Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Moab Red Hot 55k 

Southern Utah is one of my favorite places to visit. While attending The University of Montana the triathlon team would venture down to St. George and the Zion area for a week of training. This was mostly long bike rides but runs and swims were in the mix too. When I started getting into ultra running I thought it would be cool to run around all those places that we would bike by. This resulted in me signing up for the Zion 100 last year and is making me  return again this April. Visiting the desert in the winter has been a tradition for the last 5 years and I want to keep visiting Southern Utah's desert each winter. 

The lead pack in the first miles of the race 

I heard about Moabs Red Hot 55k through irunfar.com and Bryon Powells race recap from last year. Hannah also raced her first 50 mile trail run in Moab, Moabs Alpine to Slickrock in September. Running around crewing for Hannah gave me a glimpse of Moabs beauty and I knew I wanted to return and see more. 

I was excited about the race but didn't know how ready I was considering I raced  Bandera 100k 5 weeks prior. That race left me pretty battered and the build back to consistent running was slow. I took this time to start incorporating different workouts into the week. 
This included indoor bike rides, weight lifting and core. It felt good to drop my mileage and incorporate some other endurance/strength sessions into the week. This made me realize that running more miles doesn't necessarily make you a better runner and paying some attention to your weaknesses (weights/core) will help you push yourself to a new level of fitness.
During this time leading up to Red Hot I also experimented with long moderate effort runs without gels or other nutrition. Instead I used my typical Hammer Nutrition products after my runs to replenish my glycogen stores. This type of practice takes time but I did feel strong at the end of the race. Maybe this whole buzz about training your body to use fat as fuel is beneficial? 

The "follow pack" including Mike Foote, Brad Seng and eventual winner Alex Nichols.

Still in the first miles with the La Sal mountains in the backdrop. 

I surprised myself. 

I started off running in the follow pack after the lead group went out like it was a 10k! I knew that some would hold on but that others would fall apart. The weather was pretty ideal with cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid 60's. I was a bit surprised to have settled into the "chase" group that included good friend Mike Foote(The North Face), Brad Seng(Pro Triathlete) eventual winner, Alex Nichols(Inov-8), Jason Koop( Dakota Jones and Dylan Bowmans coach). The pace still felt pretty quick for me so after the first climb the group broke up and they went ahead. 

After the first climb I struggled to find any sort of rhythm. My legs felt heavy and my breathing was off. I continued to stay focused and tried to monitor my body the best I could. I switched from a Hammer Gel every 30 minutes to a gel every 20 minutes. I also increased my electrolyte intake to 3 tablets an hour instead of 2/hr. After completing the first loop section I started to feel better. Going into mile 17 aid station after completing the loop and turning on to the final section I got a bolt of energy. Someone replaced the light bulb and turned the light "on". I was a new person.  

At this point I was in around 13th place. We worked our way back on to wavy slick rock with more climbs. I noticed people slowing down so I started to pick up the pace. I saw my good friend Myke Hersmeyer up on top of some rocks taking photos. I heard him yelling from the distance and I started to pick it up and focus on having a strong finish. I ended up passing Luke Nelson up this climb and eventually Brad Seng and Travis Macy. Running with names like this was an honor and I focused even more on each foot forward. 

At the second to last aid station I restocked on gels and told myself to give it all you got till the finish and try and catch the person in front. After more weaving up and down slick rock I came through the last aid station and was told I had 5 miles left. The volunteers said I looked great (they always say that) and that the others in front were fading. I grabbed two more gels, topped of my handheld and kept pushing on. After getting over a few more camel hump slick rock mounds I was caught by a screaming Travis Macy. He encouraged me to hang on but I was already pushing it to my limit. I Stayed with him for 5 minutes until I couldn't any longer. It was inspiring to see him move so fast this late in the race and I tried to keep him in sight. I did just that and finished only 1 minute back in 4:16 for 7th place. 

I was really happy with how this race went for me. It was an honor to have run with Mike Foote, Brad Seng, Joe Grant, Luke Nelson and Alex Nichols. I am excited for the rest of the season and spending more time with friends.  
Mike Foote on his way to a 3rd place.  

The first "climb" and the start to my low patch 

Runners cruising the red sand dirt roads 

The light is coming back on! 

I started to feel good when the terrain was getting difficult. Pushing the climb with Luke Nelson ahead. 

Starting to feel the toll of the sand and slick rock. 

Hannah Riedl finishing 11th female. Another loop!? 

Smiles :) 

Runners Roost team 

Hey Ed look its a space ship. 

Johnny jump up! 

Post race beer with fellow Hammer athlete Kelly Agnew

 Nice jacket Ed Hirsh!

Overall the weekend was a blast! It was great to re-unite with the ultra running community and see good friends that drove down from Montana. To have friends support like that gave me some added energy. 

