Thursday, December 20, 2012

Well, whadaya know!

So, my plan this coming year was to not run any 100's, maybe a 50 and a 50K or two, but I was planning on focusing on getting some speed back and going for a sub 3:30 marathon (my best is 2:48, but that was a long, long time ago). Deb had a good year last year, finishing Hardrock and Wasatch at 58 and felt great doing them, so she was all intent on continuing this journey. She was a little sad that I wasn't planning on running a 100, saying "But this is something we do together!". I told her we could still do them together, but now with me as her crew and pacer, as I did at Wasatch.

Endurancebuzz did a nice article/interview with Deb (last finisher at Hardrock and you can see it here

Deb at Lamb's Canyon at Wasatch
She ran, I crewed and paced

Well, as we neared the Hardrock lottery application deadline, I started thinking that I could least for now it's free to do that... and then I could let the Hardrock BOD make my decision for me. I truly never thought we'd both get in and I was hoping that Deb would if only one of us got in. If She didn't and I did, I'd run it just so She could pace me the whole way and still "do" Hardrock at age 59, although unofficially.

Well, whadaya know! We both got in....and now the decision was thrown back in my lap. It didn't take long for me to realize that I was being given another chance to finish in the reverse/CCW direction. I have 2 finishes in the CW direction and needed this to become a complete Hardrocker, so my decision was a go.


Not this...

Now my brain thoughts were yet again focusing on mountain trails, rather than road miles so away we go. I now feel completely focused and determined to get through this in what I consider the "harder" direction, especially with the added 3 miles uphill out of Telluride.

This year we'll be running from right to left, which has more uphill
It says 100, but is really 103

Another decision I've made is to not race much this Spring, like I did last year. I ran two 50 mile races last Spring, one an over 60 age group course record at Collegiate Peaks in April and the other an easy paced one at San Juan Solstice, but which still left me tired. I don't think I was recovered at Hardrock, which was less than three weeks later....I'll not do that this year, we'll go into Hardrock strong and rested after spending many weekends running and hiking in the mountains, no racing. The only possible race would be Zane Gray 50, which we are on the wait list for. We'll also squeak in a Grand Canyon R2R2R sometime late March/early April....but June will be spent in the 14'ers of Colorado, just easy hiking and running downhill.
We may also go up to SJS50 and hang out, do some hiking and take some pictures of the race.

Another change I'm going to make is the addition of hiking poles. I see more Hardrockers using these and after watching a video where I saw Jon Tiesher and a guy behind him going up with sticks, it sold me. Jon was slipping back on his feet in the loose scree, while the runner behind him seemed to climb effortlessly without slipping. You can see that video here.

We'll be going down this next Summer
Grant Swamp Pass

So that's it....Deb and I will not do Hardrock together as we did last year. We both feel this just holds one or the other back and best to do out own thing. If we hook up at the Putnam aid station (final one), then all the better. I also haven't decided whether to use a pacer or not. I can, as an over age 60 runner, have a pacer the whole way, but I really don't need one, at least not until Ouray, so if I do decide to use a pacer, it won't be until then. In 2008 I hooked up with Greg Loomis and ran most of the run with him until he ran into some stomach distress after Ouray. I ran alone until I hooked up with David Larson up near Cataract Lake and on into Cunningham. That last section a pacer could have helped me as I kept sitting down to sleep ;-)

Greg Loomis and I spent a good part of 2008 Hardrock together
This is heading up to Kroger's Canteen from Telluride

Up next is Jon Tiesher's Ponderous Posterior 50K up around Colorado Springs on Jan 18th, after that will be lots of training (no racing interruptions with their taper and then recovery weeks).
The PP50K is a different route this year after the Waldo forest fire last Summer wiped out Waldo Canyon.

