For a race report and slideshow, view the blog!
The day looked to be a fun fast race, with 27 teams coming to test themselves in the only "state" sponsored Adventure Race in the US. Not only were we racing for points in the Sierra Adventure Sports series (we were 3rd last year with only one race!) but the race was a stand alone event in the Grand Canyon State Games.
We woke super early to drive and drop the boat before heading to the TA area to stage our bikes. It was so cold that our chains were iced up (as well as our bike water bottles!) when we arrived. We then jammed into a bus and were taken back to the river put in for the start.
About 50 boats floated at the start line (the shadow line of the bridge overhead) and then at exactly 9AM we were off....
It was a BYOB race (bring your own boat) and we'd chosen to all try to fit in a 15' canoe and use kayak paddles. We knew it would be key to get out fast and hard, so we had Chelsey in the middle kneeling, and at the start her paddle was still in two pieces on the boat floor. She stayed low as Sam and I paddled like mad (short fast strokes just like Jim Grijalva taught us). It was a bit of of mayhem, but soon we pulled ahead, just in time for the first bottleneck in the river, a little rapid called Dos Channels - a little split where only one boat could pass on either side of an island. We were first through on the right, and soon pulled away from the crowd with a solo kayaker in a nice downriver boat.
Pretty soon we were paddling next to the solo guy (Mark) and our big canoe was barely keeping pace with his slim boat. He pulled ahead. After a few more rapids, we struggled and caught back up to him for a moment. Chelsey proceeded to pull out her paddle, put it together, and fall into sync with our rhythm. I felt a little like Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride during the duel when he announces that he is not left handed.
We were first out of the water.
We continued to race strong, leading the field, until nearly the end of the race. We were only a few minutes ahead of Big Fish Creative (formerly Team Monster Energy), a well known team that won the series last year. In my haste to get the team back to the Transition and into the final orienteering leg, I put the map away thinking I knew exactly how to get back. We put our heads down and hammered on the pedals....pretty soon we couldn't see Big Fish behind us even on the 1.5 mile long uphill. I figured we'd pushed ahead, or they'd had some trouble. We did not look back.
Turns out, they'd looked at the map (as had most other teams!) and noticed a trail that avoided the uphill, and all the turns and went strait downhill at a gentle grade - RIGHT INTO THE TRANSITION!
Luckily we had no idea of any of this, and still figured that Big Fish was chasing us (they were now 30 minutes ahead!) and we charged through the rest of the course, managing second place.
Chelsey and Sam both raced amazing, and over all it was a great team race.
Love the Ibex gear more and more every time. Arm warmers and Leg warmers make it so versatile! 40 degrees when we started, 80 when we finished, we never changed! We drank U-hydration, Nuun, and FRS, ate Raw REV bars and GU chomps, and of course ran and carried INOV-8.
Monday, March 30, 2009
For a race report and slideshow, view the blog!
Sunday, March 29, 2009
We had two great efforts in 50k ultra racing this Saturday. Sean Andrish won the Belmonte 50k at the Sherando Lake area, in a time of 4:26 wearing the Roclite 320's. Meanwhile just down the road in Bedford, Jenny Anderson placed 3rd OA woman at the Terrapin Mountain 50k. Jenny ran 5:24 which was 5 minutes faster than her time last year on a wet course that was extended another 1.5 miles this year to make it a 50k distance. Great job to both!
Friday, March 27, 2009
Hello teammates! Hope everyone is doing great and coming into fine shape as the summer nears. I wanted to bring something to the attention of the guys on the team who will run Mt Washington. I noticed that there is a team record for the race. I also noticed we have a pretty stacked team and there is a $500 bonus for record breaking teams. Soooo, just curious if the guys wanted to join together and go for that record?? I have already entered myself in the race under Team Inov-8. I'm not even sure if its possible to do this, but I thought I would see if anyone was interested. I do not know everyone on the team, but Mr. Low and Mr. Tilton so if you two see this post, try to register under Team Inov-8 if you can!! Hope to meet you all sometime in the near future!
Thursday, March 26, 2009
It'l be gangbusters this weekend at Terrapin Mtn. races along the beautiful Blue Ridge Mtns. in Virginia; the first race of the 2009 Beast Series. Tackling the trail will be 2008 50km champion Jenny Anderson.
Have fun and good luck!
