Thursday, April 30, 2009

A good day.... Finally

I have felt like a train wreck even since Zumbro (until a few days ago).

I had horrible allergies hit me almost 2 weeks ago, and just did not feel like doing squat.

Every run was like trying to restart the engines of a 747 doing a nose dive from 40,000. Okay.... horrible analogy.

My attempt at a long run this weekend was pathetic.

I finally mustered up an Afton trip on Tuesday to do hill repeats. I was happy to get in 12 up Campground hill, and felt great. All of them up under 5 minutes (to the post with the blue diamond on it..... Steve knows it).

I was a bit sore from that, but recharged.

Felt like a freight train this morning (that's a good feeling).

I was worried I would not be recovered for Ice Age, but now I am confident. But, this leads me to a dilemma at Ice Age

* Do I run the race I know I can run?
* Do I run the race I should run?
* Do I run the race I want to run?

The hardest thing I deal with is not doing #3 when things are going well.

I know I am not going to run the race I can run, which leaves me to the should vs. want.

Part of my personality and life has this "You only have so many of these left" mentality. "Go for it while you can". I know it does not make sense to some, but many completely understand.

I have 1 more week to figure it out.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Chippewa 50K Race Report

I know, I did not run it, but I got to see the whole thing unfold and come together from a totally new perspective. So here is a report from an observers point of view.

First off, I did not know I would so much fun helping at a race rather than running. For those of thinking of trail running or ultra stuff, come spend a day with the race. You won't regret it.

Friday brought beautiful weather. It was a spectacular drive to New Auburn, and it seemed Spring was finally here.

I arrived to find Larry making his special electrolyte drink for the runners.


Warning to other race directors - Don't leave Larry and me unsupervised for too long. Enough said.

We packed the race bags, allocated the aid station stock, and just hung out and traded stories. A good time.

I had this pipe dream that I was going to go run the whole course that night. I headed out at 4:30 pm with my pack full of water. I returned to the parking lot at 5:30pm totally spent. It was hot, but my legs were just not ready for anything. Oh well.

It was a good thing I quit, because right after getting in my car, heading down hwy M, I was blasted with hail. Then rain, .... etc.

I stayed at the Four Seasons in Chippewa Falls with Bill Pomerenke. He was preparing for his second ultramarathon ever, as well as second in 8 days. I think I told him "It's a little harder than Trail Mix..... but not by much". "but not by much" could be the Larry creeping into my vernacular.

I awoke early and got to the race early so I could assist. Dang.. it's cold! Will the rain hold off (it was lightly raining when I arrived).

We loaded up the Chippewa Recovery Drink for after the race


Wynn's family had everything under control, so I started interviewing racers. I have posted some already, and will post more later. Stay tuned. And, in case you were wondering, I did not doctor any of the race footage whatsoever. cough cough. Okay, I will fess up. I heavily edited Adam's Race Predictions clip. I couldn't resist.

The night before when I went out for the run, I quickly realized the new start had an interesting twist. A KILLER DOWNHILL! Also an uphill at the end.... What goes down, must go up.

I decided to get some live footage at the bottom hoping, just hoping I would witness a NASCAR like pile up.

Bryan Cochran had the same idea, and he was at the same spot ready to capture hill bombers.

I hear the cowbell ringing, and new the race started. And they started coming.

I think it was Matt Howard who I hear say "We don't have to go back up this" when he was at the bottom. You can here me on tape saying "Yes you do!"

Andy Holak said it best "Do we have to go this way to the finish line? That's kind of a nasty finish"

I gave out some minor heckling and enjoyed watching people with smiles.

Hey, there is Steve Quick! I thought after not seeing him before the race, he got smart and bagged it (two weeks ago he ran Zumbro 100 Mile, and Trail Mix 50k last week). What was I thinking?

After everybody passed, I charged up the hill to see the runners at the 2 mile point. Half way up the hill, I started walking. Damn, this hill is tough. They are going to LOVE this one after 30 miles.

We soon saw the runners coming through at the 2 mile mark. The lead pack was about the same, John Storkamp, Matt Howard, Andy Holak, Chris Gardner, Erik Kaitala. Joe Zigenfuss and Adam Harmer were close behind.

