2013 Race Schedule
April- 50 mile C.U.R.E race
May- 50 mile Quadrock
June- Big Horn 100
September- Bear 100
2012 Race Schedule
March- Antelope Island Buffalo Run 100 miler- (26 hr 55min)
Anticipating my first run of 100 miles was exciting, daunting, and thought provoking. I now feel like I can share some of my personal thoughts leading up to race day. My number one concern was nutrition. I was especially worried about not keeping a balance between electrolyte drink and water. The secret for me was to start the drinking habit early! Starting at 20 minutes into the race I had already started drinking water from my 2 liter camelback. In between every aid station in the race (about 6-7 apart) I made sure to drink a hand held bottle of electrolyte drink. After sticking to this plan and refilling my camelback 4 times during the entire race I actually peed the entire race, can you believe it? Not only did I pee but my pee never turned dark yellow! Sweet! So, my biggest concern was not even a problem.
Where nutrition became a problem was mile 80. Yes, I felt pretty stinkin’ good until mile 80. However, at the Lower Frary Aide Station (mile 78) I ate a cheese quesadilla. What a mistake! Within about 5 minutes I was incredibly nauseous. I still do not know why I ate that much cheese in a race but I did, and I learned from it. Up until this eating mistake I was on track to finish under 25 hours, but I slowed down significantly from miles 80-94. I was fighting to hold it together and not puke. I thought puking at this point with the heat coming on would do me in. So, I slowed way down and ate about 10 tums. My pacers and crew could see I was fighting to hold on but stayed extremely positive. So many times the terrible thought of “I can just stop at Ranch Aide Station and be proud of the 84 mile effort” or “ I can stop at mile 90 and be proud of that effort.” Bull!!! I came to run 100 miles, not quit a race at 90! The thoughts continued to get deeper and deeper and I just kept one foot dragging in front of the other. I was feeling a lot of nausea and discomfort at about mile 88 and decided to sit on a rock. I told my pacers, “Okay we have 2 minutes then let’s go.” I quickly fell asleep and my sister woke me up and kept me moving. That 2 minutes of sleep was delightfully deceiving. By the time I got to mile 94 I was feeling much better and over the nausea. Thank goodness!
Another great concern I had was do I really have it what take physically to do this. I mean I thought I had trained well. I ran with other experienced runners and had a great mentor who introduced me ultra running. The thought that I may not be physically strong enough for the 100 miles was intimidating. I figured the only way to find out was to do it. Sitting here now I can tell you I was physically ready. Yes, I could have trained differently in some areas and improved my overall time but I was trained well enough to finish the 100 miles before cut off time! My IT bands and left foot were the only major physical issues. About mile 65 I stepped in a hole and it felt like something popped in my foot. I felt the pain the remaining 35 miles but did not really feel the pain until I took my shoe off after the race. My foot was bruised and swollen but nothing more than taking a good hit.
Enough of some of my fears and what not, I want to talk a bit about the flow of the race. Miles 1-20 were a blast. It was somewhere around 3,300ish ft of climb and the same in descent. Elephant head was a point at about mile 9 where I got a beautiful view of the west side of theGreat Salt Lake. Sight seeing is a huge part of my passion for ultrarunning. It is like hiking on steroids. After Elephant Head I went down a long descent into the Canyons and then a few miles up the Switchbacks. I chose to power hike the Switchbacks. I spent a lot of time talking with a few other runners and one who runsAntelopeIsland weekly. I tried to pick his brain about the course and get tons of good advice. Talking and getting to know some of the other runners was great.
Miles 20-44 were flat and included lots of loose dirt. I was so happy to see my hot wife and family at mile 20 and then a couple times after that before dark. This was a great stretch!
