Thursday, December 31, 2009

3500 Miles

Ran out Trail Creek Rd to the gate then back to Corral Creek Rd out to the Pioneer Cabin Trailhead. It was cold (about 12 degrees) but really nice. 22 miles later I was done. Time to enjoy the New Year's Eve festivities and dream about the Summer of 2010!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Last Run of The Year!

Here we are, I need to run 22 miles tomorrow for 3500 for the year.

I think I'll head out early, in the snow, barefoot, with no water, gels or watch, and see what happens:)

Stay tuned for a full report:)


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2009 - My 5 Best Runs

5. The Jizzle Wizzle Mile (5:14 on Hayward Field)

4. The Leadville 100 (End of a long summer)

3. Rocky Raccoon 100 (Exciting duel with Scott, one of the best guys in the sport!)

2. The Western States 100 (The power of the sponge at Devil's Thumb)

1. The Hardrock 100 (The best crew a runner could have!)

Happy New Year everyone! Here's hoping for more great running memories in 2010.

Monday, December 28, 2009

3 days to go!

Thanks for the comments. I think I'll go for it. Here's the plan:

I did 13 today so I'm down to 3443.

I'll do 15 on Tue and Wed and then finish the year with a 27.

Question is, should I go hills or flats? Roads or trails? Doubles or singles?

Time for bed.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mileage for the year!

It's fun at this time of year to look around on all the blogs and see what people are thinking about as they go into the last few days of the year and consider their yearly mileage totals. While I know it is completely arbitrary, we runners are an odd breed and some of us like to think about finishing the year with some kind of round/meaningful/funny number. I guess it says something about those of us who bother adding this stuff up through the year and I'd be curious to hear what some of you are thinking about for the last four days of 2009.

So, here's my deal, I am sitting on 3430 miles for the year with four days to go. I must say, 3500 is a pretty sweet looking number but it means I'd need to belt out 70 miles over the next four days.

What do you think, should I go for it?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Camp

Every year during the winter break from school my kids take part in "Christmas Camp" as part of the Sun Valley Ski Team. Basically, during this time, they spend two weeks focusing on technique and other fundamentals as they prepare for the racing season that begins in January. In the spirit of solidarity (and due to the fact that I am a lousy skier:) I have, for the past two years, had my own Christmas Camp to get ready for my own ultramarathon racing season which will slowly ramp up in January.

With a quiet couple weeks of work ahead of me I am looking forward to 16 consecutive days of running with a focus on consistency and leg turnover. In addition, I plan to work on keeping my heart rate steady while paying attention to my running form. Lastly, I hope to get in about 180 miles during that time.

And, for inspiration and given the fact that I just submitted my Hardrock registration, I will keep in mind the moment pictured above, taken last July in Silverton, as I dive into my own "Christmas Camp."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A New Challenge

Long before I ran ultras I was a bicycle tourist. My wife and I would routinely take off every summer for a 10-week bike trip somewhere or other in the US or Canada. In the early '90's we went across the US twice and in the summer of 1994 we rode from Bend, OR to Fairbanks, AK. Then, before it was too late, we quit our jobs and spent 18 months biking around the world in 1995-96.

So, fast-forward to last month when we were in Eugene for my "Epic Failure" at the 5 minute mile. The positive by-product of the whole ordeal was that we got to spend a fun night at Laurie and Craig's house catching up with friends and enjoying the spoils of the day. On that evening Shelly, my wife, got to talking to MonkeyBoy (aka Scott Wolfe) about bikes. Well, it so happens that MonkeyBoy is, among other things, a frame builder in Eugene and Shelly and he spent an hour talking about frame geometry, fit, and all things bikes. Anyway, Shelly has never found a bike that really fit her so on the way home we casually discussed if it might be worth having Scott build something for her.

Well, tonight the gauntlet was laid! My good friend and pacer MonkeyBoy has officially offered to build Shelly a custom frame if I beat my 2007 Western States time of 17:20 in the 2010 event. As if the 10-year bet was not enough reason for motivation now I have another one. Thanks brother! And, I am looking forward to training together later this spring.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Men's Ultra Performance of the Year - 2009

While there are a few weeks left in the year it looks like, at least for the people who bother to read this blog, Geoff Roes' Course Record Run at Wasatch is the Men's Ultra Performance of the Year. Coming in 2nd was Anton Krupicka's Course Record at White River followed by Ulli Steidl's NF50 and Hal Koerner's WS.

