Sunday, April 19, 2015

Weird Race: Desert RATS Trail Running Festival: Fruita Marathon

Quick update for everyone: I ran the Desert Rats Trail Running Festival Fruita Marathon yesterday. This is a great spring race which offers the marathon as well as the 50k and the 50miler too. It is run on mostly single track with great desert views of the Colorado River and nearby McInnis Canyons. Unfortunately because of all the rain the organizers had to do a last minute course change to avoid the majority of the single track. We were to run two “A” loops and one short out and back. With the severe weather and the high mountain snow and with highway 70 closed for most of Friday due to the snow the race had a smaller turn out than normal.

I was ready for a good solid effort. I wanted to run fast! The race started and I put in a high tempo out of the gate. Mike Ambrose from Breckinridge hung on for a mile and then backed off. By mile 3.5 at the aid station I was a ¼ of a mile ahead of him and he was another ¼ mile ahead of 3rd place. Now was the time to keep pushing I was racing myself.  

I left and followed the race flagging out onto a 3.6 mile loop (Rustlers). Unbeknownst to me and everyone in the race this was the wrong way. The flagging had not yet been adjusted. I ran the loop and came back to the initial aid station. They said we were all going the wrong way and directed me back to another trail. Was I now in last place? I did not know. As it turns out the majority of the racers followed the flagging and therefore added on the loop.

I got on to the trail. Mike had by this time caught up we ran together for a minute. From high on this trail we could look down and see most other racers on the wrong loop. Well, I guess we ALL had to do the wrong loop. I left Mike and followed the flagging, the wrong flagging once again and after 20 minutes ended up back at the first aid station… AGAIN. They told me once again to follow the loop. I knew that was pointless and I knew we were supposed to end up back at the start so I ran back to the start.

When I got there I showed the race directors where I had run and it was decided that it was more than the “correct course”, therefore I was ok. They sent me back out on course to start my 2nd lap. As I left I saw Mike finishing his 1st lap. Once again I was ¼ mile to ½ mile in front of him. I ran the 2nd loop with little problems. The race crew had put up new signage and taken down the old flagging. I finished and added on the short out and back to finish and win the race. Weird day, but everything worked out in the end! 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Salida Run Through Time Marathon

This Saturday I raced the annual Salida Run Through Time Marathon (SRTTM). This is a fantastic early season race that I run every year. As always it was cold at the start, the numb lung burning cold that you know will disappear once it warms up. A lot of familiar faces were there: Nick Clark, Jason Koop, Justin Ricks, Josh Arthur, Ryan Burch; a practical homecoming. We started off at a controlled casual pace, no one wanted to race this early when the temperature was still hovering below freezing. No one wanted to take off except for a rabbit. The rabbits name Dan Barteletti . The chase pack consisted of Josh, Nick, Justin, myself, and a few others. We weren’t too concerned about Mr. Rabbit. Nick and I talked about how this was his 7th time racing at SRTTM and my 8th time. We decided to compare finishes for the last 7 years and add them up. Note: we did not include my 1st year as a dozen or more racers ended up going the wrong way because someone had moved the flagging on the course. 

Whoever had the lowest score would win. I did this today and put a graph together. Nick won: 16-19     

                            Year:          09,    10,    11,    12,    13,    14,     15                Total:

Timmy Parr         Place:         1,        1,      1,      7,      4,      3,       2              = 19

Nick Clark           Place:         3,        3,      2,      1,      2,      2,       3              = 16                       

Our pack started up S Mountain with Dan’s lead at about 30 seconds. Josh led the chase up S, but overall we just relaxed and cruised up. The next section, a circuitous single track took us rolling north. I took the lead just to help make visibility and footing easier. The pack group chased on until the road. We hit the road at 60 minutes. The pace was good. Once on the road our pack disintegrated as we tried to chase down the rabbit. The road continues up a steep incline for over 4 miles. After fueling up I was ready to participate in the chase. I set an up tempo pace and soon caught up to Dan, he was paying for his early lead, but would manage to recover and still get 4th.  Surprisingly I had dropped everyone but Justin. He and I kept the pace up and reached the turnaround (12.8) in 1:35.

Justin took the lead as I followed trying not to lose any ground. From mile 14 to 17 we hung together as we plodded through either muddy or unsure footing in foot deep rutted out crusty and icy snow. Once through the snow Justin took off and I did not see him again. The snow and icy conditions had slowed us up and although I wanted to run faster it was too much effort in the snow. I ran consistently trying to maintain. I ran in the Hoka Huaka.  They are light weight, yet they offer a traction, durability, and a stable shoe. This became my mantra for the rest of the race. I felt ok but as I raced I could feel my energy slowing waning. I had to maintain. I ran back the last 4 miles trying to stay consistent. I couldn’t see Justin and figured he was long gone. I came through the last mile trying to push it till the end. I ran 3:18:41, good enough for 2nd place.

