Monday, November 29, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
The Mountain/Ultra/Trail running (MUT) council of long distance running has named the 2010 USATF Mountain Runners of the year, Ultra Runners of the Year, Trail Championship Series winners, and Contributor of the Year. Team Inov-8 has 3 award winners this year. Joe Gray for Mountain Men Open (3rd year in a row!), Scott Dunlap for Mountain Men Master and Gina Lucrezi for female USA Trail Championships Series Winner. Official press release below. Congrats everyone!
USATF Mountain Ultra Trail Council Announces Runners of the Year
Indianapolis, IN ---- The Mountain/Ultra/Trail running (MUT) council of long distance running has named the 2010 USATF Mountain Runners of the year, Ultra Runners of the Year, Trail Championship Series winners, and Contributor of the Year. The following individuals will be recognized at the USATF National Convention in Virginia Beach, VA, on Saturday, December 4, at an awards breakfast.
Mountain men open: Joseph Gray, 26, Lakewood, WA, wins his third consecutive USATF Mountain Runner of the Year title. Gray was the top U.S. finisher (10th overall) at this year’s World Mountain Running Championships to lead the men to their best-ever finish with a team silver medal. He earned his spot on the 2010 U.S. Mountain Running Team (his third U.S. mountain team) by placing third at the USA Mountain Running Championships held at the Mount Washington Road Race in June. Gray also won the NACAC Mountain Running Championships hosted by Canada in July and placed second at the 2009 XTERRA World Championships (December).
Mountain men master: Tim Van Orden, 42, Bennington, VT, had a stellar year in 2010 including masters top honors at the USA 10km and 15km Trail Championships. He finished fifth in his age group at the U.S. Mountain Running Championships. In the USATF New England Mountain running series he finished ninth overall at the Ascutney Mountain Challenge, tenth overall at the Wachusett Mtn. Race, and sixth overall at the Northfield Mountain/NE Trail Running Championships. In addition, Van Orden was the top masters snowshoe racer in New England, taking overall places of three firsts, six seconds, two thirds and three fourths (masters’ champion in all but one).
Mountain women open: Kristin Price, 28, Raleigh, NC, is a first-time recipient in this category. Price won the USA Mountain Running Championships to earn a spot on her first U.S. Mountain Running Team, and was the top finisher (12th overall) for the U.S. women at the World Mountain Running Championships leading the team to its fourth-place finish. Team USA was the first team to finish all four women at the World Championships.
Mountain women master: Nicole Hunt, 40, Deer Lodge, MT, had an outstanding year as a masters’ competitor. Hunt is no stranger to mountain running awards having been named the 2006 USATF Mountain Runner of the Year. In 2010, Hunt finished fourth overall – third American – winning the masters’ title in a masters’ course record performance. She was the third U.S. woman finisher (17th overall) at the World Mountain Running Championships. She finished fourth, first master, at the USA 15km Trail Championships.
Ultra men open: Michael Wardian, 36, Arlington, VA, wins his third consecutive Ted Corbitt Memorial USATF Ultra Runner of the Year Award in 2010. Wardian was the USA 50km Champion, and won bronze at both the 50km World Championships and the IAU 100km World Championships. He finished third – the best finish ever by a U.S. man – at the Marathon Des Sables in Morocco, and finished as the top U.S. runner at Comrades Marathon (89km). He finished second at The North Face Endurance Challenge in Washington, DC, just one week after Comrades. He posted six marathon victories in 2010 including ING Miami, National Marathon, Delaware Marathon (Delaware State Record & Course Record in 2:26:22), Grant & Pierce Indoor Marathon (setting indoor marathon World Record of 2:27:21), Kauai Marathon, and ING Hartford Marathon. He was also 15th overall at the USATF Men's Marathon Championships posting a time of 2:21:18.
