Saturday, March 19, 2011

Runnin' kicks

I don’t make a particular habit of talking too much about my running gear on this blog, as I figure most runners already know what works best for them, so don’t really need recommendations from me. Well, I’ve recently been asked quite a bit what I think about Montrail’s new line-up of shoes, what I like, what I think needs improvement, and most of all, what I’m wearing on my feet.
Vitesse - the original Montrail, and basically, the original trail runner in the US.
First, I’ll give you a (hopefully) brief history of my Montrails. Like many trail runners in the late-90s/early-2000s looking to buy a “real” trail shoe, my first purchase was a Vitesse. I don’t have stats on this, but I’m quite certain this is Montrail’s all-time best seller, and possibly even the all-time best seller of all trail running shoes. My Vitesse arrived mail order, were too small, so I sent them back, and never owned another pair. In 2002, I tried the Melee. I figured if it could help propel Scott to victory at Western States, it had to be a great shoe. I loved that it was light and very flexible, however, I didn’t love that it chewed up my ankles. Krissy noticed this fact at Cle Elum 50 km and recommended I contact Montrail customer service about swapping. I was super impressed with Montrail’s customer service, as they sent me a pair of Diablos even before I sent them back my bloody-around-the-ankles Melee. I also started working at FootZone in Bend about this time and was finally able to try the rugged favorite of many, the Leona Divide (a shoe which I'm quite sure Ian logged more miles in than almost all other Leona-wearers combined).

 My last pair of Leona Divides - I've been milking 'em for a few years, only using them in the winter as they're retro-fitted with screws ala-Bronco Billy style.
I tried hard to like the Diablo, as it was a favorite of Nate’s, and Bronco really talked highly of his, but I just didn’t love it. However, I immediately fell in love with the Leona! It fit my foot so well, it was relatively light for its era, I could literally take a brand new pair out of the box and run a 50k in them without issue, and the part that I thought was the coolest was the rugged, sawtooth traction was absolutely the best (in fact it still ranks as my favorite snow tread, and combined with the goretex upper of the Hurricane Ridge, was a sweet winter running shoe).

Others came and went over the years: Wasatch (very rugged, never tried it), Diez Vista (Diabloesque, but I never tried it), Masai (was a great shoe - light, fast, and highly breathable, but some durability issues), Susitna (goretex version of Masai, the goretex was more like a softshell which worked really well; great for snowshoeing), Kinabulu (Brandon-inspired, was made for desert running on slickrock and sandstone), Continental Divide (Leona’s overly-stiff successor), Hardrock (I never tried any of the 3 or 4 versionas of this beefy shoe, but it was a huge hit with some of the bigger runners, as well as with hikers), Highline (basically a neutral, cushy Hardrock; I remember Krissy being quoted as saying they were like running on pillows), Mountain Mist (goretex verison of the Highline), Nitrus (fast-looking, great for multiple surfaces, had outsole nub issues), Odyssey (weak attempt at a Masai replacement, although Hart, Grossman, and Chris really liked it; I still use an old pair for mowing the lawn), Wildwood (urban trail runner for both trails and roads, I never tried them), Highlander (narrow fit with big lugs, good in the mud), Streak (Montrail’s first big change to a lighter, lower, more flexible shoe; also, the first Montrail I got to wear-test).
Quite possibly the most recognizable trail running shoe outsole pattern in history. Photo courtesy Glenn Tachiyama
Currently in the line, but not new: Masochist (modified Streak w/slight medial post and narrower toe box, Montrail's best seller the past few years; also holds the c.r. at WS; goretex version available), Rockridge (neutral shoe w/great lateral stability and good lugs for snow and mud; I was fortunate to be able to do lots of wear-testing for this), Sabino Trail (beefiest current shoe; goretex version available).

Newest Montrails: Badrock (Fluidpost version of the Rockridge), Fairhaven (great fitting, fairly plush, road/trail hybrid, it's currently my go-to road shoe for lunch runs; another shoe I got to wear-test), Rogue Racer (I was very fortunate to wear-test this very extensively and see my input included in the production model). The Rogue is basically a racing flat, and thus, by far the biggest change from a traditional Montrail. And this is a good thing. A very good thing. It's light (official specs say 8.8 oz, but my food scale says 7.7 oz), definitely low-profile, extremely breathable (i.e., it drains well), highly flexible, great little grippy nubs, has a flexible rubber rock plate, and, well, it just looks cool. Plus, it's fast!

Future Montrails: okay, I really can't say anything specific here, but I can say the Rogue was just a start in the new wave of lighter and faster Montrails.

