Photo courtesy of Andrew King - D4 Productions

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bear 100 - 22.15 7th place

If there's one thing I've learned about running 100 mile races it's this: THEY ARE EFFING HARD! They may look sexy while sitting in front of the computer but don't be lured unless you want to be pushed to the edge. I keep thinking it'll get easier the more I do but each one is just as as tough as the last. And maybe it's the short term memory of the long distance runner. Which reminds me of an excerpt from the book Once a Runner, "Though the toil was arduous, they rarely spoke of the discomfort of training or racing in terms of pain; they knew that what gave pain its truly fearful dimension was a certain lack of familiarity". Whatever the reason I know I'll be back to toe the line at 100 mile race again because I love not knowing what's going to happen, I love the fact that I get to spend a whole day in the beautiful mountains with family and friends. If it were easy, well, you know what they say....

Tim, JT, Rick, and myself at the start
Anytime I get a chance to race in Utah, I jump at the opportunity - it's a homecoming for us. We get to visit with family and friends and I get to run in some familiar mountains. So this weekend in the Cache valley was good times all around! With my last couple of races being very mediocre, I had expectations of capping the year off with strong finish in the 20 hour range. It didn't go quite as planned, and it never will. So here's my report:

We drove into town on Wednesday with the Hessek's and Tim Long, went for a run on the Wasatch course to blow out the carbon, and then spent the night at the in-laws. We traveled up to Logan where my sister was kind enough to let us all crash her pad, which was only 5 myles from the start. With a fully belly (thanks Mom) we hit the sack around 8ish. The 6 A.M. start was perfect and the weather was going to cooperate, probably in the upper 30s to start.

Start to Cowley Canyon (29.97)
I was committed to starting slow - period! I settled into a pack (myself, Jon Allen, Eric Pietzch, and Mike Foote) around 10th place going up the first climb. We were very conservative, getting into the first aid around 8:15 with 5000 ft of climbing and 10 myles gone. Next up was a rocky jeep road that took us down about 2000 ft and at this point Mike started to open it up. I was alone when we started the Leatham trail which turned out to be one of the best single tracks of the entire course. Just over 4 myles long and about 2500 ft of descending lead us right into Leatham aid station (19.6). Half of my crew were there (Rick and Josh) where they quickly took my extra clothes and light and I was off now right behind Jon Allen.

Running into Cowley with Josh (Dakota just behind)

Pretty decent 3 mile dirt road leading to Richards Hollow (22.5) where we turned up a single track to get up to Richards Summit. Very gradual 5 mile/2000 ft climb in which Dakota and I ran together. I was surprised Jon didn't join us but later found out he wasn't feeling the best at that point. For me, it's usually about 25 myles in that I start hitting a little groove. Sure enough, it was up this climb that I felt the best all day. Dakota and I descended a two mile road into the Cowley aid and to my surprise, Jared Scott and Mike Foote were still in the aid.

Leaving Cowley with Jared and Mike in front of me

Cowley Canyon to Franklin Basin (61.5)
Shortly after leaving the aid station I passed Jared Scott. I was feeling even better now with solid energy so I was running everything. Dakota was now about 20 seconds in front of me and right before we hit the single track going into Right Hand Fork we passed Leland Barker (who had started one hour before). Leland is a veteran, not to mention he designed the course, so I knew I'd see him again. I caught glimpses of Dakota who was now running with Mike about 30 seconds in front of me. I was content to take it easy on this gradual descent.... and maybe taking it too easy cost me a pretty good digger. Only fall of the day but it took me a few minutes of hobbling along to get going again.

