Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My Pocatello 50 Mile Trail Run: 60-Second Report

With lawns going to seed, children neglected, and pets striking lonesome poses, it must mean one thing: training for early-summer ultras is reaching fever pitch. So, with time quite precious, here's my 60-second race report from the Pocatello 50 Mile Trail Run.

Overall summary
Time: 10:34. Place: 7th. Fabulous experience. Really happy with my time and effort. Nutrition went much better than I expected. A really lonesome trail at times. A great, great race.
Photos by Greg Norrander (yours truly the first two slides)

Leg 1 (17 miles) Mink Creek to City Creek
Brutal bushwhacking climb (watch the cacti!) up to boulder-strewn ridge

Missed turn to second aid station, lost about 10 minutes or so

Other thoughts
Beautiful morning. Warmed up fast. Really great singletrack first 8 miles. Stomach just not right from step one. Perennial wonder: am I starting too fast or too slow?

Leg 2 (15 miles) City Creek to Mink Creek (different route)
Tough climb up off-trail muddy, snowy, slippery draw with running water.


Other thoughts
Nice temperature on the peak, pretty warm in the valley heading to mile 31 aid. Legs felt pretty tired but just kept turning them over. Stomach felt much better after mile 25. Fell around mile 29 (soft landing). Kept running out of water.

Leg 3 (20 miles) Mink Creek to Scout Peak to Finish
Great singletrack descent from mile 44 to the aid station at mile 47.

Thinking I missed a turn on mile 40 when I hadn't spotted a flag for a long time. Back-tracked and lost some more time.

Other thoughts
Shared a few minute's conversation with one of the Bend guys. Much of the climb to the top of Scout Peak pretty tough because of soft snow and mud. Passed by two relayers. Passed one back on the descent. Final "small" climb at mile 48 was in fact the final climb, but it was not in fact small. Finished up feeling strong, happy with my time, and queasy from my final gel.

(photos courtesy of gnorrander)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Early Results: 2009 Pocatello 50 Mile Trail Run

Update 2009:
Full official results
Run Junkie 60-second race report
Photos by Greg Norrander (yours truly the first two slides)

The inaugural Pocatello 50 lived up to its billing as a savage and great course. Snow, mud, rock-strewn ridges, bushwhacking, cacti, and 13,500 feet of climbing made for finishing times that left racers feeling they'd definitely earned their t-shirts. Dave James and Krissy Moehl took top honors in 9:16:49 and 10:13:23, respectively. (Click photo for larger image).

Monday, May 11, 2009

On the Run with Homer's "Iliad"

With the high mountains still covered in snow and lots of miles to cover on very few open routes, I needed a little something extra these last couple of weeks to deflect a tad of the monotony that's marked my solo long runs of late.  So where did I turn?  To Homer, of course.  Specifically, the audiobook of the Iliad, which tells the tale of the Battle of Troy and whose wild cast of characters--immortals and humans alike--paint a portrait of existence that oscillates madly between the petty and heroic; poetic and pathetic.  It's an unhinged ride, forged in the oral tradition, that's been a perfect companion on many of my multi-hour solo runs.  

Now through Book 5, here are  a few of the running-related messages I've gleaned so far from the epic:
  • Listen to the higher voice that counsels patience and restraint--as Achilles the Runner listened to Palace Athena--as it will lead to the broader victory later.  
  • Never take on an immortal in battle unless you have a powerful immortal on your side as well.  All you young guns toeing the line at Western States better take note of this one.
  • Defeat can weave a very rich, if bloody, tale.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Agony and the Ecstasy: 2009 Titus Van Rijn Invitational One-Hour Distance Classic -- Sun Valley Edition

As she is wont to do this time of year, Mother Nature showed some tough love at the 2009 Sun Valley edition of the 11th Annual Titus Van Rijn Invitational One-Hour Distance Classic. An evening of abundant sunshine and temperatures in the 50's was a welcome break from the preceding fortnight marked by deluge after deluge and temperatures in the 40's. Still, she seemed to revel in the near gale-force south by southeast wind that tested the determination of each runner on each lap but also rewarded him and her on the other side of 60 minutes with a victory both physical and mental. It was a great time.

Four stalwart runners toed the line around 5:45pm on Thursday, May 7: Jeff Ealey, Liv Jensen, Hank Dart, and Andy Jones-Wilkins. After a little trash talking on the line and around the first turn, things turned pretty quiet and pretty serious as everyone tried to find the groove that'd work for the full 60 minute test. Things broke pretty cleanly into two groups, with Jeff and Liv as well as Hank and Andy staying within a lap of each other throughout, which provided some nice motivation within the stark landscape of a one hour time trial.

When time elapsed, everyone enjoyed black cherry soda and beer and spun epic tales of the previous 60 minutes.

Posted Distances (60 minutes):
  • Liv Jensen 12,770 meters (7.93 miles)
  • Jeff Ealey 13,150 meters (8.17 miles)
  • Hank Dart 15,000 meters (9.32 miles)
  • Andy Jones-Wilkins 15,100 meters (9.38 miles)
So what is the TVR? It's basically an international festival of local one-hour running events, now in its 11th year. See the specifics at the bottom of the post, but the "rules" are really quite simple. Grab some friends and hit the track sometime in May, record how many laps you completed in 60 minutes, and send the results to the event director. You've always wondered how far you can go. Now you'll know.

Smiles on the line (photo: Cash Dart)

800 meters in. Hank (right), AJW, and Jeff (photo: Cash Dart)

800 meters in. Liv (photo: Cash Dart)

Wild man, wild shorts, wild black cherry soda


Post-TVR party. Down coats optional


WHAT: A one-hour footrace
WHERE: Your local track
WHEN: Anytime between May 1st-June 1 st, 2009

* Your performance must take place on a standard 400 meter/440 yard
track. Include partial laps in your final total; estimate distances
as accurately as possible within reason.

* Send results to by midnight, 1 June 2009.
In your results, please note name, total distance completed (in meters
or yards), age, date, and location. We encourage you to include a
brief report of your experience for the official race report.

* You may run the event more than once if desired, but only submit
your best mark.

* You are encouraged to invite others to participate in the event. In
many cases, our address list of past participants is incomplete, so we
especially appreciate your forwarding this invitation to past runners
not included in the original mailing.

* Complete results and race report will be sent to all participants.

World champions in football and baseball celebrate with champagne; the
victor at the Indy 500 gets a bottle of milk. At Titus Van Rijn, the
celebratory beverage of choice for all participants is black cherry
soda. We encourage you to maintain the tradition.

World, women: 18,517 meters (~11.5 miles)
Dire Tune (Eth), Ostrava, Czech Republic 6/12/08
World, men: 21,285m (~13.2 miles)
Haile Gebrselassie (Eth), Ostrava, Czech Republic 6/27/07

U.S., women: 17,273m (~10.7 miles)
Nancy Conz, Amherst, MA 6/25/81
U.S., men: 20,547m (~12.8 miles)
Bill Rodgers (GBTC), Boston, MA 8/9/77

TVR, women: 12,800m (~7.96 miles)
Kate Jennings (WA), Winthrop, WA 6/2/2007

TVR, men: 18,115 (~11.25 miles)
Greg Crowther (WA), Seattle, WA 5/27/2006

Please see the attached Excel spreadsheet for the All Time TVR
Performance List. Since 1999, TVR competitors have amassed more than
2.3 million meters of distance and countless gallons of black cherry
soda. Join the fun!

Please contact Andy Roth (andyleeroth@gmail.com) or Mike Persick
(mpersick@comcast.net), TVR Race Directors.