Monday, June 27, 2011

This Week in Training-Please no more rain!!


Finally today I'm able to put the sneakers outside to dry without threat of a lingering storm to refill the shoes with water and hopefully the stench of old moldy sneakers will disappear too.  One can only hope.  I have a new dryer with a high tech drying rack.  Not as good as the sun.

Sneaker drying rack..

This past week has been a busy one.  It was the last full week of intensive training before a gradual somewhat taper to prepare for some upcoming races with the VT 100 Mile less than 3 weeks away and the Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc after that.  I think I managed to get through one, maybe two days of running without being rained on.  Monday started out as a beautiful day, fooling you into believing every day could be like this.  To fully take advantage I snuck in a shorter run just before lunch.  Got some work done and then headed down to Addison to get the skydiving season officially open.  Vermont Skydiving is an awesome place.  Very low key but they know their stuff and also how to have fun.

Vermont Skydiving
After my quick refresher it was time to go up.  Adam, Colin, Ole, myself and a student got comfy for the 20 minute or so ride up with Joe, our faithful pilot.  It's a very relaxing ride up, a bit noisy but you get in a totally relaxed state of mind and at times fall asleep.  The views this day were incredible and the air was cool and clean, except Joe had a bit of a gas problem and when you are locked in a small Cessna, there's not much you can do except turn on the miniature vents.  The plane from the inside is stripped out of seats except for the pilot's seat and the interior is held together with lots of duct tape.  Finally at about 12,000 we are ready to exit.  Adam is first out with myself following about 7 seconds later.  My favorite is the door dive into a forward roll then settling in.  It's so much fun to play superman.  I cruise around for about a minute or so, rolling flipping looking at the sites while dropping at 120 mph or so and also looking for the other skydivers.  At around 3500 feet I throw out the chute, all good.  I see Adam down below and shortly Ole comes cruising by and drops below. Colin goes zipping by too, not too far and I follow along behind.   They have smaller chutes which makes them drop faster.  After a nice soft landing, I feel great.  There's nothing like diving out of a plane.   At the end of the day, the kegolator flows but not for me today.  I still need to get more mileage in.  So after I get home, it's another 10 miles or so.

Tuesday's are always busy.  We have the Tuesday Night trail running series at Catamount Family Center.  It's a rolly, twisty 5k trail run with about 300 runners in a mass start.  That in itself would be fun but usually I get in an hour or so of running before the race.  This week I ran with Aliza for a while which would be her last home turf run until she came back from running in the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run on the weekend.  After a pleasant run, I ran some more and then it was race time.  It's always a wild, too fast start but soon mellows just a bit, mainly because it becomes a narrow single track and it's almost impossible to pass in certain sections.  But that also gives you time to regroup and catch your breath for a moment.  This night I'm a bit tired.  Getting in max miles this month is catching up.  I can't seem to stay up with Sam, he's running well tonight and Alan is gone too.  Oh well, enjoy it.  Afterwards we head out for another loop.  This turns out to be a 20+ mile day.

Wed. arrives and it will be another night at Catamount but this time for mountain bike racing.  I ran about 10 or 12 miles before the race and then the rains started, just in time for the bike races.  It's coming down enough to make it greasy and each lap gets worse.  Tonight I just did a 2 lapper as I still needed more running miles in.  But I took full advantage of the mud and wore as much as I could.  After the bike race, I threw on the running shoes and off on the trails I went.

Muddy night at Catamount
Thursday, Friday, Saturday, the rain just would not let up.  The shoes are starting to smell as I go through my inventory of Mizuno's looking for dry stock.  I got in some great runs starting at the Forest and then heading over to Sleep Hollow.  There's a great loop called the Jedi Loop which is up and down and all around on great single track thanks to the efforts of the Fellowship of the Wheel.  But of course it's raining, the only good thing, not as many bugs and the temps are cooler too.  Sunday I'm trying to plan a trip to run the Pemi Loop in NH but the weather is not looking good either so I decide I can run up at Stowe in the rain as well as I can run in NH so I might as well save some drive time.  Sunday morning I head over to the Toll Road at Stowe.