This time of year as we slide into the holidays, we are very relaxed in our training. Last weekend we got a foot of snow and had a nice 3 hour CC Ski fun session, most days we're snow shoeing or hiking. Not much running up at the house in the deeper snow unless you run on the treadmill, as I did this morning. I hope to do more of these early morning sessions on the mill because the difference in training at 8200' at the house and at 5300' in ABQ is immense. I'll do my easy days up North and any tempo/speed runs down in the thick air of ABQ ;-)

On another note our side hobbies are going well. I brew my own beer now and have been for a year. I have a fine selection built up with some Stouts and Porters in stock, along with some Belgian Whites for Deb. In the fermenting bucket now is a strong, hoppy IPA that will be bottled in a couple of weeks, Yumm. I have been using extract kits and hope to move into all grain this coming year.
Deb has taken on several side hobbies, the painting has been put on the side burner for awhile and now she's making baskets using Pine needles. That was after spending the fall canning all sorts of fruit spreads, dried fruit and veggies and also some tasty jerky.

'Til the next time, which probably won't be until Jan 19th....Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Steve and Deb

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

2012 Mt. Taylor 50K

This past Saturday Deb and I traveled a little south of where we live to Mt Taylor, which is close to Grants to run the Mt Taylor 50K. It was a fantastic race put on by Ken Gordon, Kurt Coonrod and their team of volunteers. I was originally planning on running the Bear 100 this weekend, but withdrew from that to focus on shorter, faster races that I prefer and I'm glad I did!

On to my experience...I went into this feeling blah and this helped control the pace at the beginning, as I started out with my friend Doug Seaver. The race start out with a long climb and has several really long climbs, but also the fast downhills road sections you can run hard and get back on pace.

Elevation profile showing the three big climbs

It just so happened that Ken and his team seemed to have this race run so that most of the downhills were good running roads, so the time you lost climbing, especially up to 11,000+' Mt Taylor  you could get back a lot of that time running down the roads....that is if you fueled and hydrated well and also had quads that could take the beating ;-) I felt like I was running fast downhill more than anything else!

Here's a great map of the course

Deb's goal here was to feel her legs out after recently running the Wasatch 100 (33:11) and before that running Hardrock, Speedgoat 50K and the Silverton Alpine Marathon! What a year she's had! Well at halfway, it made more sense to stop on the tired legs than go on and possibly be out there many hours after I finished. We had to get home to our dogs...

Deb happily cruising along the course

My race couldn't have gone better. Like I said I started with Doug really quite easily, holding back until I felt like I could begin racing. This didn't happen until the first downhill. The view as we topped the first climb was  incredible.

After we topped this first long climb, it was time to start racing....Doug took off first with me in tow and we passed many who either weren't as comfortable running fast downhill or had gone out way too fast. I will say during the whole race I only had one guy pass me and stay ahead of me. He finished one place in front of me and was also wearing my now favorite trail shoes, the Nike Lunarfly.

Another one of the incredible views

Soon we were at halfway, which is also the Start/finish, but we now were to go on a different loop, which would include the incredible climb up to the summit of Mt Taylor, which had to be at least three miles long. I reached halfway at around 3:15 so I was now thinking I had a good shot at breaking 7 hours. One of my goals was to try and be the first over 60, which I can usually do if I push the pace as much as I can for as long as I can and I figured it would take sub 7 to do this. Just after the aid station I stopped at my truck to get rid of some clothes, dump my trash and drink a chocolate Silk (Soy milk). I was running sortof minimalist for an ultra, wearing only shorts, singlet and carrying one hand held bottle. This worked perfectly for the 2nd half. The 1st half was a bit chilly, so started with a LS shirt over my SS and a thin jacket. I dropped the jacket and LS shirt at the truck as the temps were warming up.

Me running along the Gooseberry trail in the 2nd half with Doug just ahead

After the halfway aid, the trail was somewhat flat to the mile 21+ aid station...I spent most of this time back with Doug who I caught up to. We ran into the aid station together, I told him I wasn't stopping and that was the last I saw of him until the finish.

Climb up to Mt Taylor in the distance

Starting at the aid station at Mile 21, we began the long climb up to Mt. Taylor. This climb was to me the highlight of the race and reminded me a lot of some of the Hardrock climbs. It climbed from around 9300' to 11,301' and in maybe 3 miles. It surely took me 1.5 hours, but I didn't time it. Starting up this, I decided to do my Gu Roctane Double Espresso gel for the sugar and caffeine kick. It worked as I passed several and only got passed by that one guy, Chris Brady, who finished just in front of me. I felt strong all the way to the top and took a breather at the summit.