Got into Right Hand Fork (36.9) at 12:15, right on my split. I felt easy up to this point so it was a total shock when I left Right Hand and started to climb out to Temple that I started to feel funky. I ate more. I drank more. While the sun was getting hotter. I know this feeling and it usually turns out to be a full blown bonk. I was determined to minimize it but when Jared passed me a few minutes later I knew I was going slower than I wanted. Now in 5th place I hobbled into Temple aid (45.1), although still on my predicted split. Up to this point nutrition wise I was mixing one bottle of EFS diluted and Carbo gain diluted. I didn't think much of it until I was on the climb to Tony Grove where I could feel my stomach getting distended. Josh had run down the trail a couple myles to meet me and get a full report. For the first time all day, I was behind on splits and it didn't look good. Jon passed me at Tony Grove and I could not keep pace. Not too far out of Tony Grove (51.4) I sat on a rock and puked a couple times. It felt awesome! Vomitus Euphoritus was exactly what I needed to get back on pace. So for the next 6 mile descent into Franklin I was moving pretty good but still behind. I arrived into Franklin about 20 minutes outside of my splits but my spirits were up.

Leaving Right Hand Fork

Young Money at Tony Grove

Coming into Tony Grove with Josh

Franklin Basin to Finish (99.4)
At Franklin I picked up Josh Brimhall, my pacer for the next 38 myles and what turned out to be 10 hours. Things were looking up for me; I got a charge off of having Josh, my energy was good, and my climbing legs felt great! Right away we took off for a 1700 ft climb over the next 4 myles. Once at the top Josh put me on a schedule of alternating running and walking. I was feeling really good so it turned out to be running and no walking most of the way to Logan River aid (69.5). I thought for sure we would have caught someone or seen someone leaving the aid, but we saw no one! To be quite honest, it took the wind out of my sail because I knew how hard I was working. Josh did an amazing job because even when my energy fell back down he kept stern with the schedule, which I stuck to. It wasn't until Peterson pass (72) that I started to feel sluggish again. The legs started to go AND we caught sight of a lone runner behind us, seemingly catching us. Sure enough when we got to Beaver lodge the lone runner caught us and passed up for good going up to Gibson Basin (81.1).

Myles was there to greet me every time until it was bed time

My boys enjoying the day

My crew had been telling me that Dakota was consistently leaving the aid stations 10 minutes before us and was wanting to run in with us. We left Gibson (after some beans) and ran/shuffled the entire upper open meadow and then descended down into the Beaver Creek aid (85.2). Finally we met up with Dakota Jones (19 year old phenom running his first 100). We took him in and now Josh had both of us on a run/walk schedule. It was good though because both of us were going the same pace, both of us content just to finish at this point. I had lost the sense of catching anyone and knew I was in for about a 22 hour finish.

Finally down to Ranger Dip (93.5) where my faithful crew (Nicole and Rick) were there to greet us. They had been to every aid station possible, weathering the nasty roads and cold. I am very fortunate to have them every time I turn around. They kicked us out of the aid and we started the last grunt (about 1000 ft in a mile). I didn't mind climb at all, it was the 3000 ft descent I was more worried about. Sure enough it went on forever with dusty, rocky, and rooty ATV trail. Dakota had paced this section before so he was giving us the turn by turn so it didn't seem so bad. As we got to the final 2 mile road section Josh and I took off at what seemed like a 5:40 pace.... Not really, it was a nice steady pace. We took an inadvertent right hand turn off this road where there were utilities marked with the same color of ribbons as the race. This took us into someones backyard..... Dakota caught back up and yelled "hey guys, this way!"
So Dakota and I held hands and happily crossed the finish line together.

It was a pretty amazing journey and one that I am very happy about! My support crew (Nicole, Jaxon, Myles, Rick, Rae Jean, Mom, Dad, Patty, and Josh) were amazing the days leading up to and all day. I know I cannot do this without them! I had heard stories about terrible course markings in the past but I tell you what, I thought the course markings were better than most. Outside of our final stretch wrong turn, I didn't get lost and that's saying something. I could have done without that nasty final descent but other than that it was a beautiful course with very nice aid station volunteers. Time to eat some food and beverage!

CRUD finishers - JT completed the Rocky Mountain Slam!

So what's next? Originally this concluded my racing season that started last November but since things didn't go as well as I wanted, I'm gonna head back East to Mt Masochist 50 mile in November. Then I'll take some time off.

