Eric Charette and ultra running partner Rob Youngren will attempt to set a speed record for traversing the entire 335 mile Pinhoti Trail starting this Saturday. The goal is to complete this challenge in 7 days or less at 50-60 miles per day on some very technical terrain with just one crewman. You can follow their progress via Eric's blog he created for this epic adventure.
Amber Moran will be down in Columbia, SC at the Women's Heart and Sole 5 miler this Saturday. Last year Amber was 3rd OA in a competitive field. DeWayne Satterfield will be racing a tough road ultra at the Strolling Jim 40+ mile race in Wartrace, TN. We have several NE mountain runners tackling the 7 Sisters Trail Race on Sunday and all will more than likely be in the mix up front. Kevin Tilton, Ben Nephew and Abby Mahoney are taking on this tough 12 mile out/back race with 3700' of climb. Dewey Peacock will be at the big Bloomsday 12k in Spokane, WA. Dwight Shuler will be racing the May Day Biathlon in Morganton, NC. The May Day course consists of a pretty flat 5k run followed by a hilly 30k road bike ride.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Eric Charette and ultra running partner Rob Youngren will attempt to set a speed record for traversing the entire 335 mile Pinhoti Trail starting this Saturday. The goal is to complete this challenge in 7 days or less at 50-60 miles per day on some very technical terrain with just one crewman. You can follow their progress via Eric's blog he created for this epic adventure.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Here is a link to a great article on Sophie Speidel, appropriately titled "Ultra Dedicated" in the University of Virginia Magazine. Sophie is a graduate of UVA (Educ ’84, ’89) and has raced at a high level at countless ultra marathons. Completing the gruelling Hellgate 100k- 5 times is a testament to her mental and physical stamina.
Monday, April 26, 2010
Jeremy Ramsey nabbed 4th place OA in 5:00:19 at the Promiseland 50k. A tight race where the top 4 men were all within 11 minutes of one another. Kevin Tilton instead of racing the 5 mile Mud Muck Moose decided to help save the race from possibly not happening by stepping up and becoming the race director. This is one of many high quality races put on by the White Mountain Milers running club. Nice work Kevin by keeping this race alive! Here also is the link to Kevin's blog. Yassine Diboun raced to a 3rd OA placing at the competitive Capital Peaks 50 mile on Sunday in 6:41.
Amy Lane won the Lake Waramaug 50k this past weekend in 4:15:34, she was also 3rd OA.
Amber Moran ran a speedy 17:00:04 in the 5,000 meters at a track meet last night in High Point, NC. She set a new meet record and got a PR in the process even with strong winds and humid conditions.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Todd Walker will be tackling one of the toughest 50 milers in the US on Saturday at the Zane Grey Highline Trail 50 mile run. A point-to-point race from Pine to Christopher Creek, Arizona in the Highline National Recreation Area of the Tonto National Forest. Jeremy Ramsey will be giving it a go once again at the tough but scenic Promiseland 50k this Saturday. Jeremy finished 3rd OA in 2008 and was 2nd OA last year, hopefully this year he'll move up once again one more place, he is (seeded #1). In the Northeast we have Yassine Diboun racing the Capital Peaks 50 miler on Sunday. This race venue is in the Capital State Forest of Olympia, WA all on beautiful single-track trails with 6k of vertical gain. There is also a 55k race option as well. Also on Sunday in Bartlett, NH Kevin Tilton will be racing at the Mud-Muck Moose 5 mile Trail race. Kevin is the course record holder for this event.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Dwight Shuler will be hitting the Lake Junaluska Duathlon this Saturday. A 2.2 mile run / 20 mile bike / 2.2 mile run, mostly around beautiful Lake Junaluska just outside of Asheville, NC. Joe Ziegenfuss will be racing the MDRA Mudball Classic, a 4 mile trail race at the Theo Wirth Park in Minneapolis, MN.
Hardly a weekend goes by without Jim Johnson racing somewhere and he'll have to be patient and wait till this Monday where he'll be toeing the line at the Boston Marathon. His need for patience won't end there as the course is conducive to going out fast with the point-to-point course being mostly downhill for the first half, then the rolling fun begins!
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
April 14, 2010
Starting on May 1, 2010, a team of two ultra runners from Northern Alabama will attempt to set the Fastest Known Time on the 335 mile Pinhoti Trail.
In March 2008, the Pinhoti National Recreation Trail was officially linked to the Appalachian Trail by way of the Benton-MacKaye Trail. In Alabama, most of the trail lies within the Talledega National Forest as it begins near Weogufka and traverses along the ridge line over technical terrain for 185 miles northeast to Tecumsah at the Georgia border. From there, the Georgia section of the Pinhoti Trail travels another 150 miles to the Benton MacKaye Trail, which is a connector to the Appalachian Trail.
Attempting this adventure run are Rob Youngren and Eric Charette of Huntsville, Alabama. Born in Woodland, California and attending the Virgina Military Institute for a degree if Physics, Youngren has a long history of ultra running, have completed the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning in 107 hours during 1998. Rob has completed over 130 ultra marathons in his career and more recently won the Antarctica Marathon and is a member of the Wasatch Speed Goats. Originally from Kingsford. Michigan, Charette has a degree in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Technological University. Eric has a more recent resume of ultra running with some impressive performances and was selected to the 2010 Team inov-8 US for ultra running.
"I've had this idea to run the Pinhoti Trail for some time now and am excited that it is now coming to fruition," noted Youngren. "The Pinhoti Trail is the 3rd longest National Recreation Trail in the United States according to American Trails and we are hoping to bring to awareness to this fantastic trail system and the volunteers who maintain it."
Guiding them along this journey and serving as crew chief will be Josh Kennedy of Huntsville, Alabama. Josh has run every section of the Alabama Pinhoti trail and with his military background he will diligently guide Youngren and Charette along their voyage. Josh himself is no stranger to long miles on the trail, having completed over 70 ultras and marathons, including a sub-24hr finish last year at the Arkansas Traveller 100 Miler.
"When Rob and Eric first approached me with this idea I was on board right away as I knew that this was going to be an epic adventure," stated Kennedy.
This adventure run will be an attempt to establish the Fastest Known Time (FKT) of the Pinhoti by running it end-to-end. The attempt was publicly declared on the Fastest Known Time website on December 1, 2009. In keeping with the "rules" for FKT attempts as noted by Peter Bakwin and generally accepted by the ultra running masses, Youngren and Charette have created a website to track the progress of the effort which can be found at http://pinhotitrailadventurerun.blogspot.com/ During the adventure run, near real time status updates will be made and once the event is over, all official distances and notes will be complied and documented for future attempts to break the record. Follow along with Twitter updates at http://www.twitter.com/PinhotiTrailAR.
More information on the trail can be found at the Pinhoti Trail Alliance website http://www.pinhotitrailalliance.org/ or on the Georgia Pinhoti Trail Alliance website at http://www.georgiapinhoti.org/.
