Sunday, April 26, 2009

BoSho Marathon Report

I love this run, 6,300' vertical in 26 miles is definitely good early season test. Last year I was forced to miss it because of a stomach bug, so I was even more anxious this time around.

A little over 100 runners toed the start line in the early morning fog that made the surrounding hills look more like the San Francisco Headlands than the Wasatch foothills. Karl Meltzer took off straight away, opening a small gap over a small group containing Ty Draney, Shilling, Karl Jarvis, Chuck Kanopa and myself. Heading up the initial climb out of city creek Ty and I swapped turns chasing Karl until my calves started screaming in protest. The heavy rains from the night before left the trail very muddy and slippery. The extra work required to maintain a quick pace was a bit to much for me this early in the game so slowed a bit and watched all but Chuck disappear into the fog in front of me.

Chuck and I finished the long descent to the north salt lake bench, then headed east to begin the long ridge climb. From the double track road on the bench it was difficult to see the bottom of the climb and this is where Ty, Shilling, and Jarvis kept going straight, off course. The cloud that we were running in made it difficult to see very far, maybe a quarter to a half mile of visibility at most, so I assumed Chuck and I were running in 5th at this point. We kept a good pace for the climb and hit the long descent into city creek in good time. I pressed the descent a bit faster than Chuck and that's the last time I saw anybody in front or behind me.

Once I made my way back up to Morris Meadows I saw Dan at the first aid station. I remarked how quickly everyone in front of me was moving and he looked at me blankly, "you're the first person I've seen" he told me. I informed him of who I knew was in front of me and left Morris Meadows back up to the shoreline. Seems as though Meltzer had skipped the aid station and went straight through the meadow up to the shoreline, which is the same distance/climb as going through the aid station, but Dan had missed seeing him come through.

The next section over to dry creek is my least favorite but running in the cloud/fog made it a little more enjoyable, more than likely because I still couldn't see that far. Down in the bottom of dry creek I took note of the running water and kept a steady pace to the mouth of the canyon. At the next aid station they once again informed me that I was in first, but I still knew better and just kept plugging along. Over the Red Butte section I stopped and tightened my shoe laces for the semi-technical descent into George's hollow and the slog that would be coming up wet/dry fork. I kept a steady pace over to the last aid station and took my time getting some gel and liquids down for the final section.

My plan was to start back up dry creek at the 3.20 mark, which would leave me 1 hour to get to the finish and reach my goal of going under 4.20. I didn't look at my watch until I hit the singletrack in dry creek, it read 3.20.35. This motivated me enough to keep running up the canyon, something I had never done during this race. About halfway up I saw something move up the trail in front of me. As I rounded the next bend I was staring straight at a bright orange fox with black tipped ears and tail. A second later he bolted off the trail and up the side of the canyon. I've probably been up and down that canyon a hundred times, but that's the first time I've seen a fox.

I kept running to the back of the canyon, knowing that I would get a walking break once I hit the creek running down "dry" fork. There was no point trying to stay out of the water so I took this as a good opportunity to clean my shoes. I watched the water closely for loose sediment that someone in front of me could have disturbed but saw nothing, so I concluded that anyone that was in front of me had a pretty sizable lead and I would focus on time instead. At the back of dry fork the trail leaves the creek bed and starts up one of my favorite climbs, Unkle F#@!. All the way up I kept glancing up, hoping to see someone, but still nothing. Once I reached the top I let gravity do it's thing and cruised as quickly as I could all the way back down to the shoreline. I hit the saddle of the shoreline and city creek realizing I would definitely make it under 4.20 I just didn't know by how far. From here on the course is really quite easy, save for one nasty little climb. I have to say that this is one of my least favorite climbs of the day. After descending for 10 to 15 minutes straight you are faced with a veritable wall. I had intended to run up this last climb but that was about as realistic as growing wings and flying to the finish. I power hiked this last obstacle then ran all the way to the finish.

I turned in to Dan's driveway to stop the clock at 4.11 and look for everyone that finished in front of me. Karl was the only other runner I saw sitting there and after exchanging stories with him and Dan I found out that Ty, Shilling and Jarvis had gone off course, which left in me in a distant 2nd to Karl's new course record of 3.47! I'm pretty sure that Ty and Jared Campbell (got a late start) came across next, followed by Karl Jarvis. Shilling ended up doing most of the course but after doing the Boston Marathon on monday he opted out of the last section. Peter beat his personal best and finished in the top 10 followed Brian a short time later. Sandy was right in there as well but I have hard time remembering everyone's placing, full results can be found here soon.

Thanks to Dan and all the volunteers for flagging the course and manning the aid stations, much appreciated! Hands down, the best marathon in Salt Lake.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


April 20 has a history of many important events. Some famous (The Civil Rights Act of 1871 becomes law and Apollo 16 lands on the moon), some infamous (Hitler's birthday and the Columbine anniversary), but to me, April 20, 2009 is the most famous of them all. At 1:24 pm, Kate Storheim was born. Wahooooo!! She is healthy and Brooke is healthy and that's all that needs to be said.

Welcome to the world little Kate!

Friday, April 17, 2009

What happens on the trail, stays on the trail

I couldn't resist sharing this one...

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Anyone Headed Down South?