On a funny note, when Matt Long came through, he had about 20 people right behind him. I guess they heard what happens when you try to run a race ahead of Mr. Long (see my Zumbro 100k report). I told him he was clogging up the pipeline.

I also realized I very well could be dubbed the "Slowest Matt" soon. Look who I have to contend with

Matt Howard
Matt Aro
Matt Long

All incredibly strong, smart, and experienced runners.

Once they passed, we just chatted, and then went off to the our duties.

Having camera duty, I decided to go to mile 8. By the time all of the runners came through 2, I didn't think I would catch the front runners at 5.

After a few scenic detours (euphemism for missed turns), I arrived at Town Line rd A/S. I met Gina (Geena?) Howard. She was watching her husband (fiance?) Matt try to take the gold. We saw them come through, and you can see the results on the previously posted video "the race unfolds".

As I wanted to see the leads at the turnaround, I didn't stay too long (I still had duties at the finish line).

At the 25k turnaround, Julie Berg, Londell Pease, Daryl and Lynn Saari were firing up a party. Donny Clark and Bonnie Riley were there too (the marked the trail, and were set to sweep it at the end). They are the glue which holds these races together.

I caught some video, and got a short workout in. Two runners came into the aid station from the road. They missed the final markers taking them through the woods, so they went through someones back yard.

I ran with them to find where they missed.

It was well marked, but I refrained from judging. The markers I missed two weeks prior were way more visible than these.

Side note-
A handful of runners said to me that the course was not well marked.
Knowing who marked it, and this being a trail race, I have this to say respectfully in response

* Part of a trail race is understanding the course, and paying attention. You can't rely on the course to guide you in lieu of you not paying attention. It is INTERACTIVE. Once you become passive, you are doomed for mistakes. All of my missed/wrong turns in previous races were a result of 1 - me not paying attention 2 - assuming the people ahead of me are paying attention. In my opinion, this element makes trail running an even more interesting sport.

The trail was well marked.

My guess is those who were upset, were rather new to trail running. Show me a trail runner who has never missed markings, and I will show you a trail runner who has not run a lot of trails.

Nuff said - If you feel I am off base, email me directly. Then go run the Superior Hiking Trail.

I heckled some people at the turnaround.

"Hey Steve, it's okay to run a 50K in over 5 hours"

"Hey Molly, this isn't social hour.... get your butt back on the trail" (I was also afraid she would start attracting bees"

"Hey Bruce, you are dry"

Donny Clark said it best "This course is showing more blood than mud"

I figured I needed to get back to the start soon. So I was off.

We all gathered at the 2 mile mark, waiting for someone to come through. Based on what we knew, at the 3:42 mark, we figured sub 4 hours was almost out of the questions until we saw Andy Holak doing the "hand on quads" hill climb. We told him it was going to be close for a sub 4 hour.

Not far behind, a serious race was brewing. Matt Howard was power walking the hill. Chris Garnder decided to show us who was boss by running it. John Storkamp decided to get his dark side on and threw his shirt to the ground. He was mad, and wanted this one.

On the other side, we could see them coming from a far. Andy had a good enough lead, but that last hill was a serious X factor. It was funny to watch Andy looking over his shoulder every few seconds as he was crossing the last field. He ended up holding the boys off and brought it home in 3:59:40. He ran the last part of the hill after Wynn said "you have 1.5 minutes to break 4"

Gardner, Howard, and Storkamp followed shortly after. They all had comments on "The Hill"

Adam Harmer's buddies came to watch, so I told them to give him crap at the 2 mile mark. At the final hill, they gave him more crap, so he ran part of hill. He finished not far behind Joe Z.

I planted myself at the top of the hill, yelling at runners. I think I said "This is not a fun walk, it's a run".

Helen came through with a repeat win. Here is an interview with her.
video

Following in second was Karen Shoenrock. She had a smile the whole time up the hill. You can't see it here, she's just concentrating.


I probably stayed at that hill for at least 2 hours. It was a blast.

Bill Pomerenke came up the hill without a word. After I found him at the finish line, all he had to say was "That F#$@%ing hill!"

Wynn liked that. It is now named.

I ended up taking chair duty and recording names until the end. All I knew were numbers, no names.

I met with Wynn's mom after she "fired" him from kitchen duties next year. We talked ideas for next year. I am looking forward to taking kitchen duty.

