Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Years Day Run and other thoughts

My favorite annual celebration is only a few days away...No not New Years eve but New Years Day run on the Calstreet loop. I really do not know the origins of this annual "unorganized" run but I have been there since 2001. I have battled rain, a foot of snow in Foresthill, very high stream crossing and slugging it through Sandy Bottom to run this with friends..I suspect a lot of newbies to be there this day where we run 18miles from Foresthill to Drivers Flat Staging area. It is just such a thrill to wake up early new years day...with a clear head and thoughts that the day will be fun that keeps me going back year in and year out. Breakfast to be served after and talk of what everyones running plans for the coming year will be discussed. Oh such joy!
Only one downer the person I would like to usher in the new year is gonna be on the central coast and not able kick my butt out of bed and say..."Go run..I am heading back to sleep". As I write this I am thinking...Gad you really are crazy! It is only one day of running but a very important watermark day and new years eve will take a back seat. Six months from now I want her seeing me finish the race of my life. So the eye on the prize is Finish strong Western States with my friend greeting me with a smile and hug as I cross the line (that is if she can hug a pretty dirty, sweaty me)...

Other than that I am excited. Waiting to see what my January training will look like and talk to my coach. Even though I have Pacifica on the calendar for January 23 I need to review how this fits in the training. My December mileage has been what I consider low but this light month has helped build some speed and get the legs and mind ready for the months to come.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

New Years Day a coming countdown to offiical training..

One holiday down and one more to go..Then the official start of Western States 2010 training cycle begins. A friend will be coaching me through this and just getting her to take me on as a client in December has helped already. I have known her for years since I first came to California. Funny I started running with her in 2000 and could not figure out why her and her husband kept my lungs and legs busting as I tried to keep up with them...Well it turned out she was/is a very good runner in Sacramento area, run WS well in the 90's and now focus's on coaching cross country, and select clients in the area. That said she had me focus the month of December on a few things...
1)Take down the mileage and focus on buiding some leg speed on short 6 mile runs during the week.

2)Go to gym and focus on light weight and core build up

3)Enjoy December....January will start the ramp up...

With this I really started thinking about each day and make the most of it even as I travelled on business. So I end December being in what I consider my best overall shape for this time of year in a long time...No real injuries...

I have also been spending some time reading blogs on individuals experiences at Western States in 2009. I want to read more about what images people had about Western States from those that do not live in the area and train in different conditions. Granted there are the elite but I wanted to see the average runner coming in. Some of my observations:

1)Why does every runner coming into WS say that they will break 24hrs? This seems to be some kind of disease for the average runner on their first attempt at WS. Reality in the statistics is that only about 20% of all runners that finish come in under 24 hours. So right from the start many of these bloggers set themeselves up for FAILURE!

2)Expecations..One runner that finished in 28hrs had written for months that on that day she was finishing in 22hours..This from a runner that had never run 100. The training in her blog never reflected that it was something in her grasp. Be real in what is possible. For a first time runner that has never covered the distance...Consider finishing to be the goal and everything else past that is bonus. Granted there are exceptions but again...20% or less that finish get a silver buckle.

3)Training must be solid: I read many a blog where the weekly mileage, downhill and heat trainng where so low that these runners really did suffer out there by not being prepared. They finished but where not ready at all for what the course brings...HEAT and downhill.

4)Drop Bag items, food and crew review...Again I saw errors in reading that lack of time spent really reviewing these items leading up to race day...When the day hit there seemed to be a lot of failure here.

I may appear critical of these runners but Western States is still a 100mile race...Once the day starts you better be ready. For many of us this can be a one time shot. So listen, read, ask questions, have some input with a group of folks that have been on the course, have finished the race to give you honest assessment on what it takes to finish the race..have a coach that can get you to the line injury free and ready. After that anything can happen that day...I have a lot of friends that where ready, had trained, but something happend that made them dnf...I know that can happen I just want a chance to toe the line healthy and ready.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Week after Lottery--Planning begins

Running on the Dipsea Course--A stunning view

One week after the lottery and seeing the final names begin to appear on the participant list for 2010. A few more friends have gotten in and the final aid stations selections will yield a few more. The one benefit for living local is knowing many of the captians that staff the aid stations on the course. These offer up one spot each year for doing all that work. So friends that don't get selected begin seeing who has an aid station slot available.

For me I meet with my coach for the first time and set up a December training schedule. Not a lot of heavy running but some core work at the gym and short runs focused on easy with strides on flat sections. It feels good knowing that this is only 6 months off..its REAL. So I want to make the most of each day. The temptation is just listening to other friends running schedules and not following my plan. One friend asked about running 30miles on Saturday..sounds good but I want to follow a routine that will get me to the line healthy and ready.

I have not selected my crew or pacers yet though I have set out some feelers for crew. I don't expect that to be complete till spring. I dropped the dollars for lodging in Squaw and a hotel near the track. Even though I live 10miles from the finish having that room so close will be important. Next up for me is trying to figure out some of the items I need to think to order..ie shoes, inserts, shirts with sponsor names from Auburn Running and Mosters of Massage, headlamps and hand held flashights. Get in my 8 hours of trail or volunteer work...see if I want to spend extra time up near squaw to acclimate for altitude...check on work schedule..oh yea...gotta work during this training..All fun.

See you all on the trails..Tony

Monday, December 7, 2009

Lottery Weekend and the debates rage on...

Anyone on the planet that has run an ultra seems to have been tuned in online for the past weekends Western States Lottery. 270 names drawn from the new electronic GUbucket, folks watching online and about 200 in attendance in the Placer High Cafeteria. Having already been on the invite list for months I too got caught up in reading as many folks opinions and thoughts on the event via blogs and friends posts on Facebook. It was fun seeing all the excitement build there where good and bad emotions discussed on these blogs.

Being from the area and running, enjoying the trails it is sooooo easy to see it as your own..After all I did work at Canyonlands National Park Island in the Sky District..385,000 acres and often it was me and 5 other souls playing in the park...do we want to share or let others in..I often enjoyed showing the park but also loved closing the gate and having it just be MINE...ok a selfish act but the silence and beauty are such that I did not want it spoiled. So I can understand many opions seeing that Western States needs to be changed to remain viable to its own legend it has built over the years. No matter what I did however would stop people from discovering this area and today its still remote, still beautiful but visited by a new generatation of adventure seekers all wanting to experience what I had...Can the same be said for Western States? I would say yes. I was not part of the original group and I get to see Gordy Ansleigh, talk to Tim Twietmeyer, Ann Trason all legends of the trail..Each has there own view on the race, the trail, the experience. Perhaps my opinion about the race is best as a visual I saw last year at Western States 2009....I was pacing friend Rena Schumann coming in to finish her
9th Western States and go for the 1000mile buckle in 2010. As we where making our final climb up the "Black Hole" to Robie Point...Running down and Smiling was Tim Twietmeyer..(yea that is right 25 time sub 24hour finisher)He was running down offering encouragement to those runners getting close to the 30hr cutoff at Nohands..He wanted those runners who had been out there long after the elites had finished, had been out all night and now into the middle of the second day to finish the race and get their buckle..Later at the finish hugging these same runners..those that did not WIN the race but finished the race where just as important as the sub 24silver buckle group..He simply wanted to show he cared for those folks, the trails and the event itself...For that I see no point to change the event, keep it as it is, enjoy the course, the training, the day.

It was really disappoining to not see all of my friends get drawn but it has become a bigger race that dreams are made of...Good Luck to all that got picked and I will see you at the line June 26,2010.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Official Entry in for WS 2010..Now time to Train

A short post...better running this last week. Volume still low but quality on Cal to Cal2 and back a good sign. Up Next Quad Dipsea...just a slooow run and survive the steps.

Official Spot for Western States is now in and it left me nervous and excited. Other races I have paid for for 2010 Pacifica 50k in Jan, AR50 in April, In lottery for Miwok....

