Monday, October 13, 2014

Whoo's in El Moro 50k - Race Report

It had been a couple months or so since my last race, so it was fun to meet up with a bunch of friends, make a couple new ones and run around for 4 hours.

photo by Kevin Patterson

I have not been running enough recently to race at my potential.  A backpacking trip with Chamoun and a camping/fishing/hunting trip with my wife and father-in-law were both awesome, but kept me from training.  But I wouldn't take back those trips for the world.  I needed a little respite from running and spending quality time with a close friend and family out in the mountains... does it get any better than that?  These trips kept me fit, but my running muscles kind of disappeared.  I knew going into the race that I wasn't as prepared as I normally am, so I focused on a healthy diet a week out, including no beer, to keep my weight down and keep me feeling fresh - it worked.  I felt fairly fresh and I enjoyed seeing what I was capable of "off the couch" so to speak.

photo by Billy Yang
My legs felt surprisingly good for about 20 miles yesterday.  Then they started to cramp up a bit on the ascents.  I was in 6th place, about 3-5 minutes behind my friend Jon Clark, and this 5th place spot won a cash prize.  I really wanted to try and real him in and bring home some cash money, but he was on point today and I wasn't.  Igor Campos also ran well.  I passed him around mile 18 but he passed me three miles from the finish.  It would have been really fun to race him down the long descent to the finish line, but my legs just wouldn't allow it.  I ended up in 7th with a time of 4:03.

The RD, Molly, put on a smooth event with a huge cash purse.  It was no surprise that someone like Tim Tollefson, a 2:18 marathoner, showed up and claimed the $1,600 first place prize.  Caroline Boller won the woman's field and finished 8th overall.

My Hoka Clifton's worked perfectly.  They're light, responsive, stable on the rocky stuff, and have plenty of cushion for running down steep hard fire roads.  Great all around shoes.

Jesse spending his cash prize for finishing 4th on pulled pork nachos for us at Hapa J's.  Thanks Jesse!
Strava Data

So what's next?  It was fun jumping into a fast race like this one, even if smooth and fast races aren't my forte.  But the big mountains are calling.  I think I'll slip into my Rapa Nui's, throw my backpack on and go play around in the Sierra's before the snow flies (Hardrock is only 278 days away)!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Which Hoka's are right for me?

I enjoy responding to friends frequently asking me about Hoka's.  I have loved running in them and working in them for years.  Being a Hoka athlete allows me to try out most if not all of the current models and here is a little bit of insight into my thoughts on the models I wear the most.


The Clifton's are very light (7.7oz) and have the perfect amount of drop for me (5mm).

Hoka has come a long way in the last couple years in terms of making lighter shoes that still have the Hoka feel that makes running feel smooth, easy and fun, as if you were skiing or riding a mountain bike downhill.

While these are road shoes, they handle extremely well on technical trails.  Looking at the outsole here you can see why they maintain traction in many conditions.  They are amazing all around shoes.  I plan to race in them at Whoo's in El Moro this Sunday.


These guys are similar to the Clifton's in that they are light (8.9oz) and have little drop (only 2mm), but they have a different feel.  These seem to be Sage Canaday's go to shoe for the road and trail.  Like the Clifton's, they are road shoes but they handle technical trails just fine.  For those looking for minimal drop these are the Hoka's for you.


The first thing I think about when I look at these shoes is, if I get into Hardrock next year I'll use these (like 2nd place finisher, Julien Chorier did this year).  They are well suited for big technical mountains - very stable, cushioned well for long steep descents and have aggressive outsoles.  I love bombing down nasty loose/rocky ridges in these puppies.


I wore these at Western States this year, the older version of them en route to my CR at Bishop 100k this year and at Hardrock and Zane Grey last year.  I chose them for the long descents, great traction and comfort over many miles.  They also feel wider in the toe box, which my feet like.