Looking back at the trail up to MT as I near the summit

A runner smiles as he reaches the high point on the course

Up on top of Mt Taylor the views were incredible...I never really knew which direction I was looking at, but it didn't matter and it was here I wish I had brought my camera. I turned in a circle to take in the incredible 360 degree view, took a deep breath and started down the single track trail to the Caldera Rim aid station, about mile 25. There I grabbed a GU, filled my bottle and started down the fast downhill road in pursuit of those who went out to fast and I knew there would be many. I think I caught 3-4 runners before the next long climb back up to the Caldera Rim aid station again, where I got some more water, a cup of Sprite and started to crank down the final 2 miles....and what a run it was! I crossed the line in 6:29:14 in 37th overall, feeling no worse than when I started other than tired legs.

Crossing the line feeling fantastic, Deb in the background

I was sure I had finished first in my age group with what I considered to be my best run of the year, but later found out that Bob Parks ran an incredible 6 hours in 23rd place at 61 year's young! Ken told me later that Bob was a 2:29 marathoner in his prime, while I was a mere 2:49 marathoner, so didn't feel too bad about there was no way I was going to get another 30 minutes out of my body!

This is the print that the leaders got as awards, painted by Sherri Kae Mahieu
(Sherri just so happened to have painted the first Hardrock finish poster I got in 2001)

As I end this post I'd like to again thanks Ken and his team of volunteers for putting on an incredible race that is going to become one of the top 50K's in the country. I can possibly seeing this as being a part of the Skyrunner series like Karl Meltzer's Speedgoat 50K. It is well marked, plenty of aid and a great finish with Marble Brewery beer on tap and all the meat you can eat at a great post race BBQ!

Also thanks to Paul Gordon for coming out and taking pictures during the race. Paul is Ken's brother and most of the pictures in this blog was taken by him. You can see the rest of his Mt Taylor photos here.

Here's a blog post by a real fast runner who ran MT...

For results, click here and for more photos go to the race Facebook page here.

So I'd suggest if you want to run this race next year to find out when entries open and get in it quickly....the race sold out this year in it's first year.

As for me and Deb, I am hoping to run a road marathon in Tuscon in December, but that all depends on how the legs feel come the end of October when the race entry fee increases. Other than that, we both go into semi hibernation and get the house ready for winter, which means wood splitting. We're also doing several projects one which includes fencing in an acre of our property. Might not get that one done before winter sets in...

That's about it and until next time!
Happy Trails!
Steve and Deb

Monday, July 23, 2012

No Mas...My 2012 Hardrock

Wild and Tough for sure!

2 for 9? Really? Is Hardrock really all that difficult? For me, yes it is, obviously. For Deb, it went about as good as it could have and she said for the first time it didn't seem as hard as she remembered it.

Here's the Hardrock course description summary:

The Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Run is an ultramarathon of 100.5 miles in length, plus 33,992 feet of climb and 33,992 feet of descent for a total elevation change of 67,984 feet, at an average elevation of over 11,000 feet. The race is held on a loop course on 4WD roads, dirt trails, and cross country in Southern Colorado's San Juan Range, USA.

First my story, then a brief summary of Deb's, but her whole story will have to be told by her. If I can get her to write a report, I'll post it.

Deb in the rear crossing South Mineral Creek

One thing that is a known...I'm getting old. I turned 60 last November and no, I don't feel 60, but when you start aging, things start to happen. With me it's vertigo. It's taken me out of the last three 100's. A fact that In know is my Mom has doc said it's genetic, but can be treated. I think if it affected my daily life now like it was a year ago, I'd be concerned and seeking treatment, but it's no longer showing up on a daily basis, so I'm not concerned. Short story is I'm done with 100's and feel good with that decision...

With Hardrock this year our plan was to run it together with her brother Drew pacing me the whole way. At Kroger's Canteen aid station (Virginius), we were going to re-announce our engagement on this 10th anniversary of doing that back in 2001 at that place. 10th because 2002 was cancelled due to a forest fire in Durango. The day was going well, when just before the aid station, as we climbed up through Mendota Saddle, I felt the first spin. Then nausea, which got increasingly worse as we climbed and I struggled to get down off of the peak in the loose scree. We sent Deb on down to Ouray to get fueled and to take a break and Drew was to catch her soon after that to pace her in. Walking down Camp Bird Road, I had to stop occasionally to stop the vertigo by pointing my flashlight on the ground and stare at that non moving object. About 2 miles up from the aid station, someone came up and gave me a ride in, with Drew continuing in order to run the whole 100 and to try to catch Deb. Within an hour of sitting and drinking Coke, the spins stopped and I got to watch Drew off. He didn't catch her until after Engineer (4 hours later) and the two of them continued on.