Hey there everyone. Happy Easter. Ya, I know happy passover Kevin. So I am going down to St. George Wed the 8th until Mon the 13th. If there is anyone that would like to run Kolab Canyon the Springdale (around 40 miles) shoot me and email. If that is to far I would love to get out and run anything. I have a few great runs that I always do. My email is
Have a great week and weekend! -Rich McDonald

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Buffalo 50

Heading into the Antelope Island Buffalo Run, I had two goals 1) PR and 2) break 7 hours. I figured if I accomplished one I would the other since my PR is 7:04. I had no illusions about a 3-peat win, with fast guys Nick Pedatella, Tim Long, Hiroki Ishikawa, and Christian Johnson signed up. It turns out that Tim was injured and had to drop, Christian got sick and slowed a bit, but Nick and Hiroki lived up to expectations and smoked the course in 6:43 and 6:45, respectively. I followed a similar pattern to the previous two years by running the first half pretty consistent, started slowing a little during the second half and then getting sick and slowing a lot during the last 12 miles. I finished in 7:08. All things considered, I am very happy with my time, and proved to myself that if nothing else, I'm consistent, with finishes of 7:11, 7:04 and now 7:08. Above all else, 50 miles is 50 miles and I'm fortunate to have fit in a quality run so early in the season.

That was the race abstract, for a slog through the full version, keep reading.
The Buffalo Run 50 miler is an exceptional race. Jim Skaggs has gone over the top to make sure that it is a success from all angles. The course is great (maybe a little long on the out and back to the ranch, any way to add a little more trail?), well run aid stations, perfect weather so far, the volunteers incredible, and the buffalo stew always tastes good after 50 miles. This year was no exception.
Coming in to the race, I had no illusions of winning (unless everybody dropped out or got sick). However, I really hoped to be able to break 7 hours. My training consisted of more "planned" speedwork than in years past with weekly mile repeats and either a tempo or hill session. I was thrown off a little when I was sick for the Moab 50K and then I never got in a solid long run after that. Weekends were hectic and the longest I got in was 19 miles. That concerned me a little, but it is what it is.
6 am on Antelope Island. Jim yelled go and off we went. A lead pack of Nick, Christian, Peter, Hiroki, Cameron Kasteler and a couple others quickly settled in. Nick led the way setting a quick, but not uncomfortable pace. A flash kept going off behind me, which I later found out was Hiroki taking pictures. The whole race he kept pulling the camera out to take pictures and video clips. After about 4 miles we came to the first major hill at Lone Tree, and Nick made his move, never to be seen again. Christian and I settled in to an easy pace as the sky began to lighten. On the trail down to Split Rock Bay, Hiroki caught up to us, my shoelace came undone, and by the time I had it retied, Christian and Hiroki were a good minute ahead of me, and Cameron Kasteler was coming up from behind. The next section is some of my favorite of the race. We climb up past Red Rocks, and then spend a couple miles weaving through big jumbled boulders (which happen to be 2.7 billion years old, older than the stuff at the bottom of the Grand Canyon), past an old stone horse corral (for the wild horses of course) and in and out of little draws. I love it. Coming into the elephant Head aid station we started crossing paths with other 50 milers who decided to do the Elephant Head out and back first. I was happy to see that Tom Nelson was moving well and he looked good. On the Elephant Head out and back, I finally caught Hiroki and Christian. My right hamstring was starting to tighten a little bit and I struggled to keep up with them. Heading to the start and mile 19, we ran into the first buffalo of the day. A small herd of 8-10 animals decided to cut in front of us and as we started to yell at them, out came Hiroki's camera and he started videoing them and yelling "Yeehaw" as he ran. They crossed only 15-20 feet in front of us. Probably my favorite part of the day!
The next hour was fairly uneventful as Hiroki, Christian and I stayed together. On the out and back section of the Mountain View trail, we crossed Nick, and he was about 1/2 mile ahead of us and looking strong. I, on the other hand, was not feeling too strong. My hamstring was really tightening, my left shoulder was really hurting and I was pushing hard to just keep up. At about mile 23, Christian dropped behind slowly, at mile 25 I yelled out to Hiroki that we were halfway done, and he decided that was a good time to leave me. By mile 27, the Lower Frary aid station, he was 30 seconds ahead of me, by the time I left the aid station, he was 1 minute ahead of me, and the next time I saw him, he was heading back from the Ranch aid station (mile 32) and I still had a half mile to get there. I saw Nick a full mile before I got to the ranch. By now my pace was really slowing, I was lucky to keep an 8:30/mile pace and my legs were pretty tired. I tried to get some food/broth down at the Ranch, spent a few too many minutes there, but left feeling rejuvenated. That lasted about 3 minutes, and then it was back to the tired legs. I started walking a couple of the small hills for 10-15 seconds and noticed that it was harder and harder to talk myself into eating and drinking. At the Lower Frary aid station Nick was 20 minutes, and Hiroki 10 minutes ahead, and the nausea was starting to poke it's ugly head out. Karl and Scott told me the obvious that I needed something in my stomach, so I drank a coke, ate some chips, had a couple S-caps and took off. I promptly projectile vomited mid-step (never had that happen before) and I knew it was going to be a long 12 miles to the finish. Up to that point I was still hoping for a sub 7 hour finish, but for the next 12 miles I averaged an 8:45-9/mile pace and only had to throw up one more time, just after the Mountain View aid station. As soon as I picked up my pace to an 8:30 or faster, the nausea would hit full force. After the Campground aid station, it's a beautiful 4 mile singletrack loop around Buffalo Point. I took it easy and was oh so happy to see the finish line.
At the end of every race I've tried to get Sam to run across the finish with me. Being a little reserved, he puts his head down and pretends to not hear me, but Andrew was more than willing and raced me to the end. What a sweet finish.
Thanks to Brooke, Sam and Andrew for putting up with my addiction, and thanks to Wasatch Running Center for helping fuel my addiction. I'll be back next year with a new stomach and new legs, and maybe I'll get the 7 hour mark.