Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Weekly Summary 19-25 December

-Weekly Summary 19-25 December-

The Trans Canada Trail is Awesome!  Yes, my head is almost better.

Monday- 12.20 miles, 1:37, Boulder Creek bike path, 350ft

Tuesday AM- 11.03 miles, 1:13, 162Av Hr, 300ft 7 mile tempo on the bike path.  Felt better than I thought I would on this workout.  A little up and down for hills, some snow and ice on and off slowed things down a touch.  Splits: 6:01, 6:07, 6:09, 5:54, 5:44, 5:50, 5:45

Tuesday PM- 4.32 miles, :33, 141Av Hr

Wednesday- 12.53 miles, 1:42, 138Av Hr, 550ft, Wonderalnd fun

Thursday- 8 miles, 200ft, 1:00, DIA Termincal A run.  Ran into Brian Dumm (2010 JFK 1st) and Mtrunner2 saw me apparently.  My 3rd airport terminal run ever.  Not bad... Terminal A is the best with the sky bridge option.

Friday AM- 10.36 miles, 500ft, 138Av Hr, 8 X 600 Meter repeats with 600 meter jogs with general mobility.  Ran a under dressed cold/breezy one way speed workout run with the help of my awesome father in law Patrick.  Very scenic run along lake fronts and forest.  Happy with the splits considering the less than flat terrain and being really cold for the first few: 5:55, 5:16, 5:12, 5:21, 5:08, 5:11, 5:01, 5:08.

Friday PM- 4.96 miles, :41, 200ft, epic trails through the hemlock, maple, pine, beech, birch forest along the muskoka river.  I LOVE running the 20+ miles of trail at the door step of the Kernohan cabin along the Muskoka river in Bracebridge Ontario. 

Saturday- 30.02 miles, 4:15, 134Av Hr, 1,500ft, long run adventure!  Ran from the doorstep through the trails on the Muskoka river to the "Trans Canada Trail" system.  It was an adventure.  The Trans Canada Trail is awesome around Bracebridge.  Great forests, creeks, wildlife and solitude.  I did a sort of out and back with some mix-ups and challenges following the trail.  Last 4 miles were rough.  It was 2 degrees (Farenheight) at the start with about an hour of flashlight (yeah, no headlamp) running on trails and snow. I don't think it broke out of single digit temps for any of the 4+hrs.  My Nathan water pack worked perfect withthe tube in my coat, but I wasn't motivated to drink much.  My EFS was very cold and slow to come out of the bottle and I only had about 3ish oz, so maybe 350 calories for the run.  Awesome run. 

Sunday-12.28 miles, 1:40, 300ft, further exploration of the Trans Canada Trail into Bracebridge including running over a bridge with a 50+ft by 40 foot waterfall.  Awesome. 

Only In Canada
Synopsis-  Success with both the tempo and speed workout, good volume, nice 30 mile long run, flat (Bandera is fast and flat, plus I have done more than enough climbing the last month) for the last solid week before Bandera.  Would have squeezed in a longer run on Thursday, but with a 12"+ dump in Boulder on the day we flew, delays, the long flight, etc... 8 indoors was a blessing.    Running on the trails from the cabin in Bracebridge has been EPIC.  I need to get some better pictures though before I leave.  Pine needle soft trails with a light snow cover.... sweet.   

105.7 Miles
3,900 Feet Climbing

Friday, December 23, 2011

Nick Clark's Chunky Cheeks, Bandera, Head Wound, Sumary of Runnign

7 days after the North Face 50 mile in San Francisco, I couldn't say no to hanging out with a great group of guys and running 50K the awesome trails west of Fort Collins at Nick Clark's annual 2011 Chunky Cheeks 50K.  While the weather was perfect, cool, but not cold, sunny (of course, it's Colorado) and perfectly calm.  The only problem was the ton of snow on most all of the trail and 7,000 feet of climbing.  Nick, Bowman, Burch, Vega and I ran the whole 31 mile awesome course together.  From the start I was flat and still a little sore, at 12 I was feeling it and you can guess the rest of the story. 