Next up: 2015 Moab Spring Running Camp, followed by the Fruita Marathon.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Leadville Snowshoe Marathon

Last Wednesday I got a text asking me if I was going to race in the Lewadville Snowshoe Marathon. "Well, gee, I don't know." I thought about and decided it would make a great training run. On Saturday I showed up with few expectations and ready for a solid workout. I was wearing my Huakas by Hoka for their light weight and smaller frame which would be perfect inside my borrowed snowshoes.

The race started with me in the lead followed by a throng. I felt dreadfully slow but no one else wanted to lead. I determined to be consistent for the next hour and see what would come. By mile 5 I ran along in tandem with the eventual 1/2 marathon winner. We talked and enjoyed the brisk morning, however, it was warming up.

Soon I was by myself. I gave myself the goal of breaking 2 hours to the halfway mark. I ended up coming in at 1:55. I knew i wanted to push the pace on the way back. Hopefully negative split. I pushed myself. The snow was getting softer with the rising temperatures. I tripped a few times nearly face planting but kept up the grind. I finished winning in 3:49:40. barely negatively splitting. Solid training run. Solid race. Solid day. Not a bad start to the year.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Imogene Pass Run

This has to be one of my favorite runs in the state. How can it not be… it is run in the beautiful San Juan Mountains starting in downtown Ouray and running on old mining roads, modern jeep roads up and over Imogene pass and then down into Telluride.  At roughly 17 miles the run is long enough to need some major endurance and short enough that you can still enjoy the day when finished. You need both good uphill running coupled with solid downhill skills. This run offers the full package.

I drove over the night before and camped out in Ridgway, asleep within minutes. The next morning we line up and started. I went out with the main pack thinking we were running a tad fast. This would cost us all about 5 minutes later in the race. In addition we missed a turn and ran an extra 50 yards. Oh well, it cost us all. I settled in and settled back allowing the others to push the pace and soon found myself in 5th place with a cohort pushing the pace from behind. As we gained in altitude and miles I found my competitors slowing which slowly I caught one by one until I was in second with 1st place roughly 2 minutes in front. 

I ran hard, which ultimately was a snail pace as I crested the 13,114 foot Imogene pass in 1:46:25 with 3rd place just a minute behind. The views are some of the best in the state however I charged downhill trying to enjoy them while really focusing on difficult footing and trying to hold off 3rd. Kalib Wikinson from Flagstaff charged down after me and had the best downhill race of the day pulling off a second place to Daniel Nally. Meanwhile I ran down and settle for a solid 3rd place. I was quite pleased with this as I ran a decent and consistent race.

Once again I ran in the Hoka Stinson Lite which gave me solid footing coupled with great cushioning.

Race #2:  After the race I decided to race the busses back to Ouray. To do this I would engage in one of my favorite pastimes: Hitch hiking. Hitching went nearly flawlessly as I was picked up by 4 different parties only 1 of which had run the race. For each ride I had to wait no more than 4 minutes. Hitching is rarely this smooth.

Next up Javalina Jundred.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Leadville 100

An update on the Leadville 100 is needed so I thought I’d sit down and write about the Race Across the Sky. The night before the race I lay in bed counting off the minutes until I fell asleep. I tossed and turned but finally fell asleep for at least a semi-restful half night of sleep. I woke, ate some quiche, and left to race. The bank thermometer read 47 degrees at the start of the race. The day and the race would be perfect. The race started smooth enough and I found myself chatting with other runners. Our lead pack was unorganized as runners yo-yoed back and forth from the dark abyss facing us to the caterpillar of headlights meandering on the trail behind. I settled into a comfortable pace aiming to hit an 8 hour half. Once we got to Turquoise Lake, the lead pack slowed as the terrain footing was a tad trickier with numerous roots and rocks. Our lead pack consisted of Rob Krar, Michael Aish, Ian Sharman, Zeke Tiernan, and myself. No one wanted to push the pace… yet… so we chatted and commented how we were at the best place during a 100 mile race. We all felt good and we were all leading the race. This would soon end.

