Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Forest Park 50K

I woke up to a queasy stomach though I was unsure whether to blame it on the 7 beers or the giardia. Grabbed a quick breakfast of peanut butter toast and Bobby drove me out to the start under overcast skies and a chilly, damp air. At the start I took care of some "buisness" and then introduced myself to Yassine Diboun who was talking with Jason Hill. It was a neat way to get acquainted with the PDX ultra scene, chatting with two of the fastest guys in Oregon (and, well, period).

With the 20K and 50K starting together I was tucked behind Jason, Yassine, and Todd Braje. At the gun, I made a consious decision to keep my distance from them, sitting around 50 meters behind and just behind the 20K female leader. During the opening 10K I just tried to maintain a steady pace while not pushing too hard. The miles are rolling uphill and at low elevation I was running much faster than normal but not breathing much at all. During the short out and back, I was already a few minutes back and when the 20K runners turned back I was suddenly all alone in the midst of the gigantic forest. It was truly breathtaking and I was having a blast cruising through the singletrack and ferns.

About mile 10 the course began to change a bit, we were deeper in the forest and the trail was getting progressively sloppier and I slower. Sometime during mile 16 I was getting some good momentum after a few quick miles and while near full speed I stepped on a wet, wooden bridge and went down hard. The lower 2/3 of my body slammed on the bridge and luckily my face went straight into the mud. I was pissed at the time, but realized quickly how funny it must have looked to the hiker I had just passed and got to laughing at myself a bit which helped dull the ache. From here we got to some nice technical and steep short uphills followed by a wicked 1 mile descent. I thought the first 3/4 of a mile were nuts as I pushed the pace on the crazy slick mud, but then the last 1/4 mile was INSANE! It was fun and scary at the same time and I ended up on my butt doing a sort of baseball slide (good photos of it here and all me here). Thanks Glenn, for capturing us in all of our glory (falling on our asses covered in mud)!
Photo Courtesy of Glenn Tachiyama

Photo Courtesy of Glenn Tachiyama

This is my favorite, you can see the mud on my face and where the bill of my visor dug into the mud from my prior face plant! Photo Courtesy of Glenn Tachiyama

Photo Courtesy of Glenn Tachiyama

Anyways, just after this it's a easy jeep road back to a more difficult, sloppy, but runnable climb back to the 3rd aid station. Here's where I realized some mistakes I had made in preparation, but I was unfocused and made another tactical error. I had only packed 4 gels in my pocket assuming that the aid stations would have some, but I was wrong. I don't mind them not carrying any (they're expensive) and it was my own fault for not checking that before hand. When I found out I just went through the aid stop without picking up anything, a big mistake. I ate my last gel and proceeded to work back towards the final aid station but started to fade quickly after a few quick miles. You can see that I lost a good chunk of time there at around mile 22 on, even after hearing that I had cut down the 3rd place lead to roughly 4 minutes (according to a runner heading my way, so it could have been much more).

At the last aid station I realized that a PR was out of the question unless I ran near 5K race pace for the final 10K. While mostly downhill, I knew that was just not in the cards and lost some motivation. I had grabbed a handfull of trailmix and tried not to choke on it as I headed back, but I was struggling a bit. About mile 26/27 stomach cramps really hit me hard which could have been due to lack of fuel, giardia (had needed to go bad for a while), or a number of other things. I stepped off to releive myself and felt much better so I made a decision to be sure I could go under 4:20. I stayed relaxed through until the pure downhill the final 2 miles and with about 1.5 miles to go I started to turn it up a bit. This section was crazy because it's rocky and wet and there were people out on hikes all over the place with dogs and such. I did my best to be polite while letting people know I was coming and kept pushing and pushing. Near 1/2 mile to go I was really flying (watch read 5:04/m for a while) and I turned a bend to the finish saw the clock tick over 4:18 and cruised in for my 2nd fastest 50K and 4th place. Results here. As you can see, I lost a good chuck of time in the final 10 miles, a combination of a number of miscues on my part, but I still had a lot left in the tank which is a good sign.

I can't thank enough the volunteers and everyone who helped out with the race, I thought it was marked extremely well (though Todd Braje went off course and either DNF'd or DQ'd, not sure). Big thanks to Yassine and Jason for the kind words and good times, great runs guys. I have some pictures to come later.