True excitement happened about 2 miles beforeLower Fraryaide station (mile 28-30ish). Coming around a little bend in the trail I saw 4 buffalo grazing about 40 yards from me. What a beautiful sight. I noticed that the trail kept bending to where it felt like I was running straight towards the buffalo. They all looked up and acknowledged me and got playful with one another. The trail turned a bit and I ran on past them. A few minutes later I hear some heavy footsteps and realize that the buffalo were now on the trail in my footsteps. Only 10 yards away was the road with two race volunteers outside of their vehicle watching the buffalo. I ran to their vehicle and we watched as the buffalo began to run, jump up and down, and head bang… SCARY!!! They turned towards us on the road and I asked if I would be DQ if I jumped in the car. They said no! The buffalo then took off up the hill and the very friendly park ranger went in front to keep the other buffalo off the trail. The big trick now was to not allow my wife to find out about this encounter until after the race, which was a success!
The remainder of this section up to mile 44 was gorgeous. The sunrise was pleasant and I was alone in the outdoors.
Miles 44-50 were dark. I had to bushwack through a field and head out on to a separate little peninsula by myself. I was accompanied by some friendly coyotes and crashing waves on the rocks. The trail was a little technical at this point and I fell a handful of times. No moon, alone on the backside of an island, and a headlamp made for a peaceful trot back to race headquarters.
Miles 50-70 was some nice fun. My sister Heidi, who happens to be a rockstar, picked me up and paced me the remainder of the race. These 20 miles were a repeat of miles 1-20, except in the dark. The night was so calm and tranquil. Watching the head lamps coming up and down the mountain was a fascinating sight. I knew that if I could make it through these 20 miles I would undoubtedly finish the race. We took our time and ate plenty hot ramen noodles along the way. Around 4am we saw a big dark shadow ahead on the trail. My sis and I were convinced we were now tasked with moving a buffalo of the trail in the pitch black. We got closer and were greeted with a big friendly rock on the side of the trail, haha! Needless to say, we were ready for daylight at this point.
Miles 70-100 was back to flat stuff. My great friend Joe picked us up for a 19 mile trek. He was incredibly supportive. The sunrise brought a new energy and breath of fresh air. I pretty much hit on what happened during most of this leg until mile 94. Pretty much it was Heidi, Joe, and my other rock star sister Steph giving me some serious pep. Each time the trail would come close to the road I was greeted with my hot wife and about 10 screaming children. You can’t go wrong with this kind of support!
Miles 94-100 were accompanied by Heidi, Steph, Brothers Bud and Nate, and Dad jumped in on the last two. What a fun way to finish up. Running with people who have taught me most of what I know about being an athlete. This stretch was slow but we kept moving until some awesome nephews and a niece jumped in for the last mile. It felt like I was looking at the finish line for about an hour. Finally, I turned the corner for the last 70 yards. I could see my family and heard people shouting that a 100 miler was coming in. Every applause was appreciated. Boom! It was over and I was quickly laying down celebrating! Hypothermia set it but not too bad. It never felt so nice to just lay there.
Where from here? Due to the nature of 100 miler and the training I will only run one more this year. However, it is the Steamboat 100. Yahooo! Some good challenging vertical. I am going to focus on more climbing over the summer. I will be running theNorth Fork50K in late June, which will be great training. I want to improve my ability to add some jogging up the inclines during the 100 vs. only power hiking up the inclines. Continuing to focus on nutrition will be important over the season, pretty much just not eating cheese in the middle of a race will be great improvement!
Overall, this was an awesome experience. I thoroughly enjoyed being with my family and feeling their support. The human potential is incredible. I hope to take the lessons learned from the race and be a better runner, but even more important I desire to take these lessons to be a better person, husband, and father.
Run well and enjoy!
July- Northfork 50K
August- Leadville 100 (pacing Todd)
September- Steamboat 100
Close your eyes and imagine this (well maybe keep your eyes open so you can read what I want you to imagine)… You are running a marathon and about mile 20 you are told, “the course is actually going to be about 36-39 miles in length, instead of the standard 26.2.” Most might respond with a big ole, “Whattttttt?” Okay, good… Now, imagine running a 100 mile race and noticing that each segment is actually 1-2 miles longer than noted. Then think about getting to what is mile 100 and realizing you still have another 10-13 miles to go, and this is after already having run for a good 28+ hours. So, you get the picture? What would you think? Frankly, my thought was something along these lines… What will getting upset do? After all, I am the one who signed up to run the race. The race director was awesome and not to blame for the longer course, so I could not get mad at him. So, my thought was simple… there is no end to this race… I will keep moving until told otherwise. That is just what I did, and I feel I am improved as a person and athlete for not giving in!