Have a fun week.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Training for Quad Dipsea..do the double

Stinson Beach below, big waves and the turnaround for the double dipsea

Check out the dork compression sleeves: a group photo at Panorama Aid Station

Double Dispsea Profile

I went out to Mill Valley Yesterday to run on the Dipsea Course for the very first time. The run was to be out and back ie..Double Dipsea(Mill Valley to Stinson Beach and back). The course is famous for the stairs at the start which total over 600 right at the start. I was lucky to run into a group that was taking off on their training run on the course so I would not get lost through the complicated first mile as it winds up Mill Valley. Right off the bat we started running up the stairs, no warm up just run. This had my heart rate going from 65 to 177 in a matter of it felt seconds. I had no time to slow down, just look down and put one foot in front of the other, don't fall and don't get dropped so early.
The stairs are slick uneven etc..as we snaked up a series of three sets of stairs, with short respits on road surface. This lasted about a half mile till we finally got to some sort of trail. From their we had a brief rest as we ran down and finally began single track and fireroad climbing for 4.5miles this was pretty gentle but and runnable but I was breathing hard. Along the way we hit some exposed sections where the ocean was in full view, there where huge waves of 15 feet swelling up today..the group said we would need to go to the beach and see these large rollers before we turned back. About the time we hit one of the aid station locations at Panorama Karalee Morris came flying by on her training run.
This was pretty nice really but different than running on the WS course.

shortly past Panorama we made our last climb which markes on the course a downhill to Stinson for the most part. The quads where already feeling this downhill it would be slow heading back. This was about 7miles as we hit the beach with the return trip about ready to begin. I decided to drop back and see what its like to run on my own to Mill Valley, see if I can make the right turns etc...It was tough and it was good to be on this course to see how you feel on the way back..after all come race day we have to go back to Mill Valley, head down those stairs and then return back up and do it all again. I had planned about 3hours to be out there and that is what it turned out being. I was tired but not exhausted which was good but at Quad this will be hard. I am guessing with the crowds the start will be really slow and walking up the stairs etc..Slow going out and back will be the motto...Looking forward to the return to Mill Valley a reall neat town for sure.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Getting Ready for Dipsea, an early wake up call and all those WS stats..

During these last few weeks I have had some busy days at work followed by a lot of good runs during the weekend. Why can't everyday be like Saturday or Sunday with no work pressure just get out and run for hours. Hmm..too bad my retirement money tanked last year like so many..

Weekdays in the fall have been mixed with lots of work often starting by 6am and getting calls throughout the day. During that time if I am at home I can snag some time out to run Stagecoach or head over to the gym for an hour(that is all I can really handle there..). I had a friend from Seattle stop by one day last week for a run on the trails. I forgot how slow I have gotten over the last two years since he is on the 3hr marathon kick...We went out to run in Auburn and the trails..He loved it and I took him on Down Stagecoach up K2 and back down from Cool and back. This 9mile run with steep climbs on K2 where easy for him..me and my ultra set mind took it slower up K2. We each have different goals but this was a training run..why did I stay behind him and not push so hard?

That was a wakeup call of sorts..I am not in bad shape at all for this time of season and pushing towards Quad Dipsea in November. It had me realize I need to squeeze any type of workout in during the work week in order to get better. So it was good I experienced this ego momement climbing up K2.

As described I am working towards doing Quad Dipsea in late November. I have been running a lot up StageCoach, K2 etc and make these longer time out on the trails.

Here is a 13mile training run profile with me starting at the top of Stagecoach and climbing K2 twice and running down WS as a loop then finish with running up Stagecoach.

I did this last Saturday..I would have done three loops but I needed to be somewhere in Tahoe that afternoon..Funny I was tired and had my last climb up to my car at Stagecoach...just at the base there was a girls cross country team getting ready to run up stagecoach..I thought dang..I don't want to run that hard and race these girls (even though I had been out for two hours) I did not want to get chicked...
So I had to run as fast as I could to the top..tired but a good week of running indeed.

Be sure to check out the latest stats on the Western States sign up on Ultra Sign Up..lots of info on who is invited to run, where the runner applicants came from and their races used to qualify..

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

First Fall Storms, Good running and WS Lottery

Finally with these past two weekends temps have broken and today we have our first "winter" storms of the season hitting today. Snow Levels will be high but at least with the rain the trails will pack down a bit. It has been very nice recovering from SNER with the last four long runs comprising of long steady ascents up the WS trail to Cool and then finish it off later in the run with the climb up Stagecoach. The quads are getting stronger, heart rate lower but the pace remains slow. No worries. Some track workouts and occasional tempo will take care of that.
These long recovery runs have only lasted 3hours max and then follow that up the next morning with a 1.5 hour run. Not really long time on trails but that is going to increase this weekend with a 4hr run I am planning from Cal Street to Cal3 and back..this will give me long descents and long climbs..perfect for Quad Dipsea.

With the Western States Lottery open on till the 15th there are over 1500 folks on the list so far! Wow...Some names of very familiar folks and some new ones, I scanned the list and saw some suprises and I hope to run into them this winter on the trails...

Have a fun week....Tony

Monday, September 28, 2009

SNER...HOT!...HOT!...HOT!..First up on the way to 2010

This past weekend was the unofficial kickoff to my 2010 Western States...Yes it's nine months off..So lets review what this past Saturday had to offer. The title says a lot. It was hot! Go figure today is two days since the race and the weather folks are saying that this should be our last 100 weekend for the year. JEEZ! This years Sierra Nevada Endurance Races had a new twist with a marathon distace along with a double marathon and 100k for those still needing longer runs for the year.
This was a very laid back event...very small with 50 or so entered for each event and a 6:30am start. I saw Mark Lantz, Scott Dunlap and others as the pre race began in a warm Saturday morning.

My goal for this was to review the use of my heart rate and keep the pace slooooow. As the gun went off so to speak we began our run from Cavitt Stillman school and head up to the American River Trail with my finish at world famous NoHands Bridge.
With temps being in the high 60's I had two water bottles filled,roctane and S-CAPS to fuel me between aid stations. With the start came a slow pace yet my achilles tendons in both legs where tight off the bat..there where a few minor hills as we wound our way up the levee towards the first aid station 4miles away. Pace was low, and I was just out observing what the other runners where doing as they ran..This was a training run for me after all not a race so might as well observe. I did little to no talking with folks and just focused on the achilles...As I ran through the first 3 miles or so it settled down and did not bother me after that. Pace seemed about right..I was looking at level of effort, my breathing and the heart rate monitor as I moved along. With the first aid station came into site about the time I projected...Comfortable I did not stop and headed on towards Buzzards Cove and the first tough section.

Between the fist aid and Rattlesnake Bar (about 12 miles into the race) is the section on AR known as Buzzards Cove..I have exploded here before so today I settled in behind two women and pace on through. My heart rate was high, but breathing and level of effort low..what would happen if I kept this up..I would find out soon enough. Aid station stops the first 2 and half hours where minimal, just enough time to take a gel, fill my bottles. I was taking my S-CAPS as it was starting to get warm. By about 11 miles in the race I was thinking..gad I have to be the last person in the race
My first low level of focus happended about 3hours just past the power plant and heading toward the river. With that I had noticed I needed some extra fuel so extra gel and two S-CAPS did the trick. I was getting close to the river base and climb up Cardiac Hill when I took it down real low and walked for a few minutes. I finally heard a runner come up..Diana Kressy (excuse the spelling) she asked how far to Maidu and with the climb to go I said about 2miles..she had run out of fluid..I gave her a portion of my second bottle as we started the climb up Cardiac..Damn if that hill did not take a long time. It was a chore to get up to the top..I stopped every few minutes and streched out my calves..this was taking foreeeeever! A 100k runner was losing it on the way up. It was hot now and taking its toll. Thankfull to be on the canel I stopped a few minutes and cooled off on my way to Maidu Aid...Ken and Ellen Crouse greeted me with ICE COLD COKE and water..with only two miles to the Overlook and about 6miles to nohands. I was toast.

Finally at the Overlook about 40minutes behind schedule I saw Mark (he dropped), Rena and Erik Skaden...I stopped long enough to grab a coke and shout to Erik he should run with me...That was a joke..but here he came! Erik was my coach the last 4 miles...This stetch is pretty easy but on this day with the canyon in this section being fully exposed to the sun temps where near 100! Erik kept chattering as we passed a women with 3miles to the finish..Erik said we had to keep this up and not let her catch me..It was about dignity he said...don't let someone pass you as you finish! Erik with his wins at TRT and 3 time 2nd place WS finisher can give out this advice and mean it..I was so fried but I kept moving along..Finally a half mile to go and the bridge is in sight...Erik says to pick it up and finish strong..I turn on the jets to finish it off with a 8minute pace..I thought I was flying...As I learn later it was also my highest heart rate of the day....!

