Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Trail Creek 12k in Sun Valley - Winners and Photos

Update (Nov 2, 2010): Full results now up.

It was a great morning at the Trail Creek 12k in Sun Valley, Idaho, an inaugural trail run put on by speedy La Sportiva mountain runner and friend, Brad Mitchell (  As one would expect from a Mitchell affair, it was a brutal, fun, and well-engineered race that featured at least one Olympian and a number of hopefuls.   Though shunned by some, costumes were the order of the day, with among others, Elvis, Bacon & Eggs, two Wonder Women (Wonders Woman?), Medusa, Shock Therapy, and Tarzan (yours truly) toeing the line.

The 12k course runs through the Proctor Mountain and Aspen Loops near the resort of Sun Valley and sports about 1700 feet of elevation gain.

Early Results (times approx.)
1st Male - Mike Sinnott (53:30)
1st Female - Morgan Arritola (1:00)

Wonder Woman at briefing
Medusa and tween soccer player post warm up
Elvis and Tarzan (yours truly), on a cold day in the jungle
Pipi Longstocking
Beginning the climb up Proctor
View of Baldy on final descent
Medusa taking second, having turned others to stone

Friday, October 29, 2010

2011 Tribute to the Trails Calendar Preview

Wading deep into fall - a time for late season runs on quiet trails, a bit of rest for weary limbs, and, most notably, the pending release of another Tribute to the Trails calendar filled with the great photography of Glenn Tachiyama.  A fundraiser for the Washington Trails Association, the calendar, now in its sixth year, highlights a race photo each month as well as upcoming trail races of all distances. It's a great stocking stuffer and wintertime salve for those runners cut off from their beloved singletrack through the cold, dark, and snowy months.

To whet the appetite, Glenn posted a sneak peak at the images and sample month and links to places to buy the calendar online ($23.00) or in person ($20.00).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Patagonia's "Tracing the Edge" - Featuring Ambassador Krissy Moehl

In case you missed these, or would like to see them again, I've embedded Parts 1 - 3 of Patagonia's Tracing the Edge featuring Krissy Moehl.  For the great videography and trail-wisdom alone, these are worth 15 minutes of your time. Enjoy.

Tracing the Edge - Part 1

Tracing the Edge - Part 2

Tracing the Edge - Part 3

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Singletrack:photos - Images from Life on the Run

As a lot of us have, I've taken a lot of photos on my training runs and during some of my races over the past number of years, and I've been lucky enough to capture a handful that, for various reasons, feel special to me.  It's not that the photography itself is special (I'm a realist), it's that the images seem to reveal to me something special about life on the trail that is often hard to put into words.  

So, I decided to create a photo companion of sorts to Run Junkie called singletrack:photos.  Many of the images in this work-in-progress site have appeared in posts on Run Junkie over the past couple years, so this may seem like leftovers to some.  But being able to collect a select number of notable photos into one place and give them each a solo platform, seems to give them a voice they didn't have on Run Junkie proper.   Have a look and see what you think.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Big Picture: Goat Lake from Standhope Peak

On borrowed time before snow starts to close things down, my wife and I made another trip to the Eastern Pioneers this weekend. Goat Lake viewed from the scramble to the top of Standhope Peak (elev 11,890 ft)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Nabbing Hyndman Peak, Feeling Like a Trail Runner

Yesterday afternoon I set off for Hyndman Peak like a mafia informant being whisked away to the witness protection program.  It's been one of those weeks where it wasn't at all clear when or if I'd be able to get in a good run - between soccer coaching duties, regular weekend tasks, and a sickness running rampant through the household.  So when a window opened up unexpectedly in the late afternoon, I checked the weather forecast, packed up and was out the door in five minutes, speeding to the trailhead.

If you live in the Sun Valley area, Hyndman is one of the anchors of the landscape.  It's one of the small number of Idaho 12er's (elev 12,009) and the tallest peak in the close-in Pioneer range. It beckons.  Always.  Six miles trailhead to top, with about 5,000 feet of vert, there's a lot of steep hiking, including a talus scramble up the last 3/4 mile, but much of it is pretty runnable.  

I can't say exactly what it was about yesterday's outing - that I was feeling good, that the trail on the return was feeling soft and fast, that it was a windfall long run - but for the first time since my knee went south last winter, I felt like a trail runner.  I felt like myself.  It was a great afternoon.

