew and ty were like.. "huh?". i had to get under 21 hours and i didn't care if that meant i ran alone or without water. someone said "hope you can catch him ty, he's moving". ty caught me and said by the time he looked up my headlamp was already gone. ty was excited at my desire to run hard and he pulled me along that last section. i got tingles when he was yelling at me near the last few miles. he gave me a few time updates that seemed a bit off, later found out was on purpose to make run faster... it worked. we must have been pushing 6-7 min/miles at the end.

after the smoke cleared i ran a 20:53, estatic to be finished with my first 100 miler... now i am an ultrarunner.

nuun and leader board

my plaque and 100 mile belt buckle!

the podium

my gear:
shoes: montrail continental divides
socks: teko ecopoly
packs/bottles: nathan hpl #020 and one nathan quickdraw plus
fuel: clif shot (3 per hour) & clif bloks
electrolytes: nuun
recovery: recover-ease

Thank You!

before i can even consider a race report i have to thank the awesome friends that made my first 100 mile ultramarathon possible.

dreamchaser events: lisa smith-batchen, jay batchen and zach barnett- thank you! from the moment i arrived i felt as though i was part of the family. their kindness and generosity this weekend has been endless.. i've been truly blown away, and they have made this whole experience one i will cherish and never forget. you guys are awesome!

jay, me and lisa after my finish in 20:53! good enough for 2nd place

my crew: matthew noell and ty draney were both crew and pacers. they worked as a well oiled machine to get me in and out of the aid stations most often without even stopping. have a look at my times actually in the aid stations.. perfect. i really can't thank them enough for the effort. being that they are busy family men i'd like to thank their wives for letting them play in the woods with me!