Loop 5: At exactly 7:10 am on March 29, 2010, I was sent off on my final loop to the sweet sounds of redneck hollern’ (courtesy of AT and Travito) and Laz’s Swiss cowbell ringing off the walls of Big Cove Campground, signaling the start of Loop 5. Again, and for the final time, I choose a counter-clockwise direction of travel. It was this direction in which I was forced to learn the course, alone, beginning on Loop 3. It was never more than a quick thought as to which direction I would choose to do my final loop. As I made my way down the camp road leaving Big Cove, the remaining wounded Barkley soldiers bid me “farewells” and “Godspeed”. Very few individuals had ever made it this far and it was an honor to be one of the few. I was moved to say the least. I made haste up Chimney Top’s switchbacks with a renewed strength. I went through my mental checklist, as I had done so many times before. Everything was in the clear. I was good. I reached the capstones and immediately went for Book 10. BUT, IT WASN’T THERE!
“You have GOT to be kidding!” Not again. Ok…stop…think…this happened the last time you were here. But this time I would burn over 30 precious minutes before I would find the book. And it didn’t help that the fog was so thick, the tops of the capstones were hidden. At one point, I was convinced that, for whatever reason, the book was no longer here. “Move on and just explain to Laz that I was at the exact spot and the book was not there. Surely he’ll understand.” He can come check for himself and when he gets here he will see that I was right. But if I’m wrong and I’m simply walking past the book because I’ve been running for 49 hrs, then I’ll be disqualified. “THE BOOK IS HERE JB. GET IT TOGETHER AND FIND IT!” Oh yea, here it is. I gather my emotions, and turn my focus to my next challenge…a foggy descent of Big Hell. Thanks to Mike, I nailed it. I get my page from Book 9 and begin the ascent of Zipline. I pay extreme attention to my surroundings and my direction of travel. At the upper confluence and crossover, I refer to my map, take a compass bearing and choose my path. It proves to be the correct choice as I hit the capstones of Indian Knob and Book 8. On the descent into the prison, I made yet another navigational error. I descended the wrong ridge and my correction came and no small expense. I had to climb approximately 400ft to get back to the correct ridge. Once on Razor Ridge and easily found my way down to the prison and Book 7. As I begin one final miserable scramble up Rat Jaw, my minds starts to slip, juuust a bit. The saw briars’ bites are now beginning to break my concentration. By this point in the race, the path, regardless of where you choose to walk, is beaten and slick as you can ever imagine. At times, the most effective way of gaining any sort of ground is by actually grabbing the wretched beasts and using them to pull you upward. Saw briars are incredibly strong…go figure. It takes me 7 hrs to reach the summit of Frozen Head, which means I now have 5 hours to finish the loop. This discourages me. I think to myself “I have 5 hours to descend RatJaw/PigHead, climb up and over Testicle Spectacle, cross the New River, climb Fikes/Stallion (in the fog of course), and cover the North section.” It’s not weather or not I can physically do the miles…it’s the small amount of time that I have to do it in. AT, Travis, Wouter, and Mike “Drago” Popov, are there to do a little motivating…Wouter spitting out orders, “come on JB, move, move”. Seeing my comrades lights a new fire under my ass. I tear out my page, fill my bottles, and literally tear off down Rat Jaw. My new goal: Camp in 5 hours. On that descent, Rat Jaw does things to me that will always remain…both physical and mental scars. At this point, I am what you might say, “running scared.” In other words, time is my greatest fear at this point. Any and all flat and descending sections are done at a running pace…I am MOVING! The entire TS section takes less than 30 minutes. Once I reach the New River, again, I opt for the high water route that Laz provided. As far as the weather conditions, cloudy and foggy weather have created ideal running temperatures and I am thankful. Warm enough so that you’re not loosing calories just trying to stay warm, but cool enough to wear a long sleeve and tights without the constant on/off process. I begin climbing Fikes and it’s not long that I have my first vivid hallucination. I had stopped to dig some food out of my pack and as I stood there looking forward, I noticed an individual to my right. This fella was short in stature, almost miniature, and wearing camouflage snowboarding pants, an matching jacket, sporting a buzz-cut with those tinted-spectacle-type goggles that used to be an urban fad, and he was strapped to a snowboard, facing my direction with his hands on his knees. It was as if he were peering over the cornice to scout the stash below. Now, I knew what I was seeing was not real, regardless of the fact that it appeared as clear as me standing there. What this represented to me was my mind was beginning to slip and at this point in the game, I absolutely could not afford any mistakes. So I gathered my attention and pushed forward. I checked my time…get moving. Again, I ran every chance that I had. I had no idea how much running a person can do climbing the Fikes/Stallion section. I managed to make it through the section with not a single navigational error. I had Stallion burned into my mind. I continued my aggressive pace on through the Garden Spot and didn’t let up one bit until I reached Jury Ridge with two hours until the 60-hour cutoff. From here, I knew I could run/walk it in just over an hour. From the Garden Spot and on in to camp, I had my hallucination experience and I just embraced it. I was still in total control and so I allowed myself the pleasure of mindless wondering, when hallucinations run wild. After all, this was part of the fun in running through the woods for 59 hours on less than 1 hour of sleep. I saw Master Yoda peering over a boulder field as I crossed a certain stream…Honestly, I really did. For the most part, the hallucinations were mild shape shifts in black. Coming down the final 100 yard stretch was something that I cannot put into words. I touched the yellow gate at 59hrs18min.
As I sat in a chair at the yellow gate, my friends, supporters, heroes, and mentors surrounded me with joy and curiosity in their eyes. They wanted the story and I was eager to share. What meant so much was the fact that so many had stayed to see me finish. To hear Laz say, “all of us who witnessed your performance at the Barkley have been elevated in some way”…now that speaks to me. I learned a great deal about myself, and life in general at the Barkley. I won’t go into all that. What I will say is that in order to finish the Barkley 100, you must be your own man. That means taking huge risks even if success seems bleak. Barkley is nothing but risk. I didn’t want to separate from Blake on my 3rd loop simply because I was afraid to fail. However, making the decision to continue on my own ultimately led to my success. One other bit of information that I learned over the years while watching my heroes turn “hot laps” at Barkley: The runner MUST embrace that which he fears the most. I know…as cliché as it sounds…but it’s the one absolute at Barkley. You will get eaten’ alive by the saw briars…there is no way around it. You will have to navigate a night-time loop…and then another in reverse…there is no way around it. You WILL have to navigate a loop alone…there is no way around it. You will spend many hours hiking in wet and cold conditions…there is no way around it. Do you see the pattern here? Simply put, there are some aspects of Barkley that you cannot get around…these are the primary reason why most runners quite. Therefore, if being uncomfortable is inevitable and the only way out is forward…through the misery…then we must embrace it. My best friend AT taught me that. I made this belief my race philosophy. I am 100% honest when I say this, not once did I think about quitting. As a matter of fact, it took awhile for me to realize that I had been one of still a select few to complete the 60-mile fun run. Stopping at the Fun Run mark never appealed to me. When I showed up at Frozen Head on March 15th 2010, I had one goal; 5 loops in less than 60 hours. When I finally departed Frozen Head on March 29th 2010, I had completed that goal. I became my own man.
