Sunday, December 26, 2010



As I sit here in front of the roaring fire this morning, full from fresh waffles made in my new waffle maker, I am reflecting on yesterday's adventure.  Due so some "circumstances" I found myself alone this year for Christmas.  I worked on Friday and was possibly working on Monday so I didn't feel like driving to CT to visit my mom and sister.  Plus I was exhausted from working multiple shifts over the past 3 weeks averaging about 4 hours of sleep a day which was broken down into two 2 hour shifts.  So a little R and R was in order.  Although my interpretation of R and R is different from most other folks.  Some other years I've camped on Mansfield while skiing the summit chutes under moonlight but this year I just didn't feel like driving.  So I created The 24 Hours of Christmas Adventures, an all day run about.  

I was invited to the Carrara family gathering next door for Christmas Eve.  This included many generations of the family and reminded me of my own paison family gatherings.  Lots of food, drink and good company.  A great opportunity to carb up for my adventure.  There were plenty of different pasta dishes to choose from as well as numerous other dishes.  (No squid for me though).  It was hard not to over eat but I had to be somewhat careful as at midnight I would start my adventure.  And desserts too including Joe's homemade bread with his special ingredients.  And of course wine with dinner followed up with after dinner drinks of some very tasty tequila.  By now it was around 8:00 PM so time to go home and prepare for Christmas.  My run was to start at Midnight and go possibly for 24 hours or til I could go no further.  I mapped out 4 loops all starting and finishing from my home so I could refuel and get a change of dry clothes.  A huge challenge in the winter is to stay warm and dry.  Even with the best technical clothing you do sweat some and that sweat then freezes cooling the body quickly.  Temps were looking chilly, around 10 degrees to start and maybe warming to the high teens.  I had clothes layed out and food on the counter ready to go.  Peanut butter and jelly, chicken soup, chocolate bars, etc.  By the time I got myself together, there was really no time for a nap so I would have to forgo sleep.  Been there done that before.  Just before midnight I got my pack together.  This was a brand new back from Santa, a Gregory Wasatch pack from their new active trail series designed for fastpacking.  Thanks Santa!

Gregory Wasatch Pack
Midnight, Christmas is here, time to go.  With headlamp on I was out the door.  As soon as I walked out the moon was shining brightly.  Clear skies and a 3/4 moon, no need for the headlamp to be on.  Loop number 1 consisted of mostly rolling back dirt roads of Charlotte, Hinesburg, Monkton and Ferrisburg through farmland.  A 25 miler.  The temps were in the low teens but falling.  One thing I noticed quickly was on the downhills you created your own windchill but on the uphills you warmed up.  So to regulate body temps I would unzip on the uphills and zip back up for the downhills.  My goal today was also to have a nice steady pace.  This was not a race but rather a fun unsupported ultrarun.  It was very quiet with almost no activity except I did see someone delivering papers back on Dorset St. around 1:00 AM.  On these longer runs I can just zone out and go and have no concept of time.  All I know is that I will be runnng for the day.  Everything is going well but about halfway I notice my hands getting very cold.  Not unusual for me which is why I wear full on winter mitts for running in the cold temps.  But still, I was losing feeling and when that happens my fingers don't function which was starting to occur.  Even my arms were really cold.  For clothing I had on a short sleeve base layer along with a long sleeve zip top under a shell.  Maybe I should have had on a long sleeve base layer.  At one point I had a difficult time operating my zipper and soon I discovered even that wasn't working  Not a big deal as only about 2 hours to go before I would get home to refuel.  Been there before.  But the bigger problem was I couldn't drink or eat as my hands were useless.  Not usually a huge deal for this loop but not eating and drinking early on could effect you more in the later miles of a long run.  Finally I arrived home.  Quickly I was trying to get out of my wet clothes while getting a cup of hot tea going and eating.  I got on some nice warm clothes including a long sleeve base layer this time.  All of a sudden I could feel my body going downhill fast.  I was getting dizzy and lost all energy.  I could barely function and still had a long way to go.  The only hope was to sleep.  Still plenty of time to go.  I set my alarm for 2 hours, dove under my down comforter with still frozen hands and arms and passed out.  Awaken by my alarm I noticed my arms and hands were back to normal.  I got a quick snack in me, repacked my pack and back out for loop 2.  It's amazing what a little sleep can do for you. 

Loop Number 2
Milk truck hard at work
This loop consisted of a mostly out and back to Burlington with a small loop in Burlington.  A 31 miler.   I dislike a true out and back where you run to a point, turn around and go.  I figured a loop would liven it up a bit plus I threw in a hill to help change up the body.  Still dark out and no traffic yet.  I headed north on Mt. Philo Road.  As I ran by the Foote Farm I noticed some activity.  They were milking, even during the early hours on Christmas Day as the milk truck was there filling up.  We should be paying more than $2.30 a gallong for all the work they do.  Pretty uneventful running into Shelburne but the sun was starting to rise although the clouds had come in.  Temps were also starting to rise.  My layering seemed good and I was comfortable just in cruise mode.  From Mt. Philo Rd. I headed north into Burlington using the sidewalk system.  I figured the sidewalks would be mostly snowcovered which would be more cushioning than just running on pavement which I don't like, especially for long distances.  I also wore my Mizuno Ascend trail shoes for running on snow.  And the sidewalks were for the most part snow and ice covered but plowed until I reached So. Burlington.  They do a horrible job maintaining the sidewalks.  They do a quick initial plow and that's it.  Then the overspray from the road plows mucks up the sidewalks which people walk in creating frozen deep foot steps.  Nasty running on this as you can feel your ankle rolling over on every step so I jumped into the road to run.  Also for this part of the run as the temps were rising I changed over to my elf hat for a little Christmas spirit.  I had a lot of folks honking and waving which was fun. 
Church St.
Soon I made it into Burlington, ran down Church street which was basically abandoned, up the hill on Pearl to Prospect and down Prospect back to Shelburne Rd.  The one advantage of running along Shelburne Rd., especially on Christmas day is the number of mini marts.  These would be my aid stations.  And with my handy credit card stopped at Bournes Shell station for a quick breakfast.  A prepackaged cinnamon roll and a full strength coke.  The breakfast of champions!  I started to chill while enjoying my treats so onward I went with still another 12 miles to get home.  I had some GU's along the way too but they were almost frozen so I would have to keep them in my mitt for about 5 minutes before I could eat them but they were definelty not as tasty as that cinnamon roll.  The good part on this loop was the fact that my hands were warm and toasty.  I switched to a down mitt which I had to take off at times to keep from sweating.  And I was able to drink extra fluids that I packed for this 5 hour loop.  The last part of this loop is quite hilly back to the house and I arrive back feeling good but hungry.  I cooked up some chicken soup, had a peanut butter sandwich, some coke and other snacks.  I took my time as there still no hurry.  I repacked and refueled my pack and off on loop number 3. 

