Thursday, September 17, 2015

San Juan Solstice race report (2nd overall) JUNE

SAN JUAN SOLSTICE: A true mountain race.  2nd place overall. 9hrs 34min
Lake City is a great little “untouched” mountain town in the San Juan’s, evident by the amount of “for sale” signs we saw on local businesses and property. It’s a 90minute drive or so from Gunnison. You could probably hike from Lake City to Ouray as fast as you could drive; since you have to go all the way around a few major mountains. This race has been going on for 25 years and is truly a classic ultra. 50 miles with almost 13k of vertical many have dubbed it the “mini hardrock”. It’s truly a town run race, and I heard a good chunk of the town’s residents help and volunteer for the race. Look at the top times on ultra-sign up and you’ll see a who’s who of talented ultra-runners.

We had a great little Cabin just a couple blocks from the start. Race morning we got ready, ate 3 eggs with spinach and a couple cups of coffee. Me and Becca woke up Ryder, who was honestly just super pumped to be up at 4:30! And he kept telling us this was the earliest he had ever been up, It was a great boost to see him get psyched for something so simple and was a good reminder to be happy and positive going into the race . Max and my Mom slept in in the other cabin. Myself and the legendary Casey Hill jogged to the 5am start in the dark where we met up with our teammate Greg  and Becca, Ryder and my Dad. We waited in the street for the start with a few hundred other head lamped folks all tackling a long tough day in the mountains. Boom….nice mellow jog out of town on some dirt roads as we gradually started uphill. Everyone was perfectly content to take it easy this early. A couple miles comes the first of several river crossings. It’s a smaller creek but was raging enough there are ropes (that you need to hold into!) to help you across. I think we crossed through the water about 7 or 8 times with the deepest one getting my shorts wet. At this point we were just a few miles in and the climb really starts to go up once we got through soaking our feet. The field had thinned out and I found myself in 3rd place with Casey and a couple other guys just behind us. Jesse Rickert from Gunnison and Micheal Barlow (Aspen) where the two dudes I found myself off the front with. I found out Jesse had run the race several times and our pace was solid but very manageable so I settled in and decided he was a good person be with. Michael basically dropped us halfway up the first steep climb! Me and Jesse powerhiked and wondered out loud if Michael would blow up or crush us (he crushed). The race climbs roughly 5k in the first 10 miles and as we got above tree line I made sure to slow down a few times and breathe in the views as I was sucking wind around 12,000 feet. Jesse and I just kept a good cruising pace over some pretty rough sections up high and could see Mike about 60-90 seconds in front of us. As we started the few mile decent into the first aid station (mile 15-16) I pulled away from Jesse and actually caught Michael. We chatted and jogged into the aid station in 1st and 2nd place. I was reminding myself we still had a ton of racing and don’t be dumb. Becca, my Dad, and Ryder had everything ready to go. Dropped off my headlamp, grabbed some gels, and filled the flasks with Skratch and water. We left the aid station at the same time and ran the few miles of dirt road to the next big climb. Around mile 18-19 we veered off the road and started up a steep 4x4 road/trail. Within a couple minutes he dropped me and was running super solid. I wasn’t feeling stellar so I settled down and started power hiking the steep stuff, soon I was mostly just hiking and my legs felt slow and heavy. I looked back as one does when feeling crappy, and saw Jesse quickly gaining on me. We rolled into the Mile 22-23 aid station together and he left just before me. I ate some watermelon and even grabbed some coke. I could see him just a minute or less in front of me as we once again where above tree line. I continued to struggle and lose time, I kept waiting to feel better, but I just got slower and my quads were hurting pretty bad. After a couple false summits to the highest point of the race (around 12,500ft) I got passed again, this time by Dustin Simeon. He was moving well and I tried to stay on his feet, it didn’t work. I was warned the 9-10 mile section up on the continental divide was tough and be ready. Since I was already hurting and had dropped to 4th I wasn’t exactly “feeling it” at all. I had to stop and stretch the quads a couple times, and the snow sections really slowed the pace. A couple times I was up to my waist in snow drifts. I just tried to keep moving and hope things got better. Once I got a little lower my pace increased in a bit but I felt like I was losing ground and was truly waiting for more people to pass me. When I got close to the aid station around mile 34-35  I saw Dustin running out so he was only about 4-5 minutes in front of me. This gave me a little boost knowing I wasn’t totally dragging. I made sure to eat some more food and coke, fill up on skratch and get moving. The race volunteer’s here were awesome and really encouraging. After a mile or so I slowly started to feel better but my quads were totally fried. I could still run, but it hurt. After stressing for a bit thinking I was off course for 10-15 minutes (I wasn’t) it was a steep descent into mile 40 aid station. I knew the whole family was there so I tried to hammer it in. The legs hurt whether I walked/jogged/ran so I ran as best I could. I decided to ditch the vest and go one handheld bottle for the last 10 miles. I made a fast transition at the aid station and it was great seeing the boys cheering. Becca jogged out with me and told me 2nd and 3rd place guys where 7-8 minutes in front of me, she also said they didn’t look great (she would never say they looked strong right?). I had to dig deep, real deep. I was hurting and knew we had 10 miles left and a one more tough climb (2-3miles long). I decided I would absolutely bury myself to see if I could catch them, and if I didn’t then 4th was ok. It was a huge mental challenge, but mentally I didn’t want to give up and I wanted to see myself pass them or completely implode trying. I grabbed two sticks (nature's trekking poles) at the start of the climb and power hiked really well up the 2+ miles…I finally saw them both together in a big meadow opening. I timed the gap and I had closed it to 4min. This was another good boost, but we only had 5 miles or so to go. I ran a couple downhill sections pretty reckless but I knew I had to do everything I could to catch them. I saw Jesse and right as I passed him I saw the last aid station and Dustin was there dumping water on his head (it was pretty hot by now) I just filled my bottle and kept running. When I passed Dustin I decided to run as hard as my legs would allow for 3-4 minutes just to gap him and Jesse. The adrenaline surged and I felt awesome for a couple short minutes…then reality hit and I thought for sure they would catch me again. The steeper stuff was killing my quads and I even had to run backwards a couple times to help. Once I could see the river and town I knew I was ok since it was only a mile or so to the finish. As I ran into town it felt so great to see the family and I could hear Becca before I could see her (as usual!) Felt really good to know I had raced my way back into 2nd place, but I was smashed…totally smashed.
Gear List:
Shoes:  HOKA Challenger ATR the whole way
Socks: Stance Fusion Run (awesome, no blister, fast drying)
Nutrition: Skratch labs drink mix, some GU gels,  Epic bar, Watermelon/coke at aid station
Other: Patagonia shorts, Champ system Jersey and Jacket, Salomon s-lab vest (killer)

