Thursday, August 30, 2007

Home sweet home!

After exactly 1 month away from home it was nothing but a true pleasure to see our driveway. Living in the trailer for 3 weeks was not as bad as I originally thought it would be but I was thankful to drive home and put it away. Bill, Alex and I spent one week driving from Leadville, CO to Tigard, OR and for three days right after the race we stayed in Moab, UT to explore the Arches National Park and the Canyonlands. It was incredibly hot ranging from 100-105 degrees which was a shocker compared to the 70's we experienced in CO. Since this was Bill's first full two weeks of vacation in 14 years he had lots of plans for us which included hiking in the heat! I am definitely NOT heat trained and felt pretty drained all three days when the sun set. I am sure the race had quite a bit to do with my sluggish finish to each day but nonetheless I was tired. I think the hiking was a great way to get the legs and body moving again. The heat was just an added benefit to be sure I sweat out all the junk from the race. The Arches and Canyonlands are amazing and neat to see but I am definitely more of a mountain person, the desert wasn't that exciting but the miracle of that landscape is unbelievable. I think the highlight was seeing dinosaur bones in the rocks, it just blew my mind. The Canyonlands were cool but the Grand Canyon in much more amazing to me.

When we got home there was no rest as we unloaded, unpacked and began getting Alex ready for school. I can't believe summer is almost over and neither can he as the shock of school sets in.

With Wasatch only 10 days away I am almost packed and ready to go. I have to admit I am looking forward to being on my favorite course and I am ready. I thought my recovery after Vermont was fast and I purposely saved myself at that event to run well at Leadville. I felt like I put my best foot forward at Leadville but if I measure how fast I bounced back I would have to say I should have run harder.....easy to say sitting here now :). I don't know if I sub-consciously held some in the tank for Wasatch when my intention was to spend it all or if I am just simply learning how to recover better. I do think fueling during the event has a great impact on recovery, meaning if you mess up on your fueling during the race you will pay for it after. I really messed up my fueling during WS100M this year and it took a good 3 weeks for me to feel normal whereas both Vermont and Leadville my fueling was perfect and after both races I felt recovered within the week. I don't know if that's true but that is my theory for now :).

So far I have done just a bit of running. After the hiking in Arches and Cayonlands I came home and did a 2 hour run with some 3A but mostly Z2. That went very well and I was pleased with how the legs responded. I have done 3 45-60 min. recovery runs and today was a tempo run at M-Pace. My M-Pace is 7:26 and felt confident I would be able to reach those numbers. I met Stacey at Lief today we did a warm-up and then each did our own tempo, she is peaking for AC100M so she had many more m-pace miles than I and our paces are different so we were on our own. After mile 2 of M-Pace I felt sluggish, yikes! I waited for Stacey to come back around then tucked in behind her but she drug me like a tired dog but it was nice to try and chase her, it made me go faster. After I was done with my tempo I just cruised while she finished up. All in all it was good but not as easy as it was before WS100M. With all this race and recover I feel like I have become a bit lazy, not a word I would ever use to describe myself but I have found my inner couch potato....I don't lay on the couch but you know what I mean. I have sort of lost my appetite too and that's a first! Maybe since I am just recovering I don't need to eat as much but I am finding it hard to eat all the food to get 2000 calories in, normally I have to stop myself from eating to much food.

I am almost packed and ready to go to Utah. Tomorrow I will run a stride workout then finish up preparing for the race. When I get to Utah I have my last big run of 2.5 hours then all the rest are short and fast stuff. Crazy to think the SLAM is almost over but it is and what a wild ride so far. I am hoping to get the turquoise buckle (under 30 hours) at Wasatch but I just can't seem to convince myself it's going to happen. Good thing my crew is in charge because they seem to have no doubt. If I do achieve that then I will be pumped with the whole SLAM, under 24 at WS, under 24 at Vermont, under 25 at Leadville, and (fingers crossed) under 30 at Wasatch. For me, achieving that would be a sweet summer!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Leadville 100M

