Sunday, March 24, 2013

Antelope Island Buffalo Run 50 Mile Race Report

4 AM alarm goes off and just like every other Saturday this winter I make a bowl of granola and crack open an energy drink. Breakfast of champions! Next its upstairs to dig through the laundry and find some running clothes, the weather forecast made it sound like tights would be a good idea. Hmm, laundry gnomes hid my tights guess I'll just stick to shorts and rub some olive oil on my legs to take the bite out of the cold.

Over time my race plan has merged with my long run ritual and become very streamlined. Grab enough gels and salt pills to cover the time I think I'll be out there and stuff them in my pockets, and a water bottle if I'm out more than 2-3 hours. Goals #1 through 3 are: have a good time, do nothing stupid and finish what you start (in that order). I also come up with some time goals based on my training with the caveat that if I'm having a bad day, I'll toss them and just focus on #1-3 - its taken many failed races to learn that lesson. For the 2013 Antelope Island Buffalo Run, I wanted to beat last years PR time of 8:45 with a dream goal of coming in close to BJ, Bryce and Brian Kamm's time of ~7:45. They are all talented runners that I admire and keeping up with them is always a sign that the hard work and missed sleep from daily training is paying off.

Before the 6am start I went through my checklist: Shorts, socks and shoes: check (kinda important). Lightweight jacket: check. $1 cotton gloves: check. A dozen gels and salt pills: check. Water bottle: check. Ready to run! The temperature was a chilly 20 degrees, but the wind seemed tame and I felt comfortable and had a good feeling about the day. I fell into a jog as we started up the trail and focused on my new mantra for the early miles of races: ignore your testosterone and adrenaline and focus on maintaining an easy pace that you can run the entire day. Its tough to watch 50 guys take off ahead of me but I've finally started to learn that if I chase after them I'll burn through all my glycogen like a pyromaniac kid with a 1,000-pack of firecrackers and have a very slow and miserable day once the fun is over.

Up the steep hill, out to tag the big boulder on Elephant Head and back, down the screaming descent to Split Rock Bay and up the switchbacks everything was going to plan and I was joking around with friends Derek and Stephen. As soon as we topped out on the switchbacks and turned to head North for the first time all conversation stopped. I hadn't realized that we were running with a tail wind in protected coves and now the full force of the bitter cold 20mph wind was in our faces with nowhere to hide. My sweaty gloves, shorts and jacket flash froze. My legs turned red then went numb and I felt the familiar sting of the beginnings of frost nip in my fingers. My hands felt like blocks of ice and pulling a gel out of my pocket became a major undertaking. Over the next 6 miles into the 19 mile aid station, I watch with uneasy laughter as white freezer-burn ice crystals began growing on my shorts.

I knew that my wife Lindsay would be volunteering at the approaching aid station and I was looking forward to the boost in morale but there was a deep, growing despair twisting my stomach in knots and in the back of my mind I was formulating excuses to drop out. Lindsay and BJ were great to see as I ran through the aid station, but they had their hands full helping the hordes of other runners and I was too cold to hang out so they filled my water bottle and wished me well. As I left I started a full blown descent into Pity Town. Population: me.

Its a place where I've spent a lot of time before and is filled with great excuses, magnified pain and a lot of slow hiking and trotting. Once you come up with 2 or 3 decent excuses its on to Dropville, a blissful car ride home to a warm shower saying "this sport is stupid" and a regret filled month once I wake up the next morning. Don't get me wrong: sometimes real injuries or circumstances conspire against an ultrarunner and make dropping out the only sensible choice. Soreness, discomfort, blisters, chafing, tummy-aches and "being cold" are just part of the contract though; if you run a couple 50+ mile races you will experience some or all of these things. Self: deal with it!

Fortunately, I've spent enough time throwing myself pity parties that I recognized where I was headed and Experience put the breaks on. If I'm going to be out there all day, I might as well TRY to enjoy it - the only way to counter that mindset is be sickeningly saccharine with the self talk. Coping mechanisms deploy! I had a brief out of body experience at this point where I was now my pacer running alongside Ryan. I saw all the red flags and started listing positives and refocusing Ryan on some short term goals to feel good about. The sun is peeking over the mountains and its warming up quick, soon temps will be perfect for running! You met your time goal for the first 20 miles and you are right on track! You've already run the hardest part of the course, its nearly-flat cruising from here! You've never felt this good or been able to run up hills before at this point when you've run this race the 3 previous times!

