Saturday, December 5, 2009

I Need A Date For The Big Dance!

Against the odds, my name was pulled from "the hat" to compete in the 2010 Western States 100 Endurance Run. I was watching the drawing live on web cast and could not believe it when my name came up with only 80 names to go!


My only problem now is that I need a date. I am now looking for pacer and crew....any takers?

See you in Squaw Valley.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Back Training

Since my last race at the Where's Waldo 100k, I have had low levels of running while dealing with muscular issues left over from from that particular effort. However, over the last few weeks I have been able to bump up my mileage and have actually started training again. I realized this after, feeling tired, I looked back over my last 7 days. No wonder why....90 miles in 7 runs with mile repeats, tempo run, and hilly 3 hour long run. It is good to be back at it.

I hope to run a race in January but will decide after a few more weeks. Til then, thanks for checking in on me.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Where's Waldo 100k Race Report

(Photo by Richard Bolt)

This year's Where's Waldo 100k, designated the 2009 USA 100k Trail National Championships, also kicked off the revamped 2009/2010 Montrail Ultra Cup. Taking place in the Willamette National Forest in Crescent Lake, Oregon and being only 1 hour and 20 minutes from my front door, it is the closest I have gotten to a "local" ultra marathon.

Three weeks prior to the race I had a great 50K training run on the the course, including solid climbs up Mt Fuji and Maiden Peak done in 5:03. From that point on I had a sketchy hip flexor/knee injury that had me in serious doubt for finishing the WW100k. Race week I took three days off and had a massage and two Active Release/Chiropractic treatments in hopes of maximizing my chances of finishing.

Lewis Taylor and I arrived early evening the night before the race, just in time to attend the pre-race meeting/instructions. After that I hit up the pasta dinner (which would come back to haunt me) prior to settling down for a short night of sleep in the back of my truck. The alarm went off at 2:30AM and I was up for my pre-race coffee. We lined up behind the Willamette Pass Ski Lodge (5,100 ft. ASL) and at 5AM we we headed up the slop by the light of headlamps.
I immediately settled in to a very conservative pace, monitoring my body and not even thinking about racing. For the first time, I went to the start line not knowing if I could finish, never mind finish in the top 5. So it went, following the glow sticks on our way to the Gold Lake Aid Station (7M).

Casual Start
(Photo by Richard Bolt)

Within a few miles of the start I made my first bathroom stop. I jumped out of the bushes, back onto the trail and caught up to a small group, including Joell Vaught of Boise and Brian Schmidt of Virginia. Before long I was back in the bushes for stop number 2. Back on the worries its a 10 hour race. Right. Hold on...upon arriving at Gold Lake, I was in the real bathroom maintained by the park service for stop number 3. No problem...only down a few minutes at the first aid station arriving there in (1:07). Normally this is where everyone drops off their headlamps prior to the 2,300 ft. climb up to the summit of Mt. Fuji (7,300 ft.), but I ran through and forgot until I was well passed.

Crossing over Rd. 4290 (Waldo Lake Road) for the first time, I moved passed Bev Anderson-Abbs. At this point I was still sorting through my stomach issues, while trying to stay comfortable. From here to Fuji Mt. 1 aid station (1:58), I would make pit stops 4 and 5. The climb up to the summit of Mt. Fuji was uneventful. It was my first look at who was actually up ahead of me. As the leaders were coming down from the summit I recognized most (Skaggs, Miller, Bryant, Andrish, Olsen, Lantz, Anderson-Abbs, Vought) and arrived arrived at the top with William Emerson. At this point, I was quite happy that my hip was not an issue at all and I told RD Craig Thornley as much when I saw him. I was also ok with my 13th place overall after the first peak. Normally I would have liked to have been closer to the top 5 but with my pre-race concerns, I was very happy. If my GI tract would only finish what is was dealing with, I would be on my way to moving closer to the front of the field. Just prior to Fuji Mtn 2 AS (2:28), I hit the bushes for pit stop 6. Once that was through, I passed my headlamp to Gary Stott (who was working the AS), grabbed my re-filled bottles from the super volunteers and headed down the South Waldo Trail in search of those ahead of me.

Mt Fuji Summit
(Photo by Laurie Monico)

From Fuji Mt 2 AS (14.9M) to Twins 1 AS (27.1M), I would finally finish my business in the bushes with 5 more pit stops. En route to the to Twins 1, I moved from 13th overall to 9th by passing Bev Anderson Abbs, William Emerson, Brett Rivers, and Brian Schmidt arriving at (4:18) into the race. I felt like I was finally moving forward and was actually having alot of fun being able to compete. This is the point in the race where I just tried to pass the time and let the miles go by. Arriving at Charlton Lake AS (32M) in 5:02, it was great to see RD and local guy Craig Thornley again. As usual I tried to move through as quick as possible.

It was at this point that I actually gained serious time on those ahead of me. Heading into Rd4290 AS (5:47) at 37M, I would catch and go back and forth with Women's Leader Joelle Vaught. She was running very tough and was a great steady climber. We would continue to run close to each other until the climb up the Twins. Her and I would both catch up with Mark Lantz and then Mark and I would climb up The Twins (7,100 ft.) together. Arriving at The Twins 2 AS (7:09) at 44.5 miles, I had moved into 7th place and was feeling very good about my chances of moving into the top 5. Ever since I got rid of my small waist pack at 21 miles, I had started a great routine of taking gels and S-Caps at the aid stations. This was the first time in 8 ultras that I have not carried all my own gels and S-Caps. This worked quite well. I think I may have found a new routine!

Soon after the Twins 2 AS, I got a visual up ahead of Yassine Diboun and he looked to be cramping up. I knew that Mark Lantz was right behind me and thought that this was where the race would really start to heat up. After moving past Yassine (into 6th place), I felt a stabbing pain on the medial side of my knee. This was one of those pains where you think to yourself "this is not good". The downhill stretches were excruciating and I knew I would pay for it after the race. There was not much else to do but push through it and move forward as quick as possible. I often took brief stops to massage the area, knowing that it was not doing a dam thing. My only respite was the dreaded climb up Maiden Peak, which involved a solid amount of hiking. This was the one action that would not elicit the pain.

