Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Steamboat is my favorite mountain town in Colorado, I spent a summer there while living in one of the flat and humid midwest states and decided I'd pretty much sell my soul to live here. When it was announced that there was going to be a 100 miler in the Yampa Valley, I knew I'd be at the start line. I had high expectations for myself coming into Run Rabbit Run, I was injury-free and fit, and had not thrown up while running since I started taking more Endurolytes.
I was hoping for, and perhaps naively expecting, cooler weather - my stomach seems to hold up much better as the temperature drops. Still, at Olympian Hall (21.5) I thought to myself "geez, it's hot out and I feel great, this is a pleasant change" . As it was, I dropped at the very next aid station, I'm at a loss as to why my stomach stops absorbing and I end up puking 1 or 2 hours worth of food all over the trail. Short of literally stopping, I could not have gone slower on that section, or weaved across the road more often to stay in the shade.
Some notable facts:
-I ended up with the unenviable distinction of being the first person to drop out of the Run Rabbit Run 100 (ever!).
-ShotBlocs and Gu are expensive! If I threw up 2 hrs worth of food, we're looking at: 1 pack of Shot Blocs 1.90
2 gels 2.10
4 Endurolytes. .64
-Five dollars at of Wendy's will get you 25 nuggets! This is exactly why I need a sponsor. People wonder why I dropped... I can't afford to pay $2.50 an hour to puke!
-My pacer, Andy, ended up picked up another runner to spend the night with, and ended up running more miles than I did. In fact, many people did.
My goal in this is sport has been to run ten 100's in ten years, and I'm thankful that this year is not over. Fall is a great time for running, and a week ago I thought I'd miss it to recover from Steamboat, so I've got nothing to be upset about. Once I put together a course and date, I'll share it with any interested runners. You can be sure it'll be on a day with cool weather.
Friday, June 29, 2012
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
* Hiking poles are "illegal" in this race (The Great Nick Clark don't need no stinkin wizard sticks, and neither should you!), for a small fee I'll happily stash your poles a hew hundred feet up the first climb before the race, and collect them from the top of the last climb after the race. A little civil disobedience never hurt anybody, right?
* In my experience, the key to a successful long run in Horsetooth is patience and food. You'll have to supply the patience, but the aid stations should be stocked up. Anything you don't eat will end up in Nick's belly, and a fat Nick is a slow Nick.
* If you follow the course markings closely you'll probably only get lost once or twice. Don't freak out when this happens, you won't end up in RMNP or Wyoming as our trail system is self contained. Just keep going until you find an aid station (don't look confused when you get there) and pretend nothing happened.
* Fort Collins isn't Boulder, so for most of the race you won't encounter people that aren't with the race. The exception to this rule is the Southridge/Horsetooth climb. These people will go into shock if you tell them you are running 50 miles, so don't. We wouldn't want the ambulances wasted on weekend hikers.
Monday, April 30, 2012
Monday, April 23, 2012
Tuesday - I was supposed to run 6 easy miles but I only ran 5. It was hot and windy, my IPod ran out of juice and I got bored with my weekly pavement run. With a long day planned for Saturday, and prime numbers being preferable, it was easy to justify cutting some miles...
Wednesday - Ran "Brian's Loop." I'm sure Brian wants to know how this loop came to be named after him. Well, it was his GPS watch that determined the distance as 7.5 miles, and it's the only run that I can put an exact mileage on. If this loop were 9 miles, I'd run 9. Instead it's 7.5 and that is good enough for me. Also, this loop is about as long as I like to run without water. (an astute reader of my blog has already learned several great excuses for shortening runs, but this is my favorite. Who can argue with dehydration?). If I round the 7.5 down, I'm left with a prime number!
Thursday - 4 miles at practice, flat and slow. (I told everyone in the FCTRs that it was 5 miles, to sound cool). 2 miles w/u for HTTT + 5 at HTTT. Summit in 28:57 via Rock trail and Soderburg shortcut. Total of 11 for day, (solid prime number). I stood on top of the rock for 10 minutes, during last years HTTT I couldn't handle the exposure for 10 seconds. Exposure training is paying off, but I don't see Long's Peak in my future. Perhaps if I took off my high heels, I'd feel more stable (yes, I understand that this may be offensive to women.)