It seemed stupid at first, but then I started to believe myself. I started to come up with some more short term goals to keep my mind occupied. Short out-and-back section, smile and say hi to some friends! Keep this pace up for the next couple miles and you will break your trail marathon PR! And your 50k PR! It was working - the sun was high and I was thawing out and feeling comfortable again. I took my jacket off and shook out all the chunks of frozen sweatcicles. I managed to catch up to Jon Stuart and really enjoyed running with him for a couple of miles until he had to dive into the bushes. I normally never catch Jon but unfortunately he was having a rough bout of GI issues and hamstring cramps. I always want to see my friends have a good race so it was a bit melancholy passing him, but he still "gutted" out a solid finish and I'm always happy to get to spend some time on the trail with him.

As I ran into the mile 33 ranch aid station that marks the turnaround for a 20 mile out and back leg of the course I felt my legs tightening up. Cramps and tight legs come on at this distance in every other race I've run so not a surprise. I still had a trick up my sleeve though. Talking the week before to Seth Hales (another fast local runner volunteering at the race) he mentioned a tactic hes used before: stash a couple Ibuprofen and take them at the ranch, and it will take the edge off for the last 17 miles. I normally try to avoid taking them while running, but I knew that only taking two wouldn't hurt because it takes a lot more than that to cause the kidney issues that some runners have experienced. Right as I popped them and turned to leave the first place female Sarah passed me and I cheered her on as she put a couple hundred yards of distance on me. Getting "chicked" is a normal thing for a mid pack runner like me so I've never felt any threat to my manliness from it. Still, as the ibuprofen began to take effect my legs loosened up again and I started gaining on her. I'm not very competitive and actually prefer to hang at other runners paces to chat but she graciously stepped aside and encouraged me on.

The last ten miles are tough to describe. If you've been there you'll understand: at some point I realized that if I just kept my current pace, I would finish under 8 hours but I still had at least an hour more to get there. Everything ached and hurt, nausea began to creep in and it then became a matter of just grinding out whatever I had left in me and not doing anything too stupid. Two miles from the finish I caught a runner ahead of me. Turned out to be the masters winner Charles. He told me to go ahead and pass the "geezer" but I took a look at my watch and realized that I would make my goal if we just maintained our pace. If we were competing for first place, or he stopped to tie a shoe I probably would have passed with a quick "good job" and picked up the pace to distance myself. I was over an hour behind first place and he was a worthy competitor though so I took the opportunity to match pace and talk to someone new for a few minutes. We talked about our summer races and homebrew gels and finished side by side in 7:45.

Typing this the day after, I'm still waiting for the "everything hurts" phase to be over so I can forget all the discomfort and just play the highlight reel back in my head. While I made mistakes and I could imagine a warmer, less painful race I would not change a thing about my day. It was pretty much perfect!

Thank you Jim and Karen for giving us all the opportunity to flog ourselves with the Buffalo every spring and thank you everyone that gave up your weekend to lose sleep, stand in the cold, clean up puke and listen to 800 runners whine about how tired we are after our catered jog!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Antelope Island Buffalo Run 50 Mile

ADD Version: I ran a PR by over 90 minutes finishing in 8:45 and the top 20, while also setting a 50k PR by an hour along the way in warm but pleasant weather with great company.

Disclaimer: At the Behest of Aric Manning I'm adding a new race report to this rarely used blog. This is more for me to look back on and laugh at the naive ideas in my head. Its public only because I read other runners journals and blogs constantly to learn and daydream - maybe their wisdom as filtered through my head along with my mistakes on the path to elevate my running will prove useful or hilarious to someone.

