Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Leadville 100 Trail Run - When running is a team sport

Some time back in the 90s as a teenager, having not met my future wife or even visited the USA, I read a brief paragraph about the Leadville 100 trail run in a UK backpacking magazine.  The author, Chris Townsend, was someone I had followed because of his legendary long walks and he happened to be passing through Leadville around race time.  He commented that he could hardly get up the stairs in his B&B at the 10,200 ft altitude and couldn’t imagine how runners could move all day and cover 100 miles in the aptly named ‘Race Across the Sky’.  That snippet captured my imagination ever since and was something I thought about over the years, as met my wife 16 years ago, moved to America, then to Colorado; and ultimately found myself at the start of the race in Leadville itself.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Hardrock 100!

Wendy up on Handies Peak
Ahhh Hardrock.  How tempting it is to get in the car and drive for 7hrs to Silverton and spectate high on the course for what may be the greatest ultra event of the year.  Certainly one of the most highly anticipated as it will be a rare year again when we see the lottery be favorable to such running luminaries as:

  • Kilian Jornet
  • Seb Chaigneau
  • Julien Chorier
  • Dakota Jones
  • Joe Grant
  • Jeff Browning
  • Jared Campbell
  • Timmy Olson
  • Tsuyoshi Kaburaki
  • Adam Campbell and several more knocking on the door of the top 10.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

5th Annual - North Fork 50 miler, Pine Colorado

North 'put a fork in me' 50 miler.  A good start, a miserable middle and a strong finish!
9:39.11 - 12th place.

The legendary Ann Trason, 14 time winner of the Western States 100 once remarked that running a 100 miles is like living your life from start to finish, beginning as a baby and growing old through the race.  While not a 100-miler, I got as close to getting a sense of those feelings this weekend as I bobbed along a roller coaster of emotion I've never experienced in a foot race before.

With Western States coincidentally being held on the same day this year, I didn't get a chance to enjoy a day of following twitter feeds and FB posts about the incredibly deep field assembled in CA.  Instead I was in Pine, Colorado trying to get a good training race in ahead of the Leadville 100 later this summer.

Felix wearing Dadda's race day shoes.  He's got a ways to grow into them yet.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

iRunFar Interview with Andy Jones-Wilkins (AJW)

If you are a fan of ultra running, you've no doubt spent a good amount of time on iRunFar's website at one time or another.  The race coverage and pre/post event interviews are always great, with lots of good insight from the elites and plenty of tips and nuggets of information to learn from.

This extended interview with Andy Jones-Wilkins is perhaps the best so far.  It taps into the essence of what this kind of running is about, the link to our own personal lives and how it becomes who we are.  There is lots to identify with in here and it's refreshing to hear it come out in the week before Western States 100 when so much attention is on the sharp end of the field and how the elites will do.

Long may AJW and Bryon continue to mentor the ultra running community through their online presence.

Sit back with a beer, get the kettle on or enjoy your lunch break for the next 44 minutes.

P.s. There's still time to get your WS100 entries in to their prediction contest.  Link here: http://www.irunfar.com/2014/06/2014-western-states-100-prediction-contest.html

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

The Newbie Road to Leadville 100 Trail Run - Part 2

Review of pacing 

There's not a day that goes by when I don't think about the race.  Most days include some kind of planning in my head around the race itself, training, nutrition, gear, pacers, weather, route finding you name it.  Much of my focus goes into just keeping calm and not getting too worked up about things.  For a newbie tackling the 100 mile distance for the first time, there are just so many variables to think about.  Too many really, so I have distilled some of my thoughts down into lists that help get my head around the challenge ahead.

The first took me back to some pacing notes I made when helping Craig Howie out to his 10th place finish in 2012.  By the way, Craig is a phenomenal coach and one of the most open, generous and caring guys/dad/husband out there.  If you are ever in need of help with your training check him out at Howie Endurance Project.  You won't be disappointed.

Leadville 100 Pacing Notes (from 2012) - unedited 2 days post race.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

29th Annual Sunrise Stampede 10K Race Report - Longmont CO

10th Place Overall, 3rd AG - 38:58

What a great event!  It's hard to believe that for as long as we have lived here, this was my first time at this race. Maybe it's a bit of a hidden gem, kind of like the Longmont Triathlon which has to compete with it's bigger counterparts, but has so much history in the local community.  Any race that has been going about 30 years is well worth checking out as they are clearly doing a lot right.