So, this all brings me back to my current Montrail kicks. By far, most of my miles are in the Rogue Racer. When I first started testing them over a year ago, I figured they would be good for up to 20-25 miles maximum. Well, last weekend I wore a pair for all 3 days of the 3 Days of Syllamo stage race (50k, 50mi, 20k). I was a bit concerned by the ruggedness of the trails and sheer distance, but I'm excited to report that my legs and feet were very happy with my choice. I had absolutely zero issues. Sure, my legs are now tired, but I expected that after the race. So now I know I would wear them for most trail races up to 100k (and they would be great for varied-terrain races such as American River and JFK), however, I'm still unsure if they would be my 100-miler shoe. Of course, if you know me and how good of a 100 miler I am, that obviously isn't an issue.
My current favorite Rogue Racer, complete with knee and shin blood around the collar thanks to Syllamo!
As I mentioned above, the Fairhaven is my current go-to shoe for my daily lunch runs. It's cushy on the roads and has great nubby traction for a little snow and mud that's currently on my trails. The Rockridge is what I consider my 4x4 shoe - the one I can wear for any conditions. If  I'm not comfortable with the Rogue for a trail run, the Rockridge is the one I use. It's great for Smith Rock State Park's ruggedness and big vert, is comfortable, runs great on the flats as well as big elevation changes, has good lugs for mud and snow, and it is the one pair of shoes I took with me to Chile for 12 days last October (which included the mountainous Ultramaraton de los Andes 80 km race, plus lots and lots of hiking).

So, there you have it. Montrails. Lots of Montrails. Old and new. What running models did I miss (I'm excluding Montrail's many hiking, mountaineering, climbing, casual, and sandals they've made over the years)? What's your favorite?

One final note: If this post got you excited about Montrails and your favorite local running store doesn't carry them, you can now order a pair directly from Montrail's fancy new website (the website even helps you determine which pair should best suit your needs).

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Team Montrail 2011

I am extremely humbled to be a Montrailian for the 9th straight year. Not only do we have an extremely stacked team talent-wise, we really have a bunch of really cool and fun to be around guys and girls who just love to run! Press release below:

Montrail Announces 2011 Trail Running Team

Richmond, CA (February 1, 2011) – Montrail, the leader in trail-inspired running and recovery footwear, is thrilled to announce its 2011 trail running team. Comprised of top trail and ultra runners from around North America, the 2011 edition of Team Montrail will have the difficult task of improving upon its successes in 2010.

"At Montrail, we look to align the brand with athletes who are pushing the limits, achieving success and helping to shape the future of trail and ultrarunning,” said Montrail Athlete Manager Jesse Malman. “For 2011, we’ve compiled a group of individuals who are at the top of their sport, and committed to helping the sport to grow in popularity and in participation.”

In 2010, Montrail athletes had several notable wins and achievements, including: Ultrarunning Magazine’s 2010 Ultrarunner of the Year (Geoff Roes), 2010 Female Ultrarunning Performance of the Year (Ellie Greenwood) and 2010 Male Ultrarunning Performance of the Year (Geoff Roes). Max King had a stellar year winning the Xterra Trail Running World Championship, USATF Trail Half Marathon and Trail Marathon Championship, while Annette Bednosky topped the podium at the USATF 100 Mile Trail Championship. With several other first place finishes, course records and major speed records in 2010, Team Montrail has set a high bar for 2011.

This year, top runners Geoff Roes, Max King, Dakota Jones, Ellie Greenwood and Joelle Vaught will be back along with the majority of the 2010 team, as well as four new additions:

Megan Lund: This Aspen, Colorado native is a 2-time Olympic marathon trials qualifier and 2-time USA Mountain Running team member. She’s the winner of the 2010 Sierre Zinal Mountain Race in Switzerland. Megan looks to run many high-profile mountain races in Europe this summer, along with the Pikes Peak Ascent and USATF Trail Half Marathon Championship.

Amy Sproston: Amy lives in Portland, Oregon and is a 2-time Massanutten 100 winner, winner of the 2010 JFK 50 and the 2010 Pine to Palm 100. Her focus for the first half of 2011 will be Western States 100.

Ryan Burch: Ryan is a native of Colorado and is a force in the mountains. 2010 highlights include wins at the Antelope Island 50, Leadville Marathon and Grand Mesa 100. This year, look for Ryan to compete near the front at Western States 100 and Leadville 100.

Andy Henshaw: Andy lives in Steilacoom, Washington and at the young age of 25 is just beginning to find his groove. In 2011, he’ll focus on the 50 mile and 100k distances and will look to qualify for the USA 100k Team.

“This talented team of runners is also a group of active and influential members of the running community,” continued Jesse. “They are a strong group of race directors, coaches, trainers, and running addicts...we couldn't be more excited about the year ahead for Team Montrail."

With great excitement and anticipation, here’s your 2011 Montrail Trail Running Team:
Annette Bednosky – Jefferson, NC
Ryan Burch – Ft. Collins, CO
Luis Escobar – Santa Maria, CA
Ellie Greenwood – Banff, AB
Matt Hart – Salt Lake City, UT
Andy Henshaw – Steilacoom, WA
David Horton – Lynchburg, VA
Dakota Jones – Ft. Collins, CO
Max King – Bend, OR
Megan Lund – Basalt, CO
Ryne Melcher – Vancouver, BC
Sean Meissner – Sisters, OR
Luanne Park – Redding, CA
Jill Perry – Manlius, NY
Geoff Roes – Nederland, CO
Gary Robbins – North Vancouver, BC
Erik Skaden – Sacramento, CA
Amy Sproston – Portland, OR
Joelle Vaught – Boise, ID

Follow along throughout the year on the Team Montrail blog to keep current on race schedules and outcomes.