Time: 24:16:26
Overall: 43 of 210 finishers
6th female, 3rd masters
Look at the loot they give you for finishing Leadville! I received a silver pan for 3rd masters, a pendant because I am a girl, a sweatshirt with my name and time printed on the sleeve and the gold and silver 25 hr buckle and a finishers medal (not shown). Since this was the 25th anniversary of the race they allowed 600 runners to register but only 498 started. With numbers like that and an out and back course that meant the aid stations and trails were going to be busy. With that in mind and my eye on the 25 hour prize we came up with a plan to minimize time in the main aid stations and use the other crew access points. If I was going to get under 25 hours at Leadville with only 70% acclimation I was going to have to run a really good race and hope that I would be free of any big issues, I simply didn't have enough time for anything but running.

With a week of bad weather prior to the race I was prepared to be wet all day long. Not a big deal for an Oregonian but with temperatures getting as low as 34 degrees being wet and cold would spell disaster, the goal would be to stay as dry as possible. My crew showed up on Thursday afternoon with piles of clothes and gear ready for anything that came up. We immediately got busy planning as the afternoon rain created small swimming pools around camp and Bill was busy securing the tent and awnings because with the rain came big winds. Yikes!, was the only word that came to my mind but Stacey, Micheal and Jim just laughed it off as we counted the number of gloves, shirts and jackets I had.

The morning came quickly with the 4:00 a.m. start. It was cold but when I looked outside and saw the abundant amount of stars I was relieved, the rain was gone for now. I ate a bagel with cream cheese, a yogurt, had a small amount of coffee and 20 oz of G2O. The start line was buzzing with hundreds of people, it made WS100M look tame as the music howled through the tiny city. Residents were out in their yards waiting for runners to come by so they could cheer them on before their last night cap :). The one thing the Grand Slam has cured me of is pre-race jitters, doing one right after another doesn't leave much time for jitters. I lined up in the top 3rd of the crowd knowing that we had 3M of road to get somewhat settled and I wouldn't be anybodys way. By the time we hit the lake trail we should all be in the train we are comfortable with and if not, passing would be a big effort. The race director gave us one more motivational line before the gun went off, "Remember, you are better than you think you are and can do more than you think you can"........very nice words and good ones to remember in the wee hours of the night.

Off we went and all downhill like bullets for 4 miles, hundreds of lights in front and behind me. I settled into a nice pace and reached the 4 mile mark in 9:30's and just kept up the pace because I knew we would be slowed by the the technical powerline road that climbs to the lake trail. I was carrying one handheld with 2 gels stuffed in the pouch because my crew would be at the Tabor Boat ramp at mile 7.0. There they would send me off with another full handheld and more gels for another 6.5 miles around the lake. The G2O seemed so sweet as I sipped it slowly, I was full from breakfast and probably still a bit asleep. When I reached Tabor I was in a good train of people and was shocked at the number of cars and crew there. I just dropped my used bottle on the ground and grabbed the new one on my way by. Hmmmm....this would be scene pretty much all day.....thanks guys.......bye guys. I could hear Stacey giggling as I left the boat ramp. Continuing on the lake trail I was in a good spot with only about 5 people and nobody close behind or in front, strange with all the entrants. I arrived at Mayqueen (13.5M) about 20 minutes ahead of schedule and feeling very comfortable. At Mayqueen I see Alex and my in laws who were there to give me a new bottle and a bar. I gave them my flashlight and was off to do the first big climb of the day. After Mayqueen we head uphill on a paved road then take a turn onto the Colorado Trail leading to Haggerman Pass Road. This 1.5 mile section of the Colorado Trail is very rocky and reminds me of stream bed without the water. At the top of the Colorado I see Beast and Amy who are waiting for me with my small Nathan pack and two handhelds for the climb up and over Sugarloaf Mtn. and down Powerline road. My plan is to start working here and I run the entire road up to the turn for the bigger climb and run all of that as well. I am being chased by a couple of girls and that is a little fun so we chat, run, pass back and forth for 8 miles down to Powerline Road where Beast and Amy again are waiting to take all my stuff so I can run with nothing for 1.2 miles into Fish Hatchery where I see Bill, Stacey, Micheal and Jim. I go right through the aid station and back onto the paved road that I will run for 4.5 miles to Treeline. The runners share this road with the crew cars so it's really motivating and fun to see all the crews and hear all the honking. I run this section hard and lose my two girls. I am feeling pretty good at this point which is about 25 miles into the race. The only thing that seems new is all my foods taste weird. Salty stuff tastes super salty, sweet stuff tastes overly sweet and G2O tastes terrible, I can't drink it anymore. I love G2O and I use it not only for the calories but the salt so if I am not going to drink it I will need to substitute.

