IAU World 50k Trophy Final 2011
5k loop, 0 elevation gain
I was invited to the IAU World 50k about 2 weeks prior to the IAU World Trail Championships in Ireland, which was 6 weeks before the 50k. My summer was already crazy enough, so I initially was going to decline the invitation. Then I looked at the race site. A 5k course in the Netherlands, flat, 20% dirt and most likely some good running weather. I was also excited to be running with Jim Johnson and Josh Ferenc. JJ is both a CMS and Inov-8 teammate, and Josh is a former teammate who went to the dark side. The potential for a 50k PR seemed high, and I was able to squeeze the race into my schedule. What I mean by squeeze is that I was at a conference that went from 8:30am to 10:00pm all week, left early on Thursday to catch a plane to Amsterdam, and arrived at the race site exactly 24 hours before the start.
My race preparation involved the intensive bog training in Ireland, recovery from that, a good run at the Escarpment 30k trail race 3 weeks after Ireland, a hiking trip to Seattle for a week, some quality road running after the hiking trip, and an 8-9 day taper for the race. I do about 95% of my miles on trails, unless something like this is coming up, but I was happy with the road workouts I was able to get in prior to the 50k. About 11 days before the race, I ran back to back days of 20k and then 30k at 6:00 pace. It might have been a bit too close to the race, but it was the only time I could fit the runs in.
The race organization was fantastic. The event hotel was right on the course, and both the hotel and race staff were extremely helpful all weekend long. I was picked up at the train station in Assen about 10 minutes after my train arrived. Due to the fact that I was surrounded by screaming kids during my flight, I slept most of the train ride from Amsterdam to Assen. I had a large breakfast with Josh when I arrived at the hotel, and we headed out for a run on the course about an hour later. JJ and Josh did one loop of the course, and I went out for an additional loop. The loop has about 800 meters of dirt, a clinker brick section, some bike paths, and a lap of the track. About half of it was shaded, depending on the time of day.
The race itself was the strangest championship race I have ever participated in. Based on the course, I was hoping to run under 3:10, and was expecting to be lapped by the guys who have marathon PR’s as fast as 2:10, and/or have gone through 50k at the 2 Oceans 56k well under 2:50. At the start, there was a large lead pack, a few stragglers that included JJ and Josh, and then a pack of 8 guys that I was sitting in back of. My pack started at 6:00 pace which was as fast as I wanted to go, but started to increase the pace slightly after a few 5k laps. The race up front started slowly, with a 17 minute first 5k, and then exploded in the second 5k when John Wachira, Eliya Mogoboya and Samuel Moleshioa cranked out a 15:38 5k. JJ and Josh started running low 17 minute 5ks at this time, and I let most of my group go by 20k. I would have really liked to go with them, but the pace did not feel like something I could sustain for 3 hours. I was in 20th place at 25k.
I hit halfway at about 3:07 pace, and was still feeling good. My first 5 5k’s had all been between 18:36 and 18:51. Shortly after starting the 6th loop, I could not find my Gatorade bottles that I had thrown in the grass during the first half after picking them up at the aid station. Apparently, someone had started to clean up the course. It was getting warmer as the day went on, and for a moment I was thinking that my chance for a fast time had gone into the trash with my bottles. I grabbed water at the start of the next loop, and then was relieved to see that someone had returned my bottles to the side of the course.
My 6th and 7th 5k’s were right around 19 minutes, but the heat was definitely wearing me down. It wasn’t really that warm, somewhere in the 70’s, but it was hot enough to make trying to run fast uncomfortable. I slowed to 19:42 for my 8th lap, and went through the marathon just under 2:40. At this point, my hamstrings were tired and tight, and I knew a PR was unlikely. Many others were struggling on the course, and I could see several runners falling back. Two runners had dropped out at 25k, and I caught several more on my 9th 5k, despite only running a 20:35. This wasn’t all good news though, as two of those runners were JJ and Josh. I heard JJ yelling before I spotted him limping on the side of the path. I didn’t want to see him hurt himself, and told him to drop out. I was still in shock from seeing JJ when I ran past Josh shortly after, who was barely moving. I couldn’t think of anything useful to say, but he cheered me on as I passed despite being quite upset about his race. At one point, Josh had worked up to 4th place. Both JJ and Josh have been running well at shorter distances this summer, and we all thought they were ready to run 3:00 or faster.
