Sunday, September 21, 2014

IMTUF 100 Race Report

Sunset over Burgdorf
This past Saturday I toed the starting line the IMTUF 100 in McCall, Idaho which was my 8th 100 mile endurance run. This is the third year of the race but the first time I have signed up to run it.  I wanted to run the Western States 100 and needed a qualifier in past years so I opted for Bear and Wasatch.  As luck would have it I got into Western States and had a great day the past June.  Now I didn't have an excuse.  The first two you years I joined my friends Amy and Christine as a pacer which was a lot of fun.  Between pacing twice and hiking around McCall over the years I figured I had seen about 80 miles of the route beforehand which was comforting.

We arrived on Friday after work in time for the pre-race meeting and it was great to hear how passionate and excited both Jeremy and Brandi Humphrey were to put on this event for all us crazy people!  Michelle and I hung out briefly afterwards and visited with some of the other runners and friends before heading off to sleep in the back of the car with Zach.  Zach was home at lunch when I got there and I asked him if he wanted to go.  I was glad he came.  Before we got to bed we were treated to an amazing sunset over Burgdorf Hot Springs.

Just a few short hours later I was brought out of my sleep to a bull elk bugling back and forth across the valley at 3:30.  It was really amazing.  There was frost on the ground, which was a small surprise.  McCall was supposed to be in the high 30s but we were a bit higher altitude at the starting area.

The race started with about as much fanfare as most ultras....none!  Jeremy did a simple countdown
and then blew his elk bugle.  The first 20+ miles of the race looked easiest on paper with a relatively small gain and loss but that is also what makes them the most dangerous.  I have learned my lesson about going out too fast so I settled into a pretty conservative cruise with Drew Adams.   The sun came up somewhere before the first water drop at mile 6 and the fall colors we popping everywhere.

We cruised through the first main aid station at Willow Basket manned by Doug and Vicki Trees and said a quick hello.  A few more rolling up and downs led us into Chinook Campground 3+ miles later.  I met Michelle for the first time, got refueled and restocked and hit the trail again.  Chinook is at mile 13+ and I got there in 2:30.

After leaving you follow right along the river bank for a number of miles.  The trail if beautiful and the surrounding vegetation on the rolling hillsides are wonderful.  I got lulled into the easy flat terrain and took looked up to enjoy the view
and went down on my face hard.  I kicked a tiny tree root that racked my hips and sent my water bottles flying out of my pack.  Once the bottles were gone there wasn't any tension to hold the rest of the things in my pockets so EVERYTHING came out of my pack and scattered all over the trail.  Luckily I had decided to keep my long sleeve shirt and gloves for this section because they saved my elbows and palms as I rolled up in heap on the ground.

Drew was right behind and made sure I was OK.  I wasn't sure if I was or not but figured time would tell.  I finally got situated and continued up the trail.  Before starting the race I told myself I would allow time to take pictures and really just enjoy the day rather than try and go for a fast time.  As I struggled along the short breaks to take pictures were quite welcome.  The terrain remained
pretty easy for a return trip to Willow Basket and then up the Valley along Victor Creek.

The Victor Creek trail is barely a trail in most places but just as beautiful.  After a long stretch in the valley it turns steep quick.  When we got there Drew pulled away and I didn't see him again.  Climbing is usually my strongest aspect but I could tell it was going to be a long day as my hips kept screaming at me.  The climb was a perfect combination of rocky, technical, scenic, and fun.  In fact, this whole course is like that.  I want races to be hard but balanced with beautiful scenery and a few faster sections.  IMTUF seems to have it all in just the right proportions.

After cresting over the top I was ready to see if I could go downhill since sometimes when you get hurt on the trail it will only effect climbing but you can run down and vice versa.  No such luck.  I was stuck in a fast walk on much of the downhill with a little bit of running on the flat sections.  That was frustrating since from the time this happened to the end would be 90 miles.  I was determined to hang on as long as I could though.  Things often change over time during these silly things.  

I got close to Upper Payette Lake at mile 33 and Zach was waiting for me at the guardrail next to the highway.  I was way off my pace and he had walked up the trail to see if he could see me.  It was probably the best 5 minutes of my entire day to share that short little stretch with him coming into the aid station.  Along the way he says to me, Dad
I almost tripped on the rock about 10 times getting up here!  Wow, I said.  Let me tell you a story about the last 33 MILES.  He put a smile on my face as we came into the aid station side by side.

