2013 H.U.R.T. 100

2013 H.U.R.T. 100

Monday, December 10, 2012

Isle De Bois 54k

This race was one that up until the final day to sign up i was pretty sure i wasn't going to run it. i didn't really run the whole month of November, and i was just getting back into it.  with HURT being 6 weeks away i thought it would be a good idea to sign up for it since it would force me to get in a longer run. i purposely didn't bring a watch, didn't look at the website at all and knew hardly anything about the course. i did it on purpose because i didn't feel i was in good enough shape to attack it and i just wanted to go out and have fun.  my goal was to show up and just run. for the first time i didn't really plan out my nutrition or anything, i just grabbed my bottle and some gu's between loops and ate when i felt the need and just ran.

It ended up being a bit more intense then what i was hoping for. at the start of the race i was up front with Matt crownover for the first mile or so. it didn't feel too fast so i didn't question it. by about the time we got onto the single track he created a bit of a gap. i figured at that point that he would never be caught and he was going to win it.  i knew he was in good shape right now.  i stayed in 2nd for most of the first loop with Edgar Martinez and a guy named Jason right behind me. i ran what i felt was comfortable, but had no clue what kind of endurance i had that day since i hadn't been training.  i figured i would run my normal race and only slow down if my body forced me to. it was a bit of a mental battle telling myself that i could run the whole thing hard when i really wasn't sure.

at the end of the first loop was when all the position changes started happening. the last/first half mile mile is on pavement of each loop. with both of them clearly being faster road runner then me, i had no chance of keeping up. it turns out the eventual winner is a 2:40 road marathoner and won the cowtown ultra this year in like 3:20. and Edgar Martinez won the El scorcho 50k this summer also in a very impressive time.  they both passed me and i was in fourth heading out for loop two. the trail has so many twist and turns that they were out of sight pretty quick. i was totally cool with it though. my main concern was to get in a solid run and have fun. i ran the whole second loop solo and the first half of the the third loop solo until i caught Matt at the aid station. it was nice running together for about 3-4 miles with him since its been a while since we had trained or ran together. i guess my legs didn't get the message that it had been changed from a 50k to a 54k because with about two miles left they decided they didn't want to fire anymore. i was fine with it because anybody can push for two miles. up until that point it was actually really pleasurable and it wasn't uncomfortable at all.  before the race i figured i was going to struggle big time the whole last loop since i hadn't been running much lately. i was very surprised at how "normal"i felt the whole time.  Matt and i were talking about how we didn't want it to turn into an all out race so i was relieved when he pulled away with a couple miles left. my legs just didn't have the power to take it up a notch and hang with him so i happily trotted it in and finished within my goal. my approach really reminded me of hells hills this year. i signed up last minute and just went out to "run" and have fun. you can't take every race totally serious or else they'll quit being fun.
Thanks Julie Dolph for taking this! The kids all decided to race me at the end and make me sprint it in haha

turns out i had strep throat coming on before the race and the race plus staying out that night put me over the edge. my throat hurt all last week and Sunday i broke into a 102 fever and felt absolutely horrible. i didn't get out of bed for 14 hours straight sun night Mon morning.

overall the race turned out to be perfect though. it went well for me and it got my motivation back up which is a good thing since I've got the colossal ass whipping known as the H.U.R.T. 100 in 6 weeks. its time to get in some serious training weeks! having strep throat isn't helping but I'll be better soon and i plan on taking advantage of everyday that I'm able to slip out to a trail and get in some trail miles. especially since I'm pretty sick of running around Mansfield.

in everybodys race reports they always thank the volunteers and race directors so i know it sounds meaningless when i do, but i have to say that Dave really does do a great job. the course is marked beyond what it needs to be, and you can tell there is a personal touch to his races. people aren't just numbers out there, it is such a great atmosphere and everybody knows everybody. it will always be hard to pass his races up.

Monday, October 29, 2012

2012 Cactus Rose 100 Race Report


I have spent the past two years focused on nailing this race.  After last years disappointment, i stayed focused for another year and still hopeful of a successful race next weekend.  Last year, training went good and i felt good starting out but by mile 30 my knee hurt and by mile 70 all running was over and i was forced to walk it in. not fun.  This year i feel that im in better shape and a little more experienced.  my 45 mile cleburne run 4-5 weeks out is my gauge on what sort of shape im in. In 2010, it took me over 8 hours but i wasn't really racing it.  last year i did it in 7:10 and this year i knocked an additional 30 minutes off that time.  my game plan is almost identical to last year.  my brother will be my crew, and he will have my bottle(s) ready at every aid station starting at mile 15.  i will have it super organized so everything i need will be available on the fly.  the biggest mistake i can make is to get sucked into somebody elses pace.  i usually start out pretty conservative and that usually helps me stay solid throughout the race.  the first 50 i will run my own race and hopefully come in around 8:45 or so. miles 50-65 matt doellman is  pacing me and my goal is for us to run everything run able and hold a solid pace but nothing crazy.  miles 65-85 is what i'll attack.  i feel i do better on the hill sections then my competition then the flat sections. 65-75 i'll throw on my ipod and hammer it. if matt crownover is there i'll pick him up to get me to 85. if not, i'll keep hammering solo. at 85 i'll pick up doellman once again and see whats left.  no clue what i'll have in the tank or where i will stand in the field.  well see how it plays out...


Two years ago i created a pace chart for this race. after each time i would train down there and after last year i would alter it a tad. it has a 19:20 finish time, and it also has splits for all 20 sections. it kept me focused on smaller goals the entire race which kept me more in the game mentally.

im not going to go into any dumb pre race details. just the usual drive down friday, shitty nights sleep in the tent, woke up, and ready to go.

LOOP 1 -
the race started and i was up front with about 5-6 guys. i figured me and steven were the only 100 milers and it was really nice to run relaxed, and able to bs with people. we finished the first section in under 42 minutes which was moving but it felt very comfortable so i wasn't worried. i picked up my bottle from my brother since i did the first section empty handed.  steven and i continued to run together for another mile or so until i had to take my first pee. i knew i may not see him again because i think his comfortable pace on the flat sections is faster then mine so i knew a gap was about to be made. i was totally cool with it and just wanted to focus on myself and run my own race. the second section went good and i hit split exactly to keep myself 2 minutes ahead of schedule.  everything was going good until i was cruising along and totally missed the left turn into ice cream. i continued way down the jeep road until i realized i came up on the markers for us for after we were done with ice cream section. i had to back track which was about an eight minute detour. i wasn't happy especailly since my splits were pretty tight and i didn't have much room for error. i got back on course and found myself pushing the pace a tad to try and get back on schedule. i came into equestrian at mile 15 about 5 minutes behind where i wanted to be. i did my first bottle exchange with my brother at that point and grabbed my 200 cal packet of choice. my goal was all day to only exchange bottles and grab whatever 200 cal packet (either power bar gel blast, gu chomps, clif shot bloks, or honey stinger chomps) looked good and keep going. i tried to keep all aids in under 10-15 seconds. i was off and ready to tackle the "hill sections". i hit both sections solid and was able to get myself right back on pace, but was very discouraged at the amount of fatigue already in my legs. at about mile 22 was when i felt the first signs and was disappointed to feel like that that early. i finished loop one in about 4:13. my pace chart had a 4:15 but i was secretly hoping to make up 5 minutes per loop for a sub 19.

coming in loop 1 at 4:13 at the 2012 Cactus Rose 100

i set out with a little peace of mind knowing that my pace chart does have slowing down a tad so i knew i would be able to make my splits. miles 25-30 i still felt kinda bad and was pretty worried. it was the type of fatigue that i didn't think i should have and honestly i thought that i was going to blow up and miss my goal big time once again. i was depressed and wasn't really able to enjoy it. after boyles i felt a little better and was in a little better mood. i was moving really good though the hills and made up some more time to put myself back closer to 19 hour pace. i made it to nachos feeling good and right where i wanted to be. i dread the section from nachos to equestrian (bar-o section by the entrance of the park). no major hills just run able stuff that i always have trouble meeting my splits. i started to struggle on this section. ran every step of it but it didn't feel that good. i came into 45 about 10 minutes ahead of pace which was where i wanted to be. leaving is when things got worse. i always struggle around this point of this race. i felt like crap heading back to the lodge. i was able to run the first 50 in 8:40 which is what i wanted but i didn't feel good. i was surprised at how big of a gap steven had on me. i knew he was capable of some fast stuff but just didn't expect him to throw down a 8:10 first half. insane. lorenzo had about a 10 minute lead on me at that point too. i wasn't too worried about them because i was doing what i could and it was too early to blow myself up.