Maintaining my 6th place, I arrived at the Maiden Peak AS (50 miles) in 7:55. After filling bottles, grabbing 2 gels, and swallowing 2 S-Caps, I started the steep 3 mile climb up to the Maiden Peak Summit (7,800 ft.). Just behind me, I could here someone else arriving, most likely Mark Lantz. Sure enough Mark and I were together 1/3 of the way up. He relayed to me that Yassine was in trouble with cramps behind us. I knew that everyone had a problem or two. Halfway up, the climb started to get on Mark and I moved ahead to try and put some ground between us.

My last long run 3 weeks earlier I had climbed this stretch in the middle of 31 miles in 44 minutes. Today, I thought 60-65. Nearing the summit and going through the rocky final 300 meters I came across last years' winner Neil Olsen coming down. I was surprised that 5th was so close! I pushed on to the summit, arriving in 55 minutes from the AS. However, I knew I was going to have to pay the piper on the steepest decent of the course...."The Leap of Faith Trail". Just before this trail head I saw Lantz and "alive again" Diboun approaching the summit together with Joelle just behind them. The race was on over the final 9 miles.

Just as I thought, Lantz and Diboun closed the gap on me on the downhill, as my knee was screaming at me. We arrived pretty much together at the final Maiden Lakes AS (55 miles) in 9:10. I was back in 8th place, hoping to stay in the race. I often caught myself looking over my shoulder, hoping not to see anyone behind me. There were times on the final 7 mile stretch were I thought I was still moving well and was close to a finish of 10:20. Somewhere, a couple miles from the finish, I saw Yassine up ahead and thought maybe I still had a shot at him. Before I knew it, I came across Sean Meissner at the final turn of the course telling me I had only 400m to the finish. Once on the final straight away, I could see that I was very close to both Yassine and Mark Lantz. Pushing hard to the finish, I ran out of trail finishing in 8th place (10:16:36).

At the finish...I had never been as fresh and as full of energy after 50M+ as I was on this day. I guess I attribute this to not being able to go to the well like I normally would because of the stomach and then the knee. This gives me hope for the future at races of 60-100 miles. All in all, this was a great experience and a confidence booster. I look forward to coming back to Waldo and really getting after it. WW100k was the best organized trail race that I have yet to take part in! The trail markings were unbelievable, the volunteers on top of everything, and the course was awesome! Thanks Craig and Curt and everyone else for putting on a top notch event.

Top 10 Overall

1. Erik Skaggs, OR (9:11:05) CR
2. Zach Miller, MT (9:39:35)
3. Jason Bryant, NC (9:49:08)
4. Neil Olsen, OR (10:02:39)
5. Sean Andrish, VA (10:03:36)
6. Mark Lantz, CA (10:15:49)
7. Yassine Diboun, OR (10:16:16)
8. Matt Lonergan, OR (10:16:34)
9. Joelle Vaught, ID (10:23:32) CR
10. Jace Ives, OR (10:55:54)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

IAU World Trail Challenge Race Report

Brutal.  That would be the one word summation of the Trail de Cerces of Serre Chevalier, France.  Although I am relatively new to ultramarathons, I can clearly state that the 2009 Merrell Sky Race/IAU World Trail Challenge was the most difficult endeavor I have ever gone through.   I knew going in that it would be very hard and  have many unknowns.  My biggest concern was the altitude that we were to be climbing to.  I know to those who live in Colorado it may not be that high, but to a native of Brockton, MA it was very high.  The fact that I was to reach more than two times the altitude I would reach in training should have told me that it would be problem.  

Upon arriving in Turin, Italy and being driven south into northern France and the valley of Serre Chevalier, I was feeling very nauseous, dehydrated, and sleep deprived from the 30 hour trip from Oregon.  This was to morph into general gastro intestinal distress for the two days prior to the start of the race and kept me in out of the bathroom day and night.  Needless to stay I would start the race dehydrated....never a good thing.  However, it was great to meet the only other person representing Team USA...Ben Nephew who was there with his wife and son.  It often helps to have someone to talk to leading up to an unknown event such as this.  Ben and I managed to run (in reverse) the last couple miles of the course by climbing up part of the final decent.

The alarm went off on race morning at 2:30AM but I was already awake having just gone to the bathroom (again).  With the race start at 5:00, I wanted to make sure I was up and around and fully awake.  The IAU World Trail Challenge competitors assembled at the front of the 1000 plus open field competing in the Merrell Race Across The Sky, one of the largest in all of Europe.

Almost immediately after the race start
ed, I was nearly impaled by the ski poles of a French women that were falling off her pack (poles must be attached to pack for the first 11k).  Upon clearing that obstacle I was off near the front.  After a short stint on the road, we entered a trail head that snaked through to the outskirts of town.  It was dark and hard to see where you were going, so I initially stayed close to the one guy who had a headlamp.  After a couple of minutes, I found my self in the lead and was fine to just run in the the front.  Once we got out of town and up into the hills there was quite a large lead pack of 20-30.  I settled into the pack and tried to find a sustainable rythym, but the pack quickly spread out.  I took my first Powergel at 45 minutes and started the first major climb of the day up to the Col de Galibier.  Almost immediately my heart rate went through the roof and shortly after I realized that I had to pay attention to it.  This meant that I had to start my walk/run much earlier than expected.  This is not a problem because I trained this way and knew it was to be long day of climbing.  What shocked me was how many people kept running at that sort of effort and how many people were going by me.  What ran though my mind was..."there is no way I am gonna run all the way up the Galibier, so why not listen to my heart rate and run efficiently".  Little did I know that the fun was just beginning and would continue all day.