So 2012 has been an experiment for me on applying more rigor and consistency to my running to transcend the slow logarithmic plateau into mediocrity. For me this is defined by putting in a weak effort: I found myself doing only the bare minimum to prepare for races trying only to eek out a couple minute PR over the previous years attempt when I know I could do better. I've only had about 5 rest days since October (as rest/travel days for races) and my usual winter slump has been replaced with regular 60-70 mile weeks. I've had a few twinges of overuse but otherwise its been a huge improvement in how much I enjoy both training and races - no more death marching for me!

The Buffalo run on Saturday was my second test this year and I went in with a brief taper and a nagging IT band and lower back and oddly nervous. Hanging out at the start/20 mile aid station and watching the 100 milers who started the day before was fun but didn't help to calm the butterflies when I watched everyone going through looking totally thrashed by the heat (70 degrees feels hot right now ok!). I made it my focus to do two things: start out easy, and drink more than I want to. I also made my one big mistake of the day which was trying something new: hammer nutrition fizz electrolyte tablets. I've tried them while sitting around the house and they had a nice light flavor, and I've used other effervescent tablets like nuun before without bad effects so I added them to my race plan to help offset the damage I knew the heat would do. Well, within the first few miles I took a nice swig of my now well-shaken fizzy water and spent the next 20 miles burping and dry-heaving up frothy foam like a rabid dog. My stomach bloated out and the cramping started in earnest not long after.

I was right on my pace goal of getting to the fence at 19 at 3 hours, but I had to make an explosive port-o-potty stop to blow out the fizz for good. I switch back to water and started taking S-caps at each aid station (which were AWESOME! especially Jay Aldous bottle valet service). Unfortunately the damage was done and the last 30 miles were just some good ole fashioned ultra fun. I could run at a comfortable 8-10 min/mile but only for about 4-5 minutes before I felt too cramped and overheated and would have to take a walk break. It wasn't the way I wanted to finish the race, but the 100 milers had it a lot worse so I just made it a point to enjoy seeing all my friends on the trail.

As I hit the last loop around the Lakeside trail, I kept expecting some of the quick people behind me to catch up. I knew that Cory was hunting me down because I know how much he enjoys passing me looking like roadkill late in a race. I also bumped into Olaf at the last aid station, and I know he has been through a really tough month and getting a bear hug from him gave me the boost I needed to find a running gear to finish out the race strong with Cory only a couple minutes behind!

The race thoroughly trashed me, but hanging out at the finish and at Jeremiahs the next morning trading stories made it so much more fun than most races where all I can do is slump into the backseat of a car. I'm really happy with the result, the training has definitely been paying off and I hope the trend continues for a while - I have some high expectations for the Speedgoat (time-wise) and the Bear (scenery-wise, as in seeing all 100 miles of it).

Sunday, July 19, 2009

2009 SpeedGoat 50k

Not posting much this year since its an "off" year for me (no 100 milers, no hard training) so I can stave off the burnout and knee issues and get ready for a 2010 "on" year. I ran the Antelope Island Buffalo Run 50 miler on my b-day - I try to run at least my age every year. Also had a great race a couple weeks ago at the Logan Peak 28 mile trail run finishing strong and making some new friends.

This last weekend I started my third Speedgoat 50k hosted by Karl Meltzer at Snowbird ski resort. I had plenty of time left to finish it, but decided to drop at the mile 22 aid station (but still had to jog the 3 miles back to the finish). I started too fast and mixed with seasonal allergies (wildflowers? cottonwood? who knows) I enjoyed a rare visit from my pal asthma and had a good struggle on the first climb to the top of the hidden peak tram. I backed off the pace and had a great come-back on the way up and over Mt Baldy - one of my favorite peaks to hike and ski in the spring after Alta closes for the season.

After a screaming fast descent with my buddy Olaf into Mineral Basin, up Sinners Pass and down Mary Ellen Gulch I thought the worst was behind me. I caught quite a few people that passed me earlier and I was making up all the lost time from the first climb. I knew from last year that the climb back up to Mineral Basin would be hot and miserable so I spent some extra time in Roch Horton's awesome American Fork aid station cooling down. Unfortunately, the 90+ degree heat and the long, dusty climb up rugged jeep road conspired against me and respiratory problems were the order of the day. Normally I can find my "granny gear" and grind my way uphill at a slow, steady pace no matter how bad I'm feeling but the chest pain would build until it would force me to come to a stop and sit down. Immediately upon sitting the swarm of mosquitoes that were chasing me caught up and went to work and motivated me to stand up and move on - thanks to them I made it out eventually.