Wynn's family is the true success behind the success of this race. His mom was greeted with hugs from the center crew. His dad and sister did so much, without any need for recognition. They rocked big time.

The only bad note from the day was after arriving home, I found a tick had bit me on the ass. Who knows how long it was on there. I guess that's what I get for heckling runners.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Race Unfolds

Also posted this on the Chippewa 50 race updates site.

video

Monday, April 27, 2009

This one's for you Nic

I did not realize a trash talk battle had been brewing between Nic and Helen. Being that Nic is new to the trail scene, I decided to be nice.



video

imovie is too much fun

video

Mile 1.75 at Chippewa 50K

video

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sloppy Journalism

I consider myself a sloppy blogger, so I see it fair to comment on sloppy journalism.

I read this article in the Star Tribune about how Grandma's Marathon has not reached capacity yet.

I laughed and did the old "yell at nobody" in the room. Well, my wife was close enough, so she listened to my rant and rave.

The article states that Grandma's (which has a history of filling the field in 1 week), has still not filled to capacity. 10 Weeks until race day. There was a time when the Dead Runners would post to their group "you need to send your registration request by today, to receive a Grandma's registration form". And, people would send them in THE SAME DAY the received it in the mail. I even knew one guy who would Fed Ex it. Grandma's was a last hold out from internet registration.

I digress....

The author states "without a doubt" the economy is a factor. But, of course, gives nothing to back this up other than the fee being up at $85, and the hotels "increasing their rates for the weekend". I don't know what it was last year, but I recall it being at least $80 3 years agao.

I knew this would more than likely happen after I heard there would be 2 new marathons this spring in the Twin Cities (Stillwater, and Msps), plus a 3rd in LaCrosse.

It's common knowledge that the hotels in Duluth raise their prices as much as they can to cash in on this event. BUT, they still fill up, so obviously somebody is willing to pay for them. Many posters to this articles are taking it out on the hotels, but the reality is, there are a lot of options to those hotels. I ended up camping 2 years and paying $20-$40 for the weekend.

The reality is, 3 new spring marathons ABSOLUTELY create serious competition for Grandma's. Plus, Fargo Marathon is only a few years old, and the Lake Wobegon? marathon is only a few years old (if not, only a year old).

This article is a great example of why newspaper subscriptions are down. The "let's come to a conclusion without doing any research" is epidemic in the industry. The fact that the new marathons were not even mentioned is pretty amazing, and incredibly sad for the Star Tribune. Maybe this should have been printed on the op ed page.

What makes this more comical are the comments. One poster blames Democrats, then the next blames Republicans. Ohhhhhh Pleeeeeeease!

I will agree that the economy has made an impact on marathons, but in a general sense. If one looks at the big picture, all the marathons in the U.S., and factors in their increase in fees, I am guessing registrations will be less this year than last. If any races lose runners, they will most likely be the huge ones (I am speculating, not stating a fact). Chicago accepts 45,000 registrants at $125. Yes, that is up from 40,000 the year they failed to have adequate water and turned it into a "fun run".

Chicago has not filled up...... the economy must be tanking.

I bet if one added up all of the registrants from the Stillwater Marathon, the Minneapolis Marathon, and Grandma's marathon, it would be a net gain compared to just Grandma's last year.

On a brighter note, Chippewa 50k is still taking runners. Now that it is race week, the fee is $55 (that's $1.77 per mile- compared to $4.77 per mile at Chicago). And, you don't have to pay $20 at the McCormick Convention Center Parking to pick up your packet.

Looks like the weather might be a bit warm.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Reflections and recovery

First off, a few pictures care of Zach's wife

Me at mile 27. Happy camper.


Hmmmmm, where is the runner attached to this belt (he was in the can)


I can't use my hands... will you please give me a retie while I drink this yummy coffee? This was around 5am.


Mile 42. Not a happy camper. A confused race director was looking at me thinking "The runners ahead of you said you never passed them". Yeah, I know. I took the scenic route. I can't feel my hands.


5.7 miles later. Ahhhh... warmth.


If you want to see more pictures from the event, check out Zach's pictures at
http://picasaweb.google.com/zach.pierce/2009Zumbro100#

or, Londell's pictures at

http://picasaweb.google.com/runallday/DropBox?authkey=Gv1sRgCPfMwOfztY_P8QE#

One of the odd things I have found to happen after ultras, is memory recollection.