The Toll Road

Where's the sun?
The lower elevation temps are ok so I head out with shorts, no shirt and a cap.  The usual summer attire.  As I gain elevation I can feel the temps dropping and the wind is slowly picking up but nothing like on Mt. Washington the weekend before.  About halfway up I feel a bit of a sprinkle but it lets up, maybe it was just fog.  Once I get to the visitor's center I decide to go right up to the summit as bad weather could come in at any time and at the moment, it's bearable.  Deep in the clouds with a little wind but overall a pleasant trip to the Chin and an immediate turn around and down.  It's not warm enough to hang around.  As I head down the Toll Road the drizzle picks up again and then turns to a downpour.  I remember I left a pair of shoes out to dry next to the car.  I don't think they will be dry any time soon.  As I drop in elevation the rain increases and the body temp is dropping too.  I think this really sucks, I'm tired of the rain.  Soaking wet with about a mile to go on lap one I see two girls on mtn. bikes going up in the rain.  As I'm going by one of them says with enthusiasm, "Looking good!".  Well maybe this isn't such a bad day.  A good ego booster is always helpful when the day really sucks.  When I get to the car I'm totally drenched and decide to put on some dry clothes.  Luckily I had one other pair of shoes inside the car which were dry.  So new dry shorts, dry shoes and socks, some food and off I go.  Loop two was ok.  It was dry for most of it with the exception of some sprinkling here and there.  Up to the visitor center and back down.  Next up, the final loop.  After a snack and drink I'm off.  The skies are overcast as they have been.  About half way up, first a fine drizzle which turns into a steady downpour.  This really sucks.  About 3/4 of the way up I am so tired of rain which almost looks like sleet and hail at this point that I remember a portolet which I'm contemplating going into to get out of the rain.  But just as I come around the corner, the rain lets up, for the time being anyway.  Another 5 minutes up, turn around and down I go.  The rain is still coming down on and off and at times just pouring.  I can hear my feet slapping on the downhill in the wet.  Finally it's done, a 30 mile hill workout in challenging conditions.

Mount Mansfiield covered with clouds.
And so it ends, another stellar week of training including jumping out of airplanes, mountain bike racing and 120+ miles of running.  If it just would stop raining...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Mount Washington-The Annual Presidential Traverse

2011 Presidential Traverse

June 19, 2011

Mount Washington during most years creates it's own special challenge.  This year the weather looked somewhat dry, the temps cools but bearable, 30's and 40's but the wind was the big factor.  When I previewed the weather before heading out on my annual adventure it talked about windy conditions, 25-35 mph.  That is nothing for Mt. Washington so I thought it was just a walk in the park.  Never Assume!  Mt. Washington doesn't boast to having the worst weather in the world for nothing.  I started my adventure on the trail at 3:30 AM thinking I would leave a little buffer to catch the shuttle at the Highland Center at 1:30 PM to get a return trip to where I started at the Appalachia, Rt. 2 parking area.  Little did I know that the wind was to be the BIG factor in today's adventure.

I arrived at the Appalachia parking lot on Rt. 2 outside of Gorham Saturday night amongst numerous other vehicles that had hikers from the busy Saturday.  I got myself a nice spot to park the F-150 camper and got my provisions ready for the morning hike which would start at 3:30 AM.  In doing so, I was trying to figure out what to bring while at the same time looking to be a minimalist in what I bring with me.  Of course the lighter the better but be prepared for the worst on top of Mt. Washingon.  I've had many other experienced on Washington which included dodging lightning bolt to dealing with hypothermia so I never take for granted what can happen.