Fear the Deer half-marathon (2nd overall) MAY

I've been seriously blog slacking I'm gonna update my entire summer in a few posts.

Back in May I raced the Fear The Deer half-marathon close to home at Deer Creek park. It had been raining like crazy, so training was interesting leading into the race and it fully felt like the PNW
here in Colorado for a few weeks. Myself and teammate James Walsh were both racing and honestly though the race would be cancelled. Luckily the trails are pretty "gravely" and the water drained well and the trails actually weren't terribly muddy. Race morning was overcast and drizzling and rain was coming...It was kinda cool and way different than our "normal conditions". People milling around the start were complaining about conditions which I find so bizarre. My thoughts: If you don't like the conditions, don't one is forcing you. Why start the race in a bad mood or negative place? I think being positive CAN affect your race as much as fitness. Noticed some legit fast folks at the start. (J. Marshall Thompson, Stevie Kremer, and some fast marathon road guy (Jason Fitzgerald I think?) the race director called out before the start. (no pressure!)...and of course my buddy James is always crazy fast even though he was just "training".  My goal was really to break 1:40 for a hard 13.1 miles with roughly 2500ft of climbing. I knew if I felt good I should break 1:40 by a few minutes and hopefully be in mix for a top 3 finish. It's fairly technical but runnable terrain and favors strength over turnover. I know these trails really well and hoped that would help me out.

