24-hours of Utah Race Report…

Moab at dusk
Caution: Runners on Road

I want to be more like the ocean… no talkin’ and all action. ~ Jane’s Addiction

Thurs 25 Mar: 00:38, 4.9 miles, Boulder Creek Path tempo
Sat 27 Mar: 5:13, 31.9 miles, 24-Hours of Utah 2-person 12-hour race

Back to Moab and more racing. I would say that the results this time were significantly improved over my last venture. Different course, totally different race. Good times.

First, the prelude… Wednesday went totally pear-shaped on me as it started off poorly and just seemed to get progressively worse. I had a 7-miler on deck but a snow storm put the damper on that plan and apparently the Rec Center still thinks that snow is enough of a catastrophic event to continue to close down whenever it happens. I am going to chalk that up in the “lame” column. Anyway, the day was a bit of a disaster so I am pretending it never existed. Moving on…

Thursday, I was supposed to go for a relatively easy run with some light tempo work but apparently my bod had other plans. Ended up slamming a 5-miler in 38 minutes while trying not to. I am going to not scoff at it, however. Guessing I needed to release some frustration from the previous day’s cluster, so I did. Tried out the new Pearl Izumi SyncroFuel XCs. Apparently, they are speedy.

Friday, Sean and I jammed down to Moab to run the 2-person, 12-hour event at the 24-Hours of Utah ultra race. Sean offered to drive so I did a little happy dance and plopped into the passenger seat for the 6-hour trip. We stopped a couple of times along the way to eat and fuel up so it was a leisurely adventure. Rolled into Moab around dusk, checked into the hotel, grabbed some food and hit the sack early. One thing I have noticed about many Moab restaurants… very few places “specialize”. Seems like you can get burritos or pizza or whatever pretty much anywhere you go. Very odd.

Up early on Saturday to gather our stuff, check in to the race and get rolling. It was fairly chilly in the morning but clear and calm and I started us out with a couple of relatively fast laps which put us in 5th overall. This was not a good way to start the day and the early fast pace would haunt me the rest of the day. The course featured fun, varied terrain which started on dirt roads then dipped into some sandy singletrack then climbed on slickrock to the highpoint and then reversed the order on the back side of the loop (descend slickrock, singletrack, roads). Runners were instructed to alternate direction each lap which provided some variety, which was nice. Great scenery abounded for sure.

After my two laps, it was Sean’s turn and he spun a couple while I attempted to figure out how to fight stiffness and chills while waiting for his return. Not sure that mission was accomplished as when it was my turn to run again, I was seriously clunky. This would be the pattern all day: Run for a bit, attempt to not get too wrecked during the down time, repeat. Definitely a challenge.

I ended up spinning relatively even laps (well… not my last one, so much) and Sean kept the tempo during his stints on course even while experiencing some seriously horrendous stomach issues. He hung tough and I couldn’t even convince him to let me finish things out by taking his final lap. We ended up with 64 total in just under 12 hours for a 2nd place finish.

Sean’s stomach problems continued into the night so I went to Zax for quite possibly the worst $20 “large” pizza of all time. Yeah. Don’t go there. We got up early the next day, hit the Jailhouse for breakfast (Sean’s stomach still not cooperating) and then jammed back home. Aside from the nausea, it was a great trip.

Some tidbits:

  • Pacing: Figuring out how to pace these types of events is a challenge. One gets the Devil/Angel thing going on with the Devil telling you, “Rip it up, man. You only have to run 5 miles.” And the Angel keeps screaming, “Dude! You’ll log over 30 by day’s end. Slow the fuck down!” Well, as usual, the Devil won.
  • Pacing Part 2: Having logged virtually all of my mileage this winter on roads, my ideal of a “reasonable” pace is still thoroughly out of whack. Running 11-minute miles just doesn’t feel right. This… will need to change.
  • Run/Rest Cycles: Honestly, this format is for the birds. I had fun, but taking 45 minutes to 1.5 hours off between efforts is not the way to get things done.

Overall, it was a great race. It was cool to meet Ben Dunn, who won the men’s 12-hour solo race and logged as many miles in 10.5 hours as the two of us managed to crank out in almost 12. Also congrats to Sonja Wieck who tore up the field with her 21:58 100-mile solo effort. Her first 100-miler too!

All in all a great weekend of running in the desert.

~stubert.

Pace Chase…

I didn’t feel so bad ’til the sun went down. ~ The White Stripes

Headed out to the Res around dusk to run with Chase during his 24-Hours of Boulder effort. I just missed him when I arrived so got to spend some time with his lovely wife, “Saralee” while we waited for him to come back around. It was a beautiful night without a cloud in the sky. Perfect weather for a run.

Chase’s other crew member, Duane, had headed out “just to the top of the hill” and ended up doing a full lap. Nice work off the couch, Duane! I took over pacing once they returned to base camp and we headed out across the dam for the first of two laps (for me).

The course is an out/back that starts on pavement by the main Res center, runs east past the boat dock, across the dam then back west across the spillway and up to the north-side trailhead where it turns around at the second aid station (adorned last night with many great jack-o-lanterns) and heads back. Pretty cool in that you get to see the front-runners hauling ass on what is really a very flat, fast course. Chase was spinning great splits during my stint as pacer and we alternated running/walking for 3.5 hours or so.