Durable is the word that comes to mind with these shoes.  I recently wore them while fastpacking a section of the Sierra High Route, which is half trail/half cross country and goes up an over many rocky passes with plenty of talus fields.  I wear these when I'm going out to do some class 3 scrambling, and/or am traveling over a bunch of granite that likes to chew up shoes.  

Leor Pantilat was wearing these in most of the pictures from his John Muir Trail FKT recently.  I think I saw a picture or two of him in the Huaka's as well.  

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My heart wasn't in it, literally.

photo by Ivan Buzik

We took off onto the dark streets of Wrightwood at 0500.  While Angeles Crest 100 is not a huge, uber competitive race nationally, it always seems to draw great local talent and this year even more than normal.  Upon reaching the Acorn Trail the jockeying for position began, which would continue for the next 80 miles.  I think I was in 4th place or so when I was cruising the thick forested duffy single track when I heard a weird sound... was that a dog, or a camper yelling at a bear?  I hope I get to see a bear.  A turn or two later I run upon Dom throwing up... ahhhh that's the weird sound I heard.  Before I reach him he starts running and we cruise into the first aid station, Inspiration Point, together.

photo by Sally McRae

I snuck ahead of Dom in the aid station and I cruised to the next AS Vincent Gap.  I was greeted again by my wife and crew extraordinaire.  After Elissa threw my pack on my I was off, up Baden-Powell.  About halfway up I started feeling a funny feeling in my throat anytime I started to run anything moderately inclined.  I'd get tired quick and have to start hiking.  Michele and Guillaume passed me on the way to the top, Larry Gassan snapped my picture and said something cute and I enjoyed the ride down to Islip, passing Michele, Guillaume and to my surprise, Jorge.  Hunh, so I'm in first so far, even though I can't run uphill hard at all, sweet.

Coming into Islip Saddle
photo by Jack Rosenfeld

My uphill issues were progressively worse heading up Williamson.  Had to stop on the top and let my heart settle before heading down to Hwy 2.  Running at all on flat section from Eagle's Roost from Buckhorn Campground was very difficult.  I ran these 2 miles with Jorge.  We're both pretty quiet people, occasionally I'd say a little something, but I think we both enjoyed the silence and running with each other.  I stopped to use the facilities in the campground and Jorge took off.

My symptoms continued and became more detrimental ascending Cooper Canyon.  I had to walk even the most gradual sections.  Guillaume passed me, Michele passed me, Dom passed me.  It wasn't hot, my legs felt fine, stomach fine, but my heart wasn't on board.  On some of the steeper sections, which aren't even steep, I had to stop and take a break here and there.  I ran the last 10 yards or so up to approaching Eagle's Roost aid station.  I hoped that I could get my heart to do the weird thing it was doing and that medical volunteer would be able to witness it.  But by the time I checked in with my wife who was crewing me, and found a medical volunteer, my heart rate had dropped and my arrhythmia went back into hiding, just waiting for me to stress out my heart a bit before it would re-emerge.

I was concerned that what I assumed were frequent PVC's (premature ventricular contractions) could potentially lead to symptoms more serious than what I was currently feeling.  I was also concerned that this was a sign that running 8 races in the last 9 months was a little more than my heart could handle right now, and running anymore would just tire my heart out even more.  En route to Three-Points, I couldn't even run the flat sections for long before tiring out and having to walk.  At this point I made the decision to pull the plug.

In hindsight, I peaked well for Bishop 100k.  Then I didn't rest enough after that before Western States, and I wasn't able to perform at 100% there.   I took it very easy between WS and Angeles Crest, but I guess my body just needs a little more time.  I felt extremely lame dropping, but I don't regret it much considering the circumstances.  It was weird, my legs felt fine, my gut was good, I felt like I could float downhill and catch anyone in my Hoka Huaka's, but going uphill was impossible.