Jenny Anderson- Terrapin 50km
Type rest of the post here
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Toward the end of last year we waffled the idea of adding a third trail running series to our UpperMidwest Trail Runners. We have the infamous short series with a plethora of excellent races MNtrail series we also had our inaugural Fab 5 Fifities series this year that was awesome and will be going strong once again this year, not to mention an added race to the series courtesy of Andy and Kim Holak. Now to the aforementioned addition.... yes, for those looking for a raw test of serious mental and physical stamina and sanity we bring you the GNARLY BANDIT series. This series inlcudes the classic 100km distance and 100mile distances that co-exist with many of our shorter distances. The beauty of this series is the variety in terra-firma, landscape, and distance. These races are definitely tough and to end the season with Superior Sawtooth 100mile followed by another brutal assault of the Superior Hiking Trail at the Wild Duluth 100km will have runners with a serious trail high. If you are looking for a new race or are dropping by the UpperMidest I encourage you to explore. You will not be disappointed. The series starts off with the inaugural Zumbro 100's. A rugged trail romp up and over the bluffs of Mount Frontenac, and down through swollen Zumbro river/ Mississippi river bottoms. Outlooks of beautiful Lake Pepin. I'll be there helping helping out and watching the first race start (100km runners start at midnight) hellgate style.
Last year Pierre Ostor (Arrowhead 135 RD and finisher)was the only runner to officially "shoot the moon" and finished all of the Fab 5 Fifties races. He plans on shooting the moon at the Gnarly Bandit as well.. Cheers!
Type rest of the post here
Oak Mountain 50K
The weather was simply awesome for the 10th annual Oak Mountain 50K...which must have been measured by Dr. David Horton, since the course is around 33 miles. Ultra stand-outs Alan Abbs and Beverly Anderson-Abbs came from California to visit family and decided to tackle a southern trail race at the same time. Bev and Alan took out the pace quicker than I expected and I was content to let them set the tempo.
The first 8 miles are a seemingly endless series of short but steep ridges that chip away at your energy. The next section climbs over a nasty rock field, then places you atop a beautiful ridge. The single track along the ridge twists and turns through some nice capstones before straightening into a screaming down hill smooth trail to Peavine Falls. Along this section Matt Sims and I pulled slightly away from the Abbs. The Peavine Falls area provides a nice scramble to the bottom of the falls and a nice wall of a climb back out.
The next section meanders along a calmly flowing stream, lulling one into thinking all is right with the world...of course, just at this point the trail bends and climbs, slow and steady, to the highest point of the course. A nice rocky decent (me likey) dumps you out at an aid station. The next section is a dirt road which climbs steadily for about 3 miles before the screaming decent to the finish. I noticed Matt was struggling more on the hills, so I really pushed the pace on this uphill section. I was rewarded with a gap, but being in the lead, I wasn't sure how much...and Matt can fly downhill. I leaned into the downhill dodging the mountain bikers (we finish on a well known, thus well traveled, bike trail) and finally broke the tape in 4:26. I wore the 295s and they preformed like normal...that is flawlessly... Not to be too self-aggrandizing (but I am getting old)...this was the 16th year in a row in which I have won an ultra.
At the finish I expected Matt to come flying home next, but I saw a petite runner screaming around the corner and finish in 4:36. It was Beverly, shattering the female course record and finishing 2nd overall. Matt finished a few minutes later, followed by Alan Abbs in 4th.
The finish line is the main reason I attend this race! Burgers of all kinds (veggie as well), every present drinks, cookies, homemade brownies, fruit salad, etc. A great event!
Sunday, March 22, 2009
The 21st annual H.A.T. Run 50K (run on the 21st of March 2009) is in the books. I had a wonderful experience heading down to a little bit warmer weather and to an established ultra marathon event.
I went down a little early because a friend of mine was running The Sun Trust Half-Marathon in D.C. on Saturday as well and she needed to get her packet, etc. so I was able to check out the (Hinte Anderson Trail) course for an easy 6 mile run on Friday. While I was out there I met race directors Tim Gavin and Jeff Hinte (the "H" in H.A.T.) and learned a little bit about the race, the history, and the deceitful toughness of the course. Both were very friendly and accommodating and they (and the volunteers) put on one heck of a race. Thanks y'all!