--Jonathan Basham April 4, 2010
Loop 3: The time was 4:33am and we were now 4 ½ hrs into day two of the Barkley. Jim and I started down the road and up the long switchbacks of Chimney Top Mtn…the first of the remaining three loops; all of which I will do in the reverse or counter-clockwise direction. Being at the front of the pack with Jim gave me a good feeling. In our previous discussion, Jim had said he was going for the 100 and I believed him. He sounded hungry for another 100-mile finish and I knew that I could learn from him if we could stick together. Jim is another friend whom I highly respect. Jim knows the Barkley course and the park extremely well and I’m thinking I could use a little help learning the course in the opposite direction. We chatted for just a bit, when out of nowhere, comes Blake Wood, and he is moving with authority. As he passes, I think to myself, “That seems more like the pace that I should be moving…and I was probably already chomping at the bit on Jim’s heels. Jim sensed this and just as the words are coming out of my mouth he says “you should go” (meaning with Blake) and so I do. I catch Blake and we chat a bit about life. Blake is another Barkley Great and a man whom I greatly admire…you could say that he’s sorta one of my heroes.
As we reach Book 10 (or now the 1st Book of the counter-clockwise loop) at the summit of Chimney Top, I inform Blake of my intension as he does the same. Again, my new hiking partner and I are on the same page. And, just as with AT and Jim, I see the opportunity to learn from a highly intelligent and experienced woodsman and plan to stick with him through more loops. Descending Big Hell, Blake and I work together taking compass bearings and following faint trails. It’s just before sunrise and under dark skies we navigate down the ridgeline using our headlamps. We don’t quite hit the Beech tree but Blake is quick to pinpoint our location and within minutes we have our page from Book 9. By now the sun has risen enough so that we can pack away our lights and move more efficiently. As we reach the confluence of the Beach Fork and the start of the bushwhack up Zipline I stop to take care of some dirty business. I tell Blake that I will catch up. It doesn’t take me very long, but in those few minutes Blake’s pace places him out of sight and I take off like a raped ape. My thoughts, “I cannot loose Blake”, “This is the reverse loop and I MUST learn the course counter-clockwise”, “I cannot loose Blake”. I am scrambling up Zipline on all fours, pretty much red-lining. When I reached a vantage point I would stop and search for movement on the hillsides. Nothing. At this point I realized that I had failed to actually pinpoint where it was that I was going. My map was useless if I didn’t’ know exactly where I was. Fortunately, it wasn’t so foggy that I couldn’t make out the ridgeline and all the peaks. I had studied that ridgeline for weeks now and I knew could name every hump and ridge. I found Indian Knob directly above me and as Winter would say, “I kept climbin.” Within what seemed like seconds, I reach the capstones on Indian Knob (probably faster than it’s ever been climbed) and immediately find book 8. If Blake has already been through, his page will be missing. It’s here. Words cannot express my relief. Like I said, I did not want to move forward without Blake…or so I thought at the time. I tore out my page, put on all my clothes, ate some food, and waited…and waited. Every other minute or so I would leave the comfort of the cave, where I was sheltered from the bitter cold winds and blown fog, and step out to holler at Blake…never a reply. I did this for 23 or so minutes. Then I began to get cold. I KNEW that I needed to get moving. Not only was I losing heat by the second, more importantly, I was losing precious time. This was the 2nd and final major decision that ultimately led to my 100-mile finish. Again, I thought of those words that AT had said, “You have to be your own man.” My decision was made without even thinking about it. I referred to my map, pulled out my compass and took a bearing and was GONE. I wouldn’t say that I nailed it, but I wasn’t too far off. It was extremely foggy and I just chose an adjacent ridge to the one that I intended…Razor Ridge. At the prison, I grabbed my page from Book 7, made my way through the tunnel and on up nasty Rat Jaw. Once at the tower, I filled my bottles and bladder, grabbed my page from book 6 and tore off back down Rat Jaw. The remainder of the Loop 3 was pretty uneventful. It rained…hard and cold. As I made my way around the course I remained extremely vigilant, taking great care to memorize landmarks and major junctions. With the passing of the miles and as I reached book 5, I began to feel a certain level of confidence…this was something new. Not the confidence, but the level at which I was feeling. My hard work had paid off and I was moving efficiently and navigating successfully. Nothing could stop me now…nothing but time. I reached the yellow gate and the end of Loop 3. Prior to the race, I had planned to take a half hour nap, time permitting, at the end of Loop 3. I had the time. According to my Suunto, the loop had taken 11h2min. But I wasn’t sleepy. I knew trying to nap would be a waste of time and seeing as how it was around 4 pm I had approximately 4 ½ hrs of sunlight left. I opted to continue on and make use of the valuable daylight. It would be ideal if I could make it through Big Hell and Zipline before dark. Travis fed me another grilled cheese and bean stew and sent me on my way. The data recorded on my Suunto for Loop 3: total time: 11h02m; ASC 11,706ft; DSC 11,568ft.
