Saturday, November 6, 2010

Where the heck have you been?

It sure has been a long time since I last posted.  I can blame it on a few things..First and foremost I really can't underestimate the post WS funk I went into after the race in June...So many years thinking about the day and it was achieved. Then what?  I am still kinda in that mode I just kept thinking that can't wait till fall and the nice temps for running....Work has left me also totally thrown off. With travel and preparing for presentations life was hard to get out and run at very odd hours. I guess I am also a creature of habit and being thrown off from some of my routines set me off in a funk as well....

I am looking to get some sense of normalcy in the next few weeks. I am setting some fitness plans...Putting my name into Western States Lottery, Miwok...Vermont if all else falls through.  Also with 50 looming in January what the heck do I want to do with the rest of my life :) Hmmm so many puzzles...so little time.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Been a couple weeks....some notes and comments

Hi all it seems like it has been forever since I last posted. I am slowly returning to the trails and can say that I feel a bit lost without such a big goal to target. I have been talking to other folks that target Western States each year and many feel the same. While there are many that simply keep on running with little break there are others that relish the time off during the dog days of summer to recharge. At my age and level of conditioning I see the later being where I need to focus. Enjoy this time off versus feel I gotta get back out there. There is one personal area where I want to focus that free time but that has yet to take place yet. More on that goal later...

So what the heck have I been doing...Mostly work, at night when I come home it could be a short trip to the gym and rarely has it included a run on the trails...While at the gym I see the regulars that do their routine..I sometimes ask myself what are they building towards...? Or is it to feel good and be happy. Guess we all have different reasons.

I made it back out the last few weekends on some longer runs on the trails lasting 3hours but I am still a bit tired after..gym workouts during the week do little for my overall capacity..But I have noticed that my times are on par right now with some early season training times so things are coming back. I am considering returning to Quad Dipsea in November and try and finish the course after my miserable attempt last year. But I need a lot of conditioning and more mental toughness. However if there is one thing that WS taught me is that I have a bit of mental toughness to continue on and I use that thought during the day when things appear hard.
Someone compiled a clib of images at Devils Thumb and me finishing at WS..Boy I was running slow..link can be found here...
Link to a WS Clip..Me finishing (about 4:30min in to clip)


So I just need to ride the storm out a bit longer...I am coming back to fitness levels I want to be at ...a few more personal things to take care of and life will be good....Till then hit those trails and have some fun.

Tony

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Time to comeback, Tevis, and other rambles

As I looked at the title of my blog..I guess it is time for a change..No nothing drastic just the title will surely get dated soon so maybe a new title to reflect what is coming up next...Will have to think about it.

It has been one month since the race..many of my fellow WS runners have gotten back into racing etc...As for me it has been short runs a lot of work, all leaving me kinda feeling sluggish. I did keep in mind that Twietmeyer always says he takes a full month off after WS then comes back. Give the body a break. Well Saturday was a month..I wanted to head to Auburn and the overlook to see the set up for the Tevis Cup race..Tevis is the one that helped start 100 mile runs..This is the horse race on the WS course which Wendell Robie started in the early 50's after he helped lead an effort to mark and perserve the trails used to all the old mining camps and towns during the gold rush. Simply amazing seeing these horses move on the same trails up very rocky slopes....Does any other of the 100 mile courses have so much history of use?

So I went on a run..I felt pretty good..I set off slow but then stopped for a minute to be caught by a couple of runners..I reverted back to old competitive stance and had to get out in front of them and stay that way...So I started running harder than I wanted to...(ok I must have wanted to) and by the time I got to NoHands..My legs felt like jello...I returned slow but feeling this was a start back to fitness. Today my legs are a bit sore and I will head to the gym...Build the distance back in time..enjoy and pick a few races.

A few other things...on my mind. First I have to give a major presentation in a number of cities in the west starting in late Sept. It ends in Hawaii and I am figuring out where I want to spend some additional time. Torn between the night life of Honolulu or just relax a bit at Maui..leaning to Maui...

Better go and get my body ready for the beaches of Maui...Aloha...

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Summer Doldrums...

Post Western States Syndrom..I got it! Being so focused for so long and now no real goal in the near term has left me bored. I just returned from my companies regular User Conference in San Diego...14,000 software users. It did offer me the opportunity it eat, drink and stay up later than I have in months so maybe the recharge will do me good. I am torn today about driving up to Tahoe to watch some friends run TRT 100..maybe get in a short run or just rot at home after being on the road for a week...
Such is life after WS...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Finish!

Ok...
Now time to start planning for my next adventure. I know for sure I will put my name in the WS Lottery one more time.
The break has been nice but there is a void left that is anticipated after all the time spent training and running the event. I am open to suggestions on next events. I am leaning towards Headlands 50k in late August.
The Finish Photo-Not Pretty but a great time!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Western States 2010-Race Report

A few photos from the day and night for my Western States 2010 Experience
I first want to start by saying THANK YOU to my parents and nephew Andrew who came in from Michigan, My Crew-Ken Blankinship and Pacer Darin Loucks being it my first major event like this I never realized how important support is during the race and for that I am thankful.  Also I can't forget Cheri and Louis Alverez and all their help at the finish along with all the other volunteers and finally to Mo Bartley for coaching me these last 6 months it went by so fast.

Ok...Let me start by saying that many folks have asked me these last few days if I would do this again and my immediate response is Heck Yes! It was fantastic and in the end my most challenging event I have ever attempted. The week leading up to Western States was very hectic and it took a lot of energy out of me leading to Saturday.  My parents and nephew arrived early in the week and thus started the events on how to coordinate my family and crew to get my gear and follow some of the plans I had set.  This turned me into a high strung person as I arrived up in Squaw Valley.  First the first time ever  I was really getting strung out and always feeling I was having to be doing something, being somewhere etc..It was a frantic pace set up for someone that is supposed to be relaxing prior to the longest race of his life.  I was short and terse, I was not thinking about the race just trying to make sure every one was being taken care of...Not a good receipe leading to Friday and medical check in...
Friday was great seeing everyone we got the swag which was great a nice day pack, hat, shirt, jacket, moeben sleeves a good haul..now time for the blood pressure check..I saw Chris Perrillo getting his taken..he said his was high..once I sat down in front of Mo who took my blood pressure she said relax..I was strung out! My blood pressure was over the top..gad!  So after that me and my Pacer Darin Loucks went to get a bite of lunch after getting my drop bags assembled and dropped off prior to the final meeting.  It just felt like go, go, go...never stopping..Darin and I had a beer at lunch and that helped calm me down a bit..I was now tired but ready for the race. We had  pre race meal with my parents and then I settled in early to get some sleep..It actually went well leading up to Saturday Morning and my 2:30 wake up for the 5am race start.

We got to the start seeing everyone and wishing everyone a good race, my dad, nephew and pacer where on hand I think they where impressed and excited...I kept calm then the gun went off..It was cool but not cold, dark and ready to hit the first long climb to the escarpement. 

I settled in to the back of the pack..I had no idea how I would react to the climb.  My nephew Andrew was up ahead and took some pics of me then he went down to be with my dad etc..The climb was steady not really hurting and I suprised myself at how fast it took to get to the first aid station.  I started to hydrate and use my s-caps at this point..as we made the summit Craig Thornley's brother was at the top with a gong as we crested..pretty cool.  we passed Watsons Monument which gave us our introduction to the snow fields we would encounter for the next 4 or 5 miles.  I took time to take a picture of Lake Tahoe and the rising sun..The first downhill was a relief after the climb as we went into single file mode..but the snow set in and that was tough! Very slick and you had to watch your footing, some runners trying to run fast would push and cause other runners to fall..on the downhills I sometimes just fell on my butt and slid down..that seemed the best. My quads could feel this but I kept a steady pace..We made good time I was still in the back but trying to take it easy..it was after all a long day.  Pete Korn, Matt Keyes where close by as well they where keeping their heart rates down waiting to move faster later..I hoped I could hang with them.  We all chatted a bit and approached the new snow route..I then got stuck behind WS legend Gordy Ansleigh..he is a nice guy but very opinionated and slightly full of himself.. I was aggrevated being close to him and listen to his banter..I moved by him as we hit the first aid.  Last I saw of Gordy...
The run on the snow route had some stunning views and steady downhill..I thought I was taking it easy but as I got towards French Meadows I felt a little tired...Trish and Chuck Godfredson where just ahead..we would leap frog most of the day..Both Trish and I where slowing down early but would recover the climb then downhill to Duncan Canyon taught me a lot as we crossed the fast moving but passable duncan creek.  It felt cold and refreshing and I saw Chuck in the middle of the creek waiting for Trish..As I reached the other side I had a sudden calf cramp and went down in the stream..Chuck grapped me and got me to shore..he told me to take two s-caps and split em open and pour them on my tongue followed by lots of water..This was nearly instant relieving the cramp and that did not bother me the rest of the day. I took it easy trying to get to Robinson Flat..but the climb out of Duncan was long and hard...We hit more snow as we approached Robinson..I actually arrived at Robinson 15minutes slowner than when I projected 12pm.  Darin,Andrew and Ken where there..I am glad since it gave them a chance to see what it was like.  I got out fast after I fueled on mtn. dew code red and some food weight was spot on from the start..I forgot about the snow after Robinson and we had that for a while..Chuck and Trish stayed with me on this section out.