Thankful to be done..I just wanted ICE COLD COKE...Tim Twietmeyer saw me and said a few things..all I could do was head to the cups of cold beverage. Nothing like heat training in September! This training run lasted over 5 hours and I learned a lot..It was nice to have Skaden push me. Upon return to Cavitt I got a massage from the Monsters and hung out with other runners the rest of the day. A nice afternoon indeed.

Post Race. Legs have recovered pretty well, Achilles still tight. Need to work on that with some extra stetching. I am thinking some additional 4-5 hour training runs before Quad will be a must....

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Next Up--Training Race and 11 Days till WS Application

With the first day of fall on the horizon weather in NoCal seems to have forgot its time for some chillier temps please. 90's and a day or two of 100 scheduled as we move towards Sierra Nevada Endurance Race next weekend. With me on running the marathon distance I see no reason to taper as I am building back to the base level.
With about a month of running up K2 I returned with the Garmin Heartrate monitor to access where I was..With a 4mile warm up the ascent begins. As I started up this steep section my breathing was not as labored, nor was my heart rate jumping off the charts as much...So things are coming back and some strength is building back in the legs for climbs like this...Running near Auburn during the weekdays this fall and winter I should put this in once a week and have stagecoach on the list as well. Granted every run seems to start with a downhill and end with a climb so that will be fine. The SNR marathon distance has a run through Buzzards Cove ($#$%) a short steep ascent up Cardiac Hill but for the most part its a training run on area I am very familiar with..I will run with the heart rate monitor and access some performance vs heart rate and level of effort. It will not be really fast except the last four miles from the Overlook to NoHands..More on this next weekend..

Fall or some shape of it does bring the opening of the Machado Orchard in Auburn which means two things..fresh pressed cider and hand made pie!!! I recommend this to anyone in the area. Stop by, its not as popular as Ikeda's but seeing the staff peeling apples, cutting peaches and then pulling out the pies from the oven is the bomb. If you run far enough you can always have a slice of pie...

I am getting kinda excited knowing that the application process for Western States opens in about 11 days. It has me thinking about the experience and what others have done to get to the race..its a lot of work. A lot of time spent on the trails with friends running, hurting etc..Come January 1 life goes into high gear for running and I hope many of you can join me....


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Been a few weeks but lots of running and experiments

No Pictures today but I have been out and about running and testing some new ways to train. Also signed up for two more races this season.

Last we talked I was coming back down from Lake Tahoe and busting my lungs at altitude and tired on those climbs. To combat that I have taken to the hills so to speak with more running focused on building better climbing skills. On steep climbs I have taken to way too much walking always hearing the term "walk all hills" when running ultra races..well these are not races these are TRAINING Runs so why not hurt a little now and have that pay off later.

That said the past few weekends have been trying to get my self up K2-aka Training Hill as fast as possible, and additional weekday and weekend runs up Stagecoach. I must admit that things are getting better on both of these sections. Each range from 1.3 to about 2.4 miles of climbing. K2 is not really runnable, while Stagecoach has all sections one can run...One friend offered to help me and give me some climbing lessons on running up K2---I still think that sounds funny, but will be open to seeing how it can be possible.

It seems that the air quality in the late afternoons has been difficult on my mild asthma. Mornings are much easier this time of year. With that in mind I began to review how my heart rate is affected during my running. By bringing in the old garmin 305 I am noticiing where I start to work a bit too hard early on in these runs and take it down to not spike the heart rate so much. It is a slower pace but as I return to better fitness levels this will focus more on aerobic vs. anerobic conditioning.

With training now underway for next June..I see I have a lot of work do accomplish. I am focusing on very moderate weekly mileage between now and October 1. I have a training race the last weekend in September and will focus on working on the heart rate for a trail marathon distance. I am going to work on just that and not get caught up in placing..It follows the John Nichols training mindset tough but it will pay dividends in the future. I also signed up for Quad Dipsea in late November. I hear this is tough..always wanted to sign up for that but felt that the stairs would kill me. Now I get my shot...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Desolation Wilderness=Royal Butt Kicking

The view of tahoe just 1.5 miles into the run...already had climbed 1800feet..

With Summer days turning towards Fall it is time to start getting some form of real running shape. So what better way to set a bench mark than to head up to Lake Tahoe,challange the lungs above 6000feet and try and run with a elite ultra runner.

That is what I set myself up for. I have been talking a lot recently with Prudence L'Heureux. She is one kick ass ultra runner. I get a kick out of watching how easy she makes the transition between climbing and downhill running. You can tell it is a true passion and she really has not been running very long. She lives up in Tahoe-how cool is that! So much training opportunity and stunning surroundings.

Enough of that lets talk about the run We where going to run from Bayview to Meeks Bay through the Desolation Wilderness area. Durning the week I had been suffering with very tight Achilles Tendons and had a theory I wanted to test on the run...It might have been the shoes..ie the new Montrail Mountain Masochist..I had not been able to run with my inserts with these shoes..just too tight so I pulled out the Mizzuno Wave Ascends (had not had them on since WS). We set off from bayview...UP we went...Prudence said take it easy today..and I sure was trying we passed some hikers on the first 100 yards and I was already blowing up with my breathing...but the trail was stunning!!! I always wonder about the effect that having asthma as a child has impacted me when I run at elevation..I always seem to be dying way too soon or early. I let Prudence go ahead..just hope she would wait up on any trail junctions. The air was crisp and views to die for..It took me over twenty minutes to go 1 mile! What was going on? I sure was not getting bonus points from Prudence by slowing her down. My ego was also suffering. BUT THE GOOD NEWS...NO ACHILLES ISSUES! The shoes, the shoes the shooooooes. Problem solved guess I will use the montrails as slippers or something.

The area is pretty popular with a lot of tourists but that was not too bad as we continued to climb. I was thankful when we completed the first ascent and now for some downhill...Prudence and trusting Sophie where off ahead..it was fun to watch them take off and head out of sight on the way to a series of lakes. All of the sudden I caught up with Prudence..she had her knee buckle and it hurt! That sucks cause there are some races in the near future. She is tough and wanted to continue to Meeks..but we did the right thing and hike out without doing any more damage. We made it back to Bayview and headed back to her house..I am thinking her knee will be ok.

For me I hope to hang out again with her. She seems like a neat person. I do need to improve in my running if I want to hang with her though...a good test. Life sure does seem like a series of tests...till next week.


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Running at 6000ft..tough but fun

What is becoming a annual summer passage (well...its my 2nd) head to Squaw Valley the first weekend in August for the Mountain Run.

This a short run really...3.6 miles BUT with 2000 feet of elevation climb. I love the slower pace in Squaw Village and cooler temps then in the Saramento Valley so off I went early Friday...

I ran early friday morning in Rocklin..short only about 4 miles then a little work. I was to meet up with Prudence later in the afternoon for a run and catch a bite of dinner..Upon arrival I decided to run up from the start of WS towards High Camp..Gad at 6200 feet it was tough on my lungs. I sure was working hard on this short 2 mile climb..I made it back down feeling a bit leery to run about 6pm..but that changed when Prudence called. She had not run at all since her 2nd pace finish at White River so I felt it would be ok for my third short run of the day. She kicked my butt! We did manage to run on some nice trail and see some stunning views. That said it was time for dinner..being that the race did not start till 9am the next day I thought what the heck 2 gin and tonics with dinner. We had a good time but I was thinking..hmmm my legs where a bit tired.

Saturday morning was a blast even though I felt tired and stomach a bit woozy I caught up with Mark and Rena, Mark Murray was there as well..There where over 400 runners there and some very fast ones to boot..Caitlin Smith was there and Mark was worried about running well. I just wanted to get to the top!

Rena and I started off the race together but I quickly let her go We climbed right off the bat..It was quite. I was breathing hard but my legs where tired from Fridays three runs...It was gonna be a long time getting to the top. I just settled into a pace where I wanted to try and run harder at the 3mile mark. As I got to the 2mile mark..I looked at my watch and said..well the first runners should be done right now... I was right but I still had work to do..

Finally at the top we got our beer mugs hung out with everyone then off to Watson's Monument..I was tired but needed to see this stretch for the first time ever.. Rena took me up the escarpment...dang if that is not a heck of a steep climb..She says its worse on race day if it is icy..I was thinking..I have to run another 96miles I am no way ready!

The runners..Me, Rena, Mark Lantz, Caitlin Smith, Mark Murray

We all ran back from Watson's where it was time to enjoy the day.

