Thursday, May 27, 2010

Is taper time here yet?!

May has been an INSANE month of mileage and although it feels great I am certainly looking forward to some shorter weeks in preparation for Western States. If the last weekend of running pans out as planned I should surpass 500 miles in the month of May and be back ahead of pace to run 5000 this year. This week as long as tomorrows run to and from work happen and Saturday's run home from work will put me at 134 miles this week.

On tap tonight is the always dangerous sauna date with Gary Robbins He has promised to leave his speedo that resembles dental floss at home this time!

Also Ken from Running Stupid needs you to join his army of happy runners and log your miles in a podcast challenge! Do it before May 31st! Check out Running Stupid for all the details of it.

See ya on the trails!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Capitol Peak 55k (ish)

Two weeks after the Mt Si 50 I decided to head back down to Washington State for the Capitol Peak Ultra. The event has a 55k and a 50 miler. I opted for the 55k as I didn't want to push the envelope 13 days after Mt Si and I was in the midst of a massive mileage week when I made the decision to enter.

Got in super late and didn't eat dinner till near 11pm that night. The plus to that was there was no real need to be up super early to eat breakfast before the race as the previous nights dinner ought to suffice!

The gun went at 6am after a brief speech from RD John Pearch. We left the Mima Falls Campground and into the single track trails of the Capitol Peak Forest. Due to logging activities in the park the course had been completely changed from previous years. The profile looked like it was a gradual climb to about the 16 mile mark and then a one mile, one thousand foot climb to the top of Capitol Peak. There was a longer 3 miles descent to get to the Capitol Peak Grunt before taking the same 16 miles back to the start/finish area.

I had planned on going on very slow. Painfully slow in fact. I wanted to be trailing ideally at the top so I could really push on the downhills which has become a weakness for me. I set out with Yassine and Matt (both of whom were running the 50 mile) and had a great chat with Yassine for a few miles while enjoying the sun coming up over the mountains to the east of us. It became evident that it was going to be a mudbath as well. Within a few miles I was already covered knees down!

We pulled into aid station one at the 8 1/2 mile mark together and left together. I had to make a pit stop in the woods and those two went on ahead. I settled into a groove solo once business was taken care of. The course was great single track with some nice views. It was slightly overcast so no views of Mt Rainier, Mt St. Helens which are visable on clear days.

Just before starting the grunt climb Alex Henry caught me. I hiked the first half of the grunt and then figured I would run the second bit of it. Hit the 17 mile aid station in 2:19. I was thinking I would hit the juncture where the main trail and the CP Grunt trail were as 55k is 34 miles but minutes kept going and going and I hit the junction 30 minutes after I left the 17 mile station (obviously much more than a mile to that point!) From there I knew there were 16 miles left and the race was likely closer to 60k than 55k. I felt pretty strong and tried to open up and attack the downhills. It was a little challenging to run a kamakazee mission down as there were runners coming up the trail and lots of little blind corners. Was great to wave and cheer people to pass the miles to the finish though.

Met Kristin at the 13 mile to go station and fueled up on many cokes and slathered on some more body lube to prevent the boys from chaffing. The next 4 1/2 miles are pretty much all downhill. I attacked pretty hard and got word that at the 13 mile station I had a 6 minute lead on 2nd place. I knew it was unlikely much time was gained on me if any during the last section cause I managed a great clip through it. The last 8 1/2 miles have a climb for the first 2 miles then pretty much a gentle descent from there. I knew if I didn't screw up too badly climbing then it should be smooth sailing.

Hit the un-manned water station with about 5 miles to go and recall it was 36 minutes to get to this juncture on the way out and that was all uphill. The miles started clicking off pretty easily in the last bit and was surprised the zip I had left considering this race put my weekly mileage total near 130.

Broke the tape for W #2 in 2 weeks in 4:45:32. Felt fatigued from the effort but not destroyed like I felt the day after Mt Si. Spent the afternoon the walking around the State Capitol grounds and went to the Seattle Art Museum and out to Cafe Flora in Seattle from some vege dinner.
Went for a run the next morning at Cougar Mt with Kristin. Love that park and the trail system in there!

Happy trails!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Mt Si 50 mile

This year was my second go at this race. It's an event that's been happening since 1983 down in Snoqualmie just about a half hour east of Seattle. Last year I managed a win there in 6:17 despite being in the middle of recovering from an MCL and medial and lateral meniscus tear with a surgery slated for shortly after the race. While I was thrilled with the time and win I knew there was some room for improvement time wise.