The time was 4:22 pm, which meant that I had now been running for more than 33hrs…oh, and I had just completed my first Barkley Fun Run. I was feeling pretty good. No major issues. My feet were holding up great and my digestive system was doing its job and doing it well I must add. My psyche and my mental clarity were as lucid as could be. I was doing GREAT! But as began my ascent up Chimney Top, just after Rough Ridge I felt extremely sleepy and took my first dose of caffeine. By the time I reached the summit of Chimney Top and began my search of book 10 my head was in the clouds. I went to get my page and WHAT…no book?!! Wait a minute…this is the wrong capstone. This is it over here…nope. The more that I searched, the more confused I became. “This is ridiculous!” “Blake and I walked right over here to this rock, reached under and here it’s supposed to be!” “I don’t understand!” Even as I sit here and write, I have no idea what happened up there…that time or the next time that it happened on Loop 5. At one point I became very angry. I actually thought someone had taken the book and it made me hottern-a-firecracker! Once I realized that my emotions were taking over, I put an end to it, IMMEDIATELY. My thru-hikes on the Colorado Trail and the Long Trail had taught me valuable lessons about keeping one’s emotions in check. If it’s not positive then it’s negative…and if it’s negative it’s a waste of time…and wasting time was not something that I could afford. Another thorough search and ah ha…I found Book 10, took my page and was off down Big Hell. Although I had lost a great deal of time searching for Book 10 (approximately 20 minutes), I regained my confidence when I nailed the Beach tree and Book 9. This one I owe to my good friend Mike Dobies. Before I left camp on my 4th loop, I asked Mike for some pointers on navigating down Big Hell. This was another invaluable piece of advice that I was given. His directions put me precisely on top of Book 9. Mike Dobies is THE MAN when it comes knowing the Barkley course and I owe him much gratitude. Thanks Mike. As I began to work my way upstream and towards the confluence, the sky grew darker. I tried to get one last peak of Indian Knob’s capstones before it was too dark. Without referring to my map I chose my drainage and began climbing. As I neared the top I realized that I had made my first major navigational error. I had climbed the wrong ridgeline; one that put me on Indian Knob’s western saddle. Without hesitation, I began running the ridgeline towards the capstones. Unfortunately, my error cost me another 300-400 ft of descent and a bit more than that in climb. By the time I had reached Book 8 it was dark and time to settle in for a cold and windy night. I put on another layer and began the descent towards the prison. Bam!...nailed it. I exited the woods, grabbed my page and entered the tunnel. As I made the long climb up Lower and Upper Rat Jaw I had a feeling that I was actually going to have an enjoyable night and consequently enjoyable Loop 4. Seeing the full moon hanging over the prison and lighting up the prison yard gave me a feeling that energized my pace…not fear, but something else…something more positive than negative. By the time that I had reached the New River, all the runoff from the previous day’s heavy rains had made its way into the New making it extremely unwise to attempt a safe crossing. There was one fallen tree that spanned a section of the river. I investigated and found the tree too slick to cross safely. Its not that I was necessarily worried about getting swept down stream; I simply did not want to fall in and then have to deal with battling hypothermia. So I chose the high water route that Laz made available for this certain situation. You can take my word on this: There is NO advantage in choosing the high water route over the standard route in normal conditions. The route has you scrambling on all fours up a steep ridge through a tangle of Rhododendron thickets until you meet up with the standard route on the first terrace. It takes more time and uses more energy…but it was a guaranteed safe crossing. I began my ascent of Fikes/Stallion. I was a bit uneasy about finding the route and staying on course through this particular section. Although it was dark, I at least had a full moon, which allowed me to see ridges and bluffs…or wait…where is the moon? Sure enough, as always, as soon as I began climbing Fikes/Stallion, fog rolled in decreasing my field of vision by 95%. I pulled out my compass and oriented my direction of travel to approximately 350 degrees. I cautiously but swiftly made my way flawlessly through this section, reached Book 3 and began the North Section in high spirits. I arrived at the yellow gate ready for hot food and a quick nap, again, time permitting. My navigational error on Zipline and searching for Book 10 on Chimney Top had cost me in time. Loop 4 had taken me 13h46min. As I touched the yellow gate Laz informed me that I had exactly 1hr4min before I had to be out on Loop 5. Just enough time to quickly shower, take care of feet, eat, and sleep…for about 20 minutes I believe. It was good to see my boyz, AT and Travito. AT helped me clean up and into bed while Travis tended to my nutritional needs. Thanks brothers. “Wake up. You’ve got exactly 4 minutes to be gone.” AT’s words were like fire from the mountain. I was at the gate, “Ready to be on your own” as Gary would say, with two minutes to spare. The data recorded on my Suunto for Loop 4: total time: 13h46m; ASC 11,555ft; DSC 11,585ft.
For me, Loop 4 had not been the miserable “death march” that seemed to have plagued the previous 8 100-mile finishers. Reading their race reports, they all seem to have agreed that each of their Loop 4 was the nightmare loop and Loop 5 was “actually pleasant.” Loop 4 was my pleasant loop, complete with full moon, clear skies and ideal cool temperatures. This could only mean one thing...my nightmare Loop was bound to happen and there was only one loop remaining.
Here is part 1 of 3 posts to follow by Jonathan Basham detailing his amazing finish of just under 60 hours at Frozen Head State Park in TN, at The Barkley Marathons.
My Barkley 100 race report: 2010
“I know where he’s taking us. Take out your map at look at Big Fodderstack. It’s got a huge climb and it doesn’t seem as if it would add too much mileage.” I was convinced that I had just discovered the Bad Thing while standing atop the lookout tower and wanted AT’s input. No reply. I could just picture AT (Andrew Thompson) laughing at this text message and thinking “JonBoy thinks he’s got it all figured out, just cause he’s spent last 6 days running around the fire roads and trails of Frozen Head.” Although I wasn’t totally convinced that I had figured out the Bad Thing, I was sure of one thing; since arriving at Frozen Head 6 days earlier, I had learned more about the park’s interior (peaks, ridgelines, valleys, trails, fire roads and creeks) than I had during my previous visits to the park, combined. And therefore, I was feeling very confident about navigating my way around the Barkley course on the day of reckoning.
You see, my intensions for driving down to Frozen Head two weeks prior to the race were two fold: Primarily I knew I needed to get a solid grasp on the layout of the park. Taking advantage of Laz’s advice, I knew the importance of being able to recognize particular peaks and ridgelines so that in the highly probable moment during the race, when I would find myself disoriented, I may be able to recognize prominent landmarks and adjust my direction of travel accordingly; this issue presents itself during my 3rd loop. Second, but not necessarily less important, I believed that camping at Big Cove Campground for a few weeks prior, would help me find the mentality that I felt would be conducive to a successful Barkley 100 finish. In other words, I wanted to sleep in the various and erratic weather conditions that are so commonly associated with the Barkley. This would mean waking up in sub-30 degree temps with freezing rain, making breakfast, then leaving the comfort of my cozy camp to train high up on the ridges. I desperately needed to become intimate with discomfort and the feeling of uneasiness. I did. However, I wanted to respect Laz’s, as well as the Park Ranger’s request of training only on open trails and fire roads within the park, so I never ventured out to Stallion/Fikes, Testicle Spectacle, the Beach Fork area, or the southern bowl/side of Frozen Head Mountain, with the exception of climbing upper Rat Jaw twice. Besides, I thought it only fair that there are just some areas of the Park that should remain a mystery until the day of the event. If I could become familiar with the basic lay of the Park, my chances of learning the remainder of the course during the race would be good…as I believed, so it happened.
Fast forward to March 26th, the eve of the big day. As friends and strangers quickly trickled in to Big Cove, I found myself wandering about the campground reuniting with old friends and meeting new friends as well. The only problem with this was that rather than having no friendly distractions, like the many days prior (as I was for the most part alone), I was now distracted by fun things to do around camp, which did not include packing my gear, food, marking and laminating my map…all things that should have been addressed BEFORE I allowed myself to wander. Here’s the irony…I was literally the first camper to enter Frozen Head two weeks prior, yet it was now 11:30 pm March 26th and I hadn’t even marked the new course on my map; and I still wanted to spend the 20 minutes that it would take to weatherproof the map. As I looked around Big Cove just before climbing into the back of my F250 to take rest, it appeared that I was THE last person to get to bed. No other LED lit but mine. How did this happen? I was a bit frustrated with myself. In the end, it didn’t matter.
