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, September 13, 2010

Wasatch 100 2010

This race couldn't come soon enough. I was so excited about it but the previous two weeks had been so stressful that I desperately needed an outlet. I awoke at 2:30 am so I could get ready and travel up to the race. The further north we drove the harder it began to rain which made me a bit nervous. By the time we got to the the start it had stopped raining and people were everywhere. I was ready.

I took the first few miles easy. It was less crowded than I remember. I wasn't in the big sub-24 group but in front of the main pack. It was nice. I found myself alone heading up most of the first climb. As the trail became steeper, the snow which had fallen began to stick. It was beautiful. Once we got to the ridges above tree line we were in the midst of the clouds with a fresh skiff of snow. We must of ran through at least 10 miles of snow! I felt like I was holding back but I got to Francis Peak m19 early. I backed off the next few miles and got into cruise control. It felt great. Early in the race there is this sense of optimism at the task of tackling 100 miles which makes those miles go by easily and enjoyably. Soon the temps started to rise but I don't think it ever got much above 70 degrees. I entered Big Mtn m40 feeling great. It was great to see my crew and get refreshed. Jeremy took some video of me which is posted at the bottom. You can see how fresh I look entering Big Mtn.
Lambs M53
Several miles out of Big Mtn my stomach started to go south. I felt awful heading up Baldy. I struggled for 4-5 miles walking most of it. I'm not sure what caused it but I pushed through it knowing that it was my first low. At Alexander m48 I was starting to feel better. I ate some solids and drank a full bottle of water. I entered Lambs m53 feeling decent but not great. My stomach was slightly unsettled and energy levels seemed low. I left by 5:15pm which meant I was only a few minutes behind schedule. Jeremy paced me over the next 9 miles and took most of the video footage over this section. Unfortunately this was where I hit rock bottom. I felt so sluggish heading up Bear Pass. Plus it was shockingly cold already. I pushed through my second low point and got to Upper Big Water m62 late and a little nervous.
Lambs Aid m53
After a change of socks, a bunch of solid food, and another layer of clothing I was feeling pretty good. Dan Mitchell came to pace me over this next section and I started to feel much better. I decided to take the long climb conservatively and eat as much as possible. It seemed the further I got, the more momentum I gained. My feet were feeling amazing. I'd never run this far without blisters and once my energy levels bounced back I was really able to cruise. Once on top of Red Lovers Ridge m68 9900ft, I really flew. Entering Brighton m76 was such an awesome feeling. 3/4th done and feeling the best I had all day. The energy there was amazing with people everywhere. My crew was awesome and got me set up for the final stretch. Dan really had me eating and moving well.
Brighton m76
I left Brighton full of energy. I have never felt so good going up Catherines Pass. Someone even directed me down the wrong path for a 3-4 minute detour but it didn't even phase me. I passed 8-9 runners in a 4 1/2 mile stretch. In-and-out of Ant Knolls m80, I was in cruise control. Running all the flats and downhills while keeping a solid power hike on the climbs. Leaving Pole Line Pass I started to feel some shin and knee pain on my right leg. The last 8 miles had been incredibly rocky and I might have pushed it bit too much. I backed off a bit. This section was also freezing...literally. Entering Rock Springs the aid crew informed me it was 24 degrees! I didn't stay long because as soon as I would stop I would get really cold. The Plunge and the Dive sucked. I did the best I could to navigate but with every step powdery dust clouded my vision. Once past those nasty creatures I could smell the finish. I stopped at Pot Bottom m93 only for a minute, enjoying a delightful glass of slushy coke and a great warm fire. I proceeded to the finish line in a time of 26 hrs 52 minutes and 27th place overall.

I was very pleased with my race. I PR'd on a very difficult course by running a smart and hard race. My crew was awesome, all the volunteers were superb, and the race was well organized. My planning was effective and training sufficient. No regrets and very happy with my race!

Here's the sales pitch....YES I ran in the Altra Lone Peaks the entire way. I was planning on swapping shoes at Brighton but they exceeded my expectations and I ran the entire race in 1 pair! They were literally amazing. I'm involved with the company so I'm a bit biased but the fact that I was going to swap at Brighton but didn't says a lot. Truly the most comfortably and versatile trail shoe on the market...ok, soon to be on the market. This was a huge test for the shoes and they passed on every level!

Fun video that Jeremy made. Wasatch ROCKS!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Wasatch Prep

As the nervous excitement mounts in the days before Wasatch, I carefully prepare everything I can think of. I probably over-think the whole process but I am amazed at how much preparation is needed. The amount of calories consumed is the cost of the food, entry fee, crew time and gas, etc. It really is a huge process. Then you start calculating splits, crew logistics, pacers, change of clothing, race day temps, etc and wow is there a lot of work to be done!

With this being my 4th 100 mile attempt, I hope to learn from previous experience and maximize my present fitness. In
Wasatch'07 I ignorantly went for a sub-24. I came up with horrible blisters and shuffled in for a painful 29+ hr finish. At the Bear '08 I ran a solid first 60 miles but went overboard on my caffeine intake and blew up quickly. Regrettably I dropped at mile 70. I wish to this day I would have slept it off for 2-3 hours and go on to finish but in the moment I chose to DNF. At the Bear '09 I was in the worst shape of all but ran a very smart and conservative race finishing in just over 27 hours. I gained a lot of confidence from the way I ran that race.

For Wasatch 2010 I have decided that my main goal is to PR. I am arguably in the best shape over this four year stretch yet hope to run a smart race like in '09. My goal time is 26 hours. I think it would be too much of a gamble to go out at a sub 24 split. I feel confident that I can run 26 hours. I'm young and will have plenty more years to go for that sub-24. I intend to start VERY easy and be consistent in my pace from start to finish. I have never been more excited for a 100 mile race. Bring Wasatch On!

Anticipated 2010 Splits:
Start- 5:00am
Francis- 9:15am
Big Mtn- 2:00pm
Lambs- 5:00pm
Millcreek- 7:30pm
Brighton- 11:30pm