About Montrail:
Montrail is a premium outdoor brand known for its high performance trail-specific and recovery footwear. Serving as the trail running authority since 1993, Montrail is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Columbia Sportswear Company based in Richmond, Calif. Montrail distributes its products through specialty outdoor, running and sporting goods retailers throughout the United States and over 30 countries worldwide. Montrail is committed to delivering innovative performance footwear with outstanding runability for the New Breed of Runner. To learn more about Montrail, please visit:

Erin Brosterhous
Mountain Hardwear and Montrail Public Relations
US mail: PO Box 775772
Shipping: 729 Oak Street
Steamboat Springs, CO 80477
970.871.1308 (office)
970.846.1684 (cell)
Personal email:

Sunday, December 12, 2010

168 hours of Whole Foods

Saturday, Dec. 4:
So for many years now I take an annual running sabbatical about this time of year. It's a nice time of year to do it - at the end of a long season of running and racing, my body is tired and needs a break, the days are short and cold, and it's the holiday season so that means I'll be eating lots of holiday snacky foods.

Well, this year I'm doing something different. I'm still taking the sabbatical, which entails one week of no physical activity, then maybe if my body feels like it I'll start hiking and snowshoeing a bit the second week. Usually at the end of week 2 I'm ready to start jogging a bit again, but occasionally I'll take 3 or 4 weeks off, and one year it was even 6 weeks off (that was the year I mapped out the original long course of the Rumble). It's really nice to give my body a much needed complete rest for however long it takes.
Shellburg Falls Trail Run, enroute to the Civil War!
So in addition to my running sabbatical, which started at 9:50 a.m. this morning when I finished the Shellburg Falls 7 mile trail race, I'm also going to eat and drink a 100% whole foods diet for exactly one week. That started tonight at 6:29 p.m. at the conclusion of a nice Mexican restaurant meal, complete with a blue margarita (the last thing was actually a cinnamon candy they put with the check).
Post-Civil War / pre-whole foods blue margaritas.
Hart kinda planted the idea in my head in March with his Whole Foods for a Day Challenge blog post. I didn't take him up on the challenge then, or ever, but have occasionally thought about it. Then in late October, after getting home from Chile, I decided I was going for the challenge. But a day is just way too short; I can do anything for a day - that's easy. So I decided to not make any drastic diet changes while I was still training and racing, but instead wait until my season was over.

Well, it's over and the 168 hours of whole foods has begun. I'm going to update this blog daily for a week, with plans to put exactly everything I eat and drink each day, plus how I'm feeling. Despite what Newman-O's Nordell thinks, I actually do eat a fairly good diet. I just want it to be healthier for a week and see what happens. Oh, and I'm only telling one person about this so I don't get any unsolicited advice from anyone. I'm doing it my way, and I'm doing it for me.

So, my diet so far for the last 3:50 has been 24 oz of water. Let the next 164:10 begin.

Sunday, Dec. 5:
I know I made the correct decision in not doing this whole foods diet for just 24 hours, as I didn't really even think about it. Of course I didn't eat much, either, but not because of the type of food, but just because I had a lazy day.

Number one on my agenda today was to go grocery shopping. I spent $67.75 on nothing but whole foods. It looks like I bought a lot, so I'm hoping this will last me the week. Here's a list of what I bought: 2.4# round roast, 2 chicken breasts, 4 broccoli crowns, 8 bananas, 4 avocados, 4 cucumbers, 4 green peppers, 1.75# of green beans, 2 green onions, 5 mushrooms, 1 red pepper, 4 bunches of radishes, 1 yellow onion, 3 grapefruits, 1# sunflower seeds, 1 white onion, 1 jalapeno pepper, 1.5# almonds, spinach, 4# granny smith apples, 5# carrots, 3 containers grape tomatoes, 6 sprouted bagels.
These are all of the goodies I bought for the week.
I have other food at home already that I'll also be using, including almond butter, potatoes, pepper (but the sea salt I have unfortunately doesn't make the whole foods cut), eggs, garlic, olive oil. I forgot to get jam, and as I eat ab&j pretty much every day for lunch at work, I'll be getting some whole foods approved jam tomorrow.

My menu today consisted of: banana, grapefruit, a few little carrots and celery, avocado, sprouted bagel with almond butter, tiny orange, 2 big bowls of beef stew, a couple cups of hot lemon water, and about 60 oz. of water. Not a lot, but I wasn't very active today, so I wasn't very hungry. No cravings for anything.

Monday, Dec. 6:
I was curious as to what my first "real" day on the diet would bring (real = work day). There always seems to be a candy jar full of chocolates, and people often bring in tasty baked goodies, so I wanted to see how my self-control was. In anticipation of said non-whole foods, I packed lots and lots of food for work.

Breakfast, lunch, and snacks (all at work) - 1 banana, lots of carrots, lots of celery, 1 broccoli crown, lots of grape tomatoes, 1 bunch of radishes, 1 apple, 1 orange, 100 oz. water. I usually drink a gallon+ of water every day at work, but I noticed I didn't need or want to drink as much today, yet was peeing more than usual. I attribute this to the natural water found in all the food I was eating.

Dinner - big bowl of beef stew, avocado, a few carrots and green pepper slices, hot lemon water.

I didn't have any cravings at work, maybe because I was shoveling food in my mouth almost the whole day, but I did have a slight and short-lived sugar craving after dinner. It went away, though, when I started slicing and dicing tomorrow's work food.

