Wednesday, January 28, 2009


New Blog name!

Well, as you can see I have changed the blog name to include Deb and her posts and possibly an occasional Tucker post ;-) I did this so that we as Wasatch Speedgoat Mountain Racing Teammates can even more promote the sponsors of our team, who have been great. I also hope that this will keep this blog a little fuller, with more posts and such. In the case of race reports, I will write my piece and Deb can have her say on that also as we basically run all the same races, even if we don't race together.

Training 2009

Last year I tried some experiments in training, even though I had a good year in ultrarunning...but I also have a want and need to be a good marathoner, as that is what I am more about and is where I came from as a runner.

I started running back in the mid 70's after watching Bill Rodgers cross the line of the 1975 Boston Marathon. Seeing this long haired hippie come flying down in front of the Pru Center on Boylston St. inspired me and I began to run not long after that. 1978 I ran my first marathon in NYC in 3:45 (Bill won), one year later after learning how to run I ran a 2:59 in that same NYC marathon (again, Bill won), 6 weeks after that I ran what is now my pb of 2:49:08 at a small Cape Cod marathon that circled Otis AF Base three times. Many attempts at 2:40 caused many failures and over the years I was never able to reach that time again, even though I was able to get under 2:50 several more times.
So as you can see, I am a marathoner first and an ultramarathoner second.

Back to the experiments....the first one was trying out this minimalist thing everyone is talking about. I have been wearing Asics 2000 series shoes for as far back as I can remember. So this past Summer I decided and searched for some lighter training shoes with a lower heel to get that "barefoot" feeling. I settled on the Mizuno Elixers and began training for my Fall marathon, the Clarence DeMar Marathon in Keene, NH. During the training, where one increases the mileage and adds tempo runs, I started to get an achy knee, the one that has been bothering me since the late 70's. It is Patella Tendonitis, which is basically a jumping injury from pushing off. I Guess I pushoff a lot ;) The knee was bothering me when I began the marathon, but not too bad, but by 15 miles it was starting to become a problem and by 20 I was limping and slowing down. I had been on pace to run a 3:30ish marathon and could have jogged it in for a Boston Marathon qualifier, but decided to drop and save my knee for another day.

So then in researching the knee and what to do, I discovered ChiRunning. The thinking here was that you run with a faster stride, leaning forward with a relaxed gait and there is less stress on the knee, which should help right? Well, it made it worse and my other knee was starting to hurt...I was reaching the point towards the end of the year where I could not even run. In there somewhere I ran the Manchester, NH marathon in the ChiRunning style, but missed qualifying by 6 minutes. How stupid to even try that!

So moving forward, I decided to wipe the slate clean and start from scratch, returning to what I had been doing many years before when I was running so much better. I bought myself a pair of Asics 2030's, ran my normal way and within days my knee began to feel better. I also decided that if I'm going to wipe the slate clean and return to the old days, I'd stop wearing my HR monitor and not focus so much on the Maffetone style that I have been following for the past 5 years and just run by feel, like we used to.

With all of this, my mileage is back up to an hour a day, I'm running a little quicker and I'm getting faster everyday and I have absolutely no knee pain! Good stuff!

So my motto for this year's running is KISS...Keep It Simple Stupid! No Chiffetonaminimaling for me!

1. Finish MMT100 in May under 30 hours (I have 28 and 27 hour times.)
2. Finish Hardrock 100 in July (If I get in)
3. Sub 19, 5K (my PB is 16:32, but I'm 25 years older now, I ran a 19:52 last year)
4. Sub 3:30 marathon (at 57 I need a 3:45 to BQ)

Massanutten 100

I am in the race, Deb is #3 on the wait list and all training is pointing to that right now. In the previous post I talked about a great MMT training weekend we had down in the Massanuttens. In three weeks we go back down for the 71 mile Reverse Ring. Although training will not be easy up here with all the ice and snow, we will do our best to get down to the Blue Hills, south of Boston and Virginia when we can. The mountains up north will be out of reach until June the way the snow is falling up here.


Hardrock 100

The lottery is this coming Sunday in Silverton. Deb and I (350 other entrants) will be hopeful that we get a spot...if we don't that's fine, too :-(


Wasatch Speedgoat Mountain Racing Team

...and last but certianly not least is our team. We got a really great lineup of sponsors this year and some new faces added, one being Deb. Others are Jody Chase, Beth Simpson-Hall, Bedford Boyce, Mike Mason and Rob Youngren. We are a team of 26 and are all running at least one Mountain trail 100 and several other races of different lengths.

Nathan has come back on board and we welcome this as I feel they make the best packs in our sport.

LaSportiva has come on board and will be providing us with just might be the best trail running shoes made these days.

1st Endurance is back with their excellent energy drinks, shots and recovery fuels.

Golite for all their fantastic clothes for running and packs for all sorts of adventure hiking.

Backcountry.Com who has been faithful to all the goats, including that fast one, Karl and provides us with all that we need when we need it.