Friday - Friday is like Monday, with the addition of a few miles. The goal is always to make the weekend easier. Sometimes this means running a few miles, sometimes it means standing for 7 hours at a track meet - this week it meant doing both. 3 miles - and another prime number!
Saturday - Most of Golden Gate Dirty Thirty course. Thanks to the ingenious State Parks service, who has decided to mark trails with footprints rather than names, I learned all about the feet of Mule Deer, Snowshoe Hares, Mountain Lions and Black Bears. This was a fun day with 2 people who'd probably rather not be associated with me, and will thus remain nameless. If the Forest Service rangers followed the Bush Doctrine they would have preemptively sent search and rescue, based on how many times we showed up at their huge pick-up trucks, lost and asking for directions.
Sunday - I forgot to turn off yesterday's 5:45am alarm so I was up atypically early. I ran for about an hour, I'd guess it was 7 miles (I need 7 to hit my mile-goal for the week, so 7 it is). Once home I immediately fell back asleep. Woke up at noon and had a typical American lazy Sunday. It was great. Prime number!
Summary - I ran 6 days this week, and managed to hit 5 days of prime numbers. This is an arbitrary way to measure success in running, but I've found that if I measure in miles, time or effort I end up disappointed. By choosing to make prime-number-mileage-days the most important factor (pun intended) of a running week I've totally removed the incentive to run fast or far. I just plod along for 3,5,7,11,13,17,19,23,29,31,37,41,43,47 or 53 miles. If I hit one of those numbers, SUCCESS!
Am I excited that Run Rabbit Run actually measures to 101 miles?! YOU BETCHA.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Friday, March 30, 2012
Sunday, March 11, 2012
Survive and advance. These words of wisdom apply to college basketball teams in March and accurately describe my Salida (5-hours-is-actually-an-ultra)Marathon. In my effort to shave 2 seconds off of last years time (4:00:01), I managed to add 58 minutes. After running a full hour slower than last year I better have some damn good excuses, and I do! My first mistake was going after the 2-mile Fun Run win while concurrently running the marathon. I was out kicked by “Think Pink” and didn’t leave enough in the tank for the ‘other’ race. I should have cut my loses and taken the silver in the Fun Run.
After a blistering opening two miles with Brian, the conga line (which seemed to have buzz-word status at this race, conga line is the new “heel-toe drop”) pulled me up the first little climb and onto to some really sweet new single track. I stopped for a bathroom break and to tie my shoe, which is probably where that hour came from, and tried to keep JT’s signature bucket hat in my sights. No matter how hard I worked, my legs just would not seem to move me any faster. Actually, the harder I tried to work, the more I noticed the altitude, lactic acid and general state of discomfort I was descending into. Since it’s cool to keep pushing when things aren’t going great, I did just that. I pushed and pushed up the pleasantly graded dirt road, pushed to the turn around and then right through the next aid station – without refilling my water bottle or taking in a single calorie…Slow Aaron indeed.
At this point I was moving at a moderate pace, but it felt like I was working harder than the speed I was running. I passed a PBR-loading JT while leaving the aid station (not only did he catch me later, but he has built a commanding lead in the defense of his Golden Sundial Award). My water bottle mishap became an issue shortly thereafter, and for the next 1:20 I suffered immensely. This did not feel like a marathon, and I stopped treating it like one. Hiking uphill became routine, and once I was really dehydrated I was forced to walking some of the downhills too. Snow found its way into my hat and waterbottle (FYI- no matter how hard you shake, you won’t get water). Recalling a Man vs. Wild tidbit, I found a barely moving trickle of murky water and drank some of that. The mud-water and corresponding grit in my teeth amounted to my first calories and water in an hour. The next aid station came, mercifully, and I was in no rush to leave.