And to top the great weekend off Hannah found out she was accepted to Colorado State University for their Master Ecology program!!! This was out of 60 applicants!!! So proud of you Hannah! 

All photos taken by Myke Hersmeyer,  FB page

Gear used: 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Bandera 100k

2014 Adventures   

I started off 2014 with a trip down to Bandera, TX to race the US 100k Trail Championships.  I have raced the "typical" ultra- events including, 50k, 50 mile and 100 mile trail runs but covering the 100k distance would be my first. Part of the reason I run these long distance races is for the physical and mental challenge that they present but right up there is to explore some amazing country powered by my own two feet. 

Start of the first hill with many more to come. 

I left my new home in Lakewood, CO on Thursday before the race for the 14 hour drive south to Bandera. I have never driven over 10hrs through one state until this trip and I will have to say Northern Texas is BORING. Nothing but tumble weed and oil fields that go on for ever. Every couple hundred miles I would drive through a town and well, nothing was open. I was anxious to get down into the hills but knew it would be dark by the time I arrived. My intentions were to camp out at the start of the race in Texas Hill Country Nature Area but when I arrived at midnight and couldn't find the camp site, I decided to camp in the back of Ollie (my green Subaru) and wait until day light. 


When I woke up I was surprised to find that it had rained and could feel the humidity. I must have slept pretty well then? Before driving off to find the "actual" camp-site I walked around quick to check out my surroundings. From reading other bandera 100k race reports I was told that everything in Texas Hill country wants to hurt you and by the looks of it they were correct! I was surrounded by prickly pear cactus, sotol (another type of cactus), agirita ( sharp shrub), and even the limestone rocks dug into your feet. I knew race day was going to be an adventure to say the least. 

Prickly pear cactus. 

On the left is the "Sotol" cactus with the large stock. This would crowd the trail and nick you over and over! 
The rest of the day was spent checking out Bandera (cowboy capital of the world apparently) running the first 2 miles of the course, finding a shower, and drinking plenty of fluids. I knew it was going to be hot and humid so I made sure to drink plenty of liquids throughout the day which consisted of ( HEED, Grape Juice, H2O, Chocolate shake, V8 and a Lone Star Beer). After exchanging race stories with my neighbors at the campsite it was time to hit the hay.

Start of the 100k. I am right behind eventual winner Jorge Marivilla. Photo: Cassie Nicole
The race went out pretty fast like I would have guessed with David Laney (2:18 marathoner,), Chikira Omine ( hot dog eating champion, multiple 50k wins), Paul Terranova ( Grand Slam runner, top 10 WS), Brian Condon (2nd North Face 50- madison) and Joe Uhan ( top 10 WS). I knew there were going to be some guys going out hard so my plan was to race my own race and focus on my effort. The course was a two lap 50k with multiple short steep climbs up loose lime stone rock trails averaging ~5,000ft of climbing per loop. I settled in after the first climb and saw that I was running with Jorge Marivilla with Joe Uhan behind us. It was a lot of fun running with Jorge who is a class act in the sport and always running with a smile :) Jorge and I talked about the lead runners and how fast they took it out. He told me it is all about the 2nd 50k, and then he took off! Geeeshhh!! 

After Jorge left me I ran solo for the next 4-1/2 hrs. I had one bad stretch during the first loop were I fell behind on my electrolytes and fluids. I started carrying only one hand held which for me being a bigger runner, should have been two bottles. My hip flexors were starting to cramp going up the last climb of the first loop so I took the time to focus on my body and take some deep breaths. I started to increase my electrolyte intake using Hammers Endurolyte tabs, but I was running very low on water. I made it through the first 50k in 4:16 and immediately asked for coke and iced water. I had a couple cups of coke, filled up my hand held with ice water, shoved the shorts with gels and headed off for the 2nd 50k loop. 

 Typical trail condition. 

I ran the next two hours solo again until out of no where Fernando De Samaniego Seta caught up to me. We both ran together for the next 3 hours encouraging each other along the way as the temperature reached 80+deg. It was nice to have some company after running in "no mans land" for 6+hrs! I noticed my pace start to slow but I kept focusing on my body and making sure I was taking in enough calories and fluids. I wasn't going to get to my next drop bag until mile 45 so I grabbed a plastic water bottle from the next aid and used that for hydrating and cooling. Having the extra water was a life saver and I starting to increase my pace going into Cross Roads aid station at mile 45. After filling one hand held with ice water again and the other with iced Coke, I re-stocked on gels and endurolytes and left Cross Roads with a 2min lead on Fernando to move into 7th. The last 17 miles were all about survival and digging deep. I focused on my mechanics and tried to be as efficient as possible. I thought about family and the people in my life who have supported me. I got a little emotional. I focused on staying steady on the up-hills and pushing hard on the down-hills. I started to get that second wind and my lead grew from Fernando. 