Hang'n out with photographer Jayme Burtis at Shortcut
photo by Chandra Farnham

I can't thank my wife enough for preparing for this trip far in advance, crewing me for 40 miles and being there for me after I dropped.  I'm looking forward to returning the favor for her soon.

Running two 100's 5 weeks apart does seem foolhardy, BUT, since AC requires signing up a year in advance, and I qualified for WS afterwards, I fell into it and accepted the challenge.

Since my weird symptoms I made an appointment with a cardiologist and had a stress test performed.  My heart looks fine and I think I'll be back competing at full capacity SOON.

In the mean time I plan to thru-hike the Sierra High Route with Michael Chamoun.  We experienced the JMT last fall and words can't express the infinite life long memories forged on our journey.  I'm looking forward to upping the ante this fall.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Angeles Crest 100 Predictions - 2014

19 hours will be broken this year for the first time since Hal Koerner ran it in 2008, but they won’t look as good as he did.  However, the men's course record will not be broken this year.  The women's course record could fall, depending on the weather, but I wouldn't bet on it.


Dom Grossman:  This course is his baby.  He knows the course record splits inside and out and talks about them until my ears bleed.  He has won twice – last year and two years prior to that.  BUT, he ran states 5 weeks ago.  I saw firsthand that he had anything but a solid day.  He’ll be out for redemption but will his adrenal glands join the party?  

Regardless of them showing up or not, he’ll tough out a solid time.

Guillaume Calmettes:  He’s been training like a mad man, I think he ran 170+ miles in a week during peak training?!.  He won the Gorge Waterfalls 100k this year, placed 2nd at Chimera last year.  He could finish right around 19:00.  If I were to bet on this race, I'd put my money on him.

Jorge Pacheco: LEGEND.  Multiple AC wins, along with just about any race you can think of.  It's been a couple years since he's had a solid race here.  He's due, and has the talent to win.

Erik Schulte:  I train with Schulte Fox a lot and he has what it takes to win as well.  He hasn't raced to his full potential yet and he'll be toeing the start line fresh and hungry.

Anthony Forsyth:  He has some fast results from previous races, including a sub 16 hour 100M.  I don't think he's run a mountainous long race.  If he can run in the mountains like he does on flats he could be a contender.   Hasn't been training much and will be a DNS.

Riccardo Ramirez: Our local speed demon.  He runs tons of fast marathons, and trail races.  Has the Mt. Wilson FKT, so he can run fast for 6 miles uphill, what about downhill and for a long time?  He's run 50 miles well, how will he fare over 100?

Josh Brimhall:  FTW, you heard it here first.  He’s been running well lately.  He’s always had speed, but hasn’t put together a good 100 for years, but August 2nd is the day.  He's capable of 18:30 if it's not ridiculously hot.  Won't be racing AC this year.

Ruperto Romero: Everyone’s favorite.  He has finished on the podium every year for the last four years, but hasn't quite finished first.  I predict he'll finish between 3rd and 5th this year.  

Chris Price:  I don't like to include myself in my predictions, but Dom made a prediction for me so here it is.  "Pringles runs well when he's not flustered.  However, it's anyone's guess about what the Chimera-like lead pack of the 5 headed monster of Pacheco, Grossman, Ruperto, Guillaume and Schulte will do.  Don't expect a gentleman's truce to last beyond Vincent or Eagle's Roost.  If Chris sticks to his guns, he's capable of 18:30.  If he takes risks, he's capable of 18ish or... Just squeezing under 24.  Chris is conservative though, so I think we'll see him watch the carnage and fly over them in his Hokas.  The question is, will he be like pokemon supterstar Ash Catchum and "catch 'em all" or will accept a 30+ trophy."

After my horrendous run today, I think I'll be lucky to crack <24hrs.

Andy Pearson:  Has finished 5 hundreds in the last 2 years, and all of them pretty damn well.  He is a podium contender.