Most of all, thank you to Bobby and Natalie, my great friends, and the best hosts you could imagine. In fact, my trip outside of the race was so good, I'm going to write up a trip report seperately. It was a quick trip for me, like 36 hours, but it's good to be home with my wife and son again.


mi splt time pace
1 7:47 7:47 7:42
2 8:10 15:57 8:10
3 7:46 23:43 7:51
4 7:42 31:25 7:42
5 7:46 39:11 7:41
6 8:01 47:12 8:06
7 7:36 54:48 7:36
8 8:04 1:02:52 8:04
9 8:10 1:11:02 8:10
10 7:59 1:19:01 7:54
11 9:07 1:28:08 9:07
12 8:31 1:36:39 8:31
13 8:08 1:44:47 8:08
14 7:35 1:52:22 7:35
15 8:24 2:00:46 8:24
16 9:06 2:09:52 9:06
17 7:36 2:17:28 7:36
18 10:50 2:28:18 10:50
19 7:58 2:36:16 7:58
20 7:56 2:44:12 7:56
21 8:04 2:52:16 7:59
22 9:20 3:01:36 9:20
23 9:04 3:10:40 9:04
24 11:03 3:21:43 10:56
25 8:28 3:30:11 8:28
26 8:23 3:38:34 8:23
27 8:34 3:47:08 8:29
28 9:18 3:56:26 9:24
29 9:06 4:05:32 9:06
30 8:07 4:13:39 8:07
30.72 4:37 4:18:16 6:25

It was muddy, this was after the first cleaning! Wore my Drymax 1/4 Trail Lites and was good to go!

Friday, May 27, 2011

The last days of Giardia

So, since April I've been dealing with some awesome effects brought on by the Giardia bug picked up from Buffalo Creek and with the weather heating up I finally got into the doctor after some "prodding" from the wife. Had my appointment yesterday and was prescribed Flagyl for the little parasites hanging out in my tummy. However, they said I couldn't drink beer for the 7 days I'm on the cycle and I'm going to Portland to race and visit with friends so I've made the executive decision to hang out for a few days and start the meds on Sunday.

The whole doctor's office visit was a riot of uncomfortable conversations, 5 to be exact. Four in my primary care office explaining what my stool has looked and felt like for the past 2 months, and one with the lady at the lab who had to spell out exactly how to conduct a stool sample. Everyone who is dealing with my shit is female, it's almost comical.

In any case, hopefully I'll get some energy and not be so dehydrated soon, really noticed that on my long runs as of late. And because we're on the subject of brown matter, the Forest Park 50K is shaping up to be an all out slog fest in the PNW mud. It's apparently been raining (surprise) heavily for a while now and the forecast has it continuing through the weekend. Should be fun! Leaving tomorrow and will be back Sunday with some notes.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Forgot my watch. Ran about 20 and +5K including a vomit inducing scramble up the non-trail front side of Mt. Morrison. Ate shit on the crazy ass descent twice. Legs are shredded. Cooled down w/wife and kiddo. Beer.

This is essentially what the route looks like, except this photo is from the actual trail. I ascended the ridge to the right/north which does not have a trail...

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Forest Park

Rest assured, I don't have any crazy ambitions for Forest Park in 10 days. I am, however, looking forward to this...

I'm banking on being around after the apparent rapture that is coming this Saturday, so I should be good to go. Maybe they'll make it part of the "apocolypse ultra series"...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Look through history of LT100 ending 2009

This is from Matt Carpenter's site, he compiled a spreadsheet of almost every split for the top runners through 20hrs 33minutes. Really interesting stuff here, enough to give you a GZgasm.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


If you want to go fast, it pays to know how it's been done before.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Looking Forward

After two less than stellar weeks and a really tough workout last Saturday, I think I may have turned a bit of a page. I'd been feeling pretty unmotivated and glum about things since Cheyenne Mountain, mostly because I hadn't had a good race and I was really busy with other things in my life. However, this past Sunday helped give me some good perspective on things. We had a nice, low-key mother's day at the nursery buying a rose bush and then lounging on the back porch in the kiddie pool when I realized (again) that these are the things that are truly important.

