Monday, September 11, 2017

Imogene Pass Run 2017: 2nd Place

At last it was time for Imogene, one of my all time favorite races. I got a late start in the afternoon but finally arrived in Ouray at 10:30 at night and slept in my favorite spot near the start. After a great nights sleep I was ready to race!

90 minutes after waking up I towed the line ready for a challenge. I wore the Hoke Challenger ATR: A great shoe with the necessary grip, comfort, support, and strong enough for the rugged terrain. My goal was 2 fold: win and break the age group course record. I knew that potentially I could do both.

At last the race was underway.
I settled into both my rhythm and pacing and by mile 1 found myself in second place right behind David Sinclair of Flagstaff AZ. I stayed on David's tail as he continuously threw in small surges to extend his lead and break the rest of the runners. They were quite effective. For the first 6-7 miles we yo-yoed back and forth yet David slowly increased his lead. I knew my pace was solid and was unsure if David would slow up or not. We had dropped everyone else; I just focused on David and tried to reel him in.

Atlas it could not be done that day. I kept my pace up but David slowly pulled ahead. At last I topped out on Imogene pass right at an hour and 40 minutes into the race. Solid, but about 4 minutes back from David. I bombed down the back side aiming to break the age record. I crossed the finish line in second place breaking the age record by 14 seconds. Solid effort and my 7th podium finish at Imogene.

Monday, June 19, 2017

2017 Leadville Mosquito Pass Marathon

Well there is a lot to update. For starters I pulled my hamstring in late March and had to take April off. After what seemed like an eternity I was finally able to run consistently again by mid May. I know coming back from an injury is always difficult. Finding the right balance of rest coupled with challenging the body can be difficult. I pushed the boundary for recovery and was able to get back in. But... then on June 2nd, Lynnette and I were told that our youngest daughter Annalise was diagnosed with Leukemia. She is now healed.

The race: How would my body respond? This was to be only my second race of the year and the first back from injury. I knew I was getting fit and would be able to contend. My goal was simple: break 3:40 and win. Going out and up the first hill I knew I that this was going to be a tough race. Matt Daniels and I jockeyed for the lead, with neither wanting to relinquish it. We ran mostly together until 3 miles in he took the lead going up the Burro Road and he flew. I did not panic and resigned to let him set the pace until Mosquito Pass. For the next 4 miles we yo-yoed back and forth while I waited. Finally at the base of Mosquito Pass I put in a small surge and caught Matt and then tried to keep the pace going. A long mile later I finally pulled slightly ahead. Around the steep switchbacks of Mosquito Pass I could see I was slowly making headway gaining a few seconds here and there. I kept pushing it only walking 4 times on the steepest sections for about 20 yards per section.

The last mile to the top of the pass I was tossed around like a rag doll as 50 mph winds swept around me. Finally I topped out at the top of the pass with about a 90 second lead. I turned and head down. Conservatively I dropped down from the pass. I wanted to descend in a controlled safe manner. At the bottom of the pass I ran on trying to maintain my lead. I continued to eat even though I definitely did not feel like it. Finally I reached the dreaded hill at mile 21. This hill is wonderful or horrible. I managed to get up to the aid which as always was a welcome sight. I figured my lead was only 2 or 3 minutes. I left and quickly started the long decent to the finish.

I turned onto 6th street, the finish line in sight. I knew I'd win... I just had to run the last 1/2 mile of the course. I ran down the course not pushing the pace. Because of the wind I had dropped my awesome hat earlier in the race (I gave it to a spectating friend). Consequently, I pleasantly surprised the race announcers. I crossed... the race was finished. Some notes: During the race I ate about 550 calories and drank about 90 oz of liquid. I wore the Hoka Challenger 3.

Results are here:

https://results.chronotrack.com/event/results/event/event-16893?utm_source=Email&utm_medium=Email&utm_content=Post-race&utm_campaign=LT-Mara-HH&et_cid=3562549&et_rid=90437787&et_attr1=

I soon found myself resting and contemplating the race.

It had been a tough race: Physically I had to push and dig deep. I had managed to come back from the nasty injury in March, that thankfully is now gone. Mentally, I was overwhelmed: It was my 20th year in a row of winning a race. It was my first race back from injury and the first race run after Annalise was diagnosed with Leukemia.

Annalise is getting better every day. Katrina has a hectic whirlwind summer going on. Lynnette takes amazing care of both of them. They inspire me. Next race is the Leadville Silver Rush 50. See you then.




