Photo courtesy of Andrew King - D4 Productions

Thursday, July 30, 2009

10 myles - 1.08:53

Daniels Park - 6:30 A.M.
50s, rainy, muddy
mind/body - solid!
easy effort

Really nice run this morning! I didn't get a chance to get out yesterday so I was itching to get out the door. 6:53 pace with the last mile in 6:30. My legs have finally turned the corner and now feel like I'm completely recovered from Hard Rock. Leadville??? Naaahh. But I'm gonna be there watching those sorry saps (not really, just envious) while I eat, drink, and laugh (errr I mean offer assistance) when Joe Kulak pukes. Joe said no puking this year, anyone wanna bet on that?

On another note, it appears that Keebler heard about how many E.L. Fudge cookies I ate after Hard Rock so they decided to name a cookie after me. Check it out

Although they put an "ie" instead of "y" - I'm still honored

Closer inspection will show my big ears and running shoes

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

10 myles - 1.10:55

HR urban trails - 6:30 A.M.
mid 50s, dry, cloud cover
mind/body - sluggish
easy effort

It feels good to get back into a routine again although I felt a little sluggish this morning. I still hit a 7:05 pace so I guess that's not too bad with a little elevation gain.

It seems for the past couple of days my mind has been consumed with my upcoming Colorado Trail adventure. I can't seem to wrap my mind around 480+ myles in just over a week and 1/2. The most mileage I've done in one MONTH is 368!! So as you can see I'm doubting myself at this point but then again when all I have to do for 12 days is keep moving forward - it's possible. I've been going back and forth like this in my mind and ultimately what it means (or has meant in the past) is that this is going to be challenging and I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, July 27, 2009

11 myles - 1.19:36

HR East/West trail - 7:00 A.M.
mid 60s, dry, cloud cover
mind/body - excited to run the home course
easy effort

It's amazing what a little time away will do for the mind, body, and soul. I headed out this morning with a smile on my face welcoming back the familiar scenery, even though I have been on this course a thousand times it was fresh in my mind today. I intended to just shake the legs out but I felt really good so I pushed a bit on the flat course. Turned out to be just over 11.6 myles, avg. of 6:51/mile, not to shabby.

On another (and more important) note, it's my wife's 37th birthday today - happy birthday Nicole! She isn't too sensitive about her age because she will be happy to tell you I will be 40 this year. She got her birthday gift in Hawaii so nothing special today, just some extra poopy diapers... juuust kidding.

The Luau at the Polynesian Culture Center

Saturday, July 25, 2009

11 myles - 1.21:32

Wasatch course - 9:00 A.M.
80s, dry, clear
mind/body: tired/sluggish
easy effort

I guess jet lag/red eye flight got the best of me as I struggled to get outta bed this morning. Started slow but that familiar sage brush smell brought back some life. That smell always reminds me of running Wasatch. I ran from the start along the Bonneville Shoreline trail, connected onto the Great Western Trail and made it half way up the first climb to chin scraper. I'm gonna miss running and/or being around during Wasatch this year as I will be mid-way through my CT adventure.

We are heading back home tomorrow and looking forward to getting back to a little normalcy. For the next month leading up to the CT adventure Jaxon and I are going to backpack several sections to get some familiarity to the trail and do some father/son bonding. I'm hoping that I can create some memories for Jaxon to last a lifetime.

Myles and Jaxon on Waikiki

Friday, July 24, 2009

Back to the real life

Just got off a plane here in SLC this morning from Hawaii after 10 days on the island of Oahu. This capped off a month long vacation that had everything I needed to charge my battery; quality family time, a lil' running in the San Juans, a family reunion in a tropical paradise, a lil' more running in a tropical forest, playing on the beach, and bookended with lil' more family time. What more could a person want? ...OK so I also overindulged myself with all the unhealthy food and a lil' beer (just a little). To tell the truth I'm just a wee bit nervous about getting back to the real life as I may be socially inept for the first couple of days. No rest for the rested as I'm off again to Orlando for a week long work meeting. Man! I hate to see what my lawn looks like.

