Thursday, December 30, 2010

2011 Tenative Race Calendar

- Jan 15th Ponderous Posterior/Pikes Peak 50K
I’m looking forward to this informal run/race as a great opportunity to do a loop I’ve never done, meet some great runners and get a nice workout it.  All of this is pending the birth of our first son who is due on the 7th!
-Feb 5th USATF Cross Country Championships in San Diego
This will be a fun race coupled with the fact Maggie and Baby Schlarb will join me to visit with my parents, brother and sister who live in San Diego.  Obviously this is a VERY competitive race and while I believe a top 40 finish is possible (43rd last year in Delaware), my training is more geared towards the long stuff and the race is pretty flat.  Regardless, a great experience and time running for the All Air Force Cross Country Team at an elite race.
-March 5th Nueces 50 Mile/USATF 50M Championships
This race was the best fit for me during the March early April time frame.  I would have liked to have raced The Way Too Cool 50K, but that didn’t work out.  Glad to see Dakota Jones is racing the Nueces 50 mile as well!  Hopefully the fact that this race is the “USATF 50M Championship”, will bring some more competition and attention.

                -May 7th North Face Bear Mountain 50M
My May is a bit up in the air along with my training approach for mid-March through May.  I am not sure if I should skip Bear Mtn and just focus on a fast (2:25 or better) Ottawa marathon at the end of May or vice versa, focusing on a good showing at Bear Mountain.  I was impressed with North Face in SF this year and the prize money certainly would be nice.  I’ll wait and see how the next few months shape up.   
-          May 29th Ottawa ING Marathon
I’ve committed and even sold a number of people, including my wife, on this marathon in Ottawa.  Ottawa is scenic and beautiful; the course is VERY fast, competition is world class and the weather is usually to my liking…nice and cool or even rainy.  I’d love to get that 2:25, but it takes training that I am not necessarily looking forward to right as I love running long in the mountains.  How I approach this race and spring, again, is still undecided. 
                -June 18th San Juan Solstice 50M
The San Juans are hands down my favorite mountains in the state and even country, with maybe the exception of the mountains in NW Montana around Glacier National Park.  The course looks fantastic, timing is good and overall, the race seems amazing.  The San Juan Solstice 50 is sort of what I would imagine (I have nearly no experience still) as the quintessential, quirky, smaller Ultra race in the middle of nowhere.  I’d love it if some big names show, but regardless, I plan on being there!
                -July 30th White River 50M
As I became interested in Ultra Trail Running last spring and summer, this was one race I really wanted to do.  Nice trails, nice mountains, great competition and it WAS the USATF 50 mile championships.  Now that it isn’t the 50 mile championships, it would seem I am hearing nothing about it.  The website has no info on this year’s race, I have seen no one talking about it or putting it on their calendar, etc…  I even emailed the RD asking if the race is on!  I guess I’ll just have to wait and see with this one too.  
Any ideas on a backup plan race during this time?
                -August 20th Leadville 100M
After I realized my North Face 50 race in December would be a month too late to qualify for and then enter the lottery for Western States, I tentatively planned on doing my first 100 in 2012.  That all changed when one of my best friends/best man Matt Lowe got a group of guys together to run Leadville…  Matt, who ran at Montana State with me, ran his first Ultra doing the Sahara leg of The Four Deserts Race this year placing 4thoverall.  So, that changed my plans and it looks like I’ll be running Leadville now!
                -Dec 3rd North Face 50 Mile Championships
Couldn’t miss this one… competition, location, timing and the race is very well run too. 
There is obviously a big gap for races between September and December.  I have always run the Air Force Marathon and Marine Corps marathon during that time, but if things go well this spring and summer, I might be looking for a good ultra during that time instead or maybe in conjunction with Marine Corps. 
Anyone know of a good race in late Sept through early Nov time frame besides JFK 50? 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Metamorphosis Week!