At this point I didn't know how far ahead the next runner was. I hit the last aid station at mile 57 and they reported I was 5min back from the next runner. I knew this was the home stretch and I started to really focus on trying to catch the next runner. As I came around the corner of the last climb I saw Brian Condon walking up the hill. As I ran up next to him he said he was struggling and was just trying to finish. I started to push the pace to see if he would stay with me over a technical rocky section and I could tell he was giving a strong effort. I pushed the pace even harder and eventually I lost site.  I told myself to run the best I can to the finish. Each step, make it your best. I didn't have a gps watch but the last couple miles felt like I was running 6min pace. I crossed the line in 6th place, and exhausted. 

Some Texas Country jams after the race.
My legs did not appreciate the 14 hour drive back to CO!!!!

This was a very satisfying run for me. I was happy with how I managed my low patches and kept positive throughout the day. For a race this early I didn't know what to expect. I was training pretty decent for this event but nothing too focused. This makes me excited for the upcoming season ahead and the opportunity to see some other cool places. 


Should have ate here before the race! 

Next up is Moab Red Hot 55k Feb. 15th. Check back for more race reports, training and personal coaching. 

Gear I used

Monday, May 13, 2013

Cinderella 50k

This past weekend I decided to race the Cinderella 50k just outside San Francisco in Joaquin Miller Park. I have always wanted to visit an old redwood forest and running through this type of landscape has been a dream of mine. There is something about giant trees that feel magical and powerful. How can a tree grow from a tiny little seed to something of that stature? I still don't know but I wanted to go check them out and see what it felt like to run though them.
The magical California Redwoods

I drove from my new home in Carson City, NV to the Anthony Charbot Park in Oakland, CA which was located just 20 miles south of the race start. I awoke early the next morning, not from the sound of my alarm,but from a group of wild turkeys that were roaming through my campsite. I packed up my tent threw down a bagel and a 'nanner and drove up to the race. I knew the race was going to be pretty small but I also knew that the Bay Area does have some pretty talented athletes so I didn't know who was going to show up. 

I picked up my race number and headed back up to my car to finish my coffee and top of my water bottle. On the way back down to the start I saw the speedy Ian Sharman at the registration table. Ian Sharman is a talented runner who holds the North American record for 100 mile trail race in 12hr44min!! This means he ran 100 miles at 7:38per/mile!!! Crazy you might say? So I was excited to say the least that I would be running with Ian. 

Oakland Hills 

Before the race I was still blowing snot rockets and my head was a bit heavy but I told myself to just go with the flow and CLEAR THAT HEAD UP!! The race went out fast with some of the 10k,1/2 marry and marathon runners going up front. My goal was to try and keep Ian in sight for as long as I could. This lasted for about 8 miles and then I lost him through the giant trees. At this point I was in second place and I held on to that position to the finish. Ian was walking most of the hills that I could see him on and then he would blast off downhill like a goat and I would lose him. The course was nothing like I have run on before with some nice roller coaster single track that meandered through rich fern forest with giant redwoods that let just 
enough sunlight through. 

Streams of sunlight through the trees 

I stuck with my usual 50 mile and under nutrition plan of a Hammer Gel every 25min with two Endurolytes salt tabs every hour as well. It got hot (86deg+ humidity) as the the day ticked and the one major climb of the day was on what seemed like the only exposed area of the course. My Altice Wrapids were perfect for this exposed section and did just the trick to make this 1,800 ft climb hurt just a little less. 

Cruisey single track through lush fern forest

I started to slow after this climb but just kept that PMA ( positive mental attitude) and kept ticking along. After coming through the finish area and the 26.2 mile mark they took the 50kers out on one last loop. I left this point ready to be done and just wanted to get to the next aid so I could have some coke. After making the turn to head back for the home stretch I ran into none other than Kara Dewalt. Kara and I went to U of Montana together. Kara is training for the steeple chase with a very talented group of runners who all live just down the road from the park. Kara was just out on a training run and I just happened to run into her. Weird! At this point I thought I was hallucinating! Kara ended up pushing me into the finish line for 2nd place and a time of 4:38:40. Full results here

I was happy about the race considering how I felt leading up to it. It was also cool to run with Ian ( even if it was only him just up ahead of me) and to only finish 22 min behind him. After the race I got a tour of Kara house that overlooked Oakland and San Fran and enjoyed a giant burger and fries before heading back up Carson City and my new home.

Good weekend on the trails!! 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Zion Race Report

I'v been visiting Southern Utah and Zion in particular for 5 years now. It all started with spring break trips with The University of Montana Triathlon team. This was a tradition among U of M triathletes to flee the cold and cloudy conditions of Missoula and head down to blue skies and hot temps that was perfect for putting in big miles on the bike.

The tradition was to camp in Virgin, UT on some land off of Kolob Terrace Rd. and get up every morning eat food & ride bikes most of the day then get back to camp and eat more food and repeat. Maybe it was a windy and hilly day and this meant a trip into Hurricane, UT for some ice cream. These trips forged life long friendships and made us much better athletes than we were a couple weeks prior. 

