Wednesday, December 26, 2007
After Hellgate, I took 2 weeks completely off from running. Sascha and I were both getting that little running itch by the end. So I decided to run Pigtail's FlatAss 50k last Saturday. It's a great, fun little flatass near Seattle, out and back on a rails-to-trail, 22 miles paved, 9.74 miles dirt. I ran it last year and enjoyed myself, so thought it would be fun again - a great cruiser to get back into running.
It started out easy enough in the cold rain as Sam Thompson, Brock Gavery, Bruce Hoff, Alex Swenson, and I just kinda cruised along. By mile 9, Alex and I had unintentionally gapped everyone else while chatting about geeky stuff like running. About mile 12, Alex had to stop to pee, so I continued on and knew I would see him soon.
I made it to the 15.87 mile turn around in 1:59, turned around and started the nice oh-so-gentle downhill back, with Alex about a minute back. I kept cruising along solo, stopping at mile 22.6 to re-fill my bottle and noticed Alex was still about a minute back. Hm, this is just a flatass, but maybe I'll throw in a little tempo to see what happens. So I did for 3 miles, looked back, and Alex was still there. I slowed a little for 1 1/2 miles, then decided to run 1 hard mile. Alex was still there.
With only 3 1/2 miles to go and about a minute lead, I figured I kinda had to go for the W. So I slowed a bit for the next mile to make sure I had a kick and Alex definitely reeled me in quite a bit. I picked it up again for the last 2 1/2, ran well for 1 1/2, then started really hurting the last mile. I was weaving, even had some tunnel vision going on - a first in a race, er, flatass, for me. Anyway, I weaved my way across the finish line in 3:52:18, a full 18 seconds ahead of Alex. I was dizzy and definitely a bit nauseous. Van cleared a chair for me right as I fell into it.
Eventually I felt good enough to limp to my truck and change out of my soaked clothes, then go back to the finish to cheer on other flatassers, eat some tasty chicken soup, and collect my really cool first place handmade pig finisher's medal and piggy bank - complete with 31 cents. Very awesome!
So, I didn't meet my goal of running an easy, controlled long run. Usually I'm good at holding back in training races, but I was completely lame and let my competitiveness get the better of me. So my body responded by being super-gimped up for the next 3 days. This was especially bad since Christmas Camp started on the 24th. But today, 4 days after, I'm feeling better. Lesson learned...again.
Sisters got about 8" of snow the past 24 hours.
Coming soon - more on Christmas Camp!
Thursday, December 20, 2007
-Miles 68-70 of the Tahoe 72 miler (yeah, I love racing at Tahoe!). After trailing Akos Konya for the previous 63 miles, by up to 40 minutes, I finally caught him. He was struggling and I went by him hard. He surprised me and responded. The next 3 miles were an epic battle, 6:30-6:40 for each of those miles on the icy pavement. With 2 miles to go he made the move. I was red-lining and I was done. He beat me by 2 minutes. It was awesome! Full report is here (scroll down to the October 15 post).
-During boot camp with Ashley Nordell and Matt Hart, Hart took a nasty dive in a gigantic boulder field and landed right on his head. We were literally at least 3 hours from any trailhead. He ended up being okay, but man, it was scary.
I believe this is Tuva's answer to Hagg Lake's Men in Skirts competition.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Central Oregon Running Klub, CORK. This is my regional, official USATF klub (we spell klub with a "k" because CORC looks stupid). It's a good size group of about 120 members, with probably half fairly actively involved. There are the old-timer studs such as Roger Daniels and Lew Hollander, fast masters ladies like Jeanne Groesz, easy-going guys like Doug Williams, the friendliest people on Earth in Dan and Kathy Harshburger, rd's Curt Ringstad, Amy Clark, and Charlene Levesque, and the list goes on. We meet Saturday mornings for a weekly long run, usually on trails, followed by a great breakfast at the Westside Cafe and Bakery. We organize races both big and small, have hot chocolate runs in the winter, support local running youth with scholarships, try to meet weekly for hill repeats and track fun, and have a few parties throughout the year for fun. It's a good group of people. I have proudly been a CORKster since 2002.