Ultra men master: Scott Dunlap, 41, is a first-time recipient of this award. He was the top master and 11th overall at the USATF 50km Trail Championships, third master at the USATF 50km Road Championships, third master at the USATF 100 Mile Trail Championships, and third master at the USATF Trail Marathon Championships in 2009. He also won the 40-44 age group at the XTERRA World Championships in 2009 and was first overall at the Woodside Trail Marathon (3:36, CR). He won the 40-49 age group at the Tahoe Rim Trail 50km (5th overall, the RRCA Nevada Championship). Dunlap promotes USATF and its championship races on his award-winning blog, A Trail Runner’s Blog at this link (http://runtrails.blogspot.com).
Ultra women open: Kami Semick, 44, Bend, OR, is now a two-time recipient of the Ruth Anderson USATF Ultra Runner of the Year award having won this title last year. She posted an outstanding year on the road and trails. Her wins included the USA 50km Trail Championships, the Miwok 100km Trail Race, the Vermont 100 Miler, and the Portland Marathon. In 2009 (November), she won the IAU 50km World Trophy in Gibraltar. She was fourth overall and top American at Comrades Marathon (89km). Semick is an active member of USATF’s Mountain Ultra Trail Running Council.
Ultra women master: Megan Arbogast, 49, Corvallis, OR, a first-time recipient of this award, was the winner of the 2010 U.S. 100km Championships, the USA 50 Mile Trail Championships, Where’s Waldo 100km and the Ice Age 50 Mile Trail Race. She finished second overall at both the 2010 Western States 100 Mile Trail Race and at the 2009 JFK 50 Miler (November) where she was also the top masters’ finisher. She was the fifth masters’ finisher at the Twin Cities Marathon – the U.S. National Masters Championships – finishing 16th overall.
USA Trail Championships Series Winners – Mario Mendoza, 24, Cambria, CA, and Gina Lucrezi, 27, Newton, MA. Mendoza and Lucrezi garnered the most points in the inaugural USA Trail Championships (sub-ultra) series. The events included the 10km, 15km, half marathon, and marathon event distances. In 2011, the USATF Mountain Ultra Trail Running Council hopes to further promote and enhance the championship trail series.
Contributor of the Year – Mt. Washington Road Race Directors Bob and Anita Teschek. This past June, the Tescheks recruited the deepest field in the 50-year history of the Mt. Washington Road Race. This was done by actively recruiting top runners and offering inducements such as travel money, lodging, and doubling the prize purse. The race served as not only the USA Mountain Running Championships, but also as the lone qualifier for both the men’s and women’s mountain running teams. This was the first time a race had been granted this distinction, which can be traced to the efforts of the Tescheks to get the top runners to the starting line. They have served the mountain running community for many years, hosting the USA Mountain Running Championships and team selection races in the even-numbered years starting in 2004. They have also made contributions to the U.S. Mountain Running Team. Bob Teschek has been the race director at Mt. Washington for over 25 years with this year’s race being his last as race director.
Others nominated in the Contributor of the Year category for 2010 included Salomon footwear; Julie Fingar, owner of Fit to Run, Inc., and race director for The Sierra Nevada Endurance Runs, Way Too Cool 50km, and the American River 50 Mile Endurance Run; and Race Directors Jason and Allison Bryant (The Continental Divide 10km Trail Race)
In order to be considered for the USATF Mountain and Ultra running awards an athlete must show top results in U.S. competitions for 2010 November 1, 2009 through October 31, 2010 to include mountain races (these may be on paved/gravel surfaces as long as there is significant elevation loss or gain) and trail races of varying lengths, as well as road races for the ultra category (distances beyond the marathon). International results are also considered. The nominee must be an ambassador for the sport. Nominee must be a USATF member for 2010, and to be considered for the masters’ category athlete must be a minimum of 40 years of age.