With noon now past I did not feel any real high temps and that was nice.  Lots of cloud cover though.  We had all thinned out some as we ran down from Little Bald Mountain I look back now at this section and feel I took it too easy as we headed towards Last Chance.  Perhaps I also was not eating enough but my stomach was solid and weight consistant I was taking manly Roctanes every 45 minutes but sometimes forgot. I was thinking how I needed to have energy for the climb up Devils Thumb..During this section I let Chuck and Trish pass..I was walking more now with running coming every few minutes. Dusty Corners was the first time I saw the 30 hour pace time and I saw I was headed by about 35 minutes I was not too concerned and kept up same effort.  I got a chance to run into Last Chance with a very strong runner and I used his pace to keep me moving faster..this helped a lot.  I forgot how long the distance was from Last Chance to the downhill to swinging bridge..it seemed like forever to get to swinging bridge. 

I was now about 1hour behind where I wanted to be but took a minute to cool off in the waterfall prior to the Devils Thumb Climb. Mike Hernandez was there and took off just head.  I could not catch him on the climb I took it easy with 100 steps and 10 second rest..it was about 50 minutes to climb the dt.  I enjoyed getting to DT and the aid station..there Chris Iwahashi and George Parrott where hanging out..I sat down for the first time of the day and had my popsicle..It was now 5:30pm. 

I was behind and took off I felt ok but was moving slower..I am guessing it was low calorie intake...Deadwood to El Dorado was a long run here I arrived at 7pm where Mike H. was not looking too good at the aid station..I grabbed some orange slices, cooled off then set out to get to my crew and Michigan Bluff..Hard and long is what this climb was..also my low point of the day.  as the sun started to set I thought I should stop at MB..but during those dark moments I could not imagine having to tell everyone why I quit.  It did not settle well with me to quit..I thought of Dan Moores, my folks etc..and just kept going..Once at MB it was now about 8:15 gad! Ken and Darin where there and they asked if I wanted Darin to pace me from her..I sat down and said yes..it was the right move!  I had a little bit of burger, a cherry slushy and then tried to take a roctane..right then I gagged and threw up....I resolved during that time I was heaving that I was not going to quit and wanted to get going.  I had told Ken and Darin we would assess my condition at Foresthill but I knew I was not stopping now...

Darin saved me and the run from MB to Bath road was nice and easy which got some of my energy back..It was really buggy then and no stopping allowed as we had on our flashlights.  We got to Volcano Creek and saw two guys crossing in the dark..One dude tried to go too fast and landed flat on his face in the creek...eeeash.  We then all set out climbing to Bath.  Funny thing about running all night we would pass folks or come up on the side and someone would say..hey is that you Tony? I did not recall who they where a lot but I guess I am a known face in the world of running..it felt good. 
As we got to Foresthill..time 10:15 (about 1:15 behind where I wanted to be), I had to stop and use the inside restroom..I say this that toilet seat felt great!  I did not want to leave but I picked myself up and met Ken and Darin outside to change shoes and socks..I had a few small blisters but did not want to get em treated since I wanted to gain some time.  We where in FH for about 10 minutes and it was hard on the legs and getting moving again was hard..Darin was leading a good pace staying out front.
We settled into the long night with a little talking now and then but mostly silence. We tried to stay clear of any long trains of runners and actually would pass a few..I hated leap frogging but I was not strong enough to keep them away.  Darin seemed to be enjoying the whole experience.  I kept thinking during that time how I was pacing Rena last year along the same sections of course..I felt stronger now than last year but we where behind time. 

Cal1 to Cal2 and impail trail where pretty good sections but I had settled back into a consistant pattern of run then walk...Darin was fueling me and reminding me to take a s-cap.  I was starting to gain some weight slowly..now up about 1.5lbs. I so enjoyed the silence and the thoughts to myself..I wondered where some of my friends where on the course and what normal people like Kaori where doing on a late Saturday night..I felt in my place.  The climbs where hard and long but not bad now.  Darin was running for the first time at night ever and he was doing great...I was happy for him too bad we where not going to be at the river at 2am.
We got to the river at 3:30am we where looking for Darin Farmer who was volunteering at the river. But they got us in the boats really fast.  The boat was filled with runners and I never got a chance to look around a lot..we where on Far Side in no time and off on the climb to Green Gate. I felt now we could start smelling the barn..someone else came up along side of me and knew me..I can't recall her but she said we had it in the bag..just needed to run 18 miles in 6 hours..That was on my mind now. 

Green Gate to Alt seemed long even though I know this section well.  I was slowing and walking a lot..We kept referencing a comment by Ken Crouse when we saw him at FH..he said walk but walk with a purpose. That is what we did!  Finally at ALT as I was getting weighed the women started asking me too many questions about how I was feeling and if I knew what day it was..I looked at her thinking..Lady your crazy..I am in no way stopping now!  Darin later said he was concerned for a brief time at ALT...I was not eating a lot and the sun was starting to rise...Maybe our best section came leading to Browns..Darin set the pace and wanted to bank some time..we where moving fast with short walk breaks..I felt like he was pushy me just right...It hurt but I had to respond.  We where gonna make it!

The sun was now up we hit Browns Bar at 7:30am...EEEESCH a long day of running..I wanted to get out fast grabbed some coke and left..Darin had a beer at the hashers aid station and we started talking about the next section.  Heading down Brown to Quarry Trail I told him lets run as much as we can since there is a lot of climbing to HWY 49 we did that but I also had to stop and get my breathing down a bit.  I had on my mind what time we would be at HWY 49 and the last medical checkpoint..I wanted to be on weight and not held up for any reason. 

We hit 49 just fine..no time for the breakfast or smoothy..The women that took my weight said I was up 3lbs. and to get out of here fast and finish the race..Good Advice!  Right as we got out of the aid we start the climb up F and A hill. to the valley and downhill..My lower back started hurting duing the climb.  We had to stop a few times on the climb.  It felt insulting after all this time to have my back hurting on this climb.  Still we pushed on..Darin took the downhill to NoHands well. We passed a lot of runners..Darin would later say I was pushing him....NoHands Looked so great!  We got there about 9:25...We where gonna make it...As I crossed the bridge we where grouped up with other runners we all commented we where gonna get the buckles..But I still did not feel good about my back and just kept walking.  As we started the last steep climb on single track my back was wrecked! Darin told me to tough it out and keep moving. I let folks pass me..We finally crested Robie and the aid station and grabbed ice and put it on my back...

From Robie..It was all business but first I wanted to take time out to take a drink at the drinking fountain on robie drive..to honor the course and folks that live in the neighborhood that put up with us. Ken and Andrew finally appeared they did not want to hike up all the hills so met us near the fountain..I said where the heck have you been..and gave them my pack and finally felt good that we had it in the bag. Its all kinda hazy after this..just take it to the track..I recall seeing June and a few others then bame the track! I was inside happy Cheri Alverez was screaming and taking pics...She had my medal..I wondered where my parents where..I told Darin to stay with me then to peel off..We saw his sister in law on the far corner taking pics of us..I was so close..I heard my name called out FINALLY I was GONNA GET MY BUCKLE! 29 hours 34 minutes.  I hit the line..It was awesome. I looked around for my folks they where there..got a fast hug then off to medical..I starting hurting as soon as I sat down.

Post race I let my folks head back to the hotel..Darin and Ken came back later and I was hanging out cooking in the sun sitting in a chair..I was a wreck.  But somehow I cleaned up changed clothes and went to the awards tent..I have my buckle now.  It was a long day.  I have never been so happy all I want to do is relax and enjoy this moment. But I had some family things to take care of and the stress stayed high until Thursday. 
This is not the most descriptive post but it was a very enjoyable event..The training, the people, the sierras, the course, the whole thing..so special to me...

I hope to race it again and I am now honored to have a Western States Buckle!

Tony

Monday, June 28, 2010

Western States-finished!