At Treeline (27.5M) I am about 40 minutes ahead of my 24:59:26 pace chart but I am not over confident because the hardest parts are yet to come. No more going light, I have to put on my bladder pack for this next section over to Halfmoon then Twin Lakes (mile 39.5). I will need at least 50 oz of water to get from Halfmoon to Twin Lakes. If I go with less water and maintain my calorie requirements I will be at more than a 10% concentration level of carbs to water and risk nausea. I could cut back on my calories but would rather carry the weight. Since Leadville 100M allows muling I will be carrying nothing on the way back so off I go with heavy pack. The runners travel on a gravel road for 2.5 miles before we pop into Halfmoon then back out on the road for another 2.5 miles to the trail junction. There is a ton of road at Leadville and if you want 25 hours you have to run the roads well and focused so I tried to keep that in my mind the whole time.

In this section to Twin Lakes it was surprisingly lonely. Again I was shocked at how few people were on the trail as I counted only 5 guys the entire 9 miles to twin lakes......where is everyone? This is a nice section of single track but long and the high point is 10,200. When you reach the high point you start a gradual descent into Twin Lakes. I got into a nice groove and was happy I was able to maintain my lead as I headed out for the first trip over Hope Pass. At Twin Lakes I chose to keep the bladder pack so I could have enough room to carry my coat and my hat. The looming clouds over Hope Mountain had me concerned. After we leave Twin Lakes the runners travel through a marshy area for about 1 mile before crossing the river. I did not do this in training so Beast was just sure I was going be soaked to bone and fall in the river so off he runs ahead of me with his camera just waiting for moment I was upside down in the marsh. With the weeks of rain the marshy area had become more like a series of small ponds that we needed to wade through and all of them came up to my knee. If you don't like wet feet your in trouble. The river crossing was about mid thigh on me and they had a rope and volunteers to aid us across. I told Beast I was just too stubborn to fall in! He ran all this way and got himself soaked for nothing.....I wasn't going to fall no matter what! After the river the climb to Hope Pass begins and so does the thunder, rain and hail. I pull out my coat and hat and settle in for the long climb. I feel really slow and can't seem to get the umfffff I wanted to power this climb. The rain and hail didn't help but it was not big deal as it would stop and start the whole way up. I consume all the gels I could find in my pack and wonder if my crew forgot some. Fortunately I had a hummus burrito and an Organic Food Bar so I nibbled on those but without the quick energy gels I wasn't feeling on fire. I lost about 20 minutes on my lead on the climb alone and was a bit down in dumps. I didn't allow for enough time for the swamp and I couldn't make anything up on the climb so I tried to get my legs going on the steep descent into Winfield. This section is very rocky and too steep for me to let it rip and I found myself putzing down it. At the bottom we are again on a dirt road that is shared with crews heading into Winfield. The road rolls up mostly and is about 2.3 miles long. I am out of fuel but continue to drink my water and take salt tabs. I reach Winfield in 11:13 and my plan was 11:39 so still ahead of schedule but I lost some time and I knew the climb back up Hope was not going to be swift.

