Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sage Burner 2012

The Sage Burner 25K (Actualy GPS at 16.5 miles): Website and results are here.

A Monday race... granted it was Memorial Day but it still was a little different. I figured overall competition and numbers at the race would be down. There were only 120+ people who competed down from over a usual 200+. My goal for the race was simple run a new course record. I did not check the CR before running but i figured it was about 1:55 (it was 1:57:30). After a quick couple minute warm up, seeing old friends and new faces, and a few starting line instructions the race was off. I wanted to warm into the race while going up the first hill while also testing the waters and see who would be competing with me. By 5 minutes into the race. I was surprised that with the initial warm-up all but one had dropped and I was left with only Dane Michele on my heels. He would not budge. I thought of a race strategy to unsettle him. First I noticed he would not voluntarily pass. He was content to give me the lead and let me set the pace. We pounded down a single trace (The Ridge) and he remained stoic giving little as too his plan. At the bottom of the single track I slowed up to a painfully slow jog and let him have the lead. He started hammering up the next hill with me close on his heels. I realized then that I was faster on the uphills, but did not attempt to pass. At the top of the hill Dane continued to hammer downhill. Unlike the uphill portion where I could easily match stride with stride I was now pushing it to remain within close proximity. I realized that Dane was running the downhills better, whereas I was running the uphills better. With this knowledge I was ready to take the lead again and run like the wind. I passed Dane and rolled over undulating terrain which was neither predominantly up or down hill. I hammered through an aid station (about mile 4) just ahead of Dane. I continued on building a 6 second lead until I ran up to a closed gait. I stopped and fumbled with the latch on the gate. I knew my lead was gone so I took the few seconds to relax and relish the easy of the moment.

Once again I headed off just a stride up on Dane. Once again I increased my lead by just a few seconds. We yo-yoed as my lead would go from one stride to 5 seconds ahead and back again. I continually pushed the pace not sure if I could hold on. This eventually gave me an 8 second lead. But then came the long downhill down to the Josie's aid station near mile 9. On the downhill Dane caught up but did not want to pass. We ran through the aid station in 1:00:41. I knew that the longest continuous uphill followed the aid station so I once again dropped the hammer and pushed the pace up the next single tracks: Buddy Bear, Broken Shovel, and Josho's. I was unsure if i could continue the staggering pace but kept at it. I was determined that I was going to drop Dane and win. The risk paid off as I pulled away from Dane and started building up a lead. I averaged 10 seconds per mile faster for the next 3 miles and built up close to a 30 second lead on Dane. I continued hammering with the goal to finish. The last 2 or 3 single tracks disappeared and I crossed the finish line setting a new CR of 1:51:30. Dane finished 31 seconds later.

The race was solid. My legs felt great despite hammering in the race and running a long training run just 2 days prior to the race. A friend of mine, Allen Peoples, also ran a great time in the race. He was 17th. After the race we scarfed down left over Chinese food from the day before, watched a movie, and then scampered up Mt Emmons 12,391 up near Crested Butte. The Sage Burner was a great race and benchmark. I know where I am at physically and look forward to the Hardrock 100 in a month.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Moab Red Hot 55K

Moab: I had been looking forward to racing Moab. The race I knew would give me a decent benchmark of my fitness. Lynnette and I drove down Friday night ready for a relaxing weekend. The morning was cold around 20 degrees but with a clear sky promising warm weather later in the day. I started with just shorts and a singlet figuring I would warm up. The first few miles found inviting patches of sun intermixed with cool numbing shading. I thought how the cold would soon be past but it seemed to go indefinitely. Finally by the first aid station near mile 5 I was starting to warm up. I was in first place by this point but only by a few seconds. I clicked off the mile up to the overlook somewhere 10 miles into the race. Down below the racer’s cars still lined the road for quarter mile looking like the mini Hot Wheels I used to play with.

I continued to cruise as my body resounded. I was eating and drinking well but did not feel as strong as other years. I know my base is not as good as previous years but I could still race well. Midway at mile 17 or so I had about a 1-2 minute lead. Not very much really. Soon I was on the most adventurous and enjoyable part of the course: the slick rock trails of Gold Bar Rim. I ran up and down the slick rock jumping cracks and boulders and bounding down drops. I followed the trail ribbon mostly successfully but my tired body was finding it difficult to follow it precise. At one point 20 yards off course I had to down climb a 10 foot rock section. Around mile 24 my lead was abolished as both Kevin Koch and Eric Bohn passed me battling it out for 1st. I could just watch. A mile later, Karl Meltzer passed me as well. My rough patch between miles 23-27 was finally over. I started running with a purpose again hopping to chase down one of the lead runners. The fantasy served to help keep me running with speed.

I crossed the finish line tired but knowing I had raced well and was content with my effort. My training right now must continue through May to be a fine line of putting in the miles amongst school and life. For now a winter and spring foundation must grow as speed and fitness await for the summer.
Up next: Salida Marathon

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

2012 Starts

It is a new year: 2012 and it is almost 10% over. I’m busy student teaching at the Gunnison Middle School finishing up my year. Student teaching should pay off in the future with an actual job. My days are spent teaching, running, and doing homework or lesson plans. I’ve been able to balance life, training, work, school, and school work, not an easy task. Lynnette has been amazing doing extra work around the house and baking to help keep me fueled and going. I’ve been training a good deal in preparation for the upcoming races this year.

Tentatively I’m planning on racing the Moab 55K (about 34 miles) in 2 weeks. It promises to be a great season opener as a well as a benchmark that will inform me what shape I am in. I’ve only had two-3 hour runs (about 24 miles) in training this year so we will see how hard Moab will be. Come March there will be the Salida Marathon. April will not disappoint with the Fruita Fifty. May offers the Black Canyon of the Gunnison 10K race. June will bring both warm weather and a potential North Face 50 mile race in Virginia. July will come and usher in THE RACE: The Hardrock 100. After July the summer will be filled with more training, a little school, a lot of mountains, and either the Leadville 100, or an attempt at the Colorado 14ers Record… or maybe both. We will see.