The cigarette was lit at precisely 7:12 am on March 27, 2010. I settled in nicely behind AT as the single file made it’s way up Bird Mtn. By the time I crossed over Bird, I found myself warming up at a comfortable pace along with AT, Dewayne Satterfield, Alan Abbs, Michael Popov, Charlie Engle and a few others. Arrived at Book1, grabbed my page and off to the next. The remainder of the North section and for that matter, the remainder of the 1st loop went along pretty uneventful yet pleasant…basically the same group of runners swapping jokes and stories. Any time that we entered an area that was new to me, I spoke less and focused more on my surroundings, so as to connect the gaps in my mind. Upon our arrival to the new section (Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary), we quickly made our way through the tunnel, retrieved our pages, and immediately headed for the saddle of Razor Ridge, which we found quite easily. Although the sun was glaring down on clear skies, I knew the warm temps wouldn’t last, which was a good thing. I remember David Horton making the comment that there will never be a 100-mile finisher during a hot Barkley. This is true seeing as how hot conditions present the toughest and most physically demanding race conditions for most any runner. But I was confident that we would see typical, miserable, Barkley conditions soon enough. By the end of the Loop 1, I was happy with the day’s results and eager to get on with the night. The data recorded on my Suunto for Loop 1: total time=8h50m; ASC 11,549ft; DSC 11,483ft.
AT, Alan Abbs, Jason Poole, and I finished Loop 1 and all agreed to continue as group. We re-supplied and reconvened at the yellow gate to receive our new numbers. Off we went.
We left the gate at 4:22 pm which gave us about 4 hours before we would need our lights. By the time that we reached Stallion Mtn., darkness was near and we finally turned on our lights. The four of us were still together and moving well, but I began to wonder if our current pace, while good enough for a fun run finish, was fit for a 100-mile finish. You see, if there is one thing that I learned from 2 previous attempts at Barkley (1 loop on both attempts) and 12 years of spectating and crewing AT at Barkley, is that if you are to have any chance what-so-ever at the 100-mile finish, you MUST show up hell-bent on 5 loops and let nothing stand in your way; even the camaraderie of being with a solid group of Barkley dudes. This was my year. I had come to Frozen Head State Park with a plan…5 loops and nothing would suffice. I had trained on these mountains for the past two weeks and I felt SOLID. A few days prior to AT’s arrival, he and I had spoke over the phone about each of our intensions for Barkley. I was glad to hear that he was going for his 2nd 100-mile finish and therefore was energized to know that we would spend 4 loops hiking together and haven’ a good ole’ chin wag. Additionally, I still needed to learn or better yet fine-tune my navigation through both the new section and the sections, which were new to me (Stallion/Fikes and BigHell/Zipline). For this, I had planned on learning on the heels of my best friend and long time hiking partner AT. As we made our way over Stallion/Fikes, our pace lessened a bit, if for no other reason than typical nighttime navigation. While descending Fikes, as a group, we made a poor decision, which cost us a bit more time but nothing to really get carried away over. But as the miles and time past, I began to question, even more now than before, if I was doing what was best for me…for my chance at finishing the 100.
One of the greatest things about hiking with AT is that we, for the most part, know what the other is thinking in terms of strategy, and can deal with most issues before they have a chance to become problems. Although nothing was said, I believe AT could sense that I was getting antsy and that I was having thoughts of separating from the group and moving on; at a pace that was more conducive to finishing the 100. Additionally, I could sense AT’s plans (for his attempt at the 100) changing. I knew that I needed to be moving more assertively than our group’s current pace, and that he (AT) for whatever reason, was not going to be coming with. As we reached the Book 9 at the Beach Fork, the predictable actions were carried out…sit down, pass the book and tear page, dig through pack for food, empty shoes…and socks…nod off for a moment…WHAM!!! It hit me just as hard as my head nearly hit my knees, which were held tight to my chest. GET YOUR ASS UP AND MOVING!! This was the first time during the race that I had become sleepy tired and I was not about to take any caffeine (I had planned to sleep after loop 2 and seeing as it was less than 2 hours till camp, taking caffeine would interfere with my plans). So I said to my 3 companions, “I’m getting sleepy. I’ve got to walk ahead.” Seeing as how our next move was to climb Big Hell, drowsiness would not stand a chance. I was off and didn’t stop until I reached the capstones of Chimney Top and Book 10, the final book of the Loop 2. Although I could see the lights of my old group, I felt it wiser to keep moving at my pace, and on my own. This was the first of two major decisions that I believe ultimately led to my 100-mile finish.
Back in the last few days of the year 2009, Hilary (my wife) and I made a trip to the north country of New Hampshire, where we celebrated the New Year at AT’s farm. While there, AT gave me the most valuable piece (clearly an understatement) of information that a Barkley 100-mile aspirant could receive (yes, I’m now revealing and passing this wisdom on to any who chose to listen); he said with authority, “Jonboy, if you are to finish the Barkley, you’ve got to be your own man.” That made all the sense in the universe to me and I firmly believe in those words. This is what I thought of when I left AT, Alan, and Jason at the bottom of Big Hell. If I was going to drag my beaten body around this man-eating course three more times, under the 60-hour limit, I was going to have to do it on my terms, and not on the heels of another. After descending Chimney Top swiftly, I made haste ascending Rough Ridge where I caught my new pal, Carl Laniak. Carl and I had met a few days earlier at my camp. Carl made me laugh so he was easy to like. As I approached, Carl made some comment about my pace and I asked in return if he needed anything…water, calories (He didn’t look exactly strong). His reply made me laugh for sometime after. I left Carl as quickly as I had caught him and by the time I reached the road heading in to Big Cove Campground, I caught up with the leader of the race, Jim Nelson. I immediately spoke of my intensions for the race and plans for arriving in camp. With his reply, we seemed to agree and be on the same page. Once at camp, I turned all 10 pages in to, no not Laz, but Rich Limacher (thanks for being awake Rich). Jim and I were sharing a campsite along with AT, and Mike Dobies, which by the way, was conveniently located next to Laz’s camp and the yellow gate. I followed my checklist promptly: shower, take care of feet, eat (a grilled cheese sandwich, bowl of warm soup), re-supply pack, 30 min nap. My good friend Travis Wildeboer (who is more of a brother than a friend) had flown in from Winter Park, CO to crew and handle for AT and I. Travis has been a huge part of my life for the past 12 years and has supported me on both my Colorado Trail speed hike and my Long Trail speed hike. Needless to say, having Travis around camp at Barkley was truly an asset and a gift. As I lay my head to the pillow, I hollered to Travis “wake me in 30.” When Travis woke me, I grabbed my pack and headed to the yellow gate to pick up my new number. Jim was waiting. Off we went. The data recorded on my Suunto for Loop 2: total time: 11h18m; ASC 11,526ft; DSC 11,440ft.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
This was one of my first trail races after moving down to the Boston area in 1998. Although is more like a road race compared to many of the races I do, it’s nice to actually run fast on trails once in a while. Prior to this year’s event, I was expecting that the race was going to be very crowded up front, as many of the local guys were running extremely fast on the roads. Kevin Tilton had run 1:11 for a half marathon, Jim Johnson had run 1:10, Greg Hammett had 3 minute PR with a 1:11, and I had finished as the tenth man for CMS at that race in 1:15. Geoff Cunningham, who had a great snowshoe season, was also planning on running, along with several other guys with solid race results this spring. While Jim said he wasn’t racing due to Boston next week, he also told me he wasn’t racing Northern Nipmuck, so I figured he’d be on the start line. In recent years, I’ve had a hard time breaking 60 minutes, and I thought that we could have 5 or more guys break 60 this year.
