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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

HURT write up

updated 1/18 (Gear list added to the end!)

Heavy legs, ghostly tweaks and most importantly tired brain… my body was not showing signs of being excited to embark on the HURT 100. Some might say I was “sand-bagging” or talking crap. But the truth is I really felt (and feel) over trained. In reading some information about high cortisol levels and the symptoms one might feel as a result on the First Endurance website, I had a few other points backing my theory. That said, maybe over-trained is an okay way to enter a tough 100 miler. At no point did I feel spunky or fresh and therefore ran a more even paced/consistent race.

Matt, Karl and I left the comfort of John and PJ’s (race directors) home 4:45am on the nose Saturday morning to make it to the Nature Center and start of the race. With each of us running there was no one there to haul our drop bags, give those last few “go get ‘em” words of encouragement or take care of the little things. Karl being the old hand at efficiency and taking care of himself at events Matt and I followed his lead and eventually found ourselves on the bridge with the 98 HURT starters listening to the sounds of the river and John’s last few trail reminders. A count down and blow of the conch shell signified the start as we worked our way up the first of many rooty climbs.

The race consists of five 20 mile clover like loops with the center of the clover at the rootiest section of all, Pauo Flats. It is bittersweet up on this mini-plateau as you get to see runners coming off other sections, yet if you take your eyes off your footing for one second to say hello you will more than likely find yourself looking at them from the ground. Other highlights from the trail include views of the city from beautiful ridge lines, helpful aid station workers, yummy food, passing by the Manoa Falls (you have to look over your left shoulder as you make the turn) and great support the whole way. All of the crews, race staff and volunteers made this solo 100 anything but solo. My drop bag was open at each aid station, I never filled a water bottle or my bladder and a local high school runner, Haley, paced me for 15 miles during the night. Matt, after finishing the 100k in second place and the 2nd fastest time for that race (in his first 100k!), stayed up all night to crew me for my final two loops. He was great and it was motivating and so nice to know he would be at each stop.

Another treat was teaming up with and running practically the whole race with Paul Hopwood of Maui. His first ultrarun (he comes from Ironman background and completed the Ultraman last year) Paul ran an amazing race and I still think he could have run significantly faster. But for his first he opted for the company and my pacing. Spending that much time with a perfect stranger is an interesting way to get to know someone. It is not as if we talked a lot, in fact our conversations were pretty minimal, but (as some of you that run ultras may know) enduring something like that together gives you an unexplainable bond. Going into the night section we were able to encourage each other along and get past the 100k decision point, we complimented the others weakness (he pulled me up the hills and I made him move on the downhill sections) and eventually reached the Nature Center for the 5th and final time to touch the sign. Quite an experience.

Enjoying the HURT 100 is to be a part of a family. The HURT committee puts their heart and souls (and soles) into making this event to be enjoyed by every runner, crew member, pacer and on-looker. Their attention to detail and concern for each aspect is very evident and makes for a race experience like no other. If you have even the slightest inkling, do your training and head to Hawaii for a race filled with Aloha.

For those curious, I honestly went into this race (like I said in the first paragraph) feeling very over trained and hesitant to even look at course record pace. But when I arrived John had printed out Bev’s splits from last year. Bev ran a tough race; she went out hard and hung on as long as she could. Her last two laps showed that she suffered a bit and from her race report you can see that was the case. In looking at her splits (about 3:50, 4:12, 5:10, 7:10, 7:06) and talking with Karl I opted for an easier paced start and only hoped I wouldn’t peter out by the end. By running more consistent I was able to maintain laps of about 5 ½ hours (guessing -4:30, 5:00, 5:30, 5:45, 5:40) which put me in under her time.

Gear List:
Hydration: first 2 laps Nathan Thermal Quickdraws, last 3 laps Nathan Intensity
Feet: Montrail Continental Divides, Smartwool Adrenaline socks (never changed shoes or socks)
Clothing: Patagonia airius tank, Patagonia Sage Burner shorts, Patagonia Active Sport Top, Patagonia Active Brief
Fuel: Clif Shot bloks (the new Margarita flavor with 3 times the sodium is awesome!), Clif shot, Clif bars, aid station food (pumpkin pie, soup & veggie sandwiches), Balanced drink, Hammer Endurolytes (additional electrolyte replacement)
Additional must haves: iPod shuffle, Arnica pills, chapstick
Recovery: First Endurance Ultragen (Fruit Punch Flavor)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


Touching this sign signified the end of 100 miles of the HURT 100 this weekend. For those that love the family feel of ultrarunning, a super challenging run, warm weather (i.e. a break from your winter). You will find it at HURT. I'm sticking to my belief that long distance running kills brain cells as both Matt and I are moving quite slow in the last couple of days and trying to think of what to write for a race write up well, lets just say I'll work on that. Thanks for the fun notes, emails, well wishes and comments on both my blog and the HURT site. Your positive energy was much appreciated as I looped around those knarly trails!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Sun here we come!

This weekend is the HURT 100! Matt and I are (hopefully) flying out of here tomorrow morning. A major storm has just blown into Seattle and there is actually snow on the Seattle streets.

The race is a 20 mile loop that runners must complete 5 times, for a total of 100 miles and about 25,000 feet of elevation gain. The course is known for its difficulty due to the never ending technical trails. The course description says "You will be running on very uneven, rocky rooty, and muddy type of trail where footing is at best adequate. Be careful when traversing wet rocks and roots. Some trails run along cliff sections with serious drop offs... There are very few sections where you can run with consistent stride for more than a few hundred yards at a time." It is no wonder than usually more than half the field opts for the 100k finish. Runners have the option for 100k after finishing 3 loops.

The nerves are ever present as it has been nearly a year and a half (Wasatch 2005) since I've run 100 miles, but I know once the conch shell blows to start the race it will be a lot of fun.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2007! It amazes me each year how the time seems to pass more and more quickly. Is this because I continue to cram more and more activity into the days and weeks, or is it a factor of age. Some people (my Dad) would argue this point, but I feel the older I get the faster the years pass.

After the recent storms in the Pacific NW our local trails are a bit more of an obstacle course with downed trees, both uprooted and snapped. Training was a bit less for me anyway as I was trying to recover from Hellgate. But in the last three days Matt and I got out and saw some of the damage. We rounded out the year with three large training days; Friday evening (12/29) we logged 20 miles around Discovery Park and out to Golden Gardens. Saturday (12/30) a double Mt. Si and Sunday (12/31) 15 miles at Cougar. Today = tired, but satisfied with some last big miles of training for HURT 100 on January 13.

A bit tired and preoccupied with all the training I woke up on New Year's Eve realizing no plans were made to bring in the New Year. A bit different but very enjoyable evening spent with friends and a walk downtown to watch the Space Needle light up for the 7 1/2 minute firework display.

I hope this New Year brings happiness and adventure, great running and even better health.

Speaking of health:

I went in for an eye exam on December 29. I shared my story of Hellgate with the doctor and after all of the normal vision tests came back okay, Doc deduced that the fogginess/vision loss I experienced was soley based on the conditions and that the wind and extreme cold dried out and possible froze my eyeballs. Even still I am trying to get into the habit of wearing glasses (clear lenses) more frequently just as a precaution.