The last loop was more damage control and carnage observation as I passed 3 more runners with a smoking 20:52 to finish in 3:13:21 for 11th place. Over the last half, I ran 6 minutes slower and passed 9 runners. One place higher would have been great, but 10th was over 2 minutes ahead, and my hamstrings barely made it around the final meters on the track. Eliot Kiplagat Biwott from Kenya ran a smart race by backing off a bit on that second 5k to win by 2.5 minutes in 2:54:53. Peter Vermeesch and Kaito Iwayama were also under 3:00 in 2nd and 3rd. Overall, the Assen race was surprisingly much slower than the rolling 50k course in Galway last summer. Most of the men seemed to suffer over the last 10k. The sole US female runner, Shanna Ailes Istni, somehow managed to PR by 2 minutes to earn 5th place, and was only slightly slower than me over the last 10k. Considering my limited preparation for the race and the heat, I’m satisfied with the race. It was a PR course, but not PR weather, especially for me. It’s possible that my legs were a bit tired from my recent road workouts, but the alternative of going into road 50k’s with very little road mileage has led to much worse races in the past.
JJ’s foot swelled up during the race, and he couldn’t run on it by the last 5k. We spent some quality time in the local hospital getting his foot examined, and fortunately it is not broken. We were all confused as to what happened to his foot, and that would include the orthopod as well. Postrace discussion with Josh made it clear that he was sidelined by cramps over the last 10k, and hopefully a little more salt at his next 50k will solve that problem. The three of us and Shanna and her husband Brad had a good time hanging out with the several of the other athletes and the IAU staff after the race. JJ and I had a great conversation with the Kenyan athletes, and I hope we see them at some New England road races in the near future.
I raced in my Road X 233’s, and my feet felt great the entire race. I had small blister on my left big toe, but I probably should have gone a half size up to 8.5, which is my size in all the Inov-8 trail shoes. Besides my hamstring cramps, my legs held up well during the race, and my recovery has been rapid. I’ve had great luck with both the 255’s and the 233’s in long runs at race pace, and it is possible that the higher heel of the 255’s would have been easier on my hamstrings. Both shoes are incredibly smooth on the roads, but I prefer the 233’s at paces of 6:00 or faster.
I would like to specifically thank Gabe Rodriguez at Under Armour for providing the US team with full uniforms. At my first IAU race in France in 2009, all the other countries had full national track team uniforms. While I was truly honored to wear Marla Runyan’s USA team sweatshirt from the Olympics during the parade (thanks to Matt Lonergan), Marla’s about a foot taller than me, so it was a bit like a minidress. In Assen, we actually looked like a team, and received many compliments on our kit. More importantly, we were all happy with the fit of the Under Armour gear and fully appreciated the commitment and support of US ultrarunning.
Full results at:
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
IAU World 50k Trophy Final 2011
Monday, August 29, 2011
Gary Gellin was 2nd OA at the Headlands 50k in 4:20:50. Dwight Shuler was 3rd OA Master at the Tsali Challenge. Michele Hartwig was 1st AG at the North Country 50 mile in 10:26. Michele wore the Roclite 268's. Dave James won the Silverton Alpine Marathon just a day after getting a 6th OA finish at the 80+ men's division at Transrockies. Ryan Woods was 2nd OA (41:45) and Jared Scott was 4th OA (42:35) at the USATF 10k Trail Championships. Scott Dunlap was 2nd OA at the Sequoia 50k (5:00:18).
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Gore-Tex Transrockies Final Update: Team Caba-Nators with the husband/wife duo of Katie & Jeff Caba won every stage on the 80+ Mixed Division and dominated their competition and easily won their division. Amy Lane & Sabrina Moran fought hard all week and put out several strong performances and got a solid 4th OA in the Open Women's Division. Likewise, the Open Men's team of Peter Maksimow and Alex Nichols ran strong all week and got 4th OA in their division.