J Marshall and Jason F. quickly took the lead on the climb right outa the gate. I was hanging back just a bit and was pretty maxed out on the climb, but still within myself. Once we hit a first little downhill I caught up to Jason really fast, as his descending was slow...I realized that second this guy is definitely a road runner and with the amount of hard downhill's we had left I could put time on him and hope he didn't crush me too bad on the climbs. The three of us already had a decent gap and started up "the wall" together for the rest of the first long climb. It was obvious J Marshall was the guy to beat. He is a world class skimo racer and has won all kinds of mountain races of all distances. I could tell Jason was working harder than us so I was happy to ride his feet and wait to see what happened. I topped out at Plymouth around 19min and they only had about 20 seconds on me. Caught back up to Jason and passed him (he was struggling) and could see Marshall up a few seconds. We hit first turnaround together and started back down to main trail (red mesa loop) was drizzling and pretty cold, but and we were pushing hard. On way back we saw the rest of the top 5-6 runners and James was crushing and making up ground big time. On the long descent before the last climb I pulled into the lead and realized maybe I could out descend him (or he was just letting me dangle?!) On the last grind up to Plymouth loop he put in a solid effort and dropped me. At the second turnaround he had about 30 seconds on me. On they way back I saw James and he had just passed Jason and a couple others. I hammered the descent and could see Marshall a few times but knew I wasn't likely to catch him. As I got close and saw Becca and the boys there cheering me on. I was trying not fall as this was the muddiest and slickest section of the whole race. I finished in 135:48 (exactly a minute behind J Marshall) and was told we both ran CR on a slightly longer course in the rain. James had a great first race in his new Colorado home for 3rd.

Friday, May 8, 2015

well ok

My every 6month update....and gotta say I'm excited for 2015. Started off the season as I have the last couple with a great MOAB training camp and we also raced the ADVENTURE XTREME adventure race with Patrick Valentine. We won last year and had hoped to win again, but after missing a checkpoint and losing a bit of time we didn't have a big enough cushion starting the long paddle section. We out ran and out biked the guys that beat us, but with a faster paddle they came out on top. Still had a ton of fun and good to push hard for 7hrs (ouch). We also did some killer Moab riding and rode Captain Ahab's for the first fun! I now have a new favorite Moab trail.

Training is good and I got Patrick coaching me again for this season of races. My main focus is SAN JUAN SOLTICE at the end of JUNE...this classic 50miler in the San Juans looks amazing and hard. After that I'll be gearing up for some long days up high as I train for the BEAR100 in Utah.

MAY-Deer creek 1/2 marathon (trail race)
JUNE-GoPro Games (ultimate mountain challenge)
JUNE- San Juan Solstice 50 run (so psyched for this one)
SEPT- The BEAR100 run (equally psyched)

Friday, October 10, 2014

RUN RABBIT RUN 100 (2014)

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. - Haruki Murakami

After all the hours; I’m getting ready to start a journey that will last somewhere around 18-30hrs. There is a nervous calmness at the start line…I know that this will hurt and this will be awesome. I have decided I will not suffer no matter what. I will take the pain and keep my mantra and feet going…FOCUS AND JOY. If I’m focused I’ll be strong, if I keep the joy I won’t