I am remembering things now about the race which I didn't remember Sunday.

This race did bring some new success for me.

1 - I had almost no blisters. I thought I did during the race, but realized it was only my feet feeling really raw. One tiny one below my ankle, that's it.
2 - No chaffing. None. I am now a firm believer in compression shorts and shirts. I wore a skin tight tank top under my clothes during the whole race, and only put body glide on the nipples once (right before the start). I have had some severe chaffing in the past
3 - I didn't glycogen crash. Probably because I did not have much in me to begin with. My fuel problems resulted more from the inability to use my hands for about 4 hours, than what I was eating. My down times were more fatigue, sleepiness, and a mild electrolyte imbalance toward the end.
4 - I did not get dehydrated! First time in a race in a long time. I was always able to "to the business", and I was not consuming copious amounts of water. After the race, I did not have the bloating and chills usually associated with dehydration.

I think #3 and #4 I can attribute to following Stu Mittleman's advice with eating. I did not worry too much about what to eat on the days leading up to the race (and race day). I just avoided simple carbs. I need to read up on food and the water needed to metabolize that food. I think this has been my downfall in the past (too much water being used for non-hydration purposes).

Side effects from this race -

My sleep clock was really messed up for a few days. I slept about 11 hours Saturday night, but only 6 on Sunday night. I was sleepy for a few days.

My body is recovering but, not ready to ramp back up. I did 5 miles (super slow) on Monday, and 8 on Tuesday. I was going to run this morning, but the engine feels stalled. No big deal.

What needs to be done between now and Ice Age -

1 - Hills. My legs eventually gave up on the final loop due to the hills. I was stopped dead in my tracks in the mid 50's, going up a hill. It was the same spot I saw Pierre, but he was about 40 miles ahead of me. I can chalk this race up as one huge hill workout.

2 - Hills.

3 - One 30-40 miler. I will probably do this on the Chippewa course the night before the race (I am not racing, I am helping).

4 - A few tempo runs.

5 - As much core work as I can handle until about 5 days before the race.

Ice Age is gearing up to be a great race. Wynn Davis is signed up, along with some other fast guys (and girls). No doubt the winners will be under 7 hours, the question will be by how much.

Good luck to all who are running Trail Mix this weekend.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Zumbro 100k Report

My rules of ultra running

1 - Run your own race
2 - Never make any decisions about races (like "I will never do this again") the 2 days after a race..... or while you are running the race.
3 - No whining
4 - Don't test stuff on race day
5 - Things will get better
6 - Never underestimate any race

I violated rules 1,3, and 6 yesterday. I am not sure anybody heard my whining, but I was thinking it. I was sure #5 was false.

All said and done, I had a great race. I can actually say race, because at mile 57, I was chasing the 1st place male. And, for the first time ever, I led the race (for 20 miles). Was it stupid to do that? Maybe. But, it was a fun change for me. One runs a different race when you know two kids (Justin and Eric Youngblom) are on your ass, and one woman (Kim Holak)who is a force to be reckoned with. All the while not knowing the eventual male winner (Matt Long) was running smart and waiting to put the hurt on at mile 50.

How this race evolved in the 100k, and how it ended, made for a great and fun experience. I hit bottom, a couple of times, but this was just a long training run for Kettle 100..... right?

Zumbro Bottoms

This place is out there. If you want to experience a different part on Minnesota, check it out. I am glad I drove down during daylight hours, because the staging area was down a maintenance road, past what seemed to be a third world country.

I did not sleep well Thursday night, and only had a 1/2 hour nap on Friday. I was hoping to get a quick nap when I arrived, but I was not tired at all. I guess coffee was going to play a major role in this race.

You know it is an alternative race, when the pre race hang out is sitting around a fire telling stories. Boy, I felt like busting out a beer and relaxing!

The pre race meeting started at 11:45 (pm) and Larry described the course.

Midnight hit, and we were off. Because these were 20 mile loops, the 100k started by going down a flat, dirt road for a mile and coming back.

The course

The course consisted of a 5.7 mile loop, then a 14.3 miles loop with 2 aid stations in there roughly 6 miles apart.