Michelle got me all situated and kicked me out of the aid station after getting some food and new bottles.  The three of us walked down the little path together until the trail turns up the hill.  It was a lonely feeling going out there. I was barely running and still had 70 miles to go.  I convinced myself that I was going to walk nearly the whole next section of 20 Mile trail.  It is about 8 miles gently uphill and 2+ miles down to Lick Creek Road from Duck Lake.  I figured if I could get there feeling decent the heat of the day will have passed and I can go into the night with a small chance to recover.

I got there feeling OK but really hungry for real food.  I barely ate any real food at States but today I was dying for real food at most of the aid stations.  Duck Lake didn't have much beyond the normal Oreos and M&Ms but they did have some avocado turkey wraps cut in small pieces that hit the spot.  I languished there for a few minutes until there were more runners than there were chairs so I got up and left.

From here it is just over a mile uphill and 4.5 miles downhill.  I walked the uphill and after cresting the top told myself I would run a half mile and walk a quarter mile and repeat.  I think I managed four of these before walking in the last mile.  In the last mile Linda Robbins caught up to me and we chatted for a while.  She offered me
a Tylenol to help with the pain, which I took.  I don't normally take anything but then again I had never felt this bad ever.  We met Michelle and Zach along the way and we all walked into a cheering crowd of crew and family at Snowslide.

Michelle got me set up again and got a bunch of real food in me.  I had an ensure and 2 cups of ramen noodles which really hit the spot.  I decided I would take her poles that just happened to be in the car and they were a lifesaver.  As I was sitting there I saw Emily scream through the aid station in about 5 seconds flat.  I was determined to try and keep up with her to help get me out of my funk.  It is two miles to Snowslide Lake and maybe another half mile to the top of the pass.  The Tylenol was doing its trick and I was feeling pretty decent and I was cruising up the hillside with Steve Loebner.  He had been
struggling with his stomach for a long time and I think getting some real food helped both of us.

Emily only had a few minutes head start and I barely caught up to her just past the lake.  The look on her face when she saw me was one of my other favorite moments of the day. RYAN ANDERSON what in the world are you doing WAY back here!  I told her that I heard all the fun happens at the back of the pack and I just wanted to see for myself!  She assured me that this IS where the fun is and we climbed steadily to the pass chatting away.  At the top, Steve snapped a great picture of us with the sun going down behind us.

The sun wasn't completely gone so I decided I wanted to get after the quick downhill section while I could still see my feet since it is really rocky at the top.  Jeremy told us at the pre-race that over the winter last year there was an avalanche that laid down hundreds of trees in the drainage between Snowslide Summit and Lake Fork.  They attempted to clear the existing trail but in places there were just too many trees piled up so they cut a path straight through.  The trees laying down reminded me of Mount St. Helens where the blast just laid everything down in a neat line.

After the initial steep descent of 1,200 feet in two miles the trail becomes really nice.  From there it
drops 200-300 feet per mile with several short ups and downs.  I have run this section a number of times while on vacation in McCall so I knew what to expect.  Emily and I were making what felt like decent time and finally made it to the water drop location.  I filled up and shortly after she pulled around me while I was getting something out of my pocket.  By the time I looked up she was so far ahead I couldn't see her headlamp!  I was happy for her having a great day and almost bummed that I was holding her back for the last I don't know how many miles.

I plugged along for a bit and then Steve caught back up to me.  He wondered how much farther it was and I told him if it were light I could tell him.  I have run a 3 mile out and back from the aid station a few times and where I turn around there is a wide meadow with a thick stand of trees on the other side.  Just as I am saying this we enter the meadow so I knew it was 3 to go.  The death shuffle was slowly creeping in on me and I walked most of the gentle downhill from here.

Steve said he needed stretch his legs and took off.  I struggled with what it arguable some of the easiest trail of the course not including the road sections.  The walls were caving in on me and after 45 miles of hurting and feeling terrible I made my peace and decided it just wasn't my day.  The final 2.25 miles took me 1:21.  Michelle kept asking people when they came in if they saw me and the common response was, he was right behind me a little way back.  I was getting dizzy and my legs were numb from my feet halfway up my calves.  Some of it may have been from needing more calories and some of it was from my fall earlier in the day.  Either way I was done and had zero regrets.

