Monday, June 28, 2010

Saturday's 50K

Saturday I ran the WV Trilogy 50K course with Dan. What a day we had. It was just a gorgeous day to be out on the trails. These long self-supported runs are often times more fun for me than races.

I know I've said it before, but man this race is going to be special. We wanted to run the course to see "how it runs" and check out a few logistical issues. Well . . . it runs very nicely!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

RT Weekly Recap

Thought I'd start sharing the link here to the weekly trail recap I'm writing over at (just click the picture to follow the link).

Monday, June 21, 2010

Highlands Sky-ing

(All smiles at the start: Photo from Jeremy Ramsey)

What a great year it was for the 8th running of the Highlands Sky 40 Mile Trail Run. The race was three people shy of filling and had what was deepest field the race has seen - a good year to be in the mix racing.

My training before the race had been solid after my three weeks missed in April from my knee injury. I knew I was in shape, but I also knew that since I had done zero quality (I just ran - no "workouts") this year that I would not have the turnover to make an honest go for the win with the guys up front. I did two training runs on the course after I got back from the Grand Canyon; one of which I ran hard as a time trial. My splits on that run were as follows:

AS 2: 1:46 (Mile 10.5)
AS 3: 2:47 (Mile 16.0)
AS 4: 3:21 (Mile 19.7)
AS 5: 3:45 (Mile 22.7)
AS 6: 4:17 (Mile 27.0)

Based on these times, I thought I could easily shave at least six minutes off my time between the start and AS 6 (4:11) with the race day "magic", people to chase, carrying less water, and not having to stop and fill-up from creeks like in the trainer. Here were my goal splits:

AS 2: 1:42
AS 3: 2:41
AS 4: 3:15
AS 5: 3:39
AS 6: 4:11
AS 7: 5:12
AS 8: 5:56
Finish: 6:29

I started our conservatively and just fell in behind all the other guys going out hard. I came through AS 2 and 3 pretty much right on schedule and feeling fine. I was only concerned with hitting my splits. My pre-race plan was to run conservatively until AS 4, then start letting it all hang out from the road all the way to the finish - not my normal style. I felt good on the dreaded Road Across the Sky and ran every single step at what felt like a decent pace. I believe I moved up two positions on the road and came through AS 6 (mile 27) in 4th place, 4:15 into the race. . . 4 minutes off of my goal, but certainly nothing to panic over.

The next section is where the wheels simply came off. No question of what happened - The heat got to me in the open meadows and my stomach just quit cooperating. What felt so smooth and fluid only moments before, became drudgery. Knowing that I was not very heat acclimated and seeing the large amounts of salt on my skin, I really started pushing the S-caps in this section. Too little too late though - I was off my splits and thrown into survival mode. The finish line was the only cure for my disease at that point.

I love Highlands not only because it is a great race in my home state, directed by my good friend Dan Lehmann, but mainly because it was my first real test in my early years of ultrarunning. Even though I was feeling puny the last 10 miles or so of the race, I still soaked in the meaning and beauty of it all. I thought back during that section to when I ran the race for the first time back in 2005 and had no idea of what the heck I was doing. Many things have changed since then, but some have remained the same. It's always a wonderful feeling to cross the finish line of any ultra and this day was no different. I crossed the line in 6:43, nearly an hour less than when I last ran the race in '07. It was not the result I was capable of running or planned on running, but I was and am satisfied nonetheless. Any day that I can spend running and enjoying the beauty of God's creation is certainly a good day.

Then: 2005

Now: 2010

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Highlands Sky Video

My friend Joel Wolpert recently completed a video about Highlands Sky for Running Times Magazine. He covers some of the trail work that our club recently did on the course and some of the history of the area. He really did a phenomenal job -- check it out here, I'm sure you'll agree.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

It was a great Memorial Day weekend for training. Sat-Dolly Sods; Sun-Rich Mtn; Mon-Spruce Knob. It was a gorgeous day on the Sods Saturday. All the water coming off the mountain came in handy since it got a little hot and muggy on the Highlands Sky course. Sunday was a more impromtu run where I had Kadra drop me off late in the evening to run an old ridge road/trail on Rich Mtn home while she went to visit some friends. Less than five minutes into the run I made a wrong turn that added 45 minutes of running once I confirmed my mistake- something I couldn't afford with darkness approaching and no light. I quickly assessed the situation, ran down a side trail that I knew of and ran roads toward where Kadra was heading. Good call-when I got there they had a full spread of food. One of the people said, "You need to get yourself a gps." My answer was something I often say in such situations, "You just have to make sure that you're fit enough to outrun your own stupidity."

I had a fun day wrapping up the weekend running at Spruce Knob yesterday scoping out some of the trail conditions for the WV Trilogy. Kadra and her sister Karly came along since Karly had never been up there before. They dropped me off up top and met me down lower after three or so hours and did some trail running themselves. The only thing I love better than trail running myself is seeing other peoples' eyes light up when they experience it for the first time. I think Karly might be hooked. Here are a few shots from the day:

(My first bear of the year)

(Upper Falls of Seneca Creek)

(Kadra and Karly finishing their run on the Horton Trail)

Running Times

Just thought I'd share with everyone that I've started writing a weekly ultra/trail race recap for Running Times. I'm very excited to have this opportunity. The first edition can be found here.