Two weekends ago I went for a sweet run with Dominic up to Mt. Wilson, but coming down from Newcomb Saddle there was a lot of poison oak sticking out into out path, and I got oak all over my legs. After a week and a half of taking benadryl around the clock, and applying different lotions to my legs it's ALMOST gone, wait let me stop typing for a second to itch... ah, that's better.
<<<<<<<< WHO'S GONNA WIN LEONA?????? >>>>>>>>>>
As I sat down and looked at the field of 300 runners competing this year I quickly realized that it is a stacked race. There are at least half a dozen guys who I could see winning. As I made these predictions I kept saying to myself, "man, how can I put him that far down on the list?" I'm sure people will disagree with me a lot over where some people are placed, but it always comes down to who feels good that day, is free from injuries, and doesn't blow up. Also, I don't really know what I'm talking about.
1) Jorge Pachecho - just set a CR at old goats, has a solid record at Leona, will definitely be in top 3.
2) Josh Brimhall
3) David James
4) Dean Doberteen - has won his last 2 races.
5) Evan Hone - amazing climber, will pick off a lot of runners on each climb, will he be able to keep up in the flat rolling sections? He'll finish in 6:45 or faster.
6) Fabrice Hardel - won his last race - Avalon 50M. Solid runner.
*******I could see any of those guys above winning the race*************
7) Jeff Kozak - great in hills and high elevation, but Leona has neither.
8) Chris Price - If a freak storm rolls through and it snows he'll win, if it's hot he'll probably die at the turn around. He's done okay in 50k's but almost no experience in anything longer.
9) Mike Carson - has raced a bunch of 50k's well, how will he do over 50 miles?
At least a couple of those listed above will blow up before the finish line. One or two probably won't show r/t injuries or race schedule issues or life getting in the way.
Will a CR be set? YES (unless there's a super hot heat wave). There are a bunch of fast runners that will be pushing each other to run fast and the winning time will be 6:20 exactly.
I'm not as familiar with the women racing as I am the men, but here's how I see the podium shaking out:
1) Aliza Lapierre - top 5 overall easily, top 3 maybe.
2) Maggie Beach - she's had 2 solid performances lately: 2nd overall at Labor of Love 100M and Malibu Creek 50k where I watched her finish 4th overall under 5hrs, I expect her to tear it up and finish high overall.
3) Katie Haldeman
The race for top female will be tough as well and I expect some cheap tactics like this:
I went for a fun run with my buddy Andy Salinger (he's going to take it easy at Leona, cruise into the finish around 8:30 and I'll be damned if I let him pass me in the last mile like last year) yesterday around the Lang Ranch/Cheseboro/China flat area. I mentioned how I recently ran 5 weeks in a row without really taking a week off to recover and this left me drained and was not smart training. He agreed, and said that marathon running has had a lot more research done with it's runners and their training has a lot more science to back it up. Running 3 weeks of solid mileage followed by a week of recovering is a broadly accepting plan. I'll try to stick to this more in the future. I though a 70 mile week for me was a recovery week, but at this point I need to run a 40-50 mile week, or less, to truly recover and be able to log 100+ mile weeks.
While the marathon training paradigm does have a lot research guiding time tested regimens, ultras ARE a different animal without the thousand of studies to back up optimal training schedules. I love this because it allows all of us to preach different strategies that worked for so'n'so. We're all experimenting and striving to find the best plan for us, considering past experience, hear say, and by reading stupid ramblings on-line like this.