Monday, September 20, 2010

~6 myles - 54:44

Snow King - 4:00 PM
60s, clear, dry
mind/body - OK
easy effort

A nice and easy jaunt up the mountain tonight here in Jackson Hole. Went to the top of Snow King, just like the last time I was in town, however, this time I did more interval work. It's two myles from the base to the top and 1486 ft of elevation. I did 6 sets of starting slow then working my way into a full on sprint for 30 seconds and then walking. My legs feel strong, my mind feels strong, now I just have to be smart on Friday.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

11 myles - 1.18:33

Wildcat Ridge - 9:00 AM
50s, clear, dry
mind/body - very good
easy effort

Perfect running weather this morning. I'm sure the conditions will be similar up in the Cache Valley next week. The hay is in the barn at this point with not much else to do but eat and rest. 47 myles for the week with only 6283 of climbing. I feel fresh not only in terms of the body but the mind as well. I am very eager and excited for this race. Part of the reason for my excitement is from putting more time and myles over the last 3 weeks than ever before. And I want to see if it translates, I'm confident it will make a difference. But the other reason for my excitement are the pictures below.

This is my son Jaxon at the Buffalo 25K earlier this year. The first thing I noticed was the genuine excitement on his face. It made me realize that we all should feel this way at the start of a race. Getting to the start line should be exciting because you made it through all the training. Then the race itself is a celebration of all the training. So the message here is if you don't feel this sense of excitement on what lies ahead then maybe you should be thinking twice before stepping on that start line.

Jaxon and Rick

Jaxon and Cheryl Meltzer

Ready to go!

Still smiling at the start of the race

Thanks for the inspiration once again Jaxon!

Friday, September 17, 2010

13 myles - 1.42:07

Deer Creek - 10:00 AM
70s, clear, dry
mind/body - absolutely refreshed
easy effort

Ahhh. Back to the single track in the front range of Colorado. I just about had it with the treadmill at the hotel, staring at the Staples Center for hours at a time. Today was a fantastic day not only in terms of scenery, but the overall body is feeling fluid and fast. In fact, I do believe this is my fastest time doing the full loop at Deer Creek. And what's even more encouraging is that I didn't kill myself doing it. Maybe a day off yesterday for the first time in 3 weeks helped out. At any rate, I'm in full taper mode. After my 4 hour run last Saturday with Rick I switched to taper mode.

My week in L.A. was jammed packed with meetings and food but I managed to squeeze in 4 runs and not so much food:
  • Monday - 8 myles - 1.06:05 real easy
  • Tuesday - 6 myles - 1.02:10 6MPH @ 8% grade (2534 climbing)
  • Wednesday - 5 myles @ lunch (5K at 9.7MPH, 1 mile w/u and c/d)
  • Wednesday - 4 myles later 8 MPH
  • Thursday - off
I specifically did the 5K leg turn over run at lunch cause I knew no one would be in there to see me breathing hard, making funny noises, and sweating all over the place. It was real interesting going back to my room getting on a full elevator of people, I had to apologize several times for dripping sweat on someones dress shirt or blouse.

So in a 21 day span I have run 280.1 myles with only one day off. This week, however, I'm only at 36. Definitely scaled back and just thinking about quality stuff now. One week from today, at this time (1:30 PM), I hope to be at Temple Fork....

Sunday, September 12, 2010

5 myles - no time

Rocky Heights Track - 6:00 PM
60s, clear, dry
mind/body - good
easy effort

I had the opportunity to go to the track with the family tonight. Jaxon has parent running day next Tuesday and I will be out of town so the teacher allowed us to count what we did tonight. Every week Jaxon runs as many laps as he can in 25 minutes during gym class. The goal is to run a marathon before the end of class (don't know when it ends). So whatever I did with him tonight will count towards his goal. I'm extremely proud to report Jaxon completed 11 laps in 24:37 with his last lap being 1:54. He paced himself and recorded even splits the entire time:
  • 2:16
  • 2:19
  • 2:12
  • 2:17
  • 2:17
  • 2:18
  • 2:13
  • 2:15
  • 2:16
  • 2:14
  • 1:54!
Sorry... forgot the camera so no pictures. It sure was fun getting to spend time with Jaxon, even though he told me to stop talking to him cause he couldn't concentrate. Good times with the family indeed. Now I'm off to the hustle and bustle of downtown L.A.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