Saturday, February 11, 2017

New Year and Strava Update

Quick update: It is been an interesting start to the New Year. Winter training in Leadville is always challenging. During January, Leadville received copious amounts of snow. Then again it received in the neighborhood of 170% of snowfall. Training was slow going, but I made a go of it. Also I finally was able to sign up for Strava as well and will be updating many of my training runs up to it. I’ve added the link to this running blog. It is a great start to a new year and I look forward to my first race: the Chuckanut 50k in Bellingham, Washington on March 18th

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Run Rabbit Run 50

Steamboat Springs: What better place to go run 50 miles in the back country? The Run Rabbit Run 50 started leisurely with no Rabbits taking the lead. Well only a Timmy Rabbit. I took the lead but kept the pace extremely slow and controlled. By mile 2 all runners were nowhere to be seen. My goal was to run the first half of the race based solely on feel. Trying to go way too slow was the game. I felt fantastic. Half way up Mount Werner I ate a Honey Stiner Waffle to supplement my breakfast. At long last I made it to the Mount Werner aid station in 1:07:30 almost identical to a year ago. Finally, I could start rolling along the high forested alpine terrain. I still held back not wanting to push the pace just yet.
I gobbled down a few Honey Stinger Chews and took off with a package of Grapefruit flavored chews. For the next many miles I methodically ate 1 to 2 chews every 20 minutes. I felt fluid and smooth as I glided over the rolling landscape focusing on enjoying hidden lakes, open glades, the vast views, and mostly trying to ignore the race. I ate and ran on. In a 50 mile race one has to stay focus yet also not expend too much energy early on. It is a fine razor edge balancing act. I kept rolling. Every aid station had a different flavor of Honey Stinger Chews: Orange, Pomegranate Passion Fruit, Cherry Blossom, Fruit Smoothie, and others.

Finally I reached the half way mark in 3:47 which was a solid 10 minute lead from last year. I left Rabbit Ears Peak and raced back down the trail I had arduously come up. I saw 2nd and 3rd place. I had about a 10 minute lead on them. I pushed on staying consistent with the goal of staying consistent and continued running. Last year I had not eaten enough and severely bonked in the second half. This year I was going to eat more and keep my energy up. I ran through the mile 28 aid station fueling up getting liquids, salty chips and more Stinger Chews.

I ran on even racing a pack of 4 mountain bikers that were out enjoying the day. I felt good but still did not push the pace. I had to maintain. I power hiked the steepest uphill sections, but overall kept a strong cadence and mushed on. I did feel solid, but one always wonders how close 2nd and 3rd place where.

Finally I bombed down Mount Werner to the finish line winning by over an hour in 7:26:59. I felt solid and had ran 16 minutes faster than last year. My energy stayed consistent with the constant supply of Honey Stinger Chews and my stomach felt great all day. After the race I realized I was 18 minutes away from the course record. Why had I not gone for it? Sometimes you have to run the time first to realize you can run it. This was one of my best 50 mile races, next time I’m running faster!


Timmy 

Imogene Pass Run: 4th Victory!

I pulled into Ouray. It was about 10:00 pm. Perfect. Bedtime. I crawled into my sleeping bag in the back of my car and was soon sawing logs. The morning came with standard bib check in and reading for the Imogene Pass Run. I knew I was ready to race, but still unsure just how ready? How fit?

Race morning question: There I was debating, which pair of shoes to ware? I decided to go with the medium cushion, high traction Hoka Challenger ATR. The shoe is light and with a relative low base and high traction. It would end up being perfect.

15 seconds to race start. Then some muffled noise interrupted the verbose crowd. It was the starting gun. It seemed a little off; somehow distant and muffled. Consequently, there was mass hesitation as we all wondered, “Should we start, was that the starting gun.” Slowly we all decided to go and we were off. I looked over at Jordan Jones (4th in 2015) and said, “Was that the starting gun?” He confirmed that the starting gun was a bit weird.

Jordan, Chris Gomez, and I took the lead with Jordan pushing the pace. I soon settled in watching Jordan and Chris push each other. I sat back and maintained a constant tempo. By mile 2 Chris had fallen back to 3rd place. He was looking strong yet running conservatively. He would be a force to reckon with later in the race. Jordan continued to push the pace. He was now 20-30 seconds up on me. I continued a solid tempo which I knew I could maintain. I quickly checked off miles 3-6 and then caught Jordan. He was pushing it but the early speed was taking its toll. I took the lead and continued at my pace.