 U of M Triathlon spring break training trip Zion National Park 2010 

Putting in the big miles on the bike was a blast and it payed off at the Grizzly Triathlon and Wildflower at the end of the season, especially Wildflower with the bigger hills and heat. There was something still missing from these trips for me though. We got to ride lots of roads through beautiful surroundings but I wasn't able to get out and be in it. Now that I am putting my energy into running in the mountains and seeking cool terrain getting back to Zion to SEE MORE was not a question! I knew it was going to happen I just didn't know when.
I took a short little hike up the side of this mesa after 11.5 hours of driving. This is also where I camped. 

After running The Bear 100 this past September and taking a couple weeks of recovery I took a look at upcoming 2013 ultra marathons. I saw that there was a Zion 100 mile run in April and it didn't take much convincing to sign up for this race.

The Race 

I woke up Friday morning at 4:55 am to the sound of my motorcycle alarm. I decided to camp up Kolob Terrace Rd. on some land next to the Virgin River which was only a 5 min drive to the start. Once I got to the start I got my drop bags situated, threw down a Hammer Nutrition bar, mango juice and a couple buzz bombs. Fellow Missoulian John Fiore was also down racing the 100k race and it was good to see someone I knew.

The race director Matt Gunn went over a few of the course descriptions and then went into a moment of silence for the Boston Marathon explosion. During this time I reflected on all of the memories I had watching my uncle Mark race there when I was little. Massachusetts is my home state and the Boston Marathon was always a special event that me and my family would go to and cheer on all the runners. This year my cousins Melissa and Lindsay were racing and were racing to raise money for the liver foundation. I am very grateful they made it out safe and sound. They were not even a half mile from where the blast took place. My uncle Mark and Aunt Donna were also there cheering on and were very close to the finish when this happened. My grandfather and grandmother were en route to meet my uncle and aunt when the explosions went off and they were all safe.

The RD handed out blue and yellow batons to run with in honor of the families and victims of the attack. I ran with a blue baton for 52 miles and then passed it on to another runner. This helped me get through my low patches during the race when the going was tough.

The race went off at 6:00am and was a little chilly but I knew that it was going to get real nice soon so I put one layer on and figured I would ditch it on top of Gooseberry (mile 19.1) after the first climb. I decided to not use a hydration pack and instead used a handheld and borrowed a waist belt from fellow Missoulian Mike Foote. Never ran with a belt before but was really nice and allowed me to fit close to 10 gels! The race started off in the dark so I used my old Petzl head lamp for the first hour or so. The race followed Route 9 for the first couple miles then meandered off onto a dirt road and then some nice cruisey single track that looked down to the Virgin River. John Fiore caught up to me on the dirt road and we had nice conversation while the sun was rising over Zion Natl Park. At this point I felt ok but not great. I actually felt pretty bad throughout the first 50k. For some reason my right medial side of my knee was giving me some problems and my legs just felt heavy. The rising sun over the red rock mountains gave me energy though and I kept chugging along. At this point John Fiore had run up ahead of me and just kept doing his thing the rest of the race. John had an amazing day and came in 4th place overall in the 100k in a time of 10:45.
Great race John!

Early miles of the race that went along the Virgin River. I took this photo the day after  when I needed a walk to loosen the legs. 

The first climb was up to the top of Gooseberry Mesa and it was short N' steep. It climbed 1200ft in about a mile or so. I was actually happy to start climbing and marched passed  a couple more 100k runners up to the first aid station at 19 miles. At this point my knee was bugging me and my legs were still heavy with my hip flexors especially feeling tight. I grabbed some more gels, filled up on some water and headed off into the maze of slick rock that capped the top of Gooseberry Mesa . Running over the slick rock was fun at times but was different running from anything I have ever done. Up/down, over around that rock, opps too steep gotta stop and climb up this quick was kinda how it went on this section and it wasn't easy by any means.

It was on this section of running from mile 19 to 31 that I thought about doing this race without a crew and no one to pace me. I have raced two other 100 mile races at The Bear and had a crew and pacer for both of  these runs. I realized  in the early miles that having friends support you at aid stations helps so much. Not just because they are there to help get your bottles filled up and nutrition ready but knowing from aid station to aid station you have a good friend there that is going to be cheering for you and giving you some words of encouragement goes a long way. I found at the Bear that when times were difficult knowing that I'd get to see some familiar faces at the next aid was what kept my morale up and moving forward with determination. Knowing that I wasn't going to have anyone crewing me or pacing me and it was still early in the day got me a little worried based off how I was feeling at the time. I knew it was going to be a tough long day but I looked at not having crew or a pacer as just another challenge and it got me fired up to keep on moving.

To keep this post short I will just touch on the later parts of the race...