Mark and Rena treated Mark Murray and I to dinner for us supporting them at WS..it was great..right on the Truckee river. I ran or should I say walked back up to high camp on Sunday morning with Rena..I was tired. All in all three days of fun, really a lot of running..I look forward to the challenge States will pose

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lazy Summer Days, A return to running and shoe review

Many of the trails near Auburn and Foresthill are busy highways from January to June with many gearing towards Western States. After states life on the trails gets a bit slower..not so many runners (though there are a lot of races still to be had..) the excitement wears down. Granted over the last 5 years or so there have been a huge increase in the Auburn Recreation area with hikers, folks heading to the river to cool off, mtn bikers all seeing these areas for the first time...While I a happy to see this increased use I kind of want to see it a bit more unspoiled, less people, less informational signs, no cars at trail heads...Can't stop progress right?

Next weekend on the states trail is the Tevis Cup...the race that started it all..I watch video of those horses and their riders climbing on these trails and am amazed at this level of effort. It will be too bad that I will be at Squaw Valley for the Mountain Run. I have never scene the finish of Tevis and it is on my list of things to do...If your in Auburn next weekend be sure to check this race out.

Yesterday I went over to Auburn Running to meet up for the revised Auburn Running training group runs..I got there a few minutes late but the run turned out fine just as well. It was my longest run since Western States...I had lost that charge after states and it was good to feel focused once more on a run. The run was only 14 miles from the store down to StageCoach and then up to Cool and back...But it had me going consistant..not fast nor trying to blow over my max heart rate, so I was happy about that. I did get to see a few runners in the early morning and also test out my new Montrail Mountain Masochist trail shoes!

Montrail Mountain Masochist

Mark,Rena and Erik had all raved about this shoe so I had to order a pair. Overall the shoe is very nice. I was very happy with the fit in the heel right off the bat. Snug fit in the heel and a wide toe box which I like. There is not as much forefoot cushioning as in the Mizuno but I got over that pretty fast. With three runs on these shoes it appears like it could be part of my running gear to review for next years use at States. I will see how they work with the montrail shoe inserts I use in other shoes. That may change the overall feel for the shoe making it hard to run in but will see.

As I said next weekend is the short mountain run at Squaw Valley...looking forward to tahoe area once more.

Have a good week...Tony

Monday, July 20, 2009

Crewing at Tahoe Rim Trail 100--Long but fun

This years addition of the Tahoe Rim Trail running series..50k,50mi and 100mile had just as much drama as last years if not a bit more. I got a chance to unwind after my week long annual software user confernce in San Diego. Those that know me understand that that conference is hard on me. Non-Stop talking, joining clients with solution teams, business partners, attending socials etc..only leaves me exhausted and ready for a long weekend of not seeing or talking to anyone...ie decompress from the event. Instead, it was off to the Tahoe Rim. It proved fun and rewarding...I am still tired but happy.

TRT is the 100mile National Championships. It is a tough race, elevation, heat and a brutal course. Crews have access at Mt. Rose and at the start/finish-Spooner Lake. This allows a lot of time for crews to mingle and have fun waiting for there runners. This is a good event to crew for sure!

I arrived early at Mt. Rose after quickly packing for a day of fun in the Tahoe area.
I made it to Mt. Rose after the first 100milers went through. I was to meet up with Mark Lantz and Rena Schumann. I would help where needed. Mark was crewing early for Erik Skaden, then pace Skaden and Rena was to pace Bree Lambert from Mt. Rose to the finish. At Mt. Rose..I ran into Jonathon Bernard's girlfriend Linda Barton and I introduced myself..that was nice to finally meet up. She was crewing Monica Ochs from Seattle. About that time I saw Kate Evens...Rob's wife she was towing along Forest the wonder dog for the day...Forest and I would have a lot of time together as the day went on. Rob came through in 7th place and looking really good at his first stop at Mt. Rose. He would really prove himself later in the day...Mark Gilligan came through as the first 50miler to arrive and he was fresh and happy. Temps where starting to rise and the sun at elevation is pretty intense. Things would get a lot harder for the lead 100milers soon.

I hightailed it down to Spooner Lake to meet up with Mark and Rena. Having had no time for food I knew that the TRT staff would have a great burrito spread at the finish line for the 50k and 50milers..These are great volunteers by the way and offer a lot of support for this event. I was able to donate to the food service and grab a monster plate of food..Here I got to run into Prudence L'Heureux, turns out she was helping crew Bree so we had alot to chat about...

Me and My big plate of food..thanks TRT Staff!

Prudence and Me hanging at Spooner

Images courtesy of Prudence L'Heureux

After the big lunch..it was time to head to lake and wait for the 100milers to come through and see the finish of the 50k and 50milers. TRT is such a fun race to watch with opportunity to hang at the lake..try and sample one of the finisher beers they supply and talk running..Kate Evens was set up and waiting for Rob. Forest was the bomb and everyone enjoyed taking turns playing with him. Nerves where a plenty as Mark Lantz waited for Skaden. He had been 3 or 4th place at the 25mile turn with some gifted runners in front. Mark indicated that was the plan and he was on course. Mark was right...Skaden came through first at the 50mile turn...He looked ok a little hot with the rising temps..He made a rapid turn out. The 2nd place runner came in 15minutes behind..but for some reason he did not want to head out and chase Erik, 3rd and 4th appeared the same while Ian Torrence looked a little injured but he would come on strong later. With now one really chasing it was up to Skaden to make it to Mt. Rose and have Mark bring him in. 20minutes off pace was Rob Evens..he looked really good and picked up his pacer Jasper Halekas (Jasper is one gifted runner out of Oakland, and just finished an impressive run at WS finishing 3rd)..this was going to challange Skaden the most..two gifted runners (one pacing) to reel him in. Wow this was gonna be fun...

Mark Gilligan in the meantime finished the 50mile in First Place! He is off to Mount Blanc next month so this was a great tune up for him.

Mark celebrating with family..a great win.

All talk about the upcoming race duties as we got ready to head to Mt. Rose

Mark Gilligan, Mark Lantz, Kevin Swisher hanging at Spooner..

As we waited at Mt. Rose in the early evening Rena was getting ready to pace Bree. She was ready early making sure she would bring out the best for her. Bree was in first place at the 50mile marker and had a friend pacing to Mt. Rose. It was her friends first attempt at running like this while Rena the ever present professional runnner ready to contribute where needed. Talk for me then revolved around food and getting some folks excited to hit a nice dinner in Incline Village after crew duties where done at the 78mile mark...Forest and Prudence's dog both entertained chasing a tennis ball in the field. The view from Mt. Rose is great with a large meadow the runners come through on the way to the aid station..We all awaited for runners to arrive around 7:30...Not to long and we spotted the orange Montrail Jersey of Skaden in the meadow! All alone he arrived..

Skaden actually smiling as we get him ready..or is that a grimice :)

At this point Mark was ready and took charge to get him to the finish..Erik had a few issues but for a guy having run WS three weeks ago he was doing great..only question could he hold off who was in second place...It turned out that the leaders all suffered big time...all but Rob Evens! Rob was in second place! He arrived with Jasper 30minutes behind Erik. It was going to be a great finish! Kate was all excited..though Forest could care less..he was busy burrowing for insects in the field..We awaited for Bree and send off Rena..Bree came in first women at 10:30pm! Rena was set to go when Bree's first pacer said she was not needed and she would take her in...I can understand that as she was friends with Bree..but at the same time Rena was ready to go and much more experienced than Brees pacer. Rena was very understanding about the situation and had briefed Bree that if she wanted to go on that she would be fine..It was a nice gesture on Rena's part to keep the dynamic going with Bree and her pacer. With all that done it was now time for some dinner...Dang it was too late..Rena, Prudance and crew and I made a bee line for Incline but really not much open so late..We managed a trip to the 7-11 for an elegent dinner of coffe that tasted like cigarette butts, some beef jerky (Forest btw loved the jerky more than I) and a apple fritter..hmmmm good fixins..Time to head to the finish!

Nervous we all where but tired too..We got to Spooner about midnight and headed down. Prudence had her sleeping bag and crashed..Kate and I hung with Forest who was looking for all the jerky he could find. Rena had a beer and was dancing to the hawaiian music in the background...about 1am we heard word that the first runner had passed a checkpoint..rumors abounded that Rob had cut the lead to 7minutes! Skaden's number came up from the checkpoint and we awaited to see the headlamps dance from across the lake...Finally at 1:27 we saw some lights approaching the finish..Kate nervous..She shouts out into the dark..to name who it is...Mark Lantz shouts out...SKADEN! Skaden won the race in 20:27....Kate was not really too disappointed..shortly after we hear that Rob was making his way in..2nd Place! Winner of the masters race for USATF! 20minutes back..it was great. Erik was in good spirits and thanked us..

