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 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 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 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 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 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