Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Western States Teammates

This year at Western States, I'll be toeing the line in Squaw Valley with a whole lot of teammates. Let's take a look:

My Montrail Teammates:
Erik Skaden, Eric Grossman, Francesca Conte, Bev Anderson-Abbs, Luis Escobar, Gary Robbins, Russell Gill. That's a pretty good looking team; arguably Montrail's best WS line-up in a few years. I say there's definitely some potential in there for some high placing, both in the girl's and boy's race!

My Oregon Teammates:
Gayman Arbogast, Willie Bogue, Stacey Bunton, Rob Cain, E. David Granum, Liz Kellogg, Hal Koerner, Jerry Letendre, Dan Olmstead, Neil Olsen, Tom Pelsor, Brad Putnam, Billyrubin Riley, Seagull Junker Riley, John Robinson, Linda Samet, Jenn Shelton, Derek Snelling, Larry Stephens, Chickenhawk Taylor, Lord Balls Thornley, Monkeyboy Wolfe, and Kelly Woodke.
Although there are a few on this team that I don't know, this is definitely the team that I know the best. Oregon seriously has the very best ultra community EVER! Show up at any ultra in Oregon, whether it's part of the Oregon Trail Series or not, and you will immediately make new friends. It's pretty cool. Many of the WS Team Oregon runners have been known to show up to WS in matching Team Oregon singlets, while their crews wear Team Oregon t-shirts. It's pretty sweet running through Robinson and Michigan Bluff seeing all of that Beaver state pride. In addition to being super-cool people, there is some big-time talent on this list, too. You know who they are.

My Marathon Maniac Teammates:
Gilles Barbeau, Rob Cowan, and Robert Towne.
Gilles has been on an ultra-tear this year with 18 ultras already. Since seeing Rob at Jed Smith, Rob has run two 100s, so he's definitely got the strength to run strong. Robert used to live in Central Oregon, where I would see him at all of the local races, and now lives in Spokane, where I still see him occasionally when I visit the fam. He's always got a great smile and additude in all of his races. Look for him to finish near the top of the 50-59 age group.

My nuun Teammates:
Scott Dunlap and Brian Morrison.
Scott will be looking to rock his first WS - as long as he can keep his hands off his camera! And Brian, well, Brian obviously needs no introduction. I'm whole-heartedly rooting for Brian to kick some butt!

My Synchro-Blog Teammates:
Scott Dunlap, Jizzle Wizzle Jones-Wilkins, and Lord Balls Thornley. As Jizzle Wizzle's first pacer, Goat Powell is also a big part of this team. This team is loaded with some proven, multi-time top-10ers, the ultra and trail blogging king, and a two-time WS age group winner.

My Central Oregon Teammates:
Oh, wait, it's just me this year. A bit disappointing after last year's conglomeration, but I'll do my best for the solo representation.

So yes, I have lots of teammates that I'll be sharing the trail with. I will proudly be running for each of these teams, and I look forward too seeing many of you before, during, and / or after the race.

Run strong, take chances, be happy, have fun, don't step in puke...I'll see you all in Auburn!

This is the final installment of Lord Balls Western States Synchro-Blog project. It has been my pleasure to join in the fun. Read what the others have to say for this final go around:
Goat wants to hear your predictions.
Scott has a crew that's looking for an adventure.
AJW is in love with Tommy Nielson.
LB discusses the merits of a pacer.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Getting Dirty...

So my final little pre-WS speed work race, the Dirty 1/2, was Sunday. I was definitely pleased with my race. Although I had mega miles in my legs from my recent road trip, I went to the Dirty 1/2 to run a course p.r. Last year I ran 1:24:11, so I just wanted to get a 1:23. I wasn't disappointed.