By the time we got to the start, Greg was out with an injury, and Jim actually wasn’t racing (Merrimack). You couldn’t really tell that we were missing anyone in the first 400 meters, as everyone launched into the tight singletrack. I was able to get up to Kevin pretty quickly, and was relieved to find the pace comfortable, unlike the recent road half marathon. As Kevin ran down a narrow line of sandy soil, his X-talon 212’s were actually throwing up small clumps of dirt onto my quads. It was quite the strange feeling. We hit the short mile marker at 4:59, which was probably more like a 5:09 first mile. I just tried to keep things as relaxed as possible and save some energy for the short, steep hills in miles 4-6.
We went through 2 miles in about 10:34, which unfortunately confirmed that the first mile was short, but at least I was feeling better with the pace than last year, when I barely crept under 60 minutes by 9 seconds. It was pretty windy on the more exposed sections, but I was hoping we would end up with a tail wind on the way back. I was still right in back of Kevin through the third mile in about 16:35, and as hit some minor hills in the next mile, I was able to keep up with Kevin, who is a much stronger climber. The quad busting power line hills started just after running through 4 miles in 22:25, which was only a few seconds faster than last year. I lost a second or two to Kevin up the two steep hills, but I was more concerned with how I would feel on the way back to the finish. I had also noticed that I was running downhill considerably faster than Kevin, so I could afford to drop back a bit on the uphills. The 5th mile to the turn around was a bit soft in spots, and I slipped a few times in my 230’s. I had thought about wearing the 212’s, but most of the course was firm, flat dirt, where the 230’s really do well.
I think we lost some time here, and we hit the turn around right about 29:15, which was frustrating. Due to fatigue and oncoming traffic, it’s almost impossible to run even splits at Merrimack, and hitting 5 miles in 29:15 didn’t predict a time much under 60 minutes with a typical loss of 60-90 seconds in the second half. As we headed back towards the oncoming runners, I hoped that we would be able to avoid any major collisions, which is a very real possibility on a trail that is only 6 inches wide. Kevin was really starting to push the uphills, and while I could keep pace with him on the climb, he was able to recover faster and get back up to full speed more quickly at the top. As we weaved our way through runners up and down the power line hills, I was able to gain back lost time on the downhills. It wasn’t until then that I remembered that he had a sore ankle, so the tentativeness on the downhills was a preventative measure. Just after 6 miles, I started to get some tightness in my stomach. Kevin started to inch away as I tried to work out the cramping. I think I hit 7 miles in about 42:10, and Kevin probably had a 10 second lead through miles 7-8. My stomach muscles relaxed around the 8 mile marker, and I tried to work back up to Kevin. Both of us were having a hard time running into the wind, again. Yes, you can have a headwind in both directions on an out and back course. It is actually pretty common at Merrimack. The wind comes laterally off the river, but it feels like a headwind both ways.
At nine miles, I was only about 5 seconds in back of Kevin, and while I really wanted to make a charge in the last mile, it had taken a lot out of my legs just to get close. Kevin seemed to have a bit left for that last mile, and I was left trying to minimize the damage. We both ran strong last halves, with Kevin running 59:05 with me in 59:16. I was hoping for something in the 58’s, but we did have the wind, and I was happy to be able to run a solid last 5 miles and hang on to Kevin for most of the race. CMS had another strong showing at one of our “home” events, taking 8 out of the top 10 spots.
I saw all sorts of Inov-8 models on the course, from 212’s and 230’s to 280’s, 295’s 310’s and 315’s, and everyone seemed happy with how they handled the course. The X-talon 212’s took both wins, as Gina narrowly missed the course record in her first try at the Merrimack course. I don’t think I’ve ever been to race that had more pictures taken, and I think the current count is about 3000 posted photos from 6-7 different photographers. Steve Petersen, Dave Dunham and the rest of the Merrimack crew did a great job with the race as always.
Complete age group records, top times, stats, and more information on the River race can be found at: http://rivertrailrace.blogspot.com/ Please check this site for links to MANY pictures taken at the race.
Nice weekend for Team Inov-8! Congratulations to everyone and hope that training is going well and you're having fun. Click HERE for my race report and photos from this past weekend up in Sisters, Oregon. Happy Trails!
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Wanting to get in a few races before the trail season kicked off in New England I headed to Virginia to partake in the Bull Run 50 mile race. Having heard great things about this race I was eager to try it, especially since I missed it last year due to injury and illness.
On race morning Inov-8 teammate Amy Lane and I found our way into the starting pack as the race director gave last minute instruction. We had planned on running the first half of the race together and then parting ways. Before the signal to start I looked down at my Roclite 320’s and was happy with my shoe selection (this day would only be my third day on trails since last season so I wanted a more supportive shoe with some cushion). Amy and I both knew the course was a double out and back with a loop on the end of the second out and back and had heard we should push the pace a little at the start so not to get caught behind slower runners on the first single track section. Fortunately the field quickly sorted itself out and I looked to find my stride. As we headed into the single track I let Amy lead the way and set the pace. We settled into a nice conversational pace and took note of who seemed to be lingering behind us. We were running one and two for females. Before I knew it we ran up a set of stairs and arrived at the first aid station which was around mile 7. I easily spotted our crewman Jason as he was ringing a cowbell and cheering. Not really thinking I attempted to run by the aid station and continue on with the race, fortunately volunteers noticed me and sent me back down the stairs and back on the correct trail. Again Amy did a great job of guiding the way and maintaining control of the pace. I know that I was smiling on the inside and outside as I was surrounded by blue bells, birds chirping and ultrarunners. Once we made it to the first turn around Amy and I now could get a glimpse at where we stood in relation to others. About a mile later I passed Amy so to take a turn in front. In retrospect I think that when I saw nothing but open trail in front of me my legs took over.