The rest of the day consisted of feeling bad for sections then getting a second wind and picking it back up. I had another pretty bad section up on Guacamole from mile 67 to 77. This was another 6 mile gradual climb up onto another mesa that had even more difficult slick rock to maneuver around. At this point my stomach was really sensitive to any solid food and the thought of having another gel made me want to vomit and it actually did. I was starting to run low on calories on this ~9mile section and stopped to try and get a gel down. I immediately vomited and this throwing up thing happened another 3 times on this loop. So not only was I low on calories and couldn't get anything down I was loosing more calories from throwing up and was putting myself in an even worse spot. I lost track of Kent, a friend I met on the trail who was from the Bay Area and started early at 4:00 am. Kent asked if I was ok and I continued to vomit. I kept a PMA( positive mental attitude) on this section and as the sun just tucked below the mountains in the distance I returned to the guacamole aid at mile 77 and it was now dark. This is where I met Steve Hooper  the owner of St. George Running Center. I had gone into his store the day before the race and talked to him about my running store venture and the race. Steve is an awesome guy and really spent some time trying to get me to get some   calories down. I tried to have some broth and I vomited again! I finally parked a spot for ~40min with the determination to get some calories down. Steve was a huge help and got me (somehow) to eat a bean and cheese burrito and some potatoes. I also made a mistake of not packing my headlamp in this drop bag, oops! Steve was nice and let me use a smaller light that clips on to the brim of your hat. It wasn't the greatest light but it was better than nothing.

 I eventually took off from the Guacamole aid and headed down the hill to mile 83 and Walsh Aid. Between this section I had no calories but got some decent energy from the small meal I had prior. At this aid I was only able to stomach coke and after about 5 min at this aid I headed off to tackle the "flying monkey" climb. This was a very deceiving climb that seemed to never end. I felt pretty good climbing and dropped a guy that was with me up to the approach of the climb. It was a pretty techie climb that required some rock climbing skill! There was even a rope that you had to use to get up and over a rock. Looking down wasn't a good idea because it just dropped off into a drainage. I slowly but surly made my way up to the top of Smith Mesa and our last climb of the day. I was hoping to see an aid station at the top of the climb and kept running down a jeep road until I saw a sign that pointed to the right and read- 2.4 miles to Smith Aid. "Geeeeeezzz" I said and I kept heading up the dark dirt road . At this point my head lamp or a better word for it, hat light was loosing its mojo and I turned it off to save the batteries. The moon was only slightly covered by clouds and the stars where out in full force. I remember Johnny Wasatches words to take a moment at night, stop, and  look up at the stars and I did just that. It was truly amazing to be up on top of Smith Mesa nearing the finish still chipping away and have this moment. It gave me the energy to make it to Smith Aid at mile 89. After some more coke I headed out for a 1.5 mile out and back that brought us back to Smith Aid at mile 92. I grabbed a bit more coke and prepared myself mentally for the long 8 mile down hill to the finish.

Flying Monkey climb to the top of Smith Mesa. Photo: www.fastcory.com 

This got me a little emotional as it brought back memories from the Bear last year and having to walk, or better word, stumble down to the finish. The Bear decent was maybe a mile longer with poorer footing but I was just excited to be running the last section to the finish. I didn't really now at this point where I was in the race because of the 100k runners starting with us but I figured I was at least top 20. I kept chugging down the hill and a headlamp reflected off the side of the canyon walls. I looked back and two more runners that were bombing down the decent. I recognized them from the Bear and I gave them a big " whaaa WhoooOO" and kept up behind them the best I could. The paved road eventually lead us to another dirt road section that mazed back and forth before spitting us out across the road from the Virgin state park and the FINISH!! I gave a few fist pumps and let out another " whoooooOO whoooOO"!

I ended up finishing in 21hours 14minutes for 13th place.

This race was something else. I went through some pretty low section where I wanted to just hang it up. I was hurting early on top of Gooseberry but I got through it. I was throwing up on top of Guacamole and was only drinking coke and ginger ale the last part of the race. I kept telling myself keep moving, forward, forward. My time and place at the Zion 100 are just numbers. The true race that day was with myself and my mind and overcoming all of the tough sections. I'm happy I kept on.

 I definitely reccomend this race to anyone who wants a challenging scenic course in a part of the country that I think is truly amazing.

I want to thank all my family and friends for their support and encouragement!

Cant wait for the next adventure!

World class ultra runner Pam Reed and her husband Jim Reed at  the Brew Pub outside Zion Ntl.  Park post race.  Pam is the first female winner of The 135 mile Badwater Ultra Marathon in Death Valley, CA and loves to run long. 

 River Rock Roasting Co. in Hurricane, UT. 

Hanging out at packet pick-up waiting for my delicious wood fired pizza.

Wood fired pizza!!

Homemade belt buckle 
Look at that right cankle! Draining the legs back at camp.