We ran through Mayqueen aid and regrouped going up the Colorado Trail to Hagerman Pass Road. In the early morning as we hit the Hagerman Pass Road the group disintegrated. It was if the group woke up and it was time to race. Krar and Aish took off with Tiernan following close, I was 4th and quickly losing ground which was fine with me. I had already decided not to race until mile 75… or so. Ian had stopped for a quick break and was somewhere right behind us. I race on. Tiernan dropped back once and we talked before he took off again down Sugarloaf. This would be my last company until Winfield. I ran on eating every 20-30 minutes and downing a bottle every 60-80 minutes. Nutrition was perfect.

I soon got to Outward Bound (Mile 24ish). I could still see Tiernan 1 minute up on me, but Aish and Krar were nowhere in sight. At Outward Bound there was a course change that went through a field rather than on the paved road. I found the change to be great. It was nice to be off of the busy paved road and instead on soft dirt and grass smelling the morning dew instead of exhaust. There were a few gopher holes to be avoided but the course change was great! The next 16 miles I jogged and enjoyed the views. I felt great, I ate great, I drank great. Sharman caught up near 2 mile prior to Twin Lakes and passed. I now sat in 5th place… the race unfolded and was underway.

I started up Hope Pass. A mile before the Hopeful Aid Station I ran out of water… not to worry I’d be there in 20 minutes. I got to the Hopeful Aid Station refueled and soon left. Above me I could see Tiernan and Sharman about 3 and 5 minutes ahead. Perfect. “I’m right where I want to be.” I soon crested Hope Pass and ran slowly downhill. Once again I ran out of water and within 5 minutes refueled at a natural spring coming out of the mountain side.

Winfield at last. The time was about 8 hours and 15 minutes into the race. I was still 5th place. Perfect! I started up Hope with Marco Peinado trying to eat a some ‘real’ food: solid burrito. However I could eat very little. I tried to eat some gels and then some other snacks however my stomach rejected everything. Then the downhill pounding ensued and I was unable to drink water. As I slowly jogged downhill I mentally sought a solution. The answer was get to Twin Lakes 60, refuel, and then race… hopefully hit the proverbial mental and stomach restart button.

At Twin I stopped and slowly refueled, watching runner after runner run by. “Patience.” I told myself. Finally after 20+ minutes of resting and refueling I left with Hope behind, hope ahead, and hopes held high. I walked up the hill from Twin with pacer and fellow Leadville teacher Jeff Spencer. I started running and eating however my stomach issues soon returned and I found myself keeled over at the side of the trail viewing the pine needles on my knees first hand. Unfortunately this tale was on repeat for the next 2 hours. Finally Jeff found the right combination of nutrition and water. I slowly cantered into Outward Bound (76) at sunset. I was in 19th place and finally feeling better. I picked up my next pacer Mark Steinbeck and was off. He kept me fueled with Coke and other snacks.

At the top of Sugarloaf we ran through Space Camp. Space Camp was an incredible makeshift aid station set up and run by local Leadville residents. I had heard about preparations for the camp however the energy and participation at the aid station was a huge surprise.  A special thanks to Leadville’s Shack Club and everyone who participated in Space Camp. With moral high we continued through the now thick dark shroud of waning summer night. We soon arrived at Mayqueen 87.

I sat in the warm tent for 5 minutes gobbling candied bacon. I was now hungry and ready to eat. The tent was warm and comfortable but as always, you can’t get too comfortable. My last pacer was Kristin Louderback who jumped in and kept me going with encouraging words and stories for the last few miles. At last I finished. 21 hours 58 minutes and 26th place.

Overall the race… was 100 miles. I had highs and lows, but I got through them. I raced in the incredible Hoka Stinson Lite. I can’t say enough about this shoe. I had incredible cushioning while still maintaining a sturdy and light base. I finished the race with the least damage to my feet I’ve ever had after a 100 mile race.



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Leadville Silver Rush 50

Last week I ran the Leadville Silver Rush 50 mile race. I knew going into the race that I had to run a smart non-taxing, or at least not too taxing, race. I wanted to treat the race as a longer training day. That being said I knew I would be a contender. I planned on seeing where the chips fell. The race started at the base of Dutch Henry Hill on the south side of Leadville at CMC. The gun went off and I started walking. Granted it was straight uphill for first 80 yards but it felt weird to walk so soon in a race. Others raced up the hill as there were 2 entries into the Leadville 100 to be earned by being first male or female up the hill. Without the pressure I walked up and started jogging, quickly passing out of breath individuals who had tried unsuccessfully in their bid to be first up the hill. I understand their goal and applaud them for it, I was just happy to be starting a nice 50 mile training run.