I figured I was on pace for 2:16 to 2:20. It felt sluggish, but then again I was now over 11,000 feet. At a bend in the road I could see my lead was now substantially growing. I just had to maintain, but I kept pushing. Often I underestimated my lead and thereby pushing further… but oh well. I topped out on top of Imogene Pass at mile 10 and 13,114 above sea level in about 1:38. I had timed my lead and at this point estimated it to be between 2 minutes to 2.5 minutes.


I rushed down the Telluride side of the pass, trying to run a solid yet controlled pace. At this point I knew I would win, yet I still did not want to slack off. I ran to the finish in 2:15:44 my second fastest time on the course and my 4th victory at the Imogene Pass Run. 

Monday, June 20, 2016

Leadville Mosquito Pass Marathon

Leadville Mosquito Pass Marathon race day. It is always nice getting to wake up at your own house, roll out of bed, and race in your backyard. I leisurely got up, debated which shoes to wear. I decided to go with the Hoka Speedgoats for their knobby grip and stability yet still lightweight. Eventually, I found my way to the start line. I love running this race. Plenty of great views, great people at both the aid stations and the general crowd, and of course there is the incredible competition. Mike Aish was to be my main competition. I won the marathon in 2014 and Mike was 2nd. Last year we switched positions with Mike taking top honors. 2016 would prove to be another solid race.

Picture by Leadville Race Series: At the start.

Josh Colley stood there in the middle of the street with his shotgun held high. He fired the blank, which is still pretty darn loud, and we were off. Both the Heavy Half (HH) and the Marathon runners start together. Both Mike and I ignored their pace; we were more concerned with each other. 3 HH runners shot out in the lead. Finally at mile 1 Mike and I left the road and no longer had to worry about the HH runners we were by ourselves.

Both of us had the same goal. Race up-tempo, pushing it hard and being sure to stay close (or ahead) of our competitor. Just over a mile in we ran up Iron Hill. Here I unexpectantly gained an edge on Mike.  It was not much only 10 yards… was I going too fast, or was he sitting and waiting, or was I just feeling great… whatever it was I spent no time meditating on it instead I focused on the next climb: California Gulch to Breece Hill. I ran up the rough “Burro Road”, as locals call it, a few weeks ago it still had 3-4 feet of snow up at the top.  However today the fluffy white stuff was missing.
Mike and I pushed on up the ever steepening and rocky road. Mike sat, just 2 or 3 yards right behind me. Finally half way up the road Mike slowed and power hiked the steepest and rockiest sections to conserve his energy, meanwhile I kept running. I topped out near the base of Ball Mountain and enjoyed some mountain views as a dropped into the Breece Hill aid station. By this time I had an 80 yard lead over Mike. I still had half a water bottle and decided to forgo the aid.

From here the trail, descends down a steep and rocky double track jeep road. I ran hard trying to maintain while also just trying to not catch a toe on some protruding rock. After a mile of the rough road finally I made it down to Adelaide Park. Here I took some salt tabs as the sun was heating up the day. Through the process I dropped my Honey Stinger Chews. Oh no I need those! I quickly stopped picked up the package and was off again. I only lost 2 seconds, but in a race it feels like an eternity. I quickly popped another 2 or 3 Chews in my mouth. They were amazing.

On a 90 degree corner in the center of Adelaide Park I could see Mike still about 80 yards back and hammering. From here I ran up the road (Lincoln Gulch) to the upper Stumptown aid station. Half way up the road Mike caught me. We were in a dead on race, tied again. At the aid station I dumped water on my head but ran through with no other bestowed luxuries. Mike stopped for a few seconds but soon caught me again. We ran through Stumptown, County Roads 38, and CR 3C, then part of CR 3 to the giant aid station at the base of the climb up Mosquito.  We were both tempoing hoping and trying to drop the other. Neither of us budged. At this point we had merged with the HH runners and were in ever increasing traffic. At the aid I stopped for only a few seconds, dumped more water on my head, and got more liquid in my hand-held, before I was off. Mike had a similar transition and so we were running together again.

Picture by Leadville Race Series: Lincoln Gulch, Near Stump Town Aid Station

I knew I had to start racing going up Mosquito. The road gets sloppy with rocks, rivulets of water, and racers. I put my head down and started racing. Here I was focused. Of course I felt sluggish but who doesn’t? I passed the upper Mosquito Aid and kept pushing determined to run almost anything. Twice I caught myself power hiking over a particular steep section. Each time I willed myself back to running. I had no idea where Mike was, I was only focused on going up. Finally, I topped out at the top of the Mosquito Pass in 1:59:40. I took the need 1.43 seconds to rejoice in breaking 2 hours and then started the decent. Once again I need to stay focused flying downhill at 6 min pace trying to dodge both people going in both directions, and rocks is not the easiest. Good thing… if it was it would be boring. I saw Mike on the way down… I had about a 3-4 minute total lead on him.