Once I realized what was happening Amy and I were no longer together. I was now alone with no one within eyesight in either direction. I hit the aid station at mile 11 and was eager to see my crewman at mile 16, which was also the start/finish area. I continued to run a consistent pace on whatever terrain I found myself on. As I came into the aid station I was overwhelmed with the amount of spectators and volunteers. I didn’t see Jason so assumed he might be further down the road where I could easily locate him so to swap out bottles and grab gu. Within a minute it dawned on me that he wasn’t there and that I was now going to have to deal with my decision not to stop and fill up with water. My legs still felt good and I was very focused on getting to the next aid station so to get some water. I tried to stay mentally calm as my nutrition plan was now in jeopardy. Now I wouldn’t see Jason till mile 28 which meant that I would be very short on gu and would just be drinking water. I managed to get to the next aid station and filled my bottle and took survey of the offerings. No gu and a million and one things that I wouldn’t eat because I am a picky eater. I grabbed a few grapes and a strawberry, ultimately not a good choice for my stomach or for a significant amount of calories. As I plugged away I made a mental list of things I would ask Jason for at once I got to him. When I saw him I grabbed a fresh bottle, gu and continued on my way. Within moments I realized that I hadn’t asked him for the other things I wanted, the number one thing being S-Caps. Still by myself I tried to remain focused on following the blue ribbons. I feared that at this point if I wondered far off course mentally I wouldn’t be able to regain composure.
It would be another ten miles before Jason and I were scheduled to connect again. I started to drink and within minutes found the drink coming right back up. After throwing up I knew that I need some calories, I was thirty plus miles in. I opened a gu and filled my mouth. Now what? It was just all sitting in my mouth and I couldn’t seem to get it to go down. It took some time, but it went down. My stomach felt empty. My legs still felt good but I knew the lack of calories was going to take its toll on me. Finally I had some male runners in sight. I slowly closed the gap and just stayed close enough so to follow them during the “do loop”. This portion of the course was the most difficult to follow as there was no obvious trail, just blue ribbons to follow through a forest of fallen leaves. Within a few miles I passed one of the runners and continued to keep the other male in my sights. As we pulled closer to the next aid station I passed him as well and then went to find my crewman Jason. I spotted Jason’s smiling face and he went to hand me a bottle with Gatorade. Even on the best of days I cannot drink Gatorade so I passed on it, grabbed some gu and took off running. In my mind I am thinking twelve miles to go, feeling empty and wanting some company. I kept gazing at the river that the trail meandered along and wanted to take a dip.
To help entertain myself I start trying to guess how many blue ribbon markers there are within the given mile I was running. As simple as it seems it was keeping my mind occupied enough. I had some recollection of the terrain that waited ahead and I knew where I should push a little and where I should maintain. My stomach started to growl and I knew I had to try another gu. I tried not to think about it as I opened it and squeezed a third of it into my mouth. I immediately forced myself to swallow it. Just two more swallows left. It probably took me ¾ of a mile to get the rest down, but I was happy I was able to. Soon I spotted someone walking towards me on the trail and she started cheering for me by name. I was immediately perplexed and then noticed her Inov-8 shirt. As I continued to run she introduced herself as my teammate Sophie. Her energy was contagious and I immediately found some more giddy up in my stride. When I arrived at the last aid station I was eager to be done. I thought I only had four miles to go, but was told it was five. This one mile difference felt like a massive mental blow. I looked at my watch and calculated my finish time. I kept peering to see if I could spot anyone in front or behind me. I continued to plug away and played it safe on the seldom technical sections. When I came to the final single track up hill I slowed to a walk. It was the first time I had walked all day but it proved to be much faster and efficient to walk the stairs on this hill then to try and run it. Once I got close to the top I started running again and everything started to look familiar. I picked up my pace and took one last glance behind me as I headed for the finish. I crossed the finish line in a time of 7:23, which turns out was a new course record. I couldn’t have asked for better weather, scenery, volunteers, competitors, crew or support from teammates.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Thursday, April 8, 2010
*editor's note: Mom - we are fine. The red tape all over us it called KT tape, and is just to keep us healthy as we play the line with overuse injuries. It is great stuff, and makes us look good too. Read all the way to the end for a Easter present from your loving son.*
The car smells a bit. I suppose that there are many remedies to that – we could get one of those little Christmas tree air fresheners to hang from the mirror, we could steam clean the seats, or search out the two day old banana peel and throw it our at the next gas station. Or if we were really serious, we could shower more, instead of sitting in the car for sweaty hours on end.
It feels comfortable though. Like a dog that marks its territory with scent (don’t worry I’m not urinating in corner of the back seat) so that it knows when it is home.
This little Honda that could is as much a home as Chelsey and I have had for a while, and in truth, I don’t mind the smell. After all, it is just us. Well usually it is just us. Right now as we drive from Boulder City back to Tucson, we have a “house guest”. Fellow YogaSlacker Daniel rides shotgun, and he has been adding a bit of his own unique pungency to the mix.
It is Easter weekend, and we’ve spent the last three days mostly “at home”. Chels and I made the 7-hour commute to San Diego on Thursday – after an all too leisurely yoga filled morning. Friday we breakfasted on cinnamon rolls and Daniel’s dad Hubert’s world (at least in my world) famous coffee. The libations pushed us into the energetic realm of acrobatics, and for a few hours we twirled around in the air over the concrete back deck. Once the buzz faded, we headed “home” to the Honda, and made our way north.
We spent the afternoon at the offices of Ellsworth bikes, drooling over the shiny racks of beautiful frames, and enjoying Tony’s stories of the history behind his innovative designs. Tony promised to help Chelsey build her dream bike – a full suspension Truth – that he said could come in around 20 lbs. Chelsey was very happy. Before we left we picked avocados from the tree right next to our parking spot.
Back home, we headed to Vegas and then kept right on going – curving around the edge of that black hole of excess to arrive in Boulder City, and our friends Glenn and Colleen.
It was nearly midnight by the time we crawled into their spare bed.
The morning came early, and we made a short drive to the start of the Desert Dash Adventure Challenge. Glenn and Colleen are fellow racers and the event director’s for this morning’s event. Glenn had hinted that the race would be unique – and it was.
Sprint races are fast and furious for the top teams, and we went out hard. Barely into the race, we found ourselves inflating our packrafts right at the base of Hoover Dam. We were not allowed a paddle, so we used our hands in the cold water of the Black Canyon to propel our rafts slowly forward. We were thrilled to have brought our Alpacka rafts, as this was the first time we’d actually been in a race where we could use them! The course took us through a series of caves and hotsprings in a wild slot canyon – the watet changing from bitter cold to scalding hot and back again. Eventually we dropped deflated the rafts, and negotiated our way through a twisting canyon with steep imposing walls. As we raced, hopping from boulder to boulder and narrowly avoiding the drops into slimy pools, I couldn’t help a huge smile. This was just like our training run last year in Santa Barbara. Our breathing keeping pace with our erratic footfalls, we exited the canyon into the hot Nevada sunshine. In our speed, we arrived at the finish line before the race organizers and ended up running around the desert looking for a non-existent end to the race.
The final challenge of the race was actually slacklining. Each team member had to balance on the line for 5-seconds before finishing. It was the first time we’d ever seen slacklining in an adventure race, and we hope it becomes a trend…it certainly wouldn’t hurt our chances. We spent the next few hours recovering by walking the line and helping other teams complete the slackline challenge as they came in.