OK...on to the race! The morning was beautiful...chilly but sunny. Perfect racing weather and as the sun rose higher it turned out to be a picture perfect day. I saw some friends before the race (Christine and Joe Reynolds, Margie H., and met some new ones) and we all lined up in the open field awaiting instruction to do what we love...RUN! 9 am sharp we all took off following the lead bike on a paved road out and back. I thought that with over 400 starters this would be a good time to get out way ahead to avoid any congestion. That is what I did and was surprised how many others were doing the same. I raced in the Roclite 285's (one of my favorites) and they served me well for the type of terrain in Maryland in spring time.
The first few miles were quick...I mean blistering fast! At times there was a voice in my head that said, "slow down...you're going too fast too early", but I stayed with (and often led) the lead pack. David J., Jason L., Matt W., Stephen and myself put a decent gap in between the rest of the racers and got to know each other as we navigated the ups and downs of Susquehanna State Park.
We came through 13 miles in about 1:35 and for a course that climbs almost 10,000 feet over 50K I was so surprised (and a little nervous) that these guys were so ambitious. I continued to hang up there though and we all kind of switched out the lead.
Around mile 18 or so I pulled away as some of the others stopped in at the pavilion to refuel, etc. About ten minutes later Matt W. pulled up behind me, exchanged a few words, and then passed me. We still had about nine miles to go so I thought I could still catch him despite losing sight of him. Around mile 25 things started catching up with me. My legs were slowing down and I was losing power going up the short steep parts. Also, my left IT band was starting to tighten up and I was forced to slow down a little. Soon there after another person passed me....then another...ugh! I couldn't believe this was happening! I quickly went from 1st to 4th place and was wondering how many more were hot on my heels.
With about 5K to go and after getting some more fuel in me and quickly stretching out while walking some uphills I was able to get back into some nice running grooves. I knew that 1st and 2nd place were out of contention for me but I really focused on catching the 3rd place guy (Glenn Redpath). The harder I pushed myself the more I reeled him in and with less than a mile to go I passed him in the open field before the finish line.
I came into the finish with a time of 4:05:22- good for 3rd place overall. Click HERE for full results.
Can't say enough about this race and glad I was able to participate in it as I will be out west next spring. The people were so friendly and experiencing the essence of ultra running was truly displayed in camaraderie and friendliness at this popular established event.
Well done to all the runners who took part this weekend. Frank Leiter placed 2nd again and ran a very strong second half of the race and mega props to newbie Matt Woods who broke 4 hours and the course record in only his second 50K ever! Nice meeting everyone and we'll see you out on the trails!...after I recover that is!
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Another full slate of running for Inov-8 athletes this weekend. We'll start in my neck of the woods where Amber Moran will transition from her recent road racing back to the trails at the Dupont 12k in the scenic Dupont State Forest near Brevard, NC. This race boasts a great mix of double track and single track coupled with an always competitive field. Keeping it in the South we have ultra legend DeWayne Satterfield trying to defend his crown at the Oak Mountain 50k in Oak Mountain State Park near Pelham, Alabama. The course is mostly single track with 3900' of climb.
In the Mid-Atlantic area we have ultra speedster Yassine Diboun racing the popular and full Hat Run 50k in Susquehanna State Park, Maryland. This historic ultra is mostly single track with one small loop and 2 big 13+ mile loops and has a ton of climbing for a 50k, approximately 9800'. In Bellingham, Washington Brian Morrison will be tested by the always stout field at the Chuckanut 50k. Brian placed 4th OA last year in a super competitive men's field where the top 6 men finished within 5 minutes of one another. This loop course starts and finishes fast with the first and last 6 miles being on packed gravel but the middle 30k is where all the single track and climbing awaits. Lastly Wynn Davis will be honing his speed in preparation for the American River 50 mile in a couple weeks at the Human Race 8k on Sunday in St. Paul, MN.
Amber Moran - Dupont Trail 12k
DeWayne Satterfield - Oak Mountain 50k
Yassine Diboun - Hat Run 50k
Brian Morrison - Chuckanut 50k
Wynn Davis - Human Race 8k
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Debut Blog and Race Report
I'm quite excited to share my racing and training adventures....but this is my first blog ever, so beware :)
Monday, March 16, 2009
Julia Radman of Team ROAM/Inov-8 went solo and was the first overall female at the Dirty Duathlon in Woodstock, GA. Julia wore the X-Talons and it it helped her big time on the muddy course (a race recap by Julia below). Gina Lucrezi also wearing the X-Talons won the overall women's title at the Run Through Time Trail Half-Marathon in Salida, CO posting a nice 1:31 at 7k-9k elevation. Wynn Davis ran to a strong and fast 3rd OA finish at the Irish For a Day 10 mile, his time was around 56:00 (official time not known as of this posting).