Loop Number 3
This was really just loop number 2 with the small end loop in the reverse direction.  Again, the convenience store availability was key in choosing for this unsupported run.  During the ultra races you usually have fully stocked aid stations with plenty of food and drink along with drop bags for dry clothing.  On the way to Burlington I was getting a craving for Coke again and this time hit the earlier Shell station.  I hung out inside while enjoying the ice cold beverage and chatting with the nice woman at the register.  I drank half then stored the rest in my pack.  I wasn't sure how it would hold up being carbonated while running.  But it ended up being fine as I was running easy and not bouncing around too much.  On my way through Church St. I was hoping that Ken's Pizza would be open for the afternoon as I had a craving for a slice of pizza but no such luck.
Hoping for pizza at Ken's
  The Chinese restaurants were open but no way was I going to be munching on that and running.  Done that before and it doesn't work for me.  Heading south on Shelburne Road it was starting to get dark.  What short days.  So I broke out the headlamp.  I also have a blue blinky light on my pack in the back.  I fiigured this loop would take longer than the previous loop as you usually slow the longer you go.  Temps were droping and even the fluid in my pack turned to slush.  But made it home on schedule with 87 miles under my belt so far.  Was starting to feel tired but ate, drank and repacked.  While home on these breaks I would email my neighbor Joe to let him know my progress in case I didn't return for some reason.  My phone also went dead from the cold so it was useless.  The next loop I figured would be my last even though there would have been time for more but I thought an even 100 miles would be nice with time to eat, drink and sleep afterwards.  Plus I still needed to call mom to wish her a Merry Christmas as I was sure she was getting worrried.  Out for the final loop. 

Loop Number 4
This was to be the final 13 miles out and about the Guinea Rd. area of Charlotte.  More rolling back dirt roads.  It was dark without any moonlight as it hadn't come up yet but with clear skies the stars were just magnificent!  Still I could run without the headlamp and see just fine.  Guinea Rd is great at night with all the Christmas decorations lit up.  I cruised the different side neighborhoods and took my time as it was still early enough.  One of my favorite decorations to see is the full size nativity arrangement on the south part of Guinea Rd.  Cows, sheep, the wisemen, all there in full size and lit up.  I guess it was too late to have the music on and the characters moving but still a site to see.  And the other home just down from there with the driveway bushes all lit up with multi colored lights and the house all decked out too.  Very nice!  A great way to end the Christmas Adventure.  From there it was only a couple miles back to the house and was somewhere around 9:00 PM.  Plenty of time to eat, drink and be merry. 

Another Christmas Adventure in the books.  Not the traditional Holiday but I try to make the best out of every situation and to go along with my favorite saying when things may not be ideal, "The longer I run, the smaller the problems become",  and " Impossible is Nothing".

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

JFK 50 Mile Run 2010

JFK 50 Mile Race Report
Washington County, Maryland

The idea of running the JFK 50 first came to mind 2 years ago as a friend was training for the race. I did some research on it but for some reason it still wasn’t on my list of to do’s. But last year another friend ran it and this time it peaked my interest. So this spring when the entry opened up I decided to sign up for the 48th running of this historic race.

I didn’t know what to expect for this race but I did know it was a fast 50 miler from looking at past results. From the course description it has some trail running but more tow path, which at the time I was unfamiliar with. After running the Burning River 100 this summer, I was introduced to a tow path which was flat, fast and mentally challenging. So after returning from Leadville I included faster and flatter terrain into my training and was racing anywhere from 5 milers to marathons to work on speed. The other part of my training that I was lacking in was sleep. Sleep is critical to recovery. And with my crazy part time job, I’m up every day at 3:30 am with 4-5 hours of sleep a night. Not nearly enough. So I took off a couple of days from work to catch up on sleep.
I decided to drive down on the Wed. before to the JFK 50 which is located in the northwest part of Maryland. I broke the trip up into 2, stopping in CT to visit Mom and also to get a good night’s sleep. Thursday, after a morning run, I hit the roads again and arrived in Maryland by darkness. I got a room for the night to get another full night’s sleep and of course for the continental breakfast which included my favorite pre-race treat, waffles. Afterwards I decided to try to find the race course and run part of the Appalachian Trail which the beginning of the JFK 50 included. I drove up to the Gathland State Park and found the AT trail which would be the same location as the # 2 aid station. I headed south from there and ran a couple of miles out on the 
Gathland Park
AT. What a treat, more like a groomer than the rocky, rooty trails of northern New England. I turned around and ran back and then drove to the next check point which was located at the end of the AT trail section, Weverton Cliffs. Here I wanted to find a spot to hide a bad for a shoe change. One challenge was in trying to decide what shoes to wear. Trail shoes were certainly nice for the beginning 14 miles but after that, it was flat and fast so I decided to have my racing flats ready to change into. I found some potential locations to hide a bag and then drove back to town to pick up my race number. On the way I drove by
Antietam Battlefield Monument

the Antietam Battlefield which just amazed me and opened my eyes up to this truly historic area. For miles and miles, there were fields and monuments which the soldiers battled on during the civil war. The fences, walls and cannons were there in place as they were years ago, ready to do battle. It was sort of an eerie feeling looking out. From there I continued into town and got my number. After getting my number I headed back down to the Weverton Cliffs aid station to set up for the night so I could get up first thing and put out my drop bag. Plus this was fairly close to the start line in Boonsboro. After a cold pasta and Bud dinner, I got to bed early to prepare for the 5:00 am wake up.