Autumn hitting its stride
Looking at Hyndman from near the Pio Yurt
Heading up the Hyndman Basin, looking at Cobb Peak
Halfway up the talus scramble. Cobb Peak in background.
Looking back at the basin
From the top, looking down on Old Hyndman Peak (right) and Cooper Basin (left).

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Talking Trash, and Other Things, in the High Lonesome

AJW, Mike, Brad, and me - top of Summit Creek Trail, Idaho
I've been keeping to fairly low mileage since my six weeks off in early summer, just giving my knee some rest through 2010, and it's only been recently that I've logged enough miles to be able to take part (even partially) on the classic Gang of Four group runs in the Sun Valley area - occasional and often masochistic outings with Brad Mitchell, AJW, and Mike Stevens. 

This past Saturday, they charted a 17 mile (7 hour) "run" (read: bushwhack across five major drainages on new snow) on the northern end of the Pioneer Mountains high line route, and I was able to meet them at the top of the final climb for a victory lap run-in to the trailhead.  It was short, but rich as always in trash talk and gossip, and tales of races and training runs past.

It really reminded how hard it is to beat the shared experience of a good run with good friends on backcountry trail.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

RJ Review: Nathan Synergy Hydration Pack

A beefed up version of Nathan's race vests with room for pretty much anything you'd need for those epic runs in the backcountry.

Testing the Nathan Synergy hydration pack for the first time on a multi-hour run was a lot like visiting the beer aisle of the local grocery store and being pleasantly surprised to find that your favorite hand-crafted ale now comes in larger 22 ounce bottles. Most of the time, the regular 12 ounce bottles are perfect, but some special occasions just call for the big boys.

It's the same with the well-crafted Nathan packs.  For most decent distance runs and even 100 mile races, the sleek Nathan HPL #020 hydration pack will fit the bill perfectly (see RJ review), but for some longer training runs and unsupported outings, you need just a bit more. Enter the pleasantly surprising Nathan Synergy hydration pack.

The Synergy, so called because of its dual-chamber 3-liter bladder - one side for water, the other for sports or electrolyte drink, is basically a larger, very close cousin of the Nathan HPL #020, with a few improvements.

While the front of the pack has the same adjustable sternum strap, tube clip, and slightly small dual front pockets (one zippered) just big enough for half a peanut butter sandwich, a camera, or a handful of gels as the #020, the rear is where the differences come to light.

First off is the size.  The larger 750 cubic inch main compartment is perfect for unsupported runs in the 4 hour plus range.  The pack can fit a full 3 liter bladder and still have plenty of room left over for a SteriPen, just-in-case clothing, and a lot of nutrition.  Packing for such outings with my bursting #020, I often had to make a choice in the end between my camera and my SteriPen because there just wasn't enough room (guess which item won out).
Fully packed Nathan Synergy on Mt. Borah
Other improvements include a more secure outside bungee cord and the addition of a secure light mesh outer sleeve for stowing items like food or a jacket that you'll likely need easy access to.

The Synergy also has two mesh side pockets that ride above the hip.  They can each fit a water bottle, but I found my elbows rubbed against them, which could just be an oddity of mine.  They worked great, though, for bulky food items (sandwiches), a small map, and, my favorite use, the baggie I use for my spent gels.

Despite it's extra size and weight, it fits like most Nathan packs with the "2-Way Propulsion Harness," which is to say that when you first put it on you'll think it doesn't fit quite right - since it lacks the locked and loaded feeling of most classic packs - but after the first few steps you'll hardly notice it.

The Synergy does trap more heat than its stripped down cousin #020, but compared to similar larger packs - like the Go Lite Rush - it's certainly airier and cooler.

On what for many may be the main selling point of the Synergy - the dual chamber bladder - I'm a bit more neutral and not just because the side by side clear and orange tubing hint at the Borg Collective.  The system certainly functions as advertised.  There's a large chamber for water and a smaller chamber for sports drink or electrolyte drink (with a total capacity near 3 liters), and the potency dial allows you to choose what percentage of each you want going though the nozzle.

I was surprised, though, that the bladders were different sizes, since I like to drink equal amounts sports drink and non-calorie electrolyte drink when I run long.  Having equal-sized chambers would seem to have also made it easier to figure out how much you might have left of each as the hours march on.  As it is, it required even more guessing than usually goes along with bladder hydration.  The dual-chamber bladder is also a bit harder to remove and fill than a standard bladder.  This isn't a real problem in the kitchen before a training run, but at a race it could be a real aid station show-stopper.
Synergy heading up Big Basin in the Pioneer Mountains, Idaho
Of course it's easy to pop out the dual-chamber bladder and replace it with a standard bladder if you feel like going with simplicity and saving a little weight, which I did on one occasion, and no graft vs. host rejection resulted.