Michele Graglia:  Ran Leadville in 22hrs a year ago, won a 282k earlier this year, that's 169 miles I think, wow.  Has other stout finishes at shorter races.  Wouldn't be surprised to see him in the top 3.

Other top guys: My good friend Tommy Nielsen will be finishing his 10th AC this year.  He will run smart like he always does and finish under 24 hours.  If he does finish under 24 hours, that would be 10 finishes under 24!  Ian Torrence, Jimmy Freeman, Rafael Arceo, Jonathan Gunderson, Colin Cooley, Eli Ellefsen, George Gleason and Robert Whited will all be finishing around 24 hours as well.  Michael Ryan will puke, a lot, but will finish strong, scampering like a nimble squirrel across the finish line.



Keira Henninger:  Defending two time champ.  Finished sub 24 here a couple years ago, and sub 24 at Chimera last year.  Can power hike like crazy, which is huge on this course.  

Pam Smith:  Placed 4th at WS this year but didn't have a great race.  I think she's dropped at AC before, making her even hungrier to run it well this year.  With her win 2 years ago at WS she obviously knows how to handle the heat, which will come in handy from Hilyer to Newcomb.

Katie Desplinter:  This year she has run well at the Gorge Waterfalls 100k, won the Bishop 50M and just got back from pacing at Hardrock.  She's primed and ready to finish AC and finish well.

Tarrah Harnden:  Will be chasing a podium finish.  She had a solid finish at SD100 last year, the hottest year ever there - so she can handle the heat.  She just keeps getting faster and faster, and will surprise people with her stellar time this year.  

Vanessa Kline:  She's tough and has been putting in a lot of miles.  Looks like she's super fit for this race.  Tear it up Vanessa!

Amelia Fillipow:  Pictured with her husband and AC CR holder Jim O'Brien.  She has a bunch of strong finishes at tough races, and a W at Rio Del Lago.  Another podium contender.

Sally McRaeI've heard she isn't racing... can anyone confirm or deny this?  Thanks.  Yep, but will be pacing or crewing Billy Yang out there.

Who am I forgetting?????

If you do want to run this race in 2015, registration opens up ridiculously early, on August 4th, the day after the race.  It will fill up immediately.  It is definitely a race worth doing, so put it on your calendar =)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


Elissa & I before the start.
photo by Pam Everett

I owe a huge thanks to my wife, mom, dad, brother Danny, Tommy and Pam who spent many hours crewing and pacing me all day.  It was also very cool to cross the finish line and see my aunt and a bunch of cousins there cheering me on, I'm a lucky guy.

Mom & Dad at the finish after crewing all day.
photo by Stephanie Deveau

It was smooth sailing for the first 65 miles.

Early on.
photo by Stephanie Deveau

After 70 miles the heat got to me, I threw up a couple times and soldiered on to finish 30 minutes shy of my goal.  Of course I would have liked to finish in the top 10 instead of 12th, but so goes it.

Tough Tommy pacing me from Foresthill on.  Couldn't ask for a better pacer.
photo by Pam Everett

I've got to give it up to my buddy Jesse Haynes for finishing top 10... again.  This was the 6th time we've raced together and I've always just barely finished in front of him.  We shared some early miles together and after passing him, looking back I could see that he was within minutes of me for miles.  I knew he wanted to end my little winning streak and he did, blazing by me at mile 70 en route to passing a couple other runners to finish 10th place.  Furthermore, since he doesn't post on FB much, tweet a bunch, or post selfies on the regular, hardly anyone filling out the irunfar predictions gave him the time of day (even though he finished 7th place here last year).  Way to prove yourself... again.

irunfar reader predictions

Another friend that I've trained with a lot and raced with 8 times now, Dom Grossman, and I shared some early miles as well.  Surprisingly, he was struggling a bit around mile 25 and I passed him, thinking I'd definitely see him again before too long, but he ended up have a rough day.

