Saturday, September 27, 2008

Results: Draney Wins 2008 Bear 100

Patagonia runner, Ty Draney, closed out the 2008 ultra season with a win at the Bear 100 in Preston, Idaho. Add to this a third in the Bighorn 100 in June and a first (and course record) at the Grand Teton 50 in August, and 2008 was filled with some nice palmares for the Wyomingite.

Top Finishers
1. Ty Draney 19:59:07
2. Erik Storheim 20:56:58
3. Nate McDowell 21:06:00

Results: Jurek Wins 2008 Spartathlon, Making Three in a Row

Scott Jurek won his third Spartathlon ultra in a row this morning, finishing the 246 kilometer course from the Acropolis to Sparta in 22:20:01 (finishers list). Sook-Hoe Hur of Korea took the women's crown in 30:03:22, with American Stacey Bunton taking second in 31:25:59.

Top 3 Finishers
1. Scott Jurek 22:20:01
2. Markus Thallman 24:52:09
3. Lars Skytte Christoffersen 25:29:41

1. Sook-Hoe Hur 30:03:22
2. Stacey Bunton 31:25:59
3. Marika Heilein 31:39:19

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Three-Peat for Jurek? Follow the 2008 Spartathlon Live

On the eve of the 2008 Spartathlon ultra -- which starts at the Acropolis and runs 246 kilometers to Sparta -- all eyes are on Scott Jurek as he tries to string together three consecutive wins (race site).  With a solid crew behind him, including Justin Angle coming off a solid third at Angeles Crest (previous post), he's got more than a solid chance to take the victory and be the first to kiss the bronze foot of the ancient Spartan king, Leonidas.  

Follow the race live, here.   

(photo used under Creative Commons, by leekelleher

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A Visit to Sea Level

It's occasionally nice to leave the high mountains and plant your feet squarely at sea level, which is where I have found myself a bit unexpectedly this week due to an emerging family situation in Seattle. With things more or less in control now (nothing serious, it seems), I've been able to work around doctor's appointments, pharmacy trips, and general household duties for a bit of running and a tad of running-related shopping.

This morning I ran down to the Burke-Gilman trail right on the shores of Lake Washington and popped off 8 miles at a good tempo pace. What with injuries before my summer ultras and a few weeks of recovery after them, it's been a long time since I've really been able to air things out. But today was the day to do it. With my legs finally feeling fresh - and with the sea level boost - I pretty easily averaged about 7:30 per mile, with the final four a dash under 7:00. I know it's not fast fast, but with my recent slog-pace, it sure felt like it was. Getting to watch the sun rise over the Cascades made it all even better.

I'd hoped to make it Cougar Mountain to see where all the Seattle ultra folk get a lot of their weekday miles in, but the doctors and the waning daylight hours didn't cooperate.

Nearly as good, though, I made it to the Seattle Running Company at their new location (two doors down from the old location) and chin-wagged with White River RD, Scott McCoubrey, while trying on about 25 pairs of shoes, finally settling on the Inov-8 Roclite 320. I'd been intrigued with the green and black trail-only Mudroc 280s, but they just felt too darn strange for the upcoming winter road miles. What a great store, and what a great guy.

So that's the report from my life at sea level. Hope to be back in the high mountain wilds of Idaho soon. Cheers.

(photo by zingersb, used under Creative Commons)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

RJ Review: Online Training Logs

Credit to Geoff Roes's blog (Fumbling Towards Endurance) for leading me to the great training log website, I've been testing it out this week and have nothing but good things to say about it. With an orienteering-focus, it's got a lot that an ultra-marathoner is looking for in a training site. Of course there are all the standard entries (date, distance, time, intensity), plus it's got a great way to log how much vertical you've been getting in, as well as some neat injury and shoe tracking functions, and a slew of others you may find neat, you may find useful, or may not be interested in at all. Plus, it's all free, and even better, quick to register and very easy to use.

One major function that may turn some folks away is the social networking aspect. All entries on the site are al fresco - open for viewing to anyone who visits the site. With the omnipresence of personal blogs these days, this is becoming less of an issue, but still it may turn away some folks looking for a fully private easy-to-use training log website. Of course, you can use a nom de plume and not worry about it.