I got a reasonable night’s sleep in hotel Nissan (car camping). I had to scrape the inside of the windshield from frost as the temps dropped down over night, had a quick breakfast and then hid my drop bag before driving to the start line. Upon arriving at the start, there were lots of people for this was the largest ultra race in the country with over 1000 entries. After the pre-race meeting we had to head into town, a mile or so away, to the start. I got in a last minute port a potty stop and realized time was getting on so I had to run to the start line, a good way to warm up. Lining up I ran into a couple of familiar faces, Mike Oliva and Mike Arnstein, a couple of NYC boys. Arnstein came in second here last year so he was determined to take top honors this year. But he had lots of competition with many others hoping for the same results as well as setting new course records. At this race you not only had ultra marathoners but also some of the top road runners in the country so the field was full of impressive runners from all over the country such as Michael Wardian, Mike Arnstein, Oz Pearlman, Serge Arbona, David James, Matt Levine, Mike Oliva and many others. Immediately after the start a runner next to me said hi. I looked over and it was Reno Stirrat, one of the best 50+ age runners in New England who usually kicks my butt in the shorter distance races. The JFK 50 was longer than he had ever gone before so it was to be determined on how he might do. The first few miles were mostly uphill until we joined on to the AT. At that point I crossed the mat in 28th place in a large group of runners. From there it was a mix of road and trail as we continued to climb. We even walked up some
sections to conserve for later. Finally as we headed into some nice consistent trail sections I had enough of the group as some were complaining of the technical aspects (must be road runners) and I didn’t want to trip and fall as I usually do while running on trails in a group. So I decided to have some fun and ran around Mike Arnstein, Michael Wardian and a bunch of others to run the trails. I ran through the Gathland aid station by myself and kept going. It would be 6 miles of trail until the end of this section at Weverton Cliffs. The trails were in great shape and I was having fun skipping along the rocks and leaves, passing by some of the 5:00 am starters and an occasional 50 miler who must have been in the lead pack. Just before the end is a steep descent with lots of switchbacks, loose rocks and slippery leaves. I could hear a group of runners behind and let the first one pass. It was Michael Wardian. I followed closely behind with 2 or 3 others behind me as we ran down the trail, passing now lots of 5:00 am starters. Just before we hit the end of the AT at mile 14.5, Weverton Cliffs, I spotted my drop bag in the woods, a bright pink purse. I grabbed it and sat on a rock to do my shoe change. It took longer than I thought as I had to untie the timing chip from my trail shoes and put it on my racing flats. I also reloaded my Gu’s, threw on some fresh body glide and removed my long sleeve shirt and gloves. Meanwhile lots of runners were passing by. I was hoping this shoe change would help in the long run even though I lost about 4 minutes at this stop. With purse in tow I ran down to the road hoping to give the purse to an aid station helper who could bring it to the finish. I quickly learned that the aid station wasn’t for another mile so I tucked the purse 
The Pink Purse
under my arm and ran on. I had some funny looks as I passed by runners with my pink purse. Finally I arrived at the aid station and found a gracious person who volunteered to bring my purse to the finish. Next up, the tow path. At this point I think I was still in around 28th place.  The next 26 miles would be the tow path which winds alongside the Potomac River. It was a cinder type surface covered with leaves so it was very nice. The path was full of 5:00 am starters but was plenty wide to pass. Not more than a mile or so into it, I came across Reno. He was having some difficulties, we chatted a bit and then I moved on. To make the time go buy I focused on some tow path mile markers which I found were not very consistent in the accuracy nor did I find them at every mile but it was something to go by since I don't have a Garmin to keep track of the miles. And 
The Tow Path
there were frequent aid stations with more accurate mile markers for the course. I continued to pass runners along the way and was feeling good. I had a good pace going and I think the 3 days of sleep helped with my energy level. I heard spectators yelling out my position and was working my way up in place. Coming into this race I wasn’t that concerned with placement but was more focused on time. I’ve run a number of trail 50s in just under 7 hours but this course should be faster. The age group record was 6:29:30. If it were a good day maybe I could do that. Time would tell. Around mile 30 I noticed I was still working on my first 20 oz. water bottle, not good. I wasn’t thirsty but I know better to keep drinking especially since I cramp easily and have to supplement with electrolytes which I was doing along the way. And even though it was cool out and I wasn’t sweating, my arm was covered in salt. So finally I started drinking more and refilled at the mile 34 aid station, my favorite with the Christmas theme going. I also started to nibble on some food as I had not quite enough GU’s to get me to the finish. I was trying to figure out in my head if I could break the age group record. It would be close but I had to maintain close to a 7 minute mile. By mile 35 I had enough of the tow path and started to run backwards and sideways to change up the muscles. Still I was passing runners and think by now I was in 15th place or so. Again I tried to calculate my finish time, not easy to do after many hours of running. Finally by mile 41.5 the tow path was done and onto the road to the finish. Immediately it was an uphill climb which actually felt good on the legs and I went by a marker showing 8 miles to the finish. Now with accurate markers I could see where I was with time.  At 8 minute miles, it wouldn’t do it so I had to continue to push. For the next 2 miles I was just rolling along at about a 7:20 pace. With 6 miles to go trouble started, cramps. Without any advance warning, my left calf locked up in pain and then eased. Usually my body tells me if I’m dehydrated with dizziness and blurred vision but not this time. The lack of hydrating early on was catching up. I took a couple of electrolyte pills and usually it helps but my left calf locked up again and I couldn’t get my heel down on the pavement. Then my right side locked up from my foot all the way up to my arm. My right arm went numb and I started to see stars. Not good. I reached into my pill inventory and took every remaining electrolyte pill and whatever else I could find. In all I took 7 various electrolyte pills and 1 IB that was in there. The next 2 miles was grueling and my pace dropped to 10:30. At 4 miles to go I could start running again but whenever I tried to really push, I could feel cramps not far behind. I ran by Mike Arnstein who was struggling but still on the move.  At this point I would need close to 7 minute miles for the next 4 miles to make it in under the record. I could have easily given up and just brought it in slowly with still a good finish time but I came all this way and was so close. If I came in 30 seconds after the record time, who would even know, or care. But being the stubborn person who I am and always competing against myself, this was a personal challenge. These next 2 miles were near a 7:30 pace. So the last 2 miles would have to be under 7. With every bit of energy I had left, I put it into high gear and sprinted. The  
The Finish
first part was a slight uphill to the highway overpass and it hurt, then slight downhill to the one mile marker which I could see. Not sure what my time was but I knew I had to give it my all. With 3/10 of a mile to go I turned the corner and saw the slight uphill climb to the finish, not what I was hoping for. I pushed harder than I think I have ever pushed to a finish and crossed the line with a 6:50 final mile. Was it enough? One of the timers knew I was close to the record and checked the records and yes, I had done it by a mere 13 seconds to finish in a time of 6:29:17. Besides breaking the 50’s age group record and winning my age group, I made it into the top 10.

After the awards ceremony another 50’s runner came up to me and we chatted for quite a while. He had run this race many times and was running this year to try to break the 
Eric Clifton and Jack
age group record too but not his day this year. Later I learned it was Eric Clifton, a legend at the JFK 50 with 19 finishes and the overall course record from back in 1994 with a time of 5:46:22. Just amazing! Afterwards a couple of older men in their 60’s and 70’s came up to chat. They were truly inspired by my accomplishments as a senior runner and what we older runners could do. And then an older woman from the spectators came up to question my age and then gave me a big hug. That made it all worth it and the reason why I continue to run all these crazy races.

The Gear:  For the first 14.5 miles I wore the Mizuno Ascend 5 trail running shoes.  Excellent traction and stability on the trails.  I changed into the the Mizuno Musha 2 racing flats for the rest of the race for lighter weight on the tow path and road to the finish.  The combo worked excellent!

Thanks to all the volunteers who helped out.  We couldn't have these races without you.
Full results can be found at:

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Winter is Here!