25 myles - 3.57:40

Ring the peak trail - 6:30 A.M.
40s to 70s, clear, dry
mind/body - feeling good
easy effort

Got out for more "hidden trails" with the Giant Killer. Not really hidden, just not over populated with people like Barr trail. Rick and I are both doing Bear so for the past few weeks we've been accommodating each other by getting out on long runs. Earlier this year Rick and a group of the CRUD guys did the entire Ring the Peak circuit. Today we just did a couple sections and it was spectacular scenery, just like last week. We started in Chipita park and made our way up to Catamount ranch. On the way back we came around the South side of the Catamount reservoirs and then added on a little side trip up Mt. Esther. In all, 4320 ft of climbing and about 25 myles (only an estimation based on running time). Tony if you're going to do Ring the Peak I'd suggest getting in touch with either Rick or Steve Bremner and they will be able to connect you where the trail does not exist, would save you some time and heartache.

Friday, September 10, 2010

6.2 myles - 43:48

Lone Tree loop - 5:00 PM
60s, clear, dry
mind/body - buzzing
easy effort

Real quick, nice little run today to keep the streak alive. In two weeks time I've put in 214.1 myles. Today I was easily inspired by the happenings of Wasatch. My father in law is out there crewing for the Nick's (Clark and Pedatella) who are currently running one-two. Clark just went through Desolation with Pedatella right on his heels. Clark got lost for about 45 minutes going into Alexander Ridge and was pretty bummed. Looks like he's shrugged it off and is looking to go under 20 at this point. Christian will pick him up at Brighton and lead him to the finish. Hopefully Pedatella is close so they can make a cozy threesome - gonna get pretty cold tonight. Darcy is also tearing it up, currently only an hour behind the leaders and on record pace. Would be pretty cool for Pearl-Izumi Smith to bring home the titles!

Update: Looks like Pearl-Izumi Smith came away with the titles at Wasatch! Very well done Nick Clark and Darcy Africa! Matt Hart ran a very smart race by moving his way up steadily all day and ended up 3rd. Unofficial but it looks like Neal Gorman broke Joe Kulak's long standing Grand slam record by 12 minutes - very nice job Neal Gorman! Culpepper slid a couple places but hung in there for 4th and Nick Pedatella who ran strong all day without a pacer hung on for 6th. Gangelhoff rallied to get a top 10 spot in 23.19. And last Peter Lindgren was lurking all day and finished strong 9th overall in a shade over 23 hours. Nice job to all!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

13 myles - 1.49:19

Deer Creek - 7 AM
50s, clear, dry
mind/body - very good!
easy effort

I was back in the groove today running smooth with a kind of harmonious inner peace with myself. Did that sound kinda hippish? Well, at any rate, I felt good today and I'm really happy how my body is responding to the added time on the feet and myles. I did not push the pace at all and still came away with a 8:24 pace while doing 2138 ft of vert.

Good luck to all my friends who will be hammering through the Wasatch front tomorrow! Wish I could be there. I will be there in spirit. Get to Brighton before it gets dark and you are golden.

Day 8 with Mr. DeWitt a year ago today

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

8 myles - 1.01:56

HR urban trails - 7:00 AM
60s, partly cloudy, windy
mind/body - a little hesitant today
very easy effort

Today was the first day in almost two weeks when I really didn't want to run, but in order to keep to my plan - I went out. Once out on the trails I was fine but I was going through the motions. My plan for the last 3 weeks was to mix up the training by doing more mileage and more time on my feet than ever before. I figure since I've taken the same approach to a hundred mile race a dozen times before with a dozen similar results, I should try something different and see if the result is different. So far in my 12 day mini streak: 194 myles.

