(Compliments to Mark Lundblad for pulling together the year-end report below!)
The 2008 racing season was an exceptional one for Team inov-8. A strong and eclectic team comprised of 39 individual athletes representing disciplines of trail running, mountain running, ultra running, speed hiking, Xterra and even mountain climbing, along with 5 Adventure Race teams. We had some phenomenal performances this year along with an expected few bumps in the road (trail). In totality it was a stellar year with a reported 55 overall wins, 85 top 3 finishes and many other memorable moments out on the trail. Below are a few highlights.
The season started off strong with Anne Lundblad winning the Salem Lakeshore 50k in early January and then Sean Andrish winning yet another Uwharrie 40 mile ultra race in early February. Anne bounced back fast and won the Mt. Mitchell 40 mile in late February, shattering the course record in the process. In early March we had both the men’s and women’s champions crowned at the Pittsfield Snowshoe Marathon when Paul Low and Aliza Lapierre both won convincingly. March brought more dual top honors as Bryan Dayton and Devon Crosby-Helms won both the men’s and women’s races at the Chuckanut 50k in WA and Anne and Mark Lundblad won the Bel Monte 50k in VA on the same day.
Chad Denning started off the month of April with an impressive overall win at the Planet Adventure 24 hour race. Mid April once again was a good day for the husband and wife team of Anne & Mark Lundblad where they both won the Bull Run 50 mile and Anne set a new course record. Just two weeks later Chad Denning was back on the podium with another victory at the Tuckerman Inferno. Josh Ferenc won the Nipmuck 16 mile trail race and set a course record in April and had victories during the year at the Seven Sisters 14 mile race, Skyline Trail Race and the Stratton Mt. Hillclimb. May brought victories from Brian Morrison at the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 mile race in WA, Greg Feucht at the Jimez Mountains Half Marathon, Wynn Davis at the Superior 50k, Aliza Lapierre at the Pineland Farms 50 mile, Dwight Shuler at the Greenway AR Challenge in TN, and rounding out the month was the brother and sister duo of Shiloh Mielke and Meadow Tarves taking top honors at the mountainous Rock 2 Rock Trail 10k in NC.
In June, we saw very strong showings by Emma Garrard at the Xterra East Championships and Toni Axelrod winning Xterra Buffalo Creek. Emma later went on to win Xterra Tahoe City, place second at the Squaw Valley Mountain Run, 5th American woman at the Xterra US Championships and 13th place pro at the Xterra World Championships. Also, Toni Axelrod won the Xterra New Jersey, first at Xterra Beaver Creek, and second at the Xterra Us Championships. However, there was a bump in the road in June when the prestigious Western States 100 mile race was cancelled due to wild fires. Team inov-8 had 5 athletes ready to toe the line. Two of these runners found success later and put their hard training to use in July at the Vermont 100 mile race where Devon Crosby-Helms and Andy Jones-Wilkins both won overall titles. Kevin Sullivan finished a close second to Andy in his debut at the 100 mile distance. Devon later went on to finish an impressive 10th overall woman at the IAU World Cup 100k in the Netherlands.
The month of July brought impressive performances by Aliza Lapierre who won and set a course record at the Finger Lake Fifties race. Lapierre went on to win the Jay Challenge. Bryan Dayton won the Leadville Half Marathon. Jonathan Basham and Jenny Anderson won the Rattlesnake 50k in WV. In August, Scott Williamson bagged the Pacific Crest Trail unassisted speed record (2655 miles) in 71 days, 2 hours and 41 minutes. On August 23rd the brother and sister combo of Shiloh Mielke and Meadow Tarves won the overall LaSportiva Mountain Trophy series.
In October, Rebekkah Trittipoe took the grandmaster’s title at the inaugural Grindstone 100 mile. She completed the Beast Series and won the grandmaster’s title at the Hellgate 100k in December. Wynn Davis won the Heartland 100 mile in Kansas. In November, Shiloh Mielke won his 3rd Shut in Trail Race and Anne Lundblad finished second overall female. Anne later rounded out her stellar season by winning the Run at the Rock 14 miler in December. Her husband, Mark, won the JFK 50 mile race. Scott Dunlap finished the year with a flurry of 3 impressive 50k performances over a 4 week period. DeWayne Satterfield ended the year with one of his many strong ultra distance performances throughout 2008 by placing 3rd overall at the Lookout Mountain 100k in TN.
Team inov-8’s adventure race teams had phenomenal performances throughout the year. The Yogaslackers seemed to be everywhere and won most of the races they entered. Some notable victories by the Yogaslackers were the Coast Raid, Sand Storm 3, Desert Dash and the first ever 2XTM Expedition (which took over 20 days to complete). They also finished 7th overall at the USARA AR National Championships. Checkpoint Zero fared extremely well throughout the year. At Nationals, they had 3 teams place 8th and 10th overall and 2nd masters. Likewise, Team inov-8/Blackdome made their way to Nationals where they placed 22nd overall. Finally Team ARNavSupplies was consistent from start to finish in 2008 with overall wins at four of the Norcal AR races, and the Big Ocean Blue AR Race. The Race Pro packs were an important piece of gear for the AR teams and we had some great reviews on how they performed throughout the year. The two inov-8 climbers, Camilo Lopez and Anna Pfaff, used the Roclite 318 GTX and Roclite 282 shoes and packs for approach, and had 3 very successful expeditions this past year in Patagonia, Peru, and India.
The most popular athlete shoe styles for long distance were the roclite 295, roclite 305, roclite 315, and the roclite 320. The most popular shoes for short distance were the performance lasted shoes: the f-lite 230, the roclite 285 and the x-talon 212.
Winning races is not the only criteria inov-8 looks for in selecting athletes. It’s important to the company that all athletes are eco-conscious and ambassadors of their respective discipline. Inov-8 strives to have a diverse group of athletes representing many sports and regions of the US who are not only great athletes but athletes who give back to their sport and the environment on which they tread.
Below are a few 2008 race summaries and stories from select athletes:
If I could summarize this year, it would be that of a learning experience! After finally recovering from an ab injury late last spring, I was able to get in some semblance of base fitness to run a half marathon at the Jemez Mt. Runs, only to have a hamstring soreness flare up after that race. Perhaps the fast and hard rocky downhill wasn't easy on the ligaments! I was able to recover enough to run in the Great Lakes Relay race with a bunch of old friends from Michigan, only to have the hamstring act up once more in the final legs of that race. We won the relay which was great, but it was not a "smart" race for me as I just ran through the discomfort and ignored the increasing soreness I was feeling after every subsequent leg (approximately two legs each day of 5-9 miles at 5:45ish pace on hilly gravel roads and dirt trails). After the relay, I literally couldn't run without pain for several months.