Running up the Toll Road at Stowe
Yesterday I ran my usual Mansfield Loop, a 26 mile mountain adventure, only to find winter in full swing, not what I expected.  With more than 3 hours of running/post holing in the snow on top of another 3+ hours of running in mud and water, I managed to get out of the woods just as the sun was setting.  Good thing as I decided I didn't need my headlamp and didn't have enough food to go any longer as the bonk mode was already setting in.  Oh well, just another training run.  The Gear:  I wore the Mizuno Cabrakan trail shoe which was great for the needed added traction for most of the terrain.  At times I could have used the Mizuno Kaza spikes for the ice.  For clothing I wore the Mizuno light weight tights along with the Mizuno techie wear for the top.  But most imortantly was the Cabrakan light weight shell for the howling winds on the summit to keep my core warm as toast.  I also wore a balaclava and hat too along with the Breathe Thermo gloves.

I've had a busy last few weeks since the Common to Common 30K race.  The following week after the 30K was the:

USATF National Championship Masters 5K Team Race in Syracuse, NY. 
Myself, along with 4 others from the GMAA in VT made the trip to defend our title from last year.  With speedster old guys, Norm Larson, Tony Bates, Kevin McMahon and Jim Miller, we made the drive over from Burlingto to Syracuse.  The course was an out and back, fast, 5K road race, something I'm not usually found doing.  Last year I nearly exploded at the finish after a way too fast first mile and a slow finish time.  My goal this year was to run my own race and hopefully do better.  The first mile I was 10 seconds slower than last year coming in this year at 5:28 instead of 5:18 and I figured out how to calculate kilometers as the rest of the course was in kilometers.  Running still way to fast for my usual, I ended up 9 seconds faster than last year.  So being a bit more conservative right from the start did make my time faster in the end.  Hmmm, maybe there's something there.  For the team, Jim had some issues which we knew could pop up but still he kept on going and with his incredible efforts, we placed second this year.  Not bad for a bunch of old farts from VT.  Even more impressive was our 60's team of Ted McKnight, Ed McSweeny and Chuck Arnold won placed first at this years event for their age group.  Congrats to these guys!  The Gear:  For this short road race I wore the Mizuno Musha 2's racing flat.  Super lightweight and fast.  Maybe that's why I was faster than last year.  After the race I ran around Syracuse and back to the hotel to make it a 20 mile day.  For the pavement poundiing I ran in the Mizuno Alchemy for added support and cushion to make the hard surfaces a bit softer.

The next weekend I opted out of any races but the following weekend ran the GREEN MOUNTAIN MARATHON in So. Hero, VT.   This was the 40th annual running.  I find this race a real challenge although it's mostly flat but run a lot on dirt roads and is an out and back.  And there is always a wind either heading out or coming back.  This year it was a headwind on the return trip.  From the start and directly into the wind for the first mile, we had a crowd of about 6 of us running closely together.  After mile 1, you make a 90 degree turn and the wind is at your back and for the rest of the first half, or most of it.  Eli Enman quickly took the lead.  Eli won the race last year.  After a few miles, Binney Mitchell caught up to Eli and gave him a good challenge up til mile 18.  Binney had been training this year for a western 30K trail race so was mentally good for 30k.  After that, he fell off a bit and Eli took control of the race.  Myself, I ran the race as I usually do, in my own mode, however I can.  I kept up running 6:15-6:20 per mile for the first half but on the way back was averaging more in the 6:45 range into the wind.  In the end, I still ran my fastest GMM in the time of 2:51:55.  I came in 6th overall and earned a star after my name for exceeding the USATF time standard for national ranking.  Any when you look at the age grading which they now do for all the races, I placed first for whatever that means.  Anyway it was a good trainer for JFK which was the intent.  For the Gear:  I ran in the Mizuno Musha 2's.  This was the longest I have run in these lightweight racing flats and it was also my fastest GMM.  Maybe there's something there??  I also wore the Mizuno techi shorts and the Mizuno Breathe Thermo gloves as it was a bit chilly.

Running alone at mile 12 at the GMM

Somehow in between training and races I managed to get to some of my best mental training.  I like to head down to VT Skydiving in Addison, VT to jump out of airplanes at 12,000 ft. to relax.  It's always a blast to play superman.  The Gear:  Infinity 170 chute, part of the rental fleet as I don't have my own yet.  For footwear I chose an old pair of Mizuno Alchemy's for a good slide landing in the grass.

Post Jump

So from a 50 miler at the VT 50 to a 5K road race to the Green Mtn. Marathon and jumping out of planes.  Five days later was a special invite to the 8K XC race at St. Michael's Invitational at the College in Winooski, VT.  The GMAA was invited to participate in a college race.  For the men we had 11 runners and for the women, 6.  In the end we placed 2nd for the men and also 2nd for the women up against 6 or 7 college teams.  The only team that placed higher was the UVM team.  It was fun running with the young college kids and I wonder what they were thinking as a bunch of old guys were running along side with them.  It was a good trainer for our 50's team as we have the NE XC Championships coming up in 2 weeks in Boston and then the National 10K Club Nationals coming up in December in Charlotte, NC.  And in between, I have the JFK 50 mile speed event on November 20th.  The Gear:  For this XC event it was the Mizuno Kasa spikes for added traction in the grass and also the Mizuno Breathe Thermo glove as the northwest winds had brought in some cooler air.

Next up, the NE XC 8k at Franklin Park and then the JFK 50 miler on Nov. 20th.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Life After Leadville

It was hard coming back to reality after spending time in the mountains of Colorado.  Such impressive mountains that one could very easily get used to.  Hmm, it would be nice.  Anyway, after returning back to VT, I quickly returned to the race scene with four 5K races withing the first 8 days back.  First was the Tuesday night trail race at Catamount with maybe 4 hours of sleep.  Not good but still was nice to be on good single track trails.  Next up was the Stowe Trail Series race behind the Golden Eagle Resort.  One of the longest "5k" races I've been in this year.  They used a GPS to measure the course which included multiple switch backs in the deep woods.  Long but overall a fun course.  Oh, yes I managed to get lost too even after a prerun of the course.  Came back on the course and had to pass lots of folks to make more of a challenge.  Still fun.  Next day the GMAA Scholarship 5k XC run.  A bit more accurate in the distance and always a fast run.  2 days later another Catamount 5K trail race.  With each race, I felt more rested since Leadville and the times improved.  On my return back from Leadville, I had promised to not run for a week.  Well that didn't quite happen but I did take a step back and backed down on miles and also slowed down to enjoy my runs.  No schedule, just running what and when I wanted to.  Well sort of, as I know I have the JFK 50 in November and from what I hear it's a 50 mile speed event.  Also there's the USATF National Masters Team 5K road race in Syracuse in Oct. and the USATF Team 10 National Championships in Charlotte, NC in December.  So, speed is the focus.  With that in mind, I ran the Archie Post 5 miler a week later.  Always a fast start and first half leading to a gradual uphill to the finish.  I wanted to keep it under 30 minutes which would be under 6 minute miles and did acomplish that with a time of 29:38 and won an awesome apple pie.  Wore my Mizuno Wave Musha 2 racing flats.  Awesome shoe!  Next up, 6 days later, was the GMAA 30K Common to Common on the back rolling hills of Essex and Westford.  Beautiful day for a run.  Today's goal was to keep the run under a 6:30 pace.  I went out from the start with Binney Mitchell.  Binney has been running fantastic this year and after the first mile was gone.  From then on, I ran my own race with no one else around.  No one to really push me and no one to chase so I was on auto pilot, another trainer for JFK.  I like these back road hills but there's one section on bigger hills where you really slow down but after that it's 4 miles of flat and gradual downhill to the finish.  In the end I came in 2nd and was 10 minutes behind Binney and 5 minutes ahead of Todd. And I did achieve my goal with a 6:29 pace.  I also broke the age group record by 8 minutes.  And another day of running in the Mizuno Wave Musha 2's, the longest distance I've taken them so far.