Up at 3:00 AM, have a little breakfast, some last minute packing and on the trail by 3:30 AM, right on schedule.  The temperature was probably in the 40's but going uphill for the first 4 1/2 miles warms you up quickly so I had on a light tech t-shirt and shorts, cap and headlamp.  The first 3 1/2 miles were uneventful, plodding along in the dark in somewhat dry conditions.  Then finally you break out from the trees.  I could hear the wind howling already and could feel the temperature drop so before continuing on I though it would be smart to take off the sweaty shirt and layer up for the wind and cold.  I put on a long sleeve tech shirt, a shell, light winter hat and gloves for the journey to the Madison Summit.  This stretch along the Watson Path is a steady uphill climb over large bolders totally exposed to the weather.  I could see the sun rising and when it briefly hit you, the warmth felt great but it had a ways to go before it was higher in the sky to really help.  As I scrambled my way up, the wind got more and more intense.  At times I had a hard time as the wind would blow me over.  There are a number of false summits along this route but having done this enough times, I knew to be patient and knew about what time I would reach the summit.  I could feel the core temp starting to drop as the wind sucked the warmth right out of the body.  I ate a quick GU hoping some calories might help.  Finally after 20-30 minutes in the cold and wind I reached the summit.  The wind at this point must have been blowing over 70.  No time to hang out, more like hang on.  I kept going, now across the summit ridge and towards the Madison shelter getting blown sideways from the wind.  I was having a hard time seeing as my eyes were watering and could feel my body shivering from the cold.  It was only a 1/2 mile down to the shelter but the west/northwest wind was right in your face.  As I approached the shelter my body was trembling from cold.  Always I have continued on without even a break at this point but not this year.  Two years ago I ended up on the summit of Mt. Washington with bad hypothermia from being exposed to wind, rain and cold and was treated to time in the infirmary wrapped in a heated blanked and down sleeping bag.  Didn't want to do that again.  Plus I was already feeling somewhat hypothermic so thought I would stop in to try to warm up.

It was just before 6:00 AM but there was some activity in the Madison Shelter.  Even inside the windows were shaking from the wind making me think twice about continuing on.  The next 3 hour stretch you are mostly exposed going through the Great Gulf Wilderness Area.  It's rare that I even see anyone going along this stretch, especially at this early hour.  I put another heavier long sleeve shirt on under my shell and kept my hat and gloves on.  Hot tea, yes that might help.  I grabbed a cup of hot tea but was having a hard time with the cup as my hands were mostly useless from the cold and I was shivering.  I got some trail mix out of my pack and was slowly eating that too, hoping the calories would help warm me up.  Still shivering I was already planning my day, plan B.  I could hike back down to the car and drive to Mansfield and run aroung the mountain as I often do.  It would be warmer there.  Still shivering I grabbed another cup of hot water and drank it, then a another.  I could see the sun coming up more and starting to hit some of the trails.  Hmm, if the warmth of the sun would help, could I continue on without getting in trouble?  After over a half hour trying to warm up I had to get going but would I be bailing out or continuing on.  I would make that decision once I was outside.  Being one not to give up easily, I thought I would continue on at least to Mt. Adams.  For a stretch I would be shielded from the wind and the sun was on the trail.  I was finally feeling better but still not warm.  It's about 30 minutes to the summit.  I also knew I would be blasted with the wind on top of Adams and hiking for a short time into the wind again.  And yes, right on schedule, got to the summit feeling good, then blasted by the wind until I got to the Gulfside Trail and then headed more south so the wind was at my back.  And so it went all the way to the summit of Mt. Washington going over Jefferson and Clay.  Along the Clay Loop it got so warm I even took my shell off but I knew it wouldn't last as the 1 mile approach to the summit is totally exposed and the wind did blow all the way but it was at my back.  I arrived at the summit with the wind blowing 53 gusting to 72 and maybe 40 degrees in the fog and glad to be inside to fuel up for the remainder of the trip.

Turkey sandwich, diet coke and some trail mix.   I checked my hydration bag and only drank about 10 ounces of fluid in 5 hours, not good.  But I did have 3 cups of tea/hot water.  I still had 30 ounces so I figured I would fill up later on to keep the pack weight down.  So I ate, sort of warmed up and back at it.  Losing time at the Madison hut, the next challenge would be getting down to catch the shuttle on time.  It would be close.  I could bypass a summit or two and make the trip shorter, but no, wouldn't even think of it.  I could always hitch a ride back.  With the wind blowing like it was I already ruled out a return trip on the trails.  Been there ,done that before in better weather but without adequate clothing this year to go into the wind into the late night hours in 30 degree temps, it was not  happening this year.  I must be getting smarter??