I learned that it's so easy for me to ignore warning signs of a major injury when the thick of battle of a big team event calls you. It forced me to regroup and rethink my attitude towards these races, as fun as they may be. It's also prompting me to reevaluate alternative methods of training other than running, such as water running, elliptical training, weights, and recently, Bikram Yoga, where I'm hoping to significantly improve core strength and flexibility, two things I feel I desperately need. I'm looking forward to a very exciting 2009, and have already revised "the plan" I sent out a month ago. I'll send it to you when finished, but plan to add the 50 mile at Jemez, which is the "big boys" event, last year with Kyle Skaggs, Karl Meltzer, Paul DeWitt, and Nate McDowell among others. Lots of training to do between now and then!
My year began and ended with victories, but there were lots of highs and lows in between. On the positive side were six victories, three course records, two 24 hour trail relays and two 5k's with my Girls on the Run team. The downer was a stress fracture that took me out of commission for close to two months.
Looking back over the year, the brightest moments were seeing the huge smile on Emma's face as she finished her first 5k, and running my first trail race following injury. My time was slow and I wasn't part of the competitive mix, but I experienced the pure joy of running, smooth and injury-free on the trails I love so much.
I trained hard for Western States, only to have it canceled by forest fires. But instead of fretting, I just used the fitness to run 22 races throughout the year (in my RocLite 320's and 315's). It was wonderful for the soul! And I'm back on track for States '09.
1. A bunch of us trained for and showed up at Western States, only to be left at the altar. Some of us turned those lemons into lemonade by acting quickly to use our fitness in another venue. [I'm not sure what other folks did, but as you know AJW, Devon and I all went to VT - good races - too bad we couldn't get more press out of the Inov-8 domination at Vermont]. I did not find out about the fires until I was in Chicago and even then it wasn't certain that the race would be canceled, so I finished the journey to Tahoe. I ran when I got there and I almost felt like I did when I started running back in 1996 when I was still smoking. It was quite a flashback - the air was just full of smoke. It was disappointing, but running confirmed for me that they couldn't possibly run the race - I wasn't ready to pick up smoking again :) 2. Finished my first real full ultra season . . . not necessarily in one piece :) 3. Finished my first 100 miler in my then new favorite Roclite 305's - finishing second. I was more than happy with that debut. I still feel like I have a lot more in me - that was just a start, believe me. 4. Unfortunately I battled a number of setbacks, including a 3 day stay in the hospital 3 weeks before Western States and 3 months of rehab on the ITB and Achilles. l have learned "what to do" when you're not training. 5. Ran my first "Western" ultra at Leona Divide and finished second. I was pretty psyched with that - big surprise (although then I noticed that none of the regulars other than Jorge were there - oh well). I thought I had a great season for a first season. I also had a great time on the team this year. I have enjoyed it for all the reasons I have put in my application both years. I'd really like to build some more relationships around the team and see if we can't get more active together. I know it is easy to say but tough in practice, especially since it is a commitment by folks, like me, with busy schedules. We'll see.
I don t often travel far from home, unless I am out for a run, because I get fidgety in the car and have a fear of flying. When teammate Kevin Sullivan needed a pacer for Western States without thought I offered to go. I had willingly agreed to fly across the country to pace a teammate whom I had never met. I packed my Inov-8 uniform, my Roclite 295 s and snacks and knew I was ready to pace Kevin. What I didn’t know was that there were widespread wildfires in California.
Within hours of arriving at Squaw Kevin received notice that the race was canceled due to the dangerous wildfires. Kevin offered to book me a flight the next day, but I was not ready to get back on a plane. I wanted to run. After running the first five miles of the course we both craved something more substantial. In hopes of getting the smoke the next day we decided to head to Lake Tahoe for a run on the Rim Trail. Kevin, Carol O Hear and I all began the run with fluid, snacks and no final destination. Sometimes we were close in proximity and at other points we were strewed out along the trail. We were all in running our own rhythm and didn t need to be clipping each other s heels. The terrain was like nothing I had run before and the views of Lake Tahoe were a pleasant surprise with the fire looming nearby. My mind wondered and I realized that Carol and Kevin spent countless hours training and spent a small fortune and we all had traveled across the country to participate in a grueling ultra race that was wasn t going to happen, but despite this we all found solace by doing the thing we were all connected by. For me this attested to the power of running.
"I borrowed a friend's Race Pro 12 to climb Mt. Hood and Mt. Olympus in Oregon and Washington during an adventurous trip this past summer. I loved it so much that I acquired my own. It was perfect for a long day of climbing because it had a snug (almost seamless feel). The weight distribution was ideal with the hydration sitting at the lower back and hip area. Additionally, it had just the right amount of room to store some snacks and an extra layer of clothing. Throughout the entire 145 miles we covered (including 30,000 ft elevation gain) I wore the Roclite 282s without a single pain or blister. They were truly weightless and ideal for all conditions (slippery, muddy, grassy, dry rock, wet rock, even light snow and ice)."I took first place in the Women's Division at the Rattlesnake 50k in Charleston, WV, wearing the Roclite 282s. I never felt faster and I absolutely believe it was a result of the shoes. Since then, I have been wearing the Roclite 295s and 305s. I love both of them even more although I haven't had a chance to really race in them due to an injury."
2008 was a great year for me, I competed in a total of 28 races, was on the podium 17 times with 5 first place finishes. I also raced every month except November. It was a year of ‘firsts’ for me, starting with my first winter multisport event: the XTERRA Winter World Championships at Snowbasin, Utah. It was also the first time I was racing in the professional division. Although I struggled to mountain bike in the deep, fresh snow I made up lost time in the 5k snowshoe/run following. Managed to pass a few more racers in the 10 k randonee to finish in 5th place.
Did I also mention 2009 was my first year snowshoeing? I did this for most of my long runs in the winter and had large improvements in my running performance come spring.
Another first was competing in the Land Rover G4 Challenge Nevada Passage, a staged adventure race in Southern Nevada. It was a made-for-TV multi-million dollar production where competitors got to drive supped-up Land Rover LR3s and do lots of other fun things like kayaking, mountain biking, running and orienteering. I was teamed up with Dean Kruuse of Sand Diego and together we won several stages including the running (thanks INOV-8!) and the time-speed-distance challenge.
The run was the highlight of the competition. It started pouring with rain before the challenge even though we were in the desert. The course, which was not marked and required map reading, took place at Cathedral Gorge State Park. The race took us up very muddy slopes as lighting striked around us and through mud caves which was like being on the moon.