Since the last time I updated my blog in Oahu I was able to relax not only the mind but the body as well. I ended up running a total of 6 times for 45 myles, all of which was a very relaxed pace shaking out the legs to get back to normal. The highlight of the running was getting a taste of the HURT course at Paradise Park. I ran the out and back section on the Aihualama trail up to Pauoa flats, not very far but extremely technical. Such a stark contrast to the beauty of the San Juans. Just as beautiful but in it's own right - a tropical paradise for sure. Lush green plants and trees everywhere, along with roots and rocks - all of which were wet, wet, WET! I was so impressed with the beauty of the trail I took the entire family back the next day so they could get a taste of it - it rained the whole time and they loved it! This taste of the HURT only made me hungry for more - I will be back HURT in no time at all...

On Sunday we head back to Colorado and get back to the real life. I'm looking forward to getting home, settling in, and getting ready for my next adventure in September. Stay tuned...

Myles and Mom on the lower section of the Aihualama trail

The family at the Polynesian Culture Center

Saturday, July 18, 2009

I just can't seem to relax.

Here I am in Hawaii with my family "relaxing" ever since Hard Rock and my mind is still racing. I guess week in and week out of hammering away, the body just doesn't understand this "relaxing" stuff. I'm finding out that relaxing is hard work and requires training to be good at it.

It took until Thursday of eating and drinking whatever I wanted to get the bug to run again, running 6,7, and 8 myles the last 3 days along Waikiki beach up to Diamond Head. Each run I start slow trying to talk myself out of going any faster but by the end of the run I'm running under 7 pace without hardly breathing. I guess coming from 10k to sea level can have that effect.

At any rate, I don't have any racing plans on the immediate horizon but my mind is telling my body that I'm in great shape and I should find something. It just so happens I will be in Utah next Saturday during the Speed Goat 50K so I may call Karl up to be a late race day entry. I feel good right now and my mind is fresh despite HR. I also have been thinking about getting over to the HURT 100 course while I'm here to preview it for next year.

Last, I wanna thank all of you who commented and read my blog. I really appreciate all the kind words. Each time I write a race report I hope that I can give you a glimpse to live vicariously through me, pain and triumph.

That's all for now. Big Luau at the family reunion tonight so time to eat more and drink some secret Adric Hawaiian potion.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Hard Rock - 4th 27.47

What an incredible day! I am extremely happy with my result! Since when has 4 runners went under 28 hours at Hard Rock in one year? NEVER! Karl was absolutely on Fi-Yer! Troy Howard nailed it on his first attempt. Diana Finkel obliterated the CR set by Krissy Moehl. And AJW was up to his usual business of picking people off the last 25....

As most of you know my biggest competitor is my younger self. Sure I would love to win every time but it's not always possible so if I can walk away with a PR then I'm happy. And to be quite honest it's the only thing that I can control during my race. This year it was really hard to keep my nerves and excitement in check not only pre-race but during the early hours of the race. Not only was I wearing the #1 bib but Karl gave me 3-1 odds. I won't lie - that added some pressure. To beat Karl while he's running the best he ever has at a race that he has won 5 times is a MONUMENTAL task! Needless to say I was up to the challenge and this is how it played out:

Start to Cunningham (9.2)
- The weather was perfect to start, probably upper 50s with no clouds. Karl, myself, and Jared Campbell ran relatively effortlessly along the flat trail leading to the first climb. Once the climb started Karl and I separated ourselves and began to talk about the build up to the race and everything else relating to ultras. Once we made the top of the climb I was just in front of Karl and decided that I would take it real easy going down to Cunningham aid station. It's a pretty significant drop so it's easy to burn the legs up way too early. I knew Karl is a much better downhiller than I am so I was waiting for him to pass... he never did. We left the aid station together and we both agreed that we were there WAY too fast - 1.56 to be exact. I knew from that point on that with our relatively easy effort and fast time we could both post a good time.

Cunningham - Maggie (15.3) - This next section has 2 stiff climbs and as good as I felt with Karl right behind me I thought it was a good time to see if our speed matched climbing and descending. We still weren't pushing, our climbing rate was about the same but as was we started descending into Maggie I sensed Karl go down faster than I wanted to go. Although we arrived at the aid station together.