While moving at the glacial pace of about 1 mile per hour, I realized that any hope I had of finishing in a timely manner was shot and I would be lucky to make the generous cut-off time, so I decided to just accept my death march and try to enjoy the scenery along the way. Near the top of the climb back to the top of Sinners Pass, I found a great little patch of old snow in the shade with a panoramic view of the Southern portion of the Wasatch 100 course as it makes a dip close to Mt Timpanogas. I sat down in the snow, put some reggae on my ipod, pulled out some snacks and invited the hot and ragged looking runners passing me to stop there at Ryan's Oasis for a few. I'd probably still be there, but I knew that there were aid station volunteers waiting for me to get my butt in gear so they could go home, so I finished paying my sweat and blood penance, crossed Sinners Pass and topped out at the 22 mile tunnel aid station (colloquially known as the "Basshole" after Snowbird owner Dick Bass).

Somehow, I managed to make it to the aid station with 10 minutes to spare before the 3pm cutoff but I was worried about Lindsay who had yet to catch up to me so I decided to wait for her. 3-o-clock struck and she still was nowhere near, and I knew that the course sweeps would take care of her, so I decided that I would run for a mile and see if maybe my chest pain would subside so I could eek out a finish. It didn't, and I didn't, so I enjoyed a leisurely jog down single track to the finish area to drop officially and enjoy watching my friends finish. It was tough telling everyone that I had dropped and its weak to try and list off excuses for why I wasn't up to the task of finishing. I thought for sure that the Speedgoat would be in the bag for me, but the last year has been a humbling lesson in a series of dnf's. Like most of my beat-downs - I'm just trying to find the pieces of wisdom that I can keep and use next time. By the time I'm 70, I might even be good at this sport!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Moab Red Hot 50k+

Well, haven't posted in a while because I basically took the entire winter off from running to give my knees a break and do a lot of backcountry skiing and bouldering. I decided that this year will be an "easy" year where I don't focus on any 100 milers and instead just have fun at shorter distance ultras and work on improving my fitness and racing strategies. To kick my lazy butt into shape, Lindsay and I signed up for the Moab Red Hot race conveniently held on valentines day. It gave us a chance to get out of town to enjoy the lack of snow on the trails and see some great scenery around Moab and Arches National Park (we got about 5 miles of hiking in the day after the race).

The race has a 33k (about 20 miles) and a 50k+ option (the plus ended up meaning around 34 miles). Lindsay opted for the shorter distance because we have both been running less than a couple miles a week. I went for the whole enchilada because I love a good suffer-fest and I didn't want to miss out on all that bonus mileage.

The first 5 miles or so of the course are shared by both races and left from the Gemini Bridges trailhead just outside of town. It was fun to watch all the fast guys take off at the start. I aspire to be at that level of fitness someday... but I knew with my non-existant training I needed to settle into a nice easy jog. After the first 5 miles, us 50k+ers split off to the North for our extra 14 mile loop. I knew with only about 5k feet of elevation gain for the whole race that the hills would be pretty mellow, but our next hill was called "Metal Masher" and that did make me a little nervous. Luckily, it wasn't that bad for us runners. I would definitely be walking a bike up it -- it was obvious how it got its name. The hill topped out right on the brink of the 1000ft tall cliff that towers over the parking lot where we started. I took the opportunity to stop and enjoy the views while I peed over the edge. I hope no one was down there.

From the airy precipice, we had a long and fast double-track downhill back to the 5 mile fork to rejoin the 33k course. I picked up a lot of time there and my 20 mile split was around 3:30 - a lot faster than I thought I'd be. It didn't last. My lazy vacation from training caught up to my and my back, quads, calves and hamstrings all cramped and locked up at once. Unfortunately, the rest of the course was much more rugged and was constantly up and down on cement-like slickrock and momentum sucking sand. It gave me a lot more time to enjoy the views -- I could see for at least 50 miles or more in every direction from the snow covered La Sal mountains to the petrified sand dunes of the slickrock trail to the deep slots of Canyonlands N.P.