I honestly don't remember much about the climb up the Galibier.  I remember my heart rate being at its max and trying to run when ever possible.  The wind had also kicked up, so I threw on my light jacket to stay warm.  Prior to reaching the summit we hit the "Refuge de Galibier" or Aid Station 1 at 19k and 8,366 ft.  

I topped off my Nathan Hydration Bladder....adding water to the orange Gatorade that I started with and noticed that I had not taken in that much fluid.  Not good!  Once leaving the AS, we still had to get to the peak by way of another steeper 500 ft. climb.  The summit of the Galibier (8,789 ft.) was by far the highest I had ever been in a race.  The grade of the climb was also the steepest I had yet to experience....atleast until later in the day.  Needless to say it was great to reach the top of this famous peak (a la Toure de France). At this point I welcomed the downhill...and it dropped quickly.  The technical nature of the course become evident while making my way down this first decent.  I felt I was moving ok but was still getting passed regularly.  Among those going by was a young Swede I got to know Rickard Seger, who would finish 16th (good run Rickard!).  The terrane was made up of many steep descents  with large loose rocks on uneven surfaces.  Don't get me wrong, I like rough downhill but this just seemed a bit more than I was used to.  

The next climb began at 28k and would take us up to the Col de Rochilles (8,188 ft.).  I would have to say that from this point until 50k of the course is the hardest part... where all of the difficult factors of the race really come into play.  The altitude, the climbing, the descending technical terrane, and the lack of Aid.  I also realized, after climbing to the Rochilles Summit, descending to the "Chalets de Laval" 39k Aid Station (6,692 ft.), that I was very dehydrated.  I was not drinking hardly any of the Gatorade in my hydration bladder.  I needed water! I opened and emptied the 3/4 full 2L bladder, filled it with just water, drank two cups of Coke and headed out. On to the beast that is the Col des Beraudes (9,498 ft.)

The epic climb to the highest peak of the course was a steep ~2,800 ft. ascent in less than 2 miles.  This alone would have been hard enough but there were times when the trail either did not exist or was 6 inches in diameter, was on patches of snow, and/or was one step away from a shear drop of hundreds of feet down the mountain.  Now being days removed from this, as usual, the difficulty becomes diminished.  However, the fact that time seemed to move in slow motion, I will never forget.  My neck became very sore from keeping my head down to follow the pick dots painted on rocks to indicate the trail to follow.  Looking up was something I did sparingly, as taking your eyes off the trail seemed to be very dangerous and catching a view of where I was headed seemed to be cruel and unusual treatment of myself.

Mentally I told myself if I could get to the top of this climb, I could finish this course.  Approaching the summit the runners were pushed upward by the music of a Frenchman playing an accordian at the summit.  Going over the summit of the Col des Beraudes I realized why this event is called a "Sky Race".  As the term goes.. I felt like I was at the top of the world.  After being directed across the brief ridge top by 5-6 volunteers I was welcomed by a man pointing toward a rope attached to the mountain.  This rope dropped over the edge and down into a crevas of sorts made up of a sharp rock face with a rope descending down 20 meters.  Holding on to the rope and walking backwards prove to be quite easy.  After a super steep 1k decent we turned back up running on a bed of rocks, both large and sharp, to the Col du Chardonnet (8,654 ft.).  

Finally at 45k, began the 8k (~1,900 ft.) decent down to the last aid station.  By this time, I had been able to consume a good amount of water along with my regular schedule of gels (one every 30 min).  There were stretches of good technical running on this section and I was able to catch a few people.  At the same time, I was also getting lower back and abdominal pains (muscular) most likely caused by the nature of the course and breathing so hard/long at altitude.  I would 
periodically take 2 S! Caps which seemed to help with this.  Arriving at the 53k "Refuge de Buffere (6,811 ft.) Aid Station, I was in a better place mentally.  For the first time a volunteer grabbed my Hydration Unit and filled it with water for me, while I threw down 2 cups of Coke and emptied my trash.  Noticing runners strewn about on the ground (dropouts), I headed out for the final 15k waving and thanking the large crowd that had gathered to cheer.  On this 3k flat section, I quickly caught and passed a runner and closed in on another with poles whom I had been going back and forth with all day.  At 56k, we began the final ascent of the day through forested trails, then alpine meadows, and finally barren ridge top.  Reaching the top of the Col de Buffere (7,962 ft.) at just over 8 hours into the event, I realized I had not gone the bathroom all day.  Definitely dehydrated!  Soon after I was again out of water.

The final decent back into the valley of Serre Chavelier was one of the fastest parts of the course. Unfortunately, my left tibialis anterior tendon at the ankle was not allowing me to run that well down hill.  This final 8k would take more than an hour and without water.  The good news is that I finished without a fall or getting lost.

What an experience!  Sometimes the most difficult experiences can be the most rewarding and educational.  I finished 21st (9:08:53) in the IAU World Trail Challenge Competition and 66th when including the open field.  Thanks to Team Canada for allowing me to hang out with them in Turin, Italy...we had a great time!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

LIVE Updates For IAU World Trail Challenge

Race organizers of the 2nd IAU World Trail Challenge have announced that live updates will be provided along with pre and post race interviews.  Due to remote sections of the course, organizers will often rely on race volunteers to provide updates by way of radio contact.  Feel free to follow along by using the following link:

I will also try to provide pre and post race blog updates when possible.  Thanks for following.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Training For June 14-June 20

A bit of a down week to take care of a few aches and pains:

June 14- 10.5 miles (1:13:16) Home-Rexius TR-Amazon TR-Campus Cemetary-Back; AV 7:02
June 15- 12 miles (1:21:46) DAC-Amazon TR-24th-Pre's TR-VRC Bike Path-Back to DAC w/Susannha Beck; Moderate Pace on Bike Path (6:45, 6:38, 6:39, 6:44).  Lift at Gym.
June 16- Off (Rest Foot/Knee)
June 17- 12 miles (1:24:28) DAC-Amazon TR- Rexius TR-Headwaters Hill-Ridgeline TR-Dillard LP-Back; AV 7:02 (~600 ft. +/-)  Felt Great!
June 18- 12 miles (1:15:44) Amazon Trail x12. 3M Warm Up, 1M w/8x 100m strides (6:02), 4x mile w/400m Recovery continuous- 5:31, 1:40, 5:32, 1:40, 5:30, 1:36, 5:29, 1:33- 5M (28:30) AV 5:42 (5:30.5/1:37), 3M Warm Down (6:45, 6:42, 6:29)
June 19- 15 miles (1:50:40) DAC-Amazon TR-Rexius TR- Headwaters Hill-Ridgeline TR-Spencer Butte Summit-Back (Summit Split Up- 29:46). AV ~7:22. (1,500 ft. +/-) Lift at Gym.
June 20- 20.5 miles (2:26:35) Home- Rexius TR-Amazon TR-24th Ave-Hendricks Park LP-Back-Headwaters Hill-Ridgeline TR-Blanton-Back. AV ~7:20 (~1,700 ft. +/-) Felt Great!

Weekly Total- 82 miles with 3,800 ft. +/-

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Training For June 7- June 13

June 7- 20.5 miles (2:46:18) Home-Headwaters TR- Ridgeline TR to Willamette TR Head- Back to Fox Hollow-Dillard LP x2- Back to Willamette-Back to Fox Hollow-Headwaters- Rexius TR-Amazon TR x2- Back Home; 1st 13M Hilly & Last 7.5 Flat.
June 8- 10 miles (1:11:43) DAC-Pre's Trail-Finger-Theater LP-Back; AV 7:02
June 9- 12 miles (1:26:59) DAC-Amazon TR-Rexius-Headwaters Hill-Ridgeline TR Dillard LP- Back; AV 7:22
June 10- 14.5 miles (1:36:52) DAC- Amazon TR x13-Back. 8M MP Run changed to 2x 4M w/4:42 Rec. (Stomach/Tired). 3.25M WU, 1M w/ strides (6:07), 4M (23:47) AV 5:57-- 5:57, 5:58, 5:56, 5:55, 4:42 Recovery, 4M (23:15) AV 5:49-- 5:51, 5:51, 5:51, 5:40, 2.25M WD
June 11- 10 miles (1:11:53) DAC-Pre's Trail-Finger-Theater LP-Back w/ Lewis T.; AV 7:03, Lift at Gym
June 12- 13 miles (1:48:36) Headwaters Hill- Spencer Butte Summit-Back x2; (31:21 Up, 23:51 Dwn, 30:00 Up, 23:23 Dwn) Felt Good. 3,000 ft. +/-
June 13- 32 miles (4:53/5:05) Hardesty TR-S. Willamette TR-Eula Ridge TR-Hardest Mtn Summit-Hardesty TR Dwn-Goodman Creek TR to Eagles Rest Summit-Back Dwn; 5,500 ft. +/-

Weekly Total 112 miles, 8,500 ft. +/-

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

IAU World Trail Challenge

The next event on my schedule will be the Merrell Serre-Chevalier Race Across The Sky.  The 2009 edition of this event has been designated the 2nd Annual IAU World Trail Challenge. Individuals will represent their respective countries in this rugged alpine event, which boasts 10,500 ft. of gain/loss in elevation.  The course is 68k in the French alpine region along the Grand Randonnee (walking) Trail that links the Guisane Valley with the Claree Valley passing through the Ceres Massif via the summits of the Col de Galibier (8,667 ft.), Col de Beraudes (9,498 ft.), and the Col de Buffere (7,962 ft.) near the Ecrins National Park.  

The two individuals representing the USA will by myself and Ben Nephew of Marshfield, MA.  We both are a bit concerned with the altitude of the course.  I'm not sure about Ben, but I will be able to get a few runs/hikes in at elevations above 6-7,000 ft. prior to leaving for France.  This won't do much but I figure it will be better than nothing.  Most of my focus will be on as much altitude gain/loss than I can safely handle.  Basically getting the quads ready for the long ups and downs. 

A second concern is the fact that there will only be three aid stations along the 42 mile course (6.5-7.5 hours of racing).  As a result, race officials will have an equipment check prior to the start, making sure everyone has the minimum requirement of 2 liters of fluid.  Race organizers also "recommend" that everyone carry "survival" gear and to be prepared for alpine conditions.  I think I will just stick with the usual equipment with the addition of the Nathan HPL 2.0L Racing Vest/Bladder and a light jacket.

If anyone out there has had experiences running in the French Alps or in a race such as this, I would love to hear any suggestions you may have on what to expect or how to approach this event.

A great highlight video can be seen at the link below:

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Training For May 31- June 6

Mt Hardesty (photo by Brian Jenkins)

May 31- 32 miles (~5:20) Mt. Hardesty TR- S. Willamette Trail- Eula Ridge TR- Mt Hardesty Summit- Mt. Hardesty TR Back- Goodman Creek TR to Eagles Rest Summit- Back w/Olmstead, Thornley, Wolfe, 5,500 ft. +/-
June 1- 10 miles (1:11:38) DAC- Pre TR- Theater LP- Back, AV 7:03
June 2- 12 miles (1:29:46) DAC- Amazon TR- Rexius- Headwaters TR- Ridgeline Dillard LP- Back w/ Lewis Taylor, AV ~7:30, Lift at Gym
June 3- 12 miles (1:22:34) DAC- Pre TR- Finger- Valley River BP- Back, AV 6:54
June 4- 10.5 miles (1:13:42) DAC- Amazon TR- Rexius- Headwaters Hill- Back (Hill 9:35 split), AV ~7:00
June 5- 13 miles (1:28:08) Amazon TR x13- 3M WU- 1M w/8x 100m strides (6:08), 1M- 5:34, Rec. 2:00, 2M 11:17 (5:37- 5:40), Rec. 2:00, 1M (5:30), Rec. 2:00, 2M 11:11 (5:39- 5:32), 3M WD
June 6- 22 miles (5:17 total/4:35) Rooster Rock x2 w/Thornley, 9,000 ft. +/-