Tuesday, Dec. 7:
If I thought like I was eating all day at work yesterday, that was nothing compared to today. Good thing it was slow so I could eat all of the tasty goodness I took with me.

Breakfast - sprouted bagel with almond butter, banana

Lunch, snacks - apple, handful of almonds, (sometime in the a.m. the boss gave us all a baggie full of chex mix; everyone else tore right into theirs, but mine went in a drawer), green beans, green pepper, grape tomatoes, cucumber, huge salad (3.3 liters worth of huge consisting of spinach, onion, radishes, green pepper, green beans, grape tomatoes, broccoli, sunflower seeds, olive oil, pepper), grapefruit. All of the individual veggies were in addition to the veggies that were also in the mega salad (many duplicates).

Dinner - spinach, garlic, onion, and pepper all lightly cooked in olive oil, with 3 eggs over-easy over the spinach mixture. This was really good!

Dessert - apple

Water - 1 gallon today. In addition to the increased pee breaks, I've also been pretty gassy the past couple days. I thought it was processed foods that were supposed to do this to people, not whole foods.

It sure does take a lot longer to prepare all of this food than I'm used to. My cutting boards, knives, and tupperware are all definitely working overtime. I had a little bit of a craving for something more substantial not long after dinner, but it didn't last long. I was planning on chicken and rice for dinner, but since I changed my mind on that, today ended up being a vegetarian day (and if not for the 3 eggs, it would have been a vegan day).
I just thought another picture needed to be added in the middle of this post. Sascha and Lucie taking the scenic route down Black Butte.
Wednesday, Dec. 8:
Okay, I'm definitely on veggies here. After once again eating a gigantic salad at work, I decided I haven't been eating enough fruit and animal protein. That changed tonight with a big chicken breast and super tasty sweet potato. I decided that tomorrow I won't be taking another 3.3 liters worth of salad to work; instead more fruit, sprouted bagels, and almond butter, in addition to just some veggies to snack on.

Breakfast - sprouted bagel with almond butter, banana.

Lunch, snacks - handful of almonds, handful of sunflower seeds, fat salad (consisting of spinach, onion, radishes, green pepper, green beans, grape tomatoes, broccoli, sunflower seeds, olive oil, pepper), apple. Once again my boss brought goodies to work, this time in the form of fudge. I'm seeing a trend here. Despite uncharacteristically not eating any of the treats, nobody at work has noticed and thus, haven't quizzed me about my eating habits this week (they have, however, stared in amazement as I chow down on the huge salads).

Dinner - chicken breast, sweet potato with cinnamon (super tasty!), strawberries.

Unlike the last 2 nights, I didn't have any cravings tonight after dinner, which I believe is due to the more substantial animal protein dinner I had (the chicken breast was pretty big). After dinner I felt pretty bloated. I contribute that partially to my dinner, but more to all of the water I ate via the veggies in addition to the 150 oz of water I drank.

Less than 3 days to go and everything is good. It might be a little tougher tomorrow night as I'm going out to dinner at Jackson's Corner for Darla's birthday. I've never really noticed if this "healthy" restarant has much in the way of whole foods. Guess I'll find out soon enough (they do, however, have super good cookies and cinnamon rolls!).

Thursday, Dec. 9:
Since I'm working 4-10s at work right now, today was the last day of work this week, so although that will help take away some of the temptations (today 2 girls brought in rice krisy treats for an office taste test), I won't have the eating structure the next couple of days that I do on work days.

Breakfast - sprouted bagel with almond butter, banana.

Lunch, snacks - apple, sprouted bagel with almond butter, orange, handful of almonds, avocado with sunflower sprinkled on top.

Dinner - Jackson's Corner for Darla's birthday and it was great. Andrea made sure everything I ordered was within my guidelines. Thai salad (modified dressing from the usual), cucumbers, beef. This was sooooooo good (although I think it could have used some salt) and filling. Andrea was nice enough to bring 6 fancy cupcakes for Darla, and Darla graciously shared with the crew for dessert. Yes, I was a little bummed to have not been enjoying the chocolate/peanut butter chip cupcake, but I didn't have any huge cravings for it.

Today was a good day. My lunch and snacks at work were a nice change from the overdose of veggies the past few days, and the beef in the Thai salad really hit the spot. I drank about 140 oz of water, so about normal for me. Also, I wasn't nearly as gassy as the past few days, which I think is a mixture of my body adapting to more veggies than it's used to, plus just not eating as many veggies today. I had a mild headache at work for about an hour. At first I thought it was probably a no-sugar headache, but that didn't make a lot of sense to me because if that was going to happen, it would have on Sunday or Monday (this was my first headache in a loooooooooong time). Andrea thought it was probably from lower calories than I'm used to (probably even lack-of calories). That theory sounds more plausible.

Friday, Dec. 10:
Day off from work, so I slept in then went for a long walk around town with Sascha, which including stopping at the grocery store so I could buy ingredients to make Chocolate Revel Bars for the CORK Christmas Party tomorrow night. I noticed I was feeling a little weak and had a stuffy nose. Blah. As is typical on days off, my eating was sporadic.