Either way, the site seems worth a look for those who haven't yet found a training log site that truly meets their needs.

To see Attackpoint stress-tested by some big name ultra-runners, check out the logs of Justin Angle and Geoff Roes.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Off-Season Thoughts: Patience and the Long Pause

I have to admit that my thoughts of late have been somewhat consumed with the D.H. Lawrence classic, Lady Chatterly's Lover, and not for the reasons you might think. No, for its insight into the importance of seasonal rest.

Coming to the end of the '08 season with the sting of a DNF on my final race (previous post), it's been more than a little hard to settle in to the off-season. I've been obsessed with thoughts of '09 races and practically have to lash myself to the sofa to make sure I get the rest I need to let my injuries heal and muscles rejuvenate.

And it is just this state that has sent my mind over and over again to the closing pages of D.H Lawrence's classic as I try to remind myself that there's a time for training and a time for resting.

As is fairly common knowledge, and largely revealed in the title, the heroine of the work, Constance Chatterly, took a bit of a liking to the hired hand, Oliver Mellors, which resulted in the pursuit of shall we say various physical activities. In the end, the two remain together - complete and happy - but for the moment physically separate. In a lengthy letter to Constance, which closes the book and was supposedly inspired by parts of Frazer's The Golden Bough, Mellors goes on at length about the importance of rest and rejuvenation to maintain the magic they share. In the one section I'm able to print here, he says that it "takes patience and the long pause" to truly realize nature's creation.

So, this is what I've been thinking about, Lawrence's great line: "patience and the long pause."

As much as I want to charge ahead with training, as much as I want to get to the '09 season, it's really the time for patience and a long pause. Time to rest and rebuild. If it worked for two frisky Victorians, that should be good enough for me.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Results: Koerner, L'Heureux Win 2008 Angeles Crest 100

Oregonians Hal Koerner and Prudence L'Heureux took the men's and women's titles, respectively, at this weekend's Angeles Crest 100 in Pasadena, CA (UltraRunning story). L'Heureux clocked in at 22:13:10 and is having a standout season, having recently won the USATF 100k Championship at Where's Waldo in August (previous post). Koerner finished in a very fast 18:29:26, vanquishing the demons of the early '08 season, which was filled with a number of challenges for the 2007 Western States champion.

2008 Angeles Crest 100 Results

1. Hal Koerner 18:29:26
2. Troy Howard 19:25:04
3. Justin Angle 20:08:03


1. Prudence L'Heureux 22:13:10

2. Ashley Nordell 22:55:45

3. Jannifer Heiner 26:46:07

Friday, September 12, 2008

2009 Coyote Two Moon 100 Opens Applications

Now in its second year of a five to ten year run, the Ojai-based Coyote Two Moon ultra has opened up applications for the '09 version of the event (March 13 - 15, 2009). RD Chris Scott has put together a brutal and fun verse libre interpretation of the ultra-distance race. With 100 mile and 100 kilometer distances, runners leave at staggered starts based on projected finishing times, with the goal of bringing everyone home in a four hour window Sunday morning. This means things group together toward the end of the race (rather than becoming mind-numbingly bleak), and the 100k runners, often free from running in the dark, spend most of their run-time with their headlamps and flashlights. Add 25,000 feet of climbing for the 100m (19,000 for the 100k) as well as a wacky RD who gives "bonus" and "boner" minutes and likes to dress up in full Easter Bunny regalia, and you've got yourself one hell of an ultra under the warm So Cal sun.

Spots are limited and entrants must fill out an application and send in registration fees, which are pretty stiff but include some nice Patagonia bling. Rumor has it the 100k may not be offered in 2010, so this year may be the last chance to run something shorter than full 100 mile tamale.