Monday I only ran 18 minutes, as I could feel my knee being funky, but by the end of the week:
-I ran a 24 mile one way trail long run with 4.5K of climbing
-changed shoes/shoe company
-got a brand new Garmin GPS 405cx watch with a heart rate monitor AND
-my wife, Maggie, made her first ascent of Green Mtn at over 8,000ft while 38+ weeks pregnant!


AM 18min; 2.2 Miles; Flat; Started running towards EGF, but the knee still felt “good”, but still a little funny… turned around and went home.


AM 1:51; 13 Miles; 2,900ft; Met up with Aaron for a run at Chautauqua Park.  I Was nervous to go for it today with my knee feeling better, but not 100% yesterday… I went for it and the knee felt great! 
I waited for Aaron at the parking lot until 6:34 then was suddenly sure he was parked at the Gregory Canyon parking lot and not at the main parking lot where I was.  I ran quickly up to the other p.lot (6min) but he wasn’t there and at this point I realized I should have just called him, not smart.  Once at the trailhead I decided to just run.  I ran up Gregory, greenman, to Green.  My split from the TH to Green was a personal best of 39:30 (appx 45 seconds faster) even though I wasn’t pushing it.  I was pretty happy about the new best time after not much running in the last few weeks and especially about my knee feeling better.  I ran down bear canyon, to mesa and back to the parking lot.  I also found Aaron at the parking lot where we chatted and planned for a run in the future, real cool guy!


AM 1:22; 10.5 Miles; flat; Ran from the house with Marcus Allen and met up with Levi about 15 minutes down the road due east.  Looped around onto Boulder creek bike path, up and then back down to Scott Carpenter and back home for an easy and flat recovery run.  It was nice to run with great company and again, it was exciting to feel the knee getting better.


AM 1:11; 9.5 Miles; Flat; Levi, Aaron and I did the same workout I did last week on the nice flat trails between Wonderland Lake and Lee Hill road.  7 times 2min hard (sub 5 I believe) with a 3min jog.  Finished with 2, 30 second finishes.  I felt a bit flat from Tuesday and not as fast as last Thursday.  Levi ran ahead of me a few seconds on the 3-7, Aaron a few seconds behind me (except the last 30 second finish!). 
Good to do the speed, but not the best day for me.

Friday Christmas Eve!

PM 2:15; 16 Miles; 3,000ft; Late Friday morning Maggie and I went on a spectacular hike up Green Mtn from Flagstaff Rd on the west ridge of Green mtn trail.  This was a special hike as it was Maggie’s first time up Green and she was also just over 38 weeks pregnant!  The weather was phenomenal, as it has been all week.  On the way back down  (3 miles round trip) we laid down in a meadow and took a short nap in the sunshine.  It was truly an amazing Christmas Eve.  Maggie drove back home and I ran up to the four way intersection just below Green (.2 miles) then down green-bear trail, to bear canyon then up the west ridge bear mtn trail.  I set a 40 minute turn around time but at 40 minutes I could see Bear mtn’s summit starring at me…  I had to go for it.  I pushed on and summited Bear mtn for the first time today, which is taller than Green and a bit steeper in the ascent too.  I was told it wasn’t really run-able, so I took the challenge and for the most part, succeeded in running the whole way.  The view from the top of Bear is certainly better than Green as it is a bit higher and it has no trees obscuring the amazing views of all the snow capped peaks on the western skyline.  The summit is a rocky ridge where you must scramble hands and feet to sit on the knife edged summit.  It was great.  I made the summit in a little less than 32 minutes from the four-way at the base of green just taking it easy.  The run back to the four-way was more up than I remembered and the legs were flat from the speed work yesterday.  All the way back to EGF and then home I realized I probably went a bit longer and higher than I should have considering yesterday and a long run the next day!  After some lunch, I headed to Snow Basin in Rocky Mountain National Park.  I skinned/ski toured up for 2 hrs into deep, deep snow then skied back down, it was beautiful. 

Saturday Merry Christmas!

PM 3:40ish; 24ish Miles; 4,500ft; 132bpm Avr HR; I received my MT101s from NB on Christmas Eve, pretty cool, and I waited to open them until Christmas.  I also got the Garmin 405cx GPS running watch from Maggie and her parents.  What a huge Christmas upgrade!