Harsha and I a year ago yesterday on the CT - day 7

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

11 myles - 1.28:26

Mt. Falcon v0.75 - 4:00 PM
80s, clear, dry, windy
mind/body - still chuggin along
hard effort

Another time trial up Falcon to the shelter. Thinking about this run all day is more painful than actually doing it. Once I get up the first 400 meters the lungs and legs start to get into a rhythm and the blood starts to flow - not so bad anymore.

Today I felt strong and smooth not only up to the picnic shelter but all the way around Parmalee. 16:33 to the end of Turkey Trot and 27:57 to the shelter. Last time was 16:28 and 27:40 respectively. A total of 2158 ft of climbing

Monday, September 6, 2010

17.5 myles - 2.02:53

Daniels Park - 8:00 AM
60s, clear, dry
mind/body - good
Hard effort

The plan today was to be on my feet for two hours and get some flat(ish) fast myles in - check and check. In all, 1262 feet of climbing, says my Axio watch, with a pace of 7:01. I did not bring any calories with me (don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing?) so I felt it in the end. I guess it's good that I tapped my glycogen stores but bad that I'm teaching my body to require less that could spell disaster later in a race. At any rate, the body and mind still feel fresh with 10 straight days of running. I have a week long meeting in L.A. starting next Monday so I'm trying to get as many days in running as I can. And THIS TIME I will be good with the food.... yeah right, I'll probably eat every time they put out food, which is about 10x/day.

A year ago today on the CT - day 6

Almost forgot... Funny thing happened on my run today. I was coming up a hill that's about three-quarters of a mile long and gradually gets steeper (10%) towards the top. On the bottom of the hill a guy on a bike comes zooming past me and gives me a look back. I take the look as if he wants to race me up the hill so I'm turning myself inside-out to try and catch him while he's bobbing back and forth out of his saddle. Two hundred meters to the top he glances back (confirmation he was racing me), I wave, and he turns right into the curb and falls over. Probably a little embarrassed he hops on his bike and motors to the top. He won but I got a good laugh.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

9 myles - 1.05:15

Lone Tree + loop - 8:00 AM
70s, clear, dry
mind/body - still rollin
easy effort

I wasn't going to run today but for the simple fact that I have no soreness or stiffness from yesterday - why not? I think I may have "turned the corner" on this slump. The runs are more enjoyable than ever before and I actually look forward to getting out everyday. Whatever has happened over the course of the two weeks since Where's Waldo, I sure do hope it continues through the end of this month. You know the finest steel has to go through the hottest fire so maybe Hard Rock and Where's Waldo were my living hell....

For the week: 115.4 myles, 15,082 ft of climbing, 17 hrs 58 mins. Over the course of 9 days: 158.4 myles. Will these numbers translate into a good 100 mile race to finish the year? I hope so because I officially signed up for The Bear last night.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

30 myles - 4.40:15

50s to 70s, clear, dry
mind/body - feeling really good
easy effort

WOW! I have never been up to the reservoir before but it was spectacular! We (CRUD group) started on West Baptist road and climbed the front range overlooking the North end of the Air Force Academy and then connected a bunch of ATV trails to the reservoir. Most (2500 ft) of the 4000 ft of climbing today was done in the first 8 myles and then a few rollers here and there. The ATV trails didn't impress me but the reservoir and the trail that goes around did. And then on the way back Rick Hessek strung together a bunch of "hidden" trails to get us back to our car. I'm telling you what between Rick, Steve, and Larry they have crisscrossed every trail in the hills surrounding Colorado Springs - don't leave home without one of them to find these gems.

One of the many fingers of the reservoir with Pikes looming

Rick and I were moving pretty good all day, in fact, we made it around the reservoir in about an hour and 1/2 (8:10 pace). Unlike last Saturday, today I stopped my watch every time we did so that I could capture moving time to estimate distance.