I have done enough of these to know what fatigue and tiredness feels like and this wasn't that.  If it were I would have gutted it out.  I felt bad for my pacer Brady who had yet to join me and I apologized.  He was volunteering with Derek at Lake Fork and said he had a good time nonetheless.  I told him if he sees a poor soul that looks like they need help to jump in with them.  He opted to go back to town with us and we crashed out at the Super 8.

After some good rest and a nice breakfast we headed up to Cloochman to see people through and got
the chance to see a number of our friends run through.  We also got to hang out with Mariah and her crew at the aid station which was a ton of fun.  Brady jumped in with a lady named Linda that I ran with earlier and a guy named BJ who were together at Cloochman.  They said it was nice to have Brady there so I was glad he got to help and see some of the course.

We went from there to the finish line to cheer everyone in right up to the final cutoff.  I always love cheering people in and didn't want to feel like I was avoiding the finish line after my DNF.  The course was amazing and beautiful.  I'll definitely be back and next time I'll be ready.


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Siskiyou Outback 50k

Great course, aid, volunteers! Definitely a fun race to do.

Race Start looking toward Mt Shasta on the right

Our family was spending the week at the Oregon Coast and the going to Crater Lake on the way home so I thought it might be fun to sneak this one in.  I asked Michelle if she would like to drop me off and pick me up since it was close to Ashland but she wasn't crazy about getting up that early and making the trip twice after all the driving we had been doing for our vacation.

The 50 miler was full and I didn't really have time for that so I ended up doing the 50k.  I got there early enough to watch the 50 milers take off and then mingle around in the parking lot for an hour before my start.  My right knee hurt from the first step so I just wanted to take it easy and let it loosen up. It did a bit but then when I got to the first main aid station I flipped a stick up with my foot that stuck in the ground and the other end stuck under my right kneecap as I ran forward. It hurt like crazy but there was still zero chance I was going to quit barring a real injury.  I cruised along fairly conservatively to the turnaround and then started back on a ridge top forest service road.  After circling back on the road we hit an aid station that was on the outbound rout too.

From here we left the road and I believe it was all trail from there.  The trail was on the north side of the mountain now looking toward Oregon.  It was a really nice single track with just enough trees for some shade but still open enough to see the wonderful views.  It was kind of rocky but just enough to keep you on your toes.

When I got to the last aid station about 5 miles out I decided I was going to give it everything I had after being so conservative all morning.  After the last long gentle uphill there were two official race photographers there.  As I approached I asked them if the first 50 miler had come through.  They said they were going to ask me if I WAS THE FIRST 50 MILER!  What?!?  They said I was running so strong and fast they figured it might be me (totally serious).  That was a good laugh but I was glad I was still ahead of whoever it might be at this point.  I told them there was a guy who came flying in behind me at the last aid station that was probably the one they were looking for but he was taking some time to get recovered and eat something.

About 5 minutes later a guy goes bombing past me and I figured it was the 50 mile winner.  I continued on at a steady pace and finally popped off of the PCT and onto a dirt road stretch before the finish.  There were family members there cheering which was a big boost even though I didn't know them.  This was the first race I can recall without Michelle or someone I know out on the course.  The dirt road continues for a short bit and turns into pavement as you enter the Ashland Ski Resort.  The pavement only lasted a few minutes but I can honestly say it was the most painful part of the course.
I finished in just over 6 hours and beat the first 50 miler by about 12 minutes which was a major win for me the way I was feeling most of the first half!  Just after I finished my friend Clyde 'The Glide' Akers came in and we chatted the finish.  Big thanks to a new friend I met at the race Samantha de la Vega for getting the finish line photos for me too. 

The PCT was gorgeous and the thru-hikers were nice and ripe from days and weeks of being on the trail. The finish line beer was NICE RACK SOB. (A play on all the elk in the area..made by Southern Oregon Brewing Co.)

Garmin Detail

Click below for more random pictures....

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Western States 100 2014 Race Report

On the third entry into the Western States 100 lottery my name was chosen to run the 2014 race.  I was happy to get the opportunity since there are many who didn’t get in even after 4 and 5 previous attempts.  As race day arrived I felt ready and properly recovered from many long hard weeks of training.

On the morning of the race it was in the high 30's at the start and I didn't even bring a long sleeve or gloves (It was supposed to be hot? Still, I am a jackass….moving on).  I mentioned to the volunteer handing out the bib numbers at 4:15 am that I wish I had gloves. 