Finished my first Western States 29:34! Not pretty but a buckle nowcin hand. More later after I rest a bit...
Tony

Saturday, June 19, 2010

7 Days!--Lots left to do! Follow me online

Let us start with some info about next week:  Anyone wishing to follow me and the whole race itself can go to the link below:  My bib number is 280.  You can follow all of the runners here as well as a live blog cast once the race starts.  Images of each runner will be posted as well. 
Live WebCast and Tracking of Western States Runners

This field is stacked this year with some very good elite men including masters runners.  The womens field I am thinking is a bit more wide open..Cut to the chase here are my men's and women's predicted winners and two sleepers---
Winners:
Mens-Hal Koerner, Women-Devon Crosby-Helms

Sleepers:  Men-Erik Skaden   Women-Rory Bosio

There is so much new talent arriving on the line that in the end for the men experience will play out.  Not to say that Geoff,Anton, or Killian will falter.  Many of these folks major victories came with wide time margins..not a lot of stacked field hanging on to push all the way...So I side with course experience to bring in the men..That is why Erik is my men's sleeper he is running well this season and can bring in one final push you never know.  For the women...Devon just seems to be the one here for me though Nikki Kimbell will force the issue now that Anita is out.  Rory is my sleeper I have scene her run alone on the WS trails..that takes strength and her effort seems minimal as she climbs these trails...Her first time at 100 but I feel she will crack the top 10 with ease....

What about me...As the race gets closer I have been calm but so many things happening at work make it hard to focus on what I really want to get complete..That is all the logistics,crew assignments..getting the drop bags ready.  Finalize my vision for split times on the course.  The taper has been minimal running to date a stagecoach run, gym elliptical to warm up and heading to the sauna.  The sauna has been hard on me with about 30minutes being the amount of time I can stand.  Next weekends temps don't look like 100 yet but I am not taking any chances..Today will be one last Sauna...My legs will be really fresh for the day.

The start will be key getting to Robinson Flat in one piece after going through the snow, slush, trails which maybe streams cause of runoff, the starting altitude, Being safe and sane.  Prep the mind for the major push from Robinson down to Swinging bridge..save the quads, cool off and climb steady up to Devils Thumb, Recover well and get to Michigan Bluff...don't worry about the time it takes to climb here....Recover out of MB and enjoy the work to Foresthill and pick up my pacer and see my crew and family.  I hope to have some light as we begin the trek to Rucky Chucky.  I am guessing boats to cross the river and to be there about the time folks will be piling out of a bar on Saturday Night..ie 1-2am...The river to Hwy 49 will be hard and low energy till the sun comes up..at 49 I pick up another pacer and we take it to the barn.  I suspect I maybe walking a lot from Nohands but I want to enjoy this with my pacer and then take it to the track...Goal finish time a wide finish 27-28.5 hours...8am-9:30am.
It will be painfull, enjoyable and a lifetime achievement.  Thanks for following during this last 6months. It seems so short in this training cycle...

Maybe a short note once I hit squaw valley etc...Take Care...Tony

Sunday, June 13, 2010

13 Days Calm before the storm...

Interesting that as the days get closer I am getting a bit more calm about this whole thing. I don't know what to make of this but maybe it's because I have so many little things to take care of prior to the race that my mind is occupied.

I have a ton of work things to complete and try to postpone until after the race but I am guessing my emails and phone calls will be going right up to Friday before the race...Never mind that you put out of office the calls just keep coming. The crew instruction and pace spreadsheets are nearly complete but I need to put in all those little things like driving directions etc..I gotta remember these folks don't eat and breath these trails and roads like I do..I gotta make it as simple and easy as possible to get to the locations I want them to be. Get the house ready for the parents arrival..We will always be someones kids and always need the house just right for arrival...Oh and I forgot about my drop bags...Need to get those inventoried and created.

Still a bit of running left before the race and its time to focus more on getting some heat versus long runs. This is where I need to watch myself. My tapers sometime go to extreme..either no taper or Taper to the point of doing nothing...neither can work here. I want to focus on short runs during the week only 6 miles just to warm up then hit the sauna if the temps are not at 90 when I start my run. The sauna has been killing me of late...We did do a run Saturday in starting at noon from the Overlook to Cool and back. It was warm but so breezy it never felt too bad. I was a bit tired from poor diet during the week..ie skip dinner on Friday night and barely eat on Thursday...The next two weeks need solid meals etc..

Other than that I am thinking about life after WS as well..I want a fun 4th of July and I have a few ideas...then I need to head to San Diego the week after the 4th..then a high school reunion...eeesch I better have that buckle for that day....

I goofed up with the new templates on these blogs when I get some time I will clean this up....

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Minor Heat Training, 20 Days and thoughts on the day

After the Western States Training Weekend I admit it I was tired. After these longer or higher volume weekends I return to work with a brain that finds it hard to focus on anything really challenging. So went the week. It was a hard week for me to be doing real work, I was tired and thinking about all the things I need to complete.

I started the week having to make a hard decision regarding Western States. I had to drop one of my pacers. It was hard since she is strong running but it came down to who I felt I was most comfortable with going the distance. I felt bad having to tell her since I knew she was excited. I hate to disappoint folks but as I get closer to the this race it will be the one day where when I am out there on the course it will be about me getting this done...So I feel I made the right choice.

Back to the week..After these hard weekends I have found the cycle to be a harder recovery that takes longer so was the tale for this weekends run.
Temps are starting to climb and I wanted some heat training and so I put on a couple extra layers and met up with Rena for the first time in like forever to run Cool to Alt and back. Rena has been off the trails with some major injury at Napa..She is now back and ready to run for that 1000 mile buckle at Western States..10 finishes...that is a huge thing to do.
As we left Cool I felt pretty good a little stiff but no tiredness..I was heating up fast however and after a half hour took two S-Caps...I figured I was sweating so this will be good. We got to Browns Bar in a pretty good clip but I was getting tired..maybe all these layers..some extra heat. I promised myself I would keep the layers on to ALT. I was suffering, and feeling a bit down on myself as we ran along. I then thought back to a recent interview I heard with Anits Ortiz...She won WS last year..In her talk she recounted some advice from Dave Mackey that I was focusing on.."When things are going bad, Slow Down" That was my mantra for the rest of the day...Rena was out front and I was plodding along..I know that I will be ok for race day and just take it easy through this low day. In reality the total time was not really that slow..it just felt that way.

I spoke with my coach later in the day...I am starting to build my final plan and vision for race day. There are a few areas I want to highlight now...
1)There two unknowns-The snow conditions and the amount at the start, how it will effect us and the pace. The second is the river crossing. I am betting boat year. These I can't control but can be prepared .

2)I want to be conservative. It will be a train of runners at the start and along the early sections of trail..there will be heroes of the average runner set that will try and scream those downhills early...push you out of the way...I can't get caught in that..The quads are gonna be key to keep em fresh for as long as possible. Getting down to Swinging Bridge in one piece is important for me.

3)I am thinking my hardest section will be from Deadwood up to Michigan
Bluff. I need to be ready for this section and take it one step at a time on the final climb to MB...I want to be renergized after MB..use the final run to FH as some recovery prior to picking up my pacer.

4)Take it to the river and prep my mind for the climb up to Green Gate. That is a tough climb. Then try and relax to ALT. It will late in the night and energy low. Once I hit Browns get out of there fast..and then suck it up for the seemingly long 3 miles to Hwy 49..

5)Hwy 49 take it to the barn!

I had some good news seems like I am having a lot more support than I thought. I have Ken Blankinship, Darin Loucks helping me out along with my parents and nephew coming from Michigan..then yesterday a high school friend said he would like to come out as well..John Klees. I think he should help pace me from 49 he will enjoy that section. On the low side my friend Kaori has gone total MIA and I can't count on her to be there.
But there is so much to be thankful for that a slight bump is minor compared to the big picture...

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A couple of Pictures from Robinson Flat-Day 1 WS Training Run

Two Images from Robinson Flat, notice the roof of the restroom! Images Courtesy of Craig Thornley

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

6months of Training now complete..Its in the barn next stop Squaw Valley

Yesterday was a good feeling...I was tired, I finished my Western States Training Program (the major long runs) and took it to the barn for maintenance and final preperations.  I am tired this morning.  I thought back to January 1-the official kickoff and where I have gone since then.  A lot of miles...some good and a few diffenently bad days...

So Monday was day 3 of the WS training run...Day 2 for me since I had finished the first two in one day.  We had cool overcast weather as we met up at Placer High...I saw Rena for the first time in a long time and she was out for her second day.  I met up with my pacer as well and we ran together all day.  I missed out on seeing a lot of other folks that have been training all year long by missing them at the start...could not figure that out..Oh well.  My legs where stiff and did not respond well at the start as we moved on to 3rd gate...I recalled the same from last year and as the day wore on I was fine.  I was moving slow with some good sections and tucking in with a few other runners every now and then to keep the pace slow. 
Allyson was one of those folks her and Sandra seemed to be chirping along the way and doing fine...I was pretty focused all day...not saying a lot.  Just processing and thinking that this was it...all the hard stuff was over for the 6months...and where was it going to lead?