For a list of past winners in the other categories, please visit www.usatf.org.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
The largest and oldest 50 mile ultra race in the US is this Saturday. The 48th annual JFK 50 mile will get started in Boonsboro, MD. The course is a point-to-point “horse-shoe” configuration finishing in Williamsport, Maryland. Team Inov-8 has two strong entries, ultra legend DeWayne Satterfield and the speedy Dave James.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Stone Cat 50 Mile
After a poor race at the Pisgah 50k, I was looking forward to one more ultra for the fall to end things on a better note. I knew Dave Herr and Brian Rusiecki were running, and another reason for doing Stone Cat was to actually do a long run with someone besides myself. I don’t mind solo training most of the time, but it’s nice to run with people once in a while. Dave was coming off of course records at the Wapack 18 mile trail race and Pisgah, as well as a solo 2:32 road marathon, and Brian had won the Pineland, Peak, and VT 50 milers, another 50k in CT, and a fast 2nd place at Pisgah. I also finally met Josh Katzman at the start, who is a very fast local ultra runner who rarely races.
We had a solid group of 5-6 guys at the start, which was good for me. I forgot to bring a headlamp, so it was nice to have several lights to follow. I tried to stay in the middle of pack for the best visibility. Stone Cat has a reputation for slowly beating you up as the race covers four 12.5 mile loops of runable trails, and everyone seemed content with an easy pace. Dave and Brian seemed pretty ready to be done with the racing season.
The lead marathon runners came flying by shortly after it got light, with Paul Young passing at what looked like 5 minute pace. I picked up the pace to catch up with Keith Schmitt as he went by to ask about how his brother Leigh was doing out in Sonoma Valley. We talked for a few minutes, and then I dropped back to the lead ultra pack. Running with Keith had felt pretty comfortable, so after a while, I took the lead and started to pick up the pace a little. Brian asked me if I was trying to chase down the marathon runners. I didn’t think I was running fast enough to catch them, but I soon ran past Leigh, and then Paul.
Andrew King was leading the marathon, and he stayed a few seconds ahead of me for a few miles. I eventually caught up to him, and he apologized for not being able to help out with the pace much. He seemed to be doing fine, but I guess I didn’t realize how hard he was working, as he fell back pretty quickly after I passed him the last time. Dave had broken away from the chase pack, and slowly reeled me in. I thought he might just blow past me, but he settled in at my pace, and we both wondered if Brian would be coming along.
We completed the first 12.5 mile loop in about 1:38. This seemed slow to me, but considering the darkness and a pretty long water crossing, it wasn’t a surprise. I slowed to wait for Dave, and we continued with the pace we had been running towards the end of the first loop. At that point, we had a 1-2 minute lead on Josh Katzman, and a few more minutes on Brian.
Right as I was thinking we were running a bit too fast, Dave went by me and picked up the pace. I knew I was probably not going to get any help from Josh or Brian, so I tried to maintain contact with Dave without pushing too hard. Steve Pero was running backwards on the course, and yelled at me to keep Dave in sight. I didn’t think that was going to be possible at that point, as Dave kept putting 5 seconds on me each mile. Just as I was losing sight of him, he stopped at an aid station for a drink. I pulled up in back of him, and was able to stick with him for the rest of that second loop. I was guessing we had run a 1:30 loop. I was wrong, it was a 1:28:30, which is faster than the old marathon course record pace. The crowd at the finish thought we were battling for the marathon win as we came in to start our third loop. I once again slowed and let Dave catch up as we started out third loop. I noted that the last loop was a little quick, and we were both content to back off on the third lap after seeing that we had a sizable lead on Josh and Brian.
My legs still felt good, but I was definitely worried about the effect of the second loop towards the end of the race. Dave led most of the third loop, but he had a couple rough spots where I took the lead when he slowed. Just as he seemed to be rolling towards the end of the loop, he suddenly slowed in the last mile. I went by, and thought about really picking up the pace, but decided it was too early for that. I couldn’t tell exactly what was wrong, but I was clearly pulling away by just maintaining our pace.
I came into the finish after building a minute lead over a mile. I had covered the third loop in about 1:33, which was a more realistic pace than that second loop. Although Dave was clearly having some trouble, I thought he might be able to recover and run me down. As I had feared, my legs started to fade soon after the starting the last loop. I knew everyone else was probably hurting as well, but I was still looking around on the hairpin turns to see if Alex or Dave were coming.