I know the Synergy may run counter to the current minimalist zeitgeist of sticking one's bottles down the back of one's shorts,  but if you're looking to carry enough fluids, calories, clothes, and the odd electronic accessory for an unsupported multi-hour run in varied conditions, it just may be the pack for you.

Sometimes it's really nice to have the 22 ouncer, even when the 12 ouncer would do.

(Sample provided by Nathan Sports)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Results: Jones-Wilkins takes 2010 Grand Teton 100 in Record Time

At the 2010 Grand Teton 100, Andy Jones-Wilkins (Patagonia, La Sportiva) showed his typical closing ability, finishing first in 18:35:23 and demolishing the course record of 19:19:51 set last year.  

Despite small numbers toeing the line, the lead end of the race featured two big guns, Andy Jones-Wilkins (AJW), winner of the 2010 Vermont 100 and perennial top 10 at the Western States 100, and Duncan Callahan (Vasque), winner of the Leadville Trail 100 in 2010 and 2008.  The two basically stayed head to head through halfway, with some small lead changes after that.  The final selection took place on the fourth-lap climb and descent of Fred's Mountain between miles 75 and 81.  AJW took the lead and never gave it back. Callahan finished a strong second in 19:03:58, also under the 2009 course record set by Ty Draney. (results)

Keri Wheeler of Jackson, WY took the women's race in 27:20:40.

This year is the swan song for the Grand Teton 100, though the other distances will continue.  The GT100 races over a 25 mile clover leaf course in and around the Grand Targhee Resort, with about 5,000 vertical feet per lap.

2010 Grand Teton 100 - Top 5 Overall 
  1. Andy Jones-Wilkins 18:35:23 (cr)
  2. Duncan Callahan 19:03:58
  3. John Carroll 23:52:43
  4. Steve Bremner 27:05:11
  5. Kerri Wheeler 27:20:40 (first female)

Thanks to DC's crew for the Twitter updates @DuncanCallahan

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Mid-Race Results (Mile 50): 2010 Grand Teton 100

Update (9-5-10):  Report on final results

In what is the swan song for the Grand Teton 100 (the other distances will continue), 2010 Leadville 100 winner, Duncan Callahan, and 2010 Vermont 100 winner, Andy Jones-Wilkins, have run to a near draw halfway through, with Callahan taking a slight lead heading out for the closing 50 miles (live results, lagged).

Ty Draney's 2009 course record of 19:19:51 is on the line (as are eternal GT100 CR bragging rights) on what is turning out to be a warm day at the Grand Targhee Resort.

The GT100 races over a 25 mile clover leaf course, with about 5,000 vertical feet per lap.

Mile 50
1. Duncan Callahan 8:30
2. Andy Jones-Wilkins 8:31:30

Thanks to DC's crew for the Twitter updates @DuncanCallahan

Friday, September 3, 2010

Partway to "Why?" - Love for the Lonesome Outdoors

While I may not be the most "outdoorsy" of ultra-runners, falling closer to the "Green Acres" category than "Man vs Wild," I think I fall pretty high on the scale when it comes to shear appreciation of the great outdoors.  So it's been great this year to watch Ken Burn's The National Parks: America's Best Idea and read Timothy Egan's The Big Burn - both of which trace the creation of the National Parks as well as the field of conservation.  Each is filled with quotes from Roosevelt, Pinchot, Muir, and others that capture what so many of us feel when we're cresting Longs, Handies, Catherine's, Devil's Thumb, or Nordoff.

On cue to put a cap on another fantastic, if much too short, summer in the high country, is another typically beautifully written piece by Egan in yesterday's Times online - called My Summer Home - which chronicles his long love affair with the National Parks and public lands across the west.

As all ultra-runners are, I'm asked much too often the question: "why?."  I feel strongly that it's really unanswerable - at least to a satisfactory level - since it's so tied up in the motivation, experience and emotion of training for and making it to the finish (or not) of a 50, 100 mile run. But pieces like Egan's and Burn's capture, at least for me, one of the amazing draws of ultra-running, the grandeur of the lonesome outdoors.  They don't really answer the full question "why?," but they certainly provide a guidepost in the right direction.