I still had one last goal and that was to move as fast as I could down from Cool on the trail to NoHands Bridge..I did it last year and wanted to see if I could empty out the tanks and let the quads burn...I was successful in pressing it hard down the trail..not out of control but fast and steady with some pick ups along the way...I was in better shape than last year (I better be!) I pretty much walked it from NoHands to the school the quads now felt it fine...

It has been a long grind and I was kind sad and also very glad to get to the finish and see the folks cooking out and the other runners that have gone through these months of training now taking it all in..I stopped and talked to some out of town folks amazed we all are gonna be on the line June 26....I will be posting more info as the days go by but its in the barn....the dream is about to become reality...Holy Cow an average runner is gonna be on the line....now all I have to do is finish that will be no small task!

Tony

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day 1-Western States Training..a little snow, a few lows and some good company

Day One of 2010 Western States Training Weekend marks the end of the really serious long runs leading up to the big day.    I choose to run Day 1 and Day 2 combined into one long Training Run..and it was long.  My longest training run ever..

There is so much to cover on this event..if I get some pics and elevation profiles generated I will.  First the news of the day.  It only turned out to be about 44miles total.  Since their is so much snow up at Robinson Flat that folks could not drive too close.  There were several folks that did shuttle to about 4miles from Robinson then hike up and go from there.  I got a ride back to Foresthill last night from Rory Boscio...she was one of those runners and she said it took them 4hours to cover 10miles in the snow..it was deep and postholing was the norm for them.

For me  I caught an early ride and got dropped off at N43/N44 with Ken Crouse, Barb Ash, Allison Thomas and others where we started our shorter version of the long run.  My pacer Darin Loucks was in from Seattle and had to get up at 4am with me to get ready.  He would later join me at Michigan Bluff and run with me. We started off with about 4miles of snow which compared to the stuff at Robinson was kid stuff..but still snow..It was leaving my quads and hamstrings tired.  But we where ahead of the main buses with about 300 other runners so that was nice...I settled in with Barb Ash and another women and got out ahead of our main group.  Things were going very well as we broke free of the snow and things started to warm up...Lots of Sun it was gonna be a nice day.  My IT was fine and I was s-capping and hydrating well.  I kept thinking back to last years run on the same section. I was so much stronger and in better shape...but is it gonna be enough for race day? 

We hit Last Chance and a few of the fast runners caught us but no worries I managed to get to Swinging Bridge in 2:45 then start the climb up devils thumb about 43 minutes up so that was good for me that even had some stop time as some kayakers where heading down the trail..first time I saw that!   It was nice to be out in the lead pack of runners so when we got to Deadwood and the aid station the food was fresh and they still had plenty of ice...Barb Ash who had got behind me came up fast from the Thumb and we took off for the downhill to El Dorado Canyon...I got out in front and felt good for the first time in a long time running downhill and kept thinking of MB and the climb.  That was hard on me..Barb came by about a mile into the climb and that is the last I saw of her.  I got to the stream which signals 1 mile to the top and had Brian Hacker come up and say hi...we all where getting some cold water to push on.  My coach was at the aid station and my pacer was there as well..I thought I felt ok but when we took off out of MB I was having my low point of the day.  For nearly a mile I was walking and tired.  My pacer just kept telling me to keep moving..Things improved on the single track and downhill to Volcano Creek...Energy back.  Tim Twietmeyer comes by fast I point him out to Darin and he is impressed.  We catch him at the stream and I again stand in the cold water...It reminds me of a horse I met last year on the trail its owner said any stream the horse just loves to stand in the cold water..Well I am just like that horse..it feels so good!  We got to Foresthill and it was hard not to say lets bail here..I had been on my feet for about 7 and a half hours..slow but steady...but we pushed on after a long break there.  There where other runners going on to Drivers but they seemed in no hurry to leave. Me on the other hand wanted out.  Some good sections with my pacer down to Cal 1 as I pointed things out about race day on the trail.  I know these sections very well. 
It was now getting late afternoon and the canyons got a little dark but we would pop out into the sun every now and then .  It was very still and quite very nice.  We ran down Impail Trail only to be passed by two runners that know how to downhill! I suck...Oh well we caught the at Cal2. 

Legs actually came alive on the fun switchbacks down and this was the fastest and easiest section all day.  Darin was wondering what to say and do as a pacer for me..I usually don't run with a lot of folks so I stay quite and don't talk much but he was helping by keeping me moving and making sure the Scaps where being taken..I have adjusted my doseage to 2 caps an hour.  This seems to work wonders for me.  A very strong push up Cal3 and some average running to sandy bottoms and the river. It was a long day.  I was ready for it to end so I wanted a ride out from Rucky Chucky for the first time ever..it seemed popular as a lot of runners did that option..It was now about 8pm as we finished at Drivers Flat Staging...wow a great day...Still some energy left in the tank..but I wanted to get to my car.  Rory came up just then and we got a ride with her..she seems pretty neat...She says she just wants to finish WS..but she better beat me is all I can say....

Darin and I grabbed some pizza and got home about 10pm...stayed up till 11pm and the legs where now cooked it was hard sleeping..between my neighbors dogs barking all night..(really can we be more rude!) and the legs it was not quality sleep. 

Taking off today then off  to run the final 20 on Monday.  Legs should not like me for the first few miles. Then its tme to go into maintenance mode.  I am so happy my IT and knees seem healed. WS is gonna be so hard but such a reward getting to the line and running as good as I can.  The goal is to finish....

Tony

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Next weekend Western States Memorial Training Weekend..But First....

Gad! What the heck has happened to warm weather leading to 100 degree temps of June?  We are hard pressed in northern California to wrestle free from winter temps once and for all. 
With two weekends left in really hard training then on to sharpen and maintain for June 26, This Saturday's run was meant to be a moderate amount of suffering.

It took me longer to recover from Miwok and the amount of time it took to finish than I had wanted it to be..with the last two weeks work week training being very light...It did not help that most of my real life work was bumping in to my training schedule. But that is what springtime is. I was able to generate a sound proposal for an enterprise system for one of my major agencies I work with.  Sorry I rarely talk work..but this took a lot of time and strain on the brain. After I presented the proposal it was well received.  So I can still prove my worth on the work front...

One to one more matter..I was at Auburn Running on Friday and picked up a new dvd of someones account of their running Western States...It is called 100miles to 40.  It is about a women that ran WS for the first time last year...Lets start with the good...It had a lot of video of runners I know and run with...Erik Skaden, Mark Lantz, Eric Johnson, Stephan Itano...and glimpse's of a lot of local folks...Some nice footage of the course itself...The not so good...Understanding that each persons motivation to run Western States is individual it really was the persons own story.  It just was not motivating and lacked some real information on what she did to get to the starting line...No really why do you want to run Western States?  It is like she could have run any race and felt good about it...I felt no real passion in her words or experiance of being at the event and all its history.   I am sooooo glad the producer had footage about the course etc..She is very different than those that I know who run on the WS trails and aspire to run the event.  She kept talking about her limited training and saying she was gonna break 24hours..It seemed so naive and very self absorbed.  The kicker was that she started out saying and showing that she is a smoker and is not gonna quite...That just hit me as being so wrong.  The worst scene was her sitting in a chair at squaw after getting word that WS was cancelled in 08 due to the fires..she was puffy on her smokes and whining on her cell phone..The positive is I found another  very strong motivator for race day is to use this woman's image of completing WS to get me through those tough times.  Just my view point..Focus on the side story and watch the other runners in the event and then its a good dvd.  Still Race for the Soul is the best dvd, followed by Running Madness....

On to Saturdays  run...BITTER COLD! SNOW! I saw a bunch of folks leaving out of Foresthill as I was gonna run out of Michigan Bluff today...I was happy to be running alone today and see how things went with the IT and other minor leg issues. I have been working on those everyday.  I ran the whole day without any IT issues, now IT support bands etc..that was major. I ran the downhills faster but still very slow and timid. But I had much more energy than last weeks crater day...I was back! That felt good. 