Perfect day and snow on the way up Green
 I didn't drink that much water or hit the EFS at any regular interval, as I was sure I wouldn't do the whole run.  With somewhere around 10 miles to go and 4 hours of pretty stout running I had only had about 300 calories and maybe 40 oz of water.  I hit the awesome aid station provided in the parking lot and endulged in a honey milk bevarage (my first ever) and most of a delicious donut.  The 1500-1700ft climb over 7 miles was brutal and I did some power hiking.  I came close to giving an all I had/race effort push to finish this bad boy.  I gorged on the awesome food and beer as soon as I finished with Nick, Bowman and Burch in 6:17 (5:43 moving), no ultragen, streching, etc...

Crazier that running this arduous run 7 days after TNF 50, was that somehow I wasn't that sore or tired afterwards, as apparent in my running summary below. 

Saturday: 31 Miles, 5:43, 148Av Hr (pretty high), 7,000ft climbing, awesome time with great guys!

Sunday: 5.14 Miles, 128Av Hr pushing Felix in the Bob Stroller

Monday: 12.02 Miles easy on wonderland, 550ft climbing

Tuesday AM: 11.05 Miles, 6.5 Mile Tempo, 144 Av Hr, 500ft.  Felt good on this tempo running around wonderland with some snow here and there and some up and down. 6:36, 6:24, 6:02, 6:03, 5:55, 5:42 (last half mile).  Very happy with this workout after Saturday's beat down and 11 days after TNF 50. 

I love winter trails around Boulder
Tuesday PM: 4.29 Miles Easy, 34 Minutes with a mile and a half barefoot on kitts.

Wednesday: 12.08 Miles Easy on wonderland, 1:41, 550ft climbing.

Thursday AM: 11 Miles Speed Workout, 400ft, 1:27, 138Av Hr.  Had a good first speed session mostly before sunrise with some slick spots of snow on the bike path with Aaron Kennard.  Did warm up, general mobility, strides then 8 X 600 meter repeats with 600 jog between, then cooled down.  Pace for the 600s: 5:25, 5:16, 5:17, 5:09, 5:22, 5:18, 5:16, 5:25.  Happy with this one as I gave a medium hard effort. 

Thursday PM: 4.28 Miles, :33

Friday: 12.08 Miles easy on Wonderland, 1:42, 550Ft climbing.

Don't run on the sidewalk at night.... rest of the story is available in person.
Saturday: 12.29 Miles not easy run, 1:44, 300Ft climbing, 7.3 Miles pushing Felix in the Chariott.  Could not see out of my eye AT ALL on this run.  Depth preception was a big issue and I had a hard time in general.  Planned on originally doing 20, but just couldn't do it. 

Sunday: 23.21 Miles Long Run around Chatauqua, 3:50, 4,000Ft, 145Av Hr.  I could see half the time on this run, but only if I strained and thus made a pretty scary face (based on people's reaction, then Maggie's confirmation).  Ran up Flastaff, to Greenman, to Green, down Bear Canyon, South on Mesa Trail, back to Bear, all the way to Gregory, down and then over to Eben G. Fine for 4 more miles up the snowy west section of the Boulder Creek Trail and home.  Good last big climb long run before Bandera.  Snow, Slush, Mud and slow was everywhere. 

My favorite section of  trail in Chatauqua (Bear Canyon)
Very, very happy I could recover after TNF 50, then Nick's event, a busted head and pull out a 100+ mile week with two solid speed sessions and a good long (time wise) run.  Less climbing next week and the same speed sessions but in Bracebridge Ontario with the Canadian family. 