At Winfield I pick up Jim and he is loaded down with all my stuff. This becomes the big joke of the my race.....all my pacers are loaded down with water, gels, food, clothes and my "magic hat". The hat gets the funny name because I have to wear my glasses to run any bit of rain on them makes it hard to see so every drop of rain that comes down I ask for the hat then in about 30 seconds I hand it back. Every time I switch pacers I say, "do you guys have my hat"?, "yes......we have the magic hat". Back to the race, Jim and I take off and I put on my music and bust down the road back to the Hope Pass Trail Head. I feel really good as we work our way up the mountain seeing all the people behind me make their way down. It was fun to see everyone I knew and cheer them on as they raced to beat cutoffs. I see some slam mates and they say their done but we encourage them to continue and many stuck it out as long as they could. It was hard to see folks struggling and I felt for them because it's not easy knowing you have to come back up to 12,700! I feel the altitude and don't waste any breath talking when Jim and I get above 11,500, I just needed to focus on strong breaths. Jim was awesome feeding me gels every 30 minutes and water every 10 minutes on the dot! The pass was beautiful and clear with no rain, just blue sky and great views. We crest the top and start the descent. We can see the Hopeless aid station, their tents and lamas from the summit. I tell Jim we are within 5 minutes of Hopeless and since I feel super strong I tear off down the hill. When we reached Hopeless aid station I run past it without stopping, the plan was for me to run through all the aid stations unless I needed something so we began implementing. I blew by yelled my number and Jim re-supplied. I took the downhills as hard as could without falling and we made it down the river in 29:54! Across the river we go and through the swamp.

Arriving at the Twin Lakes (60.5M) 40 minutes ahead of my pace chart, making up the time I had lost on first trip up Hope Pass the mood was good all around. Though I have time in the bank I feel like I am running against the clock and I am so I waste no time. I leave Twin Lakes without stopping forcing Micheal to catch up with me after he got my magic hat from Jim. I know we have to climb for about an hour, at least that's what I estimate it will take to reach the high point before we start our descent into Halfmoon. We hammer out the climb and make the top in 42 minutes but the trail is more rolling than I expected lacking the big downhill I dreamt up but we stay focused arriving at Halfmoon on time. With a quick in and out of the aid station we hear that Anton has won in 16:14, over an hour faster than last year but still short of the course record. We have 2.5 miles on a gravel road to reach Treeline, all downhill and fast. Into Treeline with still 35 minutes ahead of schedule I feel good living off of gels, water and some salt tabs but using 4X sodium gels for most of my electrolytes. I ate minimal solids after my first climb up Hope Pass, I am just not hungry but not full or nauseous. I gave up G2O early as it just didn't taste good but I am stuffing gels in every 20-30 minutes and drinking a ton of water. My weight is good along with my energy and stomach so this diet must be fine. Normally I eat more solids but I don't know if it's the altitude or what but nothing tastes very good.

At Treeline I pick up Stacey for 4.5 miles to Fish Hatchery and then the 1.2 miles to Powerline where we will see crew. This section is the flat paved road and I need to do it in less than a 13 minute pace on this slightly uphill road and that includes checking in and out of the Fish Hatchery. It seems so doable on paper but at mile 73 my legs are lacking the turnover. Stacey runs in front of me and I chase her as hard as I can so we can make the splits and have some room to spare. At Powerline (78M) I pick up Micheal and we head up what some describe as the worst climb of the course. Not because It's harder than Hope Pass but because it's steep, on a washed out powerline road and comes around mile 80 in the run. I counted 5 false summits during training so I knew what to expect which made it less annoying but not easier. The only part that made it great was around mile 85 when we reached the summit and the numerous amount of stars that shined in the sky and feeling of excitement I had to have such a great experience and feel so strong and supported, pretty much all the feelings of fatigue seemed to leave my body as Micheal and I tore down Poweline into Mayqueen.....I knew under 25 was in the bag......thank you mile 85!