Montrail. This is my ultrarunning team. Montrail was the first shoe company to really invest in ultrarunning in general, and in ultrarunners specifically. Montrail has sponsored many of the greats that we all know by a single name: Horton, Kirk, Dave, Kerby, Scott, William, Brian, Courtney, Clark, Karl, Krissy, Steph, Francesca, Darcy, Betsy, Dink, AJW, Jorge, Paul, Clifton, Luis, Hal, Ian, Monica, Annette, Bethany, Janice, Leigh, Roch, Brandon, and the list goes on and on. For many years, one of the things that set Team Montrail apart from the other teams was that we were so large - it was really cool! The team size has definitely fluctuated a lot the past few years. The 2007 season saw its highest number ever, with 80-something. Yowzers - that's a lot of people to sponsor. That was cool, too. I enjoyed traveling to different races across the country, big and small, and always seeing at least one other Montrailian out there. For 2008, marketing decisions chose to sponsor 15-20 athletes, mostly ultrarunners, with some adventure racers and mountaineers also thrown in to the mix. From a selfish, teammate point of view, I didn't much like this. From a realistic marketing perspective, it completely makes sense. I dare say that Montrail has invested more in ultrarunning than all other companies combined. Size-wise, we are now much more in line with the average size of the other teams out there. Whether or not that's a good thing will definitely be tested in the coming years. I have proudly been a Montrailian since 2002.
Sisters Little Ultra Team, SLUT. This is my ultra team in the town where I live. We are little and we are proud. Although I was the one who came up with the acronym, Fatboy eagerly accepted it and quickly joined the team. Since I was the first ultrarunner in Sisters, Fatboy says I'm Head SLUT. Cool. He's SLUT #2. We haven't had much turn-over on this team. We started with 4 - Fatboy, CB, Jon, and me. Jon moved out of Sisters a couple years ago, so had to step down from the team. We have 2 rules: you have to live in Sisters, and you have to be an ultrarunner. However, as of the Sisters Poker Run in October, we were able to induct two new SLUTs. We currently have 5 - Fatboy, CB, Natalie, Doug, and me. I have proudly been a SLUT since 2003.
Marathon Maniacs. This is my team I turn to when, after running Quadzilla, I want to feel normal. This is pretty much an internet-based club with very strong Puget Sound ties. We have members all across the US, and even some international maniacs amongst us. It's a very fun club. We wear really cool bright yellow shirts (well, some people wear boring black or the new red, but yellow is where it all started) with the MM logo on our chests and the infamous "Maniac with cat on head" on our backs. There are 9 levels of Maniacism, starting with the single star Bronze, and going up to the 10-star Titanium (I really can count - there isn't a 9-star level). Basically, we run lots of marathons and/or ultramarathons. It's fun. It's social. It's an excuse to get together with friends to use a race as a nice long training run. It's competitive; I currently have 15 ultra finishes this year, and that puts me tied for 9th. Gilles and Pigtails are tied at 29 (and none of those numbers includes marathons). Some run 93 marathons in a single year. Others run 51 marathons in 50 states (plus DC) in 50 days. It's supportive. As a result of being a Maniac, I have made a goal to run 100 ultras by my 35th birthday. I'm currently at 84 and I have until July 31, 2008 to do it. I only get positive encouragement from Maniacs when I state this goal. It's a big club. I joined a little over 3 years ago as Maniac #92. Currently, there are 745 members (and we're growing everyday). I have proudly been a Marathon Maniac since 2004.
So those are my 4 teams. I proudly wear shirts from each team at different races, depending on the race, distance, location, etc. Occasionally at races, I wear shirts from other organizations that I support and who support me, such as Sisters High School Cross Country, FootZone, and Finger Lakes Running Company, and I'm very excited to start wearing the colors for Fleet Feet Bend soon. But those 4 teams above are my teams now. I look forward to being a member of each of those teams for many years to come.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Aaron Schwartzbard, 11:28:13, 1st o/a
Annette Bednosky, 13:26:25, 1st girl, 9th o/a
Jaroslaw Janicki, 6:07:45, 1st o/a
Norimi Sakurai, 6:34:57, 1st girl, 4th o/a
Akos Konya, 6:35:13, 5th o/a
Jim Harrington, 3:42:32, 1st o/a
Andrea Jarzombek, 3:46:11, 1st girl, 2nd o/a
Wendy Terris, 3:51:58, 2nd girl, 3rd o/a
Tallahassee Ultra Distance Classic 50m:
Jack McDermott, 6:41:23, 1st o/a
Amy Costa, 7:21:48, 1st girl, 2nd o/a
Tallahasse Ultra Distance Classic 50k:
Thierry Asselin, 3:30:25, 1st o/a
Olivia Swedberg, 4:44:39, 1st girl, 10th o/a
In other weekend ultra news, Way Too Cool 50k once again sold-out in quick fashion to the first 450 quick typers. Perhaps 6 of those typers will also be making their way to the WS100 starting line.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Arriving Thursday afternoon gave me plenty of time to get a crappy massage that evening, sleep until noon on Friday, pseudo-organize my gear, and buy Yaktrax. I anxiously waited for Lucia to get home from work, then we drove to Bryon's house to carpool with him and Lindsay for the 3 1/2 hour drive to the start. It was definitely an interesting car ride. Usually, at least amongst fellow Oregonians, I consider myself to be fairly well-spoken when talking politics. However, put me in a car with 3 DCers, and I could barely get 2 words in. They definitely kept me entertained.