Gear used: 

Shoe: Pearl Izumi N1 Trail. Was really happy with how this shoe held up over 100 miles. Great protection over the rocks and dried out fast after crossing a stream. Only two blisters and best of all NO LOST TOE NAILS!!! I definately reccomend this shoe. 

Nutrition: Mostly Hammer Nutrition  with some convenience store items.
  • Hammer Gels ( favorite flavor is raspberry) 
  • Hammer Bars ( chocolate chip coconut) 
  • Endurolytes 
  • Clif bloks 
  • Honey waffers 
  • Red Bull
  • Orange slices (soft candy) 
  • Nutella on tortilla 
  • Coke + Mtn Dew 
  • Bean & Cheese Buritto ( took 40min to get down) 
  • Potato w/ salt 
  • Some hippie vegan broth that I threw up
Sunglasses: Altice Wrapids I wore these shades for 14+ hours and they were amazing!! 

Hydration: Nathan 16oz handheld ( should have carried two at some point) 

Light: Petzl ( didn't actually use it. Put it in wrong drop bag). 

Fuel Belt: Amphipod Airflow 

Socks: Feetures low cut

Monday, April 15, 2013

Taper week

April 8th-14th 


Mon: AM- Easy run with Hanners this morning down the Kim. Legs still a little sore. I blame tapering for this. TOT- 4.7 miles 41min
Shoe: Pearl Izumi N1


Tue: Noon- Met Johnny Wasatch and Chris Kollar for a nice run up the Jumbo slant trail down into East Missoula and back up. Legs felt better as the run went on. TOT- 10 miles 1hr24' Core- 10' 
Shoe: Pearl Izumi N1


Wed: OFF 


Thu: Easy run through Greenough Park. Legs still a little stiff. TOT- 5.3 miles 40' Pull-ups- 6' 


Fri: AM- Easy run down the Kim East on the single track on the way out back on the road. Still have taper legs! 
TOT- 6 miles 40' 
Core- 10'
PM- Easy shake-out run around Osprey stadium. Legs felt good ( about time). TOT-3.5 miles 28' 

Sat: Easy run around Lincoln Hills. Myke took some cool photos. Windy,cold,snowy at times. 
TOT- 3 miles 25' 
Core/Pull-ups- 5' 


Sun: Ran around Osprey Stadium from the house again. Legs feeling much better. Arms heavy from pull-ups.
TOT- 3 miles 23' 


Run mileage: 35.5 miles 
Bike: :( 
Core: 30' 
Hours: 5hrs 

Pretty low volume week but that's just what I wanted. Legs felt bad early in the week but that usually happens when I drop the volume down. I like to call this "taper legs". Next week will be more of the same with short 20-30min runs and a couple days off. Wed will be a long drive down to Zion so I will break up the ride and hopefully get a short run in. Tapering is so fun!!!

Next post will be after Zion. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The 100 mile shoe

What shoe is best suited for running 100 miles? This is a question I've been trying to figure out the past couple years. I've ran in the Brooks Launch and the Brooks Cascadia 7 in my two previous 100 mile races. On April 19th at the Zion 100  I will hopefully have picked a shoe that will keep my feet feeling happy and maybe even keep some toe nails this time around! 

For Zion I have 3 pairs of shoes that I will potentially run in come next Friday(I'm confident I found the one). The New Balance MT 110Hoka One One Bondi B  and the Pearl Izumi N1 trail. I have narrowed my selection down to my top pick and will share with you why I believe this shoe is right for this course. 

Photos below taken by Myke Hermsmeyer

New Balance MT 110 

 I never thought I would run consistent miles in a light-weight, low profile trail shoe but this one just seemed to work for me. Most of the shoes that I have trained and raced in have been in the 10 ounce range. This shoe weighs in at 7.6 ounces in a men's 9 with a 4mm drop and 16mm stack height. The 110 provided plenty of room in the forefoot, great traction on snow and wet conditions and the rock plate and stiffer out-sole kept my feet from getting bruised on rocky terrain. The upper held up nicely and the soccer cleat replication on this end seemed to work well. I did most of my running in this shoe from mid January 13' up until Antelope Island Buffalo Run 50 mile (March 23, 13) and I was shocked at how well I ran in this shoe with bigger mileage weeks. I made the decision to use this shoe at the Buffalo Run after running a couple 4+hr long runs during training. This shoe was created by designers at New Balance with heavy input from both Anton Krupicka and Erik Skaggs.

Although the 110 worked really well at the Buffalo Run 50 mile, this course was fairly flat and hard packed compared to the sandy/hillier Zion 100 course. My experience with wearing the Brooks Launch at my first ultra which left my feet and quads feeling like hamburg has scared me away from taking this shoe past 50 miles. This minimal shoe has done so much for my form and strength that I will still use this in training and trails runs from 50 miles and below. Incorporating a minimal shoe into your training can be a very valuable tool if built into your mileage patiently.