Weekly Summary-

102.3 Miles
6,850 Ft Climbing

It has been chilly in Boulder this December
 Bandera and the 100K USATF National Championships-

I am feeling great and thus decided Bandera would be well worth racing.  Great news is that A) my massage therapist, friend and running partner, Marcus Allen, will be joining we on the trip B) I have two great friends down in that area of Texas that will be joining in for the weekend of racing and fun, Mike Devloo and Mark Shwitau C) There will be great competition at this well run (Joe is an awesome RD) event, to include THE Dave Mackey, Nick Clark, Tim Olson, Dillon Bowman, Dave James and for sure others that I don't know about. 
I am ready and more than excited to be racing Bandera!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Race Report for the December 3, 2011 North Face 50 Mile Championships, San Francisco

Copyright Brett Rivers 2011


A Jamaican Bobsled Dream

Click here for Bryon Powell's world class race coverage on Irunfar.com

After 2 weeks back home from Iraq I decided to run the TNF championships again.  A lot has changed since I ran this, my d├ębut to ultra running, race last year.  Last year I had a solid base of marathon training with about 3 weeks of specific training for hilly ultra racing before race day.  This year I came to TNF championships with a training base of running while deployed in the Iraqi desert.  My training had the mileage and enough leg turnover, but 100% of my climbing and descending (a measly max of -3% grade) training came from running on a treadmill. 
Might as well break up this long race report with some pictures from our trip to Telluride! (Bear Creek)

The hamstrings and quads were facing a bit of a “Jamaican Bobsled” dream in showing up to a climbing and descending ultra like the TNF Championships after training exclusively in the pancake flat desert.  I believed in the dream and gave my all. 

I had the proverbial pre-race challenges in the 2 weeks leading up to the race.  Felix, my son, was sick and not sleeping well, I had a fever/flu for about a day, 9 hour time change which all equated to horrible sleep.  But again, everyone seems to have “challenges” the few weeks before the race. 

I was feeling good on race day.  My massage therapist, Marcus Allen, did some great work over 3 sessions when I got home, working out some kinks in my right leg and hip.  When the gun went off, I was ready to execute my race strategy.  My race strategy, again, was to run as even and under control as possible through at least mile 30, then give everything I have left to finish strong.   My even paced strategy is bizarrely one that literally no one in the top 70 felt would be a good idea.  Looking at the results, there were only 5 guys in the top 50 (that finished) that was behind me at 8.9 miles…. and I was running splits faster than the average pace of Mike Wolfe’ winning time!  It just really surprises me that in such a long race so many (everyone?) chooses to run the first 10-25 miles so fast.  So yeah, again this year I pretty much had a peaceful first half of the race running well behind pretty much everyone, which I don’t mind at all. 
Felix's 1st Skiing Descent... on my back!

Countless times during the race I mentally paused from the race and enjoyed the scenery, smiled and even verbally wowed the beauty of Marin county and the trails I traveled.  After training in Iraq, I can say I have never enjoyed the beauty of trail running as much as I was that Saturday.  Things were clicking, I was feeling great passing runners, chatting with them for a bit, hitting my 1st Endurance EFS liquid shots every 30 minutes, downing my 20oz water about every hour.  The weather was great, nice and cool, especially after enduring 100-127F for so many days, windy at times and clear as can be. 

After being in around 60th place an hour in, but on faster than course record pace, I let the natural separation between “pretenders and contenders,” as my college coach used to say, take place and by the half point I was no further  back than 20th place.   On the climb up to the out and back and the half point, it was exciting to see and pass such amazing athletes like Hal Kroener (22nd) and Karl Meltzer (13th). 
I believe I was running just in front of Ian Sharman (11th at the finish) and Mike Foote (9th) around the half point.  In the brief interactions with Mike and Ian, I could tell that they were great guys.  Mike I spent a little more time with and can say that he is genuinely humble and plain cool, I hope to run into him in the future.    

Last year I ran down the long decent before Steep Ravine far to aggressively not wanting Mike Owen to pass me and I paid for it later in the race.  This year, with nearly NO down hill training, I was extra careful to take it easy on this stretch and with that Ian passed me before I passed him on the climb out.  I passed Tsuyoshi(6th) and Jason Wolfe (8th) somewhere  around mile 28-35.  All things were going as planned and with 20 to go I was in about 8th or so with the leaders maybe 9-11 minutes out. 