He went to his bag and gave me HIS gloves.  I was surprised and not surprised all at the same time.  Ultra runners are like that, they will give you the shirt off their back or their gloves. He told me his name was Barry and that I should look for him at the finish.  This was a nice vote of confidence from a total stranger that I would make it all the way to the finish too.  (I didn’t find him there but was able to get his information through the RD and get them back.)

We took off running...for a short bit, and then settled into a nice power hike.  I started way in the back since apparently I was standing with the families and friends taking pictures!  The line didn't move and then I had to get around all of them.  Anyway, after the start I don't think I ran more than 2 minutes on the climb and passed 60 people maybe?

The view from the pass was amazing looking back at Lake Tahoe and then turning the other direction looking toward the west.  The air was still cool but it felt nice. The first quarter of the race ticked by without too much effort and the views were amazing.  I just focused on eating, drinking, and not crushing my legs on the downhill.  The rocks on the trail made it challenging and the tree cover was welcome although the shadows made it tricky negotiating the trail at times.

I saw Michelle, Tim, and Christine at Duncan Canyon (23) and Dusty Corners (38) then headed into the canyons for the big downhill and uphill sections.  The river crossing at Deadwood was awesome.  Normally you go over a bridge but since it is under repair we crossed in the river.  I passed a bunch of people on the climb up to Devils Thumb and Michigan Bluff.  I was pretty conservative on the downhill and just grinded the uphills.

I saw Michelle again at Michigan Bluff and was feeling great.  I breezed through Volcano Canyon and was running the uphill into Bath Road (60) for some reason.  I filled my own water and just kept moving.  There were two crew members who had hiked down to Bath Road from Foresthill and they were walking the uphill.  Again I was running for some reason...and I yelled out to them, Don’t make me pass you!!  They started running and then looked at each other like, Why are we letting this guy make us run?

I popped out on Foresthill Road and cruised into town feeling pretty awesome.  I think I was 25 or 30 minutes behind 24 hour pace at this point but I was determined to follow my plan and not panic.  I got to the aid station trying to get the crowd pumped up which was fun.  They had to weigh me in and I was so excited I about ran past the scales!

Michelle got me all set up, I changed shoes, and I was off with Christine who was going to be my pacer from here to the finish.  She and I have worked well together in the past and I had 100% confidence that she would help me reach my goal.

My #1 goal was to arrive in Foresthill feeling good.  The second part was to run efficiently from there to the river crossing at Rucky Chucky (78) so that after Green Gate (80) I could RUN to the end instead of death shuffling.  I have done that..not fun.

Around mile 70 at the Peachstone aid station I stopped to check a blister.  The dirt filtering into my shoes in the beginning caused a blister to form between my toes. I stopped and noticed it had popped and the skin was just hanging.  The AS worker talked to the doctor, who said he had a scalpel but that I would have to be the one to cut the skin off.  For liability reasons he couldn't cut me as it could be deemed 'surgery'.  SO I reached down, ripped off the loose skin in one swipe, and said now I guess I just need a band-aid. Do you have one?  And...we were off again.  (Thinking to myself)….Sorry, don't mean to be rude but I am in the middle of a race and don't have time to talk about insurance liabilities!  It was pretty funny. Christine was pretty surprised they would consider handing someone a scalpel at mile 70 after running for 16+ hours.  That could be a REAL liability.

We hit the river crossing at 78 and it is truly one of the coolest experiences ever.  The line is manned by volunteers and there were glow sticks in the river zip-tied to rocks so you could see.  The water was chest deep, cold, and felt amazing on the tired muscles.

We continued out of the water and right through the aid station on the other side.  The volunteers seemed bummed that we didn't stop but there is an aid station 100 yards before on the other side and Green Gate is a short hike from there.  I think they were more surprised that I didn't have/want dry clean clothes in a drop bag which a lot of people do.  We sloshed the water out of our shoes on the hike and quickly warmed back up on the uphill.

We saw Michelle and Tim for the last time at Green Gate and we were quickly back on the trail.  I felt like everything was going just about as good as could be expected at this point.  I got to Foresthill in good shape, ran decent down to the river, closed the gap on the 24 hour pace, and was now RUNNING, sans death shuffle.

