Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Moab Alpine to Slickrock 50 Miler

The MAS50 was my first 50 miler. Kelli, Samantha and I headed down to Moab on Friday morning. We rented a house on La Sal Road near the Slickrock Trail parking lot, where the race finishes. We went to the pre-race meeting at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center. It was laid back, with only about 40 runners present.

After a pasta dinner and glass of red wine, I went to bed around 1o:00 and set the alarm for 3:45. I arrived at the Slickrock Trail parking lot at 4:30 to catch the shuttle to the start. It didn't leave until 5:00. I tried to relax on the shuttle.

The race starts at Pack Creek. I tried to keep my speed down at the start because I knew it was going to be a long day. I've learned the lesson of going out too fast. For example, in the Millcreek Midnight run, I went out pretty quick but Peter and Brian caught me in the middle of the race. There were a few eager beavers who were moving pretty quickly.

The course climbs 4,000 feet up a canyon before hitting the La Sal 4x4 road and first AS at mile 9. The mountains are incredible- the fall colors were spectacular. We were then on a rolling single track for miles and miles. This was a great section to run and I was moving pretty quicky. The race then climbs up and down several big mountain passes. In all the race climbs over 11,000 feet.

Heading up to Moonlight Meadows, I saw Greg taking pictures. It was great to see him, and a flood of summer running memories flooded back, including the last 25 miles of Wasatch.

Miner's Pass at mile 27/28 was super tough. The pass is about 11,000 feet. It was sunny at the foot, but as I climbed the dark clouds started to roll in. It started hailing pretty hard. I saw Greg dressed appropriately in rain gear. I was not dresssed appropriately- in my tank top. I put Kelli's pink I-pod back in the fanny pack, and tried to keep moving to stay warm. Towards the top of the pass, it opens up in a big clearing. It looks a lot like the slope on the West side of Gobblers. The thunder was hitting hard now. I was fairly certain I was going to get hit by lightning. I imagined some helicopter hauling my carcass of the mountain and thinking how futile it would have been to die on a trail race. I said a quick prayer and moved on to the summit.

I obviously made it to the summit and started the descent. I eventually passed a sign that said "Miner's Basin [Aid Station] Beer, Whiskey, Cigarettes." The Miner's Basin Aid Station is a wood cut-out saloon. The AS volunteers were dresssed in 19th century mining clothes. They had whiskey, rum, beer, and cigarettes. Runners that partake sign their name on the wall. I changed my socks here, had some warm chicken noodle soup, drank couple sips of beer, signed my name to the wall, and moved on.

I was now on a dirt road, heading downhill, and the sun was out. Things were looking up. I passed a large burn area. The smell was strong and acrid. Eventually I hit a road. It had a moderate incline. I ran for a bit but thought it would be safe to walk it as fast as I could. The road looked like the top of the Emigration Canyon road.

At the top of the road, the course turns on the Kokapelli Trail. From this point on it is desert running. I love running in the desert. It is a great change from summer alpine training. The cramps I had experienced in the cold and hail were now gone, and I was running pretty fast.

After the mile 36 AS, I couldn't beleive I was still running. With each step, I was running further than I ever had. That was exciting and a source of motiviation so I continued to push it. I remember the Bob Marley lyrics at this point: "No weak heart shall prosper."

From AS 43, it is all downhill on the hard Sand Flats road. I just kept moving.

I turned the corner and finally saw the finish. I sprinted into the finish where Kelli and Samantha were waiting, along with our friends, Heather, Chad, their son Jack, Keli and Dave. It was great to see everyone at the finish. I hydrated with some beer and talked to some of the racers.

Greg Poettgen did a great job. The aid stations were tip top, the course was marked well, and everything was run smoothly.

I highly recommend this race, and I'd like to see some MRC runners go down and crush it.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Wasatch 100 2008 report The long version

I met Peter at his house to catch a ride. Fred Reimer had graciously offered to give Peter a ride and I took the offer for an open seat. We also picked up Kevin Shilling on the way. Fred immediately washed away any pre-race jitters with his wit and dry humor and had me laughing with in a few minutes. Kevin made me laugh even more with his I am just going for a long run demeanor, I had to chuckle to myself as he was digging around in his waist pack mumbling that he thought he had some chips or something stashed away that he might want to eat during the race. The ride passed quickly and before I knew it we were at the starting line.