We got to the starting area, at Hell Gate (there really is an actual gate called this), about an hour before go-time. This gave me plenty of time to get ready, go back-and-forth between shorts and tights, and down a few more calories. I decided to go with tights and one bottle until a.s. 2 at 7.5 miles (thanks Krissy). Shortly before midnight, the 110 starters gathered around Hell Gate, where Horton said a prayer, then we were led by Annette in singing the Star Spangled Banner.
At 12:01 a.m., we were off. And off we were...it felt like the JFK start, not the start of some hellish 100k++ run into the scary woods through the night. I wasn't tempted - I started very easy, running most of the first 3 1/2 miles to a.s. 1 near Annette. Less than a mile before the a.s., the course markers were vandalized, so most of us got temporarily lost. However, Horton was running that section close behind me and shouted directions on which way to go. This was the only time all race that I got off-course.
The section to a.s. 2 was my favorite part of the course - 4 miles with 1200' of climbing on a smooth dirt road (with the occasional icy patch thrown in for fun). I loved it! Just doing what I love doing, without really trying, I went from probably 20th at a.s. 1 to 7th at a.s. 2, covering those 4 miles in 31 minutes. Feeling warmed up at the top, I saw Lucia and Lindsay, quickly changed into my shorts, grabbed my Nathan pack from Lucia, and with a kiss I was off.
I left that a.s. with Byron Backer and Brian Kistner (I think). Following Byron's lead downward, I eagerly listened to a few words of course advice from him, one being that the leaders were going way too fast. After a mile or so, Byron let me by and I continued on my way to a.s 3 at 13.1 miles. I don't remember too much, except the final bit was another nice climb on a smooth gravel road. Arriving at the a.s., I was told that due to icy roads and closed gates, neither drop bags nor crew would be at the next a.s. In fact, I probably wouldn't see either until a.s. 7 at mile 42.5. Hm, this created an issue for me since I am definitely a gel-guy, and rarely eat solids in races. So I quickly changed my plan and ate some potatoes and other stuff that I can't remember.
As I left the a.s. station, I had to make a choice: continue with my normal fueling strategy of gels until they ran out in a couple hours; or conserve my gels, try to eat real food, and risk either real-food issues or bonking from not being able to eat the real food and not having enough gels. I chose option 2.
I really enjoyed most of the next section to a.s. 4 (shortened from mile 22 to mile 20). It was mostly a bunch of easy, rolly running. At a slightly confusing intersection, I caught up to 3 guys, Keith Knipling, Mike Schuster, and some other guy. Eventually I went by all 3 of them, arriving at a.s. 4 in 4th place, with Mike and Keith right behind me. As advertised at a.s. 3, there were no drop bags or crews here. Feeling a bit light-headed, I knew I needed calories, so I ate more potatoes and other stuff I can't remember.
Keith, Mike, and I all headed out together up another cool climb. We started out walking, I soon realized we should be running, said so, and we ran. Mike and I got slightly ahead of Keith and entered the next single track together. I think he led for a bit, then I went by. I got a bit ahead of him, started feeling a bit low on energy on a technical downhill, and took my last gel as Keith went ripping by. I seriously thought he was going on for the win then. Shortly after, I heard a party! It had to be a.s. 5, and with that much noise, I was certain crews (Lucia!) were there. That got me happy to get there quick, but first a short pit stop where Mike caught up to me. We ran down the last 1/4 mile to a.s 5 at 27.6 together. I think I got there around 5:25. I crossed a bridge with a cow carcass on it and immediately saw Lucia and Lindsay waiting to go to work. I was so happy to see them! Lindsay took care of re-filling my water, while Lucia filled my pack with handfuls of gels. I drank a bit of coke, got a kiss, and was out of there.