Whether or not I raced to my potential or had a good workout leave little changed in my place as a father/husband and relishing the time I spend with Rachel and Xavier is the rub. We've been talking a bit about the summer and just bought Xavier his first sleeping bag. After Big Horn, Leadville will be calling and I aim to answer the call. I have lots of fun workouts planned for solo runs, runs with others, and runs with Xavier in the Jog stroller. One of the beautiful things about Leadville is the option for running dirt roads, something that lends itself to the stroller.

Photo: Nick Lee

For the past few weeks I've had the above photo on my work desktop as the background, dreaming about getting there and looking out at the final destination. Roughly 55 miles down and 45 to go. I try to imagine the pain and jubilation of having tackled Hope and then the inevitable lull of the remaining work to be done. Train the mind and the body will follow (hopefully).

More in regards to Leadville, you can meet some of the folks I've started to assemble to hang out while I run. I'm not much for "crewing" and I don't plan to have a lot for them to do to get ready for me, but I intend for them to be a rolling party because when amidst the struggles of running for 100 miles, I'm sure seeing friendly happy faces will be a nice sight. The "crew" has a primary responsibility of consuming tasty adult beverages and pizza, secondary agenda may include a jacket, my headlamp, and some gels. And no, they're not going to Winfield.

The only thing I'm sure of right now is that I'll use a pacer from Fish in. Gunner, my best friend, college roommate, and best man at my wedding will be guiding me over Powerline, around the lake, and up the boulevard (bottom left of the last photo). In what can be the most negative part of the race (powerline false summits) it will pay to have the most positive man in the planet on my side. Possible conversation points: me- this sucks, everything hurts, I just puked, and I can't see the trail it's so dark. gunner- yeah, maybe, but look at the stars man, they're so bright!

The man in charge of the rolling party?

Keith Ives. Former Marine, disaster response expert, humanitarian, mountain enthusiast, and logistics magician. He may need to call on all of those, and perhaps his disaster response expertise will come in handy :)

The remainder of the "crew" will consist of a smattering of the below folks and perhaps a few others.

For now, I'm gearing up for the Forest Park 50K in Portland 2 weeks from this Sunday. I'll be staying and hanging out with some of my favorite peeps ever, the Dettmers (the couple sitting next to Rachel and I above). I'm really excited to see them and their home. I hear Portland has great beer...

Monday, May 2, 2011

April 2011

Another solid month of training is in the books. Another race in the books. This should be how the rest of spring/summer goes all the way into fall. Race monthly, keep the mileage up and run through the races. Took a slightly unexpected down week this past week with family in town and class wrapping up, but my body thanked me for it and I'm feeling much better today. I had tentatively planned a double falcon last night, but I thought I should leave that to this week and take the break to rally the troops for another build in volume.

2011 Total-1209

West Side Stride 5K

I run a 5K every two years or so it seems and this year I was lucky to run my wonderful wife's fundraiser 5K at my alma mater.

The event is a small one and with the weather forecast it appeared that there were a handful of folks who decided not to come out and run, but come race morning the storm cleared a bit and we were treated to sun (although with that came plenty of wind and some nip to the air). I was pleasantly surprised to see Team Gangels out in full force with a crew of little Gangels. Did my pre race warm up of sipping coffee and chatting with friends new and old then walked over to the start line.

Being such a small race, it was reasonable to think I could win, so I decided to take it out hard and see if anyone came with. The course has turns a-plenty and it starts with a short uphill section into the wind. I dragged a young kid with me the first 1/4 mile and he was sitting on me in the wind so I moved over and slowed way down to make him pass and sat on him until the course turned. He was laboring a bit and we had backed off even, so I made a move as the course turns back through campus and put a gap on him. Came around 2.5K in 9 minutes and was surprised (no watch). I let the foot off the gas on the second lap as I had a lead that wasn't going to be covered and cruised through for the win in 18:30 despite some howling headwinds. Full results.

Got $25 to the Runner's Roost for my troubles, but more importantly I ran 8 seconds faster than JT on what I will surely claim is a slower course. Though, I've got some work to do to cover his 5K PR. Not really sure where the wheels came from, but I've taken a down week (67 miles) so I was pretty rested coming in.

26 runners ran the race, but more importantly, they raised a good chunck of cash, which is the goal of course. Wife's plans are to move the race date back into May and hopefully draw out some more folks. Really proud of my girl for putting on a fun low-key event, and I'm continually surprised how much work goes into a race of any size.