When I got to Brown's Bar at mile 89 I finally caught up to 24 hour pace. Hal Koerner, ultra-stud and two time winner of Western States, was the AS captain and he was the first to greet me.  Dude, you are Right ON 24 hour pace! You have to go! Sweet, I think to myself while I try to graze the aid table....Seriously, you have to leave, NOW! My bottles were now filled and handed back to me while Hal had his hand in my back pushing me out.  I wish all the aid stations were like that (so did Christine!).  Late in a race it's comforting just to see other humans and you get lulled into staying for a few minutes...which add up when there are lots of aid stations.

Somewhere along in here I tripped over two GIANT half inch rocks.  As the day wears on they seem to get bigger and bigger.  Anyway, the first time I went down it mostly theatrical. Flailing of arms, saying naughty words, and nothing got hurt.  The second time there was flailing of arms, naughty words, I cracked my right knee, and pitched my water bottle over the edge of the steep trail.  I heard the bottle roll in the dry leaves and was sure it was a goner.  The trail is very steep on the downhill side but thankfully the bottle got caught in the underbrush.  Christine collected my bottle and I popped right back up.  This one must have seemed worse than the first one because she was surprised I got going so quick.  We were so close to the end I figured I would run what I could and deal with the consequences when I finished.  Truthfully, walking probably would have been worse. Staying moving didn't let it stiffen up.

After a long grind up to Hwy 49 (93.5) we made a quick stop kept on moving.  Just out of the AS there is a sign that reads SHORT CUT TRAIL.  I told Christine I wanted to go that way!  After a short climb we began an easy descent into No Hands Bridge (96.8).  Through here there is a spot where you are going through waist tall brown grass in a field surrounded by enormous oak trees.  I was thinking it was a few miles further and just after I was telling Christine we entered the field.  It was even beautiful at night!

No Hands Bridge is like an oasis in the desert once you can finally see it.  As you clear the trees on the downhill the bridge has been lit up with Christmas lights and rope lighting.  They had music playing and they must have been pumping out BARN smell because I could smell the barn.  My watch said I got there at 3:51 and 24 hour pace was 4:10.  I don't recall filling water there and just flew through.  I had one full handheld and a pocketful of gels.  Christine was trying to get some batteries for my headlamp since the cheap-o batteries I brought were dying fast.  I continued to walk across the bridge and remembered she brought me a spare headlamp that had good batteries.  I took the two good ones from the backup and put them in my headlamp that holds three.  Two good and one bad was 100% better and we were off. 

From here it is just over a 5k.  There is a 2.1 mile climb to Robie Point (98.9) and then 1.3 to the finish from there.  I wasn't super confident at this point and put down a gel right out of the aid station.  We started the climb to Robie Point and it just got steeper and steeper. At some point we could see the lights of the aid station way up on the hill to the left...and then the trail goes to the right! GAH! I took another gel.  I didn't want to be the guy that just missed it because I ran out of gas.  Christine was doing an awesome job of pulling me up the hill but once the time crunch was feeling too close I wanted to be in the lead and push myself as hard as I could.  I kept grinding up the hill trying not to look at the lights.  Once I could see the aid station was right ahead I looked back and was happy to see I had put a little gap on Christine.  She was taking care of my battery issues at the last aid station and hadn’t had a chance to refuel so she didn't have a sea of sugar running through her veins like I did!  Somewhere in the last push I took a third gel.

The aid station asked me how I was doing and I told them it was the best day ever, couldn't have asked for more.  I cruised through at 4:25 (15 minutes ahead of 24 hour pace) without stopping and began to powerhike the pavement.  Christine caught up to me and I realized that barring a broken leg I was going to make it.  We had been running all the minor uphills for the last 20 miles and I told her I was content to walk this last one and she agreed.

Just as we crested the final hill there was a handmade sign left on the street that said, ‘Pacers are People Too’, that made us both smile.  We trotted the final downhill toward the high school and I was hoping to see Michelle so she could run the lap around the track with me.  She was in the stadium ready to take pictures though.

The feeling entering that gate to the track is something I wish everyone could experience.  It was truly magical.  It’s just an everyday ordinary high school track but on one day a year is something much more than that.  Just after entering there is a mat that reads your bib number and then the announcer calls out your name, Ryan Anderson from Boise, Idaho is entering the track.....and then they rattle off all your accomplishments.  Before the race they had us fill out a form for the finish line announcements and one of the questions was to mention some non-running achievement.  I wrote down that I used to weigh 318 pounds and if I can do this anyone can do this.  They announced every 100 miler I have done and left the weight loss out unfortunately.