Here is how it went down.
There were 100ish (something like that) amateur starters (aka Tortoises) and 60ish elites (aka Hares) who started the 110 mile run. There were only 48 tortoise finishes and 16 hare finishes. I finished 34th at a time of 33 hours 33 minutes.
Quitting was never an option. Seriously, the thought came just as quick as I let it go. People often ask something like this, ” How do you fight off the negative/ quitting thoughts?” Actually, I do not fight them… I let them go. I cannot lie that the thought of being inadequate and unable to finish surely came to my mind… I took it for what it was worth, which is a worthless thought!
I felt pretty good in my Skechers during the race!!! I cannot wait for the trail shoe to be released and see how they feel on the trai!
Up, Down, Up, Down
The first 5 miles were up, up, up, up a good 4,000+ feet. There was not much trail on this section; rather, it was climbing up very steep black diamond ski slopes to the summit. My goal was to summit this segment by 9:38 and I reached summit at 9:28. Not too concerned at this point with moving quicker than planned but did note the pace. Next 8-10ish miles was sweeeet rolling trail to Long Lake on the Continental Divide. Much chit chatting with other runners and admiring the beautiful landscape. Arriving at Long Lake I was now 20+ minutes ahead of my projected pace… still not too worried. The next 8-10ish miles was down the gorgeous Fish Creek Falls… steep and technical. I was excited to get through this section as I would get to see my crew (friends and family) at the bottom of the mountain.
Running With Old Guys
Running down Fish Creek Falls I met a 52-yr-old guy name Richard (who finished right before me). Richard was strong and spoke highly of his children and grandchild! This dude was a grandpa… seriously, that is cool! Daily, I hear about how people are getting old and blaming so much on age, which this race taught me age is only what one makes it out to be. I was the youngest amateur in this race. Yes, as a 28-yr-old I was truly the youngest 100 mile amateur runner! This difficult race was chuck full of older men and women. In fact, the overall winner is 40 something years old! Looks like I have many great races to come and it is not too late to run, be healthy, and take control over life, instead of life taking control of you!
A Little Bit Longer
After seeing my family at the bottom of the hill I headed through the town of Steamboat and up a 40% grade to a trail to head up Emerald Mountain. This section was supposed to be 20 miles and ended up being a lot longer than that. The afternoon came and went and it go hottttttt!!! I realized at about mile 26ish that I was pushing too fast in the first quarter of this race. A 100 mile race is not decided in the first 70 miles… rather, the first 70 miles are a grind and the last 30 can be pushed. If I wanted to finish it was time to play smart and turn it down. I saw runners already starting to pull out, vomit, and fall apart. The longer section really messed with people. I ran this entire section on my own with no one around to chat, which was very positive for me. Then came the big 40% grade hill… I had a decision to stumble down and kill my quads more or simply sit on my butt and slide down…. yes you guessed it… I slid most the way down.
Those Around Make Me Strong
Kind of funny that I write this section while my 3 yr old and 4 yr old both have their heads on my laps trying to awake early in the morning. They really do inspire me to be my best… seeing my family at aid stations is better than any food or drink built to give me a boost!
At this point in the race (somewhere around mile 40ish) I began picking up pacers! Michael, Bill, and Dale divided up the last 60-70 miles. This is something I love about our sport…. the friendships are authentic. These guys (who all have families) came out through the night and day to make sure I reached the finish. Even if they were not running with me they were are aid stations making sure I was on track and not being stupid with my pace or nutrition. My pacers really were perfect… keeping me moving, nourished, reaching goals, and grounding me when I thought rocks were turtles after running for 24 hours (Yes… my thinking became a bit distorted). My pacers reminded me when we saw a bear that its no big deal and when we had a momma moose with her baby coming down the trail towards us that all is well. When I looked, and felt, like trash they told me I was looking good and encouraged me to keep moving.