Leaving Mayqueen with Jim we worked the lake trail well and we seemed to come into Tabor Boat Ramp fast. A lot of crews were waiting at Tabor and the crowd was pumped up which made my mood even better. From Tabor to the finish Micheal and I ran as hard as my legs would run. It's a long 7 miles of uphill dirt and paved road to finish. We played leap frog with two other runners the whole way and the three of us finished within seconds of each other.

At the finish I was surprised to see my hubby who was supposed to be pacing Tom and Beast who was supposed to be pacing Steve. Both timed out and were bummed but ready to come back. My in laws had gotten up and brought Alex, Tom got up and came down along with my crew so the greeting at the end was indescribable. The love and friendships I have had through this summer makes me so thankful, I truly would not want to do these without them. My crew was unbelievable, so focused and full of energy and never lost their sense of humor and at mile 90 we were laughing.

This race is a must do, with beautiful country and great race support from everyone in the community. The town of Leadville is charming and fun to hang around and learn the history of the area and it's residents. Stacey, Micheal and Jim all want to do the race so I will be working hard in the weight room because I am sure they will load me down with lots of gear as payback. Bill awarded Jim the "golden burro" cup for being the biggest pack mule in the crowd.

Physically I felt strong all day and was surprised at how much leg power I had for number 3. My feet did well with no blisters or lost toenails even with two trips through the swamp. When I took my socks off my feet looked like hamburger from all the silt but when they got cleaned up they were fine. I was never nauseous which surprised me because so many people talked about stomach issues with this race and it's altitude. This next turn around will only be 3 weeks but I feel good already. As my family and I make our way back to Portland we are in the Canyonlands and Arches hiking and seeing all the sights. Bill drug me on a 3 mile hike in 100 degree weather on Tuesday and I ran into someone from Leadville on the trail to the Delicate Arch.....small world, be sure you are nice :).

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The last bit of running before the race.

On Sunday Bill, Beast and I did the Leadville 10K. I took it really easy and just talked with folks and ran as much as could before my HR jumped into 3B. The run is on the Leadville 100M course and covers the first 3.1 miles and then you just turn around and head back. The first bit is all downhill which is nice for warming up the lungs. There were a lot of 100M runners doing this event and some raced it hard while others just relaxed. I did the latter and chatted with a lot people and that was fun. During my journey in the SLAM I have met so many new friends from everywhere, people I would have never had the opportunity to meet otherwise.

On Monday Beast and Gavin (new friend) met at the Mt. Massive trail head and climbed to the top. Mt. Massive is the second highest peak in CO. They had a great time and the weather held up for them. It has been stormy, cloudy and rainy so they took a very early start to avoid any hindered views when they reached to summit. Gavin showed Beast another trail to the top so Bill couldn't resist and they headed out again on Tuesday for another climb up Massive. Again the weather held and not only did they have great views they saw white marmots......yes, white ones. None of us had ever seen a white one before and they let Bill get really close. The trail that Beast and Bill took was pretty steep but shorter than the one Beast did on Monday. The mountain climbers (Beast and Bill) have plans to do Elbert tomorrow and Sherman with the gang on Friday.

Monday I had the day off from running and the rest of us headed for a drive up and over Independence Pass into Aspen. The drive was beautiful and at the summit of the pass there is a lookout so we got out and enjoyed the views at 12,100 feet.

While Bill and Beast were on Massive I did my last run of any distance. I ran for 90 minutes with some good quality work in 3A and 3B and I was able to run the entire time! This was the first run I have done where I haven't needed to take walk breaks to stay in these zones. On my tempo run it was fine to be gasping near AT but this run was supposed to be consistent quality without gasping near AT. I was pleased to cover another 9.5 miles of the course from Sugarloafin to Mayqueen and I was even happier that I was able to run the whole time. With almost 3 weeks at some altitude I definitely will have a better race but I know the thin air will have a significant impact. I am excited and curious to see what that impact will be but I have some ideas. I think I will have to be very careful in first half to be sure I don't get myself in fueling mess and over fatigued. I wonder how my lungs will feel, all fun new things to experience and figure out.

