Crewing the Hardrock 100

Tim, George, and I left Wednesday morning. We got to Silverton a few minutes before 4pm and Tim ran over to the gym to get weighed in and all that vital stuff. After that we hung out in town and got dinner and visited the Silverton Brewery. After that I drove out to my campground and set up camp for the night and went to bed. The guys went to their hotel room.

Thursday morning I met up with those 2, plus Brownie and Brian Fisher for a run. An easy, shake-out run for them, and I planned on staying out for a few hours. Their easy-because-I’m-running-100-miles-tomorrow pace is still twice as fast as my normal pace, which isn’t depressing at all.

I headed up a local small mountain, then back down to a trail intersection and headed down a trail that lead back towards Gladstone, CO. The trail eventually fizzled out and I figured I would, instead of taking the trail back to town, just start bushwhacking and figure out my own improvised route that lead me down a dried up gulch that I knew would eventually lead me to a river that would then lead me back down to town. There was only a few minutes of panic when I didn’t know if my plan was going to work, but in the end I made it back in one piece 3 hours from when I started.

The rest of Thursday was spent hanging out in town eating/drinking and back at my campsite reading.

Friday morning came around and Kara, Justin, George, and I were at the starting line to see everyone take off. Justin rented a Jeep, threw his 2 dogs Chuck & Ellie in, and George, Kara and I got in our Jeep and drove out of town, over Ophir Pass via a 1-car-width jeep road to the first non-crew aid station just to see the runners. Ophir barely counts as a town. It was 1 road, maybe 20 homes and 1 post office the size of a small bathroom (seriously). Nothing else.

From Ophir we drove down into Telluride to the first aid station with crew support. It was raining at this point. Tim came in and he wasn’t feeling too hot. He changed his socks and got back to it.

From Telluride we drove to Ouray (Justin took Imogene Pass in the rain. We took the highway.), where Brandon was going to pace Tim to the next aid station at Grouse Gulch. After Brandon and Tim left Ouray George, Kara, and I drove back to Silverton where George would lie down for an hour or so and Kara and I got a late lunch/early dinner.

George, Kara, and I left for Grouse Gulch, where George was going to pace Tim in to the finish from mile 54ish. We proceeded to get lost and end up in the middle of nowhere up a jeep road past some abandoned mining towns, while it got dark out.

Eventually we figured out our mistake and did end up at the Grouse Gulch aid station with plenty of time to spare to wait for Tim. We saw some people come in different states….some looked/felt great, some didn’t. One guy was puking and laid down for 8 hours before getting back up and finishing his race under the time limit.

Tim got in with Brandon a little worse for the wear around midnight. He wanted to lay down for a bit, so we made a spot for him on the ground and covered him with blankets/jackets. Brandon fixed Tim’s feet and the rest of the crew just sat with him and got him to eat/drink what he could. Eventually he was back on his feet and he and George left around 12:40am into the night. Brownie strolled in right about then feeling/looking great. Obviously he drank some PBR…

Kara and I had, what we thought at the time, about 8 hours of free time until we were to be at the next aid station. So we went back to Silverton and got some rest. We woke the next morning and drove out to Maggie Gulch – another aid station with no crew support allowed. We wanted to check in on the guys after their night. They both seemed good all things considered. The left Maggie Gulch, mile 87, and we drove to their next aid station – Cunningham Gulch – the last crew aid station.

We were there a while, Justin laid down with his dogs for 20 minutes and got up with a very burnt face. We were able to see way up on the mountain the ridge the runners would descend down. At one point everyone at the aid station saw a giant bear walking up this trail. The bear was spooked quickly and ran the opposite direction and disappeared into brush and presumably far up the canyon where none of the people/racket was.

Tim and George got into Cunningham Gulch aid station and were out quickly. They were both looking pretty good. They had a very steep climb straight up out of there but motored through it. Justin, Kara, and I left and drove back to Silverton where we hung out at the finish line/gym for the guys.

George called me saying they were close, and sure enough they rounded a corner a few blocks down the street and Tim ran it in to finish in 35 hours and 49 minutes.

We had dinner and beers in town, I went back to the campground for the night, and the next morning we all took off in the morning back to Boulder. We had a miserable 10 hour drive due to hours of traffic delays for reasons we couldn’t figure out.