While running yesterday, I came up with the idea of running from the most northern trailhead off of hwy 93 up and into Eldorado Canyon to walker ranch and then behind Green mtn down Long Canyon to Green Mtn lodge, then flastaff and to the car at Eben G Fine as a new one-way long run route I have never done.  Aaron ate it up and Maggie, she is the best wife ever, dropped us off.  We had no idea how long it would take and neither of us had connected Eldo to Walker ranch… fun.  Of course we ran on the dirt road after Eldo and got lost and realized it was a bit further than we thought as well.  All of this on top of my last 3 days and really just fully recovering from TNF 50… I felt great.  I am running exactly what I love. 
At one point running up an evil pavement section of about a mile I bonked.  I only had 3 GUs and 20oz of water and a small Bkft (we started after 12!) but luckily Aaron had a running back pack with some 1st endurance gel.  The gel brought me back to life in 10 minutes… I have to check the stuff out, as he swears by it.       
I felt great and ran comfortably to EGF where Aaron took off and I decided I still felt great, so I ran the extra 8 or so minutes back home.  The MT101s were perfect.  The shoes are light, comfortable, the rock guard plate in the forefoot is nice and tread decent… I’m sold.  The GPS watch, phenomenal, the graphs for pace, altitude, hear rate and distance are amazing, I just have to be careful not to turn it off during the run.  Yeah, I had my watch off for a mile or so. 

What a great run! 


PM 1:32; 10.5 Miles; 1,800ft; After hiking 4.5 miles with Maggie on the trails of Hall ranch (she is amazing), I ran the loop around Hall.  This was our first time at Hall Ranch and we were really impressed.  Not only is the parking lot only about 25 minutes away from home, it has great quality trails, climbs, views and forest.  The views over by Nelson Loop and Button Rock Trail were phenomenal.  

Yes, there were a ton of bikers, but I can see why and everyone was pretty courteous.  Today I totally forgot to put on the heart rate monitor and inadvertently turned the watch off again, but got most of the run recorded.  I had a blast, legs were a bit beat up, but overall the body, brain and soul are happy to be running miles in the beautiful mountains.  I was doing a lot of daydreaming about being an ultra runner and racing this New Year.  This loop might become part of my training regime…

Weekly Totals

12hrs, 9min of Running
86.2 Miles
12,200ft Climbing

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

3 Ideas to Make Ultra Running Even More Competitive!

Change, growth or both, particularly in a niche or rogue event, is always met with resistance from some or a lot of the participants.  Ultra running is not just for old dudes that are crazy, the young and fast are here.   
I love what the affect (more competition) of prize money, championships, series events, or even sponsorship and team membership opportunities have on racing.  
As Ultra running continues to become more competitive, the more excitement there is for fans and participants.   While I believe many of the participants are affected by increasing the competitiveness of a race, it is true that only a small proportion of the participants are affected by that actual prize $$ or sponsorship potentials.
Prize $$ brings the top runners across the US and abroad, but it also has an invaluable effect on “future” or potential top Ultra runners.
Here are what I believe to be 3 things that could further “grow” Ultra running to be more competitive:
1) More events with $$, sponsorship and team opportunities
2) A SMALL (10-15%) reserve of entries for elites… just like big marathons. Just allowing winners or top ten finishers from years past stifles competition and growth.
And MOST important:
3) US championship races that are truly THE events to win in the US.
USATF Trail Ultra Championships are too diluted and numerous to foster great competition and excitement… 50K, 50M, 100K, 100M = way too many events for such a small community... and it shows!
- Drop the 50K distance, which would be considered “long trail racing” (25K and Marathon)
-Drop the 100K as it is only 12 miles different than the 50 mile
-50 Mile and 100 Mile USATF Trail Championships
These changes would further entice big name sponsors and races to compete to host the 2 Championship races.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Weekly Summary for 12/13/10 to 12/20/10