So much race to come it was time for sleep..after 2hours of sleep in the car I came down at 4:30am to see Bree finish first. I was done. Sun coming up I packed up and drove back down the hill to Rocklin. A great day..Some inspiration as I get ready for WS next year. I came away ready to prepare and looking forward to all that awaits..Next up the fun Mountain Trail Run at Squaw Aug. 1

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Post Western States Funk

Hi all it has been two weeks since Western States and all the excitement. I must admit to being a little less focused these last two weeks with a kind of let down not having the big race right on the door step so to speak.

After being up for 33hrs the next work day I was a mess. All I wanted to do when I went to the office in Sacramento on Monday was talk about the race. Note to self...next year I am going to take the whole week off after Western States and recharge the body and brain. No sense not being being at work and not being productive.

July 4th was a fun filled day with a little bit of drama thrown in for fun. I started the July 4th day by heading to Sacramento and working at the Buffalo Chips annual FREE 4th of July 5mile race. My assignment as usual was traffic control at an intersection to keep about 400 runners safe. This race has been going on for 30 years in the same neigbhorhood..8am on the 4th. Flyers sent to all in the area notifying them of this. Most folks are really supportive and patient as I have them wait for runners to pass. Well I said most...I had a very rude, impatient female driver that decided to try and mingle her car with the lead pack! I had to run to get her to notice me and pulled her over. Lucky she did stop but that did not stop her mouth from running for a long time while I held her back from trying to drive her car through the rest of the runners.
Lucky for me I headed over to Rob and Kate Evens house later for a 4th of July party. It was all talk about WS..I was the slowest runners in attendence. Nichols, Lantz, Rena, Jasper, Prudence, Andy, Victor..I was out of my league. Still fun though.

Overall, running has been hard...The legs are not tired at all...just the post event let down. Everyone is coming back to running shape again so not a lot of group runs taking place..I did sign up for my second attempt at the Squaw Mountain Run August 1..I love heading up to Squaw for this and enjoy this laid back short race straight up the mountain to high camp. I am also looking at the 100k or double marathon for the Sierra Nevada Run in late September..


Then next edition will be a little more fun and full of energy....See you on the trails. Tony

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Western States 2009 Review

Before I begin my review I want to say with a heavy heart that the Weekend was a bit subdued at times to mourn the passing of Dan Moores. One of the bright spots was seeing the ribbons on race day shirts of the runners and all the auburn running shirts out there to show that Dan was a very special person and we will all miss him.

Sorry folks no pictures so to speak even after arriving at Squaw Valley Thursday before the race. This was a great event to be a part of and I hope all of you get a chance to participate or watch the race some day.

I met up with John Nichols on Thursday afternoon in Auburn after I had stopped at Auburn Running to checkin on the buzz happening at the store. It was packed with runners just wanting to buy last minute things or chat about the race..a good feeling. Nichols and me made it to Squaw Valley and pulled into race central to see standing outside Karyn Hoffman and other runners we know..Race Central felt like home..you know many of the folks walking around or these would be soon to be new friends since you where all there for WS. Rena Schumann and Mark Lantz had been there since Wed....Mark was all nerves and hoping for a top 10 finish. Friday morning had us all making our way to the runner check in, and purchase of WS gear. Such a happy time for all with the view of the startline and hills to climb right from the start. We all had put in a lot of $$ for raffle tickets in hopes of securing one of three slots for 2010. These would go to a select group of friends if my tickets would be drawn..For some reason I was confident we would get the draw. The major discussion was about the predicted heat in the valley below predicted for Saturday.

Friday evening I has asked Nichols if he wanted to go get some dinner..he initially said no. He would have some powerbars for dinner etc..He did join me and his crew member Gus as we went out..As soon as he saw the all you can eat WS dinner special he changed his mind...Dang Nichols three plates of pasta and a full side of chicken wings turned out to be his pre race meal! We all joked that he better bring extra toilet paper on race day!

Saturday Morning started at 3am with a wakeup for Nichols..The race starts at 5am the time flew by to the start. I finally got a bit of nerves as I watched the runners line up in the dark. I was thinking about Dan, and my chance to toe the line next year. With the gun off they went..And our day began. I quickly packed up and got the gear ready for my drive to Robinson Flat...I was to meet Nichols there. I arrived at Robinson about 9am. I ran into Mark Lantz's parents there and they where nervous for Mark since they know he just loves the competition. Robinson was a huge party! There must have been 200-300 people all waiting for their runners to come through. Dave Mackey and Hal Kroener came through first, Jurek looked comfortable in third. Lantz came flying up and about 40minutes off the lead in 15th place..Just as we started working on him Skaden blew by without stopping. Lantz had a blister and stopped to work on that then was off. I waited for Nichols and he passed through about 11:20am he was scrapped up after a fall. It was heating up by then with temps in the high 70's at 6000ft. As I was leaving I saw Jenn Shelton..the gifted young runner who gets a lot of press..she was done for the day. I could see it in her eyes and would find out later that I was right...many more would drop as the day wore on.

Next up for me was get to Bath Road...This is the Auburn Running Store aid station..about 2miles from Foresthill School. Here there was a large picture of Dan Moores on a story board. Runners where asked to sign the board as they passed through...it was a nice gesture. Here I had gator and fruit for Skaden and Lantz. Skaden came in first and was at 11th place..he looked good and was feeling ok..The temps where now well into 90's at 3:30pm. Mark was about 20minutes behind Skaden and in 13th place..He was worried about others catching him. His main competition was Andy Jones Wilkes who was about 6minutes ahead. I told him to focus on catching him and keep moving.

With these duties now done I headed back to Foresthill and mile 62 aid station and began my waiting for Rena Schumann. We had talked early that it might be about 7pm when she would arrive. Most runners with the heat where all registering about one hour or more behind their projected times. Jurek had dropped at Devils, Mackey was hanging by a thread to the river and the drop list was nearly equal to the remaining runners on the course. Reports where slow on where runners where and I had heard Rena was on course to arrive at FH about 8:50pm. It would be a long night with headlamps from the start...Rena had some friends from work that showed up and I talked with them when Rena came into sight about 9pm...She was ok..had some issues at Devils and El Dorado. But she was moving and that was fine..We got out of FH about 9:12pm..headlamps blazing. She was not feeling too well and was tired. This would be the theme for the night.

From FH we started the slow downhill strides and got used to the headlamps and tunnel vision it brings. It was slow going but we started to pick off a lot of runners. We saw Karyn Hoffman near Cal1. Rena was moving along pretty good on this stretch and it was a very strong consistant running pace as we moved passed more runners. She had some issues with dry heaves now and we had to stop and focus on getting that better as we got close to the climb to cal3(fords bar)...We approached cal3 and wondered where the aid station was! It had moved down the trail about a half mile...it made the run to the river only 4.5miles that was nice. But things where getting tough for Rena and the stomach.

We kept it moving to the river..it was about 2am now and it was amazing to hold on to the cable and move slowly across. The volunteers standing in the river to help where the bomb! As we crossed to Farside Rena changed her shoes and we saw Karyn Hoffman come up from the river..that was the last time we saw Karyn it was tough out there... I had to really begin to get Rena to keep moving and there where streches where she ran strong then had to stop and cough etc...We had a very good stetch with Ling Ru and her pacer Pete Defty..I lead a group for a couple of miles and felt Rena had a strong stetch. At ALT Rena had her lowest point. It was now about 3:30 I was telling her to just focus on 3miles per hour and get in by 9:30am. She wanted to stop and take sleep against a tree. I just could not let her do that. We where hitting the splits I set for her and just wanted her to keep moving. Lots of talking on my part and focusing her on run and walk stretches. The ALT med folks suggested she take it easy since she was dry heaving and wanting to sleep. Knowing Rena that is not what she would really want that..We took a few extra minutes here and moved on to Browns..She ran really well to Browns Bar (maybe her best yet) she was revived a bit and the Hashers Aid Station was busy at about 6:30 the sun was up and that helped her mood.

