The Ultra Experience

Here's to the adventures of my life which are usually ultra marathon trail running or fly fishing but may include other trips, experiences, thoughts, opinions, or pretty much whatever I want. As co-founder of Altra Footwear my life and adventures seemingly revolve more around developing and promoting the best footwear in the world...and I love it!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Antelope Island 50 miler

What was not meant to be.

Going into this event I was nervous. Not that excited nervous like before Squaw Peak or Wasatch, just plain nervous. It was from my lack of confidence. When the race started I reminded myself to just go out slow and have a good time. I started out in 14-15th place. I watched the lead group's headlights bobbing way out in front. After 4-5 miles I passed a bunch of runners and was having a nice time with good friend Roger Smith. We continued to run together for most of the first 25 or so miles. Heading up those first hills I felt I was going too fast but I didn't want to hold Roger back. I had never had a problem keeping up with him in the past so I kept motoring along. Soon we started passing several more runners as we heading back to the starting line and I was feeling good going down those gradual hills.
My wife was volunteering at the 20.5 mile aid station and it gave me a boost seeing her. Soon Roger was motoring away and I new I wouldn't be able to maintain his quick pace so I let him go. I starting struggling a bit those next 10 miles but kept moving fairly well. I was a little dehydrated which I quickly took care of but I was starting to get a wicked blister as well as some sore feet and legs. I took 5-6 minutes at the Garr Ranch to see if a change of shoes would help and eat some food. Peter Lingren caught up to me and we ran the next couple of miles together. He gaped me as I stopped for a restroom break and it just got worse from there. At the Frary Peak aid station mile 38.4 Scott Mason asked me how the race was. I blurted out "I hate flat races!" Karl Melzter and Scott both chuckled with Scott saying "Yep, I won't do them anymore. Us Wasatch runners need mountains to climb." I agree whole heartedly!

I tried to keep running and chose the gradual uphills to walk if needed but by mile 40 my legs were dead, feet hurt, and my back was killing me. I started to slow down big time. The walking on those flat smooth trails just kills your time though. It sucked. I hate getting passed and usually I start slow and do most of the passing on race day. Not this day however as I walked/jogged in those last 10 miles getting passed by another half dozen runners.
As I went through mile 44 where my wife was working the aid station she tried to encourage me but she already knew I was frustrated with my performance. My father who also was helping out at the aid station cheered me on, proud as always. I ended up finishing 16th in a time of 8 hrs 32 minutes. Congrats to Nick and Hiroki who both went well under the course record as well as good friend Roger Smith who ran the race I wanted to placing 5th in a time of 7:35. Congrats to all the SLC guys who seemingly ran well and thanks for everyone who said hi to my wife. She was totally surprised when people went by and congratulated her!

Anyway, this race was possibly the worst of my life. It was flat out embarrassing. It came down to one thing and one thing only. My training has sucked! I thought that a few long runs would hold me through the race but I was daft. If I am going to competitively perform in ultras I have to put in the miles and so far this year I have not. Although my training has been decent, I have never run a race this long this early in the season. Frankly, my training has been more like marathon training, not ultra training. Not surprisingly, I actually felt pretty good those first 30 miles. I should have run the 50K. However, don't let my negative experience take away from the race itself. Jim Skaggs does a phenomenal job with good aid stations, organization, etc. I just wish I had trained better/not completely fallen apart. This will not happen at Squaw Peak. Mark my word.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Snowbasin Pow

Call me crazy, call me blessed but I couldn't resist the urge. With Thursday morning off work and 21 inches of fresh powder on March 26th, I headed up the mountain for what will probably be the last powder day this season.

Regardless of my upcoming 50 mile race, less than 48 hours before I toe the line, the powder called my name. Although a bit heavy, it was amazing! After a few great runs on John Paul, I decided to see if Strawberry was open. It had been closed the day before and so far in the morning. To my surprise, it had just barely opened up! Lets just say that it was 3-4 of the best runs this season. With 21 inches of untracked powder and solid visibility, I was in heaven! Life must be lived when opportunity presents.

I only ski'd half day which helped but I feel no side effects today. Just a residual mental bliss from an amazing day of skiing! Whether it effects me on race day or not, it was perfect. Next up, Antelope Island 50.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Antelope Island 50 miler Preview

So we are only a few days away from the Antelope Island races. Now the largest trail event in Utah with nearly 500 participants. With three events going on at once it should be quite exciting!

I'm excited to see what type of shape I'm in. Aside from my DNF at the Bear 100 I haven't raced since June of 08. Although my training has not been what I originally anticipated, I still feel like I can run a competitive race. I'm shooting for going under 7:30. The closer I get to 7 hrs the better, however, with my rather low winter mileage I'll be fortunate to hit 7:30.

The main competition should lie in two time winner Erik Storheim along with a couple of Colorado runners Tim Long and Nick Pedatella. Along with a slew of local Utah runners including Christian Johnson, Marc Sanderson, Shaun Christian, Rich McDonald, Roger Smith, Cory Johnson, Tom Remkes, Peter Lingren, Wade McFarland, Matt Connors, Scott Kunz, and probably several more unnamed runners, the competition should be unrivaled to any previous year. Plus,we have four Japanese runners including Hiroki Ishakawi, Patagonia athlete and 2007 Grand Slam winner. For all I know, they will come out and totally smoke us all. Hiroki should do well and has a very good chance of winning it.

The womens race should be Milada Copeland leading the way followed by Marcee Christian and Marci Lameroux. Of course there will probably be a few others but those three should definitely lead the way.

Last weeks mileage was good. 48 miles of 100% trail. I'll only do a one week taper for this event. It should be exciting!

For all three people that read my blog, say high to my wife who will be heading up the Mountain View aid station at mile 21/43. It will be the one with the big Canyon Sports tent. Give her a congrats as she is pregnant!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

March Training

My weekly mileage has not been what I would like. However, on my day off during the week I have been able to put down some solid 18-25 mile runs which should hold me over pretty well as I head into the ultra racing season. I do feel like I'm in the best shape I've ever been in for mid-March. That doesn't say much since I'm somewhat of a wuss when it comes to the cold. I have such a hard time cranking out high mileage over the winter months. My speed feels pretty good due to a lot of the fast 5-7 mile road runs I've been doing but I will have to watch that so I don't go out too fast on race day. March 2nd-March 15th I ran 79 miles.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Feb 23rd-March1st

Biggest week of the year so far with 56 miles! With this last warming trend I went out to Antelope Island for 21 miles of beautiful dirt single track. Feeling great I kept up the pace and ran the out-and-back section of the 50 mile course in 2 hrs and 40 minutes averaging a 7:45 pace. I was happy with how I ran and it gave me some confidence for this upcoming 50 miler. A couple more long runs and I should be ready to race.

So if you haven't checked out Norrander Trail Shots, you should. Whether you ran in the Moab 50k or not, these pictures are inspiring!