Photo taken in the Salmon-Challis National Forest

Monday, August 16, 2010

Media Wire: Injury? What Injury? - We All Just Want to Run

As a medical writer, I've gnashed my teeth many times reading Gina Kolata's health pieces in the New York Times, but I have to say I almost always enjoy it when she writes about her passion for running.  And today was no exception as she wrote about the non-sequitur most folks and most MD's see when a runner experiences repeat major injuries but still feels the need to run.

It's a nice, little piece that will speak to most of us who've been told by weary doctors (and family, friends, and the neighbors two doors down) that it just may be time to hang up the La Sportivas.  But like hopeless romantics or deluded ultra-runners, we keep the faith that things will eventually turn around, and even if we can't get back to 100 mile weeks, at least we get to lace up and feel the earth moving quickly under our feet.

Story: When Repeat Injuries Can't Dim a Runner's Passion

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Cracking Open the Eastern Pioneers

I've lived in the Wood River Valley for a little over five years now and, sad to say, before this weekend hadn't made the relatively short trip over the Trail Creek dirt road pass to explore the Eastern Pioneer Mountains.  For being so close to the Sun Valley area, just 20 - 30 miles, it offers some of the most remote and spectacular trails the area has to offer.  And save a few select hot spots, it's hard to tell the difference between rush hour and non-rush hour trail traffic, it's typically so quiet.

And this is exactly what I found when I stole away for a couple hours during a family camping trip this weekend to Wildhorse Creek for a trip up to Boulder Lake - a modest, 8 mile (2,300 feet vert) run.  It's an out-and-back, with a loop option to Devils Bedstead only if you have your climbing gear, and it offers a great variety of terrain - steep climbs punctuated by Alpine meadows and mellow ascents, and a quarter mile scree scramble to the lake itself, which sits against near-vertical rock walls.

It was great to finally break the seal on this area of trail.  Like a new convert, I feel drunk with the possibilities but sobered by the press of summer's short play now that I know what I've been missing.

Some photos.

Trailhead.  About 5.5 miles out Wildhorse Creek Rd.
Opening steps - through the creek (no logs or bridge) and a sage meadow
Steep switchbacks with some great views
Open meadow at 9,200 feet.  Getting close to the scree and the lake

Boulder Lake
Back down, near trailhead.  Hyndman and Old Hyndman peaks in the distance

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Photo Guide to Sun Valley Runs: Johnstone Creek/Hyndman Creek Loop (Pio Cabin Alternate)

This is the run the Sun Valley locals hit when they're jonesing for a trip to Pioneer Cabin but want to avoid the crush of tourist traffic that can make an outing to the popular destination more travail than treat mid Summer.  It's about 3 - 4 miles longer than the standard routes up to the cabin (detailed here), with a little more vert and a lot more technical trail.  But the payoff in views of the Pioneers and solitude on the run make it well worth it.

The Hyndman Creek trailhead and Johnstone creek trailhead are about a mile apart via dirt road.  I prefer to run the loop clockwise and start at the Hyndman Creek trailhead, which means you start the run backtracking on foot down the dirt road to the Johnstone Creek trail.  But, it's nice to get this over with first, since it's the least rustic mile of the loop.  For directions to the Hyndman Creek trailhead, visit SummitPost.   This link is for the hike to Hyndman Peak (also a great outing, previous post), which shares the same lot.

For a run that's not that far off the beaten path, this one up Johnstone Creek trail is one to put toward the top of the list, if only for the stunning views of the timeless-feeling Pioneers.

A two minute photo guide -

Photo Guide to Sun Valley Runs: Johnstone Creek - Hyndman Creek Loop (Pio Cabin Alternate) from Run Junkie on Vimeo.

Friday, July 23, 2010

RJ Review: New Balance MT100 - Positive Impressions from a 'Maximalist' Curmudgeon

It's little secret to folks who read my blog and follow my Twitter feed that I'm a bit of a curmudgeon when it comes to the book Born to Run (my review) and the barefoot/minimalist approach to running that it's come to represent.  It's not really worth detailing my knee-jerk reasoning for this, but it has a lot to do with the book not being that well written and the scientific evidence on the benefits of barefoot/minimalist running falling well short of established.  In my strange nutshell of a world, these are important unmet criteria.