This was a dynamic week. 
I went from still being flat from the TNF 50 early in the week, to recovered and running Green Mtn and doing a speed workout, to taking 3 days off due to my left knee bothering me and then finishing with an epic powder day yesterday at Vail. 
The knee is nearly recovered now, but it has been a mentally and physically challenging week.
AM 1hr 31min; 10.5 miles; 2,000ft up; Easy sunrise run with Marcus Allen from the house to Eben G Fine park, panorama trail, flastaff trail to just before crossing the road to go to Green Mtn Lodge.  49:45 out, then back the same way.  Saw a shooting start.  It was warm and totally clear of snow… should have worn shorts. Felt about 78% recovered with the last 10 minutes feeling shitty.  Range of motion totally back, but my bruise or strain on the ball of my right foot is noticeable.
AM 2hr 15min; 14.5 miles; 3,100ft up; Another easy sunrise run from home, EGF, Panorama trail, Flagstaff, but today I kept going to Green mtn lodge, greenman trail, to Green Mtn, down ranger and back the same way as up.  Today I felt pretty much recovered… for the first 40 minutes or so then the climbing legs were flat on the final approach.  I saw another shooting star this morning!
It is great running right now as there is NO snow really all the way to Green mtn and I haven’t seen anyone on the way up on the trails yesterday or today.  With that said, I did meet a guy named John on the summit of Green mtn.  I was shocked to find John knew who I was from my name.  It blows me away how small the Ultra community is and how well connected they are on this blog network.  Very cool. 
I felt pretty good all the way down to the halfway house but stretched the legs at panorama point as they were going back to how they felt at the end of the race 10 days ago.  I stretched again at EGF and it pretty much worked, but the last 10 minutes of the run wasn’t good feeling at all.  I need to just go 10 minutes shorter than I plan it seems.  I wore the newton trails shoes to protect my sore right foot… it still is a bit sore, but nothing “bad”.  I’ll take tomorrow shorter with less climbing and descending. 
Time up to the summit of flagstaff was 44:30 today, 49:50 to green mtn lodge, 1:14 I think, to Green, 2:05 back to EGF, 2:15 home.    
AM 1hr 8min; 9 miles; 100ft up; Got up late and ran from home to wonderland lake, north of w.l. lake and back.  Nice sunrise.  Felt good today.  It felt like a regular flat recovery run.  Instead of feeling like the end of a race at the end of the run, I felt normal.  I ran in different shoes to help with my sore foot and it worked. 
Felt awesome warming up this morning, no aches, pain or flatness!  Just in time, as I wanted to do some speed intervals!
AM 1hr 8min; 10.5 miles; flat; ran a 20 min w/u to wonderland lake and ran 2 on 3 off by 6 on the nice flat trail between the lake and lee hill road (a little back and forth required).  The 2 on was 4:50-5:00/mile pace, 3 off was a recovery slow jog.  Felt awesome had to actually be a bit patient with thoughts of doing more repeats.  By the last one I had my classic hard/fast workout slight dry heave reflex.  Perfect.  I am looking forward to the speed workout each week.  On my bike ride, my left knee was tight and bothering me though, which sucks.  Not sure what to do. 
The knee was tight and unhappy yesterday morning and afternoon, by evening it felt a bit better.  I kept the knee Iced, but this morning I set out at 5:30 to run a longer run up Green and Bear, but turned around at 5min for a total of 9:48.  I could feel the knee getting tight just above the knee cap and decided I shouldn’t ignore the problem. 
AM 9min; 1.5 miles; flat; time to let the knee heal.
The left knee felt much better, iced it, etc… but I still could feel funkiness.  I want to run healthy and thus took another day off to heal.
Same as yesterday (no run) but I decided to take advantage of amazing snow in the mountains.  I skied with Levi and Rob Parish at Vail for a full day (8:30 to 4pm).  While under the lifts was truly awesome, the highlight of the day was skiing East Vail chutes with Levi.   The steep 2,000ft+ decent was epic with deeper than knee powder and the run included a few cliff bands (25-30 footer).  East Vail Chutes is my favorite “side country” in Eagle or Summit County.  My back is ridiculously tight and I could feel my knee a little bit afterwards being un-happy again.    