matt crownover running the last couple of meters to mile 50 at the 2012 Cactus Rose 100
cruising into nachos aid

matt doellman and i set out to run miles 50-65 solid. i told him that i wasn't feeling good and we started trying to figure out what it was. i was drinking more gu brew then water which has some sodium. i was thinking i was low on electrolytes but wanted to make sure before i resorted to any sort of salt pill. matt asked me when the last time i took an s cap was and i said "april" haha.  rewind three weeks ago and i was telling matt crownover about my salt theories.  i said in warm weather i don't need any because i sweat out a lot of water and i stay pretty balanced. but in cool temps like this race when im not sweating at all, the water builds up a little more and dilutes the salt. so even though i knew it going into it, i still didn't follow my own rules. i was peeing more then usual, so around mile 53 we finally agreed that i was just low. i wasn't thinking too clearly or intelligently so it took a while for us to agree on something. i was in an all time bad mood at this point for three reasons. i knew i was losing time on this section. i knew if i couldn't turn it around i wasn't going to meet my goal and i was going to have one hell of a 2nd 50 out there. i wasn't in the mood to suffer for that long. so popped on s cap at 53 and at mile 56ish i started feeling a tad better. i wanted to make sure i was better then about 20 minutes later i popped another one. by the time i got to nachos at mile 60 i was feeling great and saw that i was still a couple minutes ahead of my 19:20 pace chart. we ran the ice cream section great and i was in a great mood finally. but about this same time my right knee/quad/hip flexor were all tight. not necessarily injury type pain but tight enough to make me quit running a couple of times in pain. i guess if its not one thing, its another.  we ran into equestrian good and i set out to tackle the "hill sections" once again solo. i was feeling good and ready to take it up a notch. i had no clue how far behind i was but i didn't really care. i just wanted to do my thing and do what my body allowed me to do. those 10 miles were really enjoyable and i hit them at a very good pace which wasn't much slower then loop 2. i made up a lot of time on my pace chart those three sections which put me 15 minutes ahead of schedule at mile 75. exactly where i wanted to be if a sub 19 was going to happen. (13:35 actual time - pace chart had a 13:50)

finishing loop 3 at 13:35 about to head out with matt crownover for miles 75-85 at the Cactus Rose 100

matt crownover and i were ready to set off on loop 4. he was pacing from 75-85 before sending me back off with the other matt to finish. the other two 100's matt has paced me in, the wheels came off and we walked a lot and moved very slow. so it was nice for us to actually go out and run when he was pacing me. we basically just ran everything run able and bs'ed just like we were out on a training run. for some reason i was a bit crabby all race and let him know that. i told him not to ask me about nutrition because i had my routine and i wanted to lead and i wanted to talk about other stuff.  those 10 miles were very enjoyable and i was very greatful to have him there. he is a very selfless person and always helping somebody out. matt doellman and i set out at mile 85 feeling good. we ran out to ice cream pretty solid and obviously power hiked the hill. that section is a nasty one for sure.  after that hill was when my knee was super tight and running run able stuff was a struggle for the first time. we walked/ran into nachos. we set out and i knew i was going to lose time on the next section. i hate the section no matter what and there was two problems. my knee/body was aching so my running was slow and i was struggling to run period. and second i had the final 15 miles at a somewhat good pace because i figured i would either be leading or close so i figured i would be pushing big time. that whole section sucked. running was really tough and i kept seeing points on the course and would look at my watch and realize that i was cutting it very very close to my 19:20 goal. finally, around the creek crossing close to chapas i told myself i needed to suck it up and quit being a pussy. i had some deep thoughts around that time. i told myself that this is it. just like i've always said, the point in an ultra when you're faced with a decision. that decision to either give up or relax and just finish or search deep within and find that deep motivation and persevere til the end. i told matt doellman that when im running, don't talk to me because i had to get in a zone and concentrate. i felt rude saying that but it was the truth. about the final two miles into equestrian we ran somewhat solid. it was a slow pace but not sure what i expected nearly 95 miles into an ultra. we made it into equestrian behind schedule and i knew i couldn't mess around the last section. my run was slow and i knew it but at least i wasn't walking. i told myself to suck it up and at this point it was just a matter of blocking out the pain. we pretty much ran everything to base of lucky then power hiked up it. i took my final gu going up it and was at the top before i knew it. i did what i could to get down which was slow going, but at the base i knew i had 1.5 miles to go and walking wasn't an option.  i wanted 10 minutes from the jeep road/trail intersection (final mile). we made the turn at about 19:09:30. i finally broke the silence that had lasted more then an hour between us. i said no matter what it was going to happen. he told me to stay focused, but i told him we needed to enjoy it so we talked some and i thanked him for coming out to make my dream happen. as we approached, my brother and crownover saw the lights and said "hopton-jones"?? and i said yep its us! we all gave out a bit of a yell of excitement and i crossed the line at 19:18:31. less then a second to spare per mile. i cut that one pretty freakin close.

proof that i actually did finish before 19:20. with my brother (my crew)
with matt doellman. he paced me from 50-65 and 85-100. he put up will all my shit with a smile!

the two matts and my brother have no idea how greatful i am and how special this weekend was to me. i finally met the biggest running goal i've ever had. i now know that my goals aren't too crazy as some people clearly expressed they were a little far fetched and didn't believe in me.

nutrition wise it was spot on. besides miles 45-55 being low on salt and feeling like butt, i felt solid the whole time. i have a very simple routine. chug some water at the aid (which allowed me to get by with only one bottle all race). gu brew on the course. at each aid i would eat a packet of something as stated above. and in middle of each section i would eat a gu. never strayed from it, and my stomach loved every bit of it including that final island nectar gu going up lucky at mile 98. 200 cal pack + 100 cal gu + 100 cal gu brew means about 400 cal per section. i averaged less then an hour per section so over 400 cal per hour every hour.

with the man that keeps setting the bar higher and higher. post 2012 Cactus Rose 100

so whats next? this has been the main goal for so long that it feels weird to not have anything to obsess about. i would like sub 26 or 25 at H.U.R.T. in january and a sub 9 at zane grey in april. but what about cactus???  good question. i will more then likely do a summer mountain race, but im sure i'll still do cactus rose next year. no way i'll pass it up. i feel like i belong out there while im out there. i think 18:30ish is a good goal. who knows? i will go into very relaxed and really enjoy it. if people want to come they can but i will no longer force people to crew/pace.  im very satisfied with my own performance, but im still in shock that breaking the course record by 10 minutes was only good for 3rd. steven and lorenzo destroyed it. they put out some serious times. im very happy for them and everybody is friends so there is no bitterness. thats what i love about this sport. you get smoked by somebody but you can't wait to finish and have a beer with them and hear all about it.

i also want to thank joe and the crew. always such a great race and he knows how to treat runners. keep it up and im greatful he puts together these events that literally change people's lives.

a video i made from my three years at cactus plus various other training and race pics. 


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Rough Creek 40m - a race of two extremes

2 weeks ago around mile 4 of the captn karls reveille ranch run, eric gilberton and I were running together and discussing how we were both training for a 100.  i told him he needs to come up for the Rough Creek 40 miler as it would be a great training opportunity.  2 weeks later i couldn't have regretted that invite more.

leading up the race i heard lots of talk about this "rusty crown" section.  apparently out of the 13.5 mile loop, 10 miles were flat and fast and 3.5 miles were just downright nasty.  my curiosity was up and there was no way i was going to miss this. i run some pretty rugged and steep stuff so i thought there is no way its nothing i haven't seen.  i also knew this course was going to be interesting in the way that it was going to require strategy.  would it favor the faster guy with the 10 miles of flats or the mountain goat with the rusty crown?  i final look at the entrant list friday night and i knew i had my work cut out for me. i saw that eric had signed up for it, matt crownover would be doing it in celebration of his 40th birthday, and thomas aten who is a fast dude.  i knew that all three of them were faster runners then me on the flats. so i knew the flats would give me trouble trying to hang with them. i figured if i have any type of advantage its two things. i do tons of hill training and also i've been doing many many runs in the 30-40 mile range lately so i knew i could run the whole thing hard without slowing.

at the pre race brief dave once again reiterated how difficult the rusty crown was. i thought yeah yeah i've seen it all. i also told him i was going to run the whole thing and he laughed. so yeah i did second guess that statement a little. soon enough we were lined up and as i was tieing my last shoe as we were counting down from 10. we were off and we surprisingly started off pretty comfortable. the 4 of us bs'ed the first 3 miles out there. i started a tad in front but i waited a little since i was wanting the company and at that point i was in no hurry.  once we got to the rusty crown a lot of talk stopped. i didn't plan on breaking stride until it broke me.  the hills were tough but nothing i haven't done before. eric stuck next to me stride for stride which scared me. i thought shit this guy is faster then me on the flats and hes hanging with me on the hills? i knew it was going to be an interesting day.  the rusty crown last 3 miles of just straight up and downs. some steeper then others. after successfully running the first half we came to one in particular that was a beast. i swallowed my pride and broke into a power hike. i guess dave won that one.

a view of the rusty crown section. a solid 3 miles of zig zagging up and down this hill.

pictures never do terrain justice. especially not google earth.

this hill could have been accomplished in about half a mile but instead we had to run up and down it for three miles. the down hills were fun for sure.

upon leaving that section eric and i were shoulder to shoulder. on loop one we ran the flats solid but nothing too fast.  we just bs'ed and ran the remainder of loop together until about a mile to go and he took off. my stomach was in pain and i needed one of my pit stops so i had no choice but to let him go.  after making my pit stop and grabbing my food/other handheld, i set off about a minute or so behind eric. i figured it was going to take me a while to catch him (if i did). i pushed the pace leaving for loop two wasn't  hard since i was now two pounds lighter. i was pushing but i noticed he was getting further and further away.  i thought well my only chance is on the rusty crown to make up ground.  that section is a true ass whip but i feel like i recover quick from it and it doesn't effect the rest of my race. i attacked it hard once again. i caught up to him about half way through it and once again we were neck and neck. after that section he was really pushing the flats and separated himself again. i had to get outside my comfort zone and catch him on the gravel road because i didn't want to get left just yet. exact same as loop one, we ran the rest of the loop together and about a mile or two from the turnaround he pulled away. curious, i clicked over to my instant pace on my garmin and it read 7:15 and he was pulling away.