My wife, brothers, and brother’s girlfriend were there from start to finish. My brother (Lonnie) came out from Ohio to support me during the race. Not only did he pace the last 6 miles, he was at every accessible aid station. When my other brother (Ben) arrived he also came to ever aid. They seemed more excited than I was at times!!!! Shayna (my wife) allowed me all the time to train and prepare for the race and then was out there at every point of the race with true excitement. That is a perfect spouse… someone who supports another in goals… even if they might seem senseless to most Seriously, she rocks and makes this world just that much better!
I have to say it was a very tender surprise to see my parents at the finish line!!! I had no idea they were going to show up to the race. They drove 10 hours at night to get there in time to rest a bit, hang with the kids, shop, cook an amazing post race Lasagna, help me recover, sleep a bit and then do the 10 hour drive back home. They rock and I am very blessed that they are my parents!
Preparing for the Worst
Being an optimistic thinker is not just having wonderful, unrealistic, fluffy thoughts. Really it is about thinking through situations before they happen, working through them mentally, and having confidence you are prepared. I had prepared physically for miles 1-60, but the rest of the race was mental. So, weeks leading up to the race I did a lot of visualization work. Meaning, I would take 5 minutes to close my eyes and think of the worst possible situations that could occur and then work through the in my mind. Doing this allowed me to gain confidence that I needed in adversity. It would have been easy, and ridiculous, to hope for the best environmental and physical conditions, but this would have been a recipe for disaster. You see, I had imagined in my mind a few different times that I got lost on the course and found my way back resulting in extra miles. So, when we noticed the course was actually longer on many segments and total miles were over 110 I was actually okay with it. I had prepared for this to happen! You cannot imagine all that could go wrong in a race like this but you can come close
It’s All Down Hill Usually Sounds Good
I am sure the thought of finishing the last 6.5 miles of a race going downhill sounds fantastic…. well, maybe on a 50K or 50 miler but not on a 110 miler!!! We arrived the summit of Mt. Werner at about 3pm and already ran about 105ish miles. The finish was literally 6.5 miles down the mountain.. .about a 4,000 ft decent. This would typically take less than 50 minutes (at most) to run. Instead, this turned into about 2.5 hour crawl down the mountain. My quads were done and my right Achilles was on fire (since about mile 70). Lonnie and Dale ventured down the mountain keeping me in great spirits. The 50 milers were coming down the mountain greeting me with very encouraging words. Finally, 1 mile left… ahhhhhhh! I saw my wife with about quarter mile left… tears quickly flooded my eyes as I realized I had made it and I recognized how much support I had as my 2 brothers, wife, and great friend were running me to the finish. There it was … the finish!!! I thought for sure I was hallucinating when I saw my Mom and Dad at the finish with my crew… but it was real!!! How awesome is that? My parents came out during the race and showed at the finish. Nothing like a homemade plate of Mama’s lasagna after a 33 hour run through the mountains!
Well, last Wednesday we took of to Hawaii for a family reunion. Just returned today. It has been awesome focusing on my wife and kiddos for several days! The waves have been nice and boogy boarding has been fun. I ran three times out there and feel super slow but healthy. Next year is going to be a fun season…. maybe Ironman, a 100… not yet for sure! I have plenty of ideas… just gotta see what works! Any suggestions?
For now, up for some adventure runs and most importantly focusing on Shayna and the kiddos… and maybe some work (well actually a lot of work). There are certain things that are important to remember in my life but I hope I always remember that Shayna is incredible and I have amazing kiddos, siblings, parents, in laws, and friends supporting me!
2011 Race Schedule
February- Chilly Cheeks Duathlon (62 minutes)
May – Greenland 50K (5 hrs 27 min) , BoulderBolder 10K (45 min)
July – Grand Mesa 60K
August- Pacer at Leadville 100
September- American Discovery Trail Marathon
Grand Mesa 37.5 Miler
Big props to the RD ( Phil) and all those working wit him. Course was well marked, volunteers rocked, food was good, and the scenery was phenomenal!