Saw these awesome flowers along the way.

I knew the trail down to Lake of the Clouds would be blasted with wind but after that and going down in elevation, the temps were also warming and the sun felt great.  Got up Monroe, Franklin, Eisenhower.  When I got to Pierce, I knew I had at least another 2 hours and 15 minutes to go.  Looking at my watch, it was going to be real close if I would make the shuttle.  Warming I got rid of my extra layers, hat and gloves and was down to a tech t-shirt again and cap.  I was hoping to stop at the Mizpah hut but no time.  It would be a gamble to see if I had enough fluid to complete the trip.  Onward past the hut, up Webster, Jackson and a sprint to the finish at Crawford Notch, as much as one can sprint over roots and rocks.  With 10 minutes to spare I made the shuttle for an hour ride back to the car.  Nice!

The gear:  Mizuno Cabraken 2 shoes were awesome grippinig over the rocky terrain and holding steady on the roots. The Mizuno Cabraken Shell was a life saver to help break the wind.  I used the Gregory Wasatch Active Trail Series pack which worked great.  GU brew was the fluid of choice and some GU's for quick energy throughout.

I try to make this trip every year as it's one of the best training runs I can find for the ultra races I do and was a great tune up for this year's upcomng VT 100 Mile Endurance Run and the Ultra-Trail Du Mont-Blanc.   It's always a challenge and can kick my butt and usually does.  And I always learn something on these adventures up Mt. Washington and this year was no exception.  Pack some warmer clothes!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Three 50’s, Part Three: Northface Endurance Challenge at Bear Mtn, NY

2011 Northface 50 Mile Endurance Challenge at Bear Mountain, NY

May  7. 2011
Of the three 50's this spring, this would be the most technical.  This would be my third running of this event and although it is not a fast 50, it is fun if you respect it.  For me, the question would be how much energy would I have.  My kick a... job was still draining my energy from early morning risings and physical energy spent at work.  Whatever, I went into this event knowing it would be a great training run for later events in the year.
Arrived at the site the night before and car camped in the F-150.  Worked awesome!  Got up in the early morning and jumped on the shuttle to the start.  The morning started off cool but was dry which was great.  Got to the start and got my bib and ran into Leigh Schmitt.  Leigh had moved to CA last year so I didn't think I would see him this year but NF wanted him here for the event.  We chatted for quite a while and before you knew it, it was time to run.  Besides Leigh I ran into Mike Oliva, a friend from NY who I met at Western States back in 06.  I also ran into Brian Rusiecki and Amy Lane and Annette Bednosky.
The race went off as scheduled and we were off.  As usual a fast pack took off.  I was just in the back of this pack to stay ahead of the masses but wanted to settle in and do my own thing.  I felt ok but not totally energized.  But after about two miles, it was clear to me that this was not to be a great day.  The legs felt fine but the energy level just was not there.  So i backed off even more than usual and looked at this as a fun Sunday run.  The course was in great shape, drier than in years past.  The temps seemed reasonable so far but would be warming later on.  So I did my thing and ran along.  I had a number of early wipe outs on the trail but nothing major. 

Finally after about two hours I was feeling good and started to pick up the pace.  I was passing other runners and cruising along having fun again.  Then at about mile 26, I took another fall, a good tuck and roll and kept going.  But at this spot was a sharp 90 degree turn.  I did such a good tuck and roll that I rolled right past the turn off and kept going down a gradual hill for quite a while.  I was feeling good but after a while, it was too quiet.  I looked for trail markers, nothing.  Finally I did some trail scanning and couldn't see any good footprints.  Dang!  Lost again.  I turned around and ran back up this hill, cussing that the courses are never marked good enough.  Finally I came across this very obvious turn off, which I had rolled right through and never saw, runner error.  Back on course I figured I had lost about 20 minutes.  I was again passing folks who I had passed earlier. 