I tried all my tricks to calm the cramping -- salt tablets, drinking more water, force-feeding more gels (pu) but nothing worked until finally, I managed to score some vitamin I (ibuprofen) from a shady looking guy at the last aid station. He made me promise not to tell so I wont incriminate him any further. With 5 miles left, a long and gentle downhill and comfortably numb legs I was able to pick up the pace again and cruise into the finish. The last couple miles down to the Poison Spider trailhead were some of the best too. I loved running down to the edge of the Colorado river while the sheer thousand foot sides of the mesa we were just on grow above.

I definitely need to bring a camera when I run the Red Hot 50k+ next year, but I doubt it would do the race course justice -- so sign yourself up!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

2008 Bear 100 Mile Endurance Run

The Bear 100 is about a decade old, but what intrigued me about this years running was the new point to point course from Logan Utah to the shore of Bear Lake in Idaho during the peak of the fall colors... and plenty of peaks to climb too. I've never been to an ultra that was not laid back and full of friendly people but the Bear is the epitome of "low key" races. It was really just a big group of friends out playing in the hills (most meeting for the first time).

The Bear 100 is very similar to the Wasatch 100 that I ran in 3 weeks ago. It has a few thousand feet less total elevation gain and it tops out under 10,000 feet but it probably makes up for it with a more rocky, rugged and remote trail. The middle of Wasatch is unfortunately marred by some paved road sections that seem to drag on forever but not so at the Bear: once you drop into Black Smith Fork canyon around mile 19 and lose sight of the Logan/Cache valley you are really in the wilderness.

The best part of the race for me was the chance to be paced and crewed by my mom, dad and wife Lindsay. They had a harder job than I did - long cold waiting in the night, many miles on CRAZY jeep/atv/mountain goat roads and one grumpy runner. I really enjoyed the experience though and it was fun to finally show my folks what ultras are like.

I ended up dropping at mile 70 but I knew it was the right choice. I was on a great pace until mile 50 and I still had plenty of time to finish but I knew I was playing russian roulette with my knees from the start. They were a big reason for dropping out of Wasatch earlier this month and in the 3 weeks between I probably ran a total of maybe 15 miles. They felt fine the week before the Bear, but on the very first downhill of the race the pain was already building. I toughed it out as long as I could but after mile 60 I couldn't run at all and knew that I was starting to do some real damage.

I'm not disappointed because I did accomplish most of the goals I set for myself. I made a conscious effort to have fun and enjoy spending time with my pacers and fellow runners. I met some new friends, saw scenery that very few people ever see and I was even beating all of my time goals up till mile 45. I'm also usually plagued by nausea during most races but I managed to hold it together until it got dark. If the second half of the race had gone as well as the first I would have even placed in the top third of runners! I learned plenty too, like I need a lot more practice running through the night.

A few of the highlights:

The Good

* The amazing fall colors! All of the leaves were turning. The aspens were a brilliant glowing golden yellow and the forest looked like it was on fire. I'm a total sissy but my favorite were the arches of pink and red maples?. It looked like the trail was covered in rose petals.

* Free range cattle greet you with a surprised MOO in the strangest places. Lindsay and I had fun making our own animal noises while she was pacing me at night. Sorry if the elephant calls scared anyone - they are deadly creatures!

* The aid stations were hard to leave! Even though I was surrounded by my crew the moment I walked into an aid station, at least one volunteer would find me and offer to help. I was the most impressed at the Logan River aid station where I ended up hanging out for a couple hours. As soon as you come within sight, everyone is clapping and cheering and ringing cowbells. There was a dutch over cook (I really missed out on that being too nauseous to enjoy it). They sat me around a fire and when that wasn't enough I was huddled into a propane-heated trailer with a plush bed and blankets to warm up. As soon as the runners passed through most of the volunteers would take a nap right in their seat so they had enough energy for the next runner coming through. It was pretty impressive and I clearly need to earn more volunteer karma next year.

