Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Apologies for the lame posting over the past couple weeks. Lots of travel coupled with a particularly stressful stretch at work has pushed running and blogging to the back burner. That said, let me start this post with two book recommendations:

"Made to Stick" by Dan and Chip Heath
"Reality Check" by Guy Kawasaki

I heard both of these guys speak last week and they are far more than your typical corporate consultant, junket guys. Especially in these times, their messages resonate loudly and can move the needle in whatever line of work you're in. Check out their books if you have a chance.

And, there is much going on in the Ultrarunning world:

Julie Fingar, new Race Director of the Way Too Cool 50K and a good friend of mine, has taken some heat for changing the race course for her race so that it actually measures 50K. I know there are Old School traditionalists out there, but when was the last time someone you know was criticized for doing something they actually said they were doing? Julie looked at the race course that measured 29.8 miles and said, "How can I call this a 50K race? It's just not right." So, she added a few miles to make it 50K and took heat for changing the rules. People can think what they want but from my perspective, if someone does something that is right and honest than they should be respected for that. I learned long ago that I would much rather be respected than liked and Julie has learned that same lesson this week. And, I look forward to the extra miles as it makes my entry fee seem a bit more realistic!

Out East Michael Wardian ripped another blazing 50K and Kami Semick kept her anti-aging program intact at Caumsett. It'll be fun to see how all that plays out at Western States in June and, funny that Western States came up on this blog, it hardly ever does, but it's getting closer by the day and deserves a bit of mention.

I wonder what people are thinking? What they are doing? Who's on the way up? Who's on the way down?

For me, I am feeling solid. Not great, but solid. By this time in my cycle I think most of the hay's in the barn but there's some fine tuning to go. I know I won't have sub-16 speed come June (never have) but perhaps sub 16:30 if all goes well. If a couple mistakes are made, if nutrition issues arise, if the exuberance of The Morning is too much for some people, if some guy sets a torrid early pace or if conditions require brains over genetics I could find my way closer to the front than I might expect.

But still, today, my "first tier worry list" looks like this:


My "second tier worry list" is much, much longer. But the guys who get me out the door at 4AM on a snowy Tuesday morning, the guys who make me think "Why am I doing this?" the guys who make me love this sport so much, are the guys on this list.

Let's get after it!


PS -- For those still paying attention after all this drivel let me comment a bit on my training. I know I said above that most of the "hay's in the barn". I know that might strike some of you as presumptuous and perhaps, even, stupid. However, I take solace and comfort in the work of the great Nordic Skiers from Scandanavia who often base their training in four-year cycles (I wonder why they do that?). These guys know how to build and they know how to peak. In addition, they know what it takes to experience success in a particular event on a particular day. So, this is all to say, to all you procrastinators out there, if you wanted to do well at Western States 2009, I hope you've done the work.


Craig Thornley said...

You still think you got a sub-4 WTC in ya?

AnthonyP said...

Michael and Kami lapped me several times at Caumsett...what amazing performances they put in (not to mention the many others that fared well).

Glad to hear you are feeling solid, just a few weeks out from your last 100, and looking forward to seeing you do very well at WS.

Anonymous said...

Lets see, so by your logic, we can respect her now for being right and honest, or we could have liked her before, but only if she was wrong and dishonest like those original RD liars :-}

Brad Mitchell said...

For Julie - Hats off for making WTC a true 50K - now I have to go back to beat my 3:41!
Best of luck at Cool - you'll break 4! Stay healthy!

Paul DeWitt said...

So should the course be altered every time the technology improves (enabling a more accurate measurement)? I'd rather see it done like mountain elevations; what we once thought was 14,110 is no 14,115 but at least we're all still climbing the same mountain.
- pauld

(Those elevations were what Pikes Peak "used to be" and what it "currently is." Note that they don't stop the race 4 feet shy of where they used to stop it.)

Paul DeWitt said...

make that five feet shy - I was an English major!

jhalekas said...

Do we know how the course was re-measured? If it was anything other than wheeling the whole course, it is bunk. GPS is routinely off by a few miles over that distance.

FWIW, I totally believe Cool was short, but I still don't think the course should be changed. I like being able to compare times at major races like Cool across eras. It's "cool" to be able to compare your time to anyone who ever ran the race!


AJW said...

Good points all, guys. What are your thoughts on comparable times at Western States and Wasatch? Those courses have been changed at least 12 times each.

SD100 said...

Krupicka??? Hello????

jhalekas said...

Yeah, it is certainly unfortunate that Wasatch and WS have had to change their courses so many times. To be fair, most of those were due to logistical issues.

My feeling with both of those races (but WS especially) is that the difference in conditions from year to year already makes a pretty big difference in finishing times, big enough to make it hard to compare times from year to year.

It's a bit easier in a 50k. At Cool, I'm pretty sure I could run within 5 minutes of the same time whether it was snowing or 80 degrees (but not if the course was 1.2 miles longer).


Anonymous said...

All points are well considered. The way I look at it, more bang for your buck. I think the best way to compare is to get into the best shape as possible and run the fastest time possible, so that you put yourself in a position where the is nothing to question or compare similar to what Uli did.

The best way to measure a course and the only way to measure a course is with a wheel. I measured my chippewa course with a GPS, quite possibly one of the most inaccurate gadets ever made. I then wheeled it and backed it up wearing my shoe odometer and indeed it was spot on. Only .4 miles short of 50km. Pure luck!

AJW said...

SD 100,

I hear you on Anton and, if he starts, he'll be on the list. The other five guys are sure bets to start.

Anonymous said...

Brian Morrison?

Anonymous said...

At a recent beer tasting, we reviewed an IPA that looked like a porter. Each review was in haiku, and I wanted to share mine with you:

Jizzle Wizzle beer
States pee can't look like this one
Good flow fast finish


saschasdad said...

I say attagirl to Julie. It's like when Craig wheeled the Where's course and found out it was a bit, uh, long. So now it really is 100k. And that's good news for you, AJW, because you'll forever be the c.r. holder of the original makes me shudder thinking what Neil would have done to that time last year.

If Roes gets in, he should definitely make anyone's and everyone's A list.

AJW said...


Totally agree on Geoff. If he gets in he'll be in the hunt all day.


FastED said...

Are you ever gonna answer Craig Thornley's original question? Sooo close with a 4.04...

AJW said...

Hey Fast ED,

Sub-4 seems tough. But, ya never know.


FastED said...

Picked up those books you recommended - right up my alley! Thanks

Tony Lafferty said...

I am all for accurate measurements and appreciate the comments on wheeling vs. GPS..
The most accurate method, which provides repeatable and defined metadata should be part of each course description.
This really would not be more than a pdf file made available on each race site course information.

Discourse on GPS technology and accuracy should be limited to say that the inexpensive consumer grade gps watch, reciever etc..have limited accuracy and should not be used for course measurement.

Other than that Cool is still Cool..just a bit longer.


Jenn said...

why isn't nikki on your worry list?

Anonymous said...