I've got a lot of respect for those whose races fell apart, but kept running anyway to finish what they started.  Dom, Nick Clark, Jorge Maravilla, David Laney, Mike Aish, my good friend Mike Chamoun, and others all fell short of finishing when they wanted, yet they pushed through disappointment and pain to cross the finish line.

I am stoked to have run a 100 miles under 17 hours.  Even though I fell a little short of attaining my goals, I am not letting that take away from the great experience I had.  The overwhelming love and support from family, friends, fellow runners and volunteers is humbling and running 'States' was an awesome and unforgettable experience.  Thank you all!


Hoka One One - Stinson ATR, newer lighter Stinson's were great for the many miles of descending here at WS.

Drymax - Lite Trail Running socks, kept my feet in great condition.  Didn't have to change socks or shoes once during the race.

Rudy Project - Zyon sunglasses.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Bishop High Sierra 100k

Thank you Tim Stahler and ITR for continuing this Bishop High Sierra Race.  I was glad to see that the race didn't fade away after Marie Boyd developed and directed such a fun event for the last 20 years.

Elissa and I carpooled up to Bishop with Dom and Katie (winner of the 50M!).  We enjoyed camping at the Millpond the night before and after the race.

Moonlit view of the mountains from our campsite.
Its about time I toed the line of a longer race again.  After running off a little excitement in the first couple miles, I relaxed knowing that I had plenty of miles to make up for a slow mile here and there.

Peter Fain and I at the start.
photo by Unicorn

I couldn't help but get caught up in the lead pack, even though I knew that of the five of us, one was running the 50k (Eric Lynch), two others the 50M (Jeff Kozak and Peter Fain) and only Luke Garten and I were signed up to run the 100k.  BUT, anyone can change the distance that they want to run at any time during the race... so I thought I ought to keep everyone within sight.  By the turn around at mile 20 Jeff Kozak and I pulled away from the others a little bit and it felt like I loosened up and was ready to go, finally shook off a lingering sluggishness.

I loved seeing my parents, and hearing my mom cheer for me at the Intake 2 aid station on my way out to Bishop Creek Lodge (mile 32), where I saw them again.  I also saw Kozak close on my tail, and Luke Garten within striking range.

After some mellow rolling miles, followed by 15 miles of gradual downhill running, I finally got to the notorious "left hand turn," at mile 49 that takes the 100k runners up a hot (90+), steep, exposed hill.  I grabbed a full 20oz. bottle from the aid station at the bottom of the climb, but in the dry heat and wind I drained my bottle within two miles.

When I finally got to the Sage Summit aid station I pounded a bunch of water and headed out a couple miles to the final turn around to grab a poker chip to prove that I went there.  On my return to Sage Summit AS Luke Garten was coming in and looking solid.  He ended up finishing under 10 hours for 2nd place.  Not a bad showing for his first 100k.

As I crested the hill leaving the aid station my hamstrings started feeling like they were about to cramp.  I reached inside the pocket on my Ink'n'burn shorts and pulled out my little ziplock bag, which was already open and the 4 or 5 Saltstick pills that were in there had somehow disappeared.  Uh oh.  My hamstrings were starting to cramp up a bit, I kept running, scouring the ground with my eyes, hoping that the one other runner who'd been through here today just may have lost some salt pills as well... no luck.  Then I licked my arm, which was SUPER salty.  I sucked on my salt caked shirt as well.  My cramping went away.  Wow, dodged a bullet there.

A couple miles later I stopped to pee and the appearance of my urine scared the sh*t out of me.

It was this color.
Fortunately, I peed a decent volume, it wasn't just a couple drops.  60 miles in, during the heat of the day, my brain over-reacted a bit:  I'll cross the finish line and drive straight to the hospital, check my BUN and Creatinine levels, start dialysis, I'll be okay.  I arrived at Tungsten City AS, a mile and a half from the finish, and instead of running straight by as planned, I pounded a bunch of water and grabbed a full bottle for the next 10 minutes.  I crossed the finish line and was greeted by my wife and parents.  Then I drank liters of fluid and before too long my pee was nice and clear, whew.