When the sun rose and I was done, I was really stoked to finish in 6th place (20:12) behind some really elite runners. Very happy to execute my second 100mile race well, and push through the lows and embrace the highs. Running 100 miles will hurt even when it’s going well. Your mind and heart have to be on board 100% and staying positive is an extremely powerful tool.
The run rabbit run course which covers about 105miles in Steamboat Colorado is no joke. There aren’t many easy miles (if any)…you gotta work the whole time, which for me was 20hrs and 12min. Lots of up and down the whole time adding up to a bit over 20,000ft of climbing. After the race, Jeff Browning described this course as “it’s relentless and you have be good at running almost everything to do well”. Basically one long 4k climb at the start and another 3-4k climb at mile 70 (ouch!) the rest is essentially all up and down with climbs between 1k and 2k and the rest is made up of a bunch more shorter ups and downs. Only 8 miles total is on a paved road, the rest is mainly single-track and rough jeep roads and is beautiful. The race started euro style at noon so it was nice to sleep in a bit and get final stuff prepped that morning. I double checked everything and chilled out with some music and ate 10 more donuts (not really). Mentally I was in a good place and ready to get the painjoy that is 100miles rolling. It really helped to have Becca, my Dad, and the boys around…they were as ready and hyped as I was! The start of a 100 mile race is probably a bit of a letdown if you are a spectating! Imagine world class runners starting a race at a measly jog…and within a few minutes we were all pretty much speed hiking all the steep stuff. About ¾ of the way to the top of Mount Werner, I grabbed a fresh bottle from Becca and high fived the dudes (mile 4ish). I was sitting in the top 15 or so and we had a good train of 6-9 guys running a solid (but doable) pace to the aid station at mile 12. Rob Krar was in our group and I could tell he was working way less than everyone else…he won the race. As we rolled into the aid station Nick Clark was already a couple minutes off the front of our chase pack with Zeke T. right behind him. As we left the aid station there was suddenly a weird scramble among our chase group and the pace increased to a speed I did not want to run this early in the race. Myself and Josh Vaughn stuck together and hoped a smart race of not pushing the pace early would pay off. Our new buddy Jim Rebenack caught up to us on the descent so the three of us rolled into fish creek aid station (around 17miles)…We hit the 4 mile road section and pretty much stayed together the next 30 miles. We hit the Cow creek aid station (mile 31ish) and my Dad and Becca where perfectly ready (as always) I refueled and got a few calories down. As we left cow creek I hit a bad patch for 20 min or so…I thought I would lose Josh and Jim but was able to get back on the train. We kept a manageable but steady pace, even though all of us had our own issues going on. As we rolled into Olympian Hall (mile 43) I was feeling better but also realized the last 40miles was tough and I was a little wrecked. I grabbed some coke, a fresh shirt, and a headlamp. it was just after 7pm. Becca told me the lead pack was all together and was only 15-20 minutes in front of us (not a huge gap for 7hrs into a 20hr race). This was also the only short section (4miles) you could have a pacer and it was great sharing a few miles with my amazing wife. She was a good distraction as she talked the whole time…I just kept shuffling along as I was hurting a bit on the road section. It was now dark and starting to get pretty cold. We rolled into fish creek (mile 47) and my Dad was there with everything ready to roll. I took a few extra minutes here to make sure I had enough food and clothes and grabbed my vest for the next 4-5 hrs because next time I would see my crew was at mile 65. It took me a few minutes to warm up on the rocky technical climb up fish creek. I got in a really good rhythm and really enjoyed this section. I was able to power hike at a great pace and run all the mellower stuff. I realized I had forgotten to grab my ipod shuffle, I was looking forward to some music distraction for this long night stretch, I guessed it would sound that much better at mile 65-70. Myself and Mark Hammond started the long rough dirt road that descends about 7 miles down to dry lake aid station…my legs were screaming and my quads felt trashed. I just kept running and stopped a couple times to stretch the quads and hips. It felt like we ran down that damn road for several hours (probably 1.5hrs). We finally got to dry lake and Becca and my dad had our pit stop ready to go. I sat down for a quick sock/shoe change, and got some calories down (coke and soup). I grabbed my vest and ipod and took off feeling pretty good. I was focused and ran the entire 4.5 mile descent to mile 70 at a good clip (at least it felt fast). My legs had finally rebounded. I counted the runners coming up the trail, because I knew I was top 10. Rob was hammering, then Josh Arthur and Jeff Browning. After those dudes it was a while before I saw Ryan Ghelfi, Paul Terranova, and I somehow missed Nick Clark. I rolled into spring creek aid station, gave Jason Schlarb a high five and left. I put the music on for the first time and started the climb back to dry creek. I think I ran the whole 4.5 climb back up (things will get foggy at mile 70+) I do remember feeling good, totally focused and actually felt like I was “racing”. Quick fill ups at Dry creek aid station (mile 75, just after 2am) and gave Becca a kiss, this was the last time I would see my crew till the finish. I started the long slog up that same damn dirt road, I stayed positive and new I could finish this beast ok. I definitely had several moments up that road I felt like I was barely moving. As I rolled into summit lake aid station (mile 82) I realized I had caught Paul Terranova and we walked into the aid station together. I wanted to get out of there fast, as aid stations can be a warm inviting time sucking delay this late into a race. I left ahead of Paul and had moved into 6th place. The last 15miles were tough. I just yo-yo’d the rest of the way from feeling great to crappy every few minutes and miles. Despite the rough patches I was in a decently good mood, and as the sun came up around 6:30 I took a moment to breath and reflect on the last 18hrs. It’s hard for me to explain or describe, but it’s a crazy feeling of connection, appreciation, and satisfaction. After the long descent towards the finish I finally heard the familiar loud cheer that is my beautiful wife. I am so thankful for my family and their support. Ryder and Max sprinted up the hill to me with huge grins on their faces! They had the same joy in their faces that I was feeling, I probably looked like crap. We cruised back to the finish a few hours later to watch my buddies Greg and Casey both finish their first 100's. Is was awesome seeing both of them finish such a huge day.