In other action Kevin Tilton placed 30th at the New Bedford Half Marathon in 1:11, Scott Dunlap was 47th in 4:28 and Andy Jones-Wilkins was 54th in 4:31 at the Way to Cool 50k. Joe Gray was 47th in 47:32 at the Gate River 15k . Last weekend Sean Andrish took 2nd OA at the Old Pueblo 50 mile in 7:34. Great job everyone.
Dirty Duathlon Woodstock, GA on Mar 14th, 2009.
The race started with a 4.7 mile trail run followed by 12 miles of mountain biking on the singletrack trails at Blankets Creek. The solo women started after all the men and co-ed teams had taken off. Shortly after the start, we were already catching up to the earlier start waves and picking up racers. Steady rain all day made for a very muddy course and especially the hills were crazy slippery.I did make the right choice of shoes though. I had only worn my X-Talon 212once during a training trail run before, and wow they worked awesome in these conditions. The X-Talons are superlight and have a really low profile and sticky rubber sole, which gripped perfectly into the mud and gave me an advantage on the mudslides. Too bad I had to switch to bike shoes eventually. I came into TA about a minute after the first women, but quickly caught up on the bike and took the lead.To stay there, I kept riding hard until the last few miles, when I decided it was better to play it a little saver and not risk crashing. I saw quite a few guys go over their handlebars in front of me, that was enough. The only time I fell was when I got off my bike andwalked over a set of wet slippery logs that sent me sliding immediately.Covered in mud from head to toe, I crossed the finish line as first overall female. Not a bad ending for a grey rainy day.
Too bad teammates Dwight Shuler and Paul Humphreys had to sit this one out due to being sick and having work commitments, or they would have been there to battle it out for the podium in the men's division.
Friday, March 13, 2009
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
After easily winning last weekend's OC Chili Winter Trail race down in Orange county in the Santa Margarita area of CA, Joe Gray will be hitting the roads in his F-lite 220's at the Gate River 15k USA Championships in Jacksonville, FL. Speaking of road racing, Wynn Davis will be at the Irish For a Day 10 mile in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Dewey Peacock will have a good incentive to finish fast at the Run to the Pub 10k in Bozeman, Montana. Kevin Tilton will be at the New Bedford Half-Marathon on Sunday. This race serves as the USATF New England Half-Marathon Championships. Our lone trail runner will be Andy Jones-Wilkins who will racing the popular Way to Cool 50k which filled in just under 9 minutes this year. Try to hold off on the grog until after the races boys. Cheers!
Joe Gray - Gate River 15k
Wynn Davis - Irish For a Day 10 mile
Dewey Peacock - Run to the Pub 10k
Kevin Tilton - New Bedford Half-Marathon
Andy Jones-Wilkins - Way to Cool 50k
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Congratulations to Ben Nephew on a strong run at Pittsfield Peak SS marathon over the weekend battling Leigh Schmidt throughout the day. Ben's report is below. Read More...
PEAK SNOWSHOE MARATHON 2009
I returned to Pittsfield, VT this year to settle a score. In 2008 at this race, I dropped out after the half marathon due to ridiculous conditions. It was about 30F, pouring rain, the course ran through several sections of 12’’ deep slush, and it had about 1500’ of climb per 6.55 mile loop. Amazingly, 18 people finished the marathon last year, and nobody died of hypothermia! I don’t regret my decision to drop out, but it was the first time I have done that since college. While you might think I would make the Peak Marathon my sole aim for the winter this year, I do like to race, quite a bit. Because of this, my race story begins with my 3:21 50k on the roads last weekend in Long Island. After two days of having trouble walking down stairs following this effort, my legs began to feel better around Thursday, and I made my final decision to head up to VT.