So, it was with some surprise that I recently found myself caught in the wispy tails of the minimalist zeitgeist, ordering a pair of stripped down, 7.8 ounce New Balance MT100's (retail $74.99).  It's hard to know why I did this exactly, given that what usually passes for stripped down for me are Wildcats, but I suspect it was a desperate quest for a change of pace and an easy way to fake some uphill time trial PRs in this injury-plagued season of mine.  And, hey, they're just MT100's, not Five Fingers.

Given that I was a "maximalist" dipping his toes in the minimalist pond, I thought I'd offer some quick impressions of the MT100's from this perspective.  For a detailed review, I suggest hopping on over to iRunFar (link) who've reviewed them better than anyone else.

Out of the box
Apart from their lightness, the first real impression I had of the shoes was their strange, not altogether negative, semblance to classic Keds sneakers.  The MT100's upper is soft and unstructured throughout, with a light, loose tongue, and a  prominent Achilles backing, not unlike those white and blue Keds many moms still sport.  Clearly, these are a souped up version, but the similarities were unavoidable.  Keeping to its flyweight minimalist intent, the MT100's sole was light, low, and flexible with a decently aggressive tread featuring "Rock Stop" protection, which on first inspection in my hand didn't seem too substantial (see trail test comment below).  The shoe had little if any toe bump protection.

On the foot
Slipping these shoes on for the first time, they felt great. Really. For someone with a slightly wide forefoot, the MT100's were roomy (much more so than the Fireblades I recently tried) and didn't aggravate my persistent neuroma.  And they felt amazingly spry, as much as my Asics Hyperspeed 2s, a high watermark of spryness.

On the trail
Though it slightly pains me to say it, if I had to choose one word to describe these shoes, it'd be: Fun.  Taking them out on the trail is such a vastly different experience than ticking off miles in a heavier shoe.  The low heal on the 100's forces your weight forward for a more natural mid-foot strike which also adds a sense of effortlessness to the strides, and the flyweight 7.8 ounces keeps things incredibly nimble on technical trail, even for this at-times clumsy runner.  For me, the most surprising thing about the 100's was how well the "Rock Stop" protection plate actually performed.  Looking a bit weak indoors, it took on jagged rock and craggy ridge lines head on, and I hardly felt a thing.

Without taking anything way from the MT100's, it'd take a supremely dedicated minimalist to wear them for any real distance on rough and tumble singletrack.  Using my personal algorithms, I'd think that 10 - 12 miles would be the maximum I'd put in them.  There just isn't enough there there to stand up to a big day in the backcountry.  The upper is light and feels great, even with bare feet, but it lets in a large amount of dust, micro pebbles, and burs.  The tongue is light and loose and can be urged into place for short outings, but over time folds in places that can form hot spots.  And, I'm just not sure it has the overall structure to support tired tired legs and tired tired minds on the tail end of a 50 mile, let alone a 100 mile, race.

I largely knew this much going in - despite trying to look at things with an open mind.  What I didn't expect really, was to find such a fun, trail-worthy mid-distance shoe with the weight of a racing flat.

For a short while, this maximalist curmudgeon stands chastened. 

More shoe reviews on Run Junkie

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Photo Guide to Sun Valley Runs: Pioneer Cabin/Long Gulch Loop

This edition of Sun Valley Runs features a classic middle-distance run to the storied Pioneer Cabin, which rests at 9,500 feet at the base of the Pioneer Mountains. While the most popular route up and down to the cabin is the out/back on the Pioneer Cabin Trail, it can be overrun with foot traffic in summer and a little short for anyone looking to get in a bit of distance.  We've found that heading up the standard trail first thing in the morning and returning via the less traveled Long Gulch Trail makes for a really nice 9 mile loop with some extra climbing (about 3,500 feet vert for the loop) and a lot more solitude.  It's a classic run not to be missed. Directions to trailhead at

Looking for more distance and vert?  Add the Hyndman Creek/Johnstone Creek loop to the cabin for a challenging figure eight of about 18/19 miles with 7,000 feet total climbing.

Want a quick tour?  Check out the video slideshow below or the static slideshow, here.

Sun Valley Runs: Pioneer Cabin Loop from Run Junkie on Vimeo.

More Sun Valley Runs

Monday, June 28, 2010

Back on the Trails - Two Miles at a Time

As a palette cleanser between the rush of Western States 100 reports, I had to mark my official return to the trails yesterday after my 6-weeks of full rest.  It was all of two miles, taking a dash over 16 minutes, but it felt epic nevertheless.  On the first mid 80s afternoon here in the Wood River Valley, it was a true gift to get to lace up a new pair of green and black Wildcats, grab my visor, and tick off a steady pace in full sun on the  buffed out Croy Creek trails. I even brought my camera along to capture the affair.