Four cups of water, several orange slices and a handful of chips later, I begrudgingly left the aid station. My stay lasted long enough that the volunteers should have charged me rent. My best efforts to get one of them to trade roles failed (he could take my number and run, I’d man the aid). I moved slowly (duh!) and enjoyed the scenery and day as much as one can with a cramping back. Not much changed in the last 2 hours except that I had water in my bottle.
Now for some perspective (aka an excuse). When I signed up for this race I had an injured foot and was running 15-20 flat miles a week. That injury emerged at last seasons Salida Marathon. With a lot of patience I fixed myself, and managed to spend 5 hilly hours on my feet with zero foot pain. So even though I was an hour slower, I think I have bought myself many more hours of enjoyable running this summer. I’m going to need them to whip my butt into shape for Solstice, Speedgoat and Steamboat (it’s an alliterative race year for me!).
Friday, January 20, 2012
They say the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem, so here it goes:
My name is Slow Aaron, and I am an Ultra junkie.
Last season I hit rock bottom. Twice I was swept up in the excitement of a race, and entered on a whim. I ran so much I hurt myself, which is surely a sign of over-indulgence. Once hurt, I was forced to cut back, but biking was too boring so I found comfort in cold beer, Sunday football and 7-layer dip. The past two months have been amazing, I stopped running and felt better than ever. Unfortunately, I thought I could go for one run without a problem, then one run turned into 50 miles a week, and last night I did hill repeats. I’ve tried to set rules for myself, but always find an excuse for just one more – one more summit, one more mile, one more taste of the Gu. In light of my problems, and out of concern for my fellow runners, I’ve contacted my congressman to finally regulate running, specifically within the sport of ultramarathon. Too many of my friends are junkies like me, and need saving. With the help of a little bribe and eager to attach a new mega-fitness facility through pork-barrel legislation, Colorado’s newest politician was eager to jump on board. Until recently I have been unable to talk about this case, as it was still moving slowly through the court system. Finally, last night, we settled with the US government. Here are some of the court transcripts:
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: In the case of SlowAaron vs. Ultra, I present this evidence on behalf of the prosecution (SlowAaron), who alleges that too much ultra has devastating affect, and therefore should be regulated. Consider, in terms of products and services that are both fun and vomit-inducing, great in the moment but cause regret in the waning hours of intoxication and generally cause the public to question your sanity, ultramarathon is relatively unregulated. In fact, the most cumbersome barrier to entry in this subculture is that for some gatherings you must have already been under the influence of this terrible scourge.
DEFENSE: I am outraged at this accusation! Regulating Utramarathon would ruin the ability of these exception people to create new frontiers for achievement. Had ultra-regulation been enacted a year ago, the world would be robbed of Jennifer Pharr-Davis’s Appalachian Trail record and Nick Clark’s WS/HR double. Ultramarathon must be self-regulated because the Constitution is designed to protect the enterprising spirit of the American. Did anyone say to Steve Jobs, "For god's sake Steve, stop! The world is happy with Walkman and Napster!"? Furthermore, the actions of ultramarathoners are not attached to any negative externalities, why regulate something that has no deleterious affects on the public?
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: FOR SHAME! Imagine the poor souls hiking on the trails of the Leadville 100 the day after the trail run. Imagine the smells of excrement, urine and vomit. Imagine the experience of those setting off to glimpse the wilderness at it’s purest, a wilderness destroyed by hanging flagging and expended glow sticks. Surely these count as negative externalities. What of the families destroyed by endless “training” hours? We have countless witnesses who can verify that even when an ultrarunner returns to his home it is with much laziness, an apathetic attitude and an appetite that has left countless children hungry. One such witness even reports that his significant other ate a whole box of Oreos, which were meant to be lunch snacks!