The back roads of Westford.

The next week I surprisingly ended up at the VT 50 Mile Trail Race in Brownsville, VT.  With other plans cancelled I managed to drive down to Ascutney on Saturday evening 15 minutes before registation closed at 8:00 PM.  With no taper time this week, not sure how the energy levels will be.  Soon we will know.


Once I got myself registered and found some food, I drove up to meet up with Joe Carrara and Bill Kelner in the upper parking lot.  There I set up Hotel Nissan and joined the boys outside for a pre-race ritual, a cold beer.  Afterwards it was off to sleep for an early rise at 5:00 AM for a 6:25 AM start time.  It probably got down to the 40's overnight, not too bad.  It would be a chilly start but as always a fast start for the first 4 miles then, the uphills would start.  I started out running along with Brian Rusiecki and Glen Redpath, 2 local eastern trail boys who I have gotten to know over the years.  Brian has been running fantastic this year and 50 miles is a perfect distance for him.  He's still working on the 100's.  Glen helped me get up and over Hope Pass at Leadville 5 weeks earlier and ran in the Trans-Rockies that same weekend.  As usual we went out way too fast, under 7 minute miles for the first 4 miles but then the pace slowed somewhat for the climbs to follow.  We were running in a pack with about 10 of us.  The single track in the woods was great and if anything, a bit too dry.  We soon caught up to bikers who were also racing and on the downhills, they would go by us, kicking up a cloud of dust.  The dry dirt was a very fine silt with soft piles on the trail.  Running along with Brian, he was curious about a runner just ahead of us.  He soon found out it was a serious contender and he put it into another gear and took off to catch this runner.  That was the last I saw of Brian.  From there on, I just kicked back and ran my own race.  Brian was up ahead in a group of 3, Glen was just ahead of me with 2 others and I was bouncing back and forth from 5th to 10th.  In most of these races, there are always some who drop out and others who die off in the last 10 miles.  So doing my own thing, I just cruised along.  I felt ok, not totally energized but was enjoying the run for the most part.  I would pass bikers on the uphills and they would pass me on the downhills.  Then, nearing mile 30, I stepped aside on a steep downhill to allow a biker to go by and tripped on something.  Down I went, rolling down the hill in the soft silt.  No major pain but it was like I had been tar and feathered, without the feathers.  The soft silt stuck to my sweaty body like glue and wasn't going any where.  My arms, back, hands, legs and face were covered.  Not much I could do but continue on.  Even my water bottle was covered so the first sip of water was mud and water.  Somewhere around 30 miles, I was starting to tire.  I felt nasea coming on and was a bit dizzy.  It took a while to regroup and I had to focus on eating more which I did.  Somewhere around mile 37 or so on some fun single track I was feeling better.  There's a house in the woods which you run just about under the porch.  At this time I was running around 5th place.  Some guy on the porch, when he found out I was running 50 miles said I needed counseling.  Laughing as I went by I responded that this was my therapy.  A couple of miles later, as I was passing a 5 K runner, I tripped and again was rolling in the silt to add to my collection of dirt.  Onward ho.  Just about that time another runner, Greg had passed me feeling strong but soon I caught back up to him as his quads had given out for the downhills.  So he would pass me going up and I would pass him going down.  I knew if this kept up, I would catch him in the end as the last 1 1/2 miles is a down hill to the finish.  But by mile 45, there were some good downhills and never saw him again.  For the last few miles up and down the mountain, it was a grind up but I knew the end was near.  I wasn't sure where any of the other lead runners were either.  As I came throught the finish I knew it wasn't one of my better runs here but not my worst.  With a time of 7:13 I finished in 5th, and 1st in my age group.  I was within 2 minutes of the 3rd and 4th place finishers.  Brian finished 1st almost breaking the course record and Glen finished in 2nd.

Covered in dirt at the VT 50

The Gear:  For shoes, the Mizuno Cabrakan 2's were awesome as were the Mizuno shorts and shoes.  Perfect for a day in the woods.

Next up:  The USATF National Masters 5K Team Road Race.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Leadville 100 Mile Trail Run - 2010 Race Report

August 21, 2010:  Race Day

2:30 AM wake up. Way too early! Some last minute details to go, a quick bite to eat and we’re out the door. About a ½ mile to the start we decide to have Julia drive myself, Joe Carrara, Mike Weigand & Charlie Cowan to the start. Sounds kind of lame to be driven ½ mile but it’s chilly out, high 30’s and we are wearing extra layers to keep warm until the 4:00 AM gun start. Once we are there, we all sign in and back head back to the car to stay warm. What to wear? Mike Arnstein says we have to go shirtless, right from the start. I don’t think so. Maybe later but not right now. So I decide to wear a singlet figuring we will be warming up with a fast pace right from the start. With about 5 minutes to go, we get ready at the start. No signs of bare chested Mike Arnstein, not even Anton is shirtless. I’m glad today I listened to myself and at least wore a singlet. Forgot an extra pair of gloves to wear though, that would have been nice.

