Sunday, January 30, 2011

Running in the Carolinas

It’s been running nirvana for me as of late. Within a week’s time, I’ve been able to enjoy warm weather runs in Nicaragua, southern Utah, and the Carolina’s.

On Saturday I ran the Sultan 50K+ in South Mountain State Park, south of Morgantown, N.C. This was an important test for me to see if I am finally on the mend after a year of being plagued by injuries. And, I’m pleased to report I passed the test.

My goal for the run was to go sub 5 hours on the 33 mile, 6900 vertical feet, out and back course. Not particularly fast, but a good clip for a January run for someone who lives in snow country. I was able to hang onto the front-runners for the first 16.5 miles and was very pleased with our 2:14 split. On the way back I pulled into the lead for a few miles before being smoked by some real runners in the last five miles. I finished in 4th place with a time of 5:03. Winning time was 4:56. Thank you Adam, Matt, Scott & Jeremy for letting me hang with you. And, thank you Mohammed for organizing!

On Sunday I took a “get the toxins out” running tour of Charleston, S.C. I have never visited Charleston and was looking forward to a Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil jog through town. What a splendid run – cobblestone streets, hidden gardens, grand old houses, narrow alleys, ocean promenades. Just what some tired old legs needed to feel better before imbibing in some therapeutic grape juice on the balcony of my hotel!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Running the Wave

This week I got to run the Wave. Last summer I was turned onto the Wave, an amazing geological feature on the Utah Arizona border, last summer by a friend at Best Friends Animal Society. After entering the lottery every month since August, I was lucky to finally pull a permit for this past Wednesday.

I’m not a spontaneous kind of person. And for me to skip a day of work, drive 10 hours for a hike/run, pull my daughter Zoe out of school and make her join me was a bit out of character.

But it was absolutely worth it! Beautiful scenery. Stunning weather. Some super cool running. All-in-all – a most splendid day. Maybe I need to skip work more often….

Photos courtesy of my daughter Zoe

Friday, January 21, 2011

Viva Nicaragua!

Last week I got the call that a client wanted me in Nicaragua this week. Immediately, all I could think of was a chance to run in shorts and on DIRT. I tried to feign inconvenience when I said, “yes, I can go” in an Eeyore like voice.

On the day I arrived I immediately headed out for a two-hour ‘tour of Managua’ run before my first meeting began. I passed a number of must see sites including the Cathedral, National Palace, Las Huellas de Acahualinca, Zona Rosa and the shore of Lake Managua. I felt incredibly free and light in just shorts and running shirt. The sun beating down on me felt wonderful. I loved the convenience of stopping several times along the way to buy a cold drink from a street vendor. I even got a little sunburned!! A most excellent run.

The next day I got up early to experience Managua in the morning before the sun rose. I knew I would have to pay attention for the guy wires that randomly cut across sidewalks and the holes along the sides of the street where drainage grates were missing. The sounds of a city awakening consumed my senses. The smell of charcoal fires whetted my appetite for freshly cooked tortillas and beans – which I would reward myself to after my run. The radiance of the colors gave me cheer as the sun welcomed the day.

I had so much fun in the morning that I couldn’t resist a quick run after work. Back into the barrios in search of the sights, smells and sounds that make Central America so magical.

Two days in Managua – 28 miles of adventure, fun and DIRT. Viva Nicaragua!!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Registration, Lotteries and Waitlists

Fair warning, I’m climbing on my soapbox for this post.

1.       Registration – If you are a race director and you choose to use online registration, make sure your provider is solid. If your race fills in less than a day or hour you should make sure your registration site is bulletproof. Case in point: Saturday morning (January 15th) I turned the computer on, logged into the registration site for the San Juan Solstice 50 or Lake City 50 (a race with an identity crisis) and patiently waited for 7:00am to arrive. A few minutes before seven I refreshed the page to see if the registration link was active and it was not.  Finally seven am arrived, I tried again and still nothing.  No biggie I thought, I’ll just give it a few minutes.  Five minutes, ten minutes and still nothing.  Now I was getting nervous because I had to leave the house by 7:15 for an avalanche training course that would have me on the mountain all day. At 7:15 I walked out the door without being registered for the race. At some point during the day the registration opened and the race filled up. Luckily though, I was able to register for the waitlist when I arrived back home at 6pm and if you know my history with waitlists and the San Juan’s you know I will not be travelling to southern Colorado this summer.

