Sunday, December 28, 2014

12/28/14: Boyer's Furnace 40 Race Report

Sometimes you eat the trail; sometime the trail eats you.  Last year I had a great run at Boyer’s Furnace and won it in 7:40.  This year I was chewed up and spit out, and I struggled mightily to finish in 8:56.

Somehow my hydration bladder leaked all over my pack during the night, so I had a bit of a disaster to deal with in the morning and got to the start line late.  The runners were already off, so I hustled to catch up to my usual running crew and eventually made my way to the front of the pack.   I made quick work up the 1,000 foot climb to Woodstock tower, averaging just under 9:00.  The next 8 miles on the MMT orange trail up on the ridge went well, and I got to Edinburg Gap at mile 11.8 in 2:07, about four or five minutes ahead of last year.

On the next 9.5 mile road stretch things started going south.  Last year I ran impossibly fast on this section and seem do have averaged well under 8:00s.  I don’t really remember running this stretch fast, but I guess it had something to do with running it with a 19 year old.  Ah, young legs.  This year I was still moving well, but my stomach was not cooperating.  I threw up a bit at mile 19, but it unfortunately didn’t seem to help.

I rolled into mile 21 at 3:43 elapsed thinking I was going to drop, which sadly would ruin my no-DNF year.  But there is no rush when you are out in the mountains, so I sat down and relaxed for a bit.  After some soup and PB&J I was feeling better but still wasn’t great.  If I left this aid station, I would be committed to another long, tough 21 miles with most of it up on the ridge.  It was also a long, long 12 mile stretch until the next aid station.  But stupid is as stupid does, so I grabbed some food, left the aid station, and started hiking. 

I managed to keep hauling myself along the trail over the next 12 miles at a somewhat respectable pace.  The views over to the Shenandoahs were great, and the weather was as good as it gets with temps in the low 50s.  I managed to run out of water and Coke more than an hour from the next aid station.  Woops.  I had some Perpetuem in my front bottles, though it wasn’t really agreeing with me and I suspected it might have been the culprit upsetting my stomach.  But I was just too thirsty and drank it anyway.

The Milford Gap aid station appeared like a mirage, and I was tremendously thankful that they hiked everything up to the trail.  What service!  I spent some time gathering myself together here with soup, Coke, and Ginger ale.  Reluctantly I dragged myself out for the last 8.5 mile stretch and was somewhat revived for the next 3 miles or so.

But sadly it didn’t last, and I threw up again about four miles from the finish.  I felt much better for the first 2 miles after that but then had a tough slog for the last 2.  Let’s just say I was super happy to finish and just sit down for a while.

It was not exactly my best day out in the mountains, but I still had quite a few fun stretches and was pleased to keep it together more or less.  I still haven’t fully cracked this stomach issue and maybe I never will, but at least I was keep to keep on moving and get it done!

Beautiful sunrise over the mountains 

First glimpse of the Shenandoahs from the far ridge in the first half of the course 

We were treated to awesome views of the Shenandoahs for 15 miles up on the ridge 

That is one sad, tired dude coming into the Milford Gap aid station at mile 33 

Must find food I can stomach ...

Sunday, December 14, 2014

12/14/14: A Few Grindstone Pics

Training has been going decently well.  I ran 70 miles last week with a bit of speed / incline worked in (though not as much as I'll need to start doing).  I'm looking forward to the Boyer's Furnace 40 miler and hope I am in good enough shape to get through it well and have a good time out there.

The Grindstone 100 site just posted a bunch of race pics.  The first one below reminded how damn tough this race was and how worked over I was at the end.  The second one made me want to go out and run another 100 tomorrow.  Ok well maybe that wouldn't be a great idea, but it at least made me want to go back to Grindstone.  The feeling of finishing 100 miles is certainly something special.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

12/10/14: Who Needs Western States?

Apparently it is more likely to get struck by lightning than win the Western States lottery.  My name was not one of the lucky few, and my odds ended up being less than 5% despite the change making it much tougher to qualify.  Oh well, who needs Western States anyway?

I am cooking up some even better plans for next year, and all I can promise for now is another crazy race in the Alps.  While the Sardona Ultra nearly ended me, I am still hungry for more!  I am also hoping to run a race somewhere with Dylan.  He’s got his own crazy plans at this point, so we’ll just have to see what happens.

In the meantime I am trying to keep the base mileage up and start injecting more quality runs.  I’ve been getting back at my 15% treadmill incline runs and am going to make an effort at dragging my slow self to the track. 

Working around the family schedule has also been resulting in some good “character-building runs.”  Last Saturday I skipped lunch so I could overlap with nap time and ran almost 3 hours on tired legs in pouring 40 something degree rain.  Given the tough realities of racing in Switzerland, this is probably the best training I could possibly be doing for a tough European mountain race.

By the way, I highly recommend Trader Joe’s Reserve Ale to warm you up after some cold winter training!