4:00 AM  Finally the gun goes off and so do 643 runners in all shapes and sizes. The first leg is about a 5 mile non-technical run slightly downhill to Turquoise Lake. I head out with the lead pack which is probably 20 or so runners. Soon I settle into a comfortable pace, running in the dark with headlamp on. I look over and who do I see but Mike Arnstein with a winter hat, tights and long sleeve shirt. I run along side to say high, “What’s with the winter clothing?”. Mike replies, “It’s cold out”.  It’s kind of quiet out and not much noise from any of the runners. I don’t recognize many but I see Anton just in front of me and someone else points out Hal Koerner. Still, no one is pushing the pace and we go onward in sort of a quiet mode heading towards the lake. Just before the lake there is a short uphill climb along a power line. At this point the pack seems to spread out a bit, which is good as the trail along the lake is a narrow single track that winds along the shore line for 6 or 7 miles. On the trail, the pack seems to spread out even more. I settle in behind Mike.  Almost immediately I trip and go down hard, landing on my hands. The trail is not very technical but has its share of rocks and roots. I figure I always fall at some point so hopefully this is it. I quickly get up and keep on running. The rest of the run is uneventful and kind of quiet. Soon we arrive at the May Queen aid station, mile 13.5 at about 5:45 AM. Wow, really close to my planned time. The night before I had come up with a race plan. I looked at AJW’s split times from last year and figured that was a reasonable place to start finishing just under 20 hours. If it was a good day maybe I would be faster, if not, slower but it was a place to start. Joe, Mike, Charlie and Nate all had done the same with varying times to shoot for. And Mike had made up some pace cards for all of us to carry along too. At May Queen I had a drop bag but didn’t need anything so I quickly topped off one of my water bottles, grabbed a ¼ p b&j and back out on the trail I went. So far so good but I wasn’t feeling 100%. Not sure but it just seemed like it was taking more effort today and my body was achy, sort of like a low grade fever.

The next 10 mile leg consisted of a short section on the Colorado Trail gradually climbing to Hagerman Rd., then it was an uphill climb on Sugarloaf Mtn. getting to an elevation of 11,100, the second highest part of the course. So far so good, and daylight was starting to appear as well as some warming temps. Once at top of Sugarloaf, it was a 4-5 mile decent along the power line. The trail was more like a jeep trail with decent footing but it kept going and going. Luckily we had run this section days earlier but from the opposite direction so I was somewhat familiar with it. I tried to conserve a bit knowing that it was way early in the race and hammering down would not be a good thing for the hammies. I was running mostly alone but never far from other runners. Soon I arrived on a paved road which was about a mile from the next aid station. I looked at my watch and again, right on schedule as planned. When I arrived at the Fish Hatchery Aid Station, friends Aliza & Chad where there to greet me. They were running the TransRockies Stage Race starting on Sunday so came by to cheer us on and help where needed. Also there was Julia, our shared crew for the early stages of the race and then she would pace for Mike. A quick stop to drop off the headlamp, top off the fluids, grab a quick bite to eat and back out on the trail, or for this section, the road.

For the next 4 miles, it was road, wide open prairie type landscape with surrounding mountains. Lots of crew vehicles driving along at this point getting ready for their runners. This was a section where you could make up some time if you were a road runner. Then there was the Treeline area, another power line but mostly flat and straight. There were some runners ahead and many behind all just cruising along. At one point, I could hear a bunch of runners yelling and finally looked back. Apparently I had missed a turn along with another runner ahead of me. I quickly whistled up and got his attention and flagged him down. Nice thing about these ultra’s, most of the runners are very friendly and helpful. A little more flagging would have been helpful as when we are running along, we sometimes have a hard time seeing and the more obvious the better. Now it would be another 4 miles to the next aid station. This part was mostly jeep type trails, nothing too difficult skirting along the foothills of the larger mountains. At the next aid station, Half Moon, the volunteers where happy to see us and offered the usual snacks and fluids. I grabbed my drop bag for a quick refill of my drink mix and gel, grabbed a pb&j and onward.  The next section was about 9 miles or so with a combination of jeep trails and then nice single track.  I came across Jason Lantz along this section and we chatted a bit.  Jason and I spent a lot of time running together at the VT 100 last year.  Soon the jeep trail turned to the Colorado Trail which was really nice single track through the trees with the last part a long downhill to the next aid station.  On one the sections I was cruising downhill and tripped on a log.  Good thing as this was the wrong way, again.  Back track and back on the trail.  The rest of the downhill was fun, mostly soft footing until closer to the end where it was more loose rock but still fun right up to the Twin Lakes Aid Station.  Julia was there to greet me with my drop bag.  I quickly grabbed a new supply of electrolyte pills, fluids, had a quick snack and out the door.  My time was still on track but I was still feeling achy and every time I took a sip from the bottle my arms hurt.  Maybe that fall earlier was harder than I thought. 

Jack at the 1st stream crossing

Next up, the stream crossing and other water before Hope Pass.  There were some other water holes most of which you could get around.  Then the bigger stream.  Aliza and Chad were there to cheer me on as I waded through.  The cold water felt good until I was almost at the other side and then the numbness and pain sunk in.  The water was really cold!  It took a little while for the feet to warm and now they were soaked too.  I slowly worked my way to the trail going up Hope Pass and was chatting with Thomas, from California.  He had some poles for the hike up which he was adjusting for the climb.  This section for the next 4 miles or so was fairly steep and I power hiked most of it.  Finally I broke out of the trees and could see the top of Hope Pass and the Hopeless Aid Station.  Once I arrived at Hopeless, I had a quick cup of soup, said hi to Vicky (one of the Lama owners), saw my favorite lama, Corky and continued on.  Lot of switchbacks to the top but once there the views were spectacular.  The elevation at 12,600 didn't seem to be a problem, especially doing more power hiking.  Next was the long downhill to the road.  Again, I took it conservatively knowing there would be a lot more downhill hammy trashing to go later on.  It was fun going though.  Soon I was back in the trees heading steeply down and finally to the road.  Another 2.5 miles to the next aid station where there would also be a weigh-in.  Weigh-ins get me nervous as I always lose a lot of weight initially to the point of almost getting pulled out, but then I level off for the rest of the day.  But today I felt different.  I felt fat midway through where I usually have lost 6-10 pounds.  Today I even had to loosen my waist pack, not good.  At Winfield I arrived again on schedule and was greeted again by Aliza.  I got on the scale and was only off my pre-race weight by 1/10 of a lb.  Something was wrong, I was retaining fluids and even my fingers looked swollen, never seen that before.  Aliza suggested I cut back on the electrolytes even though I had taken less than usual already but I listened to her advice.  A quick bite to eat, replenish fluids and back on the road for another 2.5 miles with Aliza running along side until the uphill climb back up Hope Pass.  After leaving Winfield's I also developed a strong stomach ache.  No bathrooms around and no leaves worthy in the woods.  I quess I'll have to wait to Hopeless.

Glen Redpath, my Hope Pass pacer

On the road from Winfield's I passed by Joe Carrara and Nate Sanel as they were running up to Winfield's, part of our Eastern crew.  They were both looking strong and were not that far behind. While on the road, I also came across Glen Redpath driving with Chad.  I didn't know it but Glen was also running the TransRockies race the next day.  I jokingly told Glen he had to pace me up Hope Pass and when I got to the trail, there he was waiting to go, excellent!  Glen and I have spent many hours on the trails running together. 