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Laughing Valley Ranch

I visited Bill Lee and his wife Carol at Laughing Valley Ranch up in Idaho Springs. I was getting Burro 101 lessons to use for my first burro race. Bill is awesome. Super nice, passionate guy. Cares about the animals. More details to come on that perhaps, but here are the pictures from the few hours we spent up there.

There are llamas, alpacas, a few breeds of dogs they rescued including a wolf hybrid, several breeds of goats, lambs, donkeys, mini donkeys, mules, horses, ponies, reindeer, chickens, a goose…probably some others…

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Long time….

Been nearly a year since my last post. To sum it up, there was very little running from after the Dirty Thirty until January 1st 2012. Like….maybe 10 miles a week. Maybe.

But I went to Mt. Rushmore, Deadwood, Crazy Horse Monument, Devil’s Tower, Seattle, Bend Oregon, and probably other cool places I forgot about that I should post pictures from.

Then winter came and we skied and I started to run a little more because I wanted to – which is a good way to do it.

I did the Screamin’ Snowman 5K Snowshoe race in February up at Eldora and ran it basically the same pace without hardly training, as I did while doing a lot of training/running the year before.

First race of the year was the Desert R.A.T.S. Trailrunning Festival 25M which I ran last year and fell in love with. This year I didn’t quite know what to expect for my performance. I’m training almost entirely by feel instead of by a coach or plan – which I think is helping keep my motivation high. But it’s hard to gauge fitness when your running week to week isn’t as consistent as it would be with a coach/plan. Last year I ran it in about 5:30, and I thought this year I could come in either 45 minutes quicker or 45 minutes slower. I felt incredible until mile 20ish. I should have taken my ibuprofen but decided to tough it out, but it cost me a ton of time. In the end, I finished about 15 minutes slower. But the race is incredible. I hope to go back every year until I die. Just look at the pictures from last year – I basically took the same pictures again this year.

The next adventure is Burro Racing…

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Golden Gate Dirty Thirty 50K

This past Saturday……..

I knew going into this race that it would be the hardest race I’ve ever done, by a long, long, LOOOOOOOOOONG shot. Generally, someone that can run other trail 50Ks in ~3 hours finish this race in ~5 hours. So since I can finish a 50K in ~6 hours, I expected to be done with this one in ~9 hours.

The course didn’t disappoint. It was pretty awesome. Spectacular single track. Sections where you had to climb up, over, and down boulders, searing heat, some decent (bigger than anything else I’ve done in a race) climbs….the course was very difficult.

I felt great through 13 miles when I came into aid station #2 where Tim was volunteering. It was great seeing him – it’s always nice to see friendly faces on the trail – and I motored out of there around 3 hours in to the race (slooooooow).

Not long after that, I started not feeling too hot. Nothing terrible, just not great. I got to the third aid station at around 18 miles or so, took my time eating and drinking, then took off. I probably should have changed into my short sleeve shirt I had in my drop bag there, but decided to just deal with my long sleeve, thinking it’d be better to block the sun from burning me (no sun screen) than being a little cooler.

About a quarter mile after leaving the aid station things got bad. The temperature was through the roof. For the next mile the trail followed a stream and I would have to stop to dunk my hat in it to cool off every 5 minutes or so. I was slightly worried about how hot it was getting, but just maintained a hiking pace. It was basically a grind of feeling really bad for about 4 miles until mile 19ish.

At this point I caught up to a guy (uncle) and girl (niece), and simply having their company to talk to really helped. It also helped that we got into some tree cover and the heat wasn’t as bad. From 19 miles on I pretty much felt fantastic, but was really enjoying my day just chatting with those two and doing a lot of walking, so I didn’t bother ever running unless everyone felt like running. I was very, very surprised at how well I felt for the last third of this race. I’m guessing I could have taken 30 minutes off my time had I ran when I could have. I’m happy I didn’t, though. I’ll never be in the position to win these races, so I might as well make some new friends and finish having a good time.