Luckily I was wearing Rocklite 320s and didn’t lose my footing as we battled it out with the other teams. We took the lead about a quarter-mile from the finish were we had to squeeze through a slippery cave, including going through a tunnel so small my partner got stuck, luckily he worked his way out and we made it to the finish first.
My roclites got front row seats on the dashboard of the LR3 and can be seen in the TV coverage on major TV networks, for times go to this link: http://www.xterraplanet.com/television/tv_schedule.cfm
Next up was my first summer triathlon racing pro: the XTERRA West Championship in Temecula, Calif. I pulled off a 7th place finish in very hot conditions and with a strong field including XTERRA World Champ Melanie McQuaid and Iroman World Champ Michelle Jones.
A month later was my first triathlon overseas in the Vale of Neath, Wales. It poured with rain and after a long-challenging mountain bike leg I faced with an equally as difficult run. It went through a river with long steep climbs through the wood, so steep racers had to use ropes to pull themselves up. I was fortunate to place 7th in the race with the second fastest run split.
Once I got my hands on the Inov-8 f-lite 230s, I couldn’t wait for the bike/run transition to put on the shoes my and head out on the trails. Having light trail shoes makes a huge difference in off-road triathlon where your legs are already tired from swimming and biking.
My season ended with a 12th place finish at XTERRA USA Championships (5th American) and a 13th place finish at XTERRA World Championships (5th American) in Maui. My times improved drastically this year; I took 13 minutes off my time from Worlds including almost five minutes in the run alone.
2008 was an interesting year for me. With my son, Gavin, being one year older (1), I was able to race more. Gavin came to some of the races close to home, but we spared him the long rides out to western MA for many of the events.
Most of my races were part of the Western Massachusetts Athletic Club (WMAC) Grand Tree Series of 25 New England trail races. I struggled early in the year, and wasn’t able to win any races until the Soapstone mountain 14.5 miler. At the next race, the Nipmuck Trail Marathon, I was finally able to get a win after 3 tries. By the end of the summer, I had managed to get 6 wins, which gave me a maximum score of 600 points in the series. While I wanted to do more races in the fall, I also wanted to focus more on longer distances.
I’ve always wanted to run the Long Trail in VT, and I spent one weekend running a southern section of the trail. At request of my wife, I ended my training run short at about 47 miles, but it gave me a good idea of what to expect in terms of pace and planning when I go for the entire trail. My wife and Gavin will probably not be part of my support crew on further ultra runs, but we did have a fun weekend camping!
I originally planned on doing a local 50 miler as my end of the year goal, but the race filled up before I had a chance to register. There were actually three races that I missed due to full fields, which is not a common occurrence in New England. I’m happy that trail races are becoming more popular, but I didn’t enjoy not being able to take part in some of the popular events. One event that I never have problems getting into is the Escarpment. After losing last year for the first time, I was able to hold off Greg Hammett, one of the best trail runners in New England, to earn my 8th win.
Instead of the local 50 miler, I unfortunately went up to Vermont to the PEAK 50 miler Funeral Run. After 8 and half hours and 14,000 ft of climbing, I was finally able to stop. Compared to my first 50 miler at JFK, I was over 2 hours slower. Despite all the ridiculous hills, it was a great course and even better challenge.
I finished 2008 as I started, losing to Greg Hammett at very fast 8 mile trail race in RI. The two of us ended up tied for the Grand Tree title, with 600 points each which is my 7th title since 1999. I actually almost won the title for total points this year, but didn’t do enough fall races to rack up the points.
Now, it’s on to snowshoe season.
I couldn't think of too much to say about this year, it's been quite a challenge, as you know. I can certainly say it's been a real mindset shift for me to find my motivation/passion/desire throughout the year, and I guess I really found it again at the Summer OR. I spent a lot of this year running for various reasons: trying to find understanding, as a coping mechanism, a distraction, etc. I found it very challenging to truly find a fire in me to be passionate about running and racing, and spent a lot of the year hoping I could break out of it. Being involved at the Summer OR with you guys, and being around the atmosphere of so many athletes and outdoor representatives/enthusiasts gave me a great perspective and sense of direction again. I really a big part of running for me is being a much bigger part of the community aspect of it, and I certainly feel Inov-8 allows me to do that much more completely
Paul Low: The year in review: highlights and lowlights for each month.
January is usually a pretty boring month for me; the highlight was gettingin some great running and the lowlight was not making it to any of theWMAC snowshoe series races. February was the nadir of the snowiest winteron record in central Vermont (lowlight) but I really did not mind- I wasgetting in some great road runs and lots of snowshoeing in fantasticconditions and building up a great fitness base. At the beginning ofMarch, I won my second Pittsfield Snowshoe Marathon in epic weatherconditions- certainly a highlight for the month and, in terms of running,the year. A few weeks later my knee started hurting after a snowshoe run.I took a few days off from running and hit the pool and the bike. After afew days, I tried running again and there was no improvement. Afterabandoning a workout with the realization that I was going to probablyhave to take some real time off, I arrived home and found that the folksat INOV-8 had sent me a pair of the new f-lite 230s- what unfortunatetiming- the new f-lites were the shoes that I was hoping to wear whiletrying to win Mount Washington in 2008 and now I was wondering if I waseven going to make it to the starting line. In April, I ran a total ofthree times (lowlight); the last time that I ran was on the 'hike' leg ofthe Tuckerman Inferno. My team (EMS) won and it was a positively perfectspring day in Mount Washington- plus, I got to hang out with the InfamousFerence (highlight). In May, I finished my first year of teaching; the relief was a hugehighlight. I also saw my first orthopedist and, after two visits and anMRI, he could find no reason for my knee pain. I also learned that myinjured leg was about an inch less in diameter than my non-injured leg. InJune, I visited a seconds orthopedist who met with me for just under sixminutes1 (including the minute that he left the room to pretend2 to viewmy MRI) before telling me that I should wait another two months to see ifmy knee gets better or worse. A week later, I saw a third orthopedist whoagreed to aggressively treat my knee (perform exploratory surgery) afterseeing what he thought was a meniscal cyst (I had already suggested thatthis was what was indicated- I try not to do this with medicalprofessionals but at this point, I was desperate) and so that was a bit ofa relief! I also had a great time going to Mount Washington even if I wasnot able to race. In July, I finally had surgery on my knee (repair ofmeniscal cyst, removal of dislodged articular cartilage, ACL debridement,and plica resection) this was both a highpoint and a low point thoughtcertainly, the low point for the month was the difficulty that Iencountered when trying to get a pre-operation physical. After thesurgery, I headed up to Mount Snow and worked the USAC Mountain BikeNationals for my wife. August was a pretty rough month- my recovery fromthe surgery was really slow and I was unable to sleep for more than 90minutes at a time due to the pain in my knee (I toss and turn a lot atnight and every time that I would move, I would wake up). I was going toPT two to three times per week and cycling extremely slowly in order toimprove my range of motion.