The weather was cool, just about perfect running weather. I talked with a few people, and then it was time to get running. I lined up with Peter hoping I could keep him in my sights, but soon after the start he quickly pulled away and he disappeared into the darkness, I was smart enough to back off and I quickly settled in with a group of runners going my pace. I soon realized I was running behind Michael Stevens from Idaho who I had met a few weeks prior on a training run, I said a quick hello and we settled back into a steady run. No one was in the mood to chat so we just motored along and started the long climb up to the ridge. Michael set a study but slightly slow pace, which of course is perfect for a start of a 100-mile race like Wasatch, a few eager beavers passed but the rest of us just followed behind Michael. I finally pulled off to take a nature break and I soon found myself running alone so I turned the headphones and cruised up Chinscraper and along the ridge. There was a strong wind blowing from the north, a little cold but not to bad.

Everything was going great and then as I went to drink some water from my Nathan pack, nothing came out, I was out of water. I had already drank 50oz plus a 16 oz bottle of water, I didn’t panic because they usually have a water only station at around 10 miles and they did this year so it worked out, but I should have made a bigger mental note of how fast I was sucking water down. I caught up with Brian Hamos about the time we hit the radar domes and chatted with him for a while and then put the headphones back in for the long descent to Francis Peak AS. Everything went smoothly until some time after the long climb from the Session Lift Off AS. I really wanted to keep well hydrated in this section because a lot of people get in trouble because the running is fairly easy and you tend to push and you are exposed a lot to the wind and sun. So about three to four miles from Swallows Rock AS I ran out of water again. I had let the lady at the last aid station fill my Nathan pack and I opted not to fill my water bottle. Bad move, I had to back way off the pace and run with no water for the next 45 minutes. Too some people no water for 45 minutes is no big deal, but the way I sweat it is. Luckily the weather was fairly cool and by backing off the pace I managed not to do too much damaged, just felt a little silly making such a big mistake in a 100 mile race. For the rest of the race I filled my own hydration pack and made sure it was filled to the brim.

I ran into Big Mtn. aid station at 1:48 making a conscious effort to stay calm and get out of there quickly, last year I got caught up in the excitement and felt a little sick write after I left, so this year I said hello to a few friends, kissed the wife and was out of there in two minutes. The next section Big Mtn. to Lambs was boring and a little hot, I just tried to relax and get through it. I ended up at Lambs at 5:04, changed my shoes from Hardrocks to Streaks and headed out for the Lambs canyon road. I was really pumped for the next section because I knew I would be basically out of the sun for the rest of the race and I was ready for the coolness of Lambs Pass and I really like the climb up from the east side. It didn’t disappoint me, perfect early evening power hiking weather. As I neared the summit a runner passed me running literally full steam, I had passed him sometime after Alexander Basin AS, and he didn’t look well then, now he was running like he was in a 50k, go figure, I yelled at him that he was doing great and he soon disappeared over the summit. I hit Elbow Fork and ran most of the road up toward Millcreek AS. I talked to Rich McDonald as he was driving down from crewing Kevin and he said Kevin and Peter were running great with Kevin around 30 minutes ahead of Peter.

I hit one small problem when I hit Millcreek, no crew. My wife was not to be found. I had thoughts of just going on but luckily came to my senses. I had no more gu, power gels and only had arm warmers on for warmth. I just sat down not sure what I really could do but wait a while and see if she would show up. Luckily I asked a lady that was driving down if she could check the lower parking lot and see if my wife had arrived. She had! My wife felt so bad, but I quickly assured her no big deal, got my food and jacket and headed off. I only lost maybe 10-15 minutes. I could see my breath as I climbed. It was very cold as you crossed the lower streams but it was getting warmer as I gained vertical and there was no wind so it was easy to stay warm as long as you kept moving. It was complete darkness as I neared the halfway point to Dog Lake. Even though I had my headphones on I thought I heard a baby crying, and sure enough coming down the trail in complete darkness was a family with a newborn and they had no lights, obviously they had miss judged sunset. I felt bad for the baby and wanted to scream at the dad but managed to keep my mouth shut and just kept on climbing. I passed Desolation at 9:40pm and there seemed to be an abnormal amount of people that were probelms at the AS, I decided to get out of there quickly. I ran alone to Brighton arriving at 11:58pm.