Shoes: Hoka Huaka (first 65miles)
            Hoka Rapa Nui (last 40Miles)
Socks: Swiftwick 4inch (no swelling, one tiny blister)
Hydration: Ultimate Direction handhelds until dark
                  Ultimate Direction AK vest after dark to finish
Glasses: Smith Lowdown
Headlamp: Black Diamond icon (amazing)
My nutrition went great, no issues at all. I drank beet juice (pure clean power) every day for several weeks leading up to race (not during race), and I keep a pretty clean diet with lots of greens, and protein. I'm not super strict but I do avoid processed foods, excess carbs, and most gluten.
During the race I used  GU gels (small sip from flask every 40-60min or as needed).
2-3 Skratch labs Homemade rice cakes (eggs, rice, bacon). At aid stations I would eat whatever solid food sounded good. (Bananas, Watermelon, mashed potatoes, Fritos, Noodle Soup) and of course I drank my fair share of COKE.

Friday, July 11, 2014

catch up...

So I recently saw I hadn't updated this in months. SO here goes. The last few months in a few paragraphs since I am such a wordsmith. Maybe that's why instagram is more appealing.

MARCH: Ran just enough to roll through an awesome 50k back at the end of march in Oregon. We where able to leave the boys with my parents and have a great weekend in Portland together. The race was amazing! Definitely check out the Gorge Waterfall 50k . I managed to actually look at the profile a couple days before the race and realized there was a lot more climbing than I thought (6k!). I managed to shuffle pretty well the first 22 miles and felt solid. I rolled my ankle on the only short road section of this super technical course (of course). Had to slow down and be really careful about the ankle the last 9 miles .  Still had a ton of fun and cruised in around 4:58 (15th place).

APRIL: Heading to Moab with rest of the dudes from THE ADRENALIN PROJECT  we got some great riding and team beer drinking done in style. Patrick and myself decided to hop in and race the Adventure Extreme adventure race that same weekend. Our team took home the win and even some real cash. We raced 6.5hrs of mtb, rappelling/ropes, running, kayaking, orienteering. These races are super fun and always well done. I felt flat on the run (probably still from the 50k) but fitness was ok.

JUNE:  Headed to Vail with Becca and the boys for GOPRO Mountain games. Its a huge festival party of racing and events. I have been doing the Ultimate Mountain Challenge the last couple years and its way tough but way fun. SAT was the downriver kayak race (I think 4 miles?) ..the water is was really high and ripping pretty good which is a little nerve racking when I'm an intermediate kayaker (at best...when exaggerating). Got through the kayak without flipping but got eddied out in a couple big holes so I lost a bit of time. A couple hours later we raced the (22mile) mtb race. I felt crappy and flat the whole time. Except on the downhills...which are super fun. On SUN was the "10k" trailrace. Which is really 7+miles and 2k of climbing. I felt great and pushed the pace and finished 10th overall in a stacked field. Last event was the road bike TT and I was pretty sauced so I did what I could. Overall I finished 6th in the ultimate challenge (pro)....out of 8..shhhh.

For training I have been definitely been running more than cycling and that has shows. Since training for Leadville last year...I really look forward to getting up high in mountains for long runs. Organized training for Run Rabbit Run begins this weekend with a solid hope pass run after silver rush 50mile mtb...I was also able to get up and get in a Greys and Torreys summit run. I'm pretty focused for steamboat and feel like I have a lot more fitness to gain over the next 30-60 days.