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, August 8, 2010

Katcina 2010

When I entered Katcina back on Dec 1st for Bozungs ultra cup, I knew I would regret it. I spent most of the year dreading this race. In fact, I dreaded it so much that in the month of July I totally blocked it from my thoughts. However, the 2010 addition ended up being one of my personal favorites and best performances during my time as an ultra runner.

With no taper and a laissez-faire mentality entering the race I had three goals: 1st-Feel good the last 30 miles. 2nd- Run with Wasatch in mind. 3rd- If possible run sub-13 hours. I can gladly say I accomplished all three.

I started slow and tried to be relaxed up the first initial climb. Talking with fellow runners is nice knowing of the silence to come. I took one spill while drinking on my way down into Rock Canyon but hurt nothing except the ego. I picked up my Nathan HPL 20 and some trekking poles at AS# 3 (16.5). It worked better than expected! I'm not a huge fan of refilling or tracking water intake from a hydration bladder but the poles were awesome. Maybe those crazy Europeans whom I've been mocking all these years are onto something!?

Lightning Ridge was as beautiful as ever as the sun rose over the mountains. Dave Hunt and I commented that the time seemed quick while the effort seemed easy. What a great feeling! I continued seeming to float over the next 20 miles. I ran out of water half way from Windy (29.6) to Little Valley (38.8) but I was hydrated enough that it didn't create a problem. I took every chance I could to splash water over my body at streams and aid stations which seemed to help. I dropped my pack and poles off at Little Valley and drank as much as I could handle. BenCorrales met me just outside of Little Valley to run with me to the finish which was awesome. I really focused on nutrition and re-hydrating between Little Valley (38.8) and Bathtub (45.8). With clouds rolling in and a recently graded road, the section just flew by.

At Little Valley (38.8) Mick, who was in 2nd place, had 15 minutes on me. At Bathtub (45.8) he had 9. I wasn't too concerned about catching him until a few miles later when Jeff, a runner heading out to get his pacer, told me he was 5 minutes ahead. I was still feeling quite good and with 12 miles left in the race I decided to start pushing. The next pacer, Jarom, told me he had 4 minutes on me. By the time I got to the top of Dry Fork (52.5) I had dropped Ben my pacer and had cut the lead to 3 minutes! I pushed all the way down Dry Fork. My heart jumped when I finally saw a runner ahead of me. I rested for 30 seconds before surging...only to find Mick's wife/pacer whom he had dropped. It was a bit demoralizing. I started to slow down realizing that I still had 7-8 miles to go.

At the final aid station (56.3) I realized I might have pushed too hard those last 10 miles. The aid station folk said Mick left 3 minutes earlier and encouraged me to continue the chase. I had some road shoes in my drop bag that I threw on to help me those last 6 miles but it wasn't to be. A mile down the road I pulled over and sat on a bridge for 2-3 minutes to regroup. I had run hard all day and probably a bit too hard those last 15 miles. Not too shabby having your first problems of the day merely 5 miles from the finish. I trotted down the road taking several walk breaks trying to soak in the day. I smiled as I crossed the finish line (62.2) with a huge PR of 12:09:01 and 3rd place overall finish.

Considering that Katcina was in it's ninth running, my time was the 6th fastest ever's just that two of those six times were in front of me! At least it was behind two awesome runners. Congrats to Jay for lowering his own course record down to 11:27! And to Mick whom I couldn't catch for 2nd place. He consequently held it together and crushed me over the asphalt. Top 5 rounded out with two great local guys in Dave Hunt and Roger Smith finishing 4th and 5th respectively. What an awesome day!

Several factors added up for my success, some I controlled others were just luck. I kept my heart rate and effort well below threshold nearly the whole race, I ate and drank consistently as well as appropriately, I cooled off my body at every chance, the 20 mile mtn section with trekking poles was amazing, my blisters were kept at bay due mostly I believe to my expensive (worth every penny if you blister easily) Drymax socks, and my new shoes are the greatest shoes I've ever worn in my life (no they were not Hokas but more on these new prototype trail shoes soon!). Things I can't control but went my direction: Cool temps all day, newly grated road from Little Valley to Bathtub, and....I just got lucky with a great day. Results here. Let's hope that Wasatch 100 brings similar results!


Karl Jarvis said...

Congrats on a great race and a time that could have won in a different year! That is so cool that you put it together so well on Saturday. You're starting to make me envious that I haven't done this race.

Dave said...

Nice race Brian. Congrats!

jun said...

Really cool report. It was good meeting you on Friday/Saturday. Glad you had a good race. Good luck at Wasatch.

Jeremy said...

Nice run Bri! It is awesome to watch you rock it!

Marci said...

Awesome race Brian! Way to keep climbing. You'll be ready to peak at Wasatch this year for sure!