Push on to HWY 49..here we had her last med check and weigh in she was up about 3 lbs since ALT and the nurse was questioning that...Rena was ok..not puffy yet and going to the bathroom so I pushed to get her through to the finish. Rena perked up a ton as we ran down to NoHands bridge...blasting some AC/DC she got all charged and as we checked in two runners looked back to see us and said..."We knew you two would catch us"! She flew through there like a rock star...She was running really strong. In fact it was kind of hard to keep up with her...when you pace you take on the runners strides etc..and when you suddenly pick up the pace it is hard to get the legs to react.

Near Robie point we saw Tim Twitemeyer running down to no hands..he was all smiles and excited. His assignment was to get the remainder runners into the finish that where close to the 30hour cut off...he was great as I watched him later help those folks out..pretty neat.

We got Rena to the track at 9:23am ahead of my 9:30 prediction! That was the bomb. Mark was there with his 9th place finish to see Rena cross as where his parents. I was a mess!

It was a great experience and helped me understand what 28 hours of running looks like..I am happy to have helped out and look forward to next year.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Little Humor leading up to Western States...

Watch this its really pretty funny..and does have some sick fun humor..Tony

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

10 Days till the track meet and my duties

Just a stroll through Volcano Creek..heading up to Bath Road and FH School..

Only 10 Days till this years addition of Western States 100! I have been off travelling the midwest for a week and it is good to be back near the Western States excitement. Right now it appears that below normal temperatures will the biggest thing facing runners this year. It has been COLD in relative terms here in NoCal...This should make it easier for all runners and push the leaders to a new course record.
Now who would I look to placing in the top 5? In no real order...

Mike Wolfe, Jasper Hakelas, Michael Wardrian, Eric Grossman and Graham Cooper.

For the women..I see Nikki Kimbell being the one to beat. Jenny Cappel and Caren Spore may suprise and crack in the top 5, Bev Abbs will race well and Jenn Shelton will fade to a finish in the top 6-10.

Of the locals I hope that Skaden can pull off a top 5 but the fied is deep. Pulling for Mark Lantz to beat out the dreaded Dean Karnazes...(YUCK!) Do not get me started on him and how he got into this years race what a piece of work. I hope that he is not in 2010! Lantz has been running great all year and seems poised for a great race..He will be challanging Andy Jones Wilkes and others for top mens masters it is a deep field..

So many others to mention...John Nichols, Charley Jones, Mike and Karyn Hoffman, Marty Hoffman, Ken Crouse, Karalee Morris, Wayne Miles, Bill Finkbeiner who the heck is not running????

Well I will be pacing Rena Schumann for the third time and picking her up at Foresthill Mile 62 for the final 38. Rena has been doing fine this season and is poised to finish her 9th meaning next year is an automatic entry to go after her 10th finish! We have not talked specifics but I am guessing that she will arrive about 7 or 8pm in Foresthill and from there off we go. I want to keep her pace easy as we move through the early evening towards the river crossing. So about 4hours would be in my mind the right pace..though she can easily hit 3:30 to the river I would like her to start really knocking off runners between green gate and Auburn Lake Trail Aid Station...She could pull a sub 24 if things are on we will see..
Rena running up from NoHands...

Here are two pics from Western States Training Camp Runs..images by Joe McCaddie

Friday, May 29, 2009

A Great Montage Running Clip...

This has been making the rounds since its release..Check it out and share it with your non running friends..maybe they will get the trail bug as well!..Enjoy Tony

UltraRunning from Matt Hart on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Day 3 Western States Running Camp-Screaming the downhills

Having a long day on Day 1 of Western States and not getting home until 7:30 after hanging out with Rena, Mark Murray, Jen Pheifer and others at the school. I took it easy Sunday morning and focused on returning to day 3 Greengate to Placer High School.

Monday had less crowds with only about 160 folks running this stretch..This stretch total mileage from the bus drop off and run to GG was about 22 miles. Everyone took it easy on this stretch in the early on and I did the same. The legs where warming up after about 4 miles and then some of the best cruising on the WS trail takes place as you enter Auburn Lake Trails and continue on to Browns Bar. Here I got to see a lot of different types of runners. For some it was their first day and others it was their 3rd and last day to run. You could tell who was there all three days by their running style. It seemed a bit more focused on steady movement. I was taking some mental notes of this form. I was starting to feel like I was now part of the Western States Running Family...I was staying within and not wasting effort on running too hard, fueling at the right times. It felt nice..
After slowly climing up quarry trail to hwy 49 and began the downhill to NoHands Bridge I was running with three others in front. The 3miles are gentle and runnable..I decided to test the legs here and open it up..I flew down for a mile and felt great! This told me alot about my condition. I was happy with that test and took it easy to Nohands and then up robie to the finish. It was by no means fast but that was not the point. The legs and mind where fine. It gave me a bit of hope leading up to my pacing duties from Foresthill this year and as I hit the full on training cycle to Western States 2010.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Western States Training Run-Day 1 Robinson Flat

Western States Memorial Weekend Training Runs...A tradition like no other. I have run days two and three but never the first day. Robinson Flat to Foresthill. Really was a fantastic day!

With all the advertising I arrived early in Foresthill and had a chance to hang out with a ton of folks as we waited to get on the bus for the ride up to Robinson Flat. Saturday is day one and is comprised of 32 miles of running. Beginning at Robinson Flat at about 6000 feet we head down to tradional aid stations Dusty Corners, the old mining town of Last Chance, a nice pause at Swinging Bridge, Up Devils Thumb, ramble on down from Deadwood to El Dorado Creek (SWEET!) one more climb to aid at Michigan Bluff and take it to the barn through Volcano Canyon to the finish at the elementry school.

Foresthill School--Registration Area:

I would guess we had about 300 people taking part. I saw many friends along the way...The biggest enterance was the ELITE Runners...Seems Graham Cooper's dad driving a sweet Lexus SUV was shuttling a group of top runners from Drivers Flat to Robinson. The Lexus SUV arrives at the school and out pops top contenders at this years race either top ten or age group placers....Skaden, Cooper, Lantz and others jump out..it was like a Hollywood Production! How funny the joke was they all just needed their Superman Capes to complete the picture.

Robinson Flat was covered in Snow and we had a train of folks moving through the snow fields for the First Mile.

SNOW at Robinson Flat, Me, Mike and Karyn Hoffman hitting the snow!

We where rewarded after that mile with spectacular single track downhill running with stunning views on our way to Dusty Corners.

Me and Rena at Dusty Corners Aid--9miles in.

I had missed Rena after we got off the bus but no worry, there was time to talk to new folks from all over the country..So many just amazed at these trails and telling me they where jealous to have this so close by. The party was moving along past the first aid station at Dusty Corners..Rena got there about a minute before me and it was really slow for the first 9miles. I was feeling ok but legs did not feel too fresh...(I had two back to back speed workouts during the week). Dusty Corners to Last Chance was stunning..

I thought it would have more climbs but really was gently rolling downhill to Swinging Bridge..I started to hear folks along the way say..man my quads are hurting with all this downhill.

Swinging Bridge was about 16miles into the run as we all took time out to grab cold water from the waterfall..cold and it tasted good. We would need it as we began the climb up Devils Thumb. This was MY CRATER MOMENT of the day...My calves where tired and I slugged it up Devils in about 52minutes..SOOOOO SLOW. I was wondering what I could do the rest of the way. I am thankful for the aid station at Deadwood..I had run out of gel by then and needed this station to get some energy back in.

Taking a Dip at El Dorado Creek...

The downhill to El Dorado Creek was in the max heat of the day..it was only about 70 but still sunny and warm..I got the legs moving again and felt good running down to the Creek. Come race day that creek will save many as you have a chance to cool off the body and legs. This proved the same for me today...I moved up Michigan Bluff after my dip feeling good. I was way off schedule as I hit MB but managed a solid 1:30 down and up the canyon to the school..I even had a strong sprint down foresthill road. It was a long day...but nice to be out among friends..Taking today off then back to the training run on Monday from Greengate to the WS Finish.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Hours in the Canyons, No Time for the Road

Yesterday marked one more day in the Canyons. I was signed up for Quicksilver near San Jose yesterday but bagged that after a week of driving back and forth during the work week from that area. I just could not face another 3 hour drive this week. So a 50minute drive to Michigan Bluff and a 6 hour run was the ticket.