(4 days of running this week)
6hrs 11 min of running
46 Miles
5,200ft of climbing

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Way Too Cool 50K Lottery Rollercoaster, Nightmares and The Lone Star State

The first Ultra race I would have liked to have done this spring, after the US Cross Country Championships (12K) in San Diego February 5th, was the Way Too Cool 50K in CA this March. 

The WTC 50K race looks awesome.  A lot of single track, uses some of the same trails as Western States, no two way traffic and has awesome competition (Geoff Roes, Leor Pantilat, Jacob Rydman, Mike Wolfe, and more).  WTC 50K basically was ideal, aside from the fact that I would rather it be 50 miles vs. 50K.  Now comes the Lottery…
So last weekend I entered my first “lottery” for the WTC 50K.   Yesterday I “lost” my first lottery.  Pretty disappointing.  I made the mistake of checking last right before I went to bed.  The lottery was advertised as happening today and I was just being anxious, I thought and found the results were already posted! 

So of course I processed this disappointment and subsequent emotions in the form of a ridiculous dream.  In the dream, I wasn’t signed up or couldn’t get into a race as well and I was scrambling around to try and get in anyways (sounds good).  Instead of running 30 miles on trails, I for some reason was to do a swim meet, of course, 400 or 200 meters I believe.  I’ve never swam in a swim meet in my life, whatever.  I finally got registered just before the race and subsequently had to sprint to the pool and get ready.  Everyone was wearing diving goggles, snorkels, fins and some strange loose fitting wet suit sort of deal.  I ran around the pool freaking out trying to find my set of “swimming equipment”, let’s call it. I found the gear, threw it all on and toed the line, or rather my box.  All the participants had massive shoulders, arms and pecks, you know, just like mine.  I thought to myself while waiting for the gun, maybe raw flailing effort will somehow manage to at least result in a swim where I stay with these guys.  Doubt and anxiety flooded my brain.  That was it. 
Both the dream and the lottery experience sucked.
I am apparently number 72 on the waitlist for WTC 50K and with 675 entrants I would probably need at least a 10% drop rate, so I’m not holding my breath.   I have a Plan B. 
For whatever reason, the USATF 50 Mile Championships are no longer held in California at the White River 50 Mile in July.  Instead, there has been a 180 degree change with the championships now the same weekend as the WTC 50K in March and held in the Lone Star State of Texas. 
   The Nuece Endurance Trail Run 50 Mile (west of San Antonio I belive) might be where I go for a March race, unless someone knows of something better, or I find something better.  The course has 3 loops (16.7 miles) which sort of sucks and I don’t know who will be there… yet.  Last year 23 raced, but I’m sure more will be there this year.   There is some money for the first 3 finishers, it IS the 50 mile championships, and the few pics I saw looked like it might have nice trails.  It certainly doesn’t have a lottery, so I have some time to decide and commit.   

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Weekly Summary For 12/5/10 to 12/12/10

Jason Schlarb

This week was certainly a learning experience with regards to recovering from a hilly Ultra...

After running TNF 50 Saturday the 4th, I had the opportunity to hangout with an old middle school best friend, Mike, one of my best friends from my high school XC team (Jesuit High) back in Oregon, John Garvie (Div I runner) and finally one of my best skiing/snowriding friends from Colorado that now lives in the Bay area, Matt!  Let's just say on top of running the 50, I was up 25 hours.  

I certainly did not run Sunday.  While I wasn't maimed like after my first couple marathons, I was certainly unable to walk down stairs properly... that would't come until Tuesday.  I proceeded to take Monday and Tuesday off as well with a great 70 minute recovery session with Marcus, my massage therapist, Tuesday.   Wednesday-Friday my legs felt strange on flat 50ish minute runs with my stride real short like a grandma's stride and quads still hurting on the smallest of downhills.