The race combines a 10K and 2 mile option so a great family event for everyone with lots of multiple generations taking part, spectating and stroller friendly so another bonus for getting out with the kiddies.  I told Wendy that next year we'll all be back and get Felix involved in this event early on, even if his participation is from the buggy.  You also can't beat a $15 race entry fee these days.

The other aspect I love is a race that finishes on a track and this event delivers a full 500m or so of tartan glory as you run in and past the finish banner, get a quick glance at the clock before sprinting with an all out lap.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Spring in Colorado, training and perspective

The past couple of months have gone by in a flash.  It's already getting hot in Colorado and we officially dropped inside the 100 days to go mark for Leadville.  Training has been going really well and I'll put a few thoughts together in a separate post about Leadville prep and what a 100 mile newbie is going through at this stage of the game.

Felix is on the move - sort of.  Lots of cruising around the furniture and furious walk/running when holding both his hands.  Crawling is definitely taking a back seat as he realizes that walking might be just the more efficient way to get to where he wants as soon as possible.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

2nd Annual Carbon Valley Half Marathon - 1st half win!

1:26:37  1st place overall and course record

This race was added to the calendar after searching for another half after the debacle at Redline 13.1 Westminster. I had wanted to do the Platte River half and get a time on a known fast course but the family schedule wouldn't allow it on that weekend.  I opted for a second year event in Firestone, where I had luck the previous year in getting second place at a local 5K.  Knowing a bit of the area and course, I thought it could be a good fit.

I'd checked out the results from last year and was a little surprised with the slowish times from some runners I knew were pretty quick.  Maybe it had been a hot day or slightly long - I guess I would soon find out.

I used the same taper as before Redline which is really working well for me right now.  I'm getting to the end of the week feeling fresh and rested with an attitude of wanting to get after it on race day.  Timing these races with natural low weeks has also helped get in some of the required recovery which is harder to do in a normal training week without a race looming.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Redline 13.1 Westminster, 3 mile detour, tapering and small fields


While I guess this officially becomes a DNF, I think there should be a new category called DNF-LBF, the LBF for lead bike fiasco.

I'd been looking around for a spring half that would be a good gauge of current fitness, close enough to home that I could get back to the family quickly and have a sense of where my speed is at (or not at).  I even gave it a reasonable taper in the week running up to it which coincided nicely with a down week.  The stars were aligning....

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Newbie Road to Leadville 100 Trail Run - Part 1

It's official.  I'll be in Leadville on August 16th.  It was touch and go using a cell phone with patchy coverage on the east coast at 2am, but the email came through and the spot is secured.

I had to ignore a lot of the bad publicity the race picked up last year (2013) due largely to overcrowding and congestion problems. Hopefully Lifetime have sorted it out with capping the entrants a few hundred lower and limiting the stress on the race.  I've had good experiences with their multi-sport events and am going in with confidence they are putting any wrongs right.

The Leadville 100 journey has been a long time coming.  I was entered back in 2001 when it was a lottery and you had to go up to Leadville and look at the list on a shop window to see if you got in. I did. I wasn't an ultra runner then, just a very naive marathon runner who didn't really grasp what I was jumping into.  The Snow Mountain Ranch Double Marathon put paid to that with a combination of being sick on the day and totally unprepared, which led to dropping out at 35miles after some rather incredible hallucinations.  My buildup was in tatters, I was wrecked and unready to even toe the line that year.  Talk about unfinished business.

Now, years later we come full circle.  Ultras are now part of my DNA and with years of Fell running and mountaineering from my youth providing a base to draw upon, all the components are now clicking into place.

Pacing our friends Craig and Paul in 2011 was the first step in seeing the race first hand and I was blown away by the feelings and emotions of that very long day.  Even as a pacer it ranks as one of my best race experiences I have ever had, so what would it feel like to be the one participating?

Training in Boulder the tales of running 100 milers has become so commonplace that it's easy to think of the distance in a complacent sort of way.  I'm trying to remind myself of just how big a challenge this really is and to not take anything for granted in the journey to the start line.

The course profile (out and back)

I'll try and document my preparation over the upcoming months as I get closer to August and outline the good, bad and ugly of getting ready for the race. There is so much to consider in terms of training, nutrition, altitude, race day logistics, pacing/race strategy, and beyond.  In the meantime, to get you excited about the event, have a read of the following article posted by a spectator at the 2012 race. The author does a very good job at capturing the event and all its emotion.