As I started this out...it was sunny when I set out with some fast folks 6miles behind me...I graped my gloves and long sleeve jersey I normally only wear on winter days and I am so happy I did!  I was starting to overheat on the way down to El Dorado Canyon and peeled off the clothes but that soon changed.  I got cold heading up to Deadwood but on the plus side no tired quads and a steady pace up.  It was still and quite out there as I got to deadwood.  At the pump my hands got numb filling the bottles and I got out fast.
I was being a wuss heading down Devils Thumb and I thought I am glad that I will not be going down this many more times between now and June..It seems worse for me to go down than up! 
I was near the bottom when Mark Murray, Erik Skaden and Mark Lantz caught me.  It was warm in the canyon but soon to change...Energy level was very high and I just focused on the climb up Last Chance...Last Chance was very cold...I got to the first gate and was freezing..I saw Monica Moore and Sandra and they where heading back..they said it was snowing up at the water spigot! The temp dropped fast in that short time and they where right..I grabbed some water and food and took off back on my return..I saw Victor Bellastoros and Rob Evens heading up..they looked fresh..Then on run down Pete Defty shirtless he was gonna suffer for that!  Then Rory Boscio..running alone...Strong young runner.  It took me a long time going down from LC to Swinging Bridge just wanna keep everything in place and not injuring myself...

Got to the bridge and saw Jim Hopkins and a friend of his...I let them go on the climb up the thumb. I wanted to go up alone and practice my race day strategy...It worked well with trying to conserve energy while still making solid progress on the climb. I was thinking what it would be like when we get some real heat..that was the only downside of an otherwise perfect effort up DT

I did not take much time at the deadwood pump and passed Jim...I wanted to see how I reacted on the downhill to El Dorado canyon..I was going conservative but much faster than in previous weeks..No IT, NO Pain...Pete Korn came blowing by me...it let me know that I was still running slow on the downhill..no worry cause no pain!  Now some work...climb up and finish at Michigan Bluff..it was cloudy and cool at the start..
I was amazed at how well I was climbing this first mile..somewhere along the way it just started SNOWING..getting real cold...So the last 30minutes where spent moving as fast as I could running and power walking up...I got to MB in all out downpour of that white stuff...I made a point to get into some warm clothes, start the car and heater and wait for a few runners I knew that started at Foresthill..they most likely would need a ride out and save them from hypothermia.  Not far behind came Rory...dang girl your fast...I spoke with her and then a few minutes later came Jim..I got him and saw Stephan Itano come up as well..everyone got into their cars and peeled out as fast as possible...It was COLD!.

A good day of running a long time on feet but about 50minutes faster than last weekend so a positive sign..Into the sauna today and think of one last weekend of training 72miles in two runs then take it to the barn for repair and begin final preparation's for the big dance!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sufferfest in the Canyons: "Make it feel like the last 20 at WS"

Let us cut to the chase...Yestedays run in the canyons was my worst ever!  I just plain out suffered after the first 9miles to my finish of only running about 31 out of a scheduled 37.

I had all good plans..meet up with Mark Lantz at Foresthill School and run to Last Chance and back.  That was accomplished I saw a ton of folks heading out to the canyons most starting at MB and doing various canyon distances.  I had some hesitation running with Mark since even though he is coming back from injury...M9 from last year is still very fit.  We took off from FH and had a nice crossing at Volcano and I powerwalked very well up to Michigan Bluff in a time of 1:15.  Mark normally runs that in 1:06 and me..well about 1:30 so a good pace for me...legs felt fine no issues at all, IT ok.

We saw Kate Evens at MB waiting on Rob to catch her he must have started after us from FH...We took off on the downhill to El Dorado.  Mark was doing fine for his first day in the canyons.  We began the climb to Deadwood and I handled that well until the quads suddenly felt weak with about 3miles to Deadwood.  I was tired..Here started my day of suffering.  I tried gels, extra S-Caps (those seemed to help later) as it felt more like a hike the rest of the day...I have never felt so low mentally as well in the canyons.

Overall time wise I was only about 15 minutes slower than normal as I began my downhill to Swinging Bridge...With my IT concerns it took forever as I babied the downhill...I finally go to Swinging Bridge to see Mark waiting for the climb up to Last Chance...we set off and it was here I had my minor mental melt down. I told Mark to F OFF as he told me to power walk really strong (he was right ) but I had no energy still...Caren Spore came up from behind and told me to use the day like the last 20 can be at WS....Then Pete Korn on his way down said to do the same..so that was it..just get through this...

I finally go to Last Chance and turned with Mark...The time was really not slow about the same as 4weeks ago so even though I felt terrible it still was not bad in the big picture of things...I waddled down to Swinging Bridge and grabbed some very nice spring water prior to going up Devils Thumb..thinking like race day I timed the ascent.  It was slow, not as bad as heading up to LC...but I have that time to measure for race day...I met up with Caren again and she was being nice and showing concern..nice thing about trail runners.
I took it easy on the way down from Deadwood and saw Grant and Leslie on some of the switchbacks I could have caught em and had some company but I was intent on suffering by myself. 
Finally...the climb to Michigan Bluff..I was really slow and the 10minute log took me 14minutes to get to on the climb...I just kept moving. with less than a mile to go I heard Grant shout down to me on the switchback above me....I caught him and we finished out the day of suffering.   I had to stop at MB...Mark was coming to get me.  I had done the same for him and Skaden in the past now my turn. 
We all hung out for awhile with all the dogs of MB....Matt Keyes offered up a beer and we enjoyed the late afternoon sun. 

A long day of suffering nothing went really well after the first 2 hours.  But still If I had to push I could have...but better days ahead.  Still on track I have been doing the work, with long hours and runs.  Today...going to the gym, sauna, cold pool. 

Tony

Sunday, May 9, 2010

48 Days till the Dance...Some good signs and plans are taking shape

With last weekends Miwok 100K in the books the week proceeding turned out to be about recovery, test the legs, and begin to set a plan. 

The early week had me a little tired on Sunday and Monday just from the shear hours being out there and not sleeping well on race night.  I still managed to get to the gym and jump on the Elliptical to start the road back.  I used the sauna each day and was working the legs and IT.  I noticed that I did not feel as tight in my legs as in past races.  I believe my legs are getting used to this.  I went to Monsters on Tuesday and both IT's where hurting during the session.  I vowed to continue stretching, using the foam roller,stick and sauna.  I am gonna be ready.  It was a revovery week before things go on for the final 30 days of hard training.  I enjoyed not running but was looking forward to Saturday and a return to the canyons. 

I tested the weeks worth of this recovery effort with a run from Michigan Bluff to Devils Thumb and back.  A great spring day...I saw many runners and it was enjoyable stopping along the way to talk to everyone.  As a side note..As I drove up that morning I was letting myself vision what race day would be like from the start to the sections along the trail and the finish..It was rather exciting and emotional..I am going to make it to the starting line.  So hard to believe.

That said I ran easily and on my climb to Deadwood I noticed something all the climbs are hard but my legs are feeling fine on these climbs. It does not mean I am running faster but the effort is not as hard as in prevous years in the canyons.  I think this is a good sign...The best however was the fact that on the run down from Deadwood to El Dorado Canyon I had no IT pain at all and ran some sections free and easy. 

I then climbed up to Michigan Bluff and the last mile with Bob Crowely we had a good talk and I had ots of energy.It was a perfect short recovery day!

Sunday I went for another short run and planned out the coming last three weeks. The IT was holding up and I felt ready for a hard week coming up.  Foresthill to Last Chance and back.  Then two weeks till Memorial day training.  Things are going by so fast.  I was able to make my first draft of my Western States Race Day Plan.  I will share more as it get firmed up but its very conservative with some unknowns on how race day will be...Snow Course Route cause of too much snow near robinson? Boat River Crossing?  I am going ahead with some goals at certain sections fo the course.  My coach thinks its pretty conservative and could be faster.  We will be reviewing this.  I have my crew, I am planning my aid station, drop bags and crew.  Its all coming together...

Its so close now...and I can't believe it...

Tony

Monday, May 3, 2010

Training Race Number 2-Miwok 100k-Fun and Lessons Learned

John Blue Snapped this image a stunning climb

Partial Elevation Profile-about 56miles--The garmin ran out of power.

I guess the best way to begin how I approached Miwok is to take a look back to the workweek prior to the run. It all started with the short taper run in the canyons the week before. I begin to focus the Monday prior with trips to the gym each day to go in the sauna after a short workout and work out the issues in my legs with the stick. This was starting to work out and after my last massage on Tuesday my legs (ie..quads) finally felt normal they where tight! I started to feel better about running Miwok..The work week had long hours so I did not really think a lot about Miwok and my first 100k so maybe that was just as well. I had a late week call with a friend and he described how I should manage the Miwok course and the out and back...Just take it easy on the way out and not focus too much on busting it hard on the climbs and save it for the return to the finish. With that in mind I packed my gear and blazed out of Rocklin mid morning on Friday...

I arrived at the newly renovated Larkspur Hotel in Mill Valley (race central ) to some stunning views and perfect weather for relaxing the day prior. A quick take on the hotel..it was nice, not a lot of thrills, but very clean, and not noisy at all...well worth the price since I never heard a sole while in my room at night..