In September, I went for my first run since April. By this time, I was already cycling and deep water running quite well and so my cardiovascular fitness was returning; I was also able to hike up and down Paine Mountain without any real difficulty. Starting back to running, however, was extremely difficult. My first 'run' consisted of 10 minutes of walking, 5 minutes of running, 5 minutes of walking, 5minutes of running and 5 minutes of walking- all on a treadmill. Therunning was really awkward and slow (just terrible, really) and I reallylooked forward to the end of those 5-minutes running intervals. InOctober, I started running outside and worked up to a few runs per week ataround an hour. In November, I went out to visit my wife in Colorado andwent for a run with other people for the first time since April- certainlya highpoint! I also went for a 1:40 run which was my longest since Marchand got in some great 'mountain' biking on Rampart Range Road. Decemberhas been pretty good so far. I did my first running two-a-day with a runto the Montpelier Junction train station and then a run from the Amhersttrain station to a friend's house with a heavy pack in snow for a total ofalmost 3 hours in a day. So, I guess my December highlight is that I amslowly but steadily getting better and the lowlight is that I had hopedthat by now I would have both of my knees feeling the same by now. I amcurrently in Central Michigan visiting my parents, running on theirtreadmill, snowshoeing, and seeing if my knee can handle cross-countryskiing.Gear Reviews for 2008:f-lite 230Use: I got the new f-lite 230s just in time to not run anymore and so Iwill wait until later in the year to comment on them (I will be wearingthem for Wachusett, Mount Washington, and Ascuney, at least)roclite 295Use: I got the new roclite 295s only a few weeks before getting injured(not that I blame the shoes) but I definitely liked them right away:Initial thoughts: These are a great looking pair of shoes. I really likethe colors and the design. Ahem, not that I actually care about how a shoelooks- I'm just saying that this is a good-looking pair of shoes. The 295sare very comfortable right out of the box-very flexible in the rightplaces and solid and supportive in the right places.Thoughts after a few runs: This is a fast shoe- it really likes to ripalong and feels better the faster you go. The roclite outsole is myfavorite for training because it transitions well between dirt roads,trails, snow, and even pavement.Thoughts after one month+: I got these shoes just before I got injured andthen started right back with them when coming back. They are still solidand are probably my new favorite training shoe from inov-8.Appropriate uses: The 295s are a good shoe for a variety of surfaces,conditions, and training runs. I wear them for faster-shorter runs andintervals and, when I start doing long runs again, I will use them foroccasional long runs. The fit is slightly wider than other inov-8 shoesthat I have worn- particularly in the forefoot so if you have sworn offinov-8s in the past due to their narrow fit, you might want to try thisone out. This would also make a great racing shoe for a heavier or slowertrail runner who wants something light and competitive but needs just alittle bit more than a race-specific shoe. It would also be the shoe thatI would personally go to for racing most trail ultras but that is notgoing to happen anytime soon.Race Pro™ 18 packUse: I got the new Race Pro™ 18 last year (before they started selling it)and have used it quite a bit since then. I should note at this point thatI have quite an affinity for backpacks (to the point that I think that allother forms of luggage should be outlawed)Initial thoughts: I was not too crazy about the colors- very continental(in a leather fanny pack kind of way). I certainly do appreciate theeye-catching nature of the loud bright yellow, though and the distributionof reflective material is pretty good. Aside from the color, the firstthing that I noticed was the weight of the pack- very light. I alsonoticed some of the well-thought-out details that add to its lightness andutility (see below)Thoughts after a few runs: I am very impressed with this pack. It fitswell- even my extraordinarily long, slender torso and is comfortable up torelatively heavy loads. The waist-straps pockets are well positioned andcan be accessed while running and the netting in the back is (barely)accessible while running as well. The size is a good size for my needs- Icannot quite fast-pack with it (unless I ditch the tent) but I have used itfor many overnight trips and even a weekend conference that was withincycling distance. The straps are very lightly padded (or unpadded- takeyour pick) but I found that they are not uncomfortable. The shape is alsowell-thought-out; it is narrow enough that my elbows never tough it whileI am running and the top is far enough down that my helmet does not touchit when I am cycling.Thoughts after one month+: I have used this pack for over a year now(probably 1.5 years) and have washed it a few times (usually in the riverbut a few times in a standard washing machine)- it shows no wear despiteits minimalist, low-weight design.Disclaimer: There are, of course, a few things that this pack does notmanage to address (and that no pack, to my knowledge addresses anybetter). First of all, while this is a very comfortable pack, it willbecome less comfortable with increasing weight (I have biked for over twohours carrying two quarts of paint without noticeable discomfort, though)Second, wearing a backpack makes your back sweaty- the Race Pro™ 18 does agood job of not absorbing this sweat but your back will not breathe verywell and will get pretty sweaty. I should also not that if you run tenmiles with a ventilated basket of loosely packed strawberries that yourbackpack will fill up with something that looks a lot like strawberry jam.Appropriate uses: This is a great running or cycling I use it fortransferring clothing to and from work, food to work and from the market(though I usually use a larger pack when going to the store on a bike),and for overnight trips. I will also be using it for some fast-packing thissummer. While I have not used this pack as a hydration pack or in a race,I am sure that it would function well in either situation.
Uwharrie Mtn Run 40-mile: The first weekend in February, I went down to NC to run the Uwharrie 40-miler. I was coming off of foot surgery and had only been running for 4 weeks prior to the race. I had no illusions of racing well and was planning on using this race simply as a test of my fitness and as an opportunity to get a long run in on some nice rocky trails. Standing at the starting line, I knew that I wasn't ready to race this far but since it was a race I decided to treat it as such and go out hard. I took the lead right from the start and pushed the pace to see how long I could hold on. With several top runners in the field I expected to be passed early, but when I still had the lead at the turn-around at mile 20 the competitive juices started flowing and I pushed hard, held on to the lead, and ran a PR for the course. Maybe training is overrated!
Promise Land 50km: By late April I was running well and was feeling confident. I arrived at the starting line with a race strategy....go out hard, walk the uphills, and sprint down the descents running on the edge of control. It was one of those days when I felt great, was able to execute the plan I had designed, and notched my second victory of the year.
My racing results dropped substantially after Promise Land, but I enjoyed the spectacular scenery of the Hardrock Hundred, discovered how much fun it is to race on the soft, run-able trails of Oregon at the Where's Waldo 100km, and taking on the new challenge of a road 50-miler at the Tussey Mountainback 50-mile.