i wasn't sure if we would ever run together again so i decided to grab my ipod which i almost never do. i love music and needed something because i honestly wasn't in the mood to run solo and in silence the final loop. my bottles/food were ready to go pre race so my aid stations was much quicker then his and we actually left for loop 3 neck and neck.  we set out yet taking it up another notch. a couple time out to the rusty crown i felt him make a surge but i stuck with him, and even a couple times i would try and take off but that dude never left my side. remember when i said that inviting him to come race was a huge mistake? haha at that point it was tough but honestly it was the best thing for us both. we pushed each other and i got in a hell of a training race because of it. plus he's pretty damn cool and it was fun to bs the first two loops with him. so obviously i didn't really regret it at all.

but time to regroup and get my game plan together. my only strong point was the rusty crown so if there was a spot to make my move that was obviously it.  we hit it for the third and final time shoulder to shoulder. we now had a 50k under our belts for the day but my legs were ready to rock n roll.  i was about to find out how he was truly feeling. that section is a definite make or break. i decided i would attack it harder then ever and see what happened. my ipod was pumping tons of cool shit and i was fired up. we hit the first hill and i didn't break stride nor did i look over my shoulder. i pushed really hard the first half before finally taking a look around. when i did, i didn't see him anywhere in sight. i continued to buckle down and hammer it. my split upon leaving the rusty crown was faster and faster each loop so i was pumped. i knew that the real race had just started. after the rusty crown i knew i couldn't let up because i knew he could easily take the pace up big time so with 7 miles left, the gap cold easily be swallowed. after the final descent on that thing i made the decision to take my pace up on the flats so even if he did too that the gap couldn't be filled. i just stayed focused to the next aid at about mile 36.  at the turn around i saw i had about a 6 minute lead so i just kept hammering knowing if i did that he would have almost no way of catching me. and if he did then he deserved it!  i had a goal of sub 6 in back of my mind and i knew i was close but didn't think it was possible. i knew if i relaxed and missed it by 30 seconds i would be pissed so i told myself i can't have any regrets. i did all i could but saw my watch click past the 6 hour mark with still a little to go. i finished in 6:02 and i wasn't at all disappointed. i felt like i did all i could.

i was outside of my comfort zone on the flats for probably 2/3 of the race. i questioned big time if it was sustainable or not. i feel that in every race you should go at a pace where you question it from time to time. plus i wanted  a good training run so if i wore myself out then i would just have to dig that much deeper.  eric ran a solid race and came in 8 minutes behind me. it was perfect having him there to really push me and it made it an interesting day.  i've never really "raced" somebody so close for so many miles of a race. to stay neck and neck for 31 miles was insane.

my unofficial splits 2:03:30, 2:00:30, 1:58:30 approx. close to even splits was a goal so to run negative splits on all loops was awesome.

also a bit of breakdown of each loop for my personal records (incase i shoot for sub 6 next year)

loop 1 - section 1 (25:45/8:50pace) rusty crown (32:07/10:42pace) section 3 (28:21/8:36pace) section 4 (36:17/8:25pace)

loop 2 - section 1 (24:54/8:36pace) rusty crown (31:42/10:34pace) section 3 (28:34/8:38pace) section 4 (34/7:54pace)

loop 3 - section 1 (22:59/7:55pace) rusty crown (32:52/10:57pace) section 3 (27:37/8:20pace) section 4 (36:30/8:27pace)

section 1 is from the start to the base of the first climb of the rusty crown (not the aid station).  the rusty crown is from the split to the split, again not to and from the aid station. section 3 is from the base of the final descent to the far aid station. section 4 is from that aid station back to the start/finish. times are approx since time spent at aid station is not recorded. pace was a tad faster since some of that time i was refilling/eating. the distances that i got is 2.9 to the base, 3 miles for rusty crown, 3.3 to the far aid station and 4.3 back to the start finish for the 13.5 mile loop.

loved the race and venue. dave does an awesome at these things and the course was marked so well that there was never a doubt in my mind which was nice.  the rusty crown certainly lived up the hype and gave this race its signature. it was great hanging out with everybody and congrats to all the finishers and a huge thank you to all the volunteers!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Capt'n Karls Reveille Ranch 60k

This weekend helped prove a point i've preached for years now.  i've always said a goal is only the standard you set for yourself.  all too often people set pretty weak goals that are easily achieved.  i believe whatever you mentally prepare yourself to do or what you set out to do you will mentally and physically do.  i think a goal should be set just outside of reach to allow yourself to reach your full potential.

not knowing the course i had a soft goal of 5:45 going into the race. and i ran a 5:45. if my goal would have been 5:35, would i have run a 5:35? i'll never know. i wanted to run my first loop in 1:50 and i did on the dot. my next goal was 1:55 for loop to. it turned into a 1:57 so i set out on loop 3 knowing i had to match my loop two time in order to run a 5:45. and i ran exactly another 1:57 loop. i would relax the pace when i was on track and i would push when i needed to but nothing more. to sum things up im saying sometimes we mentally limit ourselves and never allowed to reach our full potential.

now a tad of a race report since i guess thats what this is.  august was probably my highest milage month ever. i had no races in august so i just wanted to get myself into the high milage rhythm and get my endurance back up.  i averaged over 100 miles every week and it felt great.  i had way more confidence going into this 37.2 miler then i ever have running that distance. i did at least 6-7 25 milers and at least 5-6 30+ milers in august so the distance was almost second nature to me and thats what i wanted.  i knew loop one would be faster since it was a daylight loop. so another small goal of mine was to keep loops 2 and 3 pretty close to even splits as possible.

before the race i found myself puting knots in my shoe laces because after about 14 months of abuse my salomons decided both shoe strings would break on the same run. thank god it was a training run and not a race. josh witte (who i rode down with) and i were laughing at the fact how rigged they were and not knowing if they were just going to break as soon as we started.

im pretty competitive with myself but not very competitive with other runners at all.  at the start of the race a group of three of us took the lead. me, eric gilberton, and nicole something. i've heard she was a badass and i knew him from other races and i knew after his even split victory at hells hills this year he was gonna put out a solid race. i made it clear to eric that i wanted to run a 5:45 and that im pacing myself to do it and  i didn't want to slow him down if he was wanting to go faster. he declined my offer for him to go ahead and we ran all of loop one together.  it was nice because i usually find myself solo most races. he's a super nice guy and we chatted about other races and both of our first 100's at the 2010 cactus rose where we finished back to back.  most races there is usually a group of speedsters that love to take the pace out super fast which isn't for me, but this race i started comfortable and it was up front. i was able to run my own race, set the pace for the lead pack, and have good company? what a nice way to start a race!

the course was a little more technical/slower then i had imagined so i was having to work a tad harder to hold the pace then what i wanted.  the dome was tough to run at night mainly because my headlamp sucks and i had trouble seeing all the little ripples and kept stumbling. the rest of the loop was just a lot of tight trail with lots of twist and turns that slow you down. 

eric and i set out on loop two and he made it clear that he was having an off night. we stuck together for the first 4 1/2 miles or so. at that time he slowed to eat a gu and i looked at my watch and realized my pace was slipping. i felt horrible for leaving him and i was bummed because i assumed it was the start of my solo trek in. i took the pace up a notch to get back on track, but didn't want to push too hard just yet since i wasn't half way through the race. the layout of the route has you seeing lots of other runners the whole time. so it was nice to see friend out there and offer encouragement each way. loop 2 was pretty much the same the rest of the way. just holding pace and eating a gu every 2 1/2 miles or so. 

between every loop i had to make a pit stop once again. i eat too much before the night races and start with a belly full of food every time. so after my pit stop i threw my usual packet of gel blast in my mouth, grabbed my final two handhelds and set off to get this thing done.  i did loop 2 about 2 minutes slower then desired so i set out knowing i had to match my split. i figured my legs were a little more fatigued but i knew i would run the last couple miles faster so i figured an even split would be no problem. i had 4 gus on me to take every 2 - 2 1/2 miles and to this point still not a single s cap or electrolyte pill. all summer i haven't been taking any s caps. blows my mind considering how dependant i was on them last year. but thats a whole nother topic or post that i may do a quick write up on later.  i was pumped that my legs were still willing to go the same pace and i really didn't have to push. i was able to just run and soak in the incredible full moon and sky full of stars. this course was something totally different then im used to. lots of granite domes and huge boulders. it was all being lit up in a pretty cool way and i was glad i was able to enjoy and not suffer through anything. i was able to relax, and just think about a lot of things.  the last aid station came into sight and i knew i had to take it up a notch to stay close to my 5:45 goal. coming around that corner and seeing the pavilion all lit up was a glorious sight. i was pumped to just relax, have some beer and chat with my fellow tejas trails people.

in two weeks i've got the glen rose rough creek 40 miler, then two weeks after that my usual cleburne fat ass cactus rose training run. good confidence booster and a fun weekend down there! can't wait to see all the tejas trails family again in less then 8 weeks!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Cedar Ridge 36k