In my 40 mile delusion, I was thinking I was running 1:40 pace for that last lap. It ended up being over 1:44, but I was still able to cut over 3 minutes from Brian’s course record with a 6:24:47. Josh hung tough to run a 6:40, with Sam Jurek moving up into third with his 7:01. Dave and Brian both struggled over the final miles and ran 7:06. Both have run much faster at Stone Cat, and I was lucky that neither had the kind of performance that they are capable of. With a dry course and a daylight start, I think a 6:10-6:15 is possible, but all the turns certainly wear you down towards the end. During the race, I yelled at Keith Schmitt as he was chasing Andrew King at the end of the marathon. With only a couple of minutes left, I didn’t think Keith was close enough to catch him, but he did catch him, and won by 7 seconds! I’m just glad I wasn’t in a similar situation at the end of the 50 mile! Amy just missed breaking 8 hours with her win in the 50 mile, so it was a good day for Inov-8.
I went with my trusty Roclite 315’s for the wet, leafy trails, which worked great. My sock choice was much too thick considering the fact that we soaked our shoes each loop, but despite running for hours with wet socks, I only had a couple of small blisters that didn’t bother me during the race.
The race workers and aid station staff were great throughout the day, and the post race feed is fantastic. Stone Cat is a perfect first time ultra, but is also deceptively challenging for a course without much climbing. If you find the trails too easy, just run really hard early in the race, and you will get all the challenge you want by the last five miles!
Monday, November 15, 2010
The top 2 male and female runners in the Grand Tree Trail Running Series were from Team Inov-8. Abby Mahoney was the first female and Amy Lane was 2nd female. On the men's side it was Ben Nephew taking top honors, followed by Jim Johnson. The Grand Tree Series is all trail races in the southern New England region, ranging from 7 miles to 50 miles. Your best 6 races count. Congrats everyone!
On Saturday Dwight Shuler won the OVT Revolutionary Run 17.25 Mile Trail Race in 2:11:41 wearing the X-talon 212's. The longer of the 2 races was billed as a 25k but was closer to a 30k distance. Dave James took 2nd OA in 2:46 at the Veterans Marathon wearing the F-lite 230's. At the Fall Series #4 race, Peter Maksimow got 3rd OA in 43:31 and was 2nd OA for the Pikes Peak Road Runner Fall Series.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
As many of you know, Team YogaSlackers had a rough ending at this years Check Point Tracker National Championships. And for those of you that don't know... there are many stories and debates online about it (including the post on our blog below)- in short it was a very shocking and sad time for the team.
However, in most unhappy situations in life, there is always a lesson to be learned and something positive that can be gotten out of it.
In this situation-
1. We as a team became closer than ever and it was great training for Abu Dhabi (where we will be going up against some of the best teams in the world!). With two Magness twins and Daniel, the power house- we were faster than ever!
2. We got to race against Team Osprey, a group of amazing people and athletes.
3. Instead of venting online ;0, I am learning how to use my recent feelings of frustration to fuel my training rides and runs ( it feels like that same boost of energy you get when someone breaks up with you). I am hoping to channel these same feelings in the middle of the 120 km desert trek in Abu Dhabi!
Luckily, for us and everyone involved- the CPT debate is dwindling down with hopes that changes will be made in the coming year for the good of the Adventure Racing community.
Our season of racing thankfully ends on a positive note- We successfully won the 2010 California ARA Championships! We are very excited to support the California Adventure Racing Association- a non profit organization founded by Hani Juha and John Turner. Their mission is right in line with ours when it comes to Adventure Racing:
"To advance and grow the sport of adventure racing -- by building a strong community of passionate people, teams, skills, and foster communication."
Below is our Q & A that tells a little about our team, our favorite moments from the California Race Series and much more... read on to find out!
What was your favorite moment during the racing season?
We had a great racing season this year with a lot of memories, but I'll put this out to the team to get snippets from each one of us.
