Monday, June 28, 2010

New gear - check it out!

Here is some new gear that i will be taking to Badwater this year: compression leg sleeves (they really make my legs feel nice and fresh, plus I like the way they look) and Mizuno Wave Inspire 6s. These shoes are very low-profile so you can feel the road when you run in them. I like that feeling. The are very light-weight, which is a good thing! I hate heavy, bulky shoes. They are so light-weight, they almost feel like a performance trainer. But, alas, they aren't! And most importantly, they offer, despite their lightness, just the right amount of stability I need for my overpronation. Good shoe. And it was cheaper than the $130 Asics Gel Kayanos. These babies were a scant $100.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A Quotable Quote

"People can't understand why a man runs. They don't see any sport in it. Argue it lacks the sight and thrill of body contact. Yet, the conflict is there, more raw and challenging than any man versus man competition. For in running it is man against himself, the cruelest of opponents. The other runners are not the real enemies. His adversary lies within him, in his ability, with brain and heart to master himself and his emotions."

-Glenn Cunningham
American runner, Olympic Games medalist

And Your 2010 Western States 100 Winners Are...

Geoff Roes in 15:07:04 and Tracy Garneau in 19:01:55. Here is a link to the official results page.

Friday, June 25, 2010

And Your 2010 Western States 100 Favorites (Female) Are...

Tamsin Anstey
North Vancouver, British Columbia
She might be the favorite here. She's done well for herself since entering the ultrarunning world in 2009, having won numerous races, including the Mountain Masochist 50-miler. This will be her first 100-miler! Last year's female winner, Anita Ortiz (who will not be running WS this year due to a knee injury) seems to favor her. "I think [she] will rock it this year," she predicts. We will see.

Nikki Kimball
Bozeman, Montana
She's won it three of the five times she's run!

Devon Crosby-Helms

Sausalito, California
She's done very well at 50-milers, having set a course record for the JFK 50. She also came in second in the Miwok 100k in May.

Tracy Garneau
Vernon, British Columbia
She was first woman at the HURT 100.

Jungle Marathon: Tracy Garneau from Tim Kemple on Vimeo.

Rules of Ultrarunning, Rule #9

Carbohydrate intake levels should be proportionate to your training load. You don't have to rule out fat from your diet. Maximizing fat oxidation capacity might just be key to better performance. Fat is the primary fuel for prolonged moderate-level activity like ultrarunning. As far as protein goes, don't stress it: you probably don't need that much.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

And Your 2010 Western States 100 Favorites (Male) Are...

Hal Koerner
Age 34, Ashland OR
He's won twice before. Last year, he brought it home with a time of 16:24:55. That is a 9:51 min/mile average. Here is Koerner winning last year's WS 100:

Anton Krupicka

Boulder, CO
He DNF'd at mile 78 of the 2009 Leadville 100, but came back strong by winning the Miwok 100K in May. He is a grad student at the University of Colorado at Boulder and looks like a wild man when he takes his shirt off to run. There is a documentary out on him called "Indulgence." Here is a picture of his feet after finishing Miwok.

Kilian Jornet
Age 22, Font-Romeu Ermitage, France
He is young, but he has been making quite a splash in the ultrarunning world in Europe. According to Runner's World, he crushed "the field at the 2008 and 2009 Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, then smashing the speed record on the Tahoe Rim Trail (by 7.5 hours) last September. From December to April of this year, he's competed in the World Cup, the World Championships and the Pierra Menta in ski mountaineering, winning most everything he entered. This spring, he won Spain's Zegama mountain marathon, then ran 800 kilometers across the Pyrennes."

Geoff Roes
Age 34, Juneau, Alaska
He was named 2009 Ultrarunner of the Year by UltraRunning Magazine. Training in Alaska, he is quite comfortable on snowy trails. He is fortunate: they say the first 20 or 30 miles of this year's WS will be snow-covered.

Women...coming soon!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"Sports Drinks Make Men And Women More Alike"

"That's an intriguing headline. What the heck does it mean? I'll tell you. It is a well-established fact that women rely more on fat and less on muscle glycogen than men do to provide energy for moderate-intensity exercise. But a new study in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise reports that this gender difference in fuel selection disappears when carbohydrate is consumed during exercise. During moderate-intensity exercise without carbohydrate intake, men were found to get 62 percent of their energy from carbohydrate, women 53 percent. But when they drank a sports drink during exercise, carbohydrate burning increased to 74 percent in men and 77 percent in women. The much larger jump in women was due to the fact that consuming carbs during exercise caused a much smaller decrease in the use of muscle glycogen in women than in men."

An interesting clipping from Matt Fitzgerald's website,

Monday, June 21, 2010

Running Documentaries on My 'Must See' List

Award-winning, Inspirational and Powerful. The documentary of Terry Hitchcock, who ran 75 consecutive marathons in 75 consecutive days. Narrated by Billy Bob Thornton.