Breakfast, lunch, snacks - banana, grapefruit, apple, cucumber, radishes, grape tomatoes, green beans, green pepper, broccoli (thankfully I was able to eat some veggies again today)

Dinner - 2 big bowls of big fat tasty stew again with round roast, white onion, green onion, green pepper, red pepper, garlic, potatoes, carrots, radishes, fresh ground pepper. While tasty, it was definitely a little bland. Usually I would put a can of El Pato Mexican tomato sauce in stew to add spice.
The second of 2 beef stews I made this week. Both were really good and hearty, but slightly bland.
Dessert - banana

The most difficult part of today was baking the Chocolate Revel bars. Not so much because I craved a bar (I didn't), but moreso because when cooking or baking I usually snack on the ingredients. I had to conscientiously tell myself a few times that I couldn't have those chocolate chips, or lick the beaters when I was done mixing it. I made it through the experience unscathed.

I only drank about 60-70 oz of water today. Less than 24 hours to go - easy schmeasy. On a side note, Andrea and I started watching the entire Lost series tonight. After 6 hours we had made it through 8 episodes.

Saturday, Dec. 11:
This last day really was pretty easy. When I woke up I felt light, so decided to weigh myself. I was down 3 lbs for the week. I definitely attribute it to the diet, especially since there was no running. After another couple Lost episodes, we took the dogs for a nice walk around Suttle Lake in super heavy, wet snow where I finished feeling like a popsicle. I'm not going to lie - a nice cup of hot cocoa in front of the big fire would have really hit the spot, but that wasn't an option. Instead I went home and finished off the stew.

Breakfast - 5-grain hot cereal with almond butter

Lunch - stew

The 168 hours ended in fine style at the Lava City Roller Dolls roller derby match. Anticipating the moment, I took a few chocolate revel bars in with me, and few minutes before the time was up, I bought a PBR (that fit nicely in the PBR beer koozy I had just won). 6:29 came and the first thing in my mouth was a drink of PBR followed closely by a revel bar. They both tasted good (okay, the revel bars tasted really good), but I didn't get a noticable sugar buzz or anything like that. After roller derby I went to a Christmas party and feasted on more non-whole food, including ham, pizza, and Pepsi, as well as Darla's delicious salad that I'm pretty sure was whole foods compliant. Anyway, again there was no noticable sugar buzz, and nothing tasted over-the-top awesome, nor did I feel sick from it.
First the PBR...
....then the chocolate revel bar.
So, what did I learn? Well, I didn't have any big epiphanies, nor do I feel like I'm now going to save the world or anything like that. It definitely takes a bit more time to prepare whole foods, especially all of the veggies I took to work vs. the few veggies I usually take along with a Clif bar. Making fat salads also takes longer to make than an almond butter and jam sandwich, plus the huge salads also take a lot longer to eat than the ab&j. But aside from the veggie o.d. earlier in the week, I enjoyed the whole foods week. 

I definitely don't think I'll ever go 100% whole foods. For me that's just not realistic, as I really enjoy things like nuun, cookies, cinnamon rolls, and cheese fries. I don't want to give up those treats. But I do believe I will now be generally more conscientious about the food I buy and eat. I could see myself going to 80-90% whole foods; I think that is reasonable. I'm also glad I did this for a week as opposed to a day, as I really do think a day doesn't prove anything, nor would it allow me to get into any sort of routine. I'll definitely do this diet again, and I think 2 weeks would be an even better experiment (just not this time of year with all of the Christmas treats coming my way).
Post-whole foods breakfast at Chow. That's a breakfast sandwich filled with eggs, bratwurst, avocado and tomato with 2 pancakes used as the bread! I washed it down with a bloody mary.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


That's the chant I've been hearing the last 14 hours as I watch the Chilean miners get pulled up to safety, one by one. It's really very emotional to watch each one come up. I can't imagine the excitement the entire country of Chile must be feeling now...but tomorrow, I'll be amongst them. I'm currently sitting in the Salt Lake City airport on my way to Santiago to run the Ultramaraton de los Andes. I've been anxiously awaiting this trip ever since winning the Canadian Death Race last year, as this trip is my prize. I never imagined I would be traveling to Chile at such an historic time. Very exciting indeed!

So, as my last blog post was over 5 months ago now, I've definitely been quite the slacker. I decided this year that I was going to run fewer ultras and fewer weekly miles, concentrating more on the shorter mountain stuff for races and a bit more speed during the week.

Fewer mileage definitely doesn't equate to less playing, as I've been playing a whole heckuva lot, running and racing up and down the west coast and out to the Colorado rockies multiple times. I've basically had a dream summer. I'll try to list my adventure highlights since then just by memory.