Friday my wife and I headed to Fort Collins for a "BabyMoon", basically a last weekend out together to enjoy each other's company, relaxation, a hotel etc... as a "couple", before Baby Schlarb shows up on the scene late December/early January.  It was an awesome time together and away from the house.

I did 75 minutes on a bike trail to a trail that went up and over one of Fort Collin's "Hogbacks".  I actually got lost on the way back, as I intended on running only about 65.  The legs still lacked their regular range of motion but things were gradually getting better.  My quads had a surprisingly sharp pain when standing up from a chair or squatting low all week and even weekend, not something I'm used to after a race.  Sunday I did a great 82 minute loop in Lory State Park up and around Arthur's Rock, while Maggie did the 1.7 mile 1,100ft climb up to Arthur's.  The legs were still only at about 75% recovered today, but it was so awesome to be back on the trails and in the mountains where my legs and I belong.  I felt better on the gradual climbs and descents than the flat, whatever.  I got back to the car and was happy to find that Maggie was still out on the trail. I quickly hiked back up the trail where I met her for a wonderful little sit together on the side of the trail in a sparsely forested meadow with the warm sunshine on our faces... perfect.

I'll have to play this week by ear, but I hope to be back to 100% by Wednesday and subsequently back in Chautaqua Park sooner than latter.  Saturday I think I will head up to Fort Collins for the Chubby Cheeks 50K to hopefully get to know some of the amazing ultra talent that litters the front range.  I hope my friend Brian Dumm (JFK 50 winner) from Colorado Springs and long time training partner, Levi Severson, who also lives in Boulder, join me.

Anyone from Boulder want to car pool?

Sunday 0 Miles

Monday 0 Miles

Tuesday 0 Miles 70 Minutes of body work with Marcus

Wednesday 6 Miles
PM: 51min, flat, 6 Miles; Slooooooow run from campus west on Boulder Creek bike path, 1 mile barefoot at Boulder High School's turf infield. Flat.

Thursday 6.5 Miles
AM: 56min, flat, 6.5 Miles; Super slow run from the house down 4th to Wonderland Trail, Wonderland Lake, to trails north of Wonderland Lake and back. Flat.  

Friday 7.5 Miles
AM: 1:05, flat, 7.5 Miles; A little closer to "regular" easy run pace from the house to Eben G. Fine Park, up Boulder Creek Canyon bike path and back. Flat.

Saturday 8.5 Miles
PM: 1:15, 100ft, 8.5 Miles; Ran from hotel in Fort Collins, up bike path to a trail leading to a "hogback" and back.  Flat.
Sunday 9 Miles
AM: 1:22, 1,200ft, 9 Miles; Ran at Lory State park near Fort Collins.  Up to Arthur's Rock, looped around to north part of park and back around to south end.  Felt "better".  

Weekly Summary
37.5 Miles
5hr 29min

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Lead Up To The 2010 North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships

     The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships in San Francisco certainly is an amazing race to do as a first Ultra.  Thanks to Mike Wasson for pushing the race over the last two or so years as "the most amazing trail running I've done"... he was spot on.  It was also pretty cool to run my first 50 mile with a large representation of the best in the sport from both the US and even abroad.        
     I've had a great summer and fall training and racing.  With the exception of a 5 week hiatus to Alabama and Mississippi in July and August, where I wasn't able to run much, I had a great training year.  I would describe the summer training as marathon specific with trail and mountain running thrown in on long runs and some recovery days.  The result was some great 15 mile and 25K trail running performances in May and June followed by a half marathon and marathon PR at Air Force and Marine Crops (MCM) respectively.   Specifically, I ran the Greenland 25K getting 1st and the course record, 1st at The Sage Burner 25K, a 15:02 at The Thunderchief 5K in Boulder and then a 1st and course record at Joe Colton's Off Road 15 mile.
      After the trip to the South East, I managed to bring my mileage back up and run a satisfying 1:11 half at the Air Force Half Marathon in Ohio, followed by a nice PR at MCM for 6th place at 2:27:18 (Brian Dumm ran 2:27:04 and Levi Severson 2:27:36). After just a week or so recovery, I did an absolutely crazy mountain mud adventure run in Italy representing the Air Force with Brian and Levi.  The race went surprisingly well there, finishing 7th overall against NATO ally countries Nederland, Belgium, The UK, Germany, and Poland (the power house of the race).  After the race I had a nice quick trip to the mountains of Cortina Italy for some celebrating, running, camping and skiing with Levi and Brian.  Once I got back to the states I had 3 weeks before TNF 50...
     After signing up for TNF 50, I looked to Anton Kurpicka for a training model, more specifically; I studied his thorough, informative and downright entertaining blog: Riding the Wind.