When i saw that David had organized a race here i was pumped.  this was one of my original trails that i started training on several years ago. i knew these trails like the back of my hand.  but most of all i was pumped because i had talked about 10 people from mansfield to all give it a shot as their first trail run. 

they all took training serious and have no idea how great they truley did for their first trail run.  i was registered for the 36k and they were doing the 18k which started 15 minutes after me.  i got my last second stuff situated then headed to the start about 10 seconds before the actual start. Dave yelled go and we took off at what i thought was a confortable pace.

during training i've been having some bad runs and some good runs. the last two weekends were good runs at sansom then at captn karls 60k so i thought why would this week be any different? im going to try and not complain too much this report but here it goes...

my legs were extremely tired, i walked some up hills for my first time ever out there, and my heart rate was so high i was wondering if i would emerge from the woods on foot or on a stretcher. seriously, my chest was pounding so hard and i had chills and was so weak that i started to get pretty damn worried.

we started and a guy that i didn't know took an early lead. he didn't talk much but i managed to get him to say it was his first trail race. so i knew he was either one hell of a road runner and his fitness would allow him to perform well or the terrain would eat him alive. the first couple miles are easy so he was out of sight on the escarpment down hill. i wasn't sure if i would see him once we got to the tougher sections or not.  all this was irrelevent because little did i know i was going to be the one to crash and burn. my heart rate and breathing was out of control.  sometimes this happens but after a mile or two it goes away and i settle into a rythym.  jacob and i ran the first loop together and we tried chatting but i was freakin dying.  we did the first loop in about 48 minutes or so which was what i was expecting, but i was expecting it to be a hell of a lot more comfortable.  i knew i was either going to finally get in a rythym or crash. 

i started loop two a little behind jacob.  i was trying to get relaxed but it just wasn't happening.  i fell for my second time but this time hard and it hurt. i let out some cuss words and wasn't sure if i was goiing to run the next 16 miles or limp it in.  after about two minutes the pain was close enough to normal that i couldn't use it as an excuse as to why i died out there.  i suffered the rest of the loop to see jacob about 30 sec in front of me at the turn around.

i set off to do my two clock wise loops, and what i consider the tougher direction. mainly because you go up escarpment instead of down, up the tougher side of fossil valley and up the last tough climb on cedar break.  i was doing all i could and i knew that more then likely i wasn't going to be catching anybody this race.  i knew going into the race that this distance was going to be intense and painful.  i mainly have one gear. i don't consider myself a fast road runner or fast on the flats. so no matter the distance or going up, down or flat i go the same speed.

on loop 4 i accepted the fact that i wasn't going to snap out of it and just remained breathing hard as hell and having zero power in my stride. i told myself to enjoy the day out there and learn from it.  but i wasn't sure what to learn form it.  maybe my legs were tired from last weekends effort? but my runs during the week felt normal. maybe i should have fueled a little more? but i never carb up for my long runs. i just told myself that not every race goes good and that i'll appreciate it more when i do have a good one.

after the race i got a chance to hang out with some fellow runners that i knew and i was wanting to hear about jacob's hardrock experience.  we hung out for about an hour and half or so til it was time to go celebrate with all my m-town trail runners at the oasis.  a day full of trail running, the oasis, and negra modelo doesn't get much better then that.

all of my mansfield group seemed to enjoy it and all did great. they don't realize that not only did they start on a tough trail, but it was hot and humid as well.  now the big question is, what race will they all do next?

i know it sounds like i just complained this whole report but i had to be honest.  its not that i was out there to win and im pissed i didn't win.  its more of a shot to my confidence.  im always comparing my training runs from year to year, and its just demoralizing when you do so much worse. i set more personal goals as far as numbers rather then what place i want to get.  it was still a very fun time out there (before and after, not during haha) and i love the way endurance buzz adventures had this thing organized. i've already registered for another one of his at glen rose.  dave did such a good job that i think he's got a really good thing going for north texas and in the next couple years it will be huge! i will carry the one thing that i did learn from this race to that one and its start a little slower and if im out of breath that early, stop and re group rather then running myself into the ground. litterally three times!

Monday, July 23, 2012

2012 Captn Karls Mule Shoe Bend 60k Race Report

The weeks leading up the race I probably changed my mind 20 times whether or not to go down for the race.  My legs were very fatigued, my runs weren't going as planned and gas/entry was going to be expensive.  But I wanted to get in a longer run since it had been too long since i had gone much over 25 miles and plus i love a race's atmosphere, especially one with Tejas Trails familiar faces.

I decided to roll the dice and head down there not knowing how my legs would do.  On the way down there i had to do some major mental preperations in attempt to get all the bad thoughts out of my head.  the absolute worst thing you can ever do is start a race with negative attitude or doubt yourself because at the point when it starts hurting you'll give in much easier if you've already "planned on doing bad". 

Not being negative, but i knew it would take a miracle for me to break my original goal of 5:45 so i focused on my last years time of 5:54.  I knew my splits form last year and i thought they were consistent and solid so i kept those in my mind all race. 

Last year  - 1:29 (including the out-n-back), 1:24, 1:28, 1:33     - 5:54 total time

This year  - 1:22, 1:31, 1:32, 1:34    - 5:59 total time

With the start being in the evening time my whole nutrition was off.  My stomach hurt all day and i kept expecting it to go away before the race but it never did.  ten minutes before the race i was unable to make any type of deposit in the port o potty so i knew at some point during the race it would hit me.  joe yelled go and we took off for the initial .8 mi road out n back.  i counted about 12-14 guys ahead of me which was fine because im not a fast runner and there are always ones who start out very fast. as soon as we got onto the trail i started to pass a couple of people. my stomach would shoot pain every now and then and i was bloated and full.  not a good way to start. i had to force food the entire race. they tasted fine i was just very full. throughout the first loop i never looked at my watch but i could tell it was probably a hair too fast. toward the end of the loop i looked down and realized that i was about to run my first loop plus the out n back in a little over 1:20 i immediately told the guy i was running with to go ahead and i slowed down.  my goal was to come in closer to 1:28ish.  my stomach had some pain but i decided to skip the port o potties this go around. i grabbed my other hand held, ate some power bar gel blast and headed off for loop two with my headlamp.

i set out on loop two in a much more relaxed state. i told myself there are plenty of miles to feel bad and that i didn't want it to turn into a suffer fest.  my stomach was still very bloated and full.  but now i was ready to make that pit stop that i knew was coming. i looked around and there wasn't a single leaf to be seen.  the only trees/plants out there are cedar and cacti. cedar irritates my skin so no telling what it would do down there. i started to grab some river rock to try and wipe with but then the pain slightly went away so i figured i would hold off for that one tree with leaves that didn't exist. loop two my legs felt good, my pace was relaxed, but man was it miserable trying to hold it til i got done with the loop.  approaching the turn around i veered off toward the bathroom and people were yelling at me that i was going the wrong way. i guess after seeing my awkward sprint to the rest room they got the hint.

i set out for loop three feeling better but was disappointed to find that my stomach was still bloated and full. i won't bore you with any more from loop three. just basically ran at a relaxed pace which was close to loop two, ate when needed, drank when needed and passed a couple people. a pretty uneventful loop. my legs were feeling better and better though. i was expecting some pain at this point but it was actually the oposite it was getting more pleasurable to run.

i grabbed my last two pre-filled handhelds from my ice chest. took a look at my negra modelo that was waiting to be opened which was my motivation to hurry and finish. my watch said 4:25 gun time on it so i set out with a sub 6 goal. i had no clue what place i was in and i didn't care one bit.  i knew it is what it is and as long as i push myself and don't give into walking that i wouldn't be disappointed. running every step was one rule i had with myself before the start. i set out just planning on making it in under six.  i came up on stephen b. about two miles into the loop.  as i passed him he informed me that i was now in the lead. i didn't realize that i passed that many people or that many people had dropped. i told him we were on the verge of a sub six to stick with me and we'll get it done.  my game plan didn't change one bit. for some reason i wasn't in the fighting spirit or didn't have any sort of competetiveness in me that night. instead i paid attention to my splits at the aid and kenw i was cutting it close. i came to the final aid station with 22 minutes left to do the final 2.5 miles.  i took it up a hair knowing i couldn't mess around. i told myself i needed to get to the start of "the loop" where all the tape is with at least 10 minutes. i missed it by a minute. i then told myself i needed 4 minutes from the road crossing. i hit it with 3 1/2 minutes. so i had to take it up to basically a sprint to come in at about 5:59:30ish. 

i was very very happy with my legs this race. they never seemed to fade at all and i was able to hold pretty close to the same pace the final 3 loops. my stomach on the other hand sucked. it hurt before the start so i knew it wasn't heat related etc. it was just too full and something wasn't right.

All the volunteers were awesome like always. Joe and Brad did an excellent job like always. fun seeing everybody, and congrats to everyone who stuck it out at a pretty warm one!

i grabbed my chair and my negra modelo that i had been thinking about all day. there wasn't a ton of people hanging out so after 2 hours i called it quits and hit the road for a lonely 4 hour drive home on 281.