Feeling low on energy from my lack of calories the last couple of hours, I was disappointed to be slogging up a very runnable smooth dirt road for a couple miles. Two lights were closing in, and after getting back on single track, one eventually passed me. After the gels started kicking in, I felt better and eventually was on another uphill dirt road climb. It was light enough to turn off the lights, so I did and enjoyed the climb to a.s. 6 at 34.5. I think I got there around 6:55. The great volunteers told me I was in 6th, filled my bladder, and I was off.
As I headed out, I clearly remember thinking that the first 34.5 miles of Hellgate really weren't all that tough. Seriously. It wasn't easy, and had a few short technical sections, but nothing that stuck out in my mind as really tough. The next 2 miles further proved my point.
Then it started. I turned off a really nice, fast dirt road and onto leaves. A lot of them. Supposedly there was a trail down there, but I sure couldn't see it. Nor could I see my feet. Or ankles or shins. My knees were barely showing. The leaves were that deep. Lucky for me that my feet sure could feel all those sharp rocks under them. The "trail" was like this for a long time. I would occasionally run for 10-20 seconds when the leaves weren't quite as deep, but mostly, I hiked. It was futile to even attempt to run. The terrain wasn't at all steep, but it was very off-camber and the leaves were very deep. So I hiked for a long time, with the occasional puke thrown in for good measure. Eventually I saw a Montrail jersey closing in and knew it was Mike. That made me realize that I actual could run again, so I did. I ran the last 1/2 mile in to a.s. 7 at mile 42.5 with Mike right behind me. I think it was a little after 9:00 when I arrived there very haggered. I was happy to hear Horton announce that I was still first place Oregonian, but trumped him by saying I was probably first place east-of-the-Mississippi. He concurred. Lucia and Lindsay were there and helped me with a quick clothes drop, switch from pack to hand helds, a quick kiss from Lucia and as I started off, Horton yelled that the next stretch was a really good one. He was right.
Dropping my pack, I felt great again! I had all kinds of energy as I ran uphill on a nice single track. I occasionally looked back to see if Mike had joined me, but I was alone. I felt good again in this 7 mile section, and my 75ish minute split proved this. When I saw Lucia, I said I wanted a coke & water bottle, which she expertly mixed and handed me in mid-stride. I didn't even have to stop. Perfect. Almost. Luckily Lucia remembered the kiss.
Apparently this next section is long. Still feeling great, I ran down the next two miles on a dirt road at a decent pace, hoping we would be staying on this road for a long time. Nope. A right turn into leaves. Again, I guess there was a trail, but couldn't see it. So I hiked again and resumed puking. After a really long time of not seeing another runner, a blue flash was quickly catching me. Chris Reed cruised by me as I gave him a rah-rah. He was feeling good and flying. Less than a mile later, I saw Bryon sitting on the side of the trail taking pictures. Unfortunately, his huge November caught up too him at Hellgate and he retired at a.s. 4. That allowed him to get some lovely shots of me. Thanks, Bryon.
I shuffled into the final a.s. at mile 56. Lindsay told me I was in 5th. Grouchily, I barked back that I was in 7th. Lucia quickly sent me on my way with a bottle of plain water, a lemon drop, and a kiss. The time was 11:47, and although beat, I felt pretty confident I could cover the last 6.5 miles in less than 73 minutes.
I ran about half way up the 3 mile hill, then the terrain got really steep and the leaves got deep, so I hiked the last half. Cresting the hill at 12:26, the SAR people gave me a nice wave as I took off for the final 3 1/2 downhill cruiser miles. After 20 minutes, I knew I was getting close. One mile to go - a sweet sign. I cruised along past some barky dogs with my bottle cocked and ready to squirt, made the turn into Camp Bethel and at 12:53:47, I became the 5th finisher of the 2007 Hellgate 100k. Apparently 2 guys in front of me had dropped earlier. Oops, sorry Lindsay; I'll never again doubt my crew.
After a hug from Horton and Lucia, I mentioned to Horton that although Hellgate was tough, it's definitely not as tough as days 1 & 4 of the Tuscarora Trail Stage Race. Although he didn't want to, I think he agreed.