Thanks to these sponsors, the team will be seen all around the country. There are some fast ones, some slow ones and some middle packers, but we all love racing in extreme mountain ultramarathons.

Until next time....

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Massanutten, here we come!

For my first big race of the year, I got into the Massanutten 100. Deb is 4th on the wait list, but will surely be in before you know it. To kick off the training for this, which is in May we decided to go down south to Virginia to the VHTRC's MLK weekend and MMT training #1.

The weekend began by dumping a bunch of cat food on the floor and opening up the toilets so that they'd have plenty of whatever it is cats need. They certainly don't need us, they just need us to take care of them. One problem cat of ours is Murphy, will be in heaven having the food available to him 24 hours of the day for three days. We usually have to make the food available only a couple of times a day to help him watch his weight. Food and his bed by the woodstove is all he needs, our other cat, Harley is easy. He is younger and most of his needs are eat a little and go out and hunt.

But on to the weekend...we left at about 7am on Friday for the 9+ hour drive down, which only took us about 8.5 hours. (Remember that for later.) Our destination was Kerry Owens' house, the Portabello in Front Royal, where we'll be laying our heads for the few hours we won't be running (really hiking). Kerry is nice enough to let a bunch of smelly runners invade her dogs house whenever there is an event in the Massanuttens. We had fun eating dinner at Jalisco's in Front Royal. Jalisco's is a Mexican wasn't a great idea to load my food with Habanero sauce the night before a long run in the mountains. After dinner, we went back and had a amber refreshments and got to bed around 11. I took many photos over the next 2 days and they can be seen here- MMT Training run pictures.

Day 1---50K (31.8 miles), Buzzard Rock to Camp Roosevelt
Aid station #1 (mile 2.4) to aid station # 6 (mile 34.2)

Saturday morning we got up around 5:30 to about 5 degrees in temp. It was colder....colder than NH! But at least there was no snow, so a good day would be had on the trail.
We drove to Camp Roosevelt for the convoy ride to the trail at Buzzard Rock, which is about 2 miles into the MMT 100. We all hiked and ran as fast as we could, as soon as Tom Corris our director of the day sent us off, to try to get warm as quickly as we could. It took awhile, but once the chill went away we were treated to some fine views.Most of the day was spent climbing up on the ridge, then running back down to the aid stations. This day we followed the same route we'd be taking when doing the MMT100, minus the first 2 road miles.
The running was great and other than the bladder tubes and bottles freezing, the day was a fine one spent with many friends we have made over the years.
Our first descent off of the ridge was down a steep, leafy and rocky trail...but only for a half mile where we would then take a right and continue on down to the road and aid station. I had to stop and "scratch in the leaves" and told Deb to continue on down and I'd catch up to her. Well, in my haste I missed the turn and about 100 yards down I came upon a runner hiking back up. I told him we were going right and he followed me back down. After another hundred yards or so I knew it was wrong, so we hiked back up and after about 1/4 mile saw the sign. Deb was waiting for me at the bottom and we were now dead least we thought we were, we later found out that Tom Sperlock had fallen and was injured up behind us.

Reaching the bottom, I came to the aid station...well it was the "dog" aid station, but it would have to do. This was manned by Rick Kerby.

We then said bye to Rick and headed about 3 miles down the road to the Veach Aid Station. This is a pleasant run as it passes some very nice homes along the way. Jim had decided to just stay with Deb and I and enjoy the day.

At Veach we caught up to a couple of guys and left the station before they did for the long climb back up to the ridge...and just before the top, we passed a couple of other guys. We were starting to feel good after a slow start to the day and were hoping to not hold up everyone at the finish. We reached the top and took our left turn...this was a nice section to run, so we did and soon came upon Vicky and Sharon, who were both very cold. Turns out Sharon was the one who was really cold and Vicky was nice enough to stay with her.

After going by Vicki, we re-caught Moose Novicky, who we seemed to yo-yo back and forth with all day long.

We were now looking for the Indian Grave Trail, which was a purple blazed trail and would take us down to a road, which would take us to the Habron Gap aid station...where there were a bunch of runners! I felt like we were now getting to about where we should be in the field of runners and now knew we wouldn't be holding anyone up at the finish.
The aid stations had a lot of food and drink and I particularly like some baked squares that Kirstin Corris made, so had a few ;-) ...BUT this didn't help me much and on the next climb I was bonking, so did a gel and vavoom, it woke me right up. Now Deb wouldn't have to wait for me anymore and we could start moving along the trail like we should be. We continued to catch runners and were being on the lookout for the Stephen's Trail, which would take us down to Camp Roosevelt and the finish.
Just as we reached the Stephen's trail, we saw a runner take the left turn in front of us, so we starting moving down the hill and caught Bob Combs who was enjoying the day. But we lit him up by asking him to join us and he did....soon we caught up to Quatro and joined onto his train and in the distance was Mike Dobies and Bill Losey, who when they saw us, took off. No, this isn't a race! ;-)

The campfire was a welcome sight, we were cold, tired and hungry...but we hung out for a short while at the fire with some of the previous finishers before going out to dinner.