Amy (Beast's daughter) arrived today and everyone headed to the mining museum. Tomorrow some of my best friends arrive, Stacey, Micheal, Jim, Steve and Tom. I am really looking forward to seeing them all, hanging out, laughing and doing Leadville. Bill is pacing Tom for some portion of the race, Beast is pacing Steve for some portion and Micheal, Stacey and Jim are going to make sure I keep moving!

P.S. - It just snowed in the mountains to the east. The mountains were clear as the thunder and rain his Leadville but then all of the sudden they are capped with the white stuff! Yeah....snow in August!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

HOPE!...Hope Pass that is, not so tempo run, Mt. Sherman summit

We have been busy! I had to do a tempo run on flat road so I chose a section of the course that is fairly level but it didn't seem to help my pace. Bob dropped me off at the Fish Hatchery aid station and I ran my warm-up on the inward bound portion heading to Powerline Pass. I turned around and started my tempo at the Fish Hatchery and Beast was the pace car. I was supposed to run 7:46 pace and the best I could do was 8:17's. My breathing mirrored more of an AT workout. He would park the car at every mile mark and wait for me, I could see the car in the what seemed to be the near distance but as hard as tried it didn't seem to get any closer. The good news is my legs felt great but I couldn't get enough air to my muscles to make them go any faster. We got a good laugh at how hard I was working and going no-where!

Prior to my tempo run we did the section from Twin Lakes aid station inbound. There is a pretty good climb out of that aid station all on single track trail and after coming off Hope Pass I suspect this climb will be pretty tough as will be getting dark as well. That run was only 70 minutes long and was an out and back. Along the way we ran past a teepee made out of logs with a live tree growing out of the center.

The day after the tempo run we headed to Hope Pass and did the outbound section. My family dropped us off and picked us up at Winfield but Beast decided to go back over to Twin Lakes. My legs could feel the tempo run so I gladly jumped in the car and we drove over to pick him up. The climb on the outbound section reminded me of the easier side of Dog Mountain only with less air. I was pretty tired from the tempo effort but we still made good time. The pass was very windy and cold and required gloves at the saddle and beyond. The views were awesome and we could see all the way into Leadville. I struggled for air at the 11,500 mark and above but surprisingly my heart rate was low but the uptake of oxygen was not good. I am definately feeling much better than a week ago when at that time this would have been a dizzy climb. The backside of Hope down towords Winfield was a rocky techincal trail and very steep in sections. I ran/walked most of this decsent and suspect I will do the same on race day. The rocky trail was hard for me to negotiate at a fast pace.

On Friday we climbed Mt. Sherman, my second 14'er ever. Beast, Alex and I started the climb early to avoid the clouds that were building over Mt. Massive. This is a 4.5 mile trip and you start at 10,500 and climb to 14,036. The trail is a scree field and winds around the slide of Sherman then heads straight up. Alex had a tough time at about 12,500 and we took many rest breaks. The wind picked up as we got near the first hump at about 13,000 and we had to pull out jackets, hats, and gloves. We had originally planned on hanging out at the top for about an hour enjoying lunch but the wind was so fierce we could hardly hear each other. The temperatures with the wind was super cold and I didn't want to hang out. At the very top of the mountain the winds were calm almost sureal but because the gusts were so bad Beast and I took turns climbing the jagged edge to the summit while one of us stayed with Alex. The last bit of climb was on a jagged rocky edge and I didn't feel it was safe with the winds for Alex. I did some running on the top.....just kidding, it was flat.....but I can say I ran at 14K. :). It was a really fun experience and I wish I could climb more of the surrounding mountains. There's always another time! :)

Today was the bike race and we headed out to watch them. Beast and I did the inbound section of Hope Pass and we climbed the steep side vigorously and it wasn't bad. We got to the top in 1:08 and it was easy compared to the other day. The acclimating is working! Scott said it would take about 10 days before I would start to feel better and by day 14 I can officially say I felt feel much better. The pass was awesome today, clear and beautiful with no wind. The temperatures were really nice for the bike race. When we were done my family gave us the update on the leaders and when we got home we cleaned up and all went downtown to see the finish just as the course record was being broken by 6 minutes. The leader had a two minute lead over Floyd Landis who looked like he had taken a bad fall. The bike race was pretty exciting to watch.