By mile 3 I had moved comfortably into 2nd place with 1st only 25 yards ahead. We ran along through the trees on jeep roads slowly gaining elevation as we ran up Iowa Gulch.  At mile 7 I caught up to Ethan Linck. We continued up Iowa gulch taking in the breathtaking beauty. What a climb! The trail continued up to nearly 12,000 feet before we gained the Iowa Gulch road and started our decent. The Iowa Gulch road ends at the base of 14er Mount Sherman. Ethan and ran comfortably down the road perhaps pushing the pace a little but I can usually use some downhill pounding. We continued rolling in a controlled manner up to Ball Mountain and around it. Both of us felt comfortable and neither of us tried to drop the other. We ran into the Stump Town aid station, the half way mark. Our time was 3:25. Not bad for a leisurely stroll of a training run.
We turned around ready to repeat our steps. We had about a 20 minute over third place and we both seemed confident yet patient of our running ability. That being said, I started to notice confidence rise in Ethan. It was his day and he was ready for a race. We continued to run as I started to look for crack in Ethan’s demeanor. I was content not to push the pace and just keep a steady pace. Meanwhile I stayed patient and hoped eventually to wear down my opponent. Alas, it was to be the other way around.
We sent back up Iowa Gulch matching each other step for step. At the top we turned back onto the rocky jeep trail and stared our fast pace decent. Within a few minutes I started to cramp up. Ethan must have seen my obvious straining because he instantly took off. We came to the last aid station with Ethan leading by a measly 10 seconds. He blew through the aid station and I stopped for some much needed ice, liquid, and substance. I was there for no more than a 1 minute before I took off again.
I figured I was only a minute back however I never saw Ethan again. He was running scarred and therefore quite fast. I followed the course feeling decent and half expecting Ethan to show up around the next bend. I kept up my pace and finished 2nd in a respectable 7:13:08. Results can be found here:
I was pleased with my run. It was a solid training day that boosted confidence and made me think of how short a 50 mile race really is. A mentally tough place to be, and right where I want to be.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

48 hours in New England

Two weeks ago at the last minute I decided to go race the US Mountain Champs at Loon Mountain in New Hampshire. I found a decent ticket, made reservations, and schemed. As with any trip I decided to make the most of it and figured I’d go climb Mt Mansfield, 4,395 feet, in Vermont after the race. I flew into Boston at 8:00 am, Saturday morning. The race was scheduled to start the following morning.

Saturday: I hopped on the subway and took it out to the east of town. I had a rental car reservation in which I had to pick it up east of Boston… not at Logan Airport. A little weird but it was a whole lot less expensive. I did not know where the rental was so all I had to do was go off of my directional instincts. When doing so I know that I am either right or wrong. It is kind of like playing the age old game in which you hide something  and have someone tell you if you are hot or cold. I had a ball park idea of where the rental station was and at least I knew a street number. I got off the subway where I hoped the rental station would be asked a cop for directions and he directed me 2 blocks to the station… Perfect!

I drove north to Lincoln, New Hampshire and Loon Mountain where I did a quick shake out run and then drove over the Kancamagus Highway (  ) to where I stayed with Rich and Sharon near Conway, New Hampshire. Thank you Rich and Sharon! I had a great time!

Sunday: Race day. Woke, ate, drove, got packet, warmed up, ready, started. The race went out fast! I held back so as not to go too hard too soon. Within ½ mile of the start I found myself in 30th place… wow I felt a little slow. Finally 1 mile in I felt solid and passed several people. The race was on. There were 10 people all within 20 seconds in front of me.  This was a stacked National Championship Race! I ran over the challenging terrain continuing to push myself. Overall the race runs up Loon mountain including several sections of steep ski runs that you run straight up… well you TRY to run straight up. One mile prior to the finish is the false summit upon which you then drop 200 vertical feet and then ascend up a 40 degree black diamond ski run for 600 feet called Upper Walking Boss (befitting name) where you top out and finish the race.  I finished in just over 59 minutes. A solid effort but only enough to give me 28th place.

Sunday afternoon: I drove over to Mt. Mansfield in Vermont (my 40th state) and hiked up to the top where I was greeted with fantastic views of the Green Mountains to the south, the Whites to the east, and the Adirondacks to the west with Lake Champlain nestled at their eastern terminus. Instantly I thought I should drive over to them and hike up some of the Adirondacks… but alas time was not on my side. I drove back to Boston, a 4 hour drive, instead.

Next up Leadville Silver Rush 50 mile run…