Weekly Total- 111.5 miles w/14,500 ft. +/-

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Training For May 24-May 31

May 24- 31 miles- PCTR Forest Park 50k (3:41:39) 2nd place, 3,500 ft. +/-
May 25- 6.5 miles (46:21) AV 7:18 Home-Rexius-Amazon x1. L Knee Sore
May 26- 11.5 miiles (1:20:04) AV 7:03 Home-Rexius TR-Amazon x 1.5-Campus Cemetary
May 27- 10.5 miles (1:14:17) DAC-Amazon TR-Rexius-Headwaters Hill-Back
May 28- 10.5 miles (1:15:30) DAC-Amazon TR-Rexius-Headwaters Hill-Back, Lift at Gym
May 29- 13 miles (1:56:33) Headwaters TR-Ridgeline-Spencer Butte Summit- Back x2, 3,000 ft. +/-
May 30- 12 miles (1:21:10)  AV 6:46, Home-Rexius-Amazon TR-24th-Campus-Pre Trail Theater LP, Fartlek 10x2min w/min Recovery (5M- 6:22, 6:19, 6:06, 6:19, 6:25) 

Weekly Total- 95 miles  6,500 ft. +/-

Monday, May 25, 2009

PCTR Forest Park 50k

It was hard to believe that I had lived in Oregon for 13 years and had yet to experience the Wildwood Trail of Forest Park within downtown Portland.  That changed this past weekend when I headed north for the PCTR Forest Park 50k.  Forest Park is one of the largest urban forest reserves in the United States, stretching nearly 8 miles (5,100 acres) through the hillsides overlooking the Willamette River.  The Wildwood Trail seems to be the most popular and travels 31 miles end to end.  The majority of this event was run on the Wildwood Trail but started at the Lower Macleay Trail and utilized other trails and dirt roads in a lolipop configuration.  In retrospect, most of the race was on rolling single track with a few longer climbs.

This event was a chance to put in a good hard training effort, while not backing off to much in volume like I normally would.  It seems I had just returned to normal training volume this past week and wanted to stay focused on bigger events this summer.  Having said that...I still would like to have a shot a winning the race.

I arrived early to make sure I got where I needed to go and learned as much as I could about the course.  According to the RD, the course markings have been vandalized (moved) by the those hoping to guide runners off course the past three years.  This year the RD made the ribbons very small so as not to offend the locals.  At the start my biggest concern turned out to be not missing a turn and being sent off in to the wilderness.

Within a few minutes we were on the single track and climbing.  A few guys took off up ahead, while I was happy to run with the a guy I knew had won the race last year (Ruben Galbraith).  I knew he new the course!  He tucked in behind and we started the normal conversation that runners start up during a lower key ultra event (the course, the weather, why some like to vandalize course markings, etc.).  The weather was great and the course very rolling, winding, and mostly dry and fast.  I always come to a time during the first 20 minutes of a new trail event where I feel like I am running in to the great unknown.  For the most part, I have no idea what to expect out of this course.  What I do know is ~3,500 ft. gain/loss, single track, and aid every 10k.

I lead the way up to the first aid station at Firelane 1, refilled my bottle, and headed out with Ruben down a wide dirt road to the next section of single track.  It was hear that we picked up one of the members of the early break away group, Ryne Melcher, and we were now three.  This was also the turn around for those running the 20k event.  As I lead the way back onto the single track, we came across a guy cussing and swearing coming back at us and looking for the 20k turn around.  After pointing him in the right direction we continued on.  Ruben and Ryne were talking up a storm behind me while I was just content on keeping the train rolling.

Since the American River 50 April 10th, I had been dealing with a knee issue that had pretty much kept me on the flats.  Therefore, I was really trying to focus on how my knee was feeling on this rolling terraine.  I was very happy so far and felt pretty good.

Somewhere around the 1 hour mark Ruben was at the front leading (after I took a wrong turn and then caught myself) and Ryne was in the third position.  We made it to the Saltman 1 aid station (20k) uneventfully.  However, soon after leaving the aid station, Ruben and I separated ourselves from Ryne and would not see him again until the finish.  From Saltman 1 to Saltman 2 aid stations we would tackle the longest climbs and decents on the course on our way around the 10k loop.  Just prior to leaving the aid station I over heard Ruben tell the volunteer that he was going to leave his bottle on the table (which I thought was odd) until he got back.  This is something I would not do, as I would not want to be without fluid for the 45 min loop. However, strategically he probably saved a bit of time at a crucial part later in the race.

Ruben was one of the nicest competitors I have come across.  He was very relaxed, talkative and polite throughout the whole event.  At one point around 35k he stopped to wait for me while I re-tied my shoelaces.  This he did not have to do and in a 50k event is rare.  All of this combined with the bounce he had the whole day told me he had alot left for last half of a course he trained on daily and had won the year before.  When he opened a gap on me on the longest climb of the day back up to the 30k Saltman 2 aid station, I was not surprised.  I still felt great and was running well but he seemed to have a bit more pop and opened a gap.  I climbed well up to Saltman 2 and realized, as I filled my bottle that Ruben picked up 20 seconds or so by just grabbing his filled bottle (that he had left at the start of the 10k loop).  Damn!

Up through 30k, I had stuck to my typical nutrition plan of a Powergel every 45 minutes and as much electrolyte drink as I could get down (~16 oz. every 10k).  Leaving the 30k aid station at 2:14, I would up my Powergel consumption to every 30 min.  Initially, we were back on the wide expansive dirt road and I could see Ruben up ahead 200m.  I felt like I was maintaining or closing the gap.  However, once we got back on the winding single track, I did not feel safe taking my eyes off the trail to look ahead for him.  Still feeling good I just ran my rythym.