-Silver State 50k, roadtrip with Ashley, Bronco, and Yassine
-Pocatello 50 mi-turned-50k; absolutely epic snowy/windy/rainy/sleety/white-out adventure; roadtrip with Amy
-Desert RATS 148 mi stage race; incredible event, fun hanging out with Fatboy and Rob. I even got the W.
-Western States paced and crewed Jill.
-Leadville Trail Marathon, plus 2 14ers (Torreys and Grays) the day before w/Hart and another 14er (Elbert) the day after w/Hart and Jenny.
-Badwater, paced and crewed Jamie, where she got another W and CR, plus 3rd overall..
-Steens Mountain Running Camp, high school xc camp, attended as a coach w/8 Sisters Outlaws harriers.
-Cascade Lakes Relay, part of the super fun Team FootZone/Rebound/Mountain Hardwear; overall W and CR.
-Mt. Ashland Hill Climb; this 1/2 marathon w/5,600' vertical has been on my list for quite a few years. Cool race.
-Pikes Peak Marathon; another classic race that's been on my list for a long time. It's hard.
-Hood to Coast Relay; part of another super fun team, Willamette Dental; division W and 9th overall. I love relays!
-Sunrise to Summit; I really suck at this race that goes straight up Mt. Bachelor, but I did it so I could meet one of my goals this year - complete all 4 of the Oregon MUT Series races. If Erik Skaggs wasn't so fast, I would have won the series.
-Middle Sister summit w/Chris and Lori (approx. 22 mi.). It was fun passing the mountaineering group on the glacier with their helmets, ice axes, boots, crampons, etc, in our shorts, running shoes, and small hydration packs. I think they hated us.
-Spokane trip to meet up with 5 cousins to surprise Grandma; fun, fun, fun weekend!
-XTerra 1/2 Marathon; fun race, but I had a tough day, including a really hard crash with 3/4 mile to go. Ouch.
-Flagline 50k was a week later, and I really wanted to support Super Dave in his debut, but I DNS'd because I still hurt from my XTerra crash.
-Run Wild Adventures wedding; Gary and Shandi tied the knot and invited me to their special day.
-Dirty 2nd Half, another great Super Dave production.
-Three Fingered Jack 23ish mile loop w/William and Trevor. I'm not sure Trevor ever wants to run with the 2 of us again!

There were also many other adventures in the central Oregon mountains, i.e. Black Crater, Black Butte, Obsidian, Belknap Crater, Green Lakes, Tam McArthur, Tumalo Falls Watershed area, etc. Definitely an epic summer!

Sascha has been joining the fun on as much as she can handle, which unfortunately for me isn't as much as she used to do. It's a bit hard for me to watch her get older, but she seems content to be more of a hiker, walker, and sniffer now, but definitely still a sand bagger, as a trail-crossing squirrel brings back her younger reflexes in a heartbeat.

Now here I am, almost in Chile, awaiting yet another adventure. I'll be in Santiago this weekend (staying at the swanky W Hotel, courtesty TNF), running the race and checking out the big city. On Monday I fly to Calama in northern Chile, then bus to San Pedro de Atacama, where I get to play in the Atacama desert for the week (original thoughts of trekking in Torres del Paine National Park in southern Chile changed after learning this is rainy season there). From what I've read, the Atacama is the driest desert in the world, so rain shouldn't be an issue. I'm planning on staying in a hostel, renting a bike, climbing some volcanoes, and doing whatever other fun opportunity comes my way. There are a few peaks in the 6,000 meter range (19,685'), so it would be sweet to get up that high!

Anyway, that's kinda what I've been up to the past 5 months. I have also had the pleasure of wear-testing a few of the Spring 2011 Montrail line-up. Being sample size is pretty sweet, especially when Montrail takes the feedback from wear testers seriously and makes the necessary improvements before final production. Exciting stuff is ahead!

I have about 1/2 dozen blogs started that are hanging out in my drafts folder, some running related, some not (an op-ed or 2 in there!). Who knows, maybe you'll get to read what I really think about something sometime; this is election season...

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Hi, my name is Sean, and I'm addicted to, Haile Gebrselassie videos, Chris Solinsky videos, and pretty much any and all other videos that show fast runners running really fast.

When I finally bought a computer in November, I thought that I'd be blogging at least twice a week. No more computer cramming sessions at the library where I could just barely get my internet to-do list crossed off, let alone blog. One post was going to be committed to running (shocker), and one post a bit more controversial - throwing some issues out there to see what you think and why. I could just chill out while surfing and blogging away in the comfort of my home.

And then I found running videos. I dare you to watch the Chris Solinsky video and not get excited. Seriously. In fact while writing this post I'm replaying that video for the 10th time or so, going back and forth between writing and watching.

So in addition to my running and racing, of which there has been plenty of both, I've been spending many evenings, sometimes very late into the evenings, with my newest form of crack. And thus, the blogging has suffered. I am determined, however, to at least try to get caught back up.

Since Hagg, I've...

Had a sweet weekend of 2 trail races, Buck Mtn. Mudslinger 6.5 miler (organized by the very cool Gary and Shandi at Run Wild Adventures) and Tumor Shooter 7 miler, with the Newport Seafood and Wine Festival squeezed in between the races. Although the festival ended up being really crowded so my friends and I ate seafood, drank wine and beer, and played games in a really cool condo on the beach instead. The races were both super fun. Buck Mtn. lived up to its Mudslinger name, while the Tumor Shooter helped raise some money to shoot Johanna's tumor. A good group of runners ran this double, one of whom I whooped in a bet and will pay up soon.

The first weekend of March I ran the Napa Valley Marathon with high hopes of sub-2:37 for a sub-6 pace. I never got into a good groove, feeling like I was pushing too hard for the pace I was running, then ultimately blew up the last 3 miles, finishing in 2:50.

