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!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Winter Run

I have been pleasantly surprised to have my best week of running so far this year. Four runs for 48 miles, topped by a 13 mile 3 1/2 hour snowshoe journey this morning. Decided that I would embrace this late snowstorm and pull the snowshoes back out. Ended up having a great run with friend Ben Corrales.

On a separate note, in the back of my head I had been thinking about doing Leadville 100. Turns out that they capped the race to 750 entrants, and it's FULL already. Crazy. Sounds like I waited too long to run Leadville and in the future it's going to be a year plan ahead. What really frustrates me about this is the finishing rate at Leadville. It's 50%. There are no qualifications to run the race so it's filled with unprepared non-ultrarunners. Now I'm all about expanding the sport but running such a race is an earned privilege yet the spots are being taken by people who likely are under prepared and won't finish. This never was a problem before because there never was a cap. Now that it's capped, it should be filled with people who are prepared. I propose that you must finish a 50 miler to even be considered to run Leadville.

Anyway, there is my little vent. Feeling good about this week though. Felt strong and ran well. Never let the weather change your running plans...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

For the Love of Running...

As I was having a perfect run yesterday up Rock Canyon in 2 inches of fresh snow, my mind was brought back to a humbling experience nearly 12 years ago. It was when I realized that regardless of winning or losing, fast or slow, up or down...that I loved to run.

I had just finished my senior season of cross country. My state meet had ended in awful fashion. Having tripped on a hairpin turn hitting my head and presumably getting a concussion I was in an emotional state. I hardly remember the second half of the race and barely stumbled to the finish. I was venting to my coach about my misfortune and getting beat by kids that never would have otherwise beat me. He only had one thing to say and as I was running on the beautiful trails yesterday it entered my memory as clearly as the day it happened. He simply told me:

"You have something better than this race, you have developed a love of running that will stick with you the rest of your life."

Despite my highs and lows, runs like yesterday remind me that despite everything else, I love to run!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Kahtoola Snowshoe Marathon '11

I decided to take a bit of a challenge to start off 2011. Having run the 25k for the last two years at the Kahtoola Bigfoot Snowshoe Festival I chose to go to the next level. The marathon consists of three 10k groomed loops through the golf course with an additional 2k (1.2 mile loop) during the middle 10k, as well as two steep mountain 5k loops. Total elevation gained is about 5,000 snowshoes. A good challenge.

The temps were a bit milder this year which was nice and as we started out I had little expectations. Having only been putting in 25-30 mile weeks I was not in the best shape for such a race. Bob, from S. Dakota, was a little different. He was running the 50k and had been training like a mad man for the event. As I was talking to him on the first lap I realized that this proud owner of 8 pairs of snowshoes was legit. The course conditions were very fast this year. We clocked our first 10k in under 52 minutes. (would have been the 10k course record prior to this year)
The 5k mtn loop we chewed up easily in 36 minutes. I started the second 10k loop strong. Bob was still moving well and then as I did the extra 2k loop he was gone and I was alone. I knew that both of us had our races won at this point. Finishing my 3rd loop my time was 2:34. I had run 27k 11 minutes faster then I had run the same 25k last year! Fast....too fast. As I started up the 5k mtn loop I purposely held back trying to save some energy for that last 10k loop. I ran the loop in 50 minutes.
I was at mile 20 with 6.2 miles to go. It was tough. The last 2.5 miles are all downhill but getting to the top was a struggle. My legs were so heavy, my quads and calves were cramping but I pushed it in to win the marathon in 4 hrs 41 minutes. Challenge accomplished.

Those first two laps were too fast but overall I ran well ate well and frankly had a great time. Miles 21-24 were really tough but it comes with the territory. I have yet to get a blister in myAltra Lone Peaks!! I've put at least 500 miles in them and they are bomb proof! The loop thing isn't all that bad. I typically shy away from such courses but having my drop bag there with everything I needed was quite nice. I'm not sure of the total number of participants but there seemed to be a great group of people out and about. Very fun festival and having run 3 different events over 4 consecutive years, I'll be back next year!

Fun little video about the marathon made by Randall Davis