     Obviously Anton is one hell of an ultra-runner, coupled with the fact that he lives and trains in Boulder, made using him as my training resource even more logical.  Furthermore, I hold a number of the same views on running as Anton.  Specifically, I train in flat shoes (since Dec '09 at least), believe in minimalism (less clothing and “stuff” is always my preference), the amazing benefits of incorporating barefoot running into a training regime and most importantly the love for running long distances on trails in the mountains and wilderness of Colorado and the Rockies. 
     Most of this summer I honestly day dreamed about transitioning to running exclusively on mountainous trails and running on those trails for LONG distances… daily. The goal of running a fast marathon in the fall is the only thing that just barely kept me doing marathon workouts on the flats.  When the marathon was finally done, I went all out to the maximum extent by body could handle, running 145 miles (42 more than I ever have before) in the mountains along with 4 or 5 short runs on grass/turf. 
     I summited Green Mountain in Chautauqua Park 5 of 7 days (only two of those runs being the same route) and enjoyed a one way long run just over 4hrs touring the entire span of mountains north of Eldorado Canyon across to Mount Sanitas.  I loved it and I was where I belonged.  This splurge could only last a short week and a half though as TNF 50 was just around the corner.  The following week I did the same routine but forced myself to taper down for the race just 10 days out, running 112 miles for the week. 
     My training was solely based off of Anton's weekly running reports on his blogs.  From running barefoot at Kittredge Fields at CU, to mileage, to nutrition, to hydration and most importantly the routes around Green Mountain in Chauatauqua Park, it was from this one trusted source.  I timed certain legs and loops of the trails and compared them to Anton’s... the comparison was horrible, like a JV High School kid VS an NCAA Division I All American, more specifically, 40 minutes vs 30 on a particular stretch of trail.  I was doing what I loved and tried not to be discouraged, “it will come”, I would say to myself, “if it was automatic and easy, I wouldn’t want it”.     
     While the week and a half or so of the “Anton” training fell within 3 weeks of the race, if nothing else I absolutely loved it and it certainly helped me mentally prepared me for the North Face 50 in San Fran.  Most exercise running physiologists believe it takes somewhere between 3 weeks and even up to 6 weeks for the body to really take advantage of a training cycle… oh well.  I also have encouraging news as my buddy Brian Dumm (lives in Colorado Springs) WON the JFK 50 mile in 5:52! 

     It was finally time for this kid to head to Disney World.  I couldn’t sleep, I packed and repacked, spent hours studying results, everyone’s blogs, etc…  It was ridiculous and fantastic at the same time.  The resume’s for the top 25 even 30 finishers was unbelievable.  One quote I recall was that the guys in 10-15 places at TNF 50 are used to outright winning most Ultras.  I honestly felt the race would be a great success being in the top 35, which it would have been.  So that is where I stood on placing coming in along with the goal of being under 8 hours.  
     Then the news on Anton the week of the race: To say the least, I felt heart-broken to read on Anton’s blog that he would not be at the race, I was truly crestfallen.  My Ultra hero had dropped out.   