I hung up my shoes after 2 full laps (15+ miles), defrosted my thoroughly dysfunctional hands (why I didn’t wear my gloves is beyond me) and headed home. Chase had completed 9 laps (64+ miles) when I left. He was gunning for a full 100 miles and was still on track at midnight. Hoping to hear more later today and I’ll post information when I get it.

All in all, it was fun to get out for a nighttime run with a bunch of other lunatics. If you have never taken some part in a 24-hour, lap-style event, you should give it a whirl sometime: as spectator, crew, pacer, team member or solo runner. They are a lot more spectator-friendly than traditional ultra events for sure.

~stubert.

UPDATE: Just got word that Chase did 12 laps, 85.7 miles total. Hung it up at about 6:00 this morning after 21 hours. Had visible bruises on the soles of his feet – Yikes! Nice job, Chase. That is a proud effort, rolling all but about 22 miles of that solo.

Run, rest, repeat…

…and proud we are of all of them. ~ Maude Lebowski

Killer week on the trails. Missed out on a run on Saturday due to some water turning from liquid to solid in the old house pipes but managed to get that all fixed up in time to get in a great run on Sunday. Rach and I did get to go see Tosca which was simulcast from The Met. These events are just awesome. Definitely go see one if you can.

Sunday, I just spun around the neighborhood trails for two and a half hours. Snow flurries kept me company throughout and it turned out to be a great run. Finished it off with about 15 minutes of “barefoot” running in the Vibram FiveFingers KSOs and I must say, I really like these puppies. They do really poorly in the snow but otherwise are quite kickass.

Took Monday off then hit the Casa Trails again on Tuesday for a quick warm up then a series of 45 second to 1 minute surges. Really felt great. Working on a lot of new tricks after spending time with Janet Runyan and Matt Nasta last week. They are hosting a workshop on the 24th in Boulder. Anyone seeking to get some great gait analysis and mechanics assessment should definitely check it out. Worked on relaxing from my head down with particular focus on my feet, neck and arm swing. Feels great.

Wednesday, I hit the Betasso trails for some tempo work. My warm up was mellow but resulted in a PR for the loop then I kicked it into high gear for 40+ minutes. Betasso is a challenging loop somehow. Just steep enough to put the ouch on a person without a lot of flat terrain on which to coast. I felt a little hammered after the run and headed down to Boulder for the last night of jury selection for this year’s Adventure Film Festival. Mark the calendar (November 12-14), it is going to be a good one.

Tonight’s run can only be described as “effortless”. Took the KSOs out again for the duration of the run and just did a fun little Popsicle loop out my back door. (Well, front door, we don’t really have a back door at my house.) Just felt amazing. One has to be a bit careful with foot placement while running on trails with the FiveFingers but everything just feels right. Posture, stride length… everything seems really put together. One tends to run a lot “lighter” with these anti-shoes and I definitely could feel the difference. Part of the run was on fairly hardpacked dirt which definitely took a little getting used to and I don’t think I will be replacing my regular shoes anytime soon but I do plan to make “barefooting” part of my regular regimen.

So all in all, I am feeling rather awesome when it comes to getting my run on. And just in time for winter! This weekend should be a blast as I am pacing an online friend at the 24-Hours of Boulder race. Only know him through his blog and a few emails/messages back and forth. Should be fun. If you have time, spin out to the Res on Saturday after 9:00 to cheer on all the ultra runners. I’ll be there after dark if that works better for you.

I’ll let you know how that goes.

~stubert.

Run all night? Sign me up…

Ding a ding dang my dang a long ling long ~ Ministry

Run, work, hammer, repeat. Sounds pretty sweet, actually. I have been getting out regularly and feeling okay albeit a little out of shape. That is to be expected, however, given my standards are all messed up. Running marathons last fall made me feel that anything over an 8-minute pace is slow. And running ultras has made me feel that anything under, oh… 13 miles is short. So yeah, I’m all screwed up. But you knew that already.

I have also been building a shed at our house and have actually somewhat enjoyed the process thus far. I also have learned that I should not quit my day job. I have the floor all framed up and covered and it is actually mostly straight so… go figure. I am considering it a success thus far and plan to raise the walls next week. I’ll keep you posted.

Today’s run featured some trails, hills and a lot of sunshine plus 10 minutes of tempo work during which I went out way too fast and blew up a little towards the end. I believe that after I banish doubt, I will start working on accepting being humbled. And that is okay.

I also joined up with a team doing the Wild West Relay this weekend (well, Friday and Saturday). It is a 200-mile relay run starting in Fort Collins, jamming up through Wyoming and back down to Steamboat. All in about 24-30 hours. My shifts come around 3:00 on Friday then around 3:00 Saturday morning and again around noon. This will be my first foray into the team event action. Should be fun (or at least interesting). I plan on putting my well-crafted ability to sleep anywhere to the test and will apologize in advance for any grumpiness I may exude while being rousted for my shifts. Photos of me with Cheetos on my face to come…

Aaaaand Rach has been working her ass off at the shelter and taking care of Georgia, who is a special needs bunny. Georgia is doing really well under Rach’s care and just loves giving kisses and eating piles of greens. Good stuff.

~stubert.