Monday, January 5, 2015

Frozen Sasquatch 50K 2015

I had the pleasure of running my fourth Frozen Sasquatch 50K this past Saturday in Charleston, WV.  After my broken rib/s hiatus from racing during the fall of '14, I was more than happy to hit the buttery single track -- actually, extremely muddy this year -- at Kanawha State Forest.

My training has been leisure over the past couple of months, but I have been running a decent amount of mileage -- just no real quality or specificity since early October.  I was excited to test my base fitness a bit and to measure the amount of work needed to be done before my stout spring racing schedule.

Courtesy of Nick Billock

Being a 2-loop 50K, the race lends itself to a solid assessment of pacing.  I came through the first lap in 2:17 -- feeling fine, but as if I was running a little too "fast" for it to be sustainable.  The little slips of the extremely muddy course were starting to take their toll on my hip flexors.  I believe I came through lap one around 2:14 in the two years that I ran 4:34 and 4:35 -- so considering my fitness . . . not too bad at all.  I knew I would inevitably slow, but at least I had two runners in front to cajole me along.

After AS 1 on loop #2, I simply wanted to cruise the last 10+ miles and be done.  I was feeling a little apathetic and tired; sometimes it's just a whole heck of a lot more fun running with someone!  After the Johnson Hollow AS (#2), I luckily found my second wind and really picked up the pace.  It wasn't intentional; I just felt really good and felt like running hard.  Eventually I saw Brian Talon up ahead.  We had chatted a few moments as he passed me on the first loop and learned that he was from CT.  He seemed like a great fellow from our brief exchange and I could tell he was a talented runner.  I was hoping for a sneak attack since Brian was still running well, but alas he looked back and saw me while I was still a good 200-meters behind.  Brian picked up the pace and I knew that he was going to be a great competitor and make me work for it.  The race was on!  This was the most fun I had the whole race.  Brian took off and I slowly reeled him in over the next mile.  Nothing like some good clean competition to get the motor running!  Man I love that . . . 

Regardless, I ended up finishing strong in 4:49 -- good enough for second place overall.  Not my slowest time, but not my best -- given the days conditions, I am well pleased.

Photo: Dan Todd
Congrats to young gun Andrew Rhodes who stoically ran out front all day and performed well to win in 4:35.  I believe this is Andrew's second ultra win in the last 12-mths, but I expect many more out of him. 

Many thanks to Mike Dolin and the rest of the wonderful volunteers at the Frozen Sasquatch.  Such a great grass-roots event and a wonderful way to start the New Year!  Full results HERE.

And I nearly forgot . . . How many races do you get the opportunity to moon a sasquatch?

The aforementioned post-mooning chuckle

Sunday, December 7, 2014

2015 Racing Plans

"Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans." - John Lennon

. . . and there is a serious chance of a whole lot of "life" getting in the way of these plans, but this is my tentative schedule for 2015.

January: Frozen Sasquatch 50K

March: Thomas Jefferson 100K

April: Promise Land 50K

May: Massanutten 100-Mile

July:  Multi-day fastpack trip (Where:? TBD)

September: Iron Mountain 50-Mile

November: Pinhoti 100-Mile

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Western States Lottery

I will have my fingers crossed for the 5th time -- third in a row -- for the 2015 Western States 100 lottery on 12/6. 

Here's to a 17.6% chance!

Good luck to everyone on Saturday.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Bitten Twice by a Rattlesnake

Jenn Thompson's incredible story!  

Vernon's First Race

Ten Years and Counting

What I've been up to
It has been over a year and a half since I posted to this blog.  Honestly, I nearly forgot it existed.  For posterity sake and for the rare occasion of having anything remotely profound to formally convey . . . I believe I shall keep this thing going!

2014 marked ten years of ultrarunning.  The 2014 Capon Valley 50K was my first foray in to the sport that I have grown to love.  As an "anniversary" of sorts, I returned 10-years later.  Over the past year I also ran Catawba Run Around, Haulin' in the Holler 50K, and the Iron Mountain 50M.  One of the most satisfying adventures was a three-day self-supported fastpack with my friend Dan Lehmann.  

None of the runs/races were huge "A" efforts and my fitness level was never where I have been in the past.  I had fun, but finding the time to train 80+ miles/week has been too difficult to balance with work and family life.

The goal race for fall was the Pinhoti 100 in Alabama and I stealthily got my self in very fine shape -- the best I've been in about 3-years.  After a really solid 12-weeks of training, I was ready to roll and start tapering about 3-weeks out.  While returning from the Trilogy on Sunday night I unfortunately decided to sneak in a run at dusk.  While descending the Spring Ridge Trail, I bit the dust harder than I ever have and ended up breaking a couple of ribs.  I was lucky to escape with only that.  End of season.  Bummer.

Six weeks later, I still have lingering pain in my ribs but they are nearly 90% healed.  My eyes are firmly fixed on adventures ahead.  I am once again in the Western States lottery and have a solid supply of tantalizing races in the likelihood of not getting my name drawn.