Drew and Deb on the flat spot before the climb up to Grant Swamp Pass

So I'm officially done running 100's....I've been running them since 1998 when I ran a 19:45 at Vermont in my first. Sue Johnston asked me what I thought, I told her it sucked...since that time I've run 8 more 100's and not many of them were positive experiences. I think maybe the 2004 Bighorn was OK, but was still a struggle. So why keep running them? I'm not. I'm tired of running into the night, I'm tired of getting sick to my stomach (all the time) and I'm tired of the struggles. Yeah, I'll still run ultras...mostly 50K's and certainly not longer than 50 in an official race. I'd like to someday get through the VHTRC Reverse Ring to complete that circuit, but that's a fat ass and no entry fee.  I'd also like to see if I can qualify for the Boston Marathon again as a 60 year old.
Life was good before I ran my first 100...I was running races that ended in the same daylight, I was faster, I would sometimes win! Then I got sucked into the 100 mile vortex and the rest is history. Why do we think that if you don't run a 100, you're not a "real" ultrarunner? Why 100? Why not the 24 hour race? I can't imagine those that run those 6 day races...My friend Dima showed up at Hardrock with a shirt that said "Life is Crap" and the image was of a hiker with poles in the mountains with rain and lightening about to strike him on the head. It was perfect...

So that's it, I'm done....and with it possibly this blog, which I also struggle to maintain.

Drew and Deb struggle through the boulders up near the top of Oscar's Pass

As for Deb's Hardrock, what more can I say than she is bad ass. She was the last finisher, coming in at 47:49 and the oldest female finisher in the history of the run. She has told me that she never really had any bad memories of this year, she just kept moving one foot in front of the other and got it done. One point in the run during the Pole Creek section, her back tightened up and she was having trouble breathing deep, but a chiro adjustment at Cunningham aid station fixed that and allowed her to move a little quicker and get in under the clock.

Deb cruisin' down the road through Bridal Veil Falls section

It was a nervous moment at the finish at 5:45am Sunday morning....all the finishers had come in but Deb and Drew. Many of the finishers were there to see the final runners coming in and Margaret Heaphy couldn't stand the suspense and walked up to the corner to look up towards the ski area to see if anyone was coming. We heard her "whoo!" and knew they were headed in, Deb and Drew turned the corner and ran like they only had a minute to spare, which made the whole scenario more dramatic. They ran into the chute and kissed the rock together. Deb for her 2nd official finish, this time in the "other " direction and Drew kissing the rock unofficially. No one was keeping him from kissing the rock ;-)

Heading into Telluride on the bike path

My final picture
The weather turned nasty with hail and sleet and I was beginning to get the spins.
Deb up ahead in the green jacket

Here is a video I took of them finishing...

Deb and Drew finishing
To view this on Vimeo go to 

I really love that video...Deb put everything she had into that finish and now she's a real Hardrocker having finished both directions. Will she ever get in again is the question!

For the rest of my photos go here :

For Hardrock results, go here:

So that's up is the Silverton Alpine Marathon on Aug 25th and after that the Mt Taylor 50K south of Albuquerque last weekend of September. That weekend I was planning on running the Bear, but withdrew rather than waste yet another entry fee. Mt Taylor will  be more fun and we'll be done sometime in the afternoon ;-)
First up though is this coming weekend where Deb is running the Speedgoat 50K while I volunteer there.