Back home in the Honda, the three of us began the drive back to Arizona, and here we are. 24 hours on the road, acro, walking the line, yoga and an adventure race – and no showers. Ah yes, it does smell in here. But as we pass the cattle yards near Maricopa, the smell of the three dirty YogaSlackers inside is doing a decent job of keeping the smell of the thousands of cows outside. What a breath of fresh air.
Here we are the next morning at Easter Brunch- many thanks to the Gribbon Family. Shortly after this photo.. we went off mountain biking only to get dirty again...
Northern Nipmuck Trail Race – 16 miles of Hills and Hollows
This past Saturday April 3rd, I competed in a spontaneous season-starter race. After a brief description from fellow inov-8 team member (Ben Nephew), I decided to enter the Northern Nipmuck 16 mile Trail Race. I figured it would be a good solid long run (with addition of warm up and cool down). I checked in with my coach Howard Nippert (ultra running stud) who was quite enthusiastic for me to embark on this “long” race. I had never raced over a ½ mary before…and had only raced two of those. Needless to say, I didn’t prepare or quite think out the results of doing this race.
Saturday morning arrived and I was off to Union, CT. The weather was pleasant for the beginning of the race, a comfortable 55 degrees. Everything seemed to be falling into place…I was in a calm state of mind, the course looked good (good in the sense that it was “trying” terrain, and full of mud J ), and I was excited to try out my roclite 285’s. I also had the pleasure of finally meeting some other team inov-8 members (Abby Mahoney and Amy Lane).
I ran the first mile and a half a bit conservative. I wasn’t too sure how the end of a 16 miler would feel. After a while, I got kind of antsy…I picked it up and ran hard through the turn around point (8 miles). I was really happy with the way my shoes were handling the terrain. The course is normally much dryer (no thanks to the recent flooding), so I originally wasn’t too sure if the roclite grip was going to be “chunky” enough for the mud. Turns out, it was! There was no sliding on the trail, and the mud did not “cake” onto my soles.
Once I hit the 12 mile mark, things started to go downhill, and not course-wise. My calves were cramping every time I would get up on my toes. This made for some slow and painful uphill climbs. I then started cramping in my quads and hams…which has never happened before. I’ve run through normal cramps, but with the intensity of an oncoming charlie-horse, I totally changed my gait and pace. I would rather finish the race instead of being curled up in ball on the side of the trail screaming.
Anyhow, I finished the race in 1st place with a time of 2:30:40. I would have liked to run sub 2:20…but those darn cramps weren’t going to have it. The good news was that my lungs, etc. where prepared to keep plugging away.
Next time I race out of my “comfort zone,” I’ll be sure to carry some water and electrolytes. I’m stubborn in the way of training without any aid. Therefore, no water, gu, salt tablets, etc. on any training runs and races. I have never found it useful or needed it until this 16 miler. Soooo note: electrolytes can definitely save your race and prevent your body from feeling destroyed days after the event. Lesson learned.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
A big weekend of race action for many Team Inov-8 athletes. We'll start with the Bull Run 50 miler in Northern VA. Chris Reed, Aliza Lapierre, and Amy Lane will be toeing the line, all 3 are running for the Union side since they are all from North of the Mason- Dixon Line. This race is sponsored by the VHTRC, one of the best trail running clubs in the US.
Up in in NE, Kevin Tilton and Gina Lucrezi will be racing at the Merrimack River 10 Mile Trail Race. Down South we have Amber Moran racing at the inaugural Dupont Trail Half-Marathon in the Dupont State Forest, just outside of Brevard, NC. Heading to the Midwest, Michelle Hartwig will be racing at the McNaughton 50 miler in Pekin, Il. Joe Ziegenfuss will be back at it, racing at the Olathe Marathon in Olathe, KA. Lastly out in the Northwest on Sunday, we have Yassine Diboun throwing down at the Peterson Ridge Rumble 60k in beautiful Sisters, OR. Good luck everyone.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Monday, April 5, 2010
It was a stellar showing by Inov-8 runners at the Northern Nipmuck 16 mile trail race in Union, CT this past Saturday. Temps reached near 80 degrees and racers had to negotiate a very wet and rocky course. Gina Lucrezi won the women's OA title in 2:30:49 and Abby Mahoney was right behind her in 2nd OA with a time of 2:33:35. For the boys, Jim Johnson took a bad spill 10 miles into the race but forged on and grabbed 2nd OA in 2:00:30 and Ben Nephew got 3rd OA in 2:02:44.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Lake McMurtry lies near my Alma Mater so I had been here running before I even had a love for trails. We rarely ran on the trails there. You had to be careful at McMurtry because if not, you were sure to roll an ankle or two and end up with ice packs nursing a fat ankle. Running the first few miles I was already running timid, afraid of McMurtry's infamous roots, rocky trails, and branches (one in particular I will call Tyson because it cracked me pretty hard)!
of the Leap with dimensions that would be suicide. I thought maybe you had to climb down a small cliff and run over to the next side or something. When I saw the "Leap o' Doom" I was quite relieved as it was merely a hop and a skip across two rocks. If you somehow were fatigued and missed the other rock, OUCH. The length of the Leap may be exaggerated, but the drop between the two rocks was SERIOUS. After you finish the first loop (Orange) you cross the starting area and head into the second loop. At this point I was not sure if I still had the record due to the mile markers starting over from zero once you cross into the blue line trails.
The blue trails were a bit tougher. I noticed my pace was slightly dwindling by about 3-4 seconds per .25 mile. The blue trails had an abundance of tight turns and also alot more traffic. Back and quad muscles were really starting to burn since it had been a while since the body has felt a 90 degree turn in mud. The red mud was really starting to tire the calves out. All in all, the course was pretty sweet. It had everything. There were some single track, some trails that reminded me of cross country, steep hills, tight turns, mud!, and a fair amount of roots and branches to twist your ankles like a braid. One branch and I became well acquainted (AKA Tyson) at one point during the race and I now leave the course with a little reminder on my shoulder of the crazy challenges one must endure on the trails of Lake McMurtry.
I was happy to see alot of folks sporting Inov-8 shoes. Before the race I noticed one guy wearing the Roclite 295 and he made me think about the thick mud engulfing parts of the trail and how a pair of 295's would have really stuck to the course. However, I found that the F-lite's ended up performing quite well. Due to its light weight, all of the climbs felt like a walk in the park and on the sections through open fields I was able to fly. The race directors did a really good job organizing the course and the finish was pretty interesting. The last 50 meters you round the finish area where your nostrils take in the sweet taste of burgers, hot dogs and all of the snacks that await at the finish.
End Result: 1st, New Course Record: 1:31:52
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Not much action on tap, that I've been made aware of this weekend. We do have Dewey Peacock racing at the Big Butte Challenge 11K Trail Race . Joe Gray will be lacing up the F-lite 220 pk's for a trail race this weekend in Oklahoma at the Taturs 25k trail race at Lake McMurtry.