I have no idea how my knee's going to do over the next few weeks.  It told me yesterday that things hadn't perfectly resolved with rest.  So while I enjoy some easy days on the trail slowly building up my miles, I'll be monitoring things closely and gathering my thoughts on my next therapy steps.  There's been no lack of advice from people on where to turn, something I very much appreciate, but it's hard to decide which might be the most effective and economic approach.  ASTYM, structural integration, acupuncture, energy work, cupping, ultrasound, steroid injections, surgery.  Hopefully, I'll have a bit of solo time on the trail to form a cogent plan, and if things go right,  maybe I won't need a plan at all.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Injury Chronicles: The End of Exile and Life with Quasimodo

Well, I'm coming to the end of my 6-weeks' self-imposed exile from running and pretty much all other physical activities.  It's gone alright, which is to say that I've adhered to the full-rest aspect of my plan but have done so in a particularly moody and twitchy manner that has left me searching for the bells atop Notre Dame from which to swing.  Life around the house with me could easily be classified as "difficult," "unpleasant," or "Bergmanesque."

But, June 26 - Western States weekend - I'll be released for my first run, which is likely to take less time than a typical aid station stop but is something I'm very much looking forward to.  The skies here in the Northern Rockies are finally starting to clear, the temperatures are rising, and the lupin are beginning their colorful reach - the start of singletrack high season.

Yet, if I'm honest, I have to admit that the past week or so has been pointedly difficult, what with Bighorn last weekend (my first 100 miler last year) and Western this weekend (my main target this year). And although the knee has been feeling pretty good, and I'm optimistic about its prospects, it's also let me know once or twice that the road back may continue to be bumpy.

Right now, though, I don't want to worry about that.  All I really need to do is rest for five more days, then enjoy a summer filled with the simple pleasure of banging out some easy sun-drenched miles and letting the trail take me wherever it wants to go.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Race Results: Nationwide 2010 Titus Van Rijn (TVR) One Hour Run

Nationwide results for the Titus Van Rijn One Hour Distance Classic are in, and the Sun Valley Edition shined. While furthest distance overall, with 15,602 meters, went to 38 year old Washingtonian, Erik Brooks, Sun Valley runners Brad Mitchell (15,500 meters) and Andy Jones-Wilkins (14, 850 meters) took second and third respectively, as well as first and second in the Masters division.  Your truly (Hank Dart, 14,750 meters) came in seventh overall, giving Sun Valley three runners in the top ten.

Women's overall went to 35 year old defending champion Pam Smith of Oregon, with 14,578 meters, furthering the female record she set last year.  Sun Valley's Liv Jensen (12,960 meters) came through fourth woman; Julie Cord (12,429) sixth (second Masters), and EJ Harpham (12030 meters) seventh.

Race directors yet again did a great job organizing the event and compiling results and reports.

What is the TVR One Hour Run?

It's basically a festival of local one-hour running events, now in its 12th year. See the specifics here, but the "rules" are really quite simple. Grab some friends and hit the track sometime in May, record how far you go in 60 minutes, and send the results to the event director.

For more, see the new TVR blog.

Previous TVR posts on Run Junkie.

Overall Top 10

2010 TVR One Hour Run

First Last Gender Age Meters Year Site
Erik Brooks M 38 15,602 2010 WA
Brad Mitchell M 40 15,500 2010 ID
Andy Jones-Wilkins M 42 14,850 2010 ID
Ben Blessing M
14,800 2010 ID
Dan Kuperberg M 46 14,800 2010 WA
Brad Smythe M 31 14,780 2010 NC
Hank Dart M 42 14,750 2010 ID
James Umbanhowar M 37 14,720 2010 NC
Pam Smith F 35 14,578 2010 OR
Stephanie Snyder F 40 14,415 2010 OR

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Science Wire: More Good Results for Chocolate Milk

Chocolate milk has been riding a wave of popular press in the endurance sports world, and some new results from the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine will only add to this.  In a series of two small studies, researchers William Lunn and Nancy Rodriguez found that non-fat chocolate milk performed better than a carbohydrate-only drink when it came to post-run glycogen synthesis and muscle repair (press release).  Eight male runners ran twice for 45 minutes over a two week period.  After each run, they drank either 16 ounces of non-fat chocolate milk or a carbohydrate drinks with the same number of calories.  Within a three hour recovery period, muscle biopsies were taken to measure glycgogen stores and markers for muscle repair.  Chocolate milk came out ahead on both measures. 