Jason: In the Big Blue Tahoe, at a transition area from trek/bike, I folded the map and stuffed it into the leg of my bike shorts - just for a moment while I changed my shoes. Well I forgot. We took off on the bike, and 45 minutes later came to the first junction. I couldn't find the map. I thought Daniel had it, he remembered me saying something about it being in Chelsey's pack...we had a huge yard sale there in the middle of the trail and still no map. At this point our communication broke down, everyone got mad at everyone else. We ended up navigating the next few points via memory and the large scale overview map. Eventually, at another transition, I was pulling of my bike shorts, and the map flew out. We were all dumfounded.
Daniel: The paddling this season was great for us. All of it. I got a new boat - a Seaward Passat G3 - which feels is probably what it would look like if Ferrari built kayaks. At first it felt like our team paddling skills were far below the level of the boat, but after some time with a former Olympic paddling coach in San Diego, it now feels like we can get that engine really purring...
Sam: Racing as a stand in with Glenn Millar (Desert Dash RD) and his teammate Phil. Great guys, and I got to try my hand at night navigation too. Not quite as easy as I expected. The race also corresponded with the Wanderlust Festival (see Chels's comment) so I was up till 3:30 AM the night before the race performing acrobatics and stunts in a gypsy tent. Thankfully Glenn and Phil let me catch a quick nap in the middle of the night.
Chelsey: I think the best was combining all things YogaSlackers in one weekend - the weekend of the Tahoe Big Blue. We taught and played at the WanderLust Festival on Thursday and Friday. Friday night, some of our fellow YogaSlackers held down the fort so to speak (we had a contractual obligation to teach yoga, slackline, and acrobatics the whole weekend!). We switched from yoga clothes to racing kit, and ran through the night. At the finish line, when most teams were looking forward to sleep, we threw our stuff in the car and blazed back to the festival - teaching all day, and helping our sponsor pack up their booth that night (until 1 AM!). That night, Sam flew in private plane to Salt Lake City to start helping with booth set up for the OutDoor Retailer Trade Show. Jason and I got a few hours of sleep (not enough) then left early the next morning to drive the Prana truck to Salt Lake. We worked the trade show for the next 5 days. It was a wonderful and tiring collision of yoga and racing, and felt like one of the most bizarre expedition races I've ever done.
What was your favorite event - and why?
Wow - all the events we did in the Cal-ARA were great. Maybe the two most unique were the two races we did this year that did not include biking. Desert Dash's sprint (packrafting below Hoover dam, checkpoints in steamvents, awesome slot canyon), and Desert Winds 24 (epic paddle legs, knife edge ridge trekking, slot canyons, midnight swim/packraft). Both these races made a bold decision to not use mountain bikes - because the terrain did not suit itself to them. I have to applaud this. I am sure they could have added biking somewhere, but it would have been on a road, and instead they decided to keep the race rugged and full of adventure. I've heard the Desert Dash folks are going to put on a similar race this next season, and I gotta say - DO IT. It is the best sprint race we've ever done! And I can only hope that Desert Winds will be back too. The Finlay's 24 always feels more like an expedition. Long live race directors that actually actively RACE! I can almost always tell when I am on a course if the designer is a racer....
What are your racing projects for next year?
We are competing again this December in Abu Dhabi (www.abudhabiadventurechallenge.com) so would love people to watch and cheer us on. I'll be bold and say that our goal is top 5. We'll see - it is the most competetive field of racers ever from across the globe. We've enlisted my (Jason's) twin brother this year as our 4th. He is pretty new to racing, but shares DNA and knows how to suffer. He has two kids, and only 3 hours per week to train. His blog is fascinating - www.threehoursaweek.blogspot.com
We are racing again in Patagonia - www.Patagonianexpeditionrace.com - the race that launched us to the cover and feature stories of two magazines last year (Wend Mag and Breathe Mag). Same team. Certainly the most Adventure of any race we've ever done - and we've done a lot.
We are putting on 3 races this year. A 6/24 hr in Bend Oregon (hopefully part of the Cal-Ara series), a 6 hour in spring and a 24 hour in fall in North Dakota (part of the END racing series - www.endracing.com).