First loop

I would describe this as a war torn forest, weaving around the Zumbro River. Since we saw this at night first, my impressions of it were 5'x5'. I was surprised by all of the downed trees. It was very runnable, with a few sand spots to slow you down. The Youngbloms took the lead, and I fell in behind Kim and Andy Holak. They are the husband and wife super stars of ultra running. Andy was "pacing" Kim, but I think it was just an excuse to have fun. I knew I would likely end the race behind her, but the question was by how much. I decided I wanted to see how these better runners ran these races, so I tried keeping her in my sights.

The rest of the course

The rest of the course is a mix of everything. After coming back to the start/finish aid station we were off for the rest. I held back from Kim, and the Y-Boys were pulling away. The first part is a long stretch of an easy rolling road. Easy, but a brain drain. After that, you climb a few hills with some sand spots in there (the beach). It was between 1-2 am. My perspective of the course was still through my headlamp.

We started climbing some radical hills with rocks. At one point, we turned to climb a steep hill, directly into the moon. I started howling. (I could get "bark at the moon" out of my head). Pretty soon, we were running around what appeared to be a lake. I could see the boys on the other side the lake (it was actually a field), coming back at us, and Kim and Andy were not too far ahead.

Then came the first "Big Hill". It went on forever. At the top I thought "That one is going to suck on the 3rd loop". The runners ahead lost me.

Then came the down hill. This was an insane down hill. I think it was actually a deer trail, covered in leaves. The trail here was rather subjective, and only the flags gave me clues as to where it was. I decided to let gravity be my friend, and I bombed it. Somehow, this brought me right behind Kim and Andy, with the boys just ahead of his coming into Aid station 2.

I did not need anything there, as I was already munching on some shot blox. I filled one bottle with Heed, and said "let's go". The boys insisted I go first. This would mean I would be in the lead. I said "no, you first". They said "no, you first". So I said "here is the one and only time I have ever led a race".

The next leg starts somewhat flat for a few miles, then climbs up a killer hill, with a lot of up and down ridge running. I remember thinking we were about to go down to the bottom, then it was up again, and up again. Eventually we hit the spot where we would go down to the bottom. This down hill section was harry. Lots of rocks, logs up above.... just like a Bond movie (you know the skiing sequence). I just let her rip, for it would take more energy to hit the breaks. I hit the bottom of the hill alone. The rest of the section I just kept thinking "what the hell am I doing up front?"

The next aid station came. I refueled, but still didn't need any supplemental food. I felt great. As I was leaving, I saw the two lights of the Youngbloms coming in. They were right behind me.

The last leg of this big loop is only 2.7 miles, but starts by climbing straight up a massive rocky hill/mountain. I saw Scott Meyers, who was at that point leading the 100. Dallas was at the aid station right behind, and was planning his battle. They were on loop 4 of 5. I was on 1 of 3.

That hill did not seem bad, but it would come to haunt me later.

Once at the top, its all ridges until another psycho downhill with rocks. Once again, no breaks. One wrong foot placement here and its game over. I don't know why I bombed this one as well, but down hills is my strong suit. If I can't use them to my advantage, this what's the point?

Eventually this led to the road back to the start finish. I came into the start finish in the lead. I told Larry "make a note of this, it is the one and only time you will see me leading one of your races".

I recall heading right back out on the first loop, knowing I would be back here in an hour to make any gear/food/etc adjustments and changes. It was quiet there.

I went out for the loop, and it was lonely. My hands were really cold, and I was starting to get tired. It was past 4am. All I remember of that section was, at one point, I did not see any flags. Crap, did I miss a turn. I ended up back tracking 1/4 all to find I was on the right track. Oh well.

I came back into the aid station in good spirits, but feeling cold. I though the forecast said overnight low of 29 degrees? It felt colder than that.

Zach's wife, Jen, caught a few pictures me coming in. John was giving me a re-tie on my shoes, as my fingers weren't working anymore.

I left for the next loop still in the lead, and I still felt pretty good. It was past 5am.

I just tried to keep a good pace through the easy stuff. I kept looking back to see if lights were behind me. Nothing. I swear I could hear them. I was feeling better. I was cruising. At about 30 miles, I felt like I could do this for a long time.

My hands were getting really cold. What's the deal?

I arrived into the next aid station in great spirits. This is where I took the lead 20 miles earlier, and I still had it. Wayne was there to help, and it was great to see a familiar face.