From little to BIG.... on to my next shoe.

Hoka One One Bondi B 

Hoaka Bondi B

This is another shoe that I thought I would never try out because it looked like a clown shoe! I changed my view quickly about this shoe during the Bear 100 and the final 25 mile death march to the finish. My girlfriend Hannah picked me up at "The Yurt" at mile 78 and we took off into the night with good energy. This energy quickly faded for me and my body went into shut down mode. Along with my body my feet were throbbing and every rock I landed on shot pain from my foot up my body. This race I wore the Brooks Cascadia 7 which was a beefier shoe compared to the Brooks Launch that I wore the previous year. I was excited to try this shoe out because of the hype local Ultra Runner "Johnny Wasatch" gave to this shoe. Johnny wore this shoe at the Hardrock 100 this past summer and ran them into a 12 place finish. I though if that shoe can take the 33,000+ft of climbing and decending then its got to be the right 100 mile shoe. It worked for Johnny W. but not Johnny F. 

On the last LONG decent down to Bear Lake and the finish of the race I was still walking and couldn't muster up a run even on the downhill. At this point I was getting passed left and right which was difficult to see. I noticed what seemed like everyone was wearing the Hoka One One shoes. After limping into the finish and laying down for a little bit I decided to seek out some Hoka One One runners. They reported that their feet held up nice and they were really happy with the shoe. This made me really curious about this shoe and I 
needed to try it out. 

Bondi B meets NB 110 

I decided to try this shoe out on my return back to running and it was definitely a soft ride. The Bondi B weighs in at 11 ounces, has a 4.5mm heal to toe drop and a stack height of 35mm in the heal and 29 on the forefoot. The major complaint I had about this shoe was the lack of feedback and feel for the ground, especially while climbing. I will say it is a fun shoe to bomb down a steep grade!

After some playing around with this shoe I knew that I couldn't race in it because of the lack of feel and the way I felt while climbing. I think this is a great shoe to use for recovery runs and easing back into running after a hard race but not a racing shoe for me. 

Having fun in the Hoka One One Bondi B's 

Comfy shoe but no feel and pretty expensive ($160) 

Pearl Izumi N1 Trail 

Timothy Olsen wore this shoe to a 14:47 and new Western States 100 CR

This shoe caught my attention because of the simplicity and that it looked to have some protection but not too much bulk to it. The N1 Trail weighs in at 9.6 ounces and a drop of 3.5 mm with a unique "dynamic" offset in the mid-foot. Pearl Izumi wanted to create a smooth ride with added protection under the metatarsals. In doing this they moved the take off point which is typically under the 1st ball of the metatarsal  rearward. This makes for a smother transition to toe off and eliminates the "slap" that some runners create on landing. 

I stopped by the Runner Edge and after trying on way too many shoes I settled with the N1. I'll have to say it took some time to get used to the mid-sole cushion but this shoe is nice and stiff and offers plenty of protection on rocky trails and felt great climbing and descending. The more I wear this shoe the more confident I feel wearing it against the sandy rocky Southern Utah desert. 

This shoe dries out fast 

Overall I liked the NB 110 and sensory feedback I got from impact but I don't feel confident testing this shoe out over 50 miles just yet. The Hoka Bondi B was a comfy shoe that was fun as hell to descend with but the limited ground feel has pulled me away from wearing this shoe over the 100 mile distance. The Pearl Izumi N1 Trail is what I will be starting the Zion 100 with and I am excited to see how it fairs over the distance. I love the smooth ride that it creates and the weight of the shoe and protection seem to be just right. I'm excited to settle into a groove running in the N1 Trail next week! 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Zion 100

12 Days till race day 
 Recovery after Antelope Island 50 mile (2 weeks ago) has gone really well. I was doing a good amount of driving to and from ( Missoula,MT -> Davis,UT -> Carson City, NV -> Missoula,MT) which made recovering take a bit longer.

Photo by: Matt Gunn (Zion 100 race director) 

After the race I hung out for a little to have a few home brews made by Jim Skaggs the (RD of Antelope Island Buffalo Run) and waited for my head-lamp and jacket to be returned from The Ranch aid station. My gear finally arrived and  after munchin' on way too many cookies and drinking way too much hot chocolate it was now time to hit the road and start heading west to Carson City,NV. I had about 3 hours until it would get dark so I figured I could make it to Wells,  NV (well shit!) and sleep in Olie (my green Subaru). This would set me up for a 5-1/2 hr drive on Sunday to make it into CC by noon. 

I woke up Sunday morning at 5:30am with an empty stomach and crampy legs. I tried to look out the window to see if my MTB was still there but I couldn't see out the window. The windows were completely frosted over.  I started up Olie and turned the heat to full blast while I chugged some water and stretched the legs. Now it was McDonald's time ( two egg sandwiches and hash brown) and 5-1/2 hours on the road. 