Like most endurance sport studies, these two studies are much too small to allow any firm conclusions.  That they only looked at recovery after a short 45 minute run makes the applicability to marathon and ultramarathon training gets even less clear.  Also unclear is how chocolate milk would stack up against more complex (and more expensive) commercial recovery drinks, like Recoverite or Ultragen.

Still, the results certainly suggest that choosing chocolate milk as a recovery drink could do you a lot of good as well as save you a good deal of money, which you could spend on real food or a new pair of shoes.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Motion Pictures: Choosing a Camera for the Trail

As my oft-chagrined training buddies can tell you, it's rare for me to hit the trail on a 2-plus hour run without my camera. Even if it's a route we've run dozens of times, I feel that each long outing, however seemingly routine, is rich with moments worth capturing. And although I'll never be in the same class as Glenn Tachiyama or Greg Norrander, I've taken some shots I've really liked over the last few years (see below) and learned a few key things about choosing a camera that could help out others looking to take their first shots on the run.

Here they are, in no particular order:

Your camera will break (or get left at a trailhead or carried away in a river or trampled by a moose).
This is just a fact of life. Under the best of domestic conditions, digital cameras live an endangered life.  Get them out in the wilds and in cold, wet, or sticky hands that belong to someone who's been running for anywhere from 2 to 30 hours and it's amazing that they make it back to the car any single time.  Which is just to say, don't spend so much on a camera that you'll be disappointed when force majeure separates the two of you.  You can be sad that you've lost such a great camera that you'd gotten attached to, but you should never be disappointed because of what it cost.  For some people, this will put the limit at $100, for others much higher.

Choose picture quality over most other options.
We're out on the trail with our cameras so we can capture great moments, so you should do so with a camera   that takes great photos.  In general, this doesn't mean the camera with the most megapixels.  It means cameras with great optics and electronics.  Apart from testing a number of different cameras, this means spending some time on the web divining from reviews and sample photos where certain cameras in a given price range fall on the quality spectrum.

Be wary of too many moving parts.
With a trail camera, simplicity is often best.  Moving parts are just asking to be jammed with dust, mud, water, or exploding gels.  I lost a fantastic camera to the red earth of Moab at the 2009 Red Hot 50k when I dropped it in a couple inches of superfine dirt.  While it had a soft landing, the telescoping lens mechanism filled with the dirt and stopped fully opening or closing. It was a complete loss. Its replacement has a permanently flush lens, which still has optical telephoto, and I can be a bit more confident that the camera is just that much more field-ready.

Don't be swayed too much by waterproof and shockproof cameras.
The growing number of waterproof and shockproof cameras is heartening for those of us looking for  something durable, and they may be good choices for some.  Overall, though, they seem to sacrifice too much for the ability to drop them off a tall boulder or dunk them in the local swimming hole.  While they are beginning to reach toward the sweetspot of price, quality, and size, right now they just don't seem to fulfill enough of the other important criteria to make them great choices.  When buying my latest camera last year, I decided against this category largely for image quality reasons. But the slight bulk, and high cost could easily be deal-breakers as well.

Don't worry too much about size.
Almost any of the current crop of point and shoot compact cameras on the market are small enough to carry on a long, long run without becoming burdensome.

Decide what's most important to you.
Are you an image quality person?  Durability?  Cost?  Size?  Everyone has their own special algorithm when deciding what camera to settle on.  For me,  quality comes first, followed by durability and size - all of which must settle within the "throwaway" price tag of $150 - $200.   The great news is that the choices are better than ever, and the starting point is higher than it's ever been.  Almost any name brand camera that costs over a $100 will take decent photos and come with some good bells and whistles.  Pay a little more and you'll have a bit more flexibility to choose exactly what you want.

Right now I use the Nikon Coolpix S52c, which I've been pretty happy with - taking it on Coyote Two Moon 100k, the Bighorn 100, and a number of training runs. It's fairly small (but not tiny) and true to all the Coolpix cameras, takes pretty nice photos. My previous camera (Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS5) took amazing photos, due in large part to the Leica lens, which was also its downfall in the Martian Moab dust.

Some photos from the past couple of years.