When I hit the Firelane 1 aid station, which involves a bit of an out and back from the return trail, I did not see Ruben and new that he had a good gap.  Leaving the 40k aid station  at 2:59 with my 6th and final bottle of electrolytes, I new I was still at course record pace (3:45 by Mike Wolfe).  After a mile or two, I was starting to slow a bit on the rolling up hills but felt great on the downs.  Recalling that Ruben said the final three miles was mostly downhill, I felt encouraged.  As I approached the final 30 min of the course, winding my way back down to Lower Macleay Trailhead, I had an odd sensation of just being on a training run on the Ridgeline Trail in Eugene.  I ran by 2-3 people (not in the race) that I knew and we yelled a hello.  It was the first time I was finishing an ultra event with a fresh mind and body.  I guess I have learned much over the last year since my first ultra at the Way Too Cool 50k.  Much of what I learned has been about the importance of calories and electrolytes.  At WTC, I only put down 2 1/2 gels and a few bottles of electrolytes.  Contrast that to the 5 gels and nearly 6 bottles of electrolytes consumed this day would explain why I was feeling the way I was.

Back to the race.  As I ran down the last 1-2 miles to the Lower Macleay Trailhead, I had to do a fair amount of shouting  of "coming up behind you".  This was because of the locals out on the trail with young children, dogs, etc.. who were for some reason not expecting a half-naked, approaching middle-aged ultra running zealot to be barreling down the trail at them.  Needless to say, I had a strong finish feeling great and surprised by my time of 3:41:39.  Ruben had set the new course record of 3:38:48 and Ryne (the Canadian) came home 3rd in 4:02:09.  On the Women's side, Erin Perkin of Portland 4:19:01 had a smokin last 100m to run away from Martha Blackwell 4:19:09 and Amy Cowan came third in 4:44:07

I was very happy with my result but would be lying if I said I was not surprised my the young Galbraith lad.  I look forward to seeing his debut at 50M at the PCT50 later in the summer.  

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Training for May 17-23

May 17th- 29 miles (3:49) McKenzie River Trail w/Woodke and Wolfe. Warm 91 degrees
May 18th- 12 miles (1:22:00) DAC-Pre's Trail-VR Bike Path LP, AV 6:49
May 19th- 12 miles (~1:28) DAC-Amazon TR-Rexius- Ridgeline TR Headwaters Hill- Dillard LP w/L. Taylor
May 20th- 13.5 miles (1:33:20) DAC-Amazon TR x8-Thornley's House-Back--3.25 WU, 1M w/8x stride (6:06), 4x Mile w/400m Recovery- 5:35, 1:41, 5:36, 1:40, 5:31, 1:37, 5:32, 1:38- 5M  (28:53) AV 5:46.8 (5:33.5/1:39), 5.25 WD, Lift at Gym
May 21st- 10.5 miles (1:15:08) w/L. Taylor, DAC-Amazon TR- Rexius- Headwaters Hill-Back AV ~7:10, Lift at Gym
May 22nd- 8.5 miles (57:31) Home- Rexius TR-Amazon TR x3- Back, AV 6:52. Felt Good.
May 23rd- 8.5 miles (57:16) Home- Rexius TR-Amazon TR x3-Back, AV 6:50 (6:43, 6:40, 6:39) Felt Good.

Weekly Total- 95

Will run PCTR Forest Park 50k tomorrow as "good" training run.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

So Close!

                                       Photo by Jean Pommier

American River 50

1. Max King, 6:04:44
2. Dave Mackey, 6:12:13
3. Chikara Omine, 6:12:46
4. Matt Lonergan, 6:13:53 

Race report will come after I recover from the loss of what could have been..... in a day or two.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Last Week Before American River 50

 Mar 22- 26 miles (3:07:17) AV 7:12, First 21 Flat (7:00 pace) on Roads & Trails, then 3M climb up Fox Hollow Rd. to Ridgeline Trail-Butte TR Head (23 min), finished with down hill and flat.  Felt good.
Mar 23- 12 miles (1:23:33) AV 6:58, DAC- Pre Trail-Finger-Back-VR Bike Path LP
Mar 24- 11 miles (1:17:14) AV 7:00, Home-Rexius-Amazon x3- Back-Headwaters Hill; felt good on the hill (9:39)
Mar 25- 12 miles (1:17:18) DAC-Amazon TR x9-Back--2.5m WU, 1 mile with strides (6:17), 5x 800m On/Off- 2:41-3:14-2:44-3:18-2:43-3:17-2:44-3:18-2:44-3:14- 5M (30:02) AV 6:00 (2:43/3:16), 2.5m WD, Lift at Gym.  Tired today....windy.
Mar 26- Off (Rest) Massage
Mar 27- 13 miles (1:29:31) AV 6:55- Home-Rexius-Amazon x3- Back- Add On with Craig-Headwaters Hill.  Felt Good on Hill (9:29)
Mar 28 19.5 miles (2:07:45) Pre Trail-VR Bike Path-Pre Trail--4.25 WU- 8x strides- 10M MP Run (59:23) AV 5:56- 5.25 WD.  Felt Good.

Weekly Total- 93

Now time to rest and get ready for AR 50.  

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Bit Of Rest

After a progressive buildup in volume and intensity over the past 4 weeks and the fact that I was quite tired after last week, I decided to take a bit of a recovery week.  