Then after 7 races over the previous 6 weekends, I decided to take a break from racing and help out at the local 5k/10k, Grin and Bear It run. Despite whacking a deer on the way to the race, I really enjoyed marking the course and just helping out in general. Volunteering is awesome!

The following weekend was the Santiam Canyon Scramble, another Run Wild Adventures production. This was a classic scramble and true to form, I got whooped! I just don't do well at runs that include bushwhacking off trail, hiking up super steep climbs, arms-flailing descents, and where shin guards wouldn't have been weird. I was so beat up after this and I had a complete blast! As a bonus, I got to autograph a pair of Montrail Streaks for the very enthusiastic Ryan Krol.

Autographing my first pair of shoes!

What better way to finish the first quarter of the year than by running a marathon? Well, I couldn't answer that question, so I ran, and ended up winning, the Yakima River Canyon Marathon in 2:45:14, complete with a nice 2 min. negative split on the tougher second half (getting a little Napa redemption in the process). My good friend Annie won the women's race. The post-race party Annie, Steve, Chris, and I created was one of the best ones I've ever gone to, complete with wine tasting, pool, beer, darts, wing-eating contest, karaoke, bowling, talk of a beer mile (next time)...truly epic!

Winning the Yakima River Canyon Marathon. I never saw all of that writing surrounding me during the race.

Helping Super Dave with the Horse Butte 10 miler was another fun volunteering opportunity. It really is fun to help out at races then cheerlead for everyone as they're closing in on the finish.

Of course my biggest adventure of the year so far was the Peterson Ridge Rumble. Once again it was awesome! There were about 350 registered runners, 290 finishers, 1 lost kid (who was found!), 1 broken bone, 10 people and 2 dogs at my house, fantastic timers (Run Wild Adventures), and some of the best post-race food ever. I decided to do away with the burgers and hotdogs, instead splurging a bit and hiring Long Board Louies for a burrito bar. This was one of the single most popular decisions I've ever made regarding the Rumble, and as such, Louies is already booked for next year. And as always, Nancy P's provided the to-die-for Peanut Butter Fudge Bars, Brownies, and Wonder Bars! Thanks so much to all who Rumbled!

Jerry Duncan and Nancy MacInnis sportin' some stylish retro Rumble socks!

Post-Rumble I always like to treat myself to something fun, so finally after years of wanting to run the Race to Robie Creek 1/2 marathon in Boise, I did it. It's mostly a dirt/gravel road, gaining about 2,000' in the first 8.4 miles, then bombing down the final 4.7 miles while losing 2,500'. It was the first warm day of the year for me, plus having the race start at noon and running in a canyon where the heat was trapped, made for a little extra suffering foe me. I averaged a heart rate of 185 (maxed at 197) and was happy to just nab a top-10 finish (out of 2,500). This is a classic, fun event.

After being beat-up from Robie for a week, I didn't really have much time to fine-tune for my next race 2 weeks later: Bloomsday in Spokane. Bloomsday is a great event. There are 50,000 runners and probably that many spectators and volunteers, too. I grew up running Bloomsday every year from 1983-1995, with a p.r. of 42:40 in 1994. It's a 12 km and I had a goal of 41:00, which is 5:30 pace. From the gun I went out like it was a 1/2 marathon instead of 12 km, as my first mile was 5:43. That's pretty much the pace I stayed at then the entire race. I think the key to running well at short races is to go out aggressively, as there just isn't much distance to make up lost time. I finished in 43:17, a 5:48 pace, and surprisingly good enough for 86th (I was hoping for top-100, but thought it would take my original goal of 41 for that). Although not quite the time I hoped for, or even a p.r., I really enjoyed Bloomsdaying for the first time in 15 years.

Next up I have a fun little race this weekend, the Larison Rock Hill Climb 4.5 mile in Oakridge. The next weekend is Silver State 50 km in Reno, then Pocatello 50 mile on Memorial Day Weekend. All of this, plus a few solid 120-130 mile weeks and sauna sessions, will hopefully get me ready for my first "A" race of the year, Desert RATS Stage Race. It's 150 miles, 5 stages on Kokopelli's Trail from Fruita, CO to Moab, UT.

And that, my friends, is what's up in Sean-land.

Now I gotta go back and watch some more fast videos.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Rumble is FULL!!

Yeah baby, the 8th Annual Peterson Ridge Rumble just filled up a couple hours ago, a full 5 1/2 weeks before race day! As any fellow race director knows, this is awesome!

If you want to run and you're in, thank you for registering early. If you want to run and you're not in, well...I've already accepted 330 runners and there's a 300-person limit. So, basically what I'm saying here is that there isn't a waitlist.

If enough runners drop in the next few weeks, I may open registration again for a bit, but don't count on it.

A few other options for Rumble Day:
-Volunteer at the Rumble!
-Race for the Roses 1/2 Marathon, 10k, 5k in Portland
-Mt. Si 50k / 50 mi Ultra and Relay in Snoqualmie, WA
-Whidbey Island Marathon in Oak Harbor, WA

A little course condition update:
It looks like for the first time since 2007 that the 60k will, in fact, be 60k! I ran the full Grunt loop a week and a half ago to check snow/ice conditions and it was pretty darn good. Only a little bit of the slippery stuff, which I'm pretty confident will be gone by race day. So, if you're signed up for the 60k, be prepared to go the full distance this year (or maybe even a km or two extra!).