Indulgence: 1000 Miles Under the Colorado Sky features ultra-marathon phenom Anton Krupicka in a high-definition running film inspired by mountain ski and bike films. The film will offer the viewer a first-hand look at Anton's life as he trains in the mountains of Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and California during the summer of 2007. The film's presentation will reflect Anton's simple approach to life and running and his continued pursuit of this minimalist ideal amidst the expectations of modern society. Anton (Tony) Krupicka is one of the young stars of ultra-running in the US. His 2006 wins at the Leadville 100 miler and Leadville, Estes Park, and American Discovery Trail Marathon as well as his 2007 wins at the Rocky Raccoon 100 miler, Collegiate Peaks 50 miler, and Leadville 100 miler make him a rising star on the ultra circuit. Nominated for an Everest Award in 2007, Anton continues to train in hopes of increasing his presence in the ultra scene. A minimalist in running and life, Anton strives for simplicity. He graduated in 2005 from the Colorado College and is currently pursuing a master's degree (geology) at Montana State University while running as much as possible.

The Western States Endurance Run is an ultra-marathon that starts near Squaw Valley, California and winds 100 miles through the Sierra Nevada mountains along an old gold mining trail. Competitors face 100+ degree heat, 18,000 feet of elevation gain, and the dangers of running in the dead of night. Michelle has two teenage daughters, a loving husband, a dog, a cat, a successful surgical sales company, and an endless pile of laundry. She's about to turn 40. Her life is so busy, she can't remember what she did for her last birthday. This year she'll remember. If you love running, you'll love this film. Whether a 71 year old cancer survivor, a housewife or an elite athlete, we all have to make difficult choices and sacrifices to achieve anything of significance. Join us on a journey that pushes the human body and mind mentally, physically, and spiritually. Running time: 67 minutes.

On September 13, 2008, Running The Sahara's Charlie Engle teamed up with Ultra-Marathoner Marshall Ulrich for their next expedition - to push their physical and mental limits. This time the challenge was running 3,069 miles in 45 days, from San Francisco to Times Square in New York City. To accomplish this record breaking milestone, the two runners would have to average close to seventy miles each day. Running America captures one of the most defining and difficult years in American history as the backdrop for an amazing and unpredictable expedition. Running time: 86 minutes.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Rules of Ultrarunning, Rule #8

It's okay to pee on the trail. No one told me this for my first ultra, and I ended up holding it until I got to the restroom at the beginning of each lap. So it's probably worth mentioning for beginner ultrarunners. There are several techniques for peeing on the trail, and all require that you follow proper etiquette and be considerate of others: you can stop and pull over or you can try the more daring approach and pee on the run (for men only, I would imagine). Female runners might be interested in Paula Radcliffe's bold approach.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Pictures of the Trails of Bandera, TX

So I took my camera with me on one of the loops. Got some good pics. Enjoy!

A scary-looking spider in the port-a-potty. No way am I sitting down on the toilet!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Rules of Ultrarunning, Rule #7

Relish each stage of your running career. Pam Reed wrote about this in "The Extra Mile." You only run your first marathon once. You only run your first 50-miler once. You only run your first 100-miler once! Savor each milestone and celebrate your achievement. Don't rush it!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Rules of Ultrarunning, Rule #6

Have fun. Running, in and of itself may not be much fun, but the totality of the experience of running is what is enjoyable: the feeling of accomplishment at the finish line, the knowledge that you gave it all you had, the friends you make along the way, the satisfaction of living a healthy lifestyle. These are the things worth living for.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Review of "The Ultimate Guide to Trail Running" by Adam Chase and Nancy Hobbs

Ann Trason said that “Comrades is more for the head” and “Western States is more for the heart.” This key distinction may be due to several factors, not least of which is terrain. Western States is run on the trails of California’s Sierra Nevada. Comrades is a road race. “[At Western States] you're competing more against the trail than the competitors,” she said. “You have to know the trail and feel the trail and communicate with nature.” Anyone who has run through the woods or up a mountain can relate. There is magic on the trails. You know it.

In “The Ultimate Guide to Trail Running,” Adam Chase and Nancy Hobbs talk about the psychological differences between trail runners and road racers. “The attitudinal distinction,” they conclude, “is one between a quest for speed and distance versus pursuing something for an intrinsic, yet immeasurable, experience.”

Their book explores a wide range of topics about this fast-growing endurance sport, including equipment, clothing, stretching, strength training, nutrition, injury prevention, and running strategy. The problem with writing about such broad subject matter is that you can only cover the issues in a topical way. It leaves a lot wanting.

Some of the most fascinating issues are barely touched upon. What is the reason for the gender disparity in trail race participation (68% men, 32% women)? Why do so many runners have eating disorders?

Maybe it is unfair to expect answers to such questions from a guidebook. This is not an exhaustive study of the sport, but then again, it doesn’t set out to be. It is a helpful handbook, especially for beginning trail runners, touching on nearly every conceivable point. Particularly useful are the sections on running up and down hills and choosing a good shoe.

There are a few diagrams throughout the book, including charts on the effects of altitude on performance and illustrations of certain stretching exercises. The book could have used a few more illustrations, particularly ones identifying the various parts of a trail shoe and proper uphill and downhill running form.
Another problem: do you find the following training schedule to be, say, inviting to read