This week had me suffering during all the climbs today. The legs had no energy no matter what I did. This included a few more gels and a slower pace. Most of these low energy efforts on these long runs come from two sources. When I get too busy at work I tend to not eat well during the week, either not enough calories or quality (sometimes both), the second habit I have been getting into has been work long hours, return home if I am travelling and not go run as much during the week. These low quality fitness weeks really hurt me. I have been thinking of altering this a bit with some early morning runs instead of immediately starting to work at 5am etc..
I have also developed a haibt of not wanting to run at all on the roads near my house..this builds to lower miles during the week. Again a slight change in attitude can cure this.

The rest of the day in Michigan Bluff was nice as I had some aid station support set up for runners heading on to Foresthill. Always nice to help out.

Looking forward to the first day of the Western States training weekend in two weeks.
The run from Robinson Flat--if there is no snow, to FH will be nice. It should be a zoo out there and I get a chance to meet some new runners...


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Week 2 in the Canyons-Lots of Folks and good talk

This is a short note this morning. A second weekend of running from Michigan Bluff to Swinging Bridge and back. Its a short 18 but a lot of downhill and uphill making this a good training run for the future...Which had me thinking today as I was slowly moving up from the river to the deadwood cemetary. The phrase "you have to walk before you can run". This day was cold in the mid 30's as I arrived to see Rena getting ready for our run starting at Michigan Bluff. She of course was greeted by the dog mayor of MB--Archie. We where later joined by Karyn Hoffman and made our way down to the river with me in the lead..not to comfy with that but I knew I would slow down once I started my climb...I had my second sighting of Rory this week...a very graceful runner as she was heading down on her way to Last Chance..She sure made a impression on all of us runners out there by her ease in which she ran..No chance for any real talk here but one day :)

As the climb began I let Rena and Karyn go and focused on me improving my time to the cemetary..About this time I spotted Bill Finkbeiner, Wayne Miles and Mike Huff running and powerwalking from behind..I let them catch me and pass...I then jumped on their train since I figured I could learn something here..which I did and the climb to Deadwood was much better than last week! As we chatted at the water pump and then made our way to Devils Thumb and the downhill to swinging bridge I was feeling better and comfortable. Once the downhill started Bill and Wayne just smoked me and ran very lightly on the steep descent. I was running too rigid and slow to keep up..note to self (better downhill running please)..Heading up from the bridge was Paul Charteris taking "action" photos' of all of us as ran down..I stopped and chatted with him and swung on down to the bridge, Rena, Karyn, Bill and Wayne where waiting..they where all turning back so off we went. I stuck with them for a short while and we ran into Mark Lantz,Eric Skaden and Marty Hoffman..It was a real running party out there! Feeling better as I got to the top but with the same time as last week I ran much better from the Waterpump down to the river more speed and relaxed. That just left the climb to MB..Well that was better but not by much..some running but still a slow time..As I said I have to walk before I can run...As I got to MB my time was much better than last week and I felt pretty good. Being in the busy city of Michigan Bluff..population hmmm about 100? which includes at least 15 dogs and horses! We had a chance to talk to a few locals as we waited for Lantz and Skaden..that was fun. More of the same next week...Tony

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Welcome to the Canyons-Michigan Bluff to Swinging Bridge

A Day in the Canyons...Last weekend was prelude to see where I am at with my climbing legs. Today had all the climbing and downhill to test the quads. Weekends this year have been pretty cool. On this day a little more heat. I had planned my run to be shorter than others that where starting from Foresthill this morning. I swung by the school about 6:30am to get some water from Ken Crouse that wanted me to drop it at Michigan Bluff. I had a cooler full of coke, water, gatoraid, ice and gels for friends today since my car was going to be at Michigan they could use it for the final 6 miles to Foresthill. At FH Jen Pheifer arrived shortly after for her first run on these trails in two years..hmmm Western States this year? Rena and Jamie Frink showed a few minutes later..so three groups heading out from FH headed towards MB as I drove off...It was cool and sunny in Michigan Bluff..Archie the unofficial mayor of the dogs at MB greeted me. Michigan Bluff is a old gold mining settlement with about 15 houses dogs wonder the streets and you can always have a coverstation with the handful of residents. Its is also a major aid station come Western States day so everyone there seems really friendly towards runners.

Michigan Bluff to El Dorado creek is 2.8 miles of downhill and is a nice warm up...but let me tell you the return is hard! I forgot all the climbing to the abandoned mining down of Deadwood (all that is left is a cemetary). I was not comfortable running at all from the creek to Deadwood and the water pump that is there.
The Community of Michigan Bluff--Mile 55.7 Western States

But I kept thinking I wanted to do the hard work today which meant getting down devils and back up. The stretch from the creek to deadwood though all it does is climb is stunning and quite...I was moving slow but that was ok. I hit the water pump and as I was heading to Devils..I heard voices behind..it was Jenn and her group...they started about 7 from FH and had 6 extra miles to run..there they where. That was cool they where turning back at the pump for about a 26mile training run.
Temps where starting to rise now as I headed to Devil's Thumb and the descent to Swinging Bridge..it was going to be tough coming back up.

Devil's Thumb-Western States 47.8--A tough climb

The run down to swinging bridge via the Thumb is switchbacks and very rocky, roots all over..It is slow running downhill here and took me over 28minutes to make it down the approx..1.5 miles. At the bottom you are awarded a stunning bridge and roaring spring runnoff of the american river. As I stopped a rather attractive young women came blowing past me to the bridge! I am thinking dang she is moving fast. She stopped long enough to say hi and exchange running plans..I was amazed since she only had two bottles and a few gels for her run from MB to Last Chance and back. Sure would be nice to see her again! I turned here and started the climb back up to Devils. This is the steepest climb on race day at Western States so I best get really used to this. I was alone pretty much to this point but then a ton of runners (about 12 I lost count) where all heading down as I was going up. I said hi and kept on my climb..no running at all on this and it took me 43minutes to the top. I was tired but felt good still..I geled up at the top and took off for my return to the water pump and the downhill to the final climb from El Dorado to MB.

Swinging Bridge-At the base of Devils Thumb

The run back was slow and the quads where shot on the long downhill to El Dorado. I saw a few runners here but kept moving. The final climb up to Michigan Bluff had me whinning internaly as I approached the last half mile. It had been a long day.
Today..still a bit tired but thinking this should be my long run on Saturdays for the next couple of weeks..Get very comfortable with this stretch and build the climbing legs...Tony

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Last weekends trip to the canyons

Elevation Profile of 12 mile run from Foresthill to Michigan Bluff(and back) on WS

Last weekend I did the same post American River 50 workout as did the previous year. It was to help me understand where I am and need to be for June 2010. That said the course as the profile describes has some all the elements that will help me run better...lots of up and lots of down. Overall, I had a much better experience on the course than last year. I had set out with Rena, Kate and Karyn (they where headed all the way to Devils Thumb). It was cold as can be..must have been in the high 30's but as we started moving it turned out to be a glorious day. It was nice to be on this section of trail..so much history and less traffic, never a lot of day hikers etc..just folks training for Western States. After we crossed the creek at the bottom of Volcano I let the women go ahead and I wanted to focus on my own pace and see where things where at for me...They went ahead. I really enjoyed the stillness as I climbed up and out of the canyon..Per last year I took the one wrong turn as I headed to Michigan Bluff..dang. I ended up on the road to MB got to the small settlement of Michigan Bluff and no sign of the women... I thought that odd but hung out for a few minutes then went back on the correct path to Foresthill..Here I ran into Rena and company..they took a different wrong turn and doubled back. Seems we all do this on the first run in this section. John Nichols and Charley Jones came through as well. On the return I slowed down and my legs where feeling heavy.

This weekend I am planning on running from Michigan Bluff to Swinging Bridge or Last Chance and back..this will be about 6 hours of running. I am planning on going on my own but will surely see a few folks along the way.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A few images of American River 50mile

Still Kinda Fresh--About 13miles in along the American River..

About mile 37 finally on Trail..Just passed Buzzards Cove Aid Station..I soon would be running better...

The finish...Not Pretty but a Western States Qualifying Time...

What did I do the week after AR?

I will be posting some official photo's from AR soon. But I thought I would share a bit of what happend the following days after American River 50mile...

