Friday, August 23, 2013

Pacing Leadville

almost forgot how to log into my blog - pacing Leadville, man, everyone is bitching about this race.  So first off, I had an outstanding time pacing & being at the race.  I feel fortunate that I was able to be out there & contribute to a couple folks races & man do I love the mountains.  I want to go play up there again & I really want to try another 100.

Here's my experiences during the race - first off, I slept in, highly recommend this.  Slept until about 9:30, drove down to Twin Lakes, had a wonderful morning.  No 2am bullshit for this guy, let the crew crew & the pacers pace.  Twin Lakes was awesome, parked a couple miles away, jogged in, got my racers crew all set up, etc.  By the time I left Twin Lakes it was apparent my racer was most likely not going to make cut-offs & would have a shortened race due to a badly sprained left ankle.  Man, that is bad news & I know injury at Leadville firsthand that is for sure.

I walked a mile out of Twin Lakes then hitch-hiked with 2 awesome folks going to meet their racer.  Winfield was a mess to get into so I hopped out & jogged in about 3-4 miles, no big deal.  Winfield was a mess, no communication in or out, the race told me, "I don't even know when or if racers are coming through here, so there is no way I would know if someone did or did not make a cut-off".  Fair enough, it was chaos; I'm not sure how to expect otherwise with a race that let 1100 people sign up?

I decided to help another runner up Hope Pass & see if I could find my guy up on the mountain somewhere.  So I found Chase bib # 356, an awesome National Guard dude.  We made our way up; I finally saw my racer hobbling around trying to come down, way past cut-off.  Poor dude, so he was out & was going to just slowly make his way down to Winfield & hitch hike to his fam, we continued on.  Small gripe on the climb; folks need to learn trail running etiquette - when you're the runner further behind in the race defer to the racer ahead.  If everyone does that you'll be afforded the courtesy you had extended to those in front of you.  Seemed like many first timers did not get this; poor dude I was pacing was getting irritated, but hey, he was hiking Hope Pass after having ran 50 miles to get there, could you blame him?

Twin Lakes was an outstanding scene, folks everywhere - carnage, crying folks, passed out folks, vomiting - awesome scene.  Bad thing - people have not heard of leave no trace, garbage for a mile or two up out of Twin Lakes.  WTF, isn't leave no trace just a basic trail running principle?  I'm a city person & I even know that.  I muled my racers garbage throughout the 2nd half of the race & picked up  a little.  But please people, pick up the garbage, especially in such a beautiful area, why the littering?

Coming out of Half Pipe - tons of littering, noodles everywhere, no gels already, you could tell that the far back folks would be visiting a depleted AS' but honestly, everyone had a million crew folks so why should they care?  Additionally they were very busy littering.  But regardless, such a cool scene coming out of there at night & then stretch where the crews are coming out of Half Pipe was just outsanding.  Streams of headlamps as you make your way near Fish Hatchery.  They need to limit cars though; just cars flying through, disturbing the scene, not moving much, etc.  No need for so much crew; lets use drop bags & enjoy the time out there on the course -

Fish was another mad scene - couldn't figure out even what was up here, must've been around 1am or so & it was getting wild.  Pretty good supplies still at this point & great volunteers, throughout the whole thing really.  But again, powerline climb - tons of littering.  WTF, just outrageous; it was like being in Chicago with all the trash.  Not sure what these folks were thinking, we're not cyclists are we?  Just trash everywhere from that point on really.  The climb at night is outstanding though, we had a really strong group too.  Me & a female pacer pretty much hooked this team up behind us & destroyed that section - my new runner Jeff was just a f*cking beast from Fish Hatchery on in, in fact so much that he ended up dropping me by the boat ramp.

While I am an advocate of limiting crews; it hurt me, I didn't have my stuff & didn't take care of myself while I should.  I bonked out at about the boat ramp & couldn't keep up, so I just hitch hiked out of there to take care of myself.  May Queen AS was incredible - unbelieveable volunteers, so great.  Awesome awesome people, but mixed in some litterrerers.  End of the day I loved it - glad to help 2 great dudes & both finished with solid times & have reached out since.  I'm no ultra expert so maybe the race needs an overhaul, but my expectations were chaos cause of the amount of people & it was that - if they could scale back on the littering & somehow limit crew that would be great.