Joe heading up the backside of Hope Pass

The climb up was slow and steady going up and up and up.  Not too far up, Mike Weigand passed by as he was heading down and then Charlie Cowan too.  They were looking great and this was their first hundred.  Soon we were out of the trees and could see the steep ascent with switchbacks to the top of the pass.  Glen was great, telling me when to drink on schedule and to swing my arms.  Then he had me eating too.  GU time he said so I grabbed a GU.  Not good.  It went in, it came out.  Then I got into a heaving session but nothing else was coming out.  I don't mind purging if it's going to be productive but this was only hurting my belly more.  After about 4 attempts, I sucked it up and continued on.  I had a little bit to drink and felt better.  Onward ho.  Soon we reached the summit and ran down to Hopeless where I found the temporary facilities behind the tarp.  Much, much better meanwhile Glen is yelling at me to hurry up.  I thought for time savings but no, he needed to use the facilities.  A quick drink, food, replenishing of fluids and down we went.  We were off to a slow trot.  My body was aching and I was doing all I could to run.  Usually this would be the fun part as I really enjoy the hills.  We came across Hal Koerner, I guess he wasn't having a great day either.  Then I came across Sherpa John.  He still had to go up and over and back.  He was looking a bit tired and I hi 5'd him as I went by.  John was attempting the Grand Slam this year.  Hopefully he would make it in time.  Glen and I continued on with Glen pushing me to run.  I was having difficulties but still able to run most of it with the occasional walk thrown in.  Finally we were out of there and now had the final mile or so to cross the stream and then to the Twin Lakes Aid Station.  Glen had all he could do to keep me running as my body was not happy.  While crossing the stream I had an extended stay.  The water felt great this time through and I got my head wet and got in deeper to fully immerse the quads.  The final slog to the aid station and Glen was done.  At Twin Lakes, Julia was there with my bag and helped me change my shoes and socks.  She even arranged for a pacer for me.  I thought that would help me get going.  I refueled, ate, grabbed more electrolytes but had a hard time getting out of the chair.  Meanwhile, friend Joe Carrara came in.  Even with his not so good knee, he was able to catch me on the downhill.  Joe was looking strong and pumped to keep going.  I met my pacer, Greg, from Lincoln, Nebraska and off we went.  Joe was right there too.

Hal after Hope Pass

And up we went, and up and up on the Colorado Trail.  It was slow and steady but I was still passing some other runners.  Joe had moved ahead and was doing great.  He hadn't run a hundred since 2005 so I was hoping he would be able to hold it together.  He was in the best shape of his life and had trained really hard this year so I was confident he could pull it off in style.  Meanwhile, my pace was not getting any faster.  Greg would try to pull me along and I ran some sections, slowly.  We even caught up to Mike Arnstein, to my surprise and his.  I guess he was not doing so good either.  He would run for a while, then walk.  We kept this up for a short time, then my body just wouldn't run any more.  I had no energy and my body ached.  And I still felt like I was retaining fluids.  It was a slow walk to Half Moon and not much different up to the Treeline crew access.  There Greg was to be replaced with another friend of his.  At that point I didn't see any reason to have a pacer walk with me.  I even thought of DNFing...but no, I couldn't do that.  I came all this way, damn it, I'm going to enjoy the night even if I have to walk all the way to the finish.   I was trying to figure in my head when I might arrive at the finish if I could average 3 miles/hour.  I could possibly still get in under 25 hours, not plan A but I could live with that.  Could that be possible?  It was starting to get dark now as I was leaving Treeline heading off to the road section towards Fish Hatchery.  The road was long and unforgiving.  I tried to run, but no going.  The body was not following.  I arrived at Fish Hatchery as darkness set in.  I enjoyed my stay there, grabbed some warmer clothing, a second headlamp, ate some wonderful potato soup while chatting with other folks and off I went.  Next up, Sugarloaf Mtn. 

The climb up Sugarloaf was slow and quiet except for the buzzing sound of the power line overhead.  I could see a light up ahead and one below but no one was making it any faster.  Finally up on the top I came across another runner bent over, purging.  At a low point.  We chatted while we were walking along and he was attempting 100 # 3 of the Grand Slam.  I told him DNFing was not an option and that he was going to finish.  Soon he was feeling better and took off.  After Sugarloaf, it was down the Colorado Trail and off to the final aid station, May Queen.  May Queen had a nice warm inviting tent set up with food and drink and chairs.  A dangerous place to get too comfortable.  I grabbed more potato soup and was trying to figure out in my head where I was at with time.  I can walk quite fast and was now looking like I could possibly break 24 hours, amazing.  I grabbed some chocolate cookies and stored those in my pocket for later on and out I went into the cold. 

The almost full moon was shining on Turquoise Lake and it even kept it somewhat bright in the woods.  About halfway around the lake I came across another runner going slower than me.  I laughed as it was Mike Arnstein again.  He thought I was stalking him.  We chatted and then I passed him as I was walking faster than him.  Not far from there I could hear another runner approaching.  It was Nate Sanel, a running client of mine.  I was getting worried that he had fallen back but no, he was in great spirits and really enjoying the run.  We chatted for a short time and then I told him he had to get going.  He hooked up his tunes and happily ran off with his pacer Jeff, tryng now to break 23 hours to the finish.   While we were chatting, Mike Arnstein had another surge of energy and ran by again.  Will I see him before the finish?  From there it was out of the woods and onto the road for the long slog uphill to Leadville.  This seemed to take forever.  With about 2 miles to go on this long uphill dirt road I could see a light in the distance up front and one way behind.  Up front it could be Mike or Nate, behind it could be anyone.  I kept tripping on some loose rocks and was getting annoyed.  I wanted this over.  Believe it or not, I found just a little bit on energy to do a run walk combo for a while and all the way to the final 1/2 mile to the finish.  I was along the road and turned off my light as there was enough light to see without it. Suddenly I realized it was Nate just ahead of me and slowly caught up.  He had no idea until he looked back and saw me.  He freaked when he saw me and took off in a fast sprint to the finish.  I told him he better run and laughed all the way to the finish.  I finished in 23 hours and 7 minutes, about a minute behind Nate.  Not that far behind, Charlie Cowan finished in 24 hours and 24 minutes while Mike Weigand with Julia Lewis pacing him, finished in 27 hours and 36 minutes.  Joe Carrara had a great race, even though he slowed down near the end too, finishing in 21 hours and 50 minutes.  So we flatlanders from the East all made it in, finishing in respectable times.

Mike, Charlie, Jack & Joe

THE GEAR:  For the first 60 miles I ran in the new Mizuno Wave Cabrakan 2's which were fabulous.  After the second stream crossing I changed over to the original florescent orange Cabrakan's opting for dry feet and fresh socks.  I wore the Mizuno shorts and singlet most of the race but at nightfall as temps were dropping I put on a fresh Mizuno tech T and used the Cabrakan shell which is the ultimate lightweight shell and it was awesome.  Thanks Colin!