The proceedings continued along these lines for several hours with the defense steadfastly maintaining that regulating this particular industry was un-American and a blatant intrusion of government onto free choice. The judge, seemingly unmoved by crying aid-station volunteers and images of intoxicated runners ruled in their favor. I will have to be responsible for my own running for yet another year. If you see me running any other race than Salida, San Juan Solstice or Steamboat, please get me help. At the very least I hope I’ve raised awareness of this latest health risk that could be endangering someone you love.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
The wizards who decide North American ultrarunning awards came out with their results, and frankly I'm disappointed in the lack of categories. The Academy Awards honor the best makeup artist, there is a Grammy for Best Spoken Word Album, and all we can manage are two measly UROYS? In honor of the time piece best suited for measuring long lengths of time, I present the First Annual Golden Sundial Awards.
Disappointing Gel Flavor of the Year - CLIF Chocolate Cherry, 2x Caffeine
CLIF How do you screw this one up!? Chocolate? Good. Cherry? Great. Double caffeine? Even Better. Unfortunately, here are a list of gel flavors I’d rather carry with me; Baked Beans, Marinara, Sweet & Low (just the packet, no syrup necessary), Minced _______________ (insert endangered animal here). CLIF, if you’re reading this, I volunteer to be a gel taste tester so this mistake never happens again, provided I never have to eat another of the Chocolate Cherry disappointment.
Sub-Par Performance of the Year – Geoff Roes, Run Through Time - Salida Marathon
Geoff, this award is a compliment and honor, please remember that sub-par is the goal in golf. Perhaps we should laud this performance as race of the year, but that’d be too easy. Even the mysterious Cloud couldn’t find a way to hate the way you raced on this day. Geoff managed a top-ten finish with a PBR at the last aid station, 3 hours of nonstop chit-chatting and a race report that includes the words “cutest little town in the world.” Bravo, we hope our Golden Sundial finds an imaginary place next to your real trophies.
Scapegoat of the Year - Weather
Mother nature made her presence known this season, and in doing so became my favorite excuse since my brother began suffering from mysterious migraines during his senior year of high school. Weather at Pocatello, Steamboat and the night before Leadville certainly affected my races; Western States had its now signature snowpack, Hardrockers were shocked by storms in the San Juans in July, and UTMB decided that it’s mandatory 15 lbs (or is it Kilos?) of gear were insufficient for a little Cham-oh-nicks shower. Ms. Nature has redeemed herself by keeping most of the nation's mountains clear of snow for a extended season of fall running. We’re even.
Thanks for Nothing Award – Fred Abramowitz
Fred is the race director of Run Rabbit Run, and though I was supposed to be a volunteer, he was so gracious as to allow me a late entry the evening before the race. As is often the case, karma came back and kicked my ass for this sin against ultrarunning. The horrible weather was surely a result of my volunteer to runner flip-flopping transgression. Most recently, Fred had the cajones to create a real prize purse for the inenviable task of racing 100 miles, thus insulting a running population that insists its elite athletes live out of trucks, unable to afford razors, food or rent. Thanks for nothing, Fred!
Best Beer to Mile Ratio Award – Brownie
This guy has become the stuff of legend – did you hear he drank a PBR at an aid station at Hardrock? Did you know he wears a bucket hat because he can hide a full Schlitz under it? Did you know he eats the can when he’s done, refusing to waste even a drop? Brownie, you are an inspiration here at Irunslow, congrats on your achievement.
“I Pay for My Shoes UltraRunner of the Year” – Pete Stevenson
Pete Stevenson is the best ultrarunner on his block, which is coincidentally the same street I live on. His Hardrock bumper sticker mocks my every run. Pete trains like an animal, and with animals at the local shelter. He got a full nights sleep at Hardrock and still managed a 15th place finish. Pete earned the beard of the year award, first place at the Antelope Island 100k, and probably logged more miles than anyone who managed to stay healthy all year. His local tests of insanity/endurance are notorious for bringing mortals to their knees (there is a reason certain other FoCo runners aren’t going for the Grey Rock six-pack FKT). Someone get this guy a shoe deal!
I am open to suggestions for categories for next years awards, and please let me know of any potential omissions from the current categories.