Hope everyone is doing well and continues down the path of their choice...
Steve and Deb

12/12 update:
After talking with Deb, she convinced me to enter and leave it to fate whether I run Hardrock again. I did get in and will be running ;-) Life is funny that way!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

2012 San Juan Solstice 50 mile

49.75 miles, 12,856’ vertical ascent
low point of 8,671’, high point of 13,334’

Yeah, that's the profile and data from the mean they couldn't find another 1/4 mile? ;-)

This year's version of the SJS50 was a little more difficult than the other 2 years I ran. Usually up in the San Juan Mountains it is cool with post holing in snow up on the Divide and glissading down slopes...but this year was dry, I would call it hot (it was 73 degrees up at 11,000') and due to some local forest fires, was quite smoky, causing my nose to be clogged and drippy all day.

We stayed at the Inn at the Lake, owned by some friends of ours and here is the view of Lake San Christobal from our room.

Yeah, pretty nice...who wants to go and run a smoky 50 mile trail race when you can sit here and read "Eat and Run"! ;-)

...and speaking of racing, that's something we could not do here. We have the Hardrock 100 in less than three weeks and a hard run on this difficult course would put us at Hardrock with dead legs, so we both agreed that this "has" to be a training run, with the possibility of bailing if things didn't go well.

The course is a lot like Hardrock, where we start with a long climb up to an aid station, then run back down to an aid station. Do that several times and the race is done.

The first climb up to the Alpine aid station

The first climb was a nice gentle rise, after crossing a creek several times. The creek crossings were nothing compared to in the past, this year it was so low you could actually keep your feet dry, but there were so many people waiting to cross the logs that I splashed through them and got ahead of quite a few waiters at every crossing.

Typical creek crossing in the early morning

After the Alpine aid station, we got up over 12,000' and above treeline. The views were awesome and the running was better!

Nice running up high in the early miles

After the high ridge running, we plummeted down into the Williams aid station by way of a steep and dusty trail in the trees. Williams was around mile 14. In Williams I ate a bunch of fruit, filled my bottles and hit the road. Yes, road. We followed a dirt road for several miles to Carson Road, which was a steep, dusty and hot 4 mile uphill to the Carson aid station. I got in a pack of runners (hikers), which made it feel even hotter, so I put it into another gear and cranked ahead of them to get by myself...soon catching up to Cheryl Meltzer and her friend, Jill from SLC. We stayed together and chatted for a bit until Cheryl felt the pace getting a bit too hot, so they backed off a bit and I went on up to the aid station where I had an almond chocolate milk and refilled my pack with gels. I was using a mixture of Chia Surge and Hammer gels for most of my fueling. I usually use 1st Endurance liquid shots, but I was out when I went to pack for the trip.

Cheryl and Jill coming up Carson Road behind me

Heading up the road after leaving the Carson aid station

I was still feeling good and caught up to Tom Stockton not far after the aid station. Tom ran closer to 11 hours here last year, but had a stent put into his artery not long ago and was holding back on the climbs. I spent most of the rest of the day going back and forth with Tom.

Tom up on the Divide

Soon we took the left onto the Colorado Trail, which led up to the Continental Divide and 10 miles of 13,000' running and walking.

Some incredible views from up on the Divide
The San Juans are my favorite Western mountains

You can see one speck of a runner left of center.
We follow that edge along, over and down the other side

Running up on the Divide is an great experience and one of the reasons I return to this race as much as I do. Due to the altitude hovering right above or below 13,000', you can't run for a long time, so I do what I call my aerobic intervals. Run until my HR or breathing gets too high, then walk until I recover, over and over. What made it a little harder this year was the smoke. You could taste the smoke and it was causing allergy like symptoms and some breathing difficulties in many. I hope we don't have to experience this at Hardrock, but the Hardrock course is south of here and the fire is coming from the south (Durango area), so I'm not hopeful.

Smoky on the Divide

One thing that occurred on the Divide is I caught up to my friend and fellow over 60 age grouper Roger Jensen just as we started the climb up onto the Divide. I had to avoid getting into a race with Roger because of Hardrock, so when I saw him ahead of me I waved to him and sat down to take some rocks out of my shoes, take a breather and give him some distance on me. Just being near him got me starting to think about the over 60 race and I did not want to go there...we did that back at Collegiate Peaks 50 and it was a race!