Hellgate 100-km.: My final race of the year was one of my favorite, even though I suffered a DNF. I had run a few races this Fall in which some factors outside my control affected my performance and resulted in some poor finishes. It had been a frustrating few months of racing, so I decided to not worry about racing at Hellgate and just wanted to enjoy a long run in the mountains. I wanted to end the year on a good note by running a challenging course with friends, taking the time to sample the food at the aid stations (when I'm racing hard I usually just grab a quick bite to eat and immediately head down the trail), and simply enjoying the experience. I didn't sprint to the front at the start and ran with the pack for the first several miles, but after leading the way across a stream crossing around mile 4, I realized I had opened up a lead. Even though I was up front, I stuck to my plan and just ran comfortably. It was an incredible night to be running...The full moon was so bright that I didn't use my flashlight on the gravel roads, the grassy roads, and even ran some of the trail sections without a flashlight, I saw a couple shooting stars, and took in the views of the surrounding mountains and the lights in the valleys. I was running faster than expected, and was on record pace for the first half of the race. Running so fast, I had outrun several of the early aid stations and the only food I had for the first 30 miles was a Clif shot and half of a PB&J sandwich. I was really enjoying myself (it's always fun when you're leading!), was running in control, and was not pressing too hard. Then around mile 40 I took a wrong turn and added about 3 miles to my run. I worked hard to get back on trail ASAP, but when I got back on course I had dropped to third place, my legs were fried, and I was really hungry. I realized that I could have walked to the finish but it had been such a great night that I felt comfortable dropping out of the race. When I arrived at the next aid station and told the volunteers that I was dropping, a friend of mine asked if I wanted a cheeseburger...I immediately asked for two!! I then had the chance to watch a fellow Inov-8 teammate, Jeremy Ramsey, lower his time from last year by about 1.5 hours and win his first race; to cheer for my fellow Leesburg Mafia runners: Harland Peelle, whose strong finish earned him the victory in the Beast series, and Steve Core who also finished near the top in the final Beast standings; and to congratulate the rest of my friends and other runners as they crossed the finish line.
1. Mile 31 of Heartland 100miler. I knew I had made the mistake of going out a bit too hot at 7:00 pace, but recuperated and was greeted by 3 wild mustangs broadside in complete solitude amongst the open prairie; indeed i was like a complacent cartoon.
2. Trail run at one of my usual haunts (Willow River State Park). Early November and it just so happened to be a morning when the bucks were in full rut. I passed nearly 10 bucks on my 8 mile run and four of them were monarchs. The morning was capped off by an up close and personal display of buck bravado and machismo as two large monarchs were grunting, scraping and ready to lock. Unfortunately I did not have my camera. One of the few times I don't. From afar I could see a fledgling spike buck with three does next to him I guess proving that size really doesn't matter.
3. Any run or hike on the Superior Hiking Trail. Such a unique and humbling trail no matter what section you choose. The trail's challenging and unmolested terrain sets the most beautiful natural ambience one could ever imagine.
4. learning that even when a great race seems to be evolving to be sure to pay attention to nutrition, particularly in humid weather. I learned my lesson at Voyageur 50 with a good lead with only 10km to go and my legs went shot. The result: only ingesting 2 salt caps the entire race. That just is not going to cut it. However I was able to correct my mistake at the sweltering Heartland 100m.
Type rest of the post here
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
(Compliments to Mark Lundblad for pulling together the year-end report below!)
We are pleased to announce 2009 Team inov-8. We have some new athletes and many of last year's team returning. We have 5 Adventure Racing teams and 41 individual athletes representing many disciplines which is a testament to the shoe and pack line. Our athletes were chosen not just based upon high performance levels but also ambassadorship to their respective sport and a strong eco-conscious ethic. Last year was an extremely successful year for Team inov-8 where athletes and AR teams combined for 105 podium finishes. We look forward to many more inspiring performances and stories in 2009. Here is this year's team:
Jen Anderson - Ultra
Toni Axelrod - Xterra
Sean Andrish - Ultra
Jonathan Basham - Ultra/Speed Hike
Christian Burke - Ultra / Trail
Caleb Chatfield - Ultra
Jenn Pharr Davis - Ultra/Speed Hike
Wynn Davis - Ultra
Yassine Diboun - Ultra
Scott Dunlap - Ultra
Josh Ferenc - Mtn / Trail
Greg Feucht - Mtn / Trail
Emma Garrard - Xterra
Joe Gray - Mtn / Trail
Michael Green - Ultra
Aliza Lapierre - Ultra
Camilo Lopez - Climbing (approach)
Paul Low - Mtn / Trail
Gina Lucrezi - Mtn / Trail
Mark Lundblad - Ultra
Anne Lundblad - Trail / Ultra
Kelli Lusk - Mtn / Trail
Amber Moran - Mtn / Trail
Brian Morrison - Ultra
Ben Nephew - Mtn / Trail / Ultra
Dewey Peacock - Mtn / Trail
Anna Pfaff - Climbing (approach)
Jeremy Ramsey - Ultra
Aaron Saft - Mtn / Trail
DeWayne Satterfield - Ultra
Kevin Sullivan - Ultra
Meadow Tarves - Mtn / Trail
Andrew Thompson - Speed hike / Ultra
Kevin Tilton - Mtn / Trail
Rebekah Trittipoe - Ultra
Todd Walker - Ultra
Derrick Weatherford - Parkour
Andy Jones-Wilkins - Ultra
Scott Williamson -Long Hike no support
Clark Zealand - Ultra
Honza Rejmanek - Paragliding
Dave Hanning - Paragliding
Yoga Slackers - Adventure Racing
Team Blackdome/inov-8 - Adventure Racing
Checkpoint Zero - Adventure Racing
Team AR NavigationSupplies - Adventure Racing
Team EMS - Adventure Racing
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Monday, December 22, 2008
Congrats to DeWayne Satterfield who ran 9:46 at the Lookout Mountain 100k this past Saturday. Only 12 minutes separated the winning time and DeWayne's 3rd place finish. A tight finish for a 100k trail race.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Good luck to DeWayne Satterfield who will be finishing up the year the only way an ultra runner knows how, 62.1 miles of racing on trail. The brand new Lookout Mountain 100k from the folks at Rock / Creek in Chattanooga, TN looks to be a quite a scenic challenge. This is in conjunction with their Rock / Creek Trail Series and will be the longest race in Chattanooga history on some new fresh cut trails. Proceeds from their races go to the Wilderness Trail Running Association’s trail building and maintenance efforts. Good stuff!