There where so many familiar faces arriving it was nice to talk to a few. I meet up with other first timers Chris Perillo and Amy Schmich. I would give them a ride to the start. Race day arrived very early with getting up at 3am and then meeting them downstairs. We got to the start with about 50minutes to kill but it seemed to go fast. Dark, not cold, no breeze it would be a nice day.

Conditions where ideal as we all set into our own races..Front of the pack folks including Skaden, Anton, Hal, Wardrian, etc where off fast. I saw Chris and Amy and they looked comfortable each time we passed during the day. I had my plan to take it easy, hydrate and eat well, not let the IT get wacked out on fast downhills. All was going according to plan. I did feel legs being a little tired early on in the race but knew that all this would pass during a long race like this..just get through that low and soon a good section will come. My best section came from the turnaround at mile 35 to Bolinas Ridge about 41miles...With energy in reserve I set out to cut a little time down from my start. This was fun I had a nice pace leading some folks that where most likely on par to finish somewhere in 14hrs..I really had no idea where I was in my pace..I just ran.

I did get caught up in some folks running when they slowed I would slow I wanted to save my energy...but as I got to mile 49 it was late about 11:30hours of running...I had lots of energy and took off after grabbing my flashlight just in case it got dark..A smart move indeed!

My IT had been fine and I kept things in check. I hit HWY 1 and the descent into Tennessee Valley..I had this in the bag I was smelling the barn and feeling good. Well my IT on my left leg flaired up on the downhill to TV..it was frustrating..I wanted to run strong to the finish but could not..Going up hills was not the problem just the downhill...And that is really what the last 7.5 miles where about. It got dark, windy and I hit the flashlight..as I saw the finish in the distance I got passed by a dude I smoked by at the start..oh well.

But in the end I found out a lot...This was my longest time on feet and I went through many different phases, some good, some bad but through it all I kept moving. This race taught me I can do that..It was the slowest ever.
But still satisfying.

I want to say thinks to all the volunteers..Especially Stan Jenson and Victor Ballesteros they where out there all day and always had good things to say when I saw them.

Now work on the IT keep training in the canyons, get in some more heat. The base is really there to finish Western States. No, not a silver buckle bbut a good run will be there the work is showing the dividends.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Second Weekend at Michigan Bluff, One week until Miwok 100k

A short post as I begin preperations for next week and Miwok 100k. With training ramping up it was bound to happen that there are some minor pains and injuries that have flaired up along the way to the start line in June. The real goal is get to the line healthy as possible. I was able to review with Veloyce at Monsters of Massage a nagging stiffness that has gets to me at night..not so much when I run but after. We found that in a small connector area of the left knee..go figure. I think we can control that in the coming weeks. Next some IT issues. I started a good strengthing and stretching program this morning that I feel will help. Just wish I had done that earlier..it feels like my hip abductors are just a bit weak. Better work on that....
On with the week in running...I took it easy during the week trying to follow instructions to see if some rest can help on the IT. I did however go to Michigan Bluff on Saturday to run a bit of the canyons. I could have done 6-7hours again this weekend but I wanted to A)test the IT again access for issues, B)Have some energy for next weekend and 100k. So this weekend not so large of a group where out on the trails. Archie the Mayor dog of Michigan Bluff was out in all his glory and we had a long chat sitting in the sun after (granted he only was nice when I gave him some of my Cliff Bar) he was good company as always at the finish...Oh back to the run..I did 15 from Michigan Bluff to Devils Thumb and back I kept it at 4hours of running. It felt short for a weekend..aside from the 2hour run the weekend before AR this 4hour time was my shortest run in a long time..I am happy that most of my time has been 5-7hours of running and with the slow 9hr 50 minute AR I have spent good time on my feet. Will come in handy next weekend. It was a stunning day..I ran a bit with Amy Schmich who is also running WS for the first time. She is pretty new to the community but is a strong runner and should do fine. Chris Perillo was out for 8hours of running today and flew by us...John Blue and posse where out and Matt Keyes, along with Nichols where out for some long suffering runs of 46-ish miles. Ken Crouse was leading the back and helping out some new runners on this day....But the sun was out mild temps...I just power walked up to Deadwood and it was fine. I left everyone and felt guilty on my turn early to head back from the thumb. I had a easy run to the river. I so love this stillness on the single track taking in this peaceful scene. I stopped for 10minutes or so and talked to Charly Jones...it was that kinda day...Just enjoy. I felt better on the days climb up Michigan Bluff...Then sat in my chair and talked to Archie for about an hour.

Next week is Miwok...I am going to take it easy on the downhills and keep the IT and knees in check. This is a training run..it does not matter about how fast I will finish...That said I would be happy with 14hours of time on feet...For this week stretch, work on the hip abductors and taper for a long run.

Tony

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Week after AR50 a day in the Canyons

All Photos courtesy of Barb Ash:


First Day in the Canyons--Still a lot of Snow-Heading back from Last Chance


A good group of folks..heading back to Michigan Bluff...L/R-Sandra Ross,Jack Meyer, Barb Ash, Trish Godtfredson,me, Monica Moore, Amy Schmich


Archie the Mayor of Michigan Bluff (he is the dog!) always there to greet a runner if they have food!

As the Photos indicate yesterday was the first real run in the Canyons this year. I also was very curious on how I would react a week after AR50. I have been waxed in past years following not moving well. My post week for AR had me a bit concerned with the IT Band on the right leg. I went to the Gym on Sunday and Monday to test the leg. I was tired from the run and just took it easy. I had not done a lot of streching during those days and went for a run Tuesday and felt the IT tighten a lot. I did have my standing Tuesday appointment with Veloyce at Monsters and he worked on it..I was not too concerned after that just feeling I had to be conservative and not push it too hard for the week.

So that was what I did. I started stretching Wed morning, went on a short run with minimal tightness, did the same Thursday. Friday off and I wondered if it would be good to run up and down the canyons with everyone on Saturday. This section is Michigan Bluff to Last Chance and back. 25miles total with long downhills and climbs..all a good chance to really screw things up if I went too fast.

So I decided to give it a try. I would start with running down from MB to the river and maybe turn at the pump in Deadwood. Well when I arrived at sleppy gold mining town of Michigan Bluff I was shocked! James Barsted had sent out a note on Facebook seeing who was interested in running from MB..normally maybe 10 tops you would see..Well this morning we saw about 50 folks! Gad what a cluster! Most newbies, not that there is anything wrong with doing things the first time but this is pretty hard core if they where going to Last Chance...I saw this and jumped in front of the pack and ran as fast as I could at the start to get away from the crowd. I was taking it easy when I wanted to scream down the trail to the river. Things where ok! No real pain yet..the climb to Deadwood for 5 or so miles was hard but my week after AR50 I was feeling good so I must be getting in better shape. I slowed down to take in the views and say to myself..its a week after AR no need to go too fast. That is when I let Jack Meyer and his posse catch me..I am glad they did..I stayed with them pretty much the rest of the day.

I got to the pump with them and had mentioned turning. Barb Ash said you better keep going your in WS...you got to suffer even if your IT is acting up. She was right..next we moved on to Devils Thumb and the descent down with the IT a little tight I actually walked/ran down DT for the first time ever..normally I run but today no hurry, the group was slow but steady and offering me some company for a change. Down to Swinging bridge and I was about to bail and turn when Barb said time to climb to Last Chance..So I did..she was good for me today. I just tucked in behind her and power walked up. I was feeling really good. We then got up to Last Chance and started to run into a lot of SNOW. We got to the spiget filled up and turned back. The run down from Last Chance would be interesting..I had a IT strap on and that seemed to keep things in check.

As we got to Swinging Bridge I should have fueled up with the steep climb up the Thumb. I was moving slow and actually getting a little dizzy and tired on this climb..I took a roctane when I caught up with Jack and the group around one of the runners..she had fell and had a gash in her ankle and a wrist that looked broken. She was really tough, they cleaned her up and we took off up DT...she just kept running. It was later confirmed that she broke her wrist.

From the pump to the river its downhill and I wanted to so run this section fast. But I took it slow..this was the last section I thought I could do damage on this run. I was near the back but not caring just enjoying the day. Finally the last climb up to Michigan Bluff..it was long for me today but as I got to the top I had made it through with the IT issue. I think I will be ok..I stretched after and will more this morning. My legs feel pretty good..it was a slow day but great time on feet...I need that.

Miwok in a few weeks I think I will be ready but so much to build on in these last couple of months.



Tony

Sunday, April 11, 2010

American River 50mile-A beginning, the middle and the finish

American River 50 mile was held yesterday..As I wrote in my blog previous its a training run on the road to WS.  It is still a race though with some goals to hit and things to test.
This years addition was held under perfect conditions with steady cool temps all day, cloudy skies, dry trail when we got to it...I begin my day getting up at 2:00am to have a fast breakfast, pack the car and travel to the finish area at the Overlook.  As I approached the Overlook just before 3:30 I recalled how many times I have run from this area..its my home base.  We got to the start with about a half hour to kill..it was down out nice temps so no shivering as I said hi to a lot of folks I know...The first 19 miles are bike path and flat..you need to manage this section well and not go out too fast or too slow or your toast on the single track.