I was off for more.

Damn, its getting colder! It was getting light out. yeah! It should be warm in a matter of minutes (i was wrong).

I switched to cruise control. I was in great spirits. I can't believe I still up here. Things were going great.

I missed a turn.

Hmmmmmm. Those flag markings don't make sense...... (I was off course and came upon a section I had just run.

Gosh, I swear I just saw this part. It must have been the last loop. I don't remember it being flat for this long of this section. Suddenly.... Oh @#$%, I just ran this section! #$%@!!! I am running in circles! @#$%!

I was furious. I stopped paying attention, and I blew it. It did not take long for me to find the spot where I missed a right turn. It was well marked. There is no reason I should have missed it. Now I know how Steve Quick felt up at Superior around Finland.

I spent the next 1/2 hour trying to get a grip on my metal state. I don't remember the next sequence of events, but I found myself

* freezing
* mentally in pieces
* feeling queezy

To make things worse my water bottles were freezing! The nipples were frozen and I was sucking on slush. Even the Heed was freezing. I lost all motor skills in my hands, so I could not retrieve s caps or eat my shot bloks. I couldn't even hold my bottle properly. I was quickly going south.

What seemed like 3 years later, I made it to the next aid station. They told me Kim and the boys had come and gone a while ago. I figured as much. I told them I took a wrong turn, as there would be concern when the Youngbloms arrive at the s/f station having never passed me.

I calmed my nerves and made it through the next section. I was still cold. I decided I would switch to the back pack for the remainder of the race as my hands were useless.

I finished the loop, came into the start/finish area with and explanation of my wrong turn.

Bill Pomerenke was there to join me for the last loop. Bill is new to the ultra seen, and I knew would be good company. He helped me get geared up and we were off.

By that time, I was over my frustration. I kind of knew I would not be able to hold that lead, but I would have been close to the top based on where the others were at that point.

Bill was very positive and encouraging, making me focus on just keeping a pace going. He claimed we were still in the race. During that loop, we saw Val and John Gustafson. I was afraid John was going to catch us. I was less worried about catching up to anybody. I remember having to walk some. But I knew things would get better.

It wasn't cold anymore. It was actually warm.

I changed at the aid station, and were were off for the final big loop. I remember keeping a slow running pace for a while, but Bill would probably say we were walking.

I still had enough energy to chat, so Bill took my mind off stuff.

On the psycho down hill, we passed Steve Quick on his final 9 miles of his first 100 mile finish. He did not say anything. He had a LONG 9 miles ahead of him (so did I).

We eventually made it to the next A/S, and there was my hero Lynn Sarri. She started the 100M with her husband, Daryl. She dropped out when she realized it was not her day. We were off. I showed Bill where I missed a turn. I am sure he though "The only thing missing from that turn were bells and flashing lights" It was well marked.

Going up the hill we saw Pierre Oster. Pierre is even Steven. He was finishing his umteenth 100mile.

Not long after that Bill says "Runner behind". Someone caught up to us. ?????

It was Matt Long. I did not know him, but I knew of him. He passed us. 100k runner. I was now in 5th. Where did he come from? Why was he holding back? He is a far better runner than I. I guess he was much smarter too!

I don't know if I said anything at that point, but I was feeling punished. Crap!

I am now in 5th and counting.

Not 30 seconds later we see the Youngbloms. What? They said "major issues". We passed.

I said, "Bill, I am in third, with 2nd place in sight" It was mile 57 or so. This is a race!

That lit a fire in me, and I was going again. I bombed that killer downhill, and we chased Matt Long to the next aid station. I thought I had a chance, but I spent a lot getting to that A/S.

20 seconds at that station and we were off.

That hill which did not seem bad in the first loop killed me. Bill kept asking me how I was doing, and I did not even have enough energy to answer. My recollection is looking down at the trail. I felt like puking.

At the top, we could see the finish area, waaaaaaay off in the distance. We will never get there.

After a few ridge climbs, we caught another view. I looked like we were not at all closer.

Finally, we made it to the last killer down hill. I decided to walk it. My legs were beyond toast.

All I remember is making it down, and then tasting the finish line. That is where I got the last bit to run it in.

I crossed in 14 hours and 11 minutes. 3rd overall, second male.