Friday, August 26, 2011
TRR update through Stage 5: Team Caba-Nators have won every stage in the 80+ mixed division and now have a commanding lead over their competition. Both our Men's Open and Women's Open teams of Amy Lane / Sabrina Moran and Alex Nichols / Peter Maksimow grabbed 4th OA finishes in Stage 5 and both teams sit in 4th OA with one grueling stage left today.
Continental Divide 10k - USATF 10k Trail Championships - Laurel Springs, NC
Michele Hartwig - North Country 50 Mile - Wellston, MI
Kevin Tilton - Maine Huts and Trails 50k - Carrabassett Valley, Maine
Gary Gellin - Headlands 50k - Muir Beach CA
Scott Dunlap - Sequoia 50k - Oakland, CA
Dwight Shuler - Tsali Challenge - Bryson City, NC
Tommy Manning - Pikes Peak Road Ascent - CO
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Team Inov-8 is having some solid performances out in CO at the Gore-Tex Transrockies Run. The Caba-Nators (Katie Caba)continue to dominate the 80+ Mixed Division with another stage win and pushing their OA lead to 2:04:26. Amy Lane & Sabrina Moran ran strong once again and moved up a position on the podium for a 2nd OA placing in Stage 4. They are now 3rd OA just a little over 2 minutes out of 2nd place OA in the Open Women's division. Peter Maksimow & Alex Nichols also had a great Stage 4 run and got 2nd OA. They are currently in the 4th OA position in the Open Men's Division. Just two long, mountainous stages left!
Escarpment 30k 2011
5000’ of climb
My son has an incredible love of being read to, and I find that books that rhyme are much more fun to read than most children’s books. Dr. Seuss was a clever man. I decided to write a story on the Escarpment race that will hopefully be entertaining to Gavin. I don’t do poetry; it’s a children’s story. As far as the race this year, I won in 2:53:17 by about 10 minutes for my 11th win. I wore the 285’s, which I preferred to the Oroc 280’s I wore last year.
This is the story of a boy who loved a race
with rocks and roots all over the place.
The first climb stretches from the road to the sky,
and sure feels long even though it isn’t high.
That climb is a grind and makes the legs unwind.
When you get to the top, you soon start to drop.
The initial descent is scary;
with grass over the trail, actually somewhat hairy.
You zig to the left, you zag to the right,
whenever you see a tree, you just hold on tight!
The ground drops away as if into a black hole
and puts fear into the hearts of many a soul.
The second climb is Blackhead;
approached with dread.
It starts somewhat mild,
but soon gets wild.
As you claw up the rock by the fingernail;
some years rewarded by pounding hail
At the top many are ready to just throw in the towel,
but the aid staff won’t let you, as they holler and howl!
The descent off Blackhead is worse than the last.
I hope you updated your will in the recent past!
It is likely you will fall,
and no one will hear your call.
So just stop your crying and pick yourself up,
because the Wall of Manitou never lets up.
The last climb awaits, a nasty mountain called Stoppel.
It is here where many a runner’s race will topple.
The ascent has three parts
to test the will of all hearts
At the top there is no rest;
you must fly from the nest
Four miles down to water,
especially nice when it’s hotter.
These last miles are not kind;
the trail is hard to find
With drop after drop
that make your knees pop,
while you weave through the trees
as if chased by wild bees.
There is one important right.
If you miss it, you’ll take flight.
The fall is three hundred feet;
unlikely to be neat.
If you do make the turn,
you won’t end up in an urn.
The finish is quite joyous
with all the fans in a chorus.
The boy who loved the race now has a little boy of his own,
and in terms of trail running, some might think he is a clone.
The boy ran through the finish in under three hours.
Totally spent; at the end of his powers.
He dropped to his knee to get a hug from his son
who said, “ Dadda, you don’t always do that, but you actually won!”