Deb and I took about 8 hours to run the 50K, Keith Knipling (in the light blue jacket below) ran it in 5:15!


Day 2---25.1 miles, Gap Creek to Gap Creek
Mile 39.8 on the course to mile 64.9 or a total of 25.1

(Deb and I skipped the loop on top of Bird Knob, which was approx 4 miles)

On day 2, Mike Bur was the general of the day...We were starting at the location of the Gap Creek aid station of the MMT 100 and doing a large figure 8 back to this same location.
There are some good climbs on this day and the big one going up and back down Bird Knob gives one a good leg workout, especially after running 50K yesterday.

The day started with a long climb and we all marched up while Tucker danced around with a big smile on his face...that smile wouldn't last long as his tired legs made him realize that this isn't your normal fun trail run. Also it was a lot warmer, so we didn't have to deal with the freezing water containers like we did yesterday.

Once we reached the ridge (several miles) we were to take a left and follow the Kern's section of the course. This gnarly, rooty and rocky section that weaves in and out and around huge boulders can be challenging on a rested day...but the cloudy sky and cool air allowed us to enjoy the Kern's section, much unlike in the race when it's usually 60 degrees warmer, humid and no relief from the sun. This section has ended the race for me many years and in 2001 I ended up lying on my back after Kern's down in the Visitor's center for 2 hours puking my guts out. I did get up and finish, but that's a historical story...not for today.
Here's a nice view from Kern's looking West.

I was going to try and keep my calories up better today, so ate a baggie full of bacon here (well, I shared with Tucker) and also ate a lot of the GORP (Good old raisins and peanuts) mix that Deb made before we came down. Our mix had the peanuts in the form of M&M peanuts, so it was even tastier ;-) ...and she threw in pretzels for more salt and flavor. The treat was at the end of Kern's, we came upon Mike and Quatro, who had some yummy turkey treats, which reminded me of SlimJims. Then once we ran down the road into the Visitor's Center Charlie Miracle was cooking Quesadillas! Yes! I ate many...

After the Visitor's Center aid station, we climbed up Bird Knob and back. Deb and I decided to not do the approximate 4 mile loop on top in order to get on the road back to NH. On the way up Keith Knipling came flying down and showed us a bad cut he had just gotten from I assume a wasn't slowing him down any!

At the top we stopped and took some pictures at the outlook and had some taken of us. It's a nice place to take a small break.After heading back down, we follow a variety of trails off of the Wildflower trail and end up at Rte 211...along the way several runners pas us now that we have bypassed 4 miles of the course! One of these is Joe Clapper...before him the floating Justine Morrison passed. Nice to be young!

We soon end up in Rte 211 and who's there, but Charlie and his Miracle Quesadillas!

Yummy again! But now that we have moved closer to the front of the runners, better not eat as many ;-)

We head out of rte 211 aid station and head up the trails to the Scothorn Gap trail and along the way caught up with Anstr, Lucia and Patty...we hung out for awhile talking and seen moved on, wanting to get this thing done.

The Scothorn gap trail was soon reached after a lot of climbing on the Massanutten trail, we took our left and basically ran all the way downhill to Gap Creek. Along the way we came upon Bob Combs again and tried to get him going again, but there was no doing that now. He was hanging out with a young and pretty woman which I guess was better company than old Deb and Steve ;-) Onto the road at the bottom of Scothorn, down the road for 1.5 miles and we're done!

We hung around a bit and had some of Sophie's delicious stew and some Coke (and some of Gary's special drink), then hopped in the car and started the drive home.
Here's a picture of the us at the finish sporting our new Furbutt hats...

Now that the fun part of the weekend is over, let me tell you the rest of the story!

We started home around 3PM, figuring on a 10 hour drive with the stop to shower at the Flying J in Winchester. Somewhere in PA., it began to snow...then it began to snow harder! By the time we got deep into NY the snow was building up on the highway and speeds were down to 35 mph. At Hartford we could take no was now 2AM, the snow was 6-8 inches deep and there were no plows were off the road into the ditch everywhere, so we took the next exit and pulled into the first thing we saw. A Price Chopper supermarket parking lot and slept until 6AM to wait for the roads to be cleared. When we woke the parking lot was clear of snow...except for where we were parked. Nice foot+ deep snowbanks surrounded us. That was the hell moment of the weekend. We got home around 9AM to about a foot of snow in the driveway, which I had to clear before I went to work, which I did do but was quite Zombie like all day, but succeeded in saving a vacation day for Hardrock ;-)

That was that and after he ran more than he ever has in his life, Tucker was tuckered...

Next up! The Reverse Ring on Feb 21st....71 miles of the Massanutten course in the dead of winter!