Thanks for the swag Tim!  Photo by Tim Stahler.

It feels good to win a race again, even if it is a small, local race.  My goal was to run between 9:10-9:15, and I finished in 9:11.  I beat Jorge Maravilla's old course record of 9:40.  BUT, this was before he really learned how to run fast, let alone jump or smile.  And apparently, his old CR was as soft as his belly was when he ran this race, given that he's lost 20lbs since.

Maybe this race is the fountain of fast!?

After Jorge ran this race he won TRT 100, then he just went nuts - winning races everywhere, placing top ten at Western States, and jumping and smiling like there's no tomorrow.  So naturally the same is going to happen to me.

Nicest, fastest, jumpiest guy out there.

This was a great tune up race leading up to Western States.  While it's kind of close with only 5 weeks separating the two races, the course offered the opportunity to practice pacing myself for a longer race, running at altitude, long descents and heat.  It was a nice confidence booster as well.  I've struggled with running uphill for years and since working with Sandi Nypaver & Sage Canaday, my ability to run uphill has clearly improved.  I didn't hike a step in this 100k, and I never felt like I really had to or should be.


I highly recommend this race to anyone considering it.  Before the race I saw that aid stations were no more than 4 miles apart, I thought wow, that's too many.  But I enjoyed the many friendly helpful volunteers every 3 miles or so, even if I was passing through without stopping.  The area is gorgeous as well, especially the higher parts of the course.  If you are interested in this race, you really ought to consider the 50M distance or 100k, so that you get to see the best parts of the course.  After hiking around these mountains last year, backpacking through them a bit and running in them occasionally, it was hard to stay down "low" at 8,000-9,000'.  The pristine peaks 4,000' above, their chutes packed with snow, they were calling me.  "Forget about the race, Chris.  Look at how pretty we are... you know you miss us, just run up here for a second."

The green oasis is the Millpond we camped at, and location of the race start/finish.
Upper Bishop Creek.
Sponsor plugs:

Eyewear: Zyon Running Sunglasses by Rudy Project.

Handheld water bottles and Denim Shorts: InknBurn.

Socks and post-race compression sleeves: Drymax Socks.  The Trail Lite 1/4 Crew height socks left my feet blister free, and they kept rocks from getting down into my shoes.

Shoes: Hoka One One Stinson Trail's.  It was hard to decide between the Rapa Nui's and the Stinson's for this race.  I opted for a little more cushion for the 15 miles of continuous downhill, and having a little more surface area underfoot for the miles in the soft sand/gravel.  I made the right choice, the Stinson's worked perfectly.

Post-race recovery: FLUID Berry Recovery.

Breakfast with the family after the race.
Nothing like hanging out in a nice park with friends and family, gorging on food and having a couple beers in the shade of a big tree after a race.  Thanks for all the food and beverages ITR!  I was very excited when my parents told me that they were coming down with Katy.  While Elissa's 50k didn't go quite as planned, she still had a great attitude after the race, something that's not always easy to do, and something I struggle with on off days.  Can't wait to head out to the San Juan's and crew her at San Juan Solstice next month.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Zane Grey - 2014

Zane Grey 50 Miler 33 Miler

A week out from race day I was surprised to see cool temperatures forecasted for Zane Grey this year as it's notoriously a hot race.  As Saturday neared the percentage chance of precipitation steadily increased to 100%

photo by Jenn Thompson
I don't particularly mind running in the rain or wind, so I wasn't too concerned.  Then the day before the race the race director, Joe Galope, sent an e-mail informing us of some re-routing of the course that also cut the distance from 50 miles to 46... bummer.  He also mentioned stopping the race at 33 miles if the creek crossings became too dangerous.