Now the boy hopes his son loves the Escarpment trail,
an incredible experience, even if you fail.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Update through Stage 3:The Caba-Nators (Katie & Jeff Caba) continue to dominate the 80+ mixed division with another stage win extending their lead to 1:44:04 over the 2nd place team. Amy Lane & Sabrina Moran once again had a strong stage. The ladies got another podium finish with a 3rd place finish which bumped them up to 3rd place OA in the Open Women's Division. Peter Maksimow & Alex Nichols got their first podium finish with a 3rd OA finish in Stage 3, keeping them in the hunt at 4th OA in the Open Men's division.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Team Inov-8 athletes are performing very well through the first 2 stages of the Gore-Tex Transrockies Run. In the 80+ mixed category, Katie Caba and her husband Jeff Caba (Team Caba-Nators) are in 1st place overall by over an hour by winning the first 2 stages. In the Open Women's category, Amy Lane & Sabrina Moran (Team Inov-8/Gore-Tex) are sitting in 4th OA with just a few minutes separating places 2-4 for the ladies. Amy and Sabrina had a big day in stage 2 by taking 2nd place overall. Peter Maksimow & Alex Nichols (Team Colorado Runner/Inov-8) racing in the Open Men's category are sitting in 5th place overall with just 21 minutes separating the top 5 men's open teams .
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Ben Nephew was the top American with a 11th OA finish in 3:13 at the IAU 50k World Trophy Race. Tommy Manning ran a great race at the Pikes Peak Ascent getting 2nd OA in 2:15. Peter Maksimow got his long week of racing ahead off to a solid start with a 7th OA finish at the Pikes Peak Ascent in 2:27. Likewise, Alex Nichols got his big week rolling with a 9th OA placing in 2:32. Peter and Alex are partners and will be going at it all week at the Gore-Tex Transrockies Stage Race. Dwight Shuler was 4th OA at the Captain Thurmond's Challenge. Yassine Diboun was 5th OA at the Waldo 100k Trail Run in 10:28. Ryan Woods was the overall winner in 40:27 at the Springmaid Splash Trail 10k in Spruce Pine, NC.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Gore-Tex Transrockies Run - Buena Vista-Beaver Creek, CO
Amy Lane & Sabrina Moran (Open Women's Team)
Peter Maksimow & Alex Nichols (Open Men's Team)
Katie Caba (Open Mixed)
Peter Maksimow - Pikes Peak Ascent
Tommy Manning - Pikes Peak Ascent
Alex Nichols - Pikes Peak Ascent
Ben Nephew - IAU 50k World Trophy
Jim Johnson - IAU 50k World Trophy
Dwight Shuler - Captain Thurmond’s Challenge - Fayetteville, WV
Yassine Diboun - Waldo 100k Trail Run - OR
Monday, August 15, 2011
Scott Dunlap was 2nd OA in 4:44 at the Crystal Springs 50k. Mark Lundblad was 3rd OA in 16:45 at the Sourwood 5k in Black Mtn, NC. Camille Herron won the female overall title at the Riverside 5000 in Tulsa, OK in 17:28.
Friday, August 12, 2011
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
This past Sunday Jim Johnson won the Dam Trail Race in Oxford, MA. A 10.5 mile trail race distance in 1:04:31. Jim won by 4 minutes. Just a few days earlier on Tuesday (8/2), Jim also ran a stellar race this time at the Yankee Homecoming 10 Miler in Newburyport, MA. Jim got 2nd OA in 52:34 wearing the Road X-155's.
Monday, August 8, 2011
Team Inov-8 had a big year at the 2011 La Sportiva Mountain Cup. Out of the 10 races nationwide, Jared Scott won 4 of the cup races outright and won the overall series. Ryan Woods won 3 more cup races outright and got 3rd OA for the series. This past Saturday Jared Scott cemented his #1 status by winning the Jupiter Peak Steeeplechase in Park City with a 1:51:36 clocking. Both Jared and Ryan will be representing Team USA at the World Mountain Running Championships next month in Albania along with fellow Team Inov-8 athlete Joe Gray.