Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Make It or Break It - North Face 50

So that is what I'm up to this weekend. San Francisco Marin Headlands and the wildly competitive NF50. I am beyond blessed with the ability to get there and am intimidated to say the least in regards. I, of course, am in no shape to actually run with any of the tops dogs but being part of the scene will be exciting. A handful of the best ultrarunners in the world... perhaps the most ever to run in the same event? Crazy.

Have you ever seen "Pumpkin Chunkin" on Discovery Channel? That competition where a bunch of people gather once a year with catapult-like machines built to sling pumpkins the furthest possible? Competitors have three attempts to make the best distance. The third try everyone rigs up their machine to the maximum tension without regards to if things will break or not. If it works you have a prime chance at winning. This is what The North Face 50 feels like to me with many of these top level athletes. Those are who know how to tune their bodies to the perfect tension win. Make it or break it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Javelina Jundred Recap

I seem to make a habit of writing part of a recap a couple days after a race, let it sit for like weeks, erase what I wrote and rewrite it. I'll just touch base on some brief parts but in tradition please see the following better race reports first: Jay Danek's report @ McDowell Mountain Man and Jeremy Dougherty's report here. Also see Hal Koerner's website and Liza Howard's post.

The Arizona Crew
Photo courtesy of Manoj Nagalla

What a crazy day... this was my first hundred, well 101.4 to be exact! That matters because 1 mile felt like 10 and 9 felt like 90. It definitely felt like a journey despite being a 15.4 mile loop in the desert. The day started early and wrapped up late like all good things should. I finished in 18 hours and 53 minutes and despite having a lower number in my head and snags along the way, I finished and did my best in regards. I actually have never ran a complete loop out there so it was pretty much new for me. I wasn't sure I wanted to do a run on a loop course but it wasn't as bad as I thought. I do think I perform better on mountainous type routes but not having to worry about following ribbons or where aid stations are has its advantages. There definitely were times when I'd curse it as I had mistaken runners headlamps for an aid station's soft glow of refuge in the later hours.

That's my "slightly concerned" look
Photo courtesy of Manoj Nagalla

The snags... I'd say shoes, stomach and nutrition were my main things and that's all experience. I had an issue getting enough calories in and Carb Boom gels were upsetting my stomach. I found a couple things that worked but it wasn't enough to sustain me for the long run. Next time will be different! Oh and I also learned that music is really important for me to keep moving... I had a loop where my ipod died and it was really tough for me. Pacer and Volunteer Jeremy Dougherty let me borrow his later on which saved me along with asking me the best questions in my delirious state. Oh yeah - Tylenol is really helpful. I learned that a little too late in the game.

Photo courtesy of Manoj Nagalla

Want to know what it feels like that night after running your first hundred? Managing to crawl to the refrigerator... making it just about there but passing out on a cold tile floor. Waking up a couple minutes later and thinking how hard it will be to peel my body off the floor then open the door and pour a glass of water. yeah.

Now that I'm done I've asked myself  "Would I do Javelina again?" and the answer is Yes. I would do it again and again. Why you ask? I have a buckle now so what's the point of another one? Because it's not about the buckle. It's about the experience that you have out there with other crazy ass people like yourself. It's a way of validation that you're not the only one who enjoys it. It's a time to hang out with people who I can relate with.

People who are awesome:
The Coury's - Top gun classy. THAT is a title that is VERY hard to achieve and I bestow it to them
My pacers - Jon Roig and Jeremy Dougherty (thanks for the ipod sucker!!) and my Dad. Finishing your first hundred with your pops is pretty cool. Also a thanks to Boone who was really awesome and helped me a lot
Super runners: Awesome job by Jay Danek and Bret Sarnquist... both totally blew past me later in the night. Strong running out there! I have some things to learn! Also Michael Miller for being a badass. Lori for air high fives and being my lunch buddy.

So what's next? I'll save that for another post!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cave Creek Thriller 50k

Firstly I'll say I really don't have much to add in addition to already superb race reports from Aravaipa Running & McDowell Mountain Man AKA Jay Danek. Definitely check those out as I'll be brief in my account.

Went into the race not fresh being that I did Mt. Ord (couldn't resist) the Wednesday before... awesome time but it does include 4k ascent and decent. My hamstrings and calves were feeling a bit tired from that.

50k group on the charge
Photo courtesy of Aravaipa Running

The field out there was quite competitive with a variety of Arizona's talents. The trails at Cave Creek are just superb... very nice and manicured. I think this is relative to each person but I found them to be nice. Runnable all throughout and I think that is what got to people. You can go all out if you want and that's what people did. People started out fast and it was pretty much a game of who could last the longest. Despite cursing my shoe choice (despite looking cool) and muscle fatigue from some good recent training I went out there and did my best. I think 4:10's out there is realistic (ran a 4:26). It's a really sweet course that isn't the easiest or hardest but is a great example of desert trail terrain. I also donned the Aravaipa jersey and am super excited to be part of their team. It's an honor to be a part of such a talented and incredible group of people.

Until next time!

Photo courtesy of Bret Sarnquist