Maggie - Pole Creek (19.6) - Starting out of Maggie's is a short climb up to the Colorado Trail at 11K and then it's a nice flat 4 mile section so I thought it was a good spot to test out the leg speed. I was extremely surprised to see Karl pull away from me. I wasn't having any problems but he was still pulling away. I made this section in 46 minutes which was about 7 minutes faster than I had ever done it so I was happy. I arrived 2 minutes behind Karl and still feeling good.

Pole Creek - Sherman (28.7)
- Next up was a gradual climb to the top of Cataract gulch then a 32oo ft drop down to Sherman. Down to Sherman is where I wanted to test how much faster Karl was going. First I had to get up to him, which I did over the next 3 myles. Once we started going down though, I never did see him. So many twists and turns I didn't know if he was 2 minutes or 10 minutes ahead I was relieved to know he was only 2 minutes ahead. The aid station crew quickly got my drop bag with ONE major problem, my liquid calorie replacement that I had been training with had exploded. We all know shtuff happens in ultras and overcoming that shtuff -quickly- makes the difference. I resorted to eating "frozen" boiled potatoes with a little salt - quite tasty because it was hot. Unfortunately I was still thinking about my lost liquid calories when I should've realized I couldn't do anything about it.

Sherman - Grouse (42.1) - Leaving Sherman is a dirt road leading to the base of Handies. It certainly is a place that you can run but always mindful of saving a little for Handies. I did my best to balance out the running and walking. On the long stretches I could see Karl and figured he was about 3-5 minutes ahead. I though for sure we would both keep that same rate going over Handies but again with all the trees I couldn't see where he was once we started up. I couldn't get a glimpse of him until we reached tree line where I was totally surprised to see him at least 15 minutes (best guess) up on me. I did my best to stay in touch but I started with stomach/intestinal issues. The best way for me to describe it is like swallowing a soccer ball, have the soccer ball absorb everything you take in but not let anything out. By the top of Handies my stomach was distended and my legs were dead. I tried e-caps, EFS liquid shot, GU, and water - nothing was digesting and my stomach was getting bigger. By the time I got to Grouse I was down about 1/2 hour to Karl while Troy and Diana were right on my heels. I ate some watermelon, a cookie, and my liquid calorie drink at the aid station.

Grouse - Engineer (48.6) - Walking up Engineer road was like a death march! I picked up a pacer - Rick Hessek - whom I had been training with around Pikes Peak. I felt really bad for Rick because he wanted to help so bad (even offered his stomach) but there was nothing he could do. So we walked up to Engineer Pass and I eventually sat at the top pass thinking about my fate. I was trying to think of how I was gonna break it to my crew that I was done. Rick finally encouraged me to get to the aid station and eat something and maybe a coke. I sat at the aid station for a good 5 minutes and sensed something coming around as we started down.

Engineer - Ouray (56.5)
- The canyon leading down to Ouray is absolutely beautiful! I was glad we were now running and Rick was able to see it. He said it reminded him of part of the Grand Canyon trail as it's cut right into the side of a cliff - those miners were some tuff folk to get that equipment up there! Probably about 2 myles out of the aid station I sensed a change in my legs as my stomach didn't seem as bound up. Now it was just a matter of time to try and get some calories back in, but not too quick. Rick and I kept up a pretty good pace into Ouray and were still on a sub 28 pace. I sat at the aid station for about 10 minutes, eating rice and beans and chicken broth. Rick was now done pacing - thanks Rick - and now I pick up Christian Johnson.

- Governor (64.4)
- Christian and I started out of Ouray as Jared Campbell passed us. Jared and I did a see-saw last year so I was hoping this year would turn out the same, but I had to hold on. As we headed up Bird Camp road, Christian said to me that his goal was to leave me in better shape than found me. I vowed to do my part. He carried Saltines, bean/rice/chicken broth mixture, and offered Clif blocks. Little by little as we powered up Bird Camp my spirit and legs started to return. We made it up to Governor's faster than I ever have. I had more broth, watermelon, and coke at the aid station. And the most amazing part of our stop at Governor was that Christian dared to take my shoes off and get all the dirt out - now that is true devotion!