First, I was a total piece of toast on Sunday Morning and in fact all day. Saturday's post race victory dinner consisted of graham crackers and a large glass of milk! It was all I could really muster as I tried to focus on watching the ncaa semifinal game...It seems that my mind and body after a 50mile race have a tough time focusing on things..I had even planned to get my taxes completed on Sunday but that turned into a total NO..This began the typical two day period that has me feeling really tired and not moving well after being idile sitting down. Kinda like the marathon shuffle...by Monday I was ready to eat kinda normal again and enjoyed shoveling down some sushi and a ton of rice at lunch.
My overall feeling aside from a smashed toenail recovered well by the middle of the week and my weekly deep tissue massage actually felt pretty good. All the while during the week I had been reviewing my performance at AR and where and why I lost focus...It also afforded me to really think of the 1 year training cycle for Western States 2010 that will begin the Monday after WS...

Emails started to flow about this weekends training run from Foresthill to Last Chance and back...I am leaning towards FH to Michigan Bluff and back as my recovery run and intro to the canyons...Last year that same course the week after AR was really slow..I will see how I compare.
One last thought and important note to self: I need to convert my first floor home office to a full bedroom...prior to WS. I just can't handle those stairs..I have two empty bedrooms upstairs that easily can be my office...save my legs!


Sunday, April 5, 2009

A tail of 3 races--American River 50Mile

A Little Tired after AR

Mark and Rena..Looking a heck of a lot better than I...

It really was a nice day to run along the river to Auburn yesterday. The day began way too early as I awoke at 2:45am and then catch the bus from the finish to the start at 6am in Sacramento. The course had a few changes with some additional trail and climbing..200 more runners on the course. The start was not so bad as I thought it would be and off we went. I saw Rena, Jenn Pheifer, Ernie and a cast of others as the sun began to rise.

In my prediction I wanted to keep things low and slow..that kinda happened for the first 19miles but it was a very uneven pace ranging from 8:50 to 10minute miles along the bike path. It felt easy and I was a bit concerned as I hit Nimbus 7minutes ahead of schedule. I had been taking 2 scaps per hour and one roctane every 45minutes...this seemed to work early on...As we hit the trai and the bluffs I took it down a bit and held that pace as I went through Negro Bar...I was a little bit uncomfortable as I hit Beals and here I started to take way too long at the Aid Station..nearly 7minutes as I filled my hip pack with more roctane etc.. At Beals I was right on the mark I predicted 4:50. But I was not feeling strong..This was the first third of my race..

As I left Beals to head to Granite Bay and Buzzards I started to have slower than expected times..the sun was full force and temps rising. I kind of lost focus past Granite Bay and wondered dam..is it a long way to Buzzards today...This was my low moment of the race. I was thinking I just want to stop running all the time..not run Western etc..Finally I was at Buzzards (20minutes behind schedule..) Yet as I stood at the Buzzards Aid Station and facing the toughest stretch of course things began to change...

This third portion of the race from Buzzards to the Finish was the bomb! My pace quickened, I started to really focus as I pushed through the rocky sections between buzzards and Rattle Snake..I was back! Running well. I was only passing people and not being passed. This sure was not the case last year and I was happy...Hitting Rattle I was ready to tackle the final section to the river and that was met with conistant steady focused running..I kept passing folks from 41 to the river..I recall a women that was on the trail running and not wanting me to pass her..she wanted to talk and all I could think of was get the heck out of my way...I was not polite but after being on the trail all day it was time to finish and get to the final 3.2 mile climb from the river...As I hit the river I was HUNGRY..or at least my stomach thought so..I had not had anything from Buzzards except water and a SCAP here I looked at my watch and thought I am behind my goal pace but well under my Qualifying time so might as well enjoy it a bit..I talked a little on the steep climb with someone then ran to last gasp and from there it was walk/run...As I approached the finish..I thought it was slower than last year but I ran a much stronger final 19miles than I have ever run..I was feeling good about that..I did spend too much time at Aid Stations past beals..The watch stopped at a turtle pace of 10:35. Western States Qualifier now complete..The real work begins now..

Mark and Rena stuck around the whole time..they hade finished 4 and 2 hours prior but it was nice to see them at the finish..This years finishers jacket is super sweet!
Post Race..I had tough time eating/or wanting to after the race...and did manage breakfast this morning. Legs did not let me sleep too well last night either..it goes with the territory of ultras. Will take a slow recovery run on Tuesday and see what the weekend brings...


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

20mile Taper, Prediction AR50

Often a week prior to a marathon I would run 10k to shake the legs out...This past Saturday I planned to run a version of that for a 50mile..20miles. This 20 in my head was to be slow out to RattleSnake on the AR Trail then return at race pace to the finish. That seemed to go out the window when we had two additional runners join us for the day. Both fast they said it was going to be easy. As we took off the pace was fast for me..but I did not back off. Gad! I made comments but the group dynamic was to keep at that pace...I thought why not and took it to the river 5minutes faster than normal. Here I did just say the heck with that pace and dropped back. Yet the legs where on that pace and kept on moving faster than normal. So at the 6mile mark 3minutes faster than normal pace...At Avery Pond...8minutes faster. By the time I got to Rattle and the turn the fast group where there waiting but I was 9minutes faster! I felt good but said that was it..My return I recovered some sanity and took it real easy back..My legs however where tired on Saturday, Sunday. I got to remember to keep my eye on the prize....Western States 2010.

That said...American River 50mile is this Saturday. This years addition has a new race director who increased the field from 500 to 650...Last I saw on the runner list 700bib numbers where released! This could be a bit too large for the course and the middle runner like me. Weather...Has been very windy and forecast for weekend could bring some of that. If the winds are strong and from the north we are running into headwinds..Will wait and see.

Goal 1---Run Qualifying Time for Western States----Anything less than 11 hours!

Goal 2-Run slow controlled pace for the first 19miles.
This is bike path and relatively easy.
Previous I have run some fast splits here.
Which left me little once I got to Buzzads.
Projected time to Nimbus Dam:3hr 12 minutes.

Goal 2-Beals Point Aid--This is the major aid station.
Last before it goes single track. Here I look
at a time ~10minutes slower than average runner
predicated pace.Still alot of race to go!
Projected Time to Beals----4hr 50minutes

Goal 3-Beals to Buzzards:This section has a new addition
of trail. This will add some time. Here, I maintain
concentration and keep the legs moving. Again, about 10min.
slower than average runner pace.
Buzzards Goal Time:6hr 20minutes

Goal 4-Buzzards to RattleSnake:This is it! The toughest section
on the course. Rocky, narrow. I expect a trains of
runners. I am not going to get into their game.
Push through. This will be much faster than last year.
Buzz to Rattle Goal Time--7hr 45minutes.

Goal 5--Rattlesnake to the Barn!---My nemisis is the really the
2.6mile stretch prior prior to the climb from the river.
I plan on enjoying this section! Climb from the river just
Goal Time to the Barn...I project to finish
between 9:45 and 10:10..Its not fast! Qtime in pocket
and enjoy the late afternoon in Auburn.

Things to remember to do on the course..

1)Drink 1 water bottle between each aid station (at beals I may carry two bottles)
2)One SCAP every half hour since we are hitting some heat and it will be warm.
3)One Gel every hour. If things bonk..then two per hour
4)No lagging at aid stations--I can cut time off from last year..

Thats it...Tony

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

noon time run location

Just a short note...Here is where I run most often...When I work from home this is a my lunch time view as I set out to run the stagecoach loop....

American River at the Coffer Dam Location...Notice the hillsides cleared of trees and the start of a coffer dam. Construction Stopped(thank god!) and river returned to natural stream bed with a rapids built for rafters and kayaks as seen below...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Two Weeks Till AR50

With a little less than two weeks to AR50 I had my last longer running weekend. With that I ran one last time from the Overlook to Rattle with tack on including Stagecoach loop on Sat. And a miserable run through cold and rain Sunday to finish the cycle. The run Saturday I had really fresh legs with limited mileage on them (business travel cut down on that). It was really quite since I started just before sunrise..I enjoyed the stillness. I thought of the big cats and it being their time to feed so I kept a bit more focused on my surroundings. Other than that the day was pretty uneventful with a stronger run on my climb from the river.

Sunday was cold and rain. But the last longer run had to be done. It took nearly 1 hour for my legs to start feeling good with the rain coming down and me freezing I turned back to finish shortly after. As I returned to the overlook. I had a chance to reflect on this winters training...Much better than last year. More 30-45 mile weekends. The last month had less running on weekdays leaving me feeling a bit apprehensive for AR. I will post my prediction splits and finish time later this week....Tony