I finished in 9:16, which is right about where I figured I’d be, so I’m happy with the result. Something new that happened on this run was that my legs stopped hurting after a while. Around 5 hours my legs got their usual “oh my god someone’s hitting my legs with a bat” feeling. But at about 7 hours, the pain disappeared. Now, the bottom’s of my feet on the other hand….yeah those still hurt a ton, but my legs felt completely pain free and ready to keep running. This was the first race where I finished and actually thought (knew) I could finish a 50M race.

I’m signed up for a couple 50M races currently, with the first one being in 1 week – but I will not be showing up for that one, because I can’t take another day off work (7ish hours away) right now to go run. The other is in October and I’m fully looking forward to that now. I was terrified before, but after Golden Gate, I’m not the least bit scared anymore. Famous last words….

I may also try to find a local-ish 50M race in July/August.

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Collegiate Peaks 25M

Weeks ago………

Tim and I headed to Fairplay on Friday night to meet George at his cabin. The next morning, about 45 minutes away in Buena Vista (pronounced “bee-yoona vista” – gringo style), I was running the 25M, and they were running the 50M. Tim and I got to George’s cabin first and unpacked – George wouldn’t be up for a few more hours.

Tim and I headed to a local bar to have a couple drinks and get dinner. The drunkest man on the planet was there chatting us up. When he asked where we were from, we replied that we were in town for a 25 and 50 mile race, and the wise old man said “Don’t get involved in that shit,” then pounded another shot.

He then began to tell us the story of “last night” where he spent a few hundred dollars at that same establishment. His son also spent a few hundred dollars that night apparently. His son then came home with no clothes on or something like that.

He also told us about the mountain lion cubs, skunks, and other stuff I don’t remember, that he keeps because he has an animal refuge license. I don’t know if “animal refuge license” is a real thing or not, but if there is I hope there’s a better screening process than this guy exemplified. Guy was quite the character….

Anyways, Tim and I left and headed back to George’s cabin. Shortly after Tim and I naively started an enormous campfire during a county (state??)-wide fire ban George showed up to let us know we were idiots. Whoops.

Not much longer and we went to bed for an early wake time.

Can’t say much about the race, really. Never did I think I wouldn’t finish, which may be a first at that type of distance/race, which is good. I chatted with a couple South Africans for a while along the way. The course itself was ok – nothing terribly inspiring. But the Collegiate Peaks across the valley were pretty awesome when you’d get to see them.

The course was harder than any other race that distance-ish I’ve done, and I think I finished in 5:30ish so I was content with that. Saw a lot of cool people I only know through their blogs at the finish as they finished the 50M, which was cool.

Tim had a bad day and finished in the low 8 hours (I would kill to run 50M in that), and George dropped out at 45M, having gotten lost on the course and ending up ahead of the 1st place guy somehow. Was bummed for George because when I saw him on the course (we passed at about mile 22 for me and 28 for him) he was looking great and in like 7th place. Oh well – Columbus didn’t get it right, either.

I probably won’t be back, only because the course really isn’t that great. It wouldn’t be a bad course to have a first crack at 50M, though…

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Colorado National Monument & Desert R.A.T.S. 25M

Incredible scenery. If you have a chance to hike/run/mountan bike the Kokopelli trail in Fruita, DO IT.

Long story short, the race went well for me. It is a difficult course. Much more difficult than Antelope Island, so I’m happy with my result. 25.75 miles in 5:26.

Here are some pics of me driving into the park Friday afternoon and then some of the race. So many awesome pictures, it was hard to narrow the list down to only these:

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Desert R.A.T.S. Trail Running Festival 25M preview

Once again, I have very little expectation for this race. I’ll throw out another meaningless, clueless, prediction of 5 hours and 15 minutes. I’m basing this off the AI50K 2 weeks ago. They have the same elevation change, but the AI50K was 7 more miles (not just 50K = 31.1 miles. it was closer to 32.5 miles), so I’ll say those last 7 miles took me roughly 85 minutes. My finishing time was 6:53, minus 1:25, equals ~5:30, then just add 15 minutes cause I suck, then subtract 30 minutes because I’ve hopefully learned from my mistakes last race.

This race is also in the desert, and has been known to get very hot, even for this time of year. If you read my AI50K recap, you know that this means I am thinking A LOT about hydration/salt. If I do at this race what I did at the last, I could get in real trouble.

So, here are my goals for the race/weekend….