DeWayne Satterfield - Lookout Mountain 100k
This week in class I started our unit on anatomical drawings. Above are some quick sketches I did of the foot, particularly in the running motion. Read More about the amazing foot. Read More...
The masses of the foot: There are three major masses in the foot: the heel platform; the arch; and the front platform, the sole, which is divided in half to form the front and middle soles of the foot. The heel and middle sole provide a pedestal base for the column of the figure, while the arch acts as a spring device to absorb pressure shock to the body. The front sole of the toes acts as a gripping and pushing device in walking and running.
The top of the foot is quite hard and bony, with the arch distinctly extruded from the base. The outer form on the sole of the foot contacts the ground surface along the entire length from heel to toes. The inner foot touches the surface mainly at the toe and heel, with the instep arch off the ground. Thus, with the feet together, an elliptical pediment is formed, with a hollow center area to support the body column.
The sole of the foot, padded and cushioned, consists of four generalized masses: the calcaneum, or heel; the outer ridge of padded muscle, the abductors, from heel to the little toe; the large, cushioned mass of lumbricals and short flexors grouped behind the four toes; and the large, padded bulge behind the hallux, or big toe. The instep is high and cushioned, and under its surface, the long abductor group spans the length of the foot from the big toe to the heel. Yes, the amazing foot!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I encourage you to stop by the Upper Midwest Trail Runners site and check out images and slide shows of our "End O'the Year" banquet. Both our Fab5Fifties ultra series and Minnesota Trail race series were once again stellar this year. Challenging courses, great camaraderie, and good health. It was a great year. Pictured above is myself with fellow RD Larry Pederson who race directs an insane amount of races. Next to him are the interminable duo of Bonnie Riley and Donny Clark who have been indispensable individuals in regard to stewardship of the trails and general well-being of running community. They marked and swept many of our races including my brutal Chippewa 50k. I made special awards in recognition of their achievements (Trail Persons' of the Year). Fellow RD of Arrowhead 135m and ultra guru Pierre Ostor was the only runner to "Shoot the Moon". Take a gander at the pictures. Our banquet was a potluck and set up like an aid station. We also had a panel discussion with fellow runners Andy and Kim Holak, Carl Gammon and Tom Burr. Many of our races raised thousands of dollars, which in turn went back to the trail systems for maintenance, trail building, and environmental educational purposes.
Type rest of the post here
Congratulations to Inov-8's Rebekah Trittipoe who not only completed the rugged Beast Series, which consists of 6 grueling races ranging from 29-100 miles in some very arbitrary conditions. Rebekah completed the series over the weekend by running the brutal Hellgate 100km. Despite issues near the end she pulled through to win Grandmasters age group yet again and chalk up her 5th Hellgate finish! Way to go Rebekah. You can read her report. Read More...
It is finished
“It is finished.” Before you accuse me of having a Jesus complex, I do not. Nor am I writing sacrilege. It is merely a comment I made with the greatest sense of relief at precisely 5:13 p.m. this evening.
At one minute after midnight, I toed the line for the last race of The BEAST race series. Six races must be completed by the successful entrant, the three shorter mountain races (34, 31 and 29 miles) in the spring and the remaining hellacious contests in October, November and December. The October race demanded 100 miles, then 54 in November, and now nearly 67 miles to finish it off. This last race is known for its extreme difficulty, tight cut-offs, and a midnight start. Freezing temps, howling wind, and difficult footing are all par for the course. Of those who dare sign the application, relieving the race director for incurred injury or death (I’m not joking), an average of only 60% cross the finish line. It is not a race for the timid.
My goal this year, being a BEAST entrant, was simply to finish the thing. I was not concerned, or prepared, to break any land speed records. I just need to be under the 18 hour time limit. The temperature and wind chill was worse than predicted and caused discomfort on multiple levels. I was cold, my feet constantly wet from numerous stream crossings, shoes strings frozen rendering them impossible to adjust, and my water tube iced up solid for at least ten miles. Not being able to adequately hydrate made the task even more difficult. Add to that a slim 25 minute cushion on the cutoff at two of the aid stations, my fear escalated at the thought of blowing the BEAST series and my fifth Hellgate race. And when my left outstep of my foot protested vehemently, I began to panic. Lord, please help me stay cool and strong. Remove the pain and let me finish. He answered that prayer. I crossed the line with 47 minutes to spare. So exhausted I could barely smile, I instead crawled into my sleeping bag and fell into a deep sleep.
Making a commitment to “finish” is not always easy. Often fraught with moments of regret, the required pain and hard work can take its toll. And yet, it is essential that we “suck it up” and follow though. How else will our children learn that finishing—as opposed to quitting—requires commitment and dedication?
As Christians, we have the ultimate example of “finishing.” Christ had to die on the cross to atone for our sins. There was no way around it. But it didn’t just happen. It required a conscious decision and commitment to the will of His Father. Was it easy? Of course not. Was it worth it? Absolutely.
“When he had received the drink, Jesus said, "It is finished." With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit” (John 19:30).
Daily challenge: Choose your challenges careful. Then make the commitment so that you too can say, “It is finished.”
Friday, December 12, 2008
Ice Age Trail by: Wynn Davis
Since the winter is upon us, I think it’s only proper to give recognition to a trail created by Ice and snow. The National Scenic Ice Age Trail is one of only nine recognized National status trail systems in the country. Despite being one of the largest trail systems, it sits quietly in comparison to its more well-known, or shall we say well-traveled terra-firma brethrens (i.e. PCT, AT). However the IAT has its own unique superlatives thanks in part to the Wisconsin Glaciation period that slowly ended about 10,000 years ago; and Ray Zillmer, a Milwaukee attorney whose foresight turned an idea into an interminable landscape that is Wisconsin’s treasured National Scenic Ice Age Trail. In this addition of 50/50, Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail gets the unquestionable nod as “best in trail” in cheese land! Happy 50th anniversary Ice Age Trail! Readers, you now have permission to crack open a hearty New Glarus winter ale and read more.
The IAT is a 1200 mile footpath that courses like a river, following the terminal moraine of the last glacial advance in Wisconsin. It snakes both east to west across the state from the Lake Michigan shoreline at Potwatomi State Park to the ancient basalt cliffs above the St. Croix River at Interstate State Park. Some of the prominent features along the route include: glacial outwash plains, serpentine eskers, cedar swamps, boardwalks, northern hardwoods, cone-topped kames, deep kettle lakes. and thousands of erratics, boulders rounded and scarred by glacial recession carried as far away as Canada.
