Monday, July 4, 2016

San Juan Solstice 50M - Race Report

Playing cribbage the day before the race to keep my head cool.  Penny telling me what to discard.
Penny puts down the pacifier to go over race strategy.

We had a nice 2 mile warm up on dirt road to start.  A pack of 6 or so of us led the way to the Alpine Gulch trail head.  We stomped through half a dozen or so creek crossings as we made our way up the first of three major climbs on the course.  Dustin Simoens pulled away from Travis Macy, Jon Brown and I as we ran through the first aid station then crested the climb and began the 6 mile descent to the Williams Creek aid station, which was conveniently where my family and our good friends Peter (who also raced) and Mandy (crewed & paced Peter) camped at the night before the race.  Dustin ran through a couple minutes before I did and I a couple minutes before Travis and Jon.

By the time we all topped out on the Continental Divide at the halfway point of the race, Dustin had 9 minutes on me and Travis was still a minute or two back.  I was pleasantly surprised with how runnable most of the course was.

At the Divide aid station ~ mile 31, I scarfed down some potato chips... probably too many.  My stomach, which had been rock solid with a Vfuel every 20 minutes and water all day, didn't like the watermelon and handfuls of chips I gorged on.

For the last 20+ miles every time I would look back, Travis would be right there, a minute or two back. Initially I thought, sweet, he can't catch me.  Eventually I realized that he was just waiting to strike.  Strike he did, blowing by me at mile 34.

I snagged a water bottle and waist pack from my wife Elissa at Slumgullion, the aid station at the 40 mile mark.  I physically fell apart for a couple miles and had a little pity party as I hiked through the moderate climb through a gorgeous aspen forest.  I was dehydrated but didn't have much left in my bottle.  Luckily I came to a clear looking stream after the top of the climb that has not given me giardia yet.

I slowly cruised down the steep descent into town and made my way to the park where the race started and finished in 8:52.  Good enough for 3rd place today.

Travis Macy (2nd) holding is daugher, Dustin Simoens(1st) holding his beer, me (3rd) holding Dustin.
photo from San Juan Solstice Race FB page.


Glad I went with the Hoka Speedgoat's, they're still my favorite big mountain shoe - performed well through the creeks, mud, rocks and small patches of snow.

Drymax Lite Trail Running socks kept my feet happy.  No blisters or hot spots after 50 miles of creek crossings, small patches of snow and alpine terrain.

VFuel gels kept my energy level perfect and stomach happy, until I foolishly ate too much watermelon and too many chips.

Julbo Blast's with their photochromic lenses were nice for the exposed breezy ridges and shady forests.

This was definitely one of the best events I've participated in.  The loop course is in the fairytailesq San Juan Mountains, the organization is smooth and everyone can enjoy a free breakfast buffet in the park the next morning.  There are lots of kiddo's and dogs around, along with tons of good mountain loving peeps including fellow Montrosians Chris Marcinek and Erin McMahon.  I enjoyed pacing and crewing my wife at the race the last two years and am glad I ran it this year.  While part of me is stoked to have finished on the podium, another part of me knows that I could finish in less time than I did this year.  I'll be coming back.

Penny likes camping in Lake City.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Sage Burner 50k

I started out a little too fast as I wanted to keep up with the lead pack of 25k racers.  After a couple miles of running the excitement wore off and a clearer head prevailed.  I remembered that I was running twice as far and should take it down a notch.  I settled in behind the first four 25k runners up to the turn where they took a left and us 50k racers took a right.  Until this point I kept eyeing a runner about 20 yards behind me, moving in a very cool and controlled manner.  Shit, I bet he's running the 50k with me.  Sure enough he was.  Shortly after the 25k/50k split he passed me, we chatted a bit and I was pushing it a bit more to keep up.  I had to go check out the bushes and never saw him again until the finish.

Hartman Rocks - race location.
photo by llama

I was pleasantly surprised to read that the dude won the 50k and smoked me by 11 minutes, Marshal Thomson, has the course record at Collegiate Peaks 50M and is a stud in the skimo arena.  While I wasn't close enough to reel him in, the 3rd place finisher, Dustin Simoens, was a minute behind me for the last 6 miles!  I kept looking back, unable to shake him.  In the last mile he crept within 10 seconds or so, but lucky for me we hit a steep and technical downhill and I was able to stay ahead just enough to finish in 2nd place.  Looks like we'll be facing each other again at San Juan Solstice and Run Rabbit Run.

Our friends from Montrose, Erin McMahon and her fiance, Chris Marcinek did well over in Gunnison at the Sage Burner Races as well.  Erin finished 2nd in the 50k and Chris finished 2nd AG in the bike/run/bike.  Stoked to run San Juan with those two in a month.  Congrats to my Hoka teammate, Timmy Parr, for placing 2nd in the 25k.  Good luck at the Mt. Evans Ascent tomorrow!

Overall, I think I paced myself well, and put forth a decent effort.  I don't think I was quite fit enough to go all out and truly race like I wish I could have.  Everyone has their lame excuses.  But rather than write about those, I'll mention what I'm going to do to prepare for San Juan Solstice:  I'm going to start getting in more vertical gain/loss in my runs, slowly increase my mileage, get more comfortable with being uncomfortable (suffer more on workouts), and lose a couple pounds.

in every single way...

Sponsor Shout Outs:

Hoka One One:  My Clayton's were the perfect shoe for this fast course with lots of rocky sections.  They're super light and I dig their softer heal and firmer forefoot.

VFuel:  Without any drop bag aid stations, I decided to wear a waist pack stuffed full of 8 gels.  Since I didn't bring enough to take one every 20 minutes like I normally do, I ended up snacking too much at aid stations and combining all kinds of stuff together in my water bottle.  Got a bit nauseous, dry heaved a bit.  Next race I'll go back to my tried and true formula of water and a VFuel every 20 minutes, works every time.  Lesson learned.  Would have packed more, but that would have required wearing a pack, didn't want to do that, oh well.

Drymax:  Thin running socks worked very well as per usual.

Julbo:  Zebra Light photochromic lenses on Blast frames are my go to.  Worked well in the sun and wind.

Next up, San Juan Solstice!