Certainly, there are many other potential performances that could be in the mix but these four emerged over the year as the top-four.

In the coming weeks, look for a series of polls on this blog on a variety of different ultra related topics. And, if you are interested in any particular topic that might be a good subject for a poll, please let me know. I probably won't start writing about Western States until, oh, I don't know, maybe Christmas.

Anyone start thinking about New Year's Resolutions? One of mine is to train and race well enough that when I get to Robie Point on the evening of June 26th and glance to my right down the fire road there will be no visible lights bouncing up the trail. What are some of yours?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Special Consideration at WS!

One of those most interesting and compelling names to pop up on the Western States Entry list post-lottery is Kilian Jornet. Clearly, assuming he is healthy, he could make a run at the Course Record. Going to be interesting.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

North Face 50 - San Francisco

I have to admit, I went into this race not wanting to like it. Having heard so much over the years about sketchy course markings, the annoying road race atmosphere, and the unpredictable nature of the whole thing I was skeptical. However, in the end, aside from the start being delayed 15 minutes (thereby adding stress to my day because I had a flight to catch that was not likely to be delayed 15 minutes), the race and the organization were impressive.

Of course, I had heard much about the big blow-uppy things around the start/finish area, the guy with the DJ voice who talks all the time on the PA and the young women in matching red outfits on walkie-talkies that have become synonymous with these TNF events but, I hafta say, I kind of liked it. The race started like any other race, was marked like any other race (perhaps even better since they’ve gotten so much heat over the years), and finished like than any other race (except that they put so much faith in the chip timing system that pretty much nobody even notices the finishers). My only gripe about the whole thing logistically was that they advertised that they would have gels at every aid station and they didn’t. No biggie, but still, it took some getting used to having to gut down PowerBars so late in a race. Nonetheless, that little annoyance was quickly canceled out by the free beer in the Pyramid Beer Garden that awaited us at the finish.

As for me and my race, I was happy with my 8-hours-and-change result and was thrilled, on this day, to share the trail with such a great group of athletes. It is clear to me that TNF has figured out that the best way to get an elite field to come to SF for a 50 miler in December is to throw down elite prize money. On the one out-and-back section of the course about halfway through it was so fun to see Ulli and Geoff battle it out followed by Mackey and Wardian who were giving strong chase. Chikara and Tsuyoshi were also hugely impressive on this sweet section of singletrack. And, I gotta say, it was pretty special to see two great guys from our sport who may not get as much love as they deserve working together to keep the gap manageable. The guys I’m talking about are Leigh Schmitt and Mike Wolfe, class acts both and their results speak for themselves.

All in all, it was great day in the Marin Headlands that puts a cherry on top of my 2009 season. Next up for me will be the Ghost Town 38.5 in New Mexico on MLK weekend and then, after that, I am not sure. Well that’s not entirely true, I am sure where I’ll be on the last Saturday in June and hopefully Victor won’t cause me so much stress☺

WS Lottery!

Well, as much as I am bummed about all the people who didn't get in, I gotta say, I am really psyched about these four:

1. Tommy Nielsen: My running mentor and quite possibly the best human example of why this sport is so great. Awesome!

2. Victor Ballesteros: The guy was M11 last year by 23 seconds. I know. He deserves in the Dance this year and will likely go top-7.

3. Ian Torrence: Hard to believe, but Ian now represents the Old Guard. Let this be the year he nails it and arrives at The Track not "running on fumes."

4. Hank Dart: My local training partner in Idaho and a true 100 mile guy. Did 25 and change at Bighorn and Wasatch this year and knows what it takes to get it done. I am thinking sub-21 for Hank at the dance.

That's all for now! Anyone know where the results of today's NF50 are? I had to leave to catch a flight and don't know my time or my place. What I do know is that it was a blast today out on the trails of Marin.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Brown's to the Finish - 1:42

Woke up super-early and got some bonus time on the dance floor. It'll probably cost me an hour tomorrow at the NF50 but it was worth it. Started at Placer HS, ran to the Quarry Rd and then up to Brown's Bar. Ran back Brown's to finish.

For those who care, the splits:

Brown's-Hwy 49 :36
Hwy 49-No Hands :28
No Hands-Finish :38

Ahhh! It's likely that tomorrow will be my last run on dirt for 7 weeks. Think I'll savor it.