Larry congratulates me and gave me a plaque for winning the Male 30-39 age group. I thought about this for a second, and said "wasn't I the only male 30-39 out there?" He said "yes, but it still counts". I will take it.

Kim ended up burying all of us at around 13 hours. Matt Long took second, and I have no idea how far ahead. All I can say is, I had no chance of catching him.

A special thanks to Bill for helping in that last loop.

At the end I found that Zach Pierce finished in 29:30 for his first 100. An awesome time for that course. Well done Zach!

I got to see Steve Quick come in for his first 100M finish. He put that one to bed.

I got to see the remaining 100k finishers (both of them), as the Youngbloms decided to pull the plug.

Great job to Val (don't recall her last name) and John Gustafson for finishing out the 100k.

9 started the 100k, 5 finished.

If you want to challenge yourself, this race is a good one to bring you to the edge.

Larry Pederson and his wife Colleen made it epic. Thanks to Londell, John, Wynn Davis, John Storkamp, and all of the volunteers who stayed up all night helping out. I know there were more, and many I never saw.

I am glad I tried to race, instead of just pacing. I learned something about myself, and I had a great experience. I think the final splits were

2 mile out and back = about 18 minutes
loop 1 = about 3:42
loop 2 = about 5 hours
loop 3 = about 5 hours 10 minutes

Not bad for a training run.....

Next up... Ice Age 50 Mile.

Friday, April 10, 2009

It's Race Day!

Yes,

Even though I get all of Friday to chill, sleep, and save my energy.... I am still having the "night before a race" jitters.

Can't sleep.

So, I start this post exactly 24 hours before the race starts. A nap is definitely in order during the day tomorrow... today... whatever.

Reflections

I like to look back on the year right before each season. I look at what has changed, where I have gone, and where am I going.

It has been 7 months since finishing Superior. The day after the race I was laying in my bed, and I started reading "Slow Burn" by Stu Mittleman again. I read the part on nutrition, and realized I needed to change something If I were going to continue running ultras.

Simply put, I slowly started eliminated carbs, and didn't worry a whole lot about anything else. My body was forced to start burning fat, and I lost weight right away, even without running. I had this idea that carbs were actually slowing me down. Could run far on minimum carbs?

On that day, I also realized my season was over. The popliteus muscle in the back of my knee was messed up. That was more painful than the bee stings. I spent the next 2 months recovering from that, and getting my quads back. I decided I was going to go back to low heart rate for a few months to re build.

The other thing I decided to do that day was periodic weight training, or core training. I was off and on with this, but I am starting this season with a slight glimmer of a six pack. More importantly, all of my organs are held together now instead of bobbling around.

So I feel like a new man.

And now it is time to race.

It has been a long 7 months.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Final Preparation before the first big race

No, correct that.

Start preparing...

I have done jack squat preparing everything I need for the race. The course did not even sound like it was finalized until last week. Here is a synopsis

Start to aid station 1 (s/f) 5.7 mi.
AS 1 to AS 2 5.5 mi.
AS 2 to AS 3 6.1 mi.
AS 3 to finish 2.7 mi.

Piece of cake. 6.1 miles being the longest between aid stations. I believe AS 2 is also the start/finish.

It is one week away, and I have only thought about running. I have not thought at all about gear, fueling/hydration strategy, race strategy, etc.

I am kind of going into this with a "See how it feels at the start, and then run by how I feel". If I feel real good, I might push it harder. I believe it makes some sense to run faster when you still have energy, instead of wasting all of the good energy on a slow pace. Either way, one hits the bottom, the question is when and where.

Oddly enough, my biggest concern is what to do on Friday. I have never had a race where I hang around all day and start after I normally go to bed. I think I will wake up super early Friday morning, eat a 2-3pm dinner, take a nap, and leave around 8pm. As much as I want to get there early to cheer the 100s, I will go nuts and drain my energy if I am there too early.

What are my goals?

Nothing I am willing to share. The only time I have run this far is at Superior 100 last year, and I walked most of mile 45-62. That was a much more rugged course, though, and I am in better shape. My knee went out right after 62, so I am not worried about it.

Goals.......

I would love to break 12, and think it is a possibility, but who knows.

13 hours could happen. 14 might happen.

I do know this... I am going in rested.