Instead of driving up to Pittsfield the night before the race, I decided to take my wife out to dinner for her birthday and then spend time with some friends who were nice enough to watch Gavin for us. I like being married, and I’d like to stay married. My wife appreciated the dinner, and although she thought I was crazy (or crazier than usual), wished me luck at the race. I left Mansfield, MA, at 5am, drove 210 miles in about 3 hours and got to the start with an hour to get ready. Long snowshoe races are quite difficult to prepare for, and this race was especially tough. Half of the people I spoke to told me that I would barely need snowshoes, and the other half told me that I would need a deep cleat on my shoes due to soft snow. The risk of going with a deep cleat is a broken snowshoe and/or injury if there is not enough snow. The other factor to consider was clothing. It was about 30F at the start, but it was supposed to reach close to 50F later in the day. If you wear gear that protects you from wet snow, you will most likely be very warm, and end up soaked in sweat. If you dress too light, you risk being drenched by cold, wet snow. I ended up with my f-lite 230’s, the deep cleat in my Dion snowshoes, and two thin layers on, with a bag of clothes ready by the start/finish if I needed a change.
I’ve never seen such a slow start to a race. Despite the fact that there were people doing only one or two 6.55 mile loops, Leigh Schmitt, myself, and Brian Rusiecki soon pulled away from all the other racers. Due my lingering fatigue from the 50k, I was really hoping that we would run easy for a while. I also thought it would be nice to run with someone, as I do most of my training alone. Although Leigh stated that he just wanted a good hard training run, Brian and I were soon struggling to match his pace on the hills. When Leigh’s snowshoe broke and forced him to slow down about 20 minutes into the race, I did not cry. I took over the lead, and set a more relaxed pace. We were soon joined by Jeremy Huckins, my CMS teammate who was running the half marathon. I could have pushed harder to take advantage of Leigh’s broken shoe, but it didn’t seem like a nice thing to do. Brian wasn’t as willing to wait, however, and as we crested the summit of the course and began a long, fast descent, he took off. I wasn’t sure how long it would take Leigh to get down, so I went in pursuit of Brian. I basically just kept him in sight, and tried not to push the pace. We made pretty good time on the downhills, but Leigh was able to catch up on the flatter sections. As we approached the end of the first loop, Leigh ripped off his broken snowshoe and ran hard to the finish to get some time to put on new shoes. The three of ran about 1:11.
I stopped to pick up a bottle of Gatorade, waited a bit for Leigh, and set off at a slow pace until Leigh caught up and assumed the lead. Despite being on heavier shoes, he again powered up the hills, and we dropped Brian pretty quickly. The course was quicker now that it was packed down by all the racers, but the warm weather was making for sugar snow that wasn’t great in terms of traction. It was actually so warm that sweat was rolling down my head into my eyes on the steep exposed ascents. We were all becoming quite wet between throwing wet snow at our backs and profuse sweating on the hills. I was running too hard to keep up with Leigh, but I figured the worse that could happen was that Brian would catch me. As we reached the summit, I was still in contact, but was worried that I was going to lose time on the downhill. Surprisingly, I caught up to Leigh on the downhill, and we ran the last section of the second loop together, finishing in 1:03.
At this point, I grabbed a bottle of ice tea, and we started our third tour. As soon as we started on the first climb, I almost turned around and called it a day. My quads were starting to cramp with over 2 hours and 3400’ of hard climbing left to go. I was thinking that I wasn’t recovered enough from the 50k. I decided to back off on the hills, and see how my legs responded. I walked the steep sections, and tried to shorten my stride on the moderate hills. Traction was deteriorating with the soft snow, which wasn’t helping matters. I have never had cramping issues so early in a race, and I was too tired to figure out what was happening. Despite loading up on electrolytes before the race and drinking Gatorade during the second loop, I had sweated out all my salt. If it had been cooler, I probably would have been fine with my switch to ice tea for the last two loops. My quads continued to cramp sporadically throughout the third loop, but I was able to complete it a few minutes behind Leigh in 1:11.
The last loop was frightening. Both quads were trying to tear themselves in half any time I went uphill, and it got worse when I stopped moving. The only thing to do, if I wanted to finish, was to slow down some more and try to relax. I was actually worried that if I fell, everything would cramp up, and I would be unable to move. By the time I got to the summit aid station, my right hamstring was also starting to cramp. Fantastic. Fortunately, I drank a large cup of Gatorade prior to heading down the mountain for the last time. I can’t tell you how much this helped. It took a while to get absorbed, but the closer I got to the finish, the better my legs felt. By the time I was in the last half mile, the cramping was pretty much gone. While some of my cramping was probably due to fatigue from the 50k, I’m convinced that most of it was a result of low electrolytes. Brian managed to close within about 1:30 of me to finish in 4:50. After 6800’ of climbing in 26 miles, I held on to second in 4:48:30, and Leigh suffered through a slow last lap of his to win easily in 4:37. I don’t think I’ve ever been so satisfied with just finishing a race.