Blogger . . . I'm back.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

New Balance Leadville 1210

I'm loving these shoes.  Great review at IRF:

Catching Up . . . Again

Since November, I've been plagued by injury and apathy.  I've battled achilles issues intermittently over the past two years thanks to a bony deformation of my left heel (Haglund Def.) which flares-up and gives me nice cases of bursitis and insertional tedinitis from time to time.  The likely cause of my most recent case was by ramping up my mileage too quickly post MMTR -- I likely stressed the tissue too much.  Regardless, the achilles won-out for about 3-months of the WV winter.  The doldrums brought depression and doubt to my love for running.

As spring came, so with it did my desire to train and become "un-injured".  The achilles still hurts, but I've learned that running in proper shoes with a graciously cushioned heel counter, the injury is not worsened by running.  I'm glad to not let a few centimeters of bone and tissue rob me of my joy!

I had the pleasure of pacing Dan Lehmann to a successful finish at MMT last weekend.  It was enough to whet my appetite for adventure and racing.  I'm hopeful that I can balance the stresses of training (along with work, fatherhood, etc) and get in a few good races this summer and fall.  Balance, balance, balance . . . never has a word carried so much meaning as it does now at this juncture of life.

My little Beet Eater

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mountain Masochist 2012

The 30th running of the Mountain Masochist 50 Mile Trail run will forever be known as the "snow year". When reports were given during the pre-race that there was shin to knee deep snow in areas of the second half of the course, honestly, I didn't really believe it. Granted, here in WV we had anywhere from 2-5 feet and were in a state of emergency as I headed to VA. Heading down I-81 though, the mountain tops looked bare and there wasn't the slightest hint of the devastation we experienced on the west side of the Appalachians. I wasn't concerned with the prospect of snow, but I really hate running in any more than about 4" of snow and I had specifically trained to run fast –  I knew my strength may be suspect in the snow. I was hoping the reports to be exaggerated.
The race started as benignly as possible from the new starting location, Wildwood Campground (which I believe to be an improvement). The pace was pretty hot up front in the pre-dawn hour. I was not buying in. I knew I was in "decent" shape, but I planned to run the first half as conservatively as possible while keeping contact with my goal placing – top ten, but also the goal of sub-7:30. I knew by perusing the pre-race list of runners that it would take a very big effort to crack the top ten.

The Start: photo- Stewart Caldwell 

I ran most of the first half in to Long Mountain with my friend Clay Warner. We ran hard, but controlled. I came through mile 26.5 in 3:42 – right on my goal. I knew that I needed to up my effort from this point and I quickly moved up from 10th to 7th by the time I reached the top of Buck Mtn. Entering the Loop (mile 33), I was optimistic of moving up even further. I was moving fast and feeling great. The goal of sub 7:30 still appeared feasible.
The Loop proved to be my undoing. The predicted snow was there; as reported. I quickly started losing ground to other runners. The snow was so deep that I could do no more than walk most of the 5.5-miles which make up the infamous loop. It is very frustrating to be around runners who are handling the adversity of the snow better than you are. I wanted to get out of the loop fast, but I felt like I was trapped in the Twilight Zone. Finally, I heard the cheers of the folks from the aid-station and knew that my suffering was coming to an end – only 12 miles to go, but I was way off my goal time at this point and barely sitting in 8th place with a slew of runners breathing down my neck. I was going to have to put in some serious effort to stay in the top-10 over the final miles.
Courtesy of Steve Hinzman
I ran as hard as I could to Salt Log Gap and up the big climb to Forest Valley aid-station. Shortly after Forest Valley, I caught up to and passed a pained David Hryuniak (a 2:20-ish marathoner who is relatively new to ultras). I was now in 7th, but unfortunately back into some serious snow on the ridge. I was dreaming of getting away from the post-holing when Ty Draney came flying into view from behind. More frustration . . . How the heck is he moving so fast in this stuff, I thought. He said, "Come on man let's push and finish this thing." That was just the encouragement I needed and we barreled through the snow together and blasted through the last aid-station. One last look over the shoulder and we had four miles of less snow and all downhill to find the finish in Montebello. The miles went fast now and I enjoyed running with Ty. He hammered down the final steep pitch before the"1 Mile to Go" and put some distance on me. I was happy to run the final mile in the quiet contemplation of my own mind. In the end, I finished in 8:28 – good enough to earn 8th overall and a very fine Patagonia Down Sweater Jacket. Full results here.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Catching Up

Since my last post in July, life has certainly changed.  Boy is that an understatement!  On August, 8 we welcomed Vernon Roy Casseday into our lives.

Life has changed for the good -- in so many ways. 
Finding time to train has been difficult and interesting to say the least.  I've gotten in many sleep deprived runs.  I decided to run Mountain Masochist in the spring as a means of staying motivated to train as a new father.  I'm really glad that I've had this goal because it could have been really easy to slip into a lazy mode of just playing with Vernon every chance I had.
So next weekend will be the litmus test of fatherhood.  I've done far less mileage than in the past, but I filled the gap with quality.  I think being a daddy made me faster . . .