We'll be racing a lot too in the spring/summer - with plans to race the GoldRush motherlode, and Raid the North Extreme, as well as a host of shorter races. We are probably going to opt out of trying to compete in the CP tracker series, but hope to be a part of the California-ara as much as possible through racing, clinics, etc.
Oh, and we'll be teaching lots of yoga, acrobatics, slacklining and climbing...as well as a teacher training - who wants to be a YogaSlacker?!?
People you would like to thank.
We'd love to thank California-ara for creating this west coast community. Beautiful thing that has been absent for too long. Also team DART-Nuun (or Sport-Multi?). They have been a driving inspiration to us, and me (Jason) since I got into this sport 7 years ago. It is pretty surreal to actually be racing against them this year, instead of far behind them. Also to Mark Richardson and Adrian Crane for always being supportive, inspiring, and creating races that are so bad-ass.
Of course our sponsors. Prana (www.prana.com) has been the company that has made it possible for our little group to even exist. They aren't much into the AR scene, but like our vision of exploring our potential as humans - on the yoga mat, the rock faces, and crazy expeditions. Without them, YogaSlackers would not exist.
Also, Ergon Grips, Ibex, Inov-8, Ellsworth Bikes, and Numa - gear that we race with, train with, and rely on during all the crazy expeditions that we hatch up in our heads. We also have great support from Alpine Aire (keeping us fed!), Eastern Essence, Teko Socks, Leki, KTtape (can you save over-use injury relief!!!), Nuun and U-hydration, RawRev, Yakima (how else could we lug all this stuff around), and I am sure I forgot some! SORRY!
Final thanks to our parents, friends (especially for all the couches we've crashed on), training partners, yogis, etc. See you at the edge.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Ben Nephew and Amy Lane were both 1st place champs at the Stonecat 50 mile. Ben broke the existing CR and ran a stellar 6:28. Amy Lane ran 8:01 on a wet course from ran prior in the week. Chris Reed ran a strong race at the Mountain Masochist 50 mile and was 2nd OA in 7:39. Chris wore the F-lite 230's then switched over to the Roclite 295's later for the single-track sections of the race. Sophie Speidel ran a strong race as well grabbing 1st OA female masters and 8th OA female in 9:34. Anne Lundblad was 2nd OA female in 3:07:32 at the Shut In Ridge Trail Race. A cold and blustery day with the race course not being cleared by race officials until the actual time of the start. This was due to snow on the upper section of the course. Abby Mahoney was the women's winner of the North Brookfield Apple Run. It was a rolling 5 miler with a 2 mile uphill finish, her winning time was 31:17. At the Lithia Loop Trail Marathon, Yassine Diboun was 9th OA in 2:58 and Scott Dunlap was 17th OA in 3:09.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Ridge to Bridge Marathon
This year I decided to mix it up a bit and race at some new events, distances and terrain to present some fresh challenges. I’ve raced on some technical single-track trail ultras like the Uwharrie 40 mile, Oak Mtn 50k and the Stumpjump 50k. I raced my first and probably last 100 miler at the Vermont 100. A great but rather humbling experience where I learned that distance is not for me. This past Saturday I decided to revisit the marathon distance.
I chose the Ridge to Bridge Marathon for several reasons. I raced and won back in the inaugural year of 2006. At that time it was all on paved roads with the same daunting 3,000’+ of descent…ouch! I know the race director, David Lee and he does an incredible job at all the races he directs. He also now does the chip timing for his events and many others. The course was changed a couple years ago to a mostly gravel road type surface through the beautiful Wilson Creek Wilderness area and the Pisgah National Forest. This race is not too far from where I live, so it is quite convenient. Lastly it is a distance that I know my best times are behind me but I thought it would be fun to challenge myself and see what I could do with no real marathon specific training.
On paper one would think this is a course that you are guaranteed to smoke a fast time. However running that much downhill takes a lot of willpower to not over do it. I learned a valuable lesson in the 2006 race by going out too fast with 80-90% of the downhill in the first 13 miles (think the Boston Marathon course profile x 20!). My splits in 2006 were 1:18 / 1:27. Yes, I was dragging some major butt those last few miles and was reduced to a very painful looking gait. I hobbled around for a good week later. The new course being mostly on a gravel surface would be somewhat more forgiving on the quads. However the drop in elevation was similar to the old course in that it is mostly front loaded within the first 14 miles. Patience and restraint would again be the key to a good race.