Race Report For The 2010 North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships San Francisco

At the start line I was more confident on my signature race strategy than normal, “come from behind” and “don’t be a first half hero”.  The other piece of advice from Mike Wasson, the guy who introduced me to the race a couple years back, “stay aerobic” would repeat through my mind the whole race. 
Dean started the race and we were off.  I let the horde of lead pack guys rush off and run there pace while I kept to my private world for pretty much all but 10 miles of the race.  The only time I ran with anyone longer than just passing them was between the Bootjack aid station at 18.9 and McKennan Gulch aid station at 23.6.  I couldn’t even tell you the names of the three guys I ran with as I honestly could/can only recognize five Ultra runners in the world: Anton Krupicka, Geoff Roes, Dakota Jones, Dean Karnazes and Killian Jornet.  So my 50, or better yet, 52 mile odyssey was solo, which I sort of liked.  Passing is powerful, hanging on, not so much and being passed, out-right dangerous.     
At the 30 mile point I now know from a few race reports that I was in 5th and 3 minutes behind Geoff and Dakota who were leading and only two minutes behind Heras (the winner).  I felt pretty damn good and was hungry to find more people to pass.  It was certainly annoying and emotionally draining to pass 50K runners on the course and not know if they were running the 50 mile or the 50K,  challenging, but part of the game and reality. 
At somewhere around 33 to 35 miles I hit my first “uh oh” moment.  Running down the paved road, Muir Woods Road I believe, I realized my quads were not happy with pavement but more so, down-hill.  I pushed on and was happy, at first, to find things flattening out after 37.3 miles at the Old Inn aid station.  At this point my footwear of choice, Newton Distancia, failed.  I couldn’t get any traction on the muddy single track.  The Distancias are designed for road running honestly (Newton makes trail shoes, by the way).  I tried running off the trail on the grass, then back on the mud and things were not going well for pace or exertion on this few mile stretch where really I wanted to stretch out and display some of my 4th place catching marathon speed.
 What followed this flat muddy stretch was borderline disastrous.  The steep fire road hills of the Costal, Coyote to Miwok trail stretch between the Muir Beach aid station at mile 40 and Tennessee Valley aid station at mile 45 obliterated my legs, my energy and all my confidence as a runner.  I had to walk a good portion of this horrible, horrible hill.  This was only the second time I have ever been forced to walk in a race, or tried to walk.  Yes, I was running out of steam, but it didn’t matter, my shoes didn’t have traction.  Not only could I not run, I couldn’t stand up and walk.  I fell about four times, was totally off the side of the fire road roaming in the weeds and overall just flailing. 
After the race I read on Dave Mackey’s blog (3rd place) that he ran this stretch and furthermore this is where Heras passed him and then Geoff with “his super traction shoes”.  To say the least, these few miles sealed my fate in not moving up in place (thankfully no one was on my tail) and needless to say, I was zonked after the mud scramble.  Things got ugly, the 20oz hand water bottle (like everyone else had) wasn’t enough, I was dreaming of water, licking my salty lips and sweat like it was honey.  I also was failing nutrition wise. One GU as prescribed by my hero Anton, wasn’t cutting it for me at all at this point; I sucked my last GUs down and had nothing left. 
Once finally at the Alta aid station with 3 to go, I broke my water and GU gel regiment and drank both water and whatever funky cool-aid mix they had along with grabbing GU “Chomps”.  Not only had I never even tried GU Chomps, I hadn’t even heard of them.  Chomps were like caviar to a movie star for me, I couldn’t get enough, two huge packs in less than 3 miles.  I chewed the Chomps up and kept the delicious morsels in my gums to savor and literally moaned in enjoyment.  So yeah, it was an experience those last 10 miles. 
The GU Chomp indulgence downhill run (with a little up that felt like a lot) with my pacer John Garvie, was quiet and long, but finally ended with the surreal finish line carnival like festival.  I wandered around feeling drunk, ate great food, got massaged, met some of the best Ultra runners in the world and let the satisfaction of a 5th place and 7:06:40 at TNF 50 mile sink in a bit.

Much was learned, but more exciting, new goals and plans are being created!     
Pre-Race article from Running Times
Here is the Running Times Article with a little interview near the bottom from me (I was out of it at the time…)
Results From Ultra Signup (has great links to finisher’s pervious performances), click on 2010 results.