Funny thing is Roger was having some issues that caused him to stop out of sight of the trail, so I'd be jogging along and hear a runner coming up behind me, I'd step aside to let him pass and it was Roger again. I'd get sucked into running down the hill with him, then back off realizing what was happening. Man, if I didn't have Hardrock, this could have been fun ;-)

Roger leaving the Divide aid station

I walked into the Divide aid station, still feeling good, but knowing that we were now around 30 miles in, I'd sit and have some soup. As I walked in I saw Roger doing the we sat, sipped our soup and chatted...then after both slamming some Coke, we hit the trail together. We did this walking and running for several miles when I told Roger he should move on and get on with his race. You never know, he might just catch Chuck, who was leading the race for the Geezers!

This section from the Divide aid station to the Slumgullion aid station is always a low point for me. I just don't like it....we're still up high, I'm starting to feel the miles and it's mostly a gradual uphill for 6 miles on what is usually a muddy road. This year there was no mud, but everything else was the same. So I think it's more's so wide open that I could see Roger moving away from me in the distance as I mostly hiked this stretch until the downhill leading into Slumgullion.

The rocky road to Slumgullion

The final 4 miles or so leading into the Slumgullion aid station (40 miles) is a steep, rocky you can make up some time here, but it's so rocky you have to watch your footing all the way. The bottom of my left foot was beginning to ache under my forefoot from the rocks, so I popped one Tylenol and ran down as best I could...once I got into the aid station, which seemed to take forever, I filled my bottle with Coke and ice and drank my last Almond Choc milk. Man, it was hot here, and smoky!
After drinking the milk, my stomach wasn't feeling that great, so I told Tom, who was sitting beside, that I was moving on and would see him out there.

I remembered one thing about leaving Slum, and that was the Vicker's climb. In my past two runs here, I didn't have any problem with it, just grunted up knowing that at the top all of the big climbs were done. But this year it was so hot and humid in's like a tunnel of Aspens, holding the breezes outside of them. It was hot, muggy and smoky and my stomach wasn't liking it one bit.

The Vicker's climb
It was awful this year and is much steeper than it looks here

As I neared the top I had to stop for a bit and when I did all I could hear was runners vomiting....up above and down below. This hill was getting everyone down. Cheryl told me afterwards that she was one of those runners behind me puking.

Finally reaching the top without getting sick myself, I could then focus on letting gravity take over and move as quickly as I could down the hills, walking most of the flats and small uphills. Vickers aid is such a nice place to reach...the volunteers are a local Lake City family that lets us pass through their property and they man the aid station, too!

Vicker's! 4 miles to go!

Here I drank a Coke, which made me feel sick, and headed down the trail with Dan in the green. I know Dan from Dailymile. We ran along together until we came upon Dakota Jones standing there watching the runner he was pacing puke his guts out. I said hi to Dakota and kept going, wanting to get done, but Dan stayed behind chatting.

These downhills can be relentless and painful to the feet, too, but knowing the finish is near keeps you moving quickly, blocking out the aches, pains and stomach distress.

First view of smoky Lake City
The finish is down there somewhere

As we ran down the rocky trail into Lake City, it was getting hotter and smokier...but soon I reached the road and ran and walked the hardpack into town until we made that final left turn with 2 blocks to go, then I gave it my all to get done...I crossed the line in 13:53, 20 minutes slower than last year in much worse conditions than I've ever seen it here. I also finished 3rd in my age group and later found out that Roger almost caught a cramping Chuck Cofer...I imagine the three of us will be knocking heads at this race for many years to come. If I don't get into Hardrock, I'd like to come back here and get under 13 hours.

Deb and I moments after I finished
Judy Blake photo

Looking at the above picture, you can see my pasty complexion. Man was I sick...too much heat I guess. You can also notice Deb doesn't look very well either, she had some blood in her urine around 32 miles and had to walk 9 miles into Slum because there was no ride out of Divide. She wisely stopped at Slum and saved it for Hardrock and is fine today. Deb's ride down dropped her off just as I was crossing the finish line...what timing!

I have to say I really like this's Hardrock without the night running, what could be bad about that? If I can, I will be back next year and maybe go for that sub 13.