The race day weather was about perfect with a starting temperature of 30 degrees at Jonas Ridge, NC at an elevation of 3300’ and thankfully no wind. It stayed cool throughout the race all the way to the finish at 990’ elevation at the Brown Mountain Beach Resort. I knew upfront who my competition would be. The former course record holder Josh Hite was coming back . Josh Baker who just won the Asheville Half-Marathon and now making his marathon debut was entered as well.
The 3 of us and VA resident Shannon Price started off at a nice controlled 6:15 pace through 5.7 miles on rolling paved roads. We all stayed within 100 meters or so of each other up to the big drop on the gravel surface. On the descent things starting shaking out. Josh Baker and Shannon Price took off and were soon out of my sight. Josh Hite and I ran together through about 10 miles until he pulled away from me. I was not wanting to go under 6 minute pace. I wanted to run my own race and not make this a death march later. It was tough to watch them all go but I like to think of a saying at these times especially in longer races that my Dad told me back when I used to play golf. “It is not how you drive, but how you arrive.” Basically I used to drive the ball pretty well but was a terrible putter and he let me know it. Same principle in running applies as looking and feeling good early is no guarantee of reaching the finish line and meeting your goal.
I hit the half marathon mark in 1:21 and had just one more mile of steep descent to go. I kept thinking back to 2006 and not wanting to feel that way again so I tried to really run within myself and pay attention to my mile splits. When I hit the flat-rolling section at the bottom of the mountain I felt pretty good but could definitely feel all that downhill. Energy wise, going downhill is not that taxing but you can really feel your legs especially the quads being shredded apart. There is an out and back just past mile 15 so I got to see how far behind I was at this point in the race. Leader and eventual winner Josh Baker was a good 5+ minutes ahead and he looked smooth and in control. Shannon Price was about two minutes ahead and Josh Hite and I were just a few seconds apart.
I hooked up and ran with Josh Hite once again for the next few miles through about mile 20. We were still maintaining 6:15-6:20 pace on this nice, mostly flat section along the river. I had a hard time getting into a rhythm after all that downhill. I’ve gotten used to a slower pace in ultra races at it was as much a mental challenge as it was physical to stay on pace. At some point near mile 20, Josh eased up and encouraged me to go chase down the leaders. I took advantage of this gesture and tried to put a good surge in over the next 2 miles. I opened up a decent gap and soon I was told by aid station volunteers that I was in 2nd place. Apparently Shannon missed a turn somehow and he called it a day. At this point I was really starting to feel all that downhill and my quads felt like they had gone through a meat grinder.
The last 3 miles were almost a blur. I was redlining with lactic acid up to my eyeballs and I was really trying to focus on maintaining a rhythm to the finish. One slip up and I knew I was back in 3rd as I could almost hear Josh Hite’s footsteps behind me. I did not want to look back and give any indication I was concerned. Somehow I was able to gain a little time back on the leader and still managed to hold off Josh who just never went away. I crossed the finish line right at 2:44 (6:16 pace) going under the course record by a few minutes. I left nothing on the course which is a good feeling. I was worried as I crossed the chip mats that I would trip and fall as I could barely lift my knees at that point. I was pleased with my time especially considering that I did little marathon specific training. My goal was to break 2:45 and my half-marathon splits were much closer than in 2006 with a 1:21 / 1:23. My Suunto watch had 3127’ of total descent and 427’of climb for the course. I wore the F-lite 311’s and they did not disappoint. If the course were flatter I would have gone with the F-lite 220 or 230 but I felt with the downhill, the extra cushioning in the F-lite 311 would be a better choice.