I started the race in a consistant and easy pace wearing road shoes for the race..I had said I was gonna run 10minute average but breathing and legs said take it faster so I was dropping down under 9minutes after the first 6miles...I kept a 8:40pace knowing if I bank a bit of time I would be good getting to mile 27 at beals and the single track.  I hit Nimbus 18.1 and some single track about 2:50. I had been popping two roctane and a S-Cap every 45minutes prior and no real need to stop at Aid stations.  There were a few folks that I was grouped with as we set off for the slower section to Beals....Getting to beals slowed things down a bit but that was anticipated.  The marathon time about 4:12 and hitting the mat in 4:20 versus 4:30(original goal)...Well Nature called and that slowed things down 10minutes so I was really not out of Beals till 4:30..oh well. 

Here things got rough with running on the pavement..As I hit the single track my right IT flaked out (which never happens!) It really started to slow things down on the downhills and was down and out hurting.  I lost time from 27-38 going through Buzzards and the rocky narrow sections.  I settled in with a group in this stretch with Allyson Thomas and 5 other runners..I was in the back and just dragged the leg..it was so slow I was thinking the pace was easy..I had all this energy but could not move fast...about that time Barb Ash and Kathy Welch said coming by and took off in front of me..it sucked I could not go out with them. 

However as we got to mile 38 after buzzards the IT freed up and I was a bit behind schedule now..but I could run!  I had some energy saved up and took off making a bee line for Rattlesnake..mile 41ish..I wanted to be there by 7:30 but was there at 8:09..I was mad when I got there..but I wanted to see if I could push it hard and get in under 10hours..I took off flying out of Rattle..I was back to 9;30miles and feeling good.  I hit the last aid station before the river with a ton of folks as I got there I had my plan get to the river with 50minutes to spare to climb and finish under 10..it was doable..but some work..I shouted to a group of folks that we could get under 10..just a little work..they shouted back..and said you GO..make yourself happy...they had quit! I blew by that without looking back ran into another group and said we can get there and they started to work with me on the final mile to the river..We hit the mark with 3 extra minutes to spare..now the hard part..climb to Last Gasp! I power walked with determination I felt good as I hit the steep section..at the top of the climb I started running no time for a break and got to Last gasp and final 2.4 with 39minutes to spare..It looked pretty good about getting under 10!  I ran walked with energy and finished in 3:51 a solid run from Rattlenake after the IT released. So I was happy going through the injury and running well at the finish..it really could have been  a lot faster but that was what the day brought...Today..legs sore, IT a bit tight..going to the gym and spin and hit the sauna...Not a bad effort but lots to do still before June....

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Pre Race Plans and the next week

Weather is shaping up nice for AR with partly cloudy, moderate temps and nice dry trails.  I have been reviewing what I want to achieve for this 50mile race.  I know the course well. Understanding that the first 26 miles are really where you will make time.  Reviewing past race info you find that the time from Beals to the finish is =to your time to beals + 40minutes -1:20=your finish time ex...4:30 for the first 26.5 + 5:10 for the last 23.5=9:40finish.  Of course there are faster more even splits but not many runners if any will run faster on the second half.  With that in mind I have a few simple goals...Get to Beals in 4:15-4:30, Get to Rattle about 7-7:30 and give myself 50minutes to climb from the river to the finish.  Just get in under 10hrs. I am excited to see how I run the next weekend in the canyons...I hope to have a few pics but if I am running fast none till I get to the finish...

Tony

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Coooold Running before AR


Cool Runners---Yes its COOOLD
L-R-Chris Prerillo,Me,John Blue,Eric Johnson, Erik Skaden (image-John Blue)
The Last weekend before American River 50 mile was good.  There where many folks out on the trail Saturday for taper runs of various distance.  I had 15 on the schedule and ran well with a group of 8 or so.  It was a strong run out and I needed to keep it down a bit and dropped off the pack about 30seconds to a minute.  It was good running with the group but I had other plans. I wanted  to use the turn and climb back to get in my strategy for those final 10miles from Rattlenake in...The clmb simulated what I am guessing my pace will be and it was really easy...Granted next week it will be after 47miles.  AR50 is just a training run in the big picture but still want to test myself a bit..  I am more curious about the following Saturday and a run in the canyons.  I feel in better shape but one never knows until you try.  The taper and cold weather have played on the mind a bit.  I want hot weather to begin the next phase of training which is gonna be critical.
Till next week...stay warm and keep running. 


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Got the Bib Number...Guilty Taper for AR

It has been a guilty week of sorts with a Taper week built in for the next two leading up to AR50.  I had been a bit sluggish legs after Rucky Chucky so I did not mind it early in the week.  But as the week wore on I wanted to run a bit harder than the scheduled run on the American River Trail yesterday.  I was feeling guilty knowing I need so much work on long downhills and climbing strong.  That had it settled so I compromised with myself and will talk to my coach about it..I went back to Calstreet and ran to Cal3 and back.  Short in that it was 20miles but good with the downhill, climbs and cruising sections.  It was so much easier than last week on the return when you cut off 11miles.  I ran up most of the way from Cal3 to Cal2 and that had me excited..I then cruised till the steep climb up impail trail (as  I call it) Moved very well to Cal1 aid and stopped to talk to Allyson Thomas, Julie Fingar and Don Freeman...as they where heading in the opposite direction..It was nearly a perfect day..what would happen on the final climb to FH..that did not go as well.  I slowed down to a pace I did not want to be. .  But it still was a very good run, the sun was out it was a great spring day....I went home cooked on the grill, then went out to see Hot Tub Time Machine..suprised it was pretty good......

This week one step closer....I got Bib #280 for Western States! All my forms are complete now time to train, train, train...Next weekend I will run AR course to taper but my heart is in the canyons that are just starting to heat up with the change in weather.  AR will not be a race for me but another training run.  Miwok will be a test and a tough one at that.  Then we are into the last solid month of training leading to JUNE!  Where did the time go?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Rucky Chucky 50k a long training run....


Today's post finds my legs a little tired. Yesterday I ran Rucky Chucky Roundabout 50k..I wanted a training run with support on the Cal Loop to the river and back.  So the race offered the chance.  It is really a laid back race with about 75 -85folks.  Mark Lantz, John Blue, Eric Johnson,Charlie Jones, John Nichols where there and we saw Rory of the mountains as I call her.  A young gifted runner, she won the womens 50k and has her slot in WS so it should be interesting. 
We all took off on a cool very comfortable morning I settled in with Charlie Jones for the most part and we ran with a guy from Oregon as we cruised into Cal2.  Things where not too hard but the idea was to get to the turn around and then add 1 hour to my time down to get my finish time.  As we cruised into the first aid station we where in for a suprise.  About 9miles in and the aid station was not stocked!  Seems the gate was locked and the owners where gone....Jeez.  This seems to be what happens with  this race every year.  Race Director...it does not take much to plan ahead and make sure things are in place for race week...I find this very unprofessional that this continues to occur at this race since he took over. 

Ok on with the race..after we ran to the next aid station about 13miles in we got refueled thankfully.  I was low.  Aid station folks there where helpful and glad to quench our thirst.  Runners where on the return to the start finish and we where on par to hit the turn a little under 3hrs. We hit the turn at 2:50 and got out of there to return.  I suffered my low point really from there to Cal 3..I let Charlie go and was taking my time.  I stopped at one point and a guy passed me as  I was looking into the canyons....He said..are you ok I said yes...two other guys would also pass me on my way to Cal 3..things would change though soon enough...I got to Cal3 and was wondering if we would have full aid at Cal2 on the way back..we would really need it..I stopped and took down a Roctane and did a dry heave putting it down...I was downing S-Caps as well it was getting warm.  On the climb up to Cal2 I passed 2 runners and that felt good they where hurting and I was moving well on this climb.  Yippee they found the key and there was full aid at Cal2..Filled my two bottles and took off I was behind my schedule now but I wanted to get up the steepest climb on the return ok...5hours in and I start that climb..not too bad and I start running for the final 6miles..run then walk up the hills as I was thinking about my time and the final 2.5miles and the climb that can feel like an insult..its hard. 

As I hit that final climb I thought I could get within 10minutes of my goal..and I came upon the dude that asked me hours earlier if I was ok..he was a mess...I blew by him and said lets get this thing done but he had no energy and said for me to go on...I did..I was off goal now and said get in under 7hours..a long day for sure..a middle of the pack finish.   I am happy with the last 6weeks with these long runs each weekend....Now a minor taper as we get ready for AR50....then onto Miwok.  I still have a lot of work to do but just need to stay on the plan....Till next week....