On the backstretch of the track I told Christine I was going to go nice and slow to enjoy this little victory lap.  She looks back a second later and I am stopped...walking backwards! What are you doing? I found a lucky penny, heads up, AND amazingly had the strength to bend down and pick it up.  Normally anything less than a 20 dollar bill gets shoved to the nearest non-runner with a, 'hey can you pick that up for me?'  It was a funny moment.

Christine took my stuff and I cruised to the finish with a final time of 23:42:06.  It was wonderful to see Michelle and give her a big hug and kiss to say thank you for supporting my crazy goals.  After sitting around at the finish for just a few minutes I turned into a 95 year old man that needed a hip replacement which was OK because I was done!

I was very happy with the first half and second half times.  Managing the first half properly allows me to finish strong.  Some days you don’t really know what that pace is until it is over so I must have been right where I needed to be.  The first 50 miles was about 11:20 and the last 50 was 12:20.  Although there is a lot more downhill in the second half it actually has about the same amount of uphill sections.  Near the end when I finally got back on 24 hour pace and then made up 18 minutes it wasn’t that I was speeding up, but slowing down less than the average.  I’ll take it!

I have told my weight loss story to lots of people but one of the most gratifying times I have ever had the opportunity to do so was just after Tim Twietmeyer (25 time finisher) gave me my silver buckle I shook hands with Craig Thornley who is the current race director.  He asked me what the deal was with the Don't Mess with the Fat Kid shirt.  I told him what I used to weigh and his response was...are you serious?  Holy crap! Amazing job out there today!

Garmin Detail

More random pictures...

Friday, June 13, 2014

Official: Western States Endurance Run Course Preview


Hard to believe it is finally here! I have not been shy in saying this is one that I have always wanted to do. When I started trail running people talked about Western States like it was the 'Boston' of trail running. It is the oldest 100 miler and has lots of history. I feel like I have done all I can in training to make sure I am a finisher on race day. I expect to do well but never take anything for granted.

Can't believe this is the same guy that will be toeing the line in two weeks.  I am constantly amazed at how far I have come, and I am grateful for everything I have been able to accomplish.

Three Bears from Mountain Cove

This was a great mental run, but physically this is the worst I have EVER felt on a run...gut wise.  Great because this is why I train.  To figure out what works and what doesn't.

What doesn't?

  • Eating a salad with feta and italian and raviolis.  
  • I also had some peanuts which I think were the real problem since fat is hard to digest.  
  • I don't normally run in the evening so my body was in unknown territory.  
  • I have been growing a beard and mustache and when I drink my Tailwind it gets sticky and drives me nuts (it needs a serious trim or a hack job).  
  • I need to take chapstick. 
  • I need to take a bandana to control the constant river of sweat. 
  • 30 oz of water per hour on a 90 degree day is not enough.

What did work?

  • I took my UltrAspire Alpha pack and filled it to the rim with only ice before I left.  As the ice slowly melted the pack acted like a icy little radiator on my back.  At the top of the 2000-ish foot climb when the temps were the highest I had goosebumps and was shivering.  
  • I had two handhelds with 2 scoops of Tailwind filled with ice and topped with water.  The ice melted soon enough so the mix was just right.
  • Pearl iZumi Ultra Split Shorts are the best running shorts ever.  Light, airy, a zipper you can operate with one hand *easily*, and two gel pockets to put various things. Love them!

I ended up walking all the downhill because I had such a gut bomb.  I know this is crazy but it was a good thing to have.  First to realize what eating certain things at certain times does to me. Second, no gut bomb lasts forever if you recognize it and take care of it.  I was still taking fluids to aid digestion and I walked the downhill to allow some time for it to work itself out which was painful on my brain.  I had to stop occasionally and hold my hands over my head to get the twisting pain in my insides to go away.  Like all things, it slowly passed and by the end I was able to manage a shuffle.  After feeling like I was kicked in the stomach the whole way I was reminded that my 'worst day ever' pace was still well under 24 hour pace even with the walking so I can't complain.  I have never had a serious gut bomb in a race or training so it was a good opportunity to work through it.

The highlight of the run was passing bikers on the uphills. Yesterday there was a group of young riders with a coach or parent and I passed the adult and then 3 of the kids.  When I got to the last kid I heard the adult say, 'You can't let a runner beat you!'...and then I passed him! Too funny.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Who you were meant to be

I saw this yesterday and it really spoke to me.  I have considered my transformation more of a 'becoming something'.  Maybe I had it all backwards?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Over the Hill

Happy birthday to me! Today is my 40th birthday and I have to admit that I feel better than when I was 20. I am thankful for my second chance. For those struggling with making changes in their life, never give up. It is worth every ounce of energy you put into it.