#1 – Forget about work for a couple days and get there and back alive
#2 – Enjoy camping in Colorado National Monument
#3 – Finish the race
#4 – Finish the race feeling GOOD (a first!)
#5 – Finish in 5:00
#6 – Make time to go see some lesser-known petroglyphs on a trail in the Monument – can’t tell you how I know about them…
#7 – Take pictures of all of the above to share

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Antelope Island 50K recap

The Antelope Island 50K crushed me. Admittedly, I did nothing – absolutely nothing – right. I didn’t eat enough, I didn’t salt enough, I didn’t drink enough, and I went out too hard (by about 10 minutes) the first half. Expecting anything else except misery was my real mistake.

I drove out to the island Friday night with Pippit (Tim’s dog) and quickly realized this was not going to be an easy course for me. Lots of elevation (awesome island!!). I immediately re-adjusted a good finish to 6 hours and got nervous.

That night, Tim, who was running the 100M (that’s miles), dropped out at 50M, which not only came as a surprise (cause the dude is solid), but it definitely deflated my sails a bit. Thinking I was going to go run 31 miles and that he was out there battling his own 100 miles was definitely calming. Knowing he dropped and that I would be out there “alone” affected me negatively, however absurd.

The next morning the race started and I felt incredibly good the first 2 miles. I should have gone slower (walked!) some of this, but didn’t. I was determined to “race” – which meant push myself the entire time. I’m not in the sort of shape that I can balance on the edge for 31 miles, I found out. The weather was perfect for running – cool and overcast. I took this to mean that I didn’t need as much water as usual. I wouldn’t find out for many hours that this was a mistake. I did good with my calories the first half but probably slacked on the salt, since I wasn’t drinking water as much as I should have – there is a balance there you have to strike and I didn’t want to tip too far in one direction.

To summarize the first loop (16 miles) I was incredibly close to quitting. I took a decent amount of video of this race as I ran it, and at 15 miles I made a comment, “It’s going to be hard to not quit at the half way point…”. Luckily Tim was there to greet me and made up some bullshit positive things to say like “you look good” and “you’ll feel better” – both of which I knew were crap but it was still nice to hear, so I ate some M&Ms, had Tim pack some more GUs from my aid station bag into my Nathan vest, and off I went – 1 more 16 mile loop away from being done. This was just under 3 hours at this point – and I didn’t need to refill my water bladder (whoops).

From here it was 2 hours of thinking I might collapse and die on the trail. I felt awful. It had been 5 hours and I hadn’t had to pee (sorry for the image…), which is a problem. There was a very panic-y moment where I didn’t know if I had the energy to continue or go back to the start. I eventually made it to the next aid station and was greeted by some seriously awesome volunteers. I washed my salt-caked face, sat and ate some Cheez-Its, drank a crap load of water, had an S-Cap, and re-filled my water bladder. The volunteer convinced me I could keep going, and after a few minutes of solid deliberation – I continued on.

A little over an hour later the course brought me back through this aid station, where I already felt waaaay better than when I passed through there not too long ago. Still, I stopped to have more Cheez-Its, more water, another S-Cap, and to refill my water bladder.

From here on out it was just a routine 6 mile run back to the Start/Finish. At this point my only real goal (since any time goals were thrown out the window long ago) was to beat the 60 yr old woman, and guy that would run 100 yds then puke, then run 100 yds then puke, etc., that were both just ahead of me. I can say that I beat them by several minutes – if that’s worth anything.

In the last mile of the race there was a super pissed off buffalo just off the trail that I watched charge a runner ahead of me. Buffalo weigh as much as a car. So basically a car saw you and decided to run you over for no reason other than “being too close”. Cool – I’ve survived this long only to be trampled to death by a buffalo. He wasn’t alone either, he had like 5 other buddies on the other side of the trail. In the end nothing really happened other than I was a giant chicken and the buffalo ran away to go terrorize each other away from the trail I was on.

That’s basically it. I finished in 6:53. The first half took me about 2:57 and the second half took me about 3:56. That’s a very big discrepancy. I crashed. I didn’t pee until about 2.5 hours AFTER my finish time – so almost 10 hours. No wonder I felt like death – I was crazy dehydrated. Lesson learned – hot or cold, I can’t slack on hydration on distances like this.