Although this turned out to not be my day it still was a great experience.  We've had a great time training hard for the past 6 months, had a spectacular week in Leadville leading up to the race and are now looking forward to next year.  Hardrock?? We will see.  As I look back I try to find where I lost time.  Not every day can be right on.  The fall I had early on may have been more serious than I thought as 5 days later, my wrists are still swollen and ache and I have lost some motion.  Was my nutrition off too, why was I retaining water?  And was this too close to the Burning River 100, only 3 weeks prior to Leadville. 

Friday, August 20, 2010

Leadville 100 Race Week - Day 7

Day 7, August 20, 2010
Yes, it's finally here.  The race starts tomorrow at 4:00 AM.  Woke up this morning to see snow over Hope Pass.  Got out for a easy 5 miler this morning on the Mineral Trail, an interpretive trail about the mining operations in this area.  Then it was time for the medical check and weigh in.  The weigh in always scares me as I usually lose a lot of weight in the first half of these races and am close to the limit.  No breakfast until after the weigh in but in the end, there were no surprises.  Weight was where I figured it would be.  Tomorrow I just need to remember to be smart about hydration and electrolyte replacement which for me is most important in whether I have a good race....or not.  In any event, I will make sure I enjoy myself during the race and have fun with it no matter what.  The views will be too spectacular to ignore and I'm sure all the volunteers will be wonderful.  We also dropped off our drop bags this afternoon as we have a limited crew.  Julia Lewis arrived today to help out.  She will be group crewing for us as much as possible and then pacing for Mike later on.  Organizing drop bags is always a challenge and trying to calculate where you might be to estimate fluids, electrolytes, clothing, headlamps, etc.

Loading up the drop bags

Dropping off the drop bags

After we dropped off the bags Joe took us on a little baha driving to get to the famous Leadville sign so to get pics.

We Love Leadville

Then it was time for the real pre-race pasta dinne and then early to bed tonight as we will be up at 2:30 am on Sat.

Leadville 100 Race Week - Day 6

Day 6, August 19, 2010

Here it is Thursday already, just 2 more days until race day.  We're still hanging out like tourists and today we took a ride to Independence Pass.  This was part of our altitude training as the pass is located at 12,100 feet.  The road is an adventure in itself with narrow twisty turns, steep drop offs and hairpin turns.  Once we got Joe off his cell phone he could better focus on driving us up the pass.

Looking down the canyon

Heading to the Pass we drove through some rain and the skies looked threatening but the time we arrived at the Pass, the rain had stopped.  The top of Independence Pass is located at 12,100 feet, another great way to acclimate for the race.

Joe, Jack & Mike

We found a great single track trail to run along that traversed the ridge and rose to an elevation of 12,800 feet.  After about 2 miles we hung out on this knoll in awe of the surrounding views in every direction.  Even with the clouds the mountains were everywhere. 

After a short visit, we ran back down to the car and ventured back down the road towards Twin Lakes.  There we checked out part of the Leadville course that traverses through the marsh land before it rises up to Hope Pass.  And then it was back to Leadville to settle into our new condo on 11th St. before heading over to the pasta dinner and race packet pickup.  The rest of the night was spent organizing drop bags as we need to have them ready for Friday by mid day. 

The end of another day in CO.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Leadville 100 Race Week - Day 5

Mike, Gerry & Charlie

Day 5, August 18, 2010

Another blue bird day today.  Joe and Mike were busy doing work this morning as I slept late.  Then it was time for the usual breakfast with waffles, pastries, cereal, etc.  We headed out to meet Charlie and Gerry this morning on the Hagerman Rd. and planned on running from May Queen to Hagerman Rd. on the Colorado Trail.  Joe, Mike and I planned on running back to May Queen too.  We dropped a car off on Hagerman Rd., and then off to May Queen.  There was a slight uphill on the road to the Colorado Trail then it turned into very nice single track.  The trail was soft and dry with a slight uphill for most of it, then a steeper climb to Hagerman Rd.  The lungs felt great today and no problems on the uphill climb.  Once we got to Hagerman Rd. I continued up to where Sugarloaf Mtn. dumps out, a gradual uphill for another mile.  The return trip was even nicer with a gentle downhill  back to the May Queen aid station.

Jack & Joe at May Queen

After the run, we drove parts of the course from Fish Hatchery to Half Moon to Twin Lakes and then the 12 mile dirt road to Winfield. Along the way at Twin Lakes we ran into one of the lama crew, Vickie, with her 4 female lamas. Corky took a quick liking to me so we have a date to meet on Saturday up at Hope Pass.

Jack & Corky at Twin Lakes

Another great day in CO.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Leadville 100 race week-Day 4

Day 4, August 17, 2010
Jack & Joe on top of Mt. Sherman
Here it is race week and we should be resting but there's too much to see and do here.  Today was a bluebird day and it was too nice to pass up the opportunity to bag a 14er.  Never having been that high before I figured this would be a great way to acclimate to the high altitudes of Leadville.  Mike snuck out early to meet an old friend to bag their own 14er, Mt. Quandary at 14,265.  Joe and I slept in late and took advantage of the breakfast and carbo loaded again with waffles, etc..  After breakfast we grabbed some lunch to have at the summit and headed out to Mt. Sherman, just outside of Leadville at an elevation of 14,036.  Luckily we were able to drive quite a ways up and could start at 12,000 but still there would be a 2,000 ft climb in 2.25 miles.  On the drive up there are a number of old abandoned mines and interesting landscapes and of course incredible views.  There are no signs but a website at has great directions and pics to find the way.  The sun felt warm but there was a wind humming through and we knew it could be cranking on top so we packed some warmer clothes.  Once on the trail there was a slight downhill, a small stream crossing then up, up, up.  We were able to run some of it then it became more of a power hike.  Lots of loose rock and steep climbing made the calves burn a bit but the elevation factor seemed to be fine.  By the time we got half way up, the wind was really blowing up through the pass.  We decided to layer up which included hats and gloves.  Other hikers were wearing full winter attire.  It was a power hike up most of the way from there, went through a knifes edge and then came to the final accent, a nice runnable trail to the summit.  Yes, running along at 14,000 ft.  At the summit the wind seemed to die off and the views were just incredible.  Mt. Sherman, 14,036, my first 14er!  We found a nice rock wall on the back side and sat down to enjoy lunch while acclimating.  We probably hung out for a good half hour before descending.  On the top we found a memorial stone from some hiker who must have died back in 2005, a bit spookie.  Descending was certainly easier but there were a lot of loose rock so I had to be a bit careful as my ankle is still tender.  Time up was about 1:07, coming down was 40 minutes or so for the 4.5 mile round trip adventure.  Another great training run!

Mike had a great hike too and met up with some rather large critters.

Mountain Goat on top of Mt. Quandary