Friday, March 6, 2009
a quick look inside a bit of Team training....all members happily wearing Inov-8 of course! Jason ended up soloing about 30 feet of 5.8 in his X-talons. It was pretty tense for a bit. Chelsey ended up with poison oak in her belly button....
What can we say, training is never easy...
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Lots of Inov-8 action this weekend. We have Sean Andrish traveling across the country to race the Old Pueblo 50 mile in Sonoita, AZ. Aliza Lapierre will be testing her endurance at the Pittsfield Peak Snowshoe Marathon in the Green Mountain Valley region of New England. Kelli Lusk and Dewey Peacock will be at the US National Snowshoe Championships at Mount Hood, OR this Sunday. Joe Gray will be burning it up at the 4 mile OC Chili Winter Trail Run in Trabuco Canyon, CA. Good luck to everyone!
Sean Andrish - Old Pueblo 50 mile
Aliza Lapierre - Pittsfield Peak Snowshoe Marathon
Kelli Lusk - US National Snowshoe Championships
Dewey Peacock - US National Snowshoe Championships
Joe Gray - OC Winter Trail Run
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Hiker changes footwear
Last summer our family befriended a thru-hiker on the AT. My son brought him home for a little R &R, some good food (make that a LOT of food), and a good washing of his duds. His shoes (non-INOV8) were worn out and his feet crying out for a new pair. I put in a call to Mark Lundblad asking if I could order some INOV-8 shoes for him. When he graciously allowed me to purchase them for "Low" (Philip Carcia) of Worcester, MA, Low was elated. The shoes met up with him further down the trail and a recent Facebook conversation tells me that he is now a forever INOV-8 man! He is planning on doing the Colorado Trail and the PCT this summer in nothing but INOV-8s...and maybe some shorts and a shirt :)
Just goes to prove that wearing our gear and talking about the company is a great way to spread the news!
If you have never volunteered at a race, you are really missing some fun!
This is my year of volunteerism with a little trail adventuring this summer thrown in for fun! I was feeling "compelled" to run a lot of races that I've done a bunch of times before. So to shake things up, I decided to volunteer at all of them. I am helping to mark courses, work aid stations, and get in the miles by sweeping the courses. It is so much fun to be involved with the races and give back to the community that has given so much to me.
Recently, Jenny Anderson and I worked an aid station before sweeping the course at Holiday Lake 50 K. It was a blast. Try it sometime and show that INOV-8 runners know how to help and encourage!
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
This past Sunday in Long Island, NY Ben Nephew got 3rd OA at the Caumsett 50k which is also the USATF National 50k Championship race. His time was 3:21:04, under some pretty windy and cold conditions. Congrats Ben on a great performance. (Ben's race report added below)
2009 USATF 50k Championship
Caumsett State Park, NY 3/1
This was an interesting race for me. Although I’ve run 3:11 back at the USATF 50k in 2004, I’ve been doing less and less road work over the past 5 years. When the race came to Caumsett in 2006, I decided to run it on less than optimal training, and it showed with a 3:26. It wasn’t a great day, but the race was won in 3:05, and I was expecting much better than a 3:26.
As I trained for snowshoe season here in New England, I thought about doing the 50k again this year as I was having some good race results. However, most of these snowshoe races were short, and my mileage was not up to ultra standards for myself. I like to be at 80-100 while training for longer races, and my recent mileage has been around 50-60. Two weeks prior to the Caumsett race, I decided that I needed to figure out what kind of road shape I was in. I mapped out a 5 mile loop, went for one loop at 8 minute pace with Steph, and then proceeded to do 4 more loops by myself. Despite fighting a cold and having to deal with some icy sidewalks, I ran about 2:03 for the last 20 miles in my f-lite 230’s. To my surprise, I actually enjoyed the run, partially due to how comfortable my 230’s were. Since I didn’t eat or drink anything during the run, my blood sugar was on the low side during the last few miles, but I held my pace pretty well. In the two weeks following the race, my cold worsened to bronchitis, but I was able to get antibiotics 6 days before the race. As the race approached, I was more concerned with the weather forecast. They were predicting anything from heavy snow to a nasty mix of snow and rain.