Mar 15- 12.5 miles Home-Headwaters-Dillard LP-Blanton-Back (1:40) Very Tired!
Mar 16- 12 miles DAC-Pre-Finger-Valley River BP-Back (1:24:01) AV 7:01
Mar 17- 8 miles DAC-Amazon-Rexius-Back (57:48) AV 7:15, Lift at Gym, Chiro TX
Mar 18- 10 miles DAC-Pre-Finger-Theater LP-Back (1:11:00) AV 7:03
Mar 19- 0 miles, Rest, Massage
Mar 20- 12 miles Amazon Trail x12 (1:18:17), 3M WU, 1M w/strides (6:17), 4x Mile w/400R- 5:34- 1:47R- 5:36- 1:50R- 5:33- 1:43R- 5:33- 1:44R- 5M (29:23) AV 5:52.7 (5:34/1:46), 3M WD, Lift at Gym
Mar 21- 10.5 miles Home-Rexius-Amazon x1- Campus Cematary-Back (1:12:40) AV 7:05

Weekly Total- 65

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Coming Along.....

Mar 8- ~26 miles (3:46), Home-Headwaters TR-Dillard-Mt. Baldy TR-Back to Dillard-Blanton-Dillard LP-Spencer Butte Summit-N. Face Butte Summit-Home w/Lewis Taylor
Mar 9- 6 miles (44:30) DAC -Pre Trail-Back, AV 7:24
Mar 10- 12 miles (1:23:00) DAC-Pre TR-Finger-Valley River BP-Back, AV 6:57
Mar 11- 12.5 miles (1:21:43) DAC-Amazon TR x10-Back--2.5 WU, 1M w/strides (6:21), 3x 2Mile w/800m Recovery- 5:49, 5:50, 3:30R, 5:48, 5:47, 3:37R, 5:50, 5:49- 7M (42:03) AV 6:00 (5:49/3:33), 2.5WD, Lift at Gym
Mar 12- 12 miles (1:26:51) DAC-Amazon-Rexius-Headwaters Hill-Dillard LP-Back, AV ~7:10
Mar 13- 12 miles (1:28:21) Home-Rexius TR-Amazon x1- Back-Headwaters Hill-Dillard LP x2-Home (2nd Half Hilly)
Mar 14- 20.5 miles (2:14:00) Valley River Bike Path LP x 3.5, Up Tempo (20M 2:10:01 AV 6:27)

Weekly Total- 101

Tomorrow will be a hilly 20 on the Ridgeline Trail if all goes well.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

More Training. More Training Needed.

Mar 1- ~20 miles (3:02) Home-Headwaters-Butte Summit-Dillard-Mt Blady-Spring Blvd-Rexius-Fox Hollow Rd.-Butte Halfway-Home w/Thornley, Rielly, Nate, Eric- EZ Ups/Downs
Mar 2- 10 miles (1:11:20) DAC-Pre-Finger-Theater LP-Back, AV 7:04
Mar 3- 10.5 miles (~1:17) No Watch, DAC-Amazon TR-Rexius-Headwaters Hill-Back, Lift at Gym
Mar 4- 13 miles (1:25:26) DAC-VR Bike Path x2-Back--1M EZ, 10M Up Tempo (1:04:20) AV 6:26, 2M EZ 
Mar 5- 10.5 miles (1:15:13) DAC-Amazon TR-Rexius-Headwaters Hill-Back, AV ~7:10
Mar 6- 10.5 miles (1:13:19) Home-Rexius-Amazon x1-Campus Cemetary-Back, AV 7:02
Mar 7- 11 miles (1:11:36) Amazon Trail x11, 3M WU, 1M with 8 Strides (6:12), 4x mile w/400R Jog continuous- 5:36-1:44-5:39-1:45-5:40-1:43-5:37-1:44 (29:33) 5M AV 5:54 (5:38/1:44), 2M WD, Lift at Gym

Weekly Total - 85

Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Bit Of Progress

Feb 22- 15 miles (1:52:37) Rexius-Headwaters-Ridgeline-Blanton-Back, AV 7:30 Hilly
Feb 23- 9 miles (1:03:06) DAC-Pre-Finger-Back, AV 7:09
Feb 24- 10.5 miles (1:15:17) DAC-Amazon-Rexius-Headwaters-Back
Feb 25- 10 miles (1:10:50) DAC-Pre-Finger-Theater LP-Back, AV 7:05, 6:49, 6:48, 6:53, 6:43
Feb 26- AM 8.5 miles (57:21) DAC-Amazon-Back w/3M Tempo (6:02, 6:04, 5:58), AV 6:50, Lift PM 11 miles (1:32:56) Thornley's-Rexius-Headwaters-Butte-Blanton-Back, Hilly EZ AV ~8:30 w/Lamps
Feb 27- 9 miles (1:01:19) DAC-Pre-Finger-Back, AV 7:02
Feb 28- 8.5 miles (57:06) Home-Rexius-Amazon x3 w/ 3M Fartlek (1 min on/off), AV 6:50, 6:26, 6:20, 6:18, 6:53, 6:44

Weekly Total- 81

Looking forward to another longer run tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sunmart 50 Race Report

Back-up plans are a good thing.  My original plan for the fall of 2008 was the Masochist Mountain 50 in Lynchburg, Virginia.  The goal being a top 3 finish and the automatic qualification for the 2009 Western States 100 that goes with it.  Unfortunately, falling down the front steps three weeks before would deny me the chance to tackle the notoriously brutal east cost course.

After regrouping and refocusing, I would ultimately end up in Huntsville State Park, just outside Houston, Texas for the Sunmart Texas Trail Endurance Runs on December 6th.  I new qualifying for WS100 would have to wait until later.  So, for my back-up plan I would just try to run a fast "flat" 50 miler.  The only 50 under my belt was the White River 50 in Washington earlier in the year, and that is not flat.

The weekend definitely did not start out smoothly.  I missed a connecting flight while traveling down from Eugene, Oregon and did not arrive until 8:00PM the night before the race.  Knowing I would miss packet pick-up, I called ahead to have mine left at the front desk of the host hotel.  After grabbing a quick bite to eat (missed pre race dinner and speaker Bob Kennedy) and getting situated in my room, I was finally able to lay everything out for the early rise at 4:30AM.  I got a solid 3 hours sleep.