Rick pulling me up today.

Rick pulling me up 10 mile range one year ago today on the CT

As far as nutrition is concerned I went with this stuff again, mixed in with Powerbar Endurance drink - a total of 243 grams of CHO in 60 oz of water. Back at the car I was bone dry which means I consumed 52 g/hr and that is it. I did not consume any other food or gel -all liquid- which means this stuff really works because I felt solid all day.

So far this week 106.4 myles and I feel awesome. The last time I hit this kind of number was my first year running ultras back in 2004. I ran the Wasatch course over a weeks time for a week total of 119. I didn't see the results back then so we'll see if anything has changed. I realize it's just a number but the fact remains that I feel great and more fit than any other time this year. It's all about time on your feet my friends.

What's the deal with this sign?? Don't wanna know...

Friday, September 3, 2010

6.2 myles - 45:29

Lone Tree loop - 7 AM
50s, clear, dry
mind/body - a little creeky
easy effort

The only thing sore on my body was the ankle I rolled yesterday. Very happy with how my body feels right now. Slowly but surely I sped up this morning and by the end had a great pace (7:02). Tomorrow will be another long day but I am looking foward to it. It's not so much that I'm getting over 100 myles this week but more about how good I'm feeling doing it. We'll see how I feel after tomorrow.

One year ago on the CT - I'd be on this section (6) right now

Thursday, September 2, 2010

41 myles - 7.13:09

50s to 70s, clear, nice and dry
mind/body - good all day
easy effort

Call it a birthday run. Call it a one year anniversary CT run. It was just simply a great run with great company and great weather.

Somewhere in the Buffalo Creek area

Old familiar marker

Didn't quite start from the same starting point (Indian Creek today) or as early as a year ago but it sure did feel like the same old adventure. Lots of memories for me today. I can't say I was excited to start but by the time Tim and I were in the middle of the first section the juices started to flow.

Our goal was 7 hours, which is a conservative pace to think about but add in 6400 ft of climbing and it becomes a bit more of challenge. I did this run a few years ago in 6.54 but I was killing myself to get under 7 hours. Today was a solid, steady effort. Not once did we red line or hunch over with our hands on our knees. We were running everything we could and power hiking the steeper sections all the way to Wellington Lake road. My wife and son picked us up at Wellington Lake road and drove us back to Denver - thank you my wife!

As far as nutrition is concerned, I tried something new today. I bought some of this stuff and mixed it in with my Powerbar Endurance drink. A total of 1.5 cups of Maltodextrin (141 g CHO) and 6 scoops of Powerbar (102 g CHO) mixed in with 70 ounces of water gave me a total of 243 grams of Carbohydrate. The body can process 60g/hour, so for me today I was well below that with 35g/hr as my solution was bone dry in the end. But remember the body can process "up to" 60g/hr, it doesn't mean it will or that you should try to hit that. The important thing is that my energy was solid and constant throughout the day. I did not eat any gels, only two 6 inch tortillas with Nutella and one Odwalla bar. I was very religious about taking drinks every 15 minutes. I had no belly aches and as I said before, my energy was solid throughout the day. One little caveat just in case you decide to mix maltodextrin in your electrolyte drink: it does not dissolve very well so mix way ahead, maybe even the night before, so you don't get clumps

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

10 myles - 1.12:02

HR urban trails - 7 AM
50s, clear, dry
mind/body - good
easy effort

Really eased into this one. Walked Jaxon to school and contemplated just coming back home... we all know once you're out there, you might as well go run. I started slow and the mind threatened to give up but the body slowly, but surely, responded. By the end I was in the groove and decided to push a bit the last two myles (12:44). The reason for the flaky mind today is the simple fact that I am going 41 with FF tomorrow and then 30 on Saturday with Rick Hessek - that puts me at 99 even if I take Friday and Sunday off. If I'm really committed I will do an easy 6 on Friday to put me over the century mark.

Crazy Jaime boy!