I leave you with a parting shot of the Lake of Lake City and a view we had from the Inn. I already miss this beautiful place and love the fact that we'll be back in the San Juans for the next 2 weeks for Hardrock :-)

Lake San Christobal as seen from the Inn at the Lake

So that's up is Hardrock. Hopefully running Lake City has given us that one last bump in fitness to help us finish that beast. Our plan is to run it together as a celebration of 10 years since announcing our engagement at the Virginius aid station. We're looking forward to sharing that moment with Sue Johnston, who will be working up at that aid station, now called Kroger's Canteen. Sue was Deb's matron of honor back in 2001. Joining us will be Deb's brother Drew, who is my pacer the whole 100 miles. He hasn't been able to get into the race and because I'm 60 can have a pacer the whole way, so I offered him that spot first and he grabbed the chance. We'l have a great 2 days in the San Juans.

So until then, hope everyone has a wonderful summer...I'm wrapping up work to get ready for my summer vacation!

To see the rest of my photos, go here...

For results, they are posted here...

Happy Trails!
Steve and Deb

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Last Chance Saloon aka Rendija aid station

Walking into Rendija Canyon to set up the aid station 
This was around 7am race morning

This past Saturday was the annual Jemez Mountain Trails runs, a series of trail runs of a half marathon, a 50K and a 50 mile run through the Jemez Mountains mostly surrounding Los Alamos, but also going a bit further west into the Valles Caldera. A year ago Deb and I took on the captain duties of the final aid station, which comes at 2 miles from the finish. Due to the location and what is beforehand, this is a critical aid station and sometimes feels like a Mash Unit.

The prior aid station is the Guaje Ridge aid station, which is up on the ridge, is at around 9000' and is a long, hot, barren stretch of former burn area of close to 5.5 miles, we're the lowest part of the course at around 7000'.

Most runners are a mess when they arrive here...either because they have run most of the race, yet still have 2 uphill miles to go, or they just didn't drink or eat enough, thinking that the section to us is an easy downhill stretch. Yeah, it's downhill most of the way, but easy it ain't!

Typical of what the section to Rendija looks like
Hot, exposed old burn section

It was Deb's idea to name this the Last Chance Saloon, going with a western theme and serving several types of ice cold beer and something else. Last year's something else was Jim Beam whiskey, this year it was Jose Cuervo tequila especial.

Some brave runners enjoying the Tequila

For the beer, rather than buying random beers like last year, I went with Tecate', which when cold, refreshes and fits in the Western theme. Because JT from Colorado Springs was running, I also bought some PBR, which was mostly for the CS runners, but was enjoyed by many others. I'm thinking for next year to brew my own (I home brew) Corona style, which I can brew for a lot less than any beer I can buy and maybe even have some sasparilla!
The race committee does not provide the beer, this is my own doing and I pay for it all, including the Tequila. No one says I can't do it and I like to keep my runners happy, which I did. There were many takers of both!

JT (center) enjoying some PBR

The other huge item is ice....I like to have lots of ice for the runners as most of the runners come through during the hottest part of the day. When we mentioned "Would you like ice in your bottle?" The return was "You have ice?" followed by a huge smile. I like to think we helped get the runners to the finish in a good mood. We also had no drops, we had several close calls, but everyone eventually got up and walked or ran up the hill and got their piece of pottery.

Finisher's awards
Jemez pottery made by the Toya family 

The following is a series of photos I took during the was busy, so I didn't get many. You can see all of my photos here.

Co-captain, Bogie helping a runner

MK, Emily and Jaquie "cowgirl" the tables
Notice the menu

Some of the Los Alamos track and cross country runners helped us out

Here they are waiting for coach Blake Wood

Runner David Coblentz soaks his head and cools off at the water bucket

Then charges up the hill ahead of his competition
He did hold him off

The later in the day we got, the more fun it gets
This guy took a can of beer, raised it into the air and sang a toast to us

Dave Hanenburg and friends just hanging out and enjoying the day are about to get to the finish before dark

So that's it....another Last Chance Saloon come and gone, before you know it, I'll be getting ready for next year!

Hope everyone had a good run and especially enjoyed the LCS, where we aim to please!

See you on the trails, which for me and Deb is the San Juan Solstice 50 miler in later June...then the Hardrock 100 in July.

One last photo, which is of Deb running the 50K race...

Deb had a good run and is on pace to have a good summer
She ran 1.5 hours faster than expected and felt great doing it