Got to the aid station at mile 28, refueled and kept on going.  Chatted with Scott Livingston too and thanks Scott for the awesome photos which I have displayed here.  At the next steep uphill I came across Annette Bednosky who was actually walking up this hill.  I gave her some grief as I passed her and we chatted a bit.  Over the past year, I have seen Annette at a number of races and she is one strong runner who I respect.  For the rest of the race, we would go back and forth.  Annette was feeling sluggish on the uphills where I was feeling stronger.  But on the downhills Annette was in cruise mode where I was more in turtle mode due to sore feet and PF.  When we got to the road section with the long gradual uphill, I took off and didn't see Annette for quite a while.  Meanwhile I was doing my thing, just running along.  The heat was increasing and so were my cramps.  I made some adjustments to my electrolyte intake but was still on the verge of cramping whenever I really stressed the body.  It was a balancing act as usual.  I passed some others who had passed me way back so at least I was still gaining ground.  Still I was running a bit conservative trying not to blow up with cramping.  With about 5 miles to go Annette eventually caught up.  We ran together again for a while.  She was running in the top position for the women but had no idea where the next woman was.  We pushed on going back and forth but staying pretty close together.  With the final two miles to go, we took off at a good pace.  The course was more of a XC trail setting and not as technical so we could push the pace.  Without rocks to dodge, my feet felt much better so I was able to push even a bit harder.  I pulled ahead of Annette and was feeling good.  I ran to the finish line with a time that would be my longest 50 mile finish ever.  Still I was pleased that I was able to come back from such a bad start and even after getting lost for 20 minutes.  I finished 9th overall, first master and first in my age group.  Annette was only about 30 seconds behind me and won overall for the women.

The Gear:  I ran in the Mizuno Cabarakan 2 shoe which performed excellent on the rocky course.  The Mizuno techie shorts and shirt also worked great as did the multi-purpose hat providing shade from the sun, a deflector from bugs and a sweat band.
Thanks to Northface for putting on this event!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Three 50's Part 2: 2011 Bull Run Run 50 Miler


April 9. 2011

Nice single track!

This race has been on my list of “to do’s” for quite a while.  I never had the opportunity to travel to Virginia this time of year but 2011 seemed to have a void in the schedule so it fit just right.  Many friends have had the opportunity to run this race and I’ve heard nothing but good things.  So, at the last minute I signed up, which is a lottery system based on the stock market.  Whatever, I made it in.  Shortly thereafter I was contacted by another runner, David Ploskunka, who was organizing a team to run in the open class.  It seemed like a fun thing so sure, why not.

For this trip I decided to drive down from VT with a stop in CT to visit mom and it broke the trip up into 2 sections. When I arrived in Virginia, after incredible traffic jams in Baltimore and outside of Washington DC, the rain was lingering.  Just like home in VT, the rains had followed me down.  When I arrived at the race site, I went for a quick run before dinner to preview the course.  Rain and cool temps.  After a quick dinner in the F-150 camper, I headed over to the pre-race meeting.  The usual talk about the course, etc. and then there was discussion about the team events.  The local team of years past was heavily favored and there was no talk about any good competition this year.  Excellent, we had a strong team and no one knew about us.  At the meeting I met my teammates for the event, David Ploskunka, John Cassilly and Matt Bugin, all youngins but with some good credentials.  This could be fun!