My wife filled me up with supplies, I drank a bit of broth and headed out with my good friend George who would be my pacer for the last section. I was feeling tired but ready to tackle the last 25 miles. We followed Phil Lowry and his pacer up through Brighton. We passed two guys drinking Coronas on the beach at the summit that were cheering the racers as they passed. George and I ran the last 23 miles alone and it sometime seemed like we were in our on private race. We never really saw anyone accept two runners we passed just before the turn off to Pot Bottom. We were taking a little to long in the aid stations but I was ahead of my schedule so we took extra time at Pole Line and Pot Bottom. I figured it was a luxury I would take for being so far ahead of last years pace. I think most people would just call is lazy.

George and I set a fairly strong pace in the last seven miles and crossed the line at 27:12. It was really different finishing a little earlier than last year as only a few people were at the finish, so it felt like it was just George my wife and myself to celebrate at the finish. A very mellow finish to a overall very mellow race. Kevin and Peter as usual ran stellar races, Peter taking another big chunk of time of his PR. Kevin getting another sub 24 finish. Michael Stevens must have had a great race as he finished in 26:28. Jason Berry and Brian Hamos both finished their first Wasatch 100 with Brian’s being his first 100 mile race. Have to give the usual thanks to all the volunteers as they did another stellar job. A quick mention of the overall winner Geoff Roes, a 20:01 time, no pacer no crew, first time racing the course. I call that getting it done in style, truly amazing. Congratulations to everybody that finished he race. Hope to see you next year.

No harm no foul 2008 Wasatch report

As punishment Peter you must wear biking gloves, your Yoda shirt, pink dirty girl gaiters, and Rich’s helmet on next years 4th of July run.

Its funny because this morning as soon as I got up I checked the blog because I wasn’t really happy with my race report and I thought I would take a quick look and correct it, or even delete the entry. Then I noticed somebody had beaten me too it. The report was not very good, a little long winded and not very well put together. You only did what any good English teacher would have felt compelled to do. No harm no foul. Lets leave it at that.

Instead of me reposting my report, let me sum up the race this way. It was great. Good people, fantastic weather and a killer 100 mile course, and located just out our backdoors. I am looking forward to next years race already as maybe we will see the possibility of 4 sub 24 hour times from the MRC crew. Not that there’s any pressure.

Breaking Blogging Rules

I think I broke a rule of blogging this AM. I logged on and read a great race report from Greg. The report was thoughtful and captured the race. I was right along in the race with Greg as I read the report. I decided to add some paragraph marks, as I thought it might be easier to follow. I made a few edits. I thought about asking Greg, before I did this but it was pretty early, and went ahead and published the post after making the edits. I logged back on to make a commment and noticed the post was gone.

Greg, please repost the race report. My sincere apologies for making edits without asking. I realize this was not very tactful on my part.


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Uintah Speed Goat?

How about an adventure with a goat?  For $25 a day per goat (you have to take at least two, they like to have some company) you can have a goat carry your stuff.  They carry up to 40% of their body weight. The only MRC runner I know that can do that is Storheim.  Next year for the Wasatch I think we forgo pacers and take a goats.  There are only rules against muling, not goating.   Besides I suspect the mountain lions are more apt to attack the goat and not the runner.  

Congrats to Erik and Christian at the Bear 100+, 2nd and 6th.  Both Christian and Erik ran more than 100 miles, with a few (ok more than a few) detours.  Hey it was the first year on the new course, which is quite beautiful and challenging, and worth the few extra credit miles.

I had the pleasure of pacing Christian for the last 50 miles. Pretty amazing to pick a guy up at the half way mark, vomiting, pale, dehydrated and then running after him as fast as I could go for the last few miles to the finish.  Once Christian figured that he could make it under 25 hours he made a mad dash the last 6 miles... 22 seconds to spare.  There was a poor guy that we passed about an 1/8th of a mile from the finish.  He was shocked to see us, and wasn't able to keep the pace.  Frankly, I was nearly not able to hold the pace either.   I think that Christian would have run in with him if it weren't for the time goal.