From the gun to mile 42 I held a relatively constant and even up hill and downhill pace and subsequent effort.  My goals for the race were to place in the top 5, top 3 being ultimate goal and to break 7hrs (all though the course was 1.8 miles shorter this year). 

I met up with Dave Mackey at around mile 39.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but Dave would be my saving grace to not completely falling apart at mile 43.  A few miles after meeting Dave, maybe at mile 40 or so, I passed Mike Wardian (18th) and was in 6th place cruising the flats approaching, at the time, 5th place Timothy Olson who was around 2-3 minutes ahead.  I told Dave, “I want to be top 5”.  Dave assured me that if I kept pace there would be a great shot at catching Timothy and Geoff Roes, who was just in front of Timothy and if things went real well, making that coveted top 3 (10 minutes ahead of me).
Bridal Veil Falls 

 I could see Timothy at mile 43 and Geoff shortly after that, but then the climbing wheels literally fell off.  The Jamaican slipped on the ice and crawled down the course.  I truly didn’t see it coming and all of a sudden I couldn’t run up the hills.  Dave was awesome and kept encouraging me asking me if I needed to take some gel or water or whatever.  Dave told me to keep up my cadence, told me I was getting it done, to keep running.  I was so done climbing like I have never been before in a run or race.  I power hiked, I shuffle ran, I walked hunched, up right, it didn’t matter I was loosing huge time.  At around mile 43 I had 9-10 minutes on Mike Foote (9th) and Jason Wolfe (8th), 3 minutes on Tsuyoshi (6th) and Jezz Bragg (7th), but I lost it all in about 4 miles. 
Me, Jacob and Joe Uhan

Dave had to turn around and join his family at around mile 47 just before the end of the last climb.  Had Dave not been there I am pretty sure I would have lost at least 5 more minutes.  I thank you Dave for saving my top ten finish.  I owe you.

 The last 2.5 miles were down hill and while Jason Wolfe and Mike Foote increased there lead by maybe 20 seconds (30 without a missed turn by those two), I painfully held pace on shot legs finishing 10th at 6:53:43.  I nearly passed out at the finish and certainly noticed that I was having a bit more trouble moving around than my competitors. 

Here are results.  

It was great chatting with all the amazing athletes and especially my friend Jacob Rydman who had a great race finishing 15th overall.  This year’s race had an amazing field that surpassed last year’s in my opinion.  There were around 30 sponsored “professional” level runners at the starting line.  I have never run with so many amazing athletes, it was a great privilege.     
The Schlarb Family in the Gondola 
I would love to have hung out longer, but I had a flight back at 4:45pm so that the following morning Maggie, Felix and I could head out to Telluride Colorado for an awesome vacation together. 

Yes, it was and is frustrating to loose over 10 minutes and 4 places all in about 4 miles of the last 7 of a 50 mile race, but even more frustrating was that I am confident that with just a little more “real” hill work, like a week more, I would have kept pace over those critical 4 miles and landed a 4th place finish.   But regardless, I had an awesome time racing on the beautiful trails of Marin County with spectacular international competition.  I am so glad to be home.                 

Thursday, December 1, 2011


I am home and it is wonderful to be back.

 Being with Felix and Maggie is unbelievably awesome.  I've been enjoying the family at home and not much else besides a morning run on the Boulder trails.

Flying from Iraqi to Qatar to Italy to Germany to Baltimore to Denver was challenging to say the least and I took two days totally off.  I unfortunately continue to battle to get decent sleep and had a one day 100+ degree fever.  Marcus Allen, my massage therapist, has put my muscles at ease from a long absence from his work.  I've re-united with Green, Flagstaff, Bear Canyon and Mesa nearly a half dozen times.  Besides how unbelievably amazing it feels to run on mountain trails, the quads desperately needed some last minute attention before 10,000ft of down hill racing this weekend.

I feel good now and I honestly can't wait to be on the spectacular trails around Marin County.

No matter what, I will enjoy my run Saturday.

My Two Favorite People