Monday, August 6, 2007

On the road again....Leadville!

We all left Utah on Saturday for our 8 hour trip to Leadville Colorado. The trip was uneventful and went pretty fast as we all ooohhhhed and ahhhhhhed at the scenery. We arrived in Leadville at 6p.m. and were quickly immersed in "Leadville Boom Days". This is a celebration in which the town of Leadville pays tribute to it's mining boom with lots of activities in the streets. They have vendor booths with lots of stuff to buy and various activities take place on the main street like the burro race, the slow motorcycle race, dancing and other stuff. Lots of people are dressed up in 30's garb and participating in the festivities. On Saturday night we jumped right into Boom Days and headed to the brew pub for dinner. Everyone, including the bartender were in rare form dressed up and partying like crazy. Beast could not help himself and began taking pictures of the girls next to us at the bar who were doing shots of Yegarmiester and Red Bull, wow!!! They were having no less than a good time.

On Sunday the whole family headed into Leadville for the breakfast at one of Beast's Cafes and to watch the start of the burro race. The burro race is awesome and if I had a burro I would have to do this event. The runner and his/her burro travel 20 miles in the mountains with their burro in tow. The burro has to carry a certain amount of weight in the beginning and has to end with same amount of weight. The best part of the race is the stubborn burro, they sometimes just refuse to move! In addition, the runner does not ride their burro, they lead it. We watched the start and placed bets as to the finish time then headed out to see them on Mosquito Pass. We were a little late but could see the lead group followed by a couple of other stubborn burro's who's owners were desperately prodding them along. What fun! None of us have received a phone call that we guessed the finish time correctly but Beast is sure there is a message waiting for him at home. Lot's of other runners are here now. We saw Tom Pelsor from Oregon and he has been here for a little over a week and a half now.

The weather has been sort of cold and rainy, much different than Utah. The extended forecast looks better for race day but you never know????? Yesterday was our first run here in CO. and it was short, just a bit over an hour. Beast and I drove all around getting oriented with course. Since it's and out and back it's pretty easy to drive to all the aid stations and get acquainted with the course layout. After we did some scouting we went for a run between Halfmoon aid station and Twin Lakes. The section we did was on the Colorado Trail and passed the trail head to Mt Elbert which is the highest peak in CO. The trail was rocky and hard to navigate so I assume this part will be slow going on race day. The road sections leading up to this trail section with be faster but I plan on going easy on the rocky trail. There were lots of streams to cross but all of them you can pass without getting your feet wet. Beast and I will be climbing Mt. Elbert if we get a good weather day. I know Bill will be heading up there and maybe Mt. Massive too.

Today was my last long run with some quality workloads built in. We went from the Mayqueen aid station up and over Sugarloaf and back. We got as high as 11,200 today and I was to run in 3A and 3B with AT on the climbs. I was fine up to about 10,500 but after that I was halted by the lack of air. The outbound climb up Sugarloaf was not bad and I was able to run all of that. The decent down into the Fish Hatchery was slow for me because the road is so washed out. I saw a ton of bikers practicing for their ride this coming Saturday. I saw only one other runner out on this section. When I got to the bottom of Sugarloaf I just turned back around and headed back up. This climb will be much harder on race day since this will be about mile 80 and dark, I expect it to be a slow go. It's not too steep but just keeps going and going. After you reach the summit you get to go downhill on a pretty good road before you hit another rocky section of trail. I was happy with how well I could move at this point in the acclimation process and and hoping it gets better as the weeks progress. So far we are having a blast! We talked to some runners from Virginia this afternoon and they said there are 600 runners registered, it's going to be so much fun!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

So many trails, so little time.....

