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!                        

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Desert Rats Double Marathon

above the Colorado River
photo by Glen Delman
With a winter storm warning and reports of runners from the east, mostly Denver, unable to make it over I-70 to the race I was prepared for any weather and trail conditions.  With vision of mud, wind, snow and soppy wetness I toed the start line with windbreaker, gloves, long pants, and backpack full of hand warmers, beanie, etc.  But despite the rain the day before the trails were bone dry and not a single drop of rain fell on me during the race.  The temperature was perfect for running but it was quite gusty.

rim running
photo by Cory Meaker

Half marathoners, marathoners, 50kers and double marathoners all started together at 0630.  Runners of all distances had $100 up for grabs for first male and female runners to make it up the first climb at mile 1.3.  For the fourth time my Hoka teamate Timmy Par snagged the prize.  He went on to place 2nd in the marathon behind elite Skimo racer, Jon Brown.  I was the third runner to complete the marathon, in 3:37, at which point I turned around and went out for another loop in reverse direction.  Running against traffic of the finishing marathoners was great.  High-fiving friends Cory, Graham and Jeff, cheering on and being cheered on.  I end up finishing first in 7:37.

The runner who was in 2nd place for the double marathon got lost unfortunately.  The course was very well marked but it was extremely windy at times.  I heard he had his head down during a gusty spell while running through an intersection and went the wrong way.  While the cloudy low light conditions didn't make sunglasses necessary from a brightness standpoint, I wore my Julbo 
Venturi's with light lenses and they proved extremely valuable out in the turbulence.

boo boo's

At mile 49 of the 52 mile race I was trying to pick it up a bit and finish the race off strong.  It was a rocky section and I caught my toe and landed on the rock square on my chest pretty hard.  Knocked the wind out of me, sunglasses flew off, got a mouthful of dirt.  The way I hit the rock made me hit it and stick, more than slide or bounce like I normally do.  I slowly pulled myself off the ground, moaning a bit and heard a loud growl.  I looked over at the edge of the rim I was running on and saw a large canine tail dart into its cave.  Better keep moving.  I busted my watch in the fall, so I picked it up off the ground and started to shuffle my way to the finish.

I hear ad nauseam about how cool people in our sport are but recently I couldn't help but realize that yeah, we really are a nice bunch.  Minutes after posting a picture of my broken watch I received a message from a nice guy I met in Silverton last year, Christopher Agbay.  He said that he had his old 310XT watch sitting in his closet and would mail it to me if I would like.  Sweet!  A couple days later a package arrives on our doorstep and in it were two of his old GPS watches and...

Christopher is a professional baker and runs Wicked Good Cookies, a Massachusetts based micro-bakery.  Thanks for the delicious treats Christopher, "See you in Silverton."

That watch that I broke last Saturday, was generously given to me by Keith Swiatowski after he saw a picture I posted of me breaking my watch about 16 months ago.

And how did I get that original Garmin?  A group of friends got it for me as a present 6 years ago, to replace the massive old watch I was using... that my ultra running mentor, Andy Salinger, gave me as I started getting into running.  So I have yet to purchase a GPS watch.  Friends keep handing me down their old ones, as I break them =)

After the race Elissa, Penny and I wandered around Grand Junction for awhile until the after party/awards shindig started at Edgewater Brewery.  Free beer and wings, a great way to cap off this early season race.  The Desert Rats Trail Running Festival was a great event.  Unfortunately, many entrants couldn't make it due to snow and road closures on I-70.  The McInnis Canyons Conservation Area where the races are held is definitely worth checking out, and with race distances from 5 miles to 52 miles it has something for everyone.


Hoka One One
:  While I usually reserve my Speedgoat's for use in mud and/or snow, they felt great on the dry dirt and their sticky vibram outsoles kept me from sliding around on the slick and steep rocky surfaces.

VFuel:  I consumed 19 gels during the race.  One every 20 minutes.  At the end I had a couple handfuls of chips and sips of coke as well.  I wasn't nauseous and had consistent energy the whole 52 miles.  I consumed the Maple Bacon flavor quite a bit in the morning (breakfast time) and saved the Peach Cobbler flavor for desert towards the end of the race.  The Mountain Berry flavor is definitely my favorite though.

Drymax Socks:  The 1/4 crew trail running socks kept my feet comfy and warm.  No blisters or hotspots.

Julbo Sunglasses:  As I mentioned earlier, the Venturi's kept the wind out of my eyes and the Zebra light (photochromic) lenses were perfect for the cloudy, low light conditions.