The first 5 1/2 miles are uphill and I usually take my time getting into it in this race. However, this year I made it a point to get after it quicker and go out harder, so not to be left behind the guys I usually run with in Bend-area races. I hit the first flat mile in 6:11 feeling nice and relaxed. Then when the uphill started, Mike Olson passed me like last year, but this year I went with him. We got into a good groove, catching up to Michael Dennis and youngster Parker Bennett (16 yrs) from the Sister High School XC team just after mile 3. The 4 of us had a good little train going until a.s. 2 at 5.5 miles. Parker and I surged, Michael fell back a bit, and Mike had to walk through the a.s. to drink some water to get rid of a cramp.

Back on the single track heading downhill, Parker and I picked up the pace, running comfortably hard (although as my heartrate monitor later told me, perhaps a bit harder than comfortably). I noticed Mike and Michael were running together again, slowly reeling us in. Mike eventually went around at mile 8, putting in a bit of a surge. He tried to get me to go with him, but I didn't want to bring it too hard quite yet.

Mike, Parker, and I reached mile 9 in 56:20 and I yelled to Mike that it was going to hurt if he was going to get his sub-1:20. We pushed on through 10 in 62:15, where Mike cramped bad and really fell of the pace. Parker and I really slowed up the hill in the 11th mile, at 6:45, the slowest of the day for us. Parker was happily surprised, however, to hear 1:09:00 at mile 11, as it was still was faster than he had ever run for the Dirty 1/2.

With about just under 2 miles to go, I told Parker to go for it. He had run a 4:09 1500 meters at the state track meet 3 weeks earlier, so he obviously has more leg speed than me. He was relectant, though, saying he didn't want to beat me after pacing off of me for most of the race. I told him I was the coach and that's what the coach wanted him to do. So he eventually passed and I tried to hang with him, but to no avail.

Parker flew up the hill in the 13th mile, while I was holding on just to maintain my pace. At the final downhill past the outhouse, I noticed Parker closing in fast on local stud Damon Kluck. Damon hung on for 5th in 1:21:53, Parker ran an incredible 1:21:54 for 6th (did I mention he's only a junior!? and when he was a 7th grader, he ran 1:33:28 at the Dirty!), and I happily cruised in for 7th in 1:22:13. Although I really slowed down the last 5k, I'm happy with my time and definitely my place. Anytime I can crack the top-10 at the Dirty, it's a good day.

To see how much I was actually pushing myself, I wore my heart rate monitor. Well, I definitely pushed myself. I averaged 184, and got a max of 192! Hm, when I went through the Lactate / VO2 Max test (i.e., pain test) at COCC a few years ago, my max was only 190. Sweet!

Yesterday I was definitely a bit on the sore side, mainly my quads, and today I'm feeling pretty good again, just a bit tired. I was very stoked to have recovered from my recent big miles enough to have run a Dirty 1/2 p.r. This tells me I'm fit. I'll add in another rest day this week (2 total), probably a short tempo-ish run on Thursday, and I think I will have a pretty darn good taper going in to Western States.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Great Times on the Road...

Well, although it ended a few days earlier than I was anticipating, my amazing road trip came to an end last night. I picked up Sascha from Nancy and Al's house, she and I hung out while I unpacked the car, and we were asleep pretty late. As great as the trip was, it was awesome to get back to Sascha. We missed each other.

Here's my trip, by the numbers:
13 - days gone
3100 - miles driven
38 - average miles per gallon for the Honda
12 - days ran
300 - miles ran
25 - average daily running mileage
62,000 - approximate amount of vertical feet climbed and descended
2 - races ran
5 - National Parks / Conservation Areas visited (Bryce, Grand Canyon, Red Rock Canyon, Death Valley, Yosemite). I got good use out of my Golden Eagle Pass.
11 - nights in sleeping bag
2 - glorious nights in a bed
3 - showers (2 were even on back-to-back days)
0 - pounds lost