Stream Crossing

Race Day, up early for the 6:30 start.  Temps were cooler than normal with clouds, excellent!  The first mile was a loop around the parking lot which was fast and furious before heading onto the trails.  I settled in but still felt like I was going too fast.  This first section was an out and back.  With the rains the day before they were saying it was extremely muddy but it seemed like a typical day in VT.  But the usual dry stream crossings were not dry at all.  In fact there were a good half dozen times where you were completely submerged in water going along some concrete pillions, and if you fell off, who knows how deep it might be.  Luckily I stayed on course.  I think I was running in about 7th place just doing my thing and not worrying about the leaders.  The trails got a bit congested being an out and back but after the first section, it turned into some fine single track.  The course had some other loops and lollipops sections which I barely remember but I know I was just running my race and slowly picking up steam.   The temps were manageable so cramping was not an issue as long as I was taking my S-Caps.  The aid stations were excellent providing just enough if needed.  I was powering through mostly with GU’s and the occasional peanut and butter sandwich.  At one point I passed by Adam Hill.  The last time I saw Adam was at the VT 100 a few years back where I passed him at mile 95.  Adam and I ran together for quite a while until the middle of the Do Loop.  He said he always had trouble here and wouldn’t you know; it happened again.  I tried to keep him going but he slowly faded.  Somehow I was now in 4th position after passing some others earlier on in the race.  I kept hearing from spectators that I was only a couple of minutes behind the 2nd and 3rd place runners.  So I pushed on thinking maybe I could sneak up on them.  Little did I know that they had seen me and were pushing hard to stay ahead.  Just when I thought I was gaining, I was running through the soccer fields and ended up in a parking lot, totally lost.  I ran in circles and was jumping up and down trying to find the course.  Luckily a passerby in a car noticed my crazed behavior and redirected me back on course.  I always seem to get lost at some point in the race and this race was no different.  That took the steam out of me but onward I went.  No signs of any other runners for a while so I thought I might even be lost again.  Finally I recognized part of the course and knew the end was near.  Up the hill, through the fields and bluebells and finally across the finish line in 6:49:57 setting a new age group record.  As stated in the official Bull Run Run Report, “This Beamonesque time obliterated the senior event record by almost an hour”.

Matt Woods won the event setting a course record beating Leigh Schmidt’s record from the previous year.  Neal Forman and David Frazier were tied for 2nd.  Adam Hill was just behind me finishing in 6:57:10.  I never saw her during the race but Annette Bednosky finished first for the women. 

Annette Bednosky, the womens winner.

In the team event, our little know team, the Equipo de Deportes finished first in the men’s open division defeating the heavily favorites.

The Winning Open Team

I felt good for most of the race.  Still the energy level was not at top level but the course was not incredibly demanding either.  Being a very runable course make the effort just a bit easier and the cooler temps helped too.  Thanks to the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club for putting on this great event.


The Gear:  I ran in the Mizuno Cabarakan 2 shoe which performed excellent in the muddy conditions and drained well with all the stream crossings.  The Mizuno technical shorts and shirts also worked wonderfully as usual.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Three 50's Part One: USATF 50 Mile National Trail Championships

Since March I've run three 50 mile races.  Here is the first one :

March 5, 2011

Desert conditions in Texas

Since I didn’t make the lottery for the Hardrock 100 or Western States this year, it opened up the race schedule a bit.  Without the travel expenses of either, I thought a short road trip might be in order this winter.  And, time to get out of VT and experience summer in the middle of winter.  I researched the ultra schedule and found thru the USATF, a 50 mile race in Texas which was also the National Trail Championship as well.  Having never been to Texas I signed up for the Nueces 50 mile Endurance Race located somewhere near Rocksprings, Texas.

The road in, a bit dusty.

One question I had, was I ready for a 50 miler this early in the year?  Training all winter on snow covered roads in the cold isn’t the best to get ready for a trail race in the Texas heat.  But what the heck, I knew I could do the distance.  But how fast and how soon until cramps kick in from lack of any heat acclimation would be the challenge.  And being a Saturday race I knew I had to get off a couple of days from my early morning work schedule.  Getting up at 4:00 AM and lifting boxes for 4 ½ hours each day is not what I call being in “taper” mode before a race.  Luckily I was able to get the two days off prior to race.  Leaving Burlington, the temps were close to zero.  I arrived at the San Antonio airport shortly after 11:00 AM.  It was already showing around 80 degrees.  This was going to be interesting.  The drive out was 2+ hours which went from the city to suburbia to ranch country for the last hour which was flat and desert like.  All I could see was scrub brush, cacti and signs for exotic hunting.  I finally arrived at the race site, Camp Eagle to preview the course and met the race director and his wife, Joe and Joyce.  I grabbed some water since it was now 83 degrees.  Shorts, no shirt and running in the heat in the middle of the winter, this was ok.  I don’t think I had seen trails without snow on them since November.  A lot of the surface had loose rock which was a little tricky to run on but overall, the trails were not that technical.  There were a lot of switchbacks and not too much for hills.  Most was quite run-able.  Although it was hot, it was so dry that you didn’t even sweat.  After the run, I headed back to Kerrville just over an hour away to find a place to stay and food as there really was nothing at Camp Eagle.  Friday morning I drove back up to Camp Eagle and ran the trails a bit more and checked in for the night in one of the hostel type rooms. 