I arrived in Carson City by noon and was so happy to be done driving (for now) and just lay out in the hot Nevada sun. The trip to CC was supposed to be a business trip but I needed to loosen up the legs a little and what better than to go for a mountain bike ride up Ash Canyon. The sun was in full force and the flowers were blooming everywhere. The legs were sore but it felt amazing to breath some fresh air and get some blood flowing to the legs. The trip to CC was short and before you knew it I was back in the car and headed north for Montana. This trip to CC got me really excited for my new home there and the chance to explore some new landscapes. 
MTBing up Ash Canyon Carson City, Nevada
Spring is here 

I've been back in the bubble of Missoula and the last week of training has been nice. The legs came around nicely after Antelope Island and I was able to get some decent days in this past week. I have mixed running in with mountain biking which has been a nice mix. Now its time to start cutting back and resting up before 
Zion (I guess you call this tapering). 
We should just run back 

Ryon Reich's broken derailleur while riding Deer Creek Sneak


I'd like to say that I have the whole tapering thing dialed in but I don't. This is the one part of training that I think most people undermined. Everyone picks there races, they train for them week in week out and then race day is only a week away and you cram, just like before a college exam. Maybe you start to worry that you didn't do a certain workout and you squeeze one last hill session in. If you look back at all your training leading up to a race, all the hard hours, the runs in nasty weather, early morning workouts and all the accumulated fatigue that you have inflicted on yourself and you don't rest properly, whats the point? Why would someone want to feel crummy during a race that they have worked so hard towards having a great performance? 

It all comes down to believing in all your efforts and knowing that you have done the work because when race day comes this is your day to celebrate all your hard work and to look back on your journey that got you to where you are. 

UM Triathlon training trip to Zion (2011)  with Myke Hermsmeyer  and  Chris Cordingley 

I learned after Antelope Island Buffalo Run that proper rest going into an Ultra-Marathon is a must. I took 9 days off 3 weeks out and my legs felt great! I owe this to the ample amount of rest that I had before the race. Granted the rest came because I was sick and at the same time had a tooth infection and got my wisdom teeth extracted on top of this a reactions to my antibiotics that left me sweating buckets at night and  a throbbing head during the day. I would like to think that if I wasn't sick and didn't have surgery that I would have rested up properly before Antelope. Ummmmm... part of me thinks that I would have kept running and gone in fatigued.So don't go kidding yourself before your next Ultra-Marathon and actually rest! 

So with 12 days out from the Zion 100 its time to kick up the feet and relax.


 It's racing season! 

Week Ending 4-7-13 


Mon:  Pengelly Ridge - Right calf was really tight at the start of this run. Started to loosen up though as I went on.Took this one up the slant back to the tree line then up Pengelly Ridge across to the top of Sentinel and down the ridge home. Legs a little sore on this one. Breathing felt good. 
TOT- 11.5miles 1hr45'


Tue: Slant - Took this one up the slant back to the tree-line and back across Sentinel home. Legs a little flat. Took it EZ. TOT-10miles 1hr22' 
Core/Pull-ups- 12' 


Wed: Flat- Easy running on Waterworks. TOT- 9miles 1hr16' 


Thur: Sentinel + North Hills- Slant back to the tree-line across the fire Rd. down the "M". From there I went across Waterworks on the game trail and down Randolph back home O street. Legs feeling much better. 
TOT- 12.5miles 1hr44' 
Core- 10' 

Ride- Fun ride up the rattlesnake a little ways. Legs a little sore but felt good to spin them out. 
TOT- 1hr15' 


Fri: Flat- Easy run around campus and down the Kim E a ways after the MTB ride. 
TOT-6miles 44' 

Ride- Met Myke Hermsmeyer, Ryon Reich, Daniel Zielaski and  Cory Kaufman at Treasure State Donuts for some pre-ride fuel. Took this ride around Sentienl via Deer Creek sneak. Ryon unfortunately had a stick jam into his rear wheel which broke his derailleur. Great ride with great company. TOT- 2hr


Sat: Slant Trail- Ran back to the tree-line again up the slant. Took the MTB trails on the way down. Ran right into a rain storm which was kind of refreshing even though I couldn't feel my hands. TOT- 8.5miles 1hr15' 

PM run- Easy run around Osprey Stadium trying out the Pearl Izumi N1 trail shoe. Don't know weather to go with these or the New Balance 110's. Right now I'm leaning towards the 110's. TOT- 3.3miles 25' 
Core- 10' 


Sun: North Hills with Hanners- Decided we would run up Cherry Gulch from the house but decided to take a game trail on the hill to the right of Cherry. Nice climb with a different view of the lower rattlesnake.TOT 9miles 1hr18' 

Running miles: 70 miles 
MTB: 3+hours 
Core: 1hour 
Total time: 14hrs