Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Speedgoat 50K 2013 Recap

The Speedgoat has become an annual sufferfest for me and the 2013 edition was no different.  Being familiar with the course, I had hopes of running under 6 hours but a 2 hour pity party in the middle of the race altered my plans on the fly.  My thoughts went from thinking I should quit, hating Karl Meltzer and maybe pausing to puke to feeling a rebirth or sorts, surging to the finish with energy to spare.

I don't have the answers yet but I enjoy the questions and the ensuing experiments.

Good memories from this year's Speedgoat started the night before when friends both local and from out of town joined us for a pot luck/BBQ at our house.  Other highlights have to include the cool overcast weather, distinctly enjoying running through the wild flowers in Mineral Basin, that popsicle just before the tunnel, and then for the first time in four years, being able to run hard from Hidden Peak to the finish.

Things to fix seem to be staying positive throughout the whole race, fueling more evenly, and maybe training more specifically with more intensity.  Oh yeah, and not falling down.  Midway through the course, there is a long descent into Mary Ellen Gulch that is choking with talus and quite treacherous. If there was anywhere to fall it would have been here.  But, my fall came on the smooth flat out-n-back section just after the Pacific Mine aid station.  I was having fun seeing friends ahead of me and behind me and somehow caught my toe and fell right at Matt Stewart's feet.  I think he was shocked at my ridiculousness but offered a hand to help me back up.  I tried to wave him on but he insisted.  What a guy!

Out front, the big boys put in some incredible efforts with Sage taking the win in a record 5:08 and Tony K closing hard just behind in 5:09.  Two other notable performances in my mind, having known these guys for years, were by Luke Nelson and Lars Kjerengtroen.  Luke is probably better known as a 100 mile specialist but he was fast and consistent throughout finishing in 6th.  Lars is an All American runner and the namesake for my boy but he has taken the last decade off of competitive running.  He was in contention for placing 5th-10th the whole race until sore feet and tired legs dropped him a couple places over the last few downhill miles.  Watch out for both of them in coming races!

On a final note, I need to thank some good people that supported or inspired me throughout the day.  First up, thanks to Jared and Aaron for running around on the course and trying to convince me that I was doing better than I was.  They snapped me out of my mid race funk and got me psyched to try and chase down some people over the last few miles.  Thanks to SCARPA and OR for the great gear. Also, thanks to Laura Howell for accepting my poles and waist belt on the fly as I crested Hidden Peak for the last time.  I felt so free shedding that gear for the final descent even though I'm sure she really really didn't want to touch my sweaty nasty belt.  And finally, thanks to Jessie and Lars for coming up to offer support.  Jessie is pregnant, works full time, is a great mom to Lars, and lets me run around the mountains all day all the time.  She does it all with grace and I can't wait to support her when she returns to running competitively.

Some friends took some pics which I'll post later but for now, here are some links to some great photos by Matt Trappe and others.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Training for Leadville

My running career began back in the early 90s.  My main event: the 100 meter dash.  Now, over 20 years later I'm looking to run my first 100 mile foot race.  I guess that shows how successful my sprinting career was.

Living in Salt Lake, I had hoped my first one would be the Wasatch 100 but the lottery is rigged and I didn't get selected.  Luckily, viking Lars has given up ultimate fighting and picked up running with a vengeance.  He urged me to sign up for Leadville so we could race each other to the death.  This back up plan has become the main plan and I'm getting excited.  I'm anxious for the experience and expect that I'll have a brush with euphoria, pain, and find new appreciation for the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

So in preparation, I have been trying to run more and tailor my running to the Leadville course, which is long and apparently mostly runnable (i.e. flat).  I've never been one that had the time or I suppose patience for high mileage but one of my goals this summer has been to push this parameter in hopes of a positive physiologic response.  But there is always a trade off and that has been no climbing and little scrambling as increased vertical or ruggedness of travel means slower going and less miles. I've done more city/park miles than in recent summers but am reminded that I just love running for the sake of running.

So, since June 15th (last post about the Corner Canyon race) my weeks are summarized as below with highlights mentioned. 

Week starting June 17th:
Total miles 60.  Long run 21 miles.  Highlights included some 200s on the track (I wanted to stress speed and mechanics a bit and 200s are just fun.  8 x 25-28 seconds) and the Mill D loop which is one of my favorite runs in the Wasatch.  This can be done as a loop starting at various points but I typically start at Mill D North and run to Desolation Lake, join the Crest Trail, work down to Millcreek, head back to Dog Lake, and then out Mill D.  It's around 13 miles and tallies something like 3000 feet of climbing.

Week starting June 24th:
Total miles 80. Long run 25 miles.  Highlights included a run up the Pfeiff with Layne, ambling about on the Speedgoat course at Snowbird with Jason, some more track work for a fast mile (for me) and some 400s, and then a nice flat 25 mile run along the Seattle waterfront.  Going from the heat of SLC to the relative coolness of Seattle coupled with an elevation of maybe 5 feet gave me a feeling that must be similar to blood doping.

Week starting July 1st:
Total miles 85, 18K Vertical,  long run 21 miles.  Highlights included a long run around Snowbird and Alta, more Seattle running, tagging a couple foothills here, and my go to Sugarhouse Park loops on grass.

Week starting July 8th:
Total miles 101, 22K Vertical, 17 hrs, long run 50 miles.  Highlights included a nice 25 mile loop tagging Hidden Peak, Baldy, Catherine's Pass, Clayton Peak, and Peak 10420 before returning down Gaurdsman and back to the Bird.  The other big run for the week was an out and back of the Mid Mountain Marathon course.  I got completely lucky on that one with rain and clouds for the first 30 miles.  Starting from Deer Valley the car thermometer read 54 degrees!  I love cool weather.  Nutrition, the weather, and a nice spring in my step led to a consistent evenly paced, even enjoyable 50 mile solo run in 7:50ish.

Week starting July 15th:
Total miles 60, 15K Vertical,  Long run 18.5.  There weren't a lot of highlights this week as I felt pretty flat from the steady ramp up over the last few.  I did get out on Timp with Jason for an exhaustingly slow run where the wildflowers were utterly brilliant.  I also jumped in the bandit Millcreek 50K but shortly after midnight I realized that I wasn't doing myself any favors and that I'd be better served by going home and going to sleep.  Finally by the weekend, I was feeling a little more spry during a run around Snowbird with Teague.  This was somewhat of a recovery week before the Speedgoat and hopefully one more week of good volume before a big taper.

I am now at odds with myself as I've been trying to run flatter and longer but am realizing that the Speedgoat 50K is in 5 days.  I wish I had done more vertical!  And as it turns out, my "high mileage" wasn't really that high but that's really a relative term.  I've never really done much more than 50 miles per week consistently so I've definitely noticed some cumulative fatigue from the past month.  Time as always is the frustrating factor as in spite of the suffocating heat, I'm still enthusiastic about running.

Upcoming this Saturday is the Speedgoat which will have ridiculous talent from around the world.  Leadville is August 17th and then from there I hope to run the MidMountain Marathon and finish the year with the UROC 100K from Breckenridge to Vail.  After that, I can think of a few adventure runs I'd like to do before the snow flies....

And then it's time to ski again!

Also upcoming is another little me.  Our second boy is due just in time to see the first flakes of the year!  We are currently fielding viking names for our next Scandinavian/Korean boy...
Pretending to be fast when really all I do these days is "ultra-shuffle".  This photo was staged from a standstill and taken by Jason.

Even the mountains is Utah County are patriotic

Really wishing I had skis to get down.  
Picking flowers for mom.  Lars version 2.0 coming this November