Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Erik's Best Blog Post Picks of 2012

Picking the Best Blog Post of 2012 is kind of like picking my favorite flavor of Ice Cream  All ice cream is excellent , and my 4 or 5 "favorites" are completely different from my family's favorites.  The same holds true for this next nomination.  I am not going to pretend that the nominations are unbiased or will they include a true representation of all the Utah based ultrarunning Bloggers out there.  That's just too much info for me to read and process.  The one criteria I have tried to stay true to is "literary" content.  A post about a performance ending in a spot on the podium or a FKT through some crazy-ass terrain doesn't guarantee that it was a well written post.  I want to find myself seeing, smelling, "living" the author's experience. I want to feel motivated and inspired to push myself and my limits after a good read.  I want to walk away ready to change my behavior, to be a better person, a healthier person, a more whole person.  I want to laugh. I want to finish reading, and get that feeling of that's it.

So, here are my nominations.  I'll include author, title, a link and a line or two from the post to whet your appetite. Read the rest and you be the judge.

Please use the poll on the sidebar to place your vote. Polling will stop on 2/5/2013 at 6:00pm

1) Ben Lewis.  Aquatic Antisocial
The instructor- about 20-  is energetically jumping up and down on the sidelines but the old ladies pay no heed.  They are clustered in 3 small social groups chatting avidly, the water lapping at the hair on the base of their neck so that it hangs down in dark gray tendrils.  They bob slowly up and down effortlessly, legs moving in distracted, desultory circles: giant floating bags of jelly encasing small skeletons of brittle, osteoporotic bones.  

2) Jason Dorais. Salt Lake Skyline Traverse
We were planning on a self supported run with caches along the way.  Once off Olympus we were feeling pretty blown and since we were running by gas stations we figured we'd make it a "pseudo self supported" run and gorge ourselves on store food.  Only problem was the stores were all closed.  Once we had the idea of real food in our minds it was hard to get it out so in a moment of weakness we called Nick and he showed up with 9 double cheeseburgers, 3 large fries and some big drinks.  It was DELICIOUS!

3)Ben Lewis.  Wasatch 100 Race Report 
It is a long, plodding, block-legged, relatively mundane shuffle in the woods experienced predominantly as the increasingly unpleasant and gag-inducing sensation of forcing foil-wrapped simple sugars into your mouth at 20 minute intervals.
What a weird sport.

4) Jared Campbell. Barkley Marathons
Given that I was training for something that would likely involve terrible weather, I now looked forward to running in the worst weather possible as it was an opportunity for some great training.  I watched the forecast and prayed for wet cold-fronts to roll in.  I even had Ryan excited to join me for a good battle up Grandeur in full-on blizzard conditions in full body wet-suits.  Silly.

5)Greg Norrander. Norrander Trail Shots
Even though our self imposed rules state that MRC guys are excluded, this is my post, not really a group effort, and Greg's photos' continually inspire me and capture the essence of why we all hit the trails. Take a look for yourself.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

WANTED!!: Suggestions for Best Blog Post of the Year

The MRC would like to recognize some of the great bloggers who contribute to the Utah Ultrarunning community.  Following the "Best of" theme of the past few posts, the next post will be on the "Best Blog post of 2012" by a Utah blogger with running significance.  While we definitely have our idea of the best posts of the year, we are sure that there are many, many stories out there that we haven't read, and would like to provide the chance for you to shamelessly shed some light on your own writing skills, or give someone else a shout out.

Please give us your suggestions for the Best Blog Post of the Year, and we'll review and nominate our completely biased selections in a few days.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Utah Ultra - Best of 2012 - Race/RD of the Year

Over the next couple of weeks The MRC will be posting some nominees for various Utah ultra running categories. The idea is simple, recognize people in the Utah ultrarunning  community that have done something special or noteworthy. The rules are simple too, nominees must live in Utah and members of the MRC are excluded. This means Erik’s trailblazing completion of the Millwood 100 is  excluded as well as Jay’s 4 wins at the 50k, 50 and 100 mile distances.  We will have a widget on the sidebar where you can place your vote. Also please feel free to post in the  comments on anybody you feel we missed.  The MRC is Salt Lake City based so I am sure we are missing some great runners and races from other parts of the state. So what do the winners get in the various categories?  Well nothing more than maybe a pat on the back at the next race.