Back at the aid at the base of Mosquito I got more liquids both for drinking and pouring on my head, and then I was out. I finished off my Honey Stinger Chews ran through Stumptown and over to Adelaide Park. From here, the hardest part of the race (in my opinion) the climb back up to Breece Hill, lays waiting to catch anyone who dares venture up the road. Why is it so hard? Other than the steepness, and rocks you have to remember runners are at 20 miles, with direct sun, dehydrated, and delusional, and without bystanders. I pushed it up the climb trying to stay focused. The Breece Hill Aid beckons like a lighthouse for lost souls. As happy as I was to arrive I wasted no time, replenished, and quickly left. At this point I realized I was on track for a fast time and started pushing the pace. I cruised downhill and to the finish line in 3:33:39. Mike came in a solid 2nd in 3:40.


Picture by Leadville Race Series: Enjoying a win!  

Wow! It was an awesome race. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Mount Evans Ascent

The Mount Evans Ascent: Now here was a race I’ve wanted to run for a while, but for some reason never got into it. Don’t know why not. It is one of the few races to run up to and over 14,000 feet. The others being the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon and the Hardrock 100. I’ve racked my brain trying to figure out if there are any others but those are the only races I could think of. In the US that is.

The race starts at about 10,500 feet and runs 14.6 miles on the paved road all the way up to the parking lot at 14,130 feet just below the summit. I slept near the start in my trusty 4Runner.  I had no worries of parking or trying to get to the race in time. I woke up leisurely at about 6:00, rolled out of bed and got my bib. I was feeling ready… and hopefully fast. After a short warm up I toed the line and we were off. I wanted an honest race and took out the race at a good clip, but one I thought was doable and controlled. The first mile was a 6:20 followed by a 7:00 flat mile. I held the lead and knew I was gaining over most of the field but speedster Matt Daniels was on my heels. Near mile 3 he made his move around me. He dropped the hammer, which I managed to jump over but could not reciprocate. He was gaining on me but I knew to wait and be patient, hoping my patience was the right move.

Mile 6 total was about 42:50. It was hard to tell, but I figured Matt’s advantage over me was slowly decreasing. We were now at 12,000 + feet and I was starting to feel in my groove.  I picked up the pace determined to regain the 75 yard lead he had. I would run him down. I took incremental measurements to be sure I was gaining on him. At first they were minor, almost imperceptible, but soon it was obvious: I was making up ground.

Mile 7 came and I was at about 50 minutes. Matt was close now… only 20 yards in front. I found my own tool bag with hammers and started dropping them. It was time to race! Within the next minute I caught Matt who was going through a low point. I pushed on. The next mile near 13,000 feet at the lake is mostly flat, even downhill. I knew my lead was growing but I was also not comfortable with the lead. I wanted an honest race. I hit mile 10 in almost exactly 70 minutes. About 1 minute in front of Matt. Pretty good, but I needed to keep racing.

I felt the last 4 miles and 1000 feet… oh so this is what altitude feels like. It felt great… in a weird-sort-of- painful, but full-of-hard-work sort of way. I finished and won in 1:46:28, about 1 minute up on Matt. I finished and other than the pounding headache felt great. I did not feel too beat up from the road but knew getting back down to 12,000 feet or lower certainly help with the elephant that was squeezing my head. I jumped in a car with Matt, Phil (4th place), and Phil’s fiancĂ© and we descended enough to make the elephant leave. Results are here: http://racingunderground.racetecresults.com/results.aspx?CId=16436&RId=137

Overall a great race. I tried out the new Hoka Tracer. It is by far the lightest shoe I’ve worn in years. It provides a snug fit yet does not compromise on comfort or cushion. This road shoe was perfect for the race, or other road, track, even smooth trail race. The Tracer is designed with minimal tread to maximize running on road or smooth surface terrain. I would highly recommend this shoe for workouts, races, and 2 hour runs or less. It delivered. Next up is the Leadville Mosquito Pass Marathon. I’ll be wearing the SpeedGoats there. They have a little more tread and support for the rocky uneven conditions there.