Here's a short daily summary:
May 23 - 52 mi, Pocatello 50 miler, 13,680' vert., 9:59, 3rd place, awesome race - definite National Championship caliber
May 24 - 9 mi, Bryce Canyon Natl. Park with Bryon, hilly. We didn't see another person in the canyon - crazy for Memorial Day weekend. Cool thunderstorm on the drive there.
May 25 - 5 mi, Grand Canyon Rim with Bryon, flat. Pretty evening run and got to scout out a bit of what was coming.
May 26 - 45 mi, Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim with Bryon, 11,000' vert., 11:44. Down South Kaibab, up North Kaibab, down North Kaibab, up Bright Angel. The epic of all epic runs. Beautiful day in the canyon with a great friend. A definite must-run for any self-respecting trail and / or ultra runner.
May 27 - 5 mi, Red Rock Canyon Turtlehead Peak, 2,500' vert. Great evening run-turned-scramble. I was definitely outrunning the dark at the end of this one.
May 28 - 10 mi, Nopah Range Wilderness & Resting Spring Range Wilderness (CA / NV border near Vegas), very hilly, a bit of scrambling, hot.
May 28 - Drove the Badwater course. Death Valley Natl. Park is amazingly beautiful! If Badwater was in November, I'd love to run it. However, I'd definitely consider crewing for it. Those 3 climbs are awesome!
May 28 - 15 mi, Whitney Portal Road, 4,500' vert. Last 6.5 mi. of Badwater course, plus up the Whitney trail a mile to 9,000', then back down. That road is steep! (this days was my only double of the trip)
May 29 - 15 mi, Half Dome in Yosemite Natl. Park, 5,000' vert. I started the run / hike up in a storm, but by the time I got through the mass of people, the storm had passed. About a mile from the cable ladder on Half Dome, I passed 2 guys who told me I had it all to myself. I scrambled up to the cable, climbed up to the first rung, then stopped. I was happy to turn around there. No need to scare the piss out of myself climbing solo on the very-exposed cable ladder. It was very cool, though, to be the only person even just on Half Dome's shoulder, a mere 400 vertical feet from the top.
May 30 - 35 mi, Shadow of the Giants 50k, 5,000' vert., in Fish Camp, CA, just outside of Yosemite. This was a last minute decision to run. Ran purely based on heart rate - never above 160, never below 150. Victor B. caught up to me with 7 to go and we ran in together - great getting to know him a bit. Fun to see Liz, her 2 ultra-virgin friends, Gerad, Clark, Victor, and the SF gang. Then a nice, relaxing evening with Meghan and Bryon at a Bluegrass festival. A sweet way to end a fun day.
May 31 - 15 mi, Cool - Hwy 49 - Auburn - Cool, rolly with a few good hills. Some equestrians alerted me to a rattlesnake. Today started 4 days on the WS course.
June 1 - 33 mi, Dusty Corners - Robinson - Swinging Bridge - Dusty Corners, 5,000' vert. I met Bob from Foresthill out training for the Tevis Cup (he proudly showed me his buckle), and I saw a bear 1/2 way between Miller's Defeat and Dusty - very cool! Good run.
June 2 - 32 mi, Michigan Bluff - Swinging Bridge - Foresthill - Michigan Bluff, 7,000' vert. Great day in the canyons. My quads were definitely sore after this day. Not that I'll run these times on race day with miles on my legs, but here are the splits: Thumb 29:17, Michigan Bluff 39:45, MB - FH 1:00.
June 3 - 29 mi, Rucky Chucky, up Driver Flat road to the highway to Foresthill, then down to the River. 3,500' vert. I'm glad I did this run - it reminded me that there are actually quite a few ups on the way down. Cal 1 @ :30, Cal 2 @ 1:15, Cal 3 @ 1:41, Rucky Chucky @ 2:23. I wasn't trying to blaze down by any means, rather just a good, solid effort; but it's amazing to me that the top guys run about that time during the race for those 16 miles.

All in all, an incredible road / training camp / time with friends / alone time. I definitely feel fit right now. The hardest part for the next 3 weeks will to be to try to keep myself under control. No more long runs. Shorter stuff, faster stuff, maybe even an 8k this weekend, and definitely the Dirty 1/2 the next weekend. I'll probably take Sascha to see if we can run / hike up one of my central Oregon favorites - Black Crater.

To all of you out there training for Western States, enjoy the next 3 weeks. I just noticed the bib numbers have been assigned. I'm 320.