Through it all, colossal ice sheets repeatedly clenched the earth during the Ice Age of the past 2 million years. Ice sheets are the largest glaciers and can be two miles thick and stretch more than 1,000 miles. The more banal glaciers found at some of America’s national parks are mountain glaciers- mere rivers of ice. During the extensive time period of the great Ice Age, giant mammoths, and fierce saber-tooth cats roamed many parts of northern Wisconsin, Minnesota and Canada. Occasionally a curious/lucky hiker or scavenger will find a mammoth tusk. As race director for the Chippewa 50km race on the western terminus of the Ice Age Trail I offer a lifetime free entry/bounty to anyone who miraculously finds a tusk on the course.
The IAT would not be a reality had Wisconsin native Ray Zillmer not taken the concerned initiative and/or pioneered to preserve the unique landscape glacial landscape. Zillmer dreamed of a linear-national park starting in the Kettle Moraine and following the terminal moraine across the state. He shared his vision with state and national legislators. Zillmer also felt it imperative that people could actively explore epic landscape right in their own backyard via the IAT versus having to get into their gas guzzling cars and heading west as the old adage goes. This “green” approach revitalized the peripheral view of outdoor enthusiasts and recreational users. Because of Zillmer’s work, the IAT and Trail Foundation now has over 5,100 members and volunteers organized in county chapters. This year over 10 miles of new trail were blazed and hundreds of new acres acquired. All of this to fulfill the contagious dream not only of Zillmer’s, but of every outdoor enthusiast which is to amalgamate the 500 miles of unconnected trail left. An attainable goal considering Zillmer’s start at just 60 miles of trail in the very beginning 50 years ago.
On-Trail Destinations:Western Terminus: Chippewa Moraine Section: 27 miles.
The Chippewa Moraine segment is located in Chippewa County, about 2hrs drive from the Twin Cities and an hour from Duluth. This section is quite possibly the most scenic and diverse sections of the IAT. In fact this January’s issue of BackPacker magazine identified the Chippewa Moraine as one of the Top 3 ice hikes in the country.
The terminal moraine of the Chippewa section stands above ice-walled plains with over 55 different kettle lakes and ponds set in a forested jumble of rolling hills. The Chippewa Moraine Scientific Reserve Center is perched high atop an ice-walled lake plain offering expansive views of the lake-dotted countryside. Inside you can find state of the art exhibits and free snowshoe rental in the winter months. Primitive camping is located near the Center along the IAT. The trail itself is primarily single-track. After leaving the Interpretive Center the IAT spans 27+ miles and will lead you through damp/craggy cedar swamps with plenty of unique boardwalks some spanning over 500ft. Continuing forward keep you eyes and ears peeled for sandhill cranes, which were once endangered and have made a strong revival. Their sounds are prehistoric. After cresting numerous rolling hills often referred to as, “silent killers” on the IAT you will reach a mixture of pine forests and hardwood in the Chippewa National Forest. Look for Knickerbocker and Dumke lake, two of 55 lakes you will trek around, over and through on this section. Finally you will exit along the babbling Chippewa River/Cornell Flowage. This newly blazed section of trail will edge along the high banks of the river where you will end at a connector road before you hit the blue hill section (40+miles). Hopefully this connector will be attained in the coming years. For now, hike over the bridge into the quaint town of Cornell for some grub and be sure to stop at the beautiful Brunet Island State Park; excellent camping there too.
Central/Southern Terminus: Devils Lake/ Kettle Moraine. 90+ miles
Devils Lake State Park is one of the most popular sections of the IAT located in south central Wisconsin near the town of Baraboo/Wisconsin Dells. If you see a bearded lady, a two headed goat, or a wolf-man on the trail, then they are escapees from the Wringling Brothers/Barnum & Bailey’s Circus Hall of Fame located in Baraboo. Just run fast!
The rock outcroppings and ridgelines are reminiscent of the rim-rocks of the Grand Canyon. Many rock sections stand like obedient stilts with minaret tops. The Devil’s Lake sections circles around the pristine gorge of Devils Lake. Connected to the loop are two east and west branches of single-track, the east leading to Mirror Lake. Look for purple rock called Baraboo quartzite, in the walls of Devils Lake Gorge., which is more than 1.6 billion years old. Devils Lake was created by two prominent moraines that plugged during glacial recession. Cold air flows from the bluffs provides habitat for red oak and maple. Turkey vultures float on the thermals.
Kettle Moraine Segment: Scenic ridges will lead you past Ole Oleson’s Homestead, a two story tamarack log cabin that was built by the early Norwegian pioneer. The trail winds up and down wooden moraines with views of Whitewater. Enter tall pine plantations that lead up to Rice and Whitewater lakes.
The Kettle Moraine State Forest Southern unit contains 20,000 acres of undeveloped forest. It has numerous trails for skiing, hiking and biking. The area is also home to Wisconsin Conservationists’ Hall of Fame where you’ll find artifacts of native mortals such as, Aldo Leopold and John Muir. Much of the Kettle Forest consists of mature maple. The trail parallels the Oconomowoc river and wetland area. In spring and summer expect to see ephemeral flowers like marigolds, trilliums, and jack-in-the-pulpit. The Scuppernong section meaning, “Sweet-scented land” traverses over roller coaster hills, berry patches and hardwoods. Eagle segment is the final section, which leads to Brady’s Rocks, a portion of the Niagara Escarpment. Take a cool drink at Paradise Springs, a 5,000 gallon a minute spring.
Northern Greenbush Segment/ Door County, Potowatomi State Park. 90+miles
Greenbush segment consists of 29,000 acres of rolling hills and serene lakes. Often referred to as the “Big bully” of the IAT due to the abundance of hills (10,500 ft. in the Glacial 50m race.) coupled with rocks and roots. A kiosk with a map will depict the plethora of trail options that branch off the IAT. The trail leads past the Old Wade House. Deeper into the forest you’ll past Elkhard and Crystal lakes and onward to Mauthe and Butler lakes which appear down rocky corridors and woods steps. Excellent backwoods camping in this section.
Door County: Door County’s shape is due to the 400 million year old dolomite rock at its base, known as the Niagara Escarpment. This section passes through drumlins, wetland, forests, and parts of the Ahnapee River. Potowatomi State Park is where the IAT finishes; a boardwalk leading to the sandy beach of Lake Michigan will salute a fine finish to a day or a thru-hike. Check out the 75 foot watch tower where you can enjoy views of both Sturgeon Bay and Green Bay. Point Beach State Forest and woodland dunes crests along Lake Michigan near mariner cities of Two Harbors and Manitowoc.
Leinenkugel’s Brewery: Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. One of many legendary brews to come out of Wisconsin this is a great place to stop after you run the Chippewa 50 and enjoy Leinie’s during the post-race. I recommend the Leinie’s honeyweiss or the Creamy Dark. Unfortunately they discontinued their Northwoods, which I thought was their best. While you’re in Chippewa Falls, stop at Lake Wissota State Park, a beautiful area for hiking.