So overall, yes, Hellgate is a tough race. I went into it with an "adventure-run, not race" attitude, and that's exactly what I got out of it. I absolutely believe the first 34.5 miles are much easier than the last 28. Horton disagrees. He's wrong. For runners familiar with Where's Waldo, I compare Hellgate very closely to the original Waldo. Both advertised as 100k, they're both really about 66.3 miles. They both have 11,000'+ vertical. As far as difficulty of actual terrain, while the technical parts of Hellgate are much tougher than Waldo, the easy road parts are also much easier than any part of Waldo (there were many miles of Hellgate where I was easily running 7-something pace). The overall course records are very close, and they both have an 18-hour cutoff.
Thank you to David, Mrs. Horton, all of the fabulous volunteers, my fellow adventurers, Bryon, Lindsay, and most of all, Lucia. Without all of you, my Hellgate experience wouldn't have been nearly as incredible as it was.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Well, we've just heard the WS lottery results. So now it's our favorite time of year - it's time to get fat! Yeah, baby...bring on the chubb!
The inevitable rolls in your belly will start looking at you on Jan. 1 and say "hey, this is kinda cool - can we stick around?" Well, if you don't want those rolls to last all the way to swim (birthday) suit season at Where's Waldo, then have I got a series for you.
Last January, I noticed that there were 4 fatasses in Oregon in January, and conveniently, one each weekend. So, for 2008, the 4 fatass organizers decided to get ever-so-slightly organized and create: FATSO. This little acronym was actually the brain-child of MadAss Maura. Naturally, FATSO stands for FatAss Trail Series of Oregon.
Here's the schedule:
BadAss, Jan. 5, 8 a.m. In the Badlands Recreation Area east of Bend. For info, Sean at email@example.com or 541-549-1298 http://www.footzonebend.com/rumble/badass/
MLK, Jan. 12, usually 9 a.m. Ridgeline Trail in Eugene. For info, Stephan Willow at firstname.lastname@example.org
SOFA (Southern Oregon FatAss), Jan. 19, 9 a.m. Grave Creek Trailhead on the Rogue River near Galice. For info, Tim Turk at email@example.com or 541-264-0262
MadAss, Jan. 26, usually 9 a.m. MUT headquarters in Madras. For info, Maura and Stan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-475-0348
Although not normal for fatasses, there will be an overall award for the FATSO. The runner with the highest total time will win something; we don't know what yet, but it will be kinda cool. So if you think you're too fat and too slow and will never win anything, this is your chance! Remember, the more FATSO events you run, the better chance you have to win!
We look forward to seeing all of your fatasses on our local trails next month. Until then, eat up!
-The FATSO Committee
Monday, December 3, 2007
-Josh Nordell, Tucson Marathon, 2:49:36, 8th o.a.
-Ashley Nordell, High Desert 50k, 4:11:21, 1st girl, 8th o.a.
-Rod Bien, TNF 50 mile, 7:57:38, 5th o.a.
-Jenn Shelton, TNF 50 mile, 8:22:19, 2nd girl, 7th o.a.
-Paul Saladino, TNF 50 mile, 8:36:53, 10th o.a.
-Meghan Arbogast, Cal. International Marathon, 2:45:43, 10th girl, 1st masters girl, 59th o.a. -
Olympic Trials Qualifier!
-Lucia Olivera, Gar Williams 1/2 Marathon, 1:48:40, p.r.!
Great running, my friends.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Obviously the big talk in ultrablogworld this weekend was the WS lottery. I beat the 16% odds. I got in. Yay. Now I'm going to train my arse off for this one to, as Scott Wolfe says, "validate my selection in this year's lottery".
Although not quite yet. First I have this little fun run this weekend, ala Horton-style. Then I'll have to take a little time off to get fat! Of course, January brings FATSO (FatAss Trail Series of Oregon). A little mud at Hagg Lake in February (I won the Men in Skirts competition last Feb thanks to my Kathy Harshburger custom, so I get free entry, and I'll be going for my 5-year buckle!). February will also be when I start ramping it up again. March will hopefully find me at WTC. In April, I'm excited to watch the fast girls in Boston, then enjoy racing through the tunnel of screams at Wellesley College the next day with 25,000 friends. May and the first part of June will be focus time. Then the big dance on June 28.
To all of you who will be dancing with me on June 28 - rah, rah, rah for getting past the lottery! For those who didn't get in, I'm sorry. Obviously something is going to have to change for next year.