The winner of the poll was Jim Skaggs with 53% of the vote and a tight race for 2nd went to John Grobben with 24% and Karl Meltzer with 21%. This was an especially tough choice since all of the races are so valued and vary in distance and degree of difficulty. Thanks to each one of you for providing us a venue to indulge ourselves in.

Utah Ultra - Best of 2012 - Race/RD of the Year

Utah is fortunate to have a vibrant trail running community, due in no small part to the number of races that are offered in our great State. From the flat Pony Express and Salt Flat 100's, to the brutal Bear 100 and MAS 50. There are "official" races and classic "fun runs" such as the BoSho Marathon and Millcreek Midnight 50k. Here are a few of the races, and their Race Directors, that stood out to us this year.

Wastach 100 Mile Endurance Run. RD John Grobben
John Grobben and the wonderful Wasatch 100 Race Committee once again put on a great race with fast times, a competitive field, and enough sense to maintain Wasatch's characteristic, feels-like-home atmosphere. A record 213 out of 289 runners finished the race with Jeff Browning winning in the third fastest winning time of 19:33. 5 out of the top 10 were Utahns . Despite pressure from local governmental agencies to cut down traffic at some of the major aid stations, Grobben and Co. managed to come up with a plan that while controversial to some runners and their crew, allowed the race to proceed without a hitch and all runners to receive all the support they needed. Wasatch has done a remarkable job of maintaining it's low-key image. Anyone who ran it in 2012 was reminded again that despite the growing commercialism found in ultrarunning, Wasatch continues to embody the reasons so many of us run: friends, community and the wild places that the trails leads us.

Antelope Island Buffalo Runs. RD Jim Skaggs
Starting in 2006 with 146 finisher in 25 and 50 Km distances, Jim Skaggs has grown the Antelope Island Buffalo Runs into one of the premier early spring running events in the West. 2012 saw over 700 runners run the 25 and 50Km, 50 mile and 100 mile races. Juggling that number of runners, crew, and the various start times is a huge task. Jim has put together an amazing crew of volunteers to coordinate the weekend of running. He cooks 100 gallons of buffalo stew for the finishers and hazes the occasional "friendly" buffalo off the course. Throughout the weekend, Jim can be seen all over the Island with a quick smile, a joke and his trademark stuffed buffalo ball cap. If you spend any time at all on the local trails, you have seen a runner in one of the 3500 finishers shirts dispensed over the last 6 years. Odds are you have one of your own. If you don't, sign up this year and experience the wonders of Antelope Island on your own two feet.

Speedgoat 50K. RD Karl Meltzer
Once again, legendary ultrarunner Karl Meltzer put on a race that will not soon be forgotten. As if the reputation of being the toughest 50K in the U.S. with more than 11,000 feet of climbing wasn't enough to bring out the best of the best, this year Karl put together a purse of $12,000. The race was part of the International Skyrunning Federation's race series. 265 runners with arguably the deepest field of "elite" runners in 2012 started the race. There were more than 80 volunteers to ensure everyone stayed on course and minimize the carnage that has come to be expected in the latter stages of the day. Karl handled the controversial issue of winner Kilian Jornet cutting corners on some switchbacks with grace and equanimity. In doing so he guaranteed the race would stay a part of the Skyrunning series and continue to attract the top runners from around the world for years to come. Despite being one of the highest profile races of 2012 in the US, the Speedgoat 50K maintained a down-home feel with all participants mingling at the finish holding a slice of pizza in one hand and a bottle of Ultragen (or beer) in the other