I drove 2 hours down from New Paltz to Long Island after Gavin’s 3rd 2nd birthday party, getting to Dave Dunham’s and Dan Verrington’s hotel room at 10pm. I crawled in bed with Dan (CMS guys are close, real close), and tried to sleep. We lucked out on race morning, although it was snowing at our hotel, the 2.35 mile race loop was clear, and it looked like we would be finished before a very large storm moved in that evening. After an extremely chaotic registration and pre-race preparation, we were off as soon as I had my shoes tied. I’m not sure everyone was actually there at the start, that’s how crazy it was.
Michael Wardian took off, which was not surprising. He was looking to run faster than his 2:55 last year, and possibly take a shot at the American 50k record of 2:47. I was surprised at how many other people took it out hard. I settled into a pack of 4-5 people at 6 minute pace, with Mark Godale and Bill Cuthbert out ahead. Justin Fyffe and I ran for a while, and then he gradually reeled in Mark and Bill. While the first half of the loop was with the wind, we paid the price on the other half. I tried as much as possible to hide behind someone. Dan Verrington soon caught up with me, and we settled into a steady pace. Due to uneven wind exposure, we would sweat for half the loop, and freeze while fighting 20-30 mph gusts on the other side.
We caught Mark somewhere around the third loop, and he latched onto us. The three of us caught Bill, who seemed to insist on leading into the wind despite a couple efforts to pass him and help with the leading. Right as I was thinking how we had a nice group to fight through the incessant wind, Dan had to take a bathroom break. I kept a steady pace, and hoped that he would catch back up to us. Soon after losing Dan, Mark started falling back on the two small hills. When I finally got Bill to agree to let me lead, he immediately began to fall off the pace. Great. I had about 18 miles left, and I was on my own, with no chance of catching Michael or Justin. Actually, Wardian stormed by me not long after halfway. I thought about backing off to have someone to run with, but figured this would probably backfire on me.
I just tried to relax in the middle miles, switched from Gatorade to Coke just past 15 miles, and paid attention to Dunham as he yelled out my lead over Dan and Mark behind me. For a while I was pretty surprised at how much time they were losing, as I was not picking up the pace. I consciously backed off on laps 9 and 10, hoping that I would feel stronger the last three loops. It didn’t really work as I had planned, but I guess it was good enough. Despite my legs succumbing to the pavement pounding on the last lap (running only the 7th ranked last lap!), I held on for third in 3:21. Mark cut about a minute from my lead in the last 2.35 miles, so I’m happy we were not running the 55k Championship. I guess being able to run 162 miles in 24 hours gives Mark a bit of strength at the end of a 50k!
Wardian tanked about as bad as me the last lap, but still ran a 2:56. Justin ran a 3:06 in his first 50k, and the fastest last lap of the race at 5:39 pace. That is over 15 seconds faster per mile than his next fastest lap. Dunham gave me grief about suggesting that Justin could run 5:45 pace given his recent 51 minute 10 miler, but I stand by my comment. With a finish like that, it is clear that Justin could have run a faster pace. When you compare the times from last year to this year, it seems safe to say that the wind cost us about 10-15 seconds per mile. Quite a few people struggled over the last few laps. It’ll be interesting to see what Justin runs at his next 50k. With Justin in second, myself in third, and Dan in fifth (winning another master’s title), CMS won the USATF team title.
I was definitely pleased with how the f-lite 230’s did considering my lack of road mileage. It’s nice to know that I can run a decent race without having to force myself to run weeks of miles on the roads. I want to thank Dave and Dan for sharing their room at the Melville Marriot, I probably wouldn’t have made it to the start if I had tried to drive from New Paltz on race day. Dan’s split times were crucial to my third place, as I would have run too hard if I didn’t know that Dave and Mark were slowing. I also appreciate the help of Justin’s wife and family, who took our clothes at the start. Justin’s Dad was cheering on Justin, Dan, and myself out on the course during the entire race. His Dad was very excited about his time and place, which was really nice to see. I think he called their entire extended family as soon as Justin finished!
After the awards ceremony, I drove 3 hours back to New Paltz to pick up Steph and Gavin, ate dinner, and drove another 3 hours back to Mansfield. We just managed to beat a storm that ended up dropping 12 inches of snow overnight. My day ended carrying 30 pounds of Gavin up two flights of stairs to bed. Fortunately for my legs, it looks like I’m back on snowshoes for a while!
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Mark Lundblad won the 40 mile race and had this to say: