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!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Gruesome Grizzly 8k

So I decided to check out my speed over the weekend and run an 8k. This wasn't any 8k though. The Gruesome Grizzly boasts a couple of huge climbs and some gnarly terrain. I was quite proud of myself finishing 4th out of almost 100 participants. I got out-kicked for third!

My legs felt fine and I felt like they could have kept going, but my lungs got crushed. My legs did feel a little slow but they weren't painful like the breathing. I seriously need to consider some tempo runs, speedwork, or something as I felt like I was at an all-out-sprint for most of the race. Definitely a fun little race though and it had some awesome prizes.

Congrats to Western States 100 finishers and winners alike.. Totally epic and one for the ages!

My pre-race picks: Actual Stats:
1st-Geoff Roes 1st- Geoff Roes (course record!)
2nd-Hal Koerner 2nd- Anton Krupicka
3rd- Killian Jornet 3rd- Killian Jornet

1st-Nikki Kimball 1st-Traci Garneau
2nd-Devon Crosby-Helms 2nd- Meghan Arboghast
3rd-Meghan Arboghast 3rd- Nikki Kimball

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

June Running

June is possible my favorite month of running. There are never any looming races after Squaw, the trails are clear and not overgrown, the streams are still full for cooling baths, the wild flowers are out, the weather is warm but not blistering hot, and the mountains are green green green.

Yesterday I ran an absolute classic Utah County run and it was incredible. I started at Grove Creek and ran up Grove Canyon. After 4 miles of beautiful climbing I connected to trail 151 and followed it 8 more miles through perfect singletrack all the way to Timpooneke Campground on the backside of Mt Timpanogos. With views of Lone Peak, Pfiefferhorn, the Wasatch course, and 3 angles of Timp it was epic and highly recommended. Once at Timpooneke I filled my water bottles, cooled off in the river, and headed back for the perfect 24 mile run. I'm unsure of many 20+ mile runs in the world that start from a city that even come close to the quality of terrain and scenery.

As far as racing is concerned, there are a few races this weekend. I've decided to check my leg speed and run the Gruesome Grizzly 8k in Provo Canyon, Logan Peak (which filled up this year with 100 entrants!) is this saturday and a 20+ mile run that does compare to my experience yesterday, and finally the big daddy, Western States 100 is this weekend. I can't remember a race with more hype than this years WS100. Who know how its all going to boil down but for what its worth here are my picks:
1st-Geoff Roes
2nd-Hal Koerner
3rd- Killian Jornet

1st-Nikki Kimball
2nd-Devon Crosby-Helms
3rd-Meghan Arboghast

Monday, June 7, 2010

Squaw 2010

Squaw Peak 2010 was probably my most disappointing Squaw. Here's how it went down:
Great pics from Norrander Trail Shots!

It was warm at the start. I took the first mile and a half easy before surging and getting into position on the singletrack. The next several miles I was with Todd Schmidke, Shane Martin, Dave Hunt, and Karl Jarvis. This didn't change too much for the rest of the race in all reality. It felt good to run especially with how green the mountains were. It stayed warm so I ended up dropping off my arm sleeves at Hope Campground and kept motoring up. Rock AS came and went then came the snow. Definitely muddier and snowier than usual. I got to the typical AS#3 at 1:57 which was perfect. Todd dropped off but the 4 of us were still together.
Shane seemed particularly ready to fly which right after Horse Mtn he did. Dave soon dropped off and Karl Jarvis and I ran down Hobble Creek together. I was feeling solid if a bit warm. I wasn't peeing nearly what I usually do but I kept drinking and eating accordingly. Karl dropped off and I slowly reeled Shane in. I felt a blister forming which frustrated me for not even being half way. Shane and I ran up the road together until the top of the asphalt. I swapped socks because I had 2 or 3 hot spots now, and my socks were soaked with sweat, mud, and snow. I started feeling a little fatigued after Hobble but my pace was solid. I started to cramp a little so I downed all my salt pills and the rest of my water. When I got to Sheep Creek I knew I needed to catch up on liquid and salt. I drank and ate a ton in a short time and grabbed a handful of salt pills generously donated by Karl Meltzer for the road. Thanks Karl I needed those. Needless to say I felt awesome going up Sheep Creek. It was the best I felt all day! Soon I was catching glimpses of Shane and by Little Valley I had passed him.
I grabbed everything I needed at Little Valley and was on time to break 9 hrs in a solid 3rd place. Shortly out of Little Valley however my left calf which had been giving me problems for the last couple weeks really started to flare up. I pushed through it and continued to make great time. Shane caught me and we ran together around big mountain but soon my right knee started to throb and my blisters flared back up. I kept thinking to myself that I had one big climb left and then it was all down hill. By the time I made it to the snow 1/5th of the way up Bozung Hill I knew I was in trouble. Shane was now nowhere in sight, and in the distance I could see what looked like Dave Hunt behind me. I kept pace thinking that I could hold on when next thing I know I had no clue where I was! After a few seconds I realized I veered off the ridge too early. I then proceeded to bushwhack straight up the mountain and who was there to greet me? Dave Hunt the guy who always scrapes me off the mtn. I was pissed that I got off course. It didn't help that I knew the wheels were starting to come off as well. I followed Dave for a while but soon I was getting light headed and feeling really short of breath until finally 200 feet from the top I had to stop and sit down. Karl Jarvis came stumbling up the mtn at this time and gave me words of encouragement. I finally decided to get moving again but was soon overcome with emotion. It was strange but by the time I got to Windy Pass I was hyperventilating and really freaking out. It was exactly how I was when I DNF'd at the Bear 100 in 2008. The crew up there was awesome and really got me sorted out. I was able to sit down for 7-8 minutes composing myself and downing some food. Everyone there was so supportive of me! Thank you very much. I then headed down what was one of the worst muddiest descents I've ever done down Windy Pass. There was so much snow and yet it was so hot making everything a slick muddy wet slop. Between my blisters, calf, knee, foot, and persistent hyperventilating it was a pretty ugly mess getting to the finish line. Thanks for all the support from friends, racers, and aid station crew. I painfully ended up finishing 10th in a time of 10:03.
I'm not sure what went wrong. It was almost like that perfect storm where everything combined at the right time to make it a catastrophe. If one or two things had gone wrong I probably would have salvaged things. However, I think I wasn't quite recovered from Timp Marathon (+all the running I did last week/the week after Timp), I never run as well in heat, I went back to caffeinated gels for the race which I think had an effect on the shortness of breath/hyperventilating, my legs had some nagging injuries that flared up, and I had lofty goals. When you put everything on the line early in a race you are committed. I did that and fell short...which is ok. I really wanted to break 9 hrs but it wasn't my day. The guys I ran with all day finished great. Shane, Dave, and Karl 3rd-5th. Kevin Shilling won with an incredible time of 8:05. Course seemed at least 15-20 minutes slower than last year due to conditions (gaging this can be a crap shoot though and no excuse for my performance). For me it was frustrating because I felt like I was better prepared than any other year yet I ran my worst time. At least last year I knew I was in crappy shape whereas this year I trained much harder and felt way better entering the race...yet I still ran slower. Squaw 2010 will haunt me for awhile I'm afraid. Full results can be found here:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Squaw Peak 2010 Competitors

It's always difficult to gauge the results of a race but it seems like there are fewer competitive guys in the race this year but the chase pack is large as always. Meltzer is out, the MRC guys are injured or focused on different races, and I'm unaware of any green uber fast marathoner or Colorado guy showing up. If I'm missing anyone please let me know and I'll get this list updated!

1st- Kevin Shilling. Great shape as always and after last weeks miss turn should be able to get the win.

Chase Pack:

Allen Belshaw- Not sure if this guy is in top shape but with 2 previous Squaw wins you can never count him out.

Brian Beckstead (myself)- feeling good and ready to rip this one.

Fritz Van de Kamp

Karl Jarvis

Todd Schmidtke

Scott Kunz

Shane Martin

Dave Hunt

David Hayes

Matt Conners

Phil Lowry

Surely there are some more that should be or are consistent top me out!

Ladies race should be a solid competitive field. Competition includes:

Darcie Gorman

Sara Evans

Birgitta Johnson Mitchell

Marci Lameroux

Melanie Clayton

Milada Copeland

Jill Bohney

Deanna McLaughlin

Eve Davies