If I had to do it again (which I might next year!) I would just have my fam hang out at Twin Lakes & have fun there, use drop bags & use random strangers as pacers & run with folks also running the race.  Here are some photogs

Monday, September 17, 2012


This past weekend was The North Face Endurance Challenge Series 50 miler - Wisconsin edition.  Race was a 50 mile trail race in the beautiful Ice Age Trail system in Wisconsin's Kettle Moraine state forest on a great day with quite moderate temps & soft trails.

Race went pretty well overall; I ran an 8:23, good for 26th place in a field of about 195 finishers.  Race difficulty was pretty similar to that of the Buffalo Run 50 in Utah I did in March, which I ran a 7:54, so I feel like I left some time on the table. But overall I did many things well & it was just really a lot of fun (which sometimes I do not do if I do not exceed my expectations).  You can take a look at my Garmin Data attached if interested.

Played it really casual & conservative with pace; going easy on the rolling uphill climbs & just keeping it manageable the entire day.  Was trying to run at about a 10:00 per mile average & see what the course offered in terms of running the very flat sections harder to improve on that pace, but I wasn't able to do so as there were some rolling sections that were tough enough to keep me in the 10 minute mile range & the flatter sections at the end either weren't to be had or coincided with a rough patch.  Ran into said rough patch from about 34-41 or so, where I seemed to get over-heated a bit or perhaps was running low on calories?  Seemed to be able to turn it around by spending a minute or two at an aid with ice & water, so perhaps it was a temperature thing (after-all I am a bit of a burly runner).  Somehow was able to snap out of that & pick back up my steady pace & finish pretty strong.

Had the pleasure of my dad out on the course crewing me & a training buddy from here in the Western Suburbs running the race as well (parts with me).  My dad is not only a great crew member but probably enjoys ultra-races more than any non-runner you could ever imagine, I think by the end of a race he's met everyone involved, really would've been a great ultra-runner if he would've tried the sport when younger.  Also had a good buddy who ran his first trail marathon as well that day, he completed it in 4:09, got to catch up with him & some other friends & the finish.  Was really happy with my steady approach, drinking, bouncing back near the end; pushed the pace pretty steady the last 4 miles - I think I may have even ran a sub 9:00 mile, which for someone of my speed & that far into a 50 miler is not that bad.  I need to continue to work on fitness; which has seemingly somehow taken a back-slide in recent month (due purely to obesity) & then eating calories.

I ran into difficulty in continuing to eat again.  My plan for nutrition was 2 bladders full of GU Roctane for about 1920 calories, 10 gels & supplementing with Clif Blocks if I tired of gels.  Well, I tired of gels after consuming only 5, only getting an additional 2 Clif Blocks in, so I probably under-indexed on my calorie goal of 350 per hour (but not bad as I took in about 2800 total cals).  Physically felt great the entire time, not too sore, so should be able to get back to running right away & keep working on this fitness thing.  I've implemented a calorie counting strategy (Livestrong) in order to help curb my obesity.

The race was ran in fantastic fashion - well organized, convenient, great turn-out, nice swag - really was impressive.  The course was really the only down-fall; beginning was great on the typical nordic trails & ice age trail, but for some reason in the 2nd half they had us on a bunch of horse trails.  There was horse traffic & the sand that comes along with a horse trail; it made for poor footing & inconviences in pulling over for what felt like a good amount of horse traffic.  But that certainly didn't slow down Ian Sharman at all, who ran a blazing 5:47, so maybe it's just me.  But overall I would rate the race very very highly, TNF did a superb job.

Have to give a shout out to my random pacer - a gentleman named "Jim" ran up behind me at some point & started chatting.  I started bs'ing, he mentioned he was just out on a run but happened to be a 100 miler himself (noting he ran Sawtooth, KM100 a couple times & some others).  He was only going to go on for a couple miles, ended up running with me for maybe 7-10 miles, was fantastic company.  What a bonus that was, definitely during a boring portion of the course as well; and though it may go without saying, he probably had a great time running with Viper.

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