Boom, it is 2:30am race day and my watch is beeping telling me to get going and start fueling. I sit in my dark star lit campsite drinking my electrolytes and scarfing down a PB sandwich and banana , I review my race plan and get relaxed before the run.
The goal was to finish between 7hrs 30 min – 8hrs 30 min. Strategy was to start slow, enjoy the sunrise on the crest, and try to start at the beginning of the group for the first few miles with the intent to ask questions and learn from strong runners.
5am – Countdown to start and we are running. First section of the race was an 11 mile loop that started at about 10,000 feet and climbed up Crag Crest (11,138ft summit) then meandered through some switchbacks down the crest.
Headlights bopping up and down through the first 5 miles. The front group was not taking off too fast so I was able to enjoy talking to lead runners and learn of their personal strategies, and chit chat about life. One step in front of me was Robert Mueller (100 miler, finish time = 28:11, 4th place). Robert came across as a poised and tenacious runner with a strategy of running “like there is no finish.” Great insight when running 100 miles! We ran up the crest and he took off across the summit as I stopped and took in the incredible views. One step behind me was Matthew Hintzman ( 50 miler, finish time = 9hrs 39 min, 1st place). Awesome attitude with an inspiring life story whose strategy was to climb hard. Right when most runners in the front group started walking/hiking up the crest (mile 5) Matthew took off and I did not see him again…he finished strong!
Miles 6 -9 were worth the race entry fee! Crag Crest was a technical route with astonishing views. About 400-500 yards included a 4-5 foot razorback rocky path with drops offs hundreds of feet down.
Mile 9, beginning to descent the crest and I hear something behind me, Liz Koop ( 50 miler, finish time = 9hrs 56 min, 2nd place). Very strong runner, passed me rather quickly and went on to an incredible finish! The next couple miles were coming down the lower loop and on to the first aide station
I felt great and was still taking in the past 2 hours of beautiful sunrise and summit on Crag Crest. The next 6 miles were up and down a rocky, techincal, muddy trail. I managed to keep my feet relatively dry. I hit the Granby Lakes aide station feeling good, ate some peanut butter tortillas, energy jelly beans, and a gel. Filled up my bottles, swallowed down some salt pills and took off
About 1/ 4 mile down the trail I hit an inevitable, yet refreshing, water crossing. The water wasa bout knee deep and freezing! Before reaching the next aide stations I pounded through 6 + miles on rocky trail with a few more water crossings. Despite feeling well physically, a few miles before reaching the Flowing Park aide station I started to question myself, which made the next few miles hard even though the terrain was easier leading into Flowing Park . I then picked up the voice of my wife on my two-way radio and a surge of positive energy came about and I got past that mental hump before it started to spiral. I was getting excited simply thinking of my crew (Dad, Mom, Brother, Wife, and children) waiting for me on the other side of the lake. Crossing through the forest I hear the banging of pots and pans, my kiddos were waiting to see me! Delighted to see my family!
Took a one minute sit filled up the bottles, ate some potatoes, PB tortillas, and some electrolyte pills. Quickly off and running back the same route to the lodge. I contemplated changing my wet shoes but I knew I knew a few more water crossing were just around the corner! Incredibly, I ended the race with no blisters! I used the energy of seeing my family to help carry me the next few miles. The excitement died off as I ran the last 10+ miles on my own while only seeing the wonderful folks at the last aide station
The last 6 miles was full of gorgeous views and full of reflection. It occurred to me that my legs felt very well and I could keep going on for a longer distance! My calves felt very fresh. Consistent fueling and the creation of my homemade calve sleeves resulted in fresh legs. It was all positive until I reached the last 3/4 mile climb to the finish. Man, the very last section was straight up the hill… great way to finish a great race! There it was…. finish line!!! Met my goal, finish time = 7hrs 49min, 6th place.
Immediately upon finishing I decided I want to come back in the near future to run the 50 mile portion! Again, the work of the RD and volunteers was evident, the course was a blast! More than anything else, my crew/family made this race a true joy! My dad and brother woke up early with me and met me at all aide stations with supplies and encouragement. My mom, wife, and kiddos were awesome troopers and encouraged me more than anyone else could!