Read what some of the top dogs have to say about C2M:
Andy Jones-Wilkin's post
Justin Angle's post
Karl Meltzer's post

See my other C2M postings.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Final Results: Roes, Nye Win 2008 Wasatch Front 100

Alaskan Geoff Roes won the men's race at the 2008 Wasatch Front 100 in a time of 20:01. Run on one of the toughest courses on the ultra circuit, the race was tight through the mid-point at Lambs Canyon, with a lead group of four (Andy Jones-Wilkins, Jack Pilla, Larry O'Neil, and Geoff Roes) but started to separate at mile 70 at Scotts Pass, where Roes opened a fourteen minute lead on Jones-Wilkins and about twenty minutes on Pilla, with O'Neil further back. Jones-Wilkins grabbed back five minutes by the next aid station at Brighton Lodge (mile 75), but that was as close as he'd get. He'd finish second in 21:31, with Pilla coming in third in 21:47.

Betsy Nye took the women's race in 25:36.

The Wasatch Front 100 takes runners from the start in Salt Lake City into the Wasatch range, with a total elevation gain of over 26,000 feet (race site).

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Mid-Point Results Mile 70: Roes Leads Jones-Wilkins at 2008 Wasatch Front 100

As the sun starts to set on the field of the 2008 Wasatch Front 100, the lead runners are beginning to show some separation. With just a scant few minutes separating 1, 2, and 3 at mile 53, Geoff Rouse now leads Jone-Wilkins at mile 70 by about fourteen minutes heading in to the darkened, final third of the race. Jack Pilla is running third, currently over twenty minutes behind the leader. The time differences are far from insurmountable. The next three hours should be quite telling at what the final order might be.

Mid-Point Results Mile 53: Jones-Wilkins, Roes Lead 2008 Wasatch Front 100

The first 50 miles of the Wasatch Front 100 saw a tight bunch of four ticking off the initial hours: Andy Jones-Wilkins (AJW), Jack Pilla, Larry O'Neil, and Geoff Roes. Leaving Lambs Canyon at mile 53, Roes and AJW had three minutes on third running Pilla, with O'Neil a bit over ten minutes back. Stay tuned for more.

See also:
Final update
Mile 70 update.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Glidepath to 2009: Zeigeist Half; Coyote 2 Moons; and the Folly of a 100

It's been a crazy week since Teton (race results; personal post). Now six full days adrift since my drop at mile 45, I feel for the first time that I'd finally brought my body back into calorie balance. It certainly seems I'd dug myself a pretty deep energy deficit last week, and in retrospect it was probably amazing I made it as far as I did, so I'll try to stop beating myself up about it.

I took five full days off this week, running a pretty easy five miles today. It was nice to be out running without any serious training plan in mind. Just a free and easy trot on some single track with free and easy thoughts about some short fall races and the '09 ultra season.

The only race I really have left on the '08 calendar is the Zeitgeist Half Marathon in Boise, November 1. For a road half, it's fairly challenging, with about 1,100 feet of climbing, and there are always some speedy roadsters toeing the line. The distance and the climbing shouldn't be a problem, but my speed is in the tank after injuries and ultras, so I have some tempo runs and a few trips to the track ahead of me this fall.

After Zeitgeist, it'll be back to skiing and the dark, cold, icy runs that make training in the high mountains that much more interesting. It's strange, but some of my best runs surface on the early morning icy roads. Just like those big summer runs on technical single track, there's something about a snowy -10 degree run that really strips you down to pure effort and desire.

And I've been thinking a lot about these winter runs as I've been starting to plan (some would say obsess over) the '09 season. Crazily, I may bust out '09 with the Coyote 2 Moons 100k (19,000 ft of climbing) in Ojai, Ca in mid-March, should I be able to get in. Most likely, we'll still have two feet of snow on the ground here, so running all the miles and vertical to make it worthwhile would be a huge challenge. But, it's practically in my home town, and we'd planned a family trip down there around that time, so the cards seem about as aligned as they could be. Plus it just seems like a great event, and the Patagonia finisher's jacket alone is worth the price of admission (for more, see post on Coyote Two Moons 2009 Applications).