The bunk house.

Race start was at 6:00 am, about an hour before sunrise.  Glad I brought my headlamp.  Temps were a bit cooler, maybe 50’s and the wind was blowing.  Way better than the 83 degrees from Thursday.  Just before we headed out, I caught up with Lisa Howard, a local Texan and the 2010 winner of Leadville who I met last year at Leadville.  We chatted quickly just before the start and then we were off.  A group of maybe 10 or so took off quickly and settled in.  Shortly David James, Jason Schlarb and another youngin left the group and took the lead.  I was running in a pack which included Lisa and we chatted for quite a while.  By the first aid station at mile 5, the group started to scatter a bit. I ended up running with Jason Bryant from NC and Steve Moore a local Texan.  The three of us spent quite a while running together for the first 2 loops of this 3 loop course.  The course was fun with lots of switchbacks, some loose rock climbs and running in dry streambeds, much different from Vermont roots, rocks and mud.  Not a lot of vegetation either except for scrub trees which provided some shade.  The air was starting to warm but still was bearable for a northerner.  But by the middle of the second lap I could feel the heat.  At one point I was zoning out and took a nasty fall.  Those rocks are not very forgiving but I did my usual tuck and roll and kept on going.  I think I would manage to fall a couple more times during the race but nothing unusual and everything stayed intact.  At the start of the 3rd lap I decided to back off a bit to try to prevent the heat from hitting me too hard.  Jason had moved out ahead and Steve was somewhere behind.  I was taking my electrolyte supplements and drinking but still not seeing any heat like this for 6 months or the extremely dry air was taking its toll.  I could feel the cramping starting in my toes and working its way up.  Not much I could do but keep moving, just a bit slower.  Most of this third lap I was by myself.  With a few miles to go, I could see Steve coming along.  Usually I enjoy the end of the race with a good push towards the finish but today, any time I tried to push cramps would kick in.  So it goes, just as expected but that’s what early training runs are all about.  With about a mile to go, Steve came by looking strong.  In the end, Steve finished in 4th overall, less than 1 minute ahead.  Jason Bryant finished in 3rd overall.  David James was second and Jason Schlarb from CO finished first.  The other youngin who went out with David and Jason blew up somewhere on course and was a DNF.  Not far behind me was Jeremy Pade from MD.  Liza Howard was first for the women.  All seven of us beat the previous course records.

Part of the race course.

Special thanks to Steve Moore for those ice cold Lone Start beers immediately after the race and to race directors Joe and Joyce for a great event.

The gear:  I wore the Mizuno Cabraken 2 shoe which provided excellent traction in the loose rock conditions.  The Mizuno Ascend shorts also worked great!
Crazy moving bridge we ran over three times.

Exotic Hunting??

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Yes, Jack is finally back! 

Thanks to Binney for that headline as we were running at Catamount last night.  After the last few months of craziness, I have reworked my schedule and life to allow myself to re-focus on work and running.  Yesterday ended 18 months of an insane job that got me up at 4:00 in the morning each weekday.  Not to say that I haven't been working or running but without adequate energy to fuel the fire it's been tough.  In the last three months I've run 3 50 mile races, 2 half marathons, 1 marathon and some shorter trail races and maybe some others that I have forgotten about, moved, started up my own Real Estate office, went to NYC for USATF coaching certification and am coaching some great folks for many different races.  All this on 4-5 hours of sleep a night.  Even after 1 normal nights sleep, I feel much better with more energy and am look forward to each day again.

So watch out, Jack is back!  And I will find the time to write up the highlights from some of my races over the past 3 months.