Monday, June 11, 2012

finding motivation


I just returned from a friends wedding in Puerto Villarta.  why am i writing a post? because i need to find that desire once again and somehow get back into training. im miserable while im not in a healthy routine. don't get me wrong that trip was the time of my life, and i should be writing a race report about the trip because it was more exhausting then any race i've ever done.

my 8 week "break" was planned for over a year now. my sole focus was Zane grey this spring. i knew i had this wedding plus bachelor festivities so i didn't want to mess with training for a summer race this year.  i also knew once i got back that my CR100 training would begin and i figured a big break would do me good.  by break i mean run when i feel like it and nothing more.  i ran 80 miles a couple weekends ago but that was mainly because it was memorial day weekend and i wanted to have fun and take a break from work so i hit a good trail each day.  besides that week i maybe averaged 20 miles per week the rest of them. 

while on the trip people kept asking me about running and i felt so horrible at the time from all the alcohol that i felt guilty even calling myself a runner.  i packed on some lbs, had a gut, and would've been lucky to make it a mile while out there. i believe in balance and i wanted to live a greasy food and alcohol filled life for a while to remind myself how good running makes you feel.

back to the motivation issue...i figured it would be a good idea to post my training schedule on this and update it after each long run.  ever since i got into running i've never believed it "schedules" i only jot down what i want to accomplish each long run. it helps me to see it on paper and helps me visualize how long i've got until race day.  im also looking for any sort of motivation right now to get me focused.

i haven't weighed in two months and im guessing im 180-185ish.  thats up 20 from zane grey and i plan on getting the leanest i've ever been for cactus this year. (155-160) why do i obsess with that race so much. because i love goals that you truly have to bring yourself to the next level to achieve. in 2007 when i was currently a 4 hour marathoner and i decided to go for a sub 3:10, it took me 2 1/2 years to finally run a 3:08 at white rock and to this date that my favorite finish lines. i was more pumped then when i finished my first ultra, first 50 or even my first 100. this will be two year since i made this goal so when it does happen it will be pretty sweet.

i have four trails that i call my stomping grounds.  they are unique in their own way and i go to them for different reasons.

1. cedar ridge preserve. tough trail that i run for time. steep ups and downs with fair amount of roots and rocks. lots of twist and turns which calls for slower pace. usual pace while out there is 9-10 minute miles.

2. big cedar. even more twist and turns with lots of small ups and downs that aren't quite as steep. the smoothest trail out of  the four but probably the slowest pace of the four due to the turns.  usually go here to change things up when needed. don't have much goals with this places since it it constantly changing.

3. cleburne st park - my long run place. the outer loops is a great running loop with minimal turns and lots of rocks and constant ups and downs. mainly average about a 9 minute pace but every now and then i'll throw down a loop as fast as i can. currently my record out there is a 43:30 run with matt crownover on 5/5/12. im scared to try and beat that because it was painful!

4. sansom park. last but not least. my true cactus training grounds.  it has some super steep and rugged hill sprints that will whip your ass. last year i would do either 1 or 2 miles on a given hill and time it. but this year i run the red loop and every time i come across a "fishermen trail" i run the whole things up and down and then proceed with my usual run without stopping.  i hit every single one and it is one hell of an eight mile loop. (that eight miles is solely on the left side and nothing on the right lone wolf side) so those who know sansom, know how hard it is to cram eight miles into that one red loop. the loop is about 4 miles so that means i add about an additional 4 miles of hill sprints each loop.

6/16/12 weekend - hit 20 miles somewhere. just need to have a focused week and get back into it.

actual - did 19.5 at cedar ridge then 3 up to the gym that night. run felt so so. still heavy but felt better and better. averaged about 10:30 pace. took it easy.

6/23/12 - pace final 38 at WS100. goal is to get matt doelman in safely and onto his next grand slam adventure healthy!
actual - paced forrest hill - in. the experience of western lit a fire in my ass and i've been focused since. i was really getting worried if i lost my interest in running. ran to the top of emigrant pass and back on friday. beautiful.

6/30/12 - 25-30 at either sansom or big cedar.

actual - did about 26 1/2 miles at big cedar. felt great finally. felt stronger and stonger. guessing about a 10:15 pace? garmins suck on trails especially twisty ones like big cedar.

7/7/12 - cedar ridge mid afternoon (hot and no people) 5 loops (28 miles) alternating direction. in under 4:10 (not stopping watch for water refills between loops)

actual - worst i've felt in a long time. first time to cut a run short in a long time. if i cut a run short its for the better. my legs were burning just getting out of bed this morning so i knew it was going to suck. sure enough a mile into it my legs felt horrible. did 4 loops instead of 5 in 3:40 which is averaging a minute per mile slower then goal. hopefully my legs "get fresh" again. it was pretty bad.  looked back at last year and the pace wasn't much different then a lot of runs last year so i need to not be quite as hard on myself. will be better next time!

7/14/12 - sansom 25 miles of hills

actual - only ran twice this week to let my legs get fresh again and it paid off. did over 26 miles at sansom and felt solid the whole time. enjoyed it. my route at sansom is a true ass kicker and it was no different today. will see how the week goes and decide thursdayish if im going to "the shoe" on saturday. if not i'll do 5-6 loops at cleburne and try and keep all loops under 50 min.

7/21/12 - mule shoe bend 60k. goal is to run sub 5:45 (did 5:54 last year)

actual - ran a 5:59. a little slower then desired. legs felt very good but stomach hurt entire time. satisfied considering the problems i had. legs felt better this year despite 5 minute slower time.

7/28/12 - cedar ridge 36k. goal is to run sub 3:15 (8:45 pace)

actual - did  a 3:35. ran minute per mile slower. felt a lot like my 7/7 run that sucked. race was fun but it was just flat out a bad run. everybody has them and i didn't rest enough and went out too fast so i have no one to blame but myself.

8/4/12 - sansom hills. about 20ish

actual - did 20 miles at big cedar friday evening and 25 miles at sansom on sunday to end a 110 mile week. taking it easy didn't work so i ran 65 miles during the week and 45 miles on the weekend. and everything felt great! didn't have much of a life though between working about 60-70 hours plus running.  i realized how beat up my shoes are because i ran in minimus my last loop at sansom and they felt every bit as cushioned as my normal shoes.

8/11/12 - break week in training. going to float the river.

actual - well wasn't really a break week considering i only took 3 days off, but still managed about 60 miles. hit big cedar wed night and cleburne thursday night. enjoyed fnishing up with a headlamp to change things up.  weekend i floated the river and consumed plenty of cerveza.

8/18/12 - cleburne. 6 loops. (33 1/2 miles) in under 4:55 total time without stopping watch for water refills.

actual - finally i hit a goal and felt solid! getting worried if i was every going to start hitting my goals. did 6 loops in 4:53:38. splits - 48:54, 48:39, 48:51, 48:36, 49:22, 49:13.  austust has been a pretty high milage month and it has felt great. very solid training run and a confidence booster.

8/25/12 - sansom hills. about 30 miles total.

actual - with cannon's party on saturday, i hit sansom friday night and big cedar sunday. did about 23 miles at each. saturday was feeling the fatigue from sansom. still such an ass whip out there.  big cedar finished off my 102 mile week and felt good.

9/1/12 - reville ranch 60k. goal is have a solid race. know nothing about course so no time goal.

actual - had a soft goal of 5:45 and was able to pace myself and hit it on the dot. solid race and legs never faded one bit. satisfied.

9/8/12 - sansom hills. about 20ish

actual - did about 25-26 total miles. kept track of distance spent on the "fishermen trails" for my hill sprints. did about 5 miles worth for about 3,200 +/- elevation gain and loss. felt better climbing then i have all year. hopefully thats a sign for next weekends rusty crown adventures! fell a record 5 times though and one time was bad and my knee hurts like hell today from the fall.

9/15/12 - glen rose 40m. goal is to run a solid 40 miles with close to even splits and not walking period.

actual - did negative splits. ran a 6:02. rusty crown was tougher then i thought so it was slower, but i ran the flats way better then planned so i consider a good race definately.

9/22/12 - new mexico

actual - did about 60 miles total for the three days. lots at elevation

9/29/12 - longest run. 45 at cleburn. 8 outer loops. no stopping watch at all. no walking at all. all loops (even with water refills) under 50 minutes. so 8 loops (44 1/2 miles) in 6:40. then haul ass back home for my friends wedding.

actual - ended up being about 43 1/2 miles due to small section being closed due to construction. ran a 6:28 so i consider it equal at the very least. didnt feel too good my last two loops but still never walked and kept total average pace at 9 minute miles. ran it about 30 minutes faster then last year so im pumped.

10/6/12 - pace mr. crownover at the AT100

actual - paced him about the last 40 miles or so. went good.

10/13/12 - probably 20ish at sansom friday night then helping with the run mansfield run 5k race sat.

actual - hit 21 at big cedar wed night and 20 at sansom friday night like planned. set up and ran the turn around aid station at the run mansfield run 5k like a pro on saturday. got in an easy 13.4 miles on sunday on the roads.

10/20/12 - final 12.5 mile out-n-back at cedar ridge.

actual - first time back since the race in july. i got burnt out on this place after 5-6 horrible runs in a row out there. finally overcame it with a solid run. did the same 12.5 mile out n back for the third year in a row the week before cactus. did it in 1:56 which is a tad over 9 min pace. felt good. training complete. now for mental preperations and getting any negative thoughts out and going into this race convinced i can do this.