Governor - Virginius (67.6)
- I was more excited for Christian to see the next section up to Virginius than anything else. That excitement helped me get up the hill but I won't lie, I started to feel it as we got higher. I try to explain and have even taken pictures of Virginius but I don't think that does it justice - you have to experience the awesomeness of Virginius yourself. Just ask Christian, he was so excited when he got to the top. I think he wanted to stay and drink Tequila with the aid station... Anyways, 2 of the 3 pitches were covered in snow or should I say ice. The snow was as hard as a rock so it made it a little dicey. Thank goodness they had a rope up the last pitch.

Virginius - Telluride (72.6) - Down into Telluride is another 4400 ft bomber descent. All I could think about going down in the dark (as good as I was running) was to keep the shiny side up. Before we left Virginius there was a set of lights at the base of the last pitch, I was thinking it was Ricky Denesik. At any rate, who ever it was they were gaining on me and that didn't sit too well with me. All the way down to Telluride I was thinking about those lights and was curious to see how close/far they were from me as I left Telluride. Since HR ends on a 5 mile descent into Silverton I would have a good indication if this person behind me was climbing or descending better than I was. More to come on that. I dropped Christian off at Telluride with a grin from ear to ear so I was happy. And yes Christian you did leave me in better shape than you found me - thank you!

- Chapman (81.9)
- Now I picked up my 3rd pacer Brian Fisher. Brian knows the deal as he was my pacer in this exact section my first year. I knew Brian wasn't gonna let me whine AND he was gonna push me. I felt good leaving Telluride, climbing well until we hit about 11K. I had to stop several times, put my hands on my knees, catch my breath, and gather myself. Each time I stopped I noticed the lights getting closer and closer. As we got to the top of the 4500 ft climb I honestly didn't think I could hold the lights anymore. Brian and I traversed across a very dicey snow/ice field and we were very slow doing it so I thought for sure that was when the catch was gonna happen - it never did. Going down to Chapman off of Oscar's pass is a brutal descent with big rocks at the top. I thought we got down to Chapman at a good clip, actually catching up to Jared Campbell, but I needed a good 10 minute break. Once again I thought the lights from behind would show up, never did so I thought this person must not be descending very well. Karl was gone at this point and had gone through Chapman at 1:20, about 2.5 hours before me. I started calculating his time and came up with 25 flat

Chapman - KT (88.9)
- Grant Swamp pass has always made me nervous because just like Virginius, it's straight up but with no rope. This year the route didn't have any snow which is kinda a good/bad thing; scree is harder to climb but safer than ice/snow. We made our way to the base of Grant Swamp with the first light of the day. The lights were off and now I'd get my first glimpse at the stalking lights... AJW!! "You have got to be kidding me!" I said to Brian. I could hear him talking to his pacer and recognized his booming voice. He was literally within a stones throw. I should have guessed. AJW knows the deal with hundreds; meaning the last 25 is when the race starts. Part way up Grant-Swamp I looked at Brian and I said (in so many words) "He is not gonna beat me! Not today! Not on this course!" The tunnel vision kicked in and we were OFF! I felt the best I had all day - I am not kidding! We caught Jared Campbell and his pacer a few minutes off Grant Swamp, which only fueled my fire a little more. Now I was on Fi-Yer! By the time we got to KT I had put 17 minutes on Andy and 12 on Jared. I was now thinking about the next person in front.

KT - Putman (94.5)
- I was still feeling good leading into the next climb but as we got to the second false summit I had to take a break. I felt we had put a good gap on AJW so I elected to sit down for a minute. My goal was to be up and over the last climb before anyone else crested the Porcupine/Cataract saddle. Just as we started the last climb into Putnam, Andy and his pacer crested and were moving at a good pace. I was also still running good, arriving into Putnam in just under 2 hours after we left KT - pretty fast!

- Silverton (100.4)
- Now the gnarly descent into Silverton. I have not done very well on this descent in the past so I was bound and determined to post a good split. The trail goes right through boulder fields and in other sections has tons of overgrowth with rocks just waiting to chuckle as you take a digger. Tunnel vision still in effect I was focused on every foot placement. Brian and I got to the river where my father-in-law was waiting and he said "winners never quit". He knew the pain and misery that I had gone through the day before. That was a distant memory that I was happy to leave behind. For the second time I was fortunate enough to have Brian Fisher bring me home. It such an emotional time and I'm happy to share that experience with him - thanks Brian!