One of my biggest concerns was the weather.  The 2007 race was dealt temps in the mid 80's and most of the runners suffered.  However, this year conditions were ideal.  Getting out of the van at Huntsville State Park it was a crisp 28 degrees.  Perfect.  My first order of business upon arriving was to find a cup of coffee and use the facilities.  I would pass on the full breakfast that was being served to all the runners.  After that was done, I just jogged lightly for 5-10 minutes and got my bearings with the general flow of the start/finish area .  By the time I knew it, it was time to go.

I really had no idea what the field was going to be like.  The only person I recognized at the start was Mark Godale, who had run 5:56 at Sunmart in the past and a 3:16 50k earlier in the year.  My plan was just to run how I felt with whoever was there.  Having run 3:17 at the Autumn Leaves 50k three weeks earlier, I was not worried at all about the pace.  My only concern was how I would feel after 40 miles, as this would be new territory at this sort of pace.  The horn went off and I felt great!  After about a half mile, I looked over my shoulder and saw just one guy 10 meters behind me.  Soon after, I yelled back to him "What's ya name?".  He said "Martin" (Martin Tighe from Providence, RI).

We ran together for the first 11.5 miles with great conversation about all things New England (myself being from the Boston area and the University of New Hampshire).  At this point I made a quick jump into the bushes carefully checking the area for the Texas alligators.  When I reached the end of lap 1, of which there are 4 (12.5 miles each), Martin was taking on fluids and snacks at the aid station and digging in his bag for a hat.  I think he regretted not carrying a bottle or gels with him throughout the race.  After passing him here, I did not think I would be on my own for the remainder of the race.  I guess the pace was a bit quick for the first loop (1:23).

One great thing about the Sunmart course are the two out and back sections where you are able to keep tabs on those ahead or behind.  It was here on lap 2 that I saw my lead growing over Martin and Wynn Davis in third.  Feeling good, I just kept the effort solid and steady flow of Power Gels, electrolytes, and S- Caps.  As a result, I hit the 25 mile mark at the end of lap 2 in 2:48 (1:24 split).  At this point my lead was 6 minutes over Martin.  I knew it was still very early and I needed to keep putting fluids down and to get through lap 3 of this often slightly technical and rolling course.

By the time I got myself around the 12.5 mile circuit of the penultimate lap, the fast early pace had started to catch up to me.  I new this would happen, as it is the nature of the beast.  Lap 3 went in 1:31 for a cumulative time of 4:18 at mile 37.5.  A bit of quick math told me I could be well under 6 hours but I was approaching the uncharted territory that worried me before the start.  Without the higher temperatures (high was 62 prior to my finish), the only worry was how my body would react to the distance over the final part of the course.

On the final out and back, my lead was 12 minutes with approximately 1 hour of running left.  It was here I noticed my body weight getting very low and new I was low on calories.  I began taking a Power Gel every 15 minutes along with 2-3 S-Caps.  With 4 miles to go, hamstring cramps and an abdominal stich forced me to take a couple of walking breaks to clear it up.  Then I realized how close I was to the finish and saw my sub 6 hour finish going out the window.  This was enough to rattle my cage and get the legs moving again.

Through the final aid station I started to get excited because I new the win was coming.  I crossed the finish line in 5:56:06.  A time I had aspirations of running, but was unsure that it could actually happen.  I sat down in a chair in my post race haze, smiled, and almost shed a tear,  I don't win many races and not everyone gets the opportunity to win a race like Sunmart.  As far as back-up plans go, this was a good one.

Martin Tighe (6:20:36) held off the hard charging Justin Ricks of Colorado who finished third in 6:21:10.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Nothing Exciting Yet

2/15- 9.5 miles (1:07:51) Rexius-Amazon TR-Campus, AV 7.12
2/16- 8.5 miles (59:44) Rexius-Amazon TR x3, AV 7:12 
2/17- 8.7 miles (1:01:26) DAC-Pre TR-Finger, AV 7.04
2/18- 9 miles (1:04:06) DAC-Rexius-Amazon TR x1, AV 7.10 
2/19- 8.8 miles (1:02:04) DAC-Pre-Finger w/Lewis Taylor, AV 7:10
2/20- 10 miles (1:10:37) Rexius-Amazon TR-Hendricks, Hilly, AV 7:10
2/21- 9.5 miles (1:06:50) Rexius-Amazon TR-Campus, AV 7:07

Weekly Total- 64

First longer run tomorrow.  Feeling a bit anxious to get on the hills again.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Finally Back Running

After spending the better part of 10 weeks since Sunmart on the shelf, I seem to be back on the trail again.  I am still dealing with the hip flexor issue, but it is getting better, stronger, and allowing me to build back up in the running department.  I spent the last couple of months mostly on the Eliptical for 60-90 minutes at a time and recently began adding walk/jog sessions afterwards.  The following is essentially my first week back running:

2/08- 7 miles (52:53) Rexius-Amazon TR, AV 7:34, 52 min walk/jog hilly, Ridgeline TR
2/09- 7 miles Rexius-Amazon TR (52:58) AV 7:34
2/10- 7.5 miles Trail (54:50) AV 7:22, R Hamstring, Rolfing Session
2/11- 7.5 miles Rex-Amazon TR, AV 7:18
2/12- 8 miles (57:13) DAC-Amazon-Rexius TR
2/13- 10 miles (1:17:45) Am-Rexius-Headwaters-Dillard LP, AV 7:11 (1st 6.5), 2nd 1/2 Hilly
2/14- 8.5 miles (59:20) Rex-Amazon TR, AV 7:04, Better (6:56, 6:51, 6:47)

Weekly Total- 55

It feels great to be running again.  Hopefully in 4-6 weeks I will be much further along.


Related Posts with Thumbnails