10/27/12 - Cactus Rose 100 - goal is to follow my pace chart and hit 19:20 at the slowest.

actual - ran a 19:18:31. was ahead of pace chart almost all day until about mile 90 with it started to catch up to me. at mile 94 i had to dig deep to make it happen. one hell of a race. can't believe i met this goal set 2 years ago.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Zane Grey 50


I just finishing packing my stuff and planning out my drop bags (wed night). I leave tomorrow afternoon straight from work to fly to AZ. They're expecting some pretty warm weather.  A little slower times but thats fine with me because i bet im a little more acclimated then the colorodians are this time of the year.  miles 0-17 i will just carry one UD handheld with my gus on me.  At 17 i'll pick up my 2 amphipods which will get through mile 33.  At that time i'll pick up my salomon pack plus the two handhelds for the dreaded 11 mile "hardest section" of the race. i've got my ipod in my pack already which i may or may not use. i love having only one or two handhelds but man  a pack is so convenient sometimes.  at mile 44 i'll ditch the pack and just run it in with the handhelds (hopefully strong).  sticking to straight gus once again with some powerbar gel blast at the aids or some gu chomps.  i just realized i don't have any more gu brew so i hope i have time to pick some up manana before the airport.

Goals??? i've got one time goal and thats it...sub 10.  my other goal is to run as smart as possible and finish knowing i gave it my best shot.  i know i can't hang with some of the guys that will be out there but this is a race against myself and the course.  this is my last race for several months so i want to leave it all out there.  i guess my main goal is to cross the finish line being proud of myself and saying holy shit that was one hell of a journey.

This race has been on my schedule for several years now so i pumped that it all came together.  last year i did jemez and sjs knowing that this year would be ZG and thats it.  some good friends live in the phoenix area so the logistics work out very nicely.  I can't think of another race that better suits me and my training. i've leaned up, got in some good long runs (nothin much at all during the week due to how insane work has been), going in injury free that i know of. so this is my shot...i'll give it my best!


This was one of those rare races where i left without really any big regrets at all.  i nailed nutrition, pacing, etc. my only major mistake was a 2 mile detour at around mile 26, but its hard to really regret that because i was paying attention and it was at a spot that gave some other runners trouble.  The Zane Grey course to me is my ideal course.  I absolutely loved it and its exactly what i train on so i felt very comfortable the whole time. 

Pre race nutrition.
Thursday night had a brick oven pizza which seemed perfect.  friday morning at an omelet with fruit and an english muffin which was light but satisfying at the same time.  for lunch and dinner i split a box of whole wheat pasta with a can of chicken and a jar of sauce.  eating fiber filled whole wheat pasta is what a lot of runners say to never do before a race, but i've done it three races in a row now and its been perfect.  one main reason, regular pasta just sits in me...until i start running.  when i've eaten whole wheat pasta (box has a whopping 42g of fiber) all the unneeded is gone before the race start.  as long as you don't start full (stomach not muscles) your body will use everything on the run and never need to make a pit stop along the trail.  morning of i had two peanut butter sandwiches an hour and a half before race start then a powerbar 5 minutes before the race start.

start - camp Geronimo - miles 0-8
i started very relaxed and right in middle of everybody.  i wanted to start this race very relaxed and pace myself smart and finish really strong.  the first mile is pretty tame so it wasn't a problem being in the crowd.  as soon as we reached the first climb which is about a 1,000 ft climb i couldn't take the slower pace and veered off the trail and passed everybody to put myself in my usual spot between the lead pack which shoots off like at a cannon at the gun and everybody else.  i was then able to focus on my own stuff and soak in the beautiful sunrise which lit up all the mountains south of the rim in an incredible way.  its moments like that that remind you why you run this stuff.  i ran about 80% of the initial climb only walking the steeper parts.  once up top i maintained a good pace down to the first aid station that didn't feel too taxing.  i went to take an s cap at the 45 minute mark but broke the pill and accidentally dumped all the salt directly in my mouth.  it turned out to give me an extremely dry mouth the remainder of the day and made those long stretches between aid hell because i couldn't make my water last long enough. i ate a gu at mile 5 and a packet of chomp blocks coming into the mile 8 AS. i refilled with half gu brew half water and was on my way within 5 seconds. 

camp Geronimo - Washington park - 8-17
as soon as you leave CG you start another climb.  after seeing the elevation chart i realized that hells gate is the only AS thats not low so i knew that leaving every aid station you would be face with a climb.  I don't remember too much of this section.  i guess thats good because that means i was really relaxed and nothing bad happened.  i felt very solid still and ran the whole section at a good pace trying to make to WP by the 3 hr mark.  i still had just my one ultimate direction handheld on me, and i had a gu every 2 - 2.5 miles during this section.  i was trying to get in as much running as possible early because i heard the beginning and end is the best running and the middle is the nastiest.  plus the heat was supposed to crank into the 90's in the exposed sections.  i came in to Washington park at 3 hours on the dot. i ate a whole bag of power bar gel blast while they filled my two amphipods for me.  i already had the gu brew powder in them to make it quicker.  after about 20 seconds i was off after stashing away my arm sleeves, headlamp and UD handheld.

Washington park - hells gate - 17 - 23
up to this point i was just trying to stay focused.  i kept running through nutrition in my head making sure i was doing what i needed to be doing.  but most of all i kept asking myself if the pace i was running was the fastest but most efficient way to make to the next aid without burning my legs up.  i was really saving my legs for the last third of the race.  with this being my last race for 3 months i was really wanting to nail it and leave it all out on the course.  plus its a legendary race that is suited perfect for me so i figured if im ever going to nail a race this is it.  this section was definitely a little slower then the first two.  two main reasons, one the trail got quite a bit more technical and tight. and second this section had a major positive gain.  washington park is in a valley with hells gate being up top.  on the website and everything else, it has hells gate listed at mile 25 so my nutrition and time goal was geared for a mile 25 AS.  it was at mile 23 instead which kinda sucked because i was saving my water to last me the entire stretch when i could have consumed it, because believe i wanted to so bad. i came in and chugged about 30 oz of water, refilled and was off.  they told me that the leader was 25 minutes ahead of me.  i was actually pleased to hear that because we were getting to the super exposed hot sections and i was still feeling like new. 

hells gate - fish hatchery - 23 - 33
i set out with my two amphipods filled up ready to lay out another solid section.  before the race i told myself that my goal was to come into mile 33 feeling good enough to take it up a notch.  in the first 3 miles i passed 2 or 3 people for the first time all day.  at about mile 26 was when my detour began.  there was a huge downed tree (common for this course) i ran around it to the right, but what i didn't know was that the trail veered to the left and on the left side of the tree were the blue wrong way markers.  i had my hat a little low to keep as much sun off of me as much as possible which hindered my peripheral vision a bit.  i was feeling good so i was charging down a double track road when i started to notice i hadn't seen a marker in a while. it was an obvious trail and this course wasn't too heavily marked so i didn't think anything of it.  at that time i came to a major intersection and there wasn't a marker to be seen. i knew i wasn't where i was supposed to be plus i noticed i was quite a ways from the rim.  i started looking across the canyon when i could see a runner way off in the distance going the other way. i was pissed and immediately started charging back up.  about half way up i ran into a guy from alaska and told him to turn around. we found the trail together and i looked at my garmin and it was exactly one mile each way for a two mile detour.  i was really bummed because my race was going so well up to that point.  i kept telling myself that its not the end of the world and thats how ultrarunning goes.  it happens to everybody.  the heat was starting to crank big time and this whole section was exposed.  it was now a 12 mile section and i was running low and my mouth was extremely dry.  i was in a foul mood and i began to pass all the people that i had already passed in the race again.  this was definitely my low point of the day. probably more mentally then physically.  my legs were still running great but the dehydration was really getting to me.  it was getting so bad that i wasn't sure if  i could bounce back from it or not.  i told myself to get over it mentally and when i would get to fish hatchery i would regroup a bit hydration wise and mentally refocus.

fish hatchery - see canyon - 33-44
my original goal was to be out of fish hatchery at around 6:15 or so.  i arrived at 6:25 so i actually ran it 10 minutes faster then planned but my 20+ minute detour put me over. i grabbed my salomon pack, filled it up with ice water, chugged 2 1/2 handhelds of water (50 oz), ate a packet of gel blast once again, dumped clip 2 in one handheld and gu brew in the other.  before leaving i dumped ice down the back of my shirt, dumped my head in a bucket of ice water and put ice in my hat.  that was the first time i've ever done anything like that. i love running in the heat and the heat wasn't bothering me, but the dehydration was extreme. i hardly took any s caps the whole race because i wasn't peeing and i couldn't make my water last a whole section. 