* BEST. CREW. EVER. I love you guys, you are awesome!

The Bad

* Free range cattle means dodging birthday cake sized cow patties every few feet. I'm glad my sense of smell and taste left quick because I must have smelled wonderful. Joey describes my normal, non-poop covered running scent as "rotting flesh" to give you an idea.

* The aid stations were spaced pretty far apart compared to any other race I've done. Most of them were 8 to 10 miles apart and it can be frustrating to keep anticipating them for hours on end. I think this is really more of a lack of experience on my part though. I'm sure that with a few more under my belt I'll learn to stop anticipating and just stay in the moment.

* Maybe it was just my exhausted state, but it seemed like Leland Barker the race director saved the steepest, nastiest, most technical and hardest to navigate trail for after dark. I don't hold anything against him and I love a good challenge, but ouch! The worst came around mile 67 or so. The race directions warn about a sharp 120 turn that is hard to miss and they aren't kidding. My dad was pacing me at that point and after two wet, muddy creek crossings we found a runner going the opposite direction toward us. We were at a 4 way intersection and he said that he had been lost for the last half hour trying every direction but couldn't find any course markings. After looking at the directions that my ma had cut into notecard size and waterproofed - we realized that we were not supposed to cross the two creeks and had the pleasure of crossing those again. We eventually found the turn and realized it would be tough to see even in the daylight.

The Ugly

* The sea slug! I'll get Lindsay to put some pictures of it up for your entertainment, but I guess somewhere before mile 36 I grew a bright red blood blister that covered one of my toes. I knew something was wrong once it went numb. It really freaked some people out at the aid station, and a very, very nice woman (whose name I missed) grabbed a blister kit and started triage. 15 minutes later and I was ready to run again but 4 days later it still looks pretty gnarly. P.S. if you see this nightowl, I owe you a blister kit.

* My grapefruit-size knees! I've seen a couple doctors (really like the sports doc I just visited). I'm on plenty of pain killers and I've had my knees drained and injected with cortisone. It looks like I may not be running again for a little while... but my doc is going to work with me to get things straightened out so I can have as many years of 100 mile attempts as possible.

* The Logan EconoLodge. I've stayed in plenty of cheap and dirty motels before, and I'll spare you the details, but stay at your own peril!!!

Anyway, thanks to everyone who checked in on me or watched online during the race. I was thinking about all the people who support me while I was running and it gave me a lot of strength. I feel extremely fortunate to even be able to show up at the starting lines of these events and I couldn't do it on my own - so thanks for reading!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Wasatch 2008 DNF

Well, despite the lack of updates - I've been training like crazy this season for this years Wasatch 100. As you can see by my pacing chart, I had big goals.

I knew I trained hard enough to break 30 hours, and I even put down sub-24 hour splits as a long shot. Rather than detail 24 hours of misery, I'll just give you the highlights:

What Went Wrong

  • Bad luck. It's been tough watching some of the other big busts in the ultra world this season - like Karl Meltzer forfeiting his speed record attempt due to injuries. I just didn't think it would happen to me this year because my training has gone so flawlessly.

  • My stomach turned on me. It may have been a bug or it may have been something I ate, but once my stomach started going sour it just kept getting worse and none of the tricks I knew worked: chewing ginger, drinking soda, eating solid food, taking electrolyte pills and even not eating for a while to see if things would settle. By the last 10 miles into Brighton, I was puking and dry-heaving every time I tried to run, eat or drink.

  • My legs died. Normally, this is something I can recover completely from. Unfortunately, the way to recover is to get some calories down - especially protein - and that just wasn't happening. One by one, every muscle started seizing and cramping until I was shuffling at a ridiculous pace. Dead legs alone is never a reason to quit, but it diminishes any fun factor really fast.

  • My knees blew out. My left knee cap has a tendency to go slightly out of its normal track and start gouging away at the sensitive stuff underneath (the doc said it was patella femoral syndrome.) I found that I can avoid flare ups if I stretch and strengthen my inner quad muscles. Bad stomach => low calorie intake => leg muscle cramping => knee misalignment => a pretty bad day.