The Ridge to Bridge Marathon is one of the better organized and well directed races that I’ve raced. This is probably why it fills up so fast each year. The course is beautiful with the leaves in their full Fall color here in the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Wilson Creek Gorge is quite breathtaking as you run beside it the last few miles. I’d like to thank all the volunteers who made this event really enjoyable and especially David Lee and his wife Rhonda for all their superior efforts. Congrats to Josh Baker who ran an excellent debut marathon in a speedy 2:40 and also to Josh Hite who never gave up and bested his own CR in 2:44:36. Next year’s race has been moved up 1 week to October 22, so expect even more brilliant Fall scenery and the same great race day experience.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
As the weather starts to cool down, the racing action is still heating up. We have several athletes out racing hard this weekend. Starting off with one of the tougher 50 mile ultras in the US, the Mountain Masochist Trail Run. Sophie Speidel and Chris Reed will be in the mix for speedy times in the Blue Ridge Mountains of VA. Another 50 mile race this weekend is in the Willowdale State Forest near Ipswich, MA called the Stonecat 50 Mile. Ben Nephew and Amy Lane will be battling upfront at that one. The USATF Trail Marathon Championships is this Saturday and the Lithia Loop Marathon is once again the host site. Yassine Diboun and Scott Dunlap will be toeing the line near Ashland, OR. Anne Lundblad with be back at a familiar race that she has won multiple times, the Shut In Ridge Trail Race. An 18 mile mostly uphill (over 5000' of climb), point to point single track race near Asheville, NC.
Speaking of uphill, Dewey Peacock will be back at it this weekend, this time at the Mt. Sentinel Hill Climb starting at the University of Montana, Missoula. Sean Andrish will be at the Potomac Heritage 50k. This 50k starts and finishes near Washington DC. Michele Hartwig will be racing the tough and technical Ozark Trail 100 miler. Kevin Tilton will stick with cross country racing at the USATF NE 10k XC Championships this Sunday in Franklin Park, Boston, MA..
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Busa Bushwack 10 mile trail race
This year’s race was pretty similar to last year’s event, with an additional guest. At the start, I managed to get by a runner with a Camelback on the road section prior to entering the singletrack. Jim Johnson and Eli Torgeson, who recently moved to New England, were right behind me. I led the first few miles, and then Eli took the lead on a long downhill section just after 3 miles. He led into the rolling middle miles, but noticeably slowed on a short steep hill somewhere around 4 miles. The course was well marked, but the leaf cover on the ground was quite thick, which made some of the hills difficult to climb and descend. Eli came up on my shoulder a few more times, but seemed content to stay behind with Jim. I knew the probability of out-kicking Jim was low, so there was no reason for me to back off the pace. We were moving right along during the second half of the race, but at one point were slowed by hikers and their dogs out on the trail. Eli seemed to be working pretty hard on the hills, but I wasn’t able to separate from him or Jim more than a few steps.
Eli started a strong surge at about 8.5 miles and built a slight lead quickly. After he paused at an intersection, we were all back together. Eli pushed again, and Jim went around me when a gap started to open up. Jim quickly caught and passed Eli on the last hill in the singletrack, and continued to pull away during the final mile on the roads. I couldn’t get my legs going on the road, and Eli put in one last surge towards the end to hold on to second. My hips were tight over the last couple of miles, and I think it was due to the occasional slipping on the leaves. I wore my 230’s, which felt better than the 212’s I wore last year, but I did have a few slips. I considered wearing my 285’s, but I wasn’t slipping on the leaves, I had good grip on the leaves, and the leaves were slipping. The lugs on the 285’s might not have helped. Oroc 280’s would have had better traction, but wouldn’t have been as fast as the 230’s on the easier miles. Eli’s shoes had a more aggressive tread than the 230’s, and he had a few near falls himself.
Jim won by about 20 seconds in 1:00:54, and I was 6 seconds behind Eli for third. Jim and I were a few seconds slower than last year, which is good considering the leaves, traffic, and a bit of wind at times. I blame my training partner, Kevin Gorman, for my lack of finishing speed, as we missed several workouts during the early fall due to his recent calf injury! It would have been nice to have stronger finish, but I’m happy with the time, which hopefully indicates I’m in similar shape to last fall.