The record was set by a phenominal runner (Jim Kerby) and that was the benchmark I set for myself. His CR was 5:54:37 and my personal record was 5:52:00 so if both could be achieved in the same race I would have been thrilled! I must admit I was just pumped reading about the results coming in from my Montrail teammates at the various races that happened that weekend. Geoff Roes had cruised to a very impressive with at American River 50 Miler and Max King took a bronze in the same event. Gary Robbins had lowered his own course record at the Diez Vista 50k. Annette Bednosky had run 8:05 at the Mad City 100k qualifying her for the US 100k Team and Beverley Anderson-Abbs had notched a victory at the 50k at Mad City setting a Canadian Age Group Record in the process.

Got some chow at Whole Foods and checked into the hotel and just chilled out and hit the hay early as the wakeup call at 4:15am would come all too soon.

The course at Mt. Si is basically two out and back sections. The first goes out just under 10 miles and you come within about a half mile of the finish line at the 19 mile mark before heading out on the second out and back portion of the course. The nice part I like about the out and back portions are (a) you can see where your competition is and (b) you get to smile and wave at people! The event has the 50 mile distance and a 57 mile relay as well. A 50k event goes off a few hours after the 50 mile starts so the course is full of bubbly, sweaty people so you don't get too lonely!

Uncharacteristically I took off like a jack rabbit from the gun. About two miles in I did a little shoulder check and realized it would be running solo against the clock for the day. 10 mile split came around 64 minutes and all felt pretty decent. It was a great day for running. Temperatures in the low 50s and slightly overcast. The first bit of grumbling I had about the day came on my way into the 22 mile aid station. It was a long straight segment and a pretty strong headwind. I just told myself that it would be a tailwind in the final miles which is a much better scenario! I cleared the 22 mile station in 2:23 and still felt like there was some zip before the mental aspect took over. Last year when I left the 22 mile station I became unraveled and lost a good chunk of time between the 22 and 29 mile stations. This year I checked into the 29 mile station at 3:13. I was a little winded and starting to get energy depleted from the expenditure into the wind. Some coke and salty chips really do make everything alright again!

The next section is 11 miles of 5.5 uphill to the turn point and return to the 29/40 mile station. I had a pretty strong ascent but didn't have the best downhill section which put me in the position of doing the math in my head and realizing that breaking the record would come down to a matter of seconds to spare potentially!

I had a pretty quick transition out of the 40 mile station. There was one last crew stop at 46.5 miles that Kristin was going to meet me at but I knew that would be a grab and go for sure. I broke the last 10 miles up into different sections and with 5 miles to go the projected pace had me sitting in that 5:54 range. To make life a little more interesting that wind direction had shifted to be a headwind for the return trip!

I did a quick bottle fill with Kristin at the 3.5 mile to go mark and just put the head down and tried to turn the legs over as fast as they would go. I needed energy in me and decided to take a quick 20 second power walk to down a Clif Gel and hope that would give me one final burst of energy. I actually started laughing to myself aloud with about 2 miles to go and then ended up talking to myself saying "if you have energy to laugh you have energy to go faster!" I was laughing at the fact that I was about 40 minutes up on second place with a few mere miles till the finish but to hit a CR would require a flat out kick to avoid missing it!

It hit the pavement off the trail into the town of Snoqualmie which meant about 3/4 a mile to go. It seemed like back in the track days but I just sprinted as fast as I could possibly sprint having just covered 49 miles and change. Broke the tape in 5:54:15 to sneak under Jim Kerby's record by 22 seconds. It was most likely the ugliest finish line photo ever as I couldn't muster a smile nor have the energy to lift my arms and am pretty sure I had drool on the left side of my face and a misfired snot rocket on the right side.

I'm already looking forward to another crack at this course as I learned a few things and know some spots where I can take some more time off if training and nutrition improve.

Results are here if your keen on having a peek!

Happy trails!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Miles, miles, miles

Goal for 5000 miles in 2010 still seems to be attainable after 1/3rd of the year in the books. A low February due to pnuemonia is long past and after April 30th I sit at 1574 miles (on pace for about 4800).

April was a stellar month of racing down at the Mount Si 50 miler in Snoqualmie and the Capitol Peak 55k in Olympia. Reports I hope to have done in the next day or so then I also thought I would re-live the adventure from a year ago on the Juan de Fuca with Gary Robbins. I don't think I ever really wrote a story about that but it was such an epic trip on so many levels from the standoff with a bear on the trail, trying for 4 hours to hitch hike back to the car, drunk locals waking us up at 5am in the boonies and sleeping in the car cause we missed the ferry home. Good times!

Also a fine gent by the name of Ken Michal is in a mileage challenge with some fellow podcasters and is recruiting people for his team to log miles for the Team "Running Stupid" for the month of May. Go to and you can create a log and register for the "There can only be One" challenge and join the group Running Stupid. This is the last month and Ken and his "Stupidheads" are in the lead!

He also has some pretty entertaining podcasts available on his Running Stupid site as well including a 90 minute interview with Gary a few weeks back. Check it out!