i set out and pulled out my ipod out of my pack hoping that it would give me a little kick in the butt, plus i was trying to let all the water i just chugged settle a bit.  i set out at 6:29 with a goal of hammering that eleven mile section in two hours or a little over. I turned my ipod on and it did the trick i was fired up and ready to rock n roll. i set out running damn near all the climbs and running the flats and down faster then i had all day. i was cooled off, rehydrated and feeling like new once again.  at mile 12 i settled into my gu every two miles routine. my stomach was very willing to take it and my energy and leg strength stayed solid the whole time. i was feeling great and at about mile 36 or so is probably the toughest climb of the day. i was charging up it feeling good but i noticed i hadn't seen a marker in a while.  i started thinking not again and i started to get really nervous.  in my mind i was saying this is the last straw i may actually throw in the towel if i get lost again. especially since i had gone up this tough climb i didn't feel like back tracking.  soon enough i saw a marker and took up the pace big time knowing i was going the right direction.  at this point it was the start of a long descent and i was really hammering it.  i caught up with Evan Hone who i ran miles 4-8 with earlier.  we ran together for maybe a mile until i took the lead and wanted to keep hammering it.  i was very pleased with the way my salomon pack was working.  carrying 90 oz of fluid wasn't bad at all.  the pack feels like its not even there because it molds to your body so well.  if i do this race again i will probably wear the pack plus at least one handheld from 17-44.  at about mile 40 i realized that i only had about 10 miles left and i told myself that this is it.  i wanted to leave it all out on the course and i needed to take it up another notch. i was feeling great and passed 3 more runners.  they were moving quite a bit slower so a quick "looking good, finish strong" was all that was said from me. none of them really said anything at all back.  it was now mile 42 and i had gone through all 90 oz of fluid and was ready for the aid station to come.  i flew down the descent into see canyon AS.

see canyon - finish - 44-51
i came into the aid station and got my drop bag that had my last two amphipods in it with powder ready to go. i once again dumped power bar gel blast in my mouth chugged about 30 oz of water, grabbed my new handhelds and was about to set off when i heard the most motivating news of the day.  the start was dark so i had no clue who was where.  leaving fish hatchery i had no clue what place i was in and to be honest i wasn't thinking about the other runners too much. i was focused on myself, my nutrition, and concentrating on not letting up physically or mentally.  as i was leaving the AS guy told me i was in 4th place overall and Karl Meltzer was about 20 minutes ahead of me. my goal was to be out of there by 8:45 at the absolute latest to go sub 10 and 8:30 to beat stevens time of 9:44 (sorry steven haha it wasn't a goal until you told me to go after 9:44 in that email). i left at 8:35 with so much energy i couldn't believe it.  hearing that is every ultrarunners dream.  the chance to try and chase down karl meltzer.  i took a moment to mentally focus and tell myself what i needed to do.  i told myself that i only had seven miles to go and i needed to run it in.  climbs, flats, and descents.  in training i run stuff way steeper and just as nasty if not nastier.  my legs still felt like new but i now had a ton of adrenaline.  i ran the entire climb out of the aid station up to the top. i then told myself that i had about 5 1/2 miles of good running compared to the rest of the course and i needed to hammer so i wouldn't have any regrets. my ipod was pumping out tons of great stuff and i was loving it.  every corner i would turn i would scan around for any signs of other runners but nothing.  for the next three to four miles i just kept focused and gutting it out.  i then came to a sign on the trail that marked the final mile. i looked at my watch and it read 9:33 and change.  i took it up another notch and pumped out my fastest mile of the day for a sub 8 minute mile to finish in 9:41.  if the final section truly is 7 miles that would mean i averaged under 9 1/2 minute pace the final section.

the finish / post race thoughts
i was glad to be done but i wasn't really in that much pain.  i am very grateful for the way my legs and stomach held up all day. i couldn't have asked for more. the entire race i was able to take a gu every two miles and never missed one.  plus the calories from the gu brew plus my 200 cal packs of powerbar gel blast at the aids.  it was enough consistent energy to keep me firing the whole time.  my salomon xt wings s lab 4's once again felt absolutely perfect. light, stable, and not a single hot spot at all.  i found out that karl ended up beating me by 16 minutes or so. i chugged about 60 oz of water plus some recoverite.  i then took a seat and popped open my traditional negra modelo.  you've gotta have something to look forward to during a race and for me its an ice cold negra modelo and the post race hang out with my fellow ultrarunners.  i stayed for about an hour and made some new friends. i chatted with karl a little bit, joe grant was there (he dropped after getting severely lost otherwise probably would have won it), and the two guys from Alaska.  my buddy stefan from phoenix was my finish line crew and had everything i needed ready.  i was really grateful to have him there to help with logistics plus its always fun having a friend around.  we all hung out for about an hour then decided to hit the road.

splits for my own records - (CG 1:20) (WP 3:00) (HG 4:17) (FH 6:26) (SC 8:35) times are approx.
will i run it again.  hell yes.  i knew it going into it and it was confirmed that it is the perfect race for me. super technical and tons of climbing descending without the super high altitude or super long sustained climbs. i was really happy with the way i negotiated the descents. i was light on my feet all day and stayed a little more on my heels on the down hills which seemed to keep me more in control. from now til mid june im just going to run when i feel like it to maintain a base.  by the end of june i will have started my cactus training.  i can only pray everything holds up at cactus like it did at zane grey.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Hells Hills 50k


This was a race that barely happened for me, but im glad that it did.  With Zane Grey being two weeks out I wanted to get in some sort of 30-35 miler.  My plan was to go to sansom since it resembles the ZG terrain best.  As hells hills came closer i realized that i would know some people down there and its always fun to be in a race atmosphere and hang out afterwards.  My friend, Tina,  from dallas said that she and some friend were heading down that we could all carpool.  With gas being split and them leaving at a good time for me (still able to get in a full days work on friday) I decided there was no real reason for me not to go.

On the way down I started thinking of some goal number and game plan.  I haven't done very many 50k's in my life so I didn't really have anything to compare this to.  I did a road 50k over 3 years ago at 4:07 and bandera 50k in nearly 6 1/2 hours over two years ago and that was it.  I came up with several goals.  One was a new PR possibly at 4:07 (even though that was set on roads).  Second I just wanted a smart and solid race.  I told myself that I would run the first loop by feel then try and match it on the second loop.

We got down there at close to midnight so we quickly set up tents and I was out.  My alarm went off at 4:40 since i had to go register before the 6 am start.  I was able to chat with some friends before the start and then it was time to line up and go.  It was really nice going into a race with zero pressure.  We started and David Brown quickly disappeared into the darkness to never be seen again.  Within the first mile I had worked my way up to 2nd.  I didn't really do this in a way of racing but I hate being stuck in a line and running other people's pace.  So i made a little gap so I could run my own race and concentrate on my own stuff.  About 4 miles into i took a nasty spill and hurt the hell out of my left hip.  A day later and it still hurts to walk.  I felt it the remainder of the race but i can't say it really effected me.  By the time i got to the first aid station it was starting to get light out and i was able to see my watch. i saw that my pace was a little slower then expected (its always impossible to predict pace on trails) so i kind of knew that my 4:07 wasn't going to happen.  At about mile 11 the two guys behind me passed me.  They were sweating bullets and i kept trying to talk to them but they were pretty out of breath on their replies.  So i just let them pass knowing it wouldn't be long before i saw them again.  At about mile 12 paul terranova caught me and we ran the next 2-3 miles together. it was nice chatting with somebody and he said he was wanting to finish strong so i figured once he left me that there was no seeing him again.

Finished up the first loop in 2:08 and put away my headlamp and ultimate direction handheld.  i dumped the whole bag of powerbar gel blast in my mouth, grabbed my two amphipods and was off within 10 seconds.  I set out knowing that an even split would give me a 4:16 so that was my new goal.  Miles 14-17 i would say was my low point of the day.  I wasn't feeling bad by any means but just starting to not feel perfect.  at about mile 18 i was relieved to find myself really comfortable again and enjoying it.  My splits seemed even with loop 1 so i just kept doing what i was doing.  the rest of the race just had a slight fatigue but nothing that made me come close to wanting to walk.  for this race walking wasn't an option. especially since i can't remember the last time i walked in a 30 mile training run.  I thought i was on track for an even split but i guess i was reading my watch wrong because i came in at 4:19 something.  I had no clue what my place was so i was pleased when joe gave me my 3rd place trophy.  It was really nice to finally run a race again that the whole thing was fun, i felt comfortable and didn't have any huge regrets.  All in all it was a fun day out there!

im going to talk about my nutrition for this race for a second.  I know nobody cares, but mainly for my sake so i can look back a year or two from now.  i didn't eat anything after dinner so i would wake up hungry and not have that full filling that i have found kills races.  i immediately had a pb sandwich then went to register.  my fiberous whole wheat pasta for dinner did the trick and got my stomach moving enough to get all the unneeded stuff out prior to the start.  i had a powerbar 5 minutes before the start which seems to do well with me.  since i had taht 250 cal powerbar basically at teh start i decided to wait til mile 5 to have a gu.  I took an s cap at 45 min, 1:30 then every 30 minutes after that.  i had my 200 cal of powerbar gel blast at the halfway point.  besides that i had a gu at mile 5, 8, 10.5, 13, (15.5 gel blast), 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28.  all that was on my garmin since i knew it would have me finishing at it reading 30 miles.  I typically have the gus closer together as the race goes on since your legs are a little closer to empty.  besided one amphipod having gu brew i had staight water on the course.  as far as consistent energy and stomach feeling good, i probably nailed nutrition at this race better then ever.  thats why i wanted to type this paragraph so i wouldn't forget. so 10 gus plus power bar and gel blast, and 300 cal worth of gu brew for a total of 1850 calories during the 31 miles.

once done i chugged my gu recovery brew some water then grabbed my negra modelo and my chair.  the heat was really starting to crank so i found myself in the shade most of the time.  it was really fun chatting with everybody and hanging out and not being in any sort of rush to leave. 

