Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Busy, busy, busy

Life is busy in the summer- here is a quick update on what Brandi and I have been doing.

My Running:  Getting back to normal.  Keeping volume low but my tempo runs are still blowing my old PR's out of the water.  That tells me I may have a good 100 in me this fall.  Probably Run Rabbit Run.  Lots of lingering aches and pains from Western, so I'm being really patient.

McCall Trailrunning Classic: We had over 200 runners compete in our 10/20/40 mile races on July 13.  The weather was perfect and Jug Mountain Ranch was the perfect setting.  I am working on a race report for Ultrarunning Mag.  A few notable storylines...Local Caleb Zurstadt came out of retirement and dominated the 40 mile in wire to wire fashion.  Also, several runners were attacked by a Goshawk.  This is a super aggressive raptor and close cousin to this beast of the skies:

I was strafed by him as I marked the course a few days before the race.  He screamed and made a few half-hearted passes above me.  All bark, no bite.  By Saturday, he had enough.  The Goshawk took shots all day at the runners heads and inflicted a few scratches.  One trucker hat was snatched and taken to the trees.  The McClassic Goshawk is greedy- very greedy.  Then, a few days later, I was cleaning the trail markings and he came for me like the blood thirsty killing machine that he is.  He swooped and missed and I took off with adrenaline flowing.  All got silent for 20-30 seconds, as I got back into rhythm and thinking about my run.  Suddenly, I was struck at the base of my skull by a blunt force and I was thrown into the huckleberry bushes- dazed and mostly unconscious.  I came to a few seconds later to see the Goshawk laying on the trail sideways, flapping his wings and trying to get his wits.  He had knocked himself silly too.  He got into a nearby tree and looked at me with his head cocked, begging me to make the next move.  I slipped away with a terrible headache and fear in my heart...knowing I had to come back that way to get home.  Sure enough, an hour later, he wanted some more.  I heard the tell-tale shrieking and felt the wind from his powerful wings above my head.  I grabbed the biggest log I could and waved it above my head as I tried to run away.  I growled and tried to sound ferocious..but I was sure he remembered me as the same chump he just knocked out. 

I'm not going up there for a little while.

IMTUF 100:  On August 30-31, 2013, we will hold the second running of the IMTUF 100.  It could be a historical day for our sport.  Trying to avoid the hype machine and keep it low-key...so have a look around and you may figure out what I am talking about.  I am having trouble believing it is true.  But it is!

Stay Vertical Cross Country Camp:  This Sunday through Friday, Brandi and I are hosting a girls cross country training camp in McCall.  The girls of Lick-Wilmerding High School in San Francisco, CA took third in last years D5 state championship meet.  We are sharpening them for another run at the crown.  Very rewarding to work with such smart and hard-working young women. 

Some pics from the past month:

B at the top of Squaw Valley Resort in some wind.

SCOTT Trail Rocket- 2014 prototype.  Look out!

Molly being 21 at Squaw.  I had a great team for the race.  No stopping the positive energy.

The race hasn't started yet and things already look fuzzy for me.

Forresthill, CA, 8th place.  100K, 13,000+ gain, 10:25, 105 Deg F...but like they say, the race hasn't even started yet.  Matty and I ready for one last rally.  We would catch Hal K a few miles later, then have it all come apart getting to the river.  Thanks again for coming out and sharing that with me, man.  I owe you more than one!

Katie on chainsaw duty in lake Fork- McClassic 40 mile course.  The hawk lies just below.

After a long day of trailwork on the McClassic course, Matty proposes at Louie Lake.  I nominate him most romantic caveman ever!
Matty Tock.   Shows up at the McClassic after another 100+F degree day of high-angle tree work.  He podium'ed by making a pass in the final mile.  He has no chin...under that beard lies only another chainsaw.  Solid dude.
B at Louie Lake on a long, hot run.
Uhhhh, this isn't like normal cross country practice.  The team on Brundage Mountain.

At the summit after an interval climbing session.

Idaho batholith choss wrangling.

Slab Butte.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Western update- I'm OK

A quick update before we leave California to make sure everyone knows I am not in ill health.  I gave what I had on Saturday- and then some.  The problem was that I had very little to give and that was obvious from the start.  Even in the cool high country where I usually thrive, my body wanted very little to do with any racing.  So, I was patient and worked my way up from 15th, eventually down to 7t place.  I ran up no hills of any consequence all day as my body just wouldn't allow it.  I had planned to climb well in the canyons, but no way!  By Devil's Thumb, I was a cramping mess.  I got a boost from Brandi, Katie and Molly at Michigan Bluff.  I got another boost by passing Jorge Maravilla (great guy) in Volcano Canyon.  Things were looking up once I got my pacer Matty Tock.

I caught Hal after Cal 2 and move into 7th.  However, I was sitting in the Cal Street aid stations a long time trying to subdue the cramps.  Karl Meltzer passed me near Fords Bar.  I walked most of Fords to the River and was caught by two other top-10 runners (Jesse Haynes and Paul Terranova).  I reached the river (mile 78) in a group with these guys. It was 106 degrees.  I tripped over my feet as my hip flexor seized and I fainted in front of the doctors at the aid station.  I was pretty woozy for a while, but I begged them for time to get myself together.  I begged them to call call Craig Thornley and ask him to tell them the story about how he laid in the Highway 49 (mile 93.5) aid for 4 hours while recovering to finish under 24 hours.  The problem was that I was cramping so badly when I laid down and the tension came out of my muscles, that they thought I was in medical danger.  They made the call to disqualify me and put an IV in my arm, against my protesting for more time.  I respect their decision, but I know myself and believe I could have pulled it together and finished- if given the time to do so.

So what happened to my body out there?  I was weak from the start.  I cramped long before the heat came- at a pace that should have been easy for me.  Pretty much the same as in my DNF at Bighorn last year.  This time, I just took it much easier from the start, so I made it further.  The problem has got to be seasonal for me.  I have decided that from now on, my race calendar will run from August to early December.  I may race outside of that- but not any goal races- just fun.  That means no more WS100.  I am OK with that.  It is an incredible race and I enjoyed it immensely.  But, I have learned that to get the best from myself, I must listen, learn and adapt to what my body dictates. 

Excited to get home and get back to normal.  Our race (McCall Trailrunning Classic 10/20/40) is just 2 weekends from now.  It's going to be a great summer in the mountains.  Zero regrets!

Thank you to my wonderful wife for allowing me to sacrifice and pursue this crazy dream.  Thank you to my crew- Brandi, Molly and Katie.  A huge thanks to my pacer Matt Tock.  He flew out for the race Saturday morning!!!  I hope everyone enjoyed it and had some fun, regardless of the outcome. 

And of course, a huge thanks to my sponsors SCOTT Sports, Vespa and VFuel for helping me with my quest.  I will keep striving to earn my spot on your teams.

I will post some pics and other thoughts if I get some time in the next week.