The race kicked off at 5AM.  It was cool and breezy but no rain was falling from the sky yet.  A couple miles in we were all treated to an inspiring blood orange cloudy sunrise from half way up the Mogollon Rim... the kind of visual delicacy that pulls at something deep within your primal being.  It began sprinkling and the wind picked up a bit.  Someone mentioned wishing they had a camera and I started singing the, "let me take a selfie," song, my typical goofy/sarcastic/nervous energy/early race chatting continued.

The weather slowly but surely became more harsh.  I won't say it got worse because it was more fun than if the conditions were faster or easier.  The sprinkles turned into a steady rain, the wind became stronger, the rocks got slippery and the dirt turned to mud.  It began to hail, the hail turned to snow.

photo by Alex Flores
I can't think of a better litmus test for a trail shoe than Zane Grey in these conditions.  My Hoka Rapa Nui 2's worked perfectly.  I highly recommend them for any trail running, I've put them through the ringer, they can handle anything and are a fun shoe in all conditions.

What else did I wear out there?  I started out with gloves and a windbreaker but quickly overheated and ditched them at the first aid station.  From then on I wore my hat, capilene 2 under my Hoka One One shirt, Inknburn Denim shorts, Drymax lite trail sock and leg sleeves, and my Inknburn buff - which went from keeping my head warm to keeping my hands warm.  It turned out to be a versatile and handy thing to have out there.  Besides getting a little chilly when the wind gusted I was able to run hard enough to stay warm, eating 300 calories an hour seemed to help too.

I was pacing myself for running 46 miles, running more conservatively than I usually do in 50 milers - saving a gear for the last 10 miles.  So it was frustrating to get to mile 33 a couple minutes behind the winner, Ryan Smith, to hear that the race was stopping here.  Andrew Miller, who came in behind me was equally shocked an upset, he looked eager to turn on the jets.

Smiling at the camera, with eyes on the rocks.
photo by Megan Powers

So it goes though.  In hindsight I could have realized that the race would likely be shortened due to the blizzard.  Instead I optimistically thought that the snow falling on us and higher up on the rim was not going to cause the creeks to rise like rain would and that this would make the creek crossings safe, allowing the race to continue to mile 46.  After finishing and watching the storm intensify I think Joe made a sound decision to cut the race short.

The nature of the trail, the conditions and the way the course is marked resulted in many if not most runners getting off the course for at least a little bit here and there.  Runners putting in bonus miles off the course while nearing hypothermia is potentially a bad scenario.  Don't get me wrong, every ounce of me wanted to run the whole 50 mile course, but I understand why it was stopped short.

photo by Deron Ruse
My bittersweet love of this race continues.  I love the friends we met up with at Papago's in Tempe on Thursday.  The group of people that have gathered here the last two years keeps me wanting to come back.  Hanging out with my buddy Erik Schulte and his wife Jessica sparked inspired discussions and near brilliant inventions - I'll spare you the details.  Thank you James and Nick for showing Elissa and I some local trails Friday morning.

South Mountain Park,  Phoenix... cute little Saguaro spear.

The course is my ideal trail running:  rugged, remote, gorgeous and humbling.  Last year I accidentally took a couple mile detour that kept me from performing as well as I'd hoped.  This year my plan to run the last 10 miles uber hard was stymied when the race was stopped 13 miles short.  After returning home and letting the experiences of the last two years marinate in my noggin my memories are developing an acquired taste for Zane Grey.  The bittersweetness has all but faded.  Less than perfect experiences are what Zane is all about.  It's not supposed to be easy.  People get lost, roll ankles, get baked by the sun, get frozen in a blizzard.  While I was salivating at the chance to run down Ryan in the final miles, the teasing nature of this race denied myself and others the opportunity, but the way the events unfolded was fun.

Congratulations to ALL who braved the elements, including the winners Kerrie Bruxvoort (who also won last year) and Ryan Smith.  Kudos to them for keeping it together enough to not only run, but run fast in the harsh elements.