I didn’t enjoy the 7 hour drive, but I think I’ll go back. It’s a really awesome island with some great scenery. I didn’t take any pictures, but if I get super motivated I might try to throw together a short movie one of these days of the different clips I took along the way.

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Antelope Island 50K preview

Well my first real race of the year is this Saturday (I did a 5K snowshoe race a month or so ago that I don’t care about). It’s the Antelope Island 50K, which takes place on Antelope Island, which is the biggest island in the Great Salt Lake. Didn’t know there were islands, did you? Me either. And apparently there are a few hundred Buffalo that we will see on our run. Sweet!

I drive out 8 hours alone (maybe with Tim‘s dog who is flying out to run the 100M race) Friday morning, race Saturday morning, and then Tim (and maybe his dog) and I drive back Saturday or early (like 2am) Sunday morning.

So comparing this race to my last, and only other, 50K, I’m not quite sure what to expect.

  • The Goblin Valley 50K was essentially pancake flat. The Antelope Island 50K has like 3K+ ft. of elevation change (I think?). I think that means the GV50K is easier (could be argued that incline = less pounding = not as bad, but whatever). Nod to GV50K.
  • GV50K is maybe 40% on a road, and I think the AI50K is 0% on roads. AI50K gets the nod there (roads hurt joints/muscles more than trail, but trails have more complicated footing, BUT roads depress me and trails inspire).
  • GV50K was cut short due to rain/mud by about 2.5 miles. AI50K will likely be a full 31 miles. Nod to GV50K for not being a full 50K that year.
  • I was crazy burnt out on running last October for the GV50K and as of today I’m about to see if I can run fast enough to run along the walls of my apartment. Crazy driven right now. Nod to AI50K.
  • Didn’t have Ibuprofen at GV50K when my legs started hurting. I ***easily*** lost 20 minutes on the GV50K from having to walk because my legs were in a lot of pain. I’ll be packing Ibuprofen for the AI50K. Big nod to AI50K.
  • There will be about 2x as many runners in the AI50K as the GV50K. It’s much easier mentally to fight through pain if you’re around people that are also suffering. This is a nod to the AI50K.
  • It will be much cooler at the AI50K than it was at the GV50K. Nod to AI50K.
  • I will run by the aid station with my drop bag several times at AI50K while I only ran by my drop bag once at GV50K. If anything this is a mental nod to knowing I can be more flexible at the AI50K.
  • I will be wearing my running vest instead of a running water bottle. To some this is backwards because I’ll carry more weight, but for me, at the GV50K, when an aid station came up I stopped and refilled my bottle, stood there for a few minutes to eat some snacks, and then took off. Every. single. aid station. This race I will have my own aid station on my back. I’ll have all the salt, calories, and water I’ll need on me at all times so won’t *have* to stop. I will likely not make my first stop until mile 13 or so. In 70 degree weather in Boulder my vest lasts me about 15 miles. Nod to AI50K.
  • I’ll know a few people running in the AI50K, which is always inspiring because you know that 1) they are hurting too, and 2) you don’t want to look like a wuss in front of them. I didn’t really know anyone at the GV50K. Nod to AI50K.
  • I am in better shape right now than I was for the GV50K. Nod to AI50K.
  • I weight 5-10 lbs more now than I did for the GV50K. Nod to GV50K.
  • I’ve done this before. HUUUUUUUUGE nod to AI50K.

The un-weighted score is 3-10 in favor of the Antelope Island 50K. In reality I don’t think it’s that big of a landslide, because my biggest weakness is climbing, and Antelope isn’t as flat as Goblin Valley, so that should probably slow me down quite a bit.

I finished the GV50K (a shortened 28.5ish miles) in about 5:32. My A goal is 5:20 for the AI50K – a full 50K – so 12 minutes faster but 3 miles farther. My B goal is under 5:45. Both of these goals are faster paces than the GV50K. If I have an amazing day, I think I could go close to 5:10, but I don’t think a 6:30 is out of the question either. My main goal is to finish and line up at my next race in Fruita a month later.

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Walker Ranch

Quick post, not much to say. I went for a run around Walker Ranch a few weeks ago. Here are a few pics. I can’t figure out why the images won’t render, but just click on the empty squares below to view the pics.

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