I thought it would be hard to top Mt. Timpenogos but the last two days have been just as lovely. Yesterday (Wed.) we did a loop from the Canyons Ski Resort over to the Wasatch Crest Trail and back down to Park City Ski Resort. This particular run was about 18 miles long and connected a ton of familiar trails but I would have never known. Beast drove me to the trail head right out of a Park City neighborhood, the trail we started on was called Rob's Trail which connected to the Mid Mountain Trail, then the Wasatch Crest Trail, then Spiro Trail. It was hard to believe we would feed into the Wasatch 100M course at about mile 73 right out of Upper Big Water Canyon near Desolation Lake. I knew the course was near Park City and Bill has tried to connect them in the past but to no avail. The wildflowers were awesome and the views take your breath away, it reminded me why Wasatch 100M is one of my favorite courses. After Beast dropped me off to meet Deborah Askew and her friend Lori he went back to Park City Ski Resort and headed the opposite direction to meet us near the high point on the Wasatch Crest Trail. The pace was vigorous on the climbs but not bad, my breathing is getting a little better each day. It nice and humbling to hear yourself breath so hard and not be anywhere near zone 3B. The forced walking has been good recovery for me. Beast ran into another ultra runner on the Wasatch Crest Trail and it was another reminder of how small our world is as he knew people Beast knows and visa versa. Deborah and I chatted non stop the entire run and since she is a great ultra runner with some crazy fast times on Leadville and Wasatch I was happy to take any and all advice she gave to help me in my upcoming adventures. She has posted times near 24 hours on Wasatch 100M and right at 23 hours on Leadville and she shared her experiences on both courses with me, I took a lot away from our conversations and plan to implement some of her good advice. Right as Deborah and I were coming off the Wasatch Crest Trail which tops out at 9,940 feet and began heading down to Spiro I hear and weird rooster call and since I am in the middle of no where in the mountains who else but the Beast would be attempting rooster call (he needs work on his rooster call)......only the Beast. We found him on top of a peak just above the Spiro trail so we hiked back up to find out where he had been all day. He was lucky enough to have come across a mama moose and last years baby. The mama moose was apparently not very happy to be disturbed by the beast and his flashing camera and actually turned toward him and stomped her foot. Beast took that as a message to get out of dodge! After that story Deborah and I were off in hopes we would see the moose but no luck.

Wednesday afternoon Bill arrived after his drive from Portland hauling the trailer, it was a long hard trip so he was beat. Liz and Kamm arrived in late afternoon and we all made plans for today's run. We met Deborah at the Big Mountain aid station (mile 39.5 on Wasatch 100M) and headed backwards on the course to the Sessions. It was going to be short day for me, about 2.5 hours. It was overcast and lightly misting, a big contrast to the previous days where temperatures in the high country were mid 80's. The scent of mint was abundant in this area and the rain just enhanced it. This part of the course travels along the ridge just above and on the other side of the big Canyons near Salt Lake City, beautiful countryside with awesome views of the mountains. What I am finding is the more time I am active at alitude the more I am understanding how to manage my pace and breathing whereas if I hadn't had this opportunity I would be fighting the lack of air, gasping and forcing breaths. Instead I am trying to honor the altitude and it's affects on my abilties to move faster. Tomorrow is a tempo run on flat terrain as I begin getting my leg speed back for Leadville. I am interested to see how this feels at altitude and what effect it has on my pace.

Yesteday 8/1 was Alex's 11th birthday so we celebrated by going out to dinner at the resturant of his choice. He got two Russian Tortoises for his present and they are very interesting and pretty active for turtles. Bill transported this surprise all the way from Portland in the car and they will be nicely acclimated as they will be with us in CO.