Getting up to the Shrine of the Mines is such an awesome sight down into Silverton. It seems almost a week ago we left Silverton. People lined up on the roads cheering and congratulating - such an amazing feeling. But most amazing of all was my 1 1/2 year old son Myles running towards me down the road to greet me. I picked him up, he tucked his head, patted me on the chest and said "Da-Da". I carried him to the rock, I kissed the rock, AND THEN watched as Myles kissed the rock several times - future Hard Rocker indeed!

Hard Rock is such an amazing experience! For me Hard Rock training starts the day after Hard Rock ends the previous year. But there is no way this could ever happen if it wasn't for my wife! She understands my passion, my obsession, my whatever it is. And if she doesn't understand it, she tolerates it and for that I say - I love you and thank you Nicole! I know my honey-do list is long but I promise I'll finish before August. In addition, there are so many other people who support me and love Hard Rock just as much as I do; Mom, Dad, Rick, and Rae Jean I love you all and know I could not do this without you! I met so many new people at Hard Rock this year which makes it that much more special. Bill Dooper thank you for all your support along the way - I look forward to another year. And Johnny and Kathy (camp hosts at South Mineral) thank you for taking me in like your own son, you made me feel like family when my family was not there.

So in the end I did exactly what I thought I could do; the number in my head was 27.42, not too far off. My time of 27:47 is the 8th fastest time in the history of the race and only 5 people have been faster. Karl you are the king of Hard Rock - no doubt! AJW you are a great competitor - congrats on the WS/HR combo! Also congratulations to all who not only finished but started the race and had to quit for one reason or another! I will be back next year for my 5th finish.

Myles kissing the Hard Rock with Jaxon watching - future Hard Rockers!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

7 myles - 1.31:05

Grant-Swamp - 7:30 A.M.
clear, dry, mid 50s
mind/body - ready to go!
Easy effort

One last little hiking tune up to keep the blood flowing. I went up to Grant-Swamp via Ice Lake trail, hiking at a pretty good clip. I made it up to Island lake in an hour and then down in 1/2 the time. Nothing more I can do now. The training has been very specific this year but the sad truth is that the HR course doesn't care. She will chew me up and spit me out if I don't stay on top of things (i.e. drinking, eating, going out slow).

Karl just put his odds out and took all the pressure off of himself giving me 3-1 odds. Make no mistake about it, Karl is the favorite regardless of how tired he says his legs are. He is a multiple winner and the man is just plain tough. I look for Karl to win in the 26 hour range. Karl is a sand bagger!

And last, during my running in the last week I have had a few a number of "incidents" to include: 2 separate dog attacks (one actually bit my thigh but didn't break the skin), 2 x dead car battery, and one run-in with a delusional mountain biker. You'll have to ask me about them later. All I gotta say is "What are people thinking?"

Monday, July 6, 2009

Catching up

Hey all!

Just arrived back to civilization in Silverton! Been in the mountains being a hermit for the last week, kinda a love/hate thing. I absolutely love the tranquility of the deep mountains but hate being without my family - very lonely life. Here is what I've been doing running wise:

Monday 6/29: Half moon to Elbert - 2.58 - 11 myles - 5000ft of elevation @10K

Tuesday 6/30: Marshall Pass, Section 16 CT - 1.31 - 10 myles - 2500ft of elevation @ 11K

Wednesday 7/1: Marshall Pass, Section 15 CT - 1.10 - 8 myles - 1500ft of elevation @ 11K

Thursday 7/2: Off

Friday 7/3: Rico-Silverton to Section 25 CT - 1.59 - 11 myles - 1800ft of elevation @ 12K

Saturday 7/4: Hope Lake - 1.51 - 6 myles ~1800ft of elevation @ 12K

Sunday 7/5: South Mineral road - 58 (27:30 4 myles) - 8 myles - @ 10K

TOTAL: 54 myles - 10.5 hours - 12,600 ft of elevation.

The work is done! Might have been a tad anxious this week but I feel good and healthy! I don't like to talk about Hard Rock all too much because I think it's taboo pre-race but I will tell you that I am fitter(?)... (is that a word "fitter"?) than I ever have been going into this race. Meaning more fast hiking at elevation, tempo runs at elevation, and of course the incline.

Well see what happens...

FYI - if you wanna follow along online you can go here for the HR website or here for the twitter page.