Gibraltar Rock/Richmond Memorial Park: This little section is great. Hike all the way to the top and witness the highest point on the IAT. From afar on a clear day you can see the Capitol dome in Madison.
Old World Wisconsin: Located near Whitewater a wonderful college town in the Kettle Moraine section. Old World Wisconsin is America’s largest outdoor museum of rural life. Historical scenes of farm and village life from a century ago. Settlements
representing German, Finnish, Polish, Danish, Norwegian, African American, and Yankee Pioneers. Be sure to finish your stop and one of the finest small breweries in the country, the New Glarus Brewing Co. Wet your whistle with a spotted cow ale, road slush, or a fat squirrel. All good selections. Cherse!
Old Wade House: Northern Section of the IAT. Old Wade House is a 1860’s New England-style stagecoach inn, served travelers in the Civil War era.
Fauna: white tailed deer, turkey, countless bird species, bear, fox, coyote, Timber wolves.
Flora: countless wild flowers and the state flower, wood violet. Tamaracks, Norway pines, maple, hickory and oaks.
Best Time to Visit: Early spring and fall are ideal, seemingly like any trail, but particularly on the IAT. The summers can get very humid and the lush vegetation and water can have you running from horseflies and that is one race you can’t win I can assure you.
Events on the IAT:
Kettle Moraine Races
Glacial Trail Races
Ice Age Trail Races
Chippewa Moraine 50km
Adventure Races: Frozen Otter 100km and the Sweaty Beaver 24hr
John Dick "Crusty" Memorial 50km
Aldo Leopold ½ marathon and 10km
Ice Age Trail
Jason Dorgan’s Thru-hike Speed Record 2006
I hope you can see why the Ice Age Trail is revered by outdoor enthusiasts from the Midwest and beyond. Now get outside!
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Will Hell freeze over? We'll find out at the Hellgate 100k starting this Saturday morning at 12:01 am. Historically the weather in Virginia has been pretty unpredictable for this race but usually you can count on it being very cold. Good luck to inov-8 team members Rebekah Trittipoe, Clark Zealand, and Sean Andrish. Also good luck to Scott Dunlap as he races back to back 50k race weekends with the Muir Beach 50k.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I decided I would give them a first test on a loop in our local fells first. It is a fairly rocky, up and down loop which I ultimately ended up running half in the dark due to some poor planning and bad traffic getting to the trail head. (It was the day before Thanksgiving so arriving anywhere on time was a gamble). Putting them on was like slipping on a comfortable sock. The X-Talons fit snug and the upper wraps around the top of the foot comfortably so you notice it at first and then it simply becomes part of your foot - seamless.
The X-Talons performed incredibly well from a technical perspective. Again, the fit was snug so my foot did not slide inside the shoe and I had a good feel for the trail. They ride low with a very minimal sole that almost gives the feel of running bare foot. The laces are a little thinner and easier to cinch down, like locking in an extra buckle in a seat for a fast ride. As I ran through the rocks and over roots, my feet were able to find their way to the right spots, whether between or on obstacles, without any sense that I had to take into account the profile of the shoe - no clips, kicks or awkward half steps. Probably the one area where the X-Talons depart from the human foot characteristics (but in a good way) is the sticky rubber sole. These shoes stick to almost anything - rocks, roots, going up, down and even through leaves. I would venture to guess that the name X-Talons comes from the fact that running in these shoe is like having talons on the bottom of your feet - they grip the trail and whatever comes in their way. I'm a guy who falls a lot - ask anyone - and I made it through a rocky 8 mile up and down loop half in the dark without a single fall. Not one. It was a great experience to have that much confidence in my stride and arrive at home in once piece.
So, anyway, I ran a cross country race the day after Thanksgiving and they performed extremely well again - even in different conditions (wet, grassy with mud). They ran fast, light and kept me upright for a quick finish - better than any road flat. The X-talons are light enough to keep your feet floating but not so much so that every foot strike is a punch to the bottom of the foot. They provide a light landing with each step. You know you have a good shoe when you don't even notice you have them on - for me, those are the X-talons.
I gravitated to Inov-8 because of their design philosophy which really has a light, minimalist tone. For me, the X-Talons were the epitome of this philosophy - a shoe that helps bring out the best of my running. The shoes complemented my natural gait without changing it or overcompensating for weaknesses (like many road shoes and some trail shoes). The X-Talons are an example of Inov-8 nailing its philosophy of designing shoes around the natural function of the foot. These shoes do not need an instruction manual and are truly a one kind fits all type of shoe.
The question now is how far they can go. I don't see why I couldn't run a marathon or at least 50k in the shoes, maybe longer - who knows. But as the days are now short in the Northeast and the cold is here to stay, it may be a few more months before I'll have the opportunity see dirt and temps that I'm willing to brave for more than a few hours. Until then, I'm itching to put the X-talons on for another run as soon - and as fast - as possible.
Monday, December 8, 2008
At Cedarock Park in Burlington, NC, Anne Lundblad won the women's 14 mile trail race title Saturday at the Run AT The Rock race with a time of 1:43:29. The single track trail was muddy in spots and very challenging with lots of roots and rocks to enjoy, plus a mass start made in tough to jockey for position. The 14 mile race covered a 7 mile loop twice and Anne pulled away from her competition on the second loop. There is a also a 7 mile race option.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Good luck to the following inov-8 athletes this Saturday. Wynn Davis will be down in Huntsville, TX at the Sunmart 50k. Scott Dunlap will be racing the Woodside 50k in Woodside, CA. Lastly Shiloh Mielke will be getting his first taste of an ultra at the North Face 50 mile Challenge also in California.
Wynn Davis - Sunmart 50k
Scott Dunlap - Woodside 50k
Shiloh Mielke - NF 50 Challenge
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
We're back! Team YogaSlackers returns from IGWA - a adventure in Guadelupe, a French island in the Caribbean with a 1st place coed (4th overall). An interesting 6 days, that's for sure... We did OK, and I learned a lot about navigating for a fast team, something I don't normally do. Lina rocked the house in the kayaks, motoring our way to 1st in every paddling leg, by a sizable margin. We did OK in the trekking legs, losing some time to our slow warm-up (no leg was longer than 15k, most around 5-8k), and to a few navigational mess-ups on my part. The cultural sections were hit-or-miss. As a cook and a musician, I did pretty well with spices & drums, but the sometimes awkward English translations definitely made it difficult for us to answer local cultural questionnaires. All in all, a teriffic adventure, but not really a race. We'll post details and a full report as time allows...