What Went Right

  • I had the best crew in the race! I was lucky enough to recruit the same crew from last year, and their experience really paid off. Joey kept me moving and laughing 36 miles longer than I could have gone on my own. Rich stayed up most of the night waiting to get me in the last 25 and I know that if I'd have let him try, I would have finished. My wife Lindsay was AWESOME! She was never phased by how awful I smelled or how loud I whined. She set a timer as soon as I walked into an aid station, sat me down while she and Joey took care of everything I needed while force-feeding me food and encouragement, then kicked me out right on the buzzer. She even made flashing signs for my little pit stop area that got a lot of compliments.

  • I didn't let the starting line excitement get to me and I started slow and easy until I was warmed up. I was able to keep my heart rate down and carry on conversations all the way into Francis Peak aid at mile 18.

  • I love my New Balance 790s and ran the first 39 in them, but I made a good choice by switching to my beefier Brooks Cascadias for the rocky downhill sections after Big Mountain. In the NB790s, I have to be really careful about my foot placements to avoid bruising which is hard when I'm really mentally and physically fatigued - so the heavier shoes let me move faster.

  • My aid station turn-arounds were awesome up until Lambs Canyon when things really fell apart. I met my goal of keeping crew stops to around 15 minutes and non-crew stops around a minute. I literally refilled my water, stuffed my pockets with food a got out of there.

  • Even though my stomach objected, I kept trying to eat and drink up till the end. Usually when I'm tired and nauseous I'll stop taking in fuel even though I know I need to because its just easier to keep mindlessly marching on.

Had my stomach cooperated, I have no doubt that I could have met all my goals. I'm disappointed, but I don't regret dropping because if I could rewind time I know I'd still make the same call. I think I confirmed it as I puked up everything I tried to eat the day after. So... I can't call this race a success but it's not a total failure either. I'm confident that next time I will break 30 hours at Wasatch... maybe I'll even chase the crimson cheetah...

Monday, November 12, 2007

2007 Rock Ledge Rumble 50k


I think the Rock Ledge Rumble 50k is now a tradition for me, this being my third finish in a row. I've never set what I felt to be a good time there and the last miles always turn into a death march, but the rumble is by far my favorite race. This year I was lucky enough to share it with Lindsay and her brother Jimmy too. This report is not really about me anyway - my big race of the year is over and this was just a chance to have fun with friends and to see Lindsay conquer her first ultramarathon - which she did gracefully and coincidentally in the same time that I ran the rumble in 2 years ago (also my first ultra). Lindsay definitely looked much better at the finish line than I did after my first time!


I'm really proud of her for toughing it out to the end. I didn't run the race with her because I wanted her to be able to finish without me egging her on (and whining about all my stomach pains). It was a hot and humid day and we were all suffering in our own ways, but when I passed her on the out and backs she always looked fresh. I think had her legs not cramped up she would have easily beat me!

The hero of the day, fresh off a blazing fast half marathon the weekend before, was Wasatch pacer and one of my best friends Joey Guajardo! Joey won the race with no competition in sight in a new course record of 4:16.


I really thought I was running fast during the first 8 miles until I saw Joey on the return leg of the first out-and-back: he was flying and already 3 miles ahead of me! By the time I finished, Joey had been hanging out at the finish line waiting for me for almost 3 hours. He didn't even look like he'd been running! Joey is a great friend and a huge inspiration to me, plus it's pretty cool to know an elite runner that is going to be famous some day.

Jimmy also did awesome at his first trail race. He finished the 15k in a speedy 2 hours on a tough course. It's great to watch friends get hooked on this sport. I think Jimmy is going to be some tough competition if he chooses to push his miles up to the ultra distances - he's already too fast for me on training runs.


Tom Crull - race director and one great guy - did an incredible job putting the race together. It was a lot of fun seeing all my friends from NTTR working at the aid stations. I felt a little guilty getting such great personal attention. I'm still walking funny today, but I'm already looking forward to next years rumble.

Me at the finish

Images by Brad Garrison