This race went great and was just the training run i need before Zane Grey.  ZG is my final race until July so I'm leaving it all out on the course.  i believe ZG is as perfect of a race for me as it gets.  its extremely rocky, and tons of climbing.  its point to piont so there is more climbing then descent which is good for me since i suck at downhill running.  its all between 6-8k feet which isn't too high so the colorodoians don't have such an advantage.  There is a super stacked field so im not sure a top 10 is even possible but im giving it my best shot.  my main goal is to not have any regrets and run as smart of a race as possible.  time goal is sub 10, but i just want to finish knowing i gave it my best shot.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Grasslands 50m

3/20/12 pre race thoughts...

Training the past couple months hasn't been ideal to say the least.  I missed Nueces due to three reasons. I was sick, my knee wasn't 100%, and i would have to drive alone ($160 gas).  between those three i decided to sit it out and focus on grasslands or hells hills instead.  Since then I've been focused.  I've dropped some lbs and somewhat got in some good training runs.  well i guess just one good training run.  i hit sansom park pretty hard this weekend, and it was enough to assure me that i was in shape to go race.

I've never been to grasslands, and honestly the course sounds like everything i hate.  So why am I doing it? because over the past year i've learned that the course is only half the reason for doing a race. i've learned that hanging out and being in the atmosphere is far more important.  since this one is local, i'll know some people and should be a fun weekend.

I'll have all my bottles/pack pre-filled prior to the race so a quick exchange is all thats needed. i don't plan on stopping at a single aid station except if i need to refill with water during a loop.  for the out-n-back and the blue loop (0-18.3) im carrying just my one ultimate direction handheld with two gus in the pocket and two in the other hand.  for the white loop (18-31) i've got my salomon pack with water and 4 gus in the pockets. im pretty pumped to test it out. i just got it a couple days ago and have only done two short runs with it to get adjusted.  so far its pretty badass and as form fitting as it gets.  loops 3 & 4 i've got my usual two amphipod handhelds with one gu brew one water with 2 gus in each pouch.

goals?  not knowing the course im kind of throwing some hopeful numbers out there.  idealy, i would like a sub 7:30 or to average under a 9 min pace.  we just got a ton of rain so not sure what the course will be like.  if its muddy/nasty i still hope to be under 8:20 / 10 min pace.  my hope is that it dries out enough but keeps the sand at bay.  since this course is 100% runable (from what i hear) im just going to run until i can't run anymore or until i cross the finish line.  hopefully the finish line comes first.  probably not the smartest game plan, but being conservative isn't fun. we'll see how it goes...


well it was one of the least pleasurable races i've ever done. not sure how i won it because things got ugly...real ugly. but heres a bit of a breakdown on how things went down on that first hot summer like day of the year.

out-n-back & blue loop (0-18.3)
I started out up front with Ryan Loehding and glenn mackey.  we ran the out n back all in about 38-39 minutes. it was a cool morning and things were felling good.  on the blue loop i never saw glenn, but ryan and i ran pretty much the whole thing neck and neck.  i let him lead most of the way until about mile 14 when i pulled away by just a hair.  i knew the pace was a little fast starting out, but i wasn't really in the mood to be conservative plus i was still looking at that 7:30 finish.  i came through at 2:29 and grabbed my new salomon pack to test that thing out.

(18.3 - 31.1) the yellow loop..oops i mean white loop
before i started i wrote the order of the loops on my arm.  i guess it helps to write them down in the right order so you don't have to argue with the aid station people about which loop you're on and have them walkie talkie in to make sure.  i started this loop by myself just a minute or two ahead of ryan.  everything was going good until about mile 20 when i blew through a turn and followed the wrong trail for probably about 5-6 minutes before realizing it.  in that time ryan passed me without knowing and took the lead.  frustrated and not happpy about it, i came into the first aid station not feeling too well for the first time.  little did i know that it would only get worse and worse.  i left the aid trying to push the pace to catch him. about 4 miles up i blew through another turn but at this time ryan was coming back at me. apparently he did the same thing and we found the correct trail together and were neck and neck once again.  we ran the next 4 miles or so together and it was nice to chat / run with somebody cause i was getting pretty bored by myself.  i slowly pulled away again and was still able to run the remainder of the loop but it didn't feel good at all.  by this time the heat was cranking and my pack was dry as a bone.  the course had some pretty nasty spots.  spots that the mud easily swollowed your whole shoe and you sunk up to your calf.

(31.1 - 41.5) now for the yellow loop
i left for the yellow loop about 5-6 minutes ahead and feeling pretty bad.  just to staying running was a real struggle for the first time.  i switched to handhelds and grabbed my ipod hoping the music would help. i ran pretty solid to the first aid station, but when i left thats when things got ugly.  i guess i wasn't ready for the heat and/or not drinking enough, but i felt pretty bad.  my pace slowed enough to where i was looking over my shoulder expecting ryan to come flying by.  i feed off music big time and during this loop some really good stuff was coming on my ipod.  i've always said in every race no matter the distance you're always faced with a decision when things get tough.  its the decision to give up and just finish it or search deep within and gut it out til the end cause thats what you came here to do.  at about that time the eminem song til i collapse came on. there's a speech at the beginning of the song that really put me in the right mind frame.

'Cause sometimes you just feel tired,
Feel weak, and when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up.
But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength
And just pull that shit out of you and get that motivation to not give up
And not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse

-eminem - til i collapse

also my favorite running song came on which is five finger death punch's back for more. its got perfect lyrics to get you going.

Let's get it on!
It's time to get in the game,
You gotta fight 'til it hurts and then you do it again
Let's tear it up!
I'm staying straight to the core, ain't no room for second place, go big or go home!

It's dog eat dog
Man versus beast
The strong will survive
I've got no time for the weak

It's time to rise up, man up, get back up, never been and won't be broken
Dust off and then come back for more
You've gotta reach down, dig deep, and break ground,
Show them all you won't be beaten
Brush it off and then come back for more!
Come back for more

It's do or die!
Time to settle the score, gotta give it all you got and then you give it some more
There will be blood
You've gotta fight 'til you break, talk a lot of trash and step up to the plate

Refuse to give in
Ashes to dust
Make 'em remember your name
'cause in yourself you can trust

Five Finger Death Punch - Back for More

the other song that you can really feed off the lyrics is disturbed - warrior
Broken down till your hope has died
Beat down 'til victory's mine
Stand up and show me some pride
And now are you ready?

I'm one with the warrior inside
My dominance can't be denied
Your entire world will turn
Into a battlefield tonight

As I look upon you
Through the warrior's eyes
Now I can see the fear
That will ensure my victory this time

(41.5 - 50) the final loop - red
i was pretty freakin ready to be done.  i've never felt so bad so early in a fifty and never been able to snap out of it. not having a clue how big my lead was, i set out looking over my shoulder constantly.  i would run when i could, walk when i had to, and trudge the giant mud pits.  i set out knowing the 7:30 obviously wasn't going to happen so i was focussed on a sub 8.  i looked at my watch and knew it was possible but i just didn't have much fighting spirit left or the abitlity to really push.  so i just did what i could and counted down the miles probably more then i ever have during a race.  during this race i stuck to straight gu's and my powerbites between loops.  what sucked is that i was running low on gu's at home so i had all the shitty flavors left over for this race.  i've never dreaded a gu but at this race, being hot and dehydrated, they didn't go down as smooth.  everytime i would pull out a blackberry or chocolate rasberry roctane i would look at it for a couple minutes and prepare myself for it.  i made damn sure no turns were missed because i didn't feel like spending any more time out there then i had to.  basically to wrap things up, i just shuffled it in which im betting looked pretty pathetic.  i bet the look on my face was pretty pathetic too.  it was similar to the fat kid in gym class during that dreaded mile run.  i was on the lookout for ryan, but little did i know that fransesca was now in second.  she's now 4 for 4 in her short ultra career and put out a solid race out there.  she came in just 13 minutes behind me but i promise her splits were a hell of a lot more solid then mine.

coming into the finish i couldn't of been happier to be done.  i was hungry/thirsty and just beat to crap.  i sat down and chatted with some fellow runner that i knew.  as i get to know more people at these races it has really gotten fun.  i really look forward to the post race hangout.  plus any excuse to have a cold negra modelo is nice! i stayed for about two hours talking with fransesca, ryan, dave and some other people. i decided to hit the road because i was supposed to go out with some friends and figured i better suck it up because after that long day i had a long night ahead of me.  i was up til 4 in the morning and it was funny to hear my alarm go off again from the time that i had woken up 24 hours ago.

post race thoughts...
don't think i'll run this one again.  two reasons. one, its not my type of course. i like a lot more technical / and lots more climbing.  two, if im doing a flat race i want it to be fast so i can put out a fast time.  this course is so sandy or in this years case, muddy, that it is pretty slow.  it was a fun race and a fun day and the race was well put on. so anybody looking to do it i don't discourage them, its just not my style.  also i would like say how badass of a job matt crownover did at the marathon distance.  he smoked it out there.  if he would have been in the 50 also, it would have been a very different day.  he's really been running good these past couple years.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Dxe1bvjqFo - back for more

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_ZMmEFA4Q0 - warrior

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3oBZ4_TNys - til i collapse