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Only 100 Days...!

That's right down to only 100 Days till Western States!  When I see it that way there is so much to get done. In reality after the Western States Training Weekend. Most of the work will be done so the body better get tuned and fast....
I had a minor setback this week with some achilles issues on Tuesday..I think I know the cause and it was foolish..That should not come back again.  Seeing only 100 days sets the mind into a good sense of PANIC! Line all the training up and make it count.  Long runs...and Getting into the Canyons.  Heat Training. More Canyons...Saturday and Sunday's are going to be getting really long and hard.  Weekdays..a little longer runs and repeats at Stagecoach up and down...slam the quads. 

This really is getting fun for me...Spring is in the air, 100 days and a lot of miles to go. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Cool Weekend..Next up Rucky Chucky Roundabout

Cool Cupcakes (photo by Jack Meyer)....Me by Chuck Godtfredsen


Way too Cool really was Cool.  Friday I arrived at Auburn Running Company to work packet pickup.  Only an hour or so into workng we started to see the first rain of the week. This was not too welcome of a sight for all the runners coming in the store.  Temps where dropping and it looked like a cold day in late December not March.  Jeez.  I was happy to be working inside versus the crews setting up the Start and Finish in Cool.  I had a good time but not so much taking time to talk with folks..just ask for last name, grab their bib packet and move on..I left late in the afternoon and a return to Cool on Saturday morning to work some more at the race.

Saturday was cold and foggy as I arrived in Cool runners where all bundled up..with temps in the mid 30's everyone was happy to get the race underway..But it sure was gonna be slick.  I will not get into race details but the day was filled with a lot of fun catching up with folks as I worked the awards table. I was gonna come back on Sunday for my long run and was a little worried I had been standing all day for the last 2 days making my 30'ish run to be hard. 

I arrived Sunday at the overlook in Auburn to run my long run solo again for the third week.  EEEsch...It was again cold but with the time change a bit warmer than previous days....Sun was out as I took off towards Cool, Not a bad run as I made my way up from Nohands..I ran into Grant Carboni who was out since before 7am...Not too many runners on this day a lot of folks resting.  The mud really was pretty bad after I made my way on the Cool course at HWY 49 and decided to run up Ball Bearing to ALT...Energy was ok but not a fast pace.  I was practicing walking pace every 12 minutes or so to review how my walking will be at WS..it was hard for me to walk for a set time especially when in the middle of my 1 or 2 minute walk time I was on some flat or downhill just wanted to move on those sections..I need to practice this a bit more it did not feel natural.  ALT to Browns was really pretty good and I started to think about how this will feel on WS race day/night/errr morning...Browns to Quarry road was a mess to just get down and cross the streams..It was slow going here as it will be long into the night.  I really lost it on the mental energy side once I got to Nohands and my last few miles...Finished my run at Placer High and my traditional touch the WS plaque found there..It felt long today, hard but overall a good week with increased mileage.

That leads me to about a month out from American River 50...I want to run one last long hard run this weekend and am gonna run Rucky Chucky Roundabout. About a 50k course from Calstreet to the river and then back...lots of downhill and alot of climbing..should leave me very tired come Saturday night..I will practice the walking on the steep long climbs and manage fuel and fluids on this test race...

Till next Week...

Monday, March 8, 2010

A week of Lone Long runs....

Geez...there are so many options this time of year that there are weeks where one has a good chance of running alone on those loooong runs.  This was the second consecutive week as folks raced pctr series, Napa Marathon or taper for Cool. 

I really don't mind the lone time as I have put into words before..I even thought of taking my ipod along but thought better of it as I set out on a 31 mile run along the American River...Silence is fine for me except for the sounds of spring be it the birds or mud puddles splatting against my shoes.  I use these longer solo runs to review things and see how well I can go since this is mental to be out for 5 or 6 hours. 

Funny that with American River 50 coming up in a month I have not really thought of that or even Miwok I just want to run each day and focus on hitting the training goals on the schedule...Perhaps this being such a narrow focus is doing me good.  I am not getting to caught up in others faster, longer programs but just looking at what I am doing getting to that day in June.  That said the long Saturday run had some low and high moments all of which I handled well.  I had a low point about 25 miles in but just put the head down to speak and moved through it for about 2miles after which things go better once more.  Steady was how I felt on this run.  The next days follow up recovery run of 9 miles had me thinking that only 2 or 3 weeks ago I was feeling exhausted to run and made every effort to get out the door.  This week like last no problem...The legs feel it put the endurance is getting there again...Longer runs on Sunday to come that is good news I am getting ready. 

Having a heck of a time getting my pacer('s) lined up...maybe living so close to the course and having friends in the race is a curse for this..I have asked four friends so far and all taken.  Way Too Cool is this weekend and I am doing my WS volunteer work there so I hope to see some other folks out there that I might be able to ask pace me..gotta get this taken care of soon.

Tony

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Why all the competitive juices when I have gotten so slow...?

A quick note this morning...I am off for another busy day of WORK.....hmmm another 10hour day, constent multi tasking in terms of subject matter  I am reviewing,discussing and presenting solutions...I love it..

But what jumped into my mind this morning is that even though I have slowed down and have no chance at placing in my age group at any race...unless they are really slow is I have taken time to review folks on the WS list to see how I compare to them and my scant race resume...Gad...! When I do race it has been when I have not been in my best shape and in other cases run via a heart rate monitor...I consider that I really have only been in good running shape with very solid training one year in the last 9...the rest just goofing off...run a marathon or trail race in crappy shape....
This year with help of my coach and that new found PANIC of being in Western States knowing that effort put in now will make a huge difference for me in June has my competitive juices flowing a bit...I have a private list of folks in WS that I want to beat at WS...Its great that they are in....many for their first time, a few folks that have run well at WS in previous years...But they have never raced against me when I am in shape and tuned both mental and physical...Funny...49 years old and just wanting to finish the race also has some targets on other runners backs to chase down...I love it...Will see what happens but I know I am putting in a solid effort these last three months and look forward to seeing the result...Now off to work!

Tony

Saturday, February 27, 2010

A Dizzy Run...bound to happen. Training Picks Up,Good Recovery Run

Sorry, No pictures this week...It was a rather hard week after such a good run on Ball Bearing last week.

The week began with some slower legs, a bit heavy but still out running following the weekday schedule. Things are ramping up now. Weather changed a lot of things during the week..a brief taste of spring turned back to late winter storms come midweek and then returning Friday night. To make things a bit tougher I came down with a bug that left me feeling dizzy and a tad nauseous on Thurday and Friday....I just could not get out and run feeling like that leaving me in a pickle for Saturday's long run...

I awoke feeling a little better Saturday morning a little before 5am..I was going to run the Way too Cool course..including the six mile start at Olmstead....Weather was wicked! At least at my house as I prepped..fired off early morning emails...But out the door I went on a dark stormy morining..As I got to the Cool Firestation I saw a group taking off on the course and Andrew Schooley just pulling in to the lot...I was heading toward Olmstead with a goal to see how I felt, take it slow and just plan for a long day...

That was the needed attidude! Olmstead loop to hwy 49 was a mess..I was running by alone and not feeling good and mind not focusing on running..I was pushing through deep new streams with runoff and just not enjoying it at all...I began to think then that this was a run to focus on building mental toughness..This was not easy at all and just get the time in since it pays dividends come June!

I crossed 49 and saw Twietmeyer heading back and moving easy..I was just picking points to hit as I ran down trails that had turned to steams. I made it to Browns Bar never seeing the streams moving so fast and so deep...it was a true adventure..I was slowly starting to feel better and got to ALT. Here I saw a runner coming back and he said that DeadTruck stream crossing was very deep....Dang. Lets consider to run that and ball bearing...I could run to 3rd gate and turn getting in my 30 for the day...I finally started to feel better! It only took four hours! I was still running slow but with more focus. I went up Goat and started talking to myself (thank god no one was around...) just words to encourage and that seemed to help I followed this pattern to 49 and to the Firestation..I wanted it to be long and slow and set 6hours for this 30 mile run..no not fast it was about time on feet, getting over being sick and being out there..So as my watch had died in the first hour or so...I pulled in got to my car and looked at my phone...clock time...6 hours and 1 minute....Not bad. My legs feel pretty good on Saturday night...Well after todays run..happy to be on the sofa watching tv and relaxing....Mileage goes higher next week....

Just returned from a very succesful 9 mile recovery run...not the fastest but that was not the point so a 39mile weekend...not bad.  Legs feel tired but not trashed..A ray of hope for the last day of Feb!  Bring on March...

Tony