Beyond Coyote, I'm not so sure. But, I have to admit to looking at a heck of a lot of 100 mile sites, and may decide to try my inexperienced hand. Bighorn, Tahoe Rim Trail, Leadville, Cascade Crest, Angeles Crest, Wasatch - they're all more than intriguing. It could be pure folly, I know. And I may be using the whole idea of doing a 100 as a foil against my recent disappointing drop at Teton. But, in the past, I've used my frailties as a springboard to bigger accomplishment, and maybe my Teton experience is just what I need to give me the courage (or unwarranted chutzpa) to actually pick a 100 and toe the line. Cheers. 

See my other C2M postings.

Results: 2008 Grand Teton Ultras

With afternoon highs predicted in the upper 80's, the Grand Teton 50 and 100 mile races set off early on a clear and already warm morning on Saturday, August 30.  The 100 mile race quickly broke down to a small group of contenders, with Nevadan Josh Brimball shaking off the disappointment of the scuttled Western States and taking the win in 19:59:07.  Brimball, running with minimal crew and no pacers, threatened but ultimately couldn't beat the course record of 19:35 set by Andy Jones-Wilkins the previous year.  Women's winner, Ronda Sundermeier, finished third overall, taking over where Bimball left off, setting a course record in 25:40:50.

The women's 50 miler was dominated by Michele Jensen, who finished fourth overall in a time of 9:38:20.  Men's winner, Ty Draney, set a blazing fast course record in 8:17:53, despite repeatedly vomitting on the paved climb between miles 36 and 39.  The race began as a battle royale between Draney and last year's runner up, Brad Mitchell, until Mitchell had to drop due to injury at mile 25.  

Grand Teton 100 Winners
Josh Brimball 19:59:07

Ronda Sundermeier 25:40:50

Grand Teton 50 Winners
Ty Draney 8:17:53

Michele Jensen 9:38:20

My 2008 Grand Teton 50

First off, let me start with the positive things that happened at this weekend's Grand Teton 50. I got to test, and was happy with, a new approach to drop bags that saved me a number of minutes during the race. I learned that I could in fact do some serious running in some pretty hot conditions and that at some smaller ultras I could actually play at competing for places. I had an uplifting, and experienced, crew for the latter part of the race (my wife and an unfortunately injured, Brad Mitchell). And, finally, I learned a hell of a lot.

You could also say I got schooled, which is what it most felt like right after I dropped at mile 45.

It all came down to calories, as it often does with me. My stomach fought me both in the lead up to the race (keeping me from loading like I need to) and during the race (keeping me from replacing the calories like I need to), which was too bad, because I felt like I had a shot at a decent time for a course like Teton.

I had good trips up Fred's Mountain both times and despite a general malaise for most of the first lap, finished the first 25 miles in around 4:25 (sadly, right after seeing an ailing Brad Mitchell at the tail end of Rick's Basin). It was then that I had a brief window where my stomach felt pretty settled, and I was hopeful I'd be able to pound the calories and come home pretty strong on the second lap.

Wishful thinking it turned out. My stomach began protesting again around mile 30 and just kept getting worse until around mile 42 where it totally shut down and wouldn't come back on line no matter what I tried (water, Ultra, S-caps). Meanwhile my blood sugar level dropped tosubterranean levels, and it was all I could do to make it to the base aid station at mile 45, drop from the race, and shuffle back to the hotel room with tingling hands and labored breathing (as my wide-eyed crew will attest).

After an hour of blowing ketones and letting gluconeogenesis run its course, I was feeling much better and left wondering what I could have done differently - a question that will no doubt haunt a large portion of my off season.

That said, I have to take a step back and trust that the problem was largely just bad timing with a mild stomach virus. Forty-five miles at Teton is no mean feat, and I'll take that mental and physical training with me into '09. --Hank

Photos - before the fall
(click to enlarge)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The New "Run Junkie"

Changes are afoot at Run Junkie.  Nothing radical really, just a change in tone and perspective.  While the site will still offer the same collection of running news and popular product reviews, it's going to move to a much more personal perspective with a greater focus on the ultramarathon world.  Let me know what you think as the site continues to evolve.  Cheers.  --Hank Dart