2.       Lotteries – Race lotteries should be held at a minimum, 6 months before the race date.  The only offender I can currently think of is the Hardrock 100.  The Hardrock lottery will be held February 5th (the same day as the Wasatch 100 lottery) and the race will start on July 8th. My reasoning for an earlier lottery involves participation in other ultras. Many other races that fall earlier on the calendar hold their registration before the lottery takes place and this forces runners to sign up for races they may or may not participate in, depending on the results of the lottery.  After checking the Hardrock entry list I’m not even sure why I’m writing this; 500 runners vying for less than 140 spots (based on auto entries and such).

3.       Waitlists – Banish them.  I don’t know a single person, either runner or race director that likes them.  Chances are if your race is popular enough for a lottery you have a little history with how many runners don’t start each year.  If you traditionally have 30 runners drop off the start list, then draw an extra 30 names during the lottery.  This is similar to the way the Wasatch 100 and a number of other ultra’s handle their lottery and entry lists with success.  I can think of some cases where the permit limits the number of runners on race day to a hard number (like Hardrock with their 140) instead of an average over set number of years (like Wasatch).  In that case draw out half the amount that are expected to not start, such as 15 extra instead of 30.  There is a very high likelihood that at least 15 people will decide not to start and everyone involved knows if they are starting or not, very black and white.

One last thing I would like to say; I truly appreciate all the effort it takes to make a race happen.  Race directing is very hard work and involves much more than just the day of the race.  I can tell you from personal experience that hearing a simple “thank you” means more than you would think.  I can also tell you that ultra runners, as a group, seem to be more appreciative than cyclists.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Why I Hate Kevin Shilling

I have a love hate thing with winter.

Each fall I eagerly anticipate winter; skate skiing, the crispness of the air, the contrast of blue sky against white snow, hot drinks with special ingredients and tele skiing.

Yet, as the days become shorter and the temperature drops – I become haunted by Kevin Shilling.

Why do I have seasonal issues with Kevin? For the most part, I like the guy. I find him smart, interesting, and talented. I enjoy running with him in the summer. But come winter, my negative feelings towards him become intense.

You see, Kevin likes to run in the snow. I don’t! Kevin likes running in the snow even MORE if he is post holing. Post holing makes me whimper and cry! I want to be able to like running in the snow and I want to get to a place of mental stability that when my feet break through the frozen surface I no longer weep. But, I can’t seem to get there…

My therapist says I have to deal with this. She is helping me learn that it is “OK” if I don’t find pleasure in wearing running shorts when it is 10 degrees. I don’t have to seek routes where I can plunge through the snow to my waist with every step. No need to have ice and snow act as a cheese grater on my shins leaving them in a constant state of oozing scabs. And, I don’t need to have feet that are dry, scaly and possibly even moldy because they are always wet. Winter running can be fun for Kevin. It doesn’t have to be fun for me.

So what’s a semi-addicted trail runner like me to do?? Well, skate skiing helps. Finding a dirt trail when I travel to a warmer locale is good. And every so often, I’ll chance upon that perfect day when I find a snow-packed trail that is just way too much fun to run on.

Yesterday was that day for me. A thirty km skate at Ruby’s Inn followed by a six mile run on the Rim Trail in Bryce. Blue sky. Warm temps. Stunning scenery. A firm trail. An absolutely stellar day!

Perhaps I can learn to like running in the winter. Maybe I don’t have to hate Kevin.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

90 in 90 update

The inversion in Salt Lake is really the only thing I cant stand about living here. When it sets in the best way to start my day is to go up. This morning was beautiful. I met Greg and Nate at 6:30 am for a winter version of the Granduer Peak fun run and it was amazing. The 90 in 90 is going well. I dont think I have run 8 days in a row for at least 3 years. Other than the fatigue it feels great. As you view the attached photos please notice that Erik is not in any of them, because he was home in bed. Hope he feels rested.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

90 in 90

The other day Rich challenged me to run 90 days in a row. To some of you that may not seem like a big deal, but to me, 90 days straight seems like a tall order. Rich proposed that the loser had to mow the winner's lawn three times over the summer. Since I can't even seem to get mine mowed on a timely basis, I turned that down and suggested we find another reward. Something easy, like $500, or lugging the other's water and supplies during a 50K run. I feel pretty confident in winning, since Rich probably won't run today, and will have used up his three Mulligans (see rules below) by next Sunday.

So begins 90 runs in 90 days. We would like to invite anyone else to join in the fun. If you want to participate, and be eligible for fabulous prizes that haven't been determined yet, ( An old water bottle or a half used package of NUUN are some of the prizes that come to mind) then let us know in the comments.

The Rules:

1)Run 90 days in a row, starting Jan 1 2011.
2)A run counts as a minimum of 20 minutes in duration.
3)Three Mulligans (days off) will be allowed, for a sick day, or a post race recovery day, etc. But, that run has to be made up on a double run day, to still account for 90 total runs.

Pretty simple. Have fun and go run.