I had a really nice compliment from a 9 year old yesterday.  I went to my son Zach’s Idaho history field trip last Friday and volunteered to chaperone. On Monday the teacher had all the kids write a thank you note to the adult that was with them. Several we cute and simple like, ‘Thanks for being there so I wouldn’t get lost!’  The last one was nearly a page long (which for a 4th grader is an epic essay!)  He said he loved that I let them run and play and was amazed that I could run as far as I do. The kids were curious about my running because I was wearing one of my race shirts so I told them all about it.

The best part of the letter was when he said that, Zach brags about how wonderful I am at school so it was nice to finally meet me.  Being brag worthy in my son's eyes means more to me than I can put into words. When I started getting in shape my overwhelming goal was to take care of myself so I will be here a long time for my family and to be a good example to those around me.  

I am fortunate that I had brag worthy parents when I was a kid (and still to this day).  My mom would be the school volunteer, the field trip, the one who made something special for holidays.  I would brag to my friends how wonderful it was to have MY MOM come.  When I was a kid I also wanted to be an Eagle Scout just like my dad, which I did.  I wanted to be just like him and I am thankful for his guidance and example.

Every day is a gift.  Make today a great day.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day Hike

Michelle's on request for Mother's Day was to hike Polecat at sunset.  We have been out there before at sunset and it is always beautiful.  We gave the kids the option to come and they declined.  We had fun exploring on our own without constant pleas to turn back after 2 minutes.

It was wonderful to not be in a hurry and just enjoy some quiet time together.  We saw a number of deer that were out grazing without a care in the world.  I run Polecat regularly in the morning but the deer don't stick around for some reason when we come running by.  Great day!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Robie Creek 2014

The 2014 edition of the Race to Robie Creek was a fun one!  My main goal was to improve on my time from last year. My secondary goal was to run the last mile and not boob about how hard it felt.  I accomplished both goals by beating last year's time by about 12 seconds and chasing Ryan Lund and Bob Shannon all the way to the finish.

I stayed at the finish for a few minutes and caught up with some friends then took off with Stephen Henry for the over and back.  I love the run back, even though there isn't much gas left in the tank.  Seeing everyone who is still pushing to finish puts a huge smile on my face and I get to cheer for them!  There aren't very many spots for spectators so I think the runners appreciate it.

I met Michelle at the Pulse aid station at Aldape and we came down the hill together.  I was definitely ready to be done!  Great day.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Highlands Trail in the Boise Foothills

I went out last Sunday with Cory Harelson and ran the Hulls Gulch, Scotts, Corrals, Highland, Bobs loop and he snapped this amazing picture just and the sun was in the perfect spot. Love this picture.

Struggle and Strength

My friend Jenny shared this post on Facebook from Zig Ziglar's page.

This pretty much sums up how I feel looking back.  I would not be who I am today without going through the tough times and struggles to find what was hidden deep inside.  For that I am grateful.  I feel like I am a better person today and there is nothing that can get me down because I know I am capable of overcoming whatever life throws at me.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Antelope Island Buffalo Run - Taper Week

I have been pondering what I might say in a race report after the Buffalo Run 100 miler on Friday.  Since I did the race last year the report will undoubtedly be a lot different.  Sometimes I like to write them as if I am sharing my experience so others can learn from my mistakes and successes and sometimes its more of a play by play.  I have always hated when ultra runners tell newbies 'We are all an experiment of one.'  Which by all accounts is true.  The useful information an answer like this provides however is absolutely nothing!  The reason I ask the question in the first place is because I want to know what YOUR 'experiment of one' looked like so I can start trying some things.  Anyway, I have approached training a bit differently this year and have been doing some things different hoping to see some different results.  Either way, I'll be back to report on MY experiment of one so I can continue to figure out what does and does not work for me.

The goal this year is to break 20 hours.  That isn't a big stretch from the 21:12 last year but still improvement nonetheless.  It is hard to quantify how much energy we wasted trying to stay warm in the crazy cold temperatures so that should give us a good bit of energy back.

During taper week I often find myself with lots on my mind, too much energy, and work seems to always get crazy.  Found these while trying to relax at lunch today!

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