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Hagg Lake 25 km

After running the Hagg Lake 50k for 6 out of the last 7 years and volunteering the 7th, I figured I pretty much have that 2-lap race down. Sure I still want to go back and run sub-4, but not yet. This year I decided to run the 25k, i.e., the j.v. race. Although I'm running fewer ultras this year, the 25k was a great way for me to still get my racing social-fix while seeing how fast I could run one lap around the lake.

I carpooled to Hagg with Bend fast-guys Andy Martin and fellow Montrailian Max King. Both very fast, competitive, and undefeated in the few ultras they've run, I was hoping they would beat each other up for the W. We stayed at the Grand Lodge in Forest Grove on Saturday night and enjoyed our beverages of choice (me - hard cider, Max - whiskey, Andy - water) while watching a women's curling match between Canada and some Denmark hotties. Wild night.

The next morning, as all the varsity runners took off at 8 for the 50k, I had fun cheering for many of my friends on their way back through the starting area after their 3 mile out and back. I also did a pretty good warm-up as I wanted to be prepared to go hard from the start. At 9, I joined 250 others on my first Hagg one-lapper. I was excited, and I was also slow. My warm-up was long, but not quick enough, and the lead group of 4 easily dropped me immediately. Dang! But I was happy to be sportin' my pink Orcas Island 50k vest for the out and back in support of 25k'er Mandy Giblin.

Once I got back down to lake level, I picked up my tempo with hopes of catching at least 2 of the 4 ahead of me. I like having someone behind me in faster races as it helps keep me honest with my pace, and Jeremy McWilliams provided that role for me until a bit past the first a.s. We hit a.s. 1 at 10k right about 42:00, a bit behind pace for my sub-1:45 goal. As the day was sunny but comfortably cool, I opted to run sans bottle and I loved it, but I did stop really quick to actually take a gel and drink a whole cup of water instead of just trying to run through and choke on a few drops.

That's me navigating a creek crossing that eliminated a road section from previous years - a very cool improvement!

I felt good so decided to increase my effort, catching back up to, and then passing, Jeremy. Soon after I caught one of the 4 guys from the lead pack, Aaron Ladd. Upon seeing me, Aaron noticably picked up his pace, which was great as it gave me someone to run with again. A couple miles later, I decided to throw in a little surge and passed him. This section also started getting warmer and muddier. I was pushing hard and having a blast!

I hit a.s. 2, 11.2 miles, in 1:16. Again I quickly stopped to suck down a gel and drink 2 cups of nuun. Fellow Christmas Campers and all-around cool people Steve, Liz, and Kamm were working there and they got me in and out quick while hooting and hollering for me, and letting me know 3rd place Richard Bolt was almost 2 min. ahead. I know Richard is fast and so taking back 30 sec./mile for the last 4.3 miles was going to be tough, so what else could I do but just go for it!

I was cruising along pretty well, dodging past 50k'ers, speeding up on the fast sections, slowing down considerably on the goopy muddy sections, of which there were a lot in the last section, and really trying to open it up on the short paved stretches. With 2 miles to go I noticed I was quickly gaining on a red shirt, and convinced it was Richard, I pushed hard to catch him. Well, turns out a 50k'er was also wearing a red shirt and black shorts.

I passed the one mile to go sign in 1:38:54. Could I finish with a 6-flat to reach my sub-1:45 goal? I didn't think, I just ran hard...for a couple minutes until the best/worst sticky, goopy mud of the day became the trail for a 1/2 mile (Ness even lost a shoe in it and decided to finish sans shoes!). I knew I wasn't going to glide across this, so I slowed down, shortened my stride, and just got through it without pulling my groin or going down. I finished in 1:46:10 for 4th place. I was happy with my effort and time. As for my place, well, in 7 Haggs, I have now finished 4th four times; just call me Mr. One-Off-the-Podium.

Soaking the legs and cleaning up. It sure doesn't look like February in western Oregon!

As for the 50k, Max crushed it in 3:26:54, breaking the course record by almost 17 minutes. (One of my goals for Hagg was to average the same pace as Max; I figured since I was going half the distance, I had a decent shot. Nope, it wasn't to be as I averaged 6:51 to Max's 6:40. This could explain why he has an assortment of Team USA singlets while I have my Sisters Outlaws singlet.) Andy also beat the old 50k c.r., finishing in 3:41:53 for 2nd. Ruben Galbraith ran solid for 3rd and almost reeled in Andy with his 3:42:00 finish, his 3rd straight podium at Hagg. Pam Smith continued her fast running as part of her WS build-up, winning the girl's race in 4:18:34, comfortably ahead of Shari White in 4:34:18. Abi Stephens finished a strong 3rd in 4:37:01. Winning the fat-guy division was William Swint, surprising everyone with a speedy 4:04:11 (are you sure you didn't run the j.v. race, William?).

Thanks to Todd, Kelly, and Fuzz for putting on a great race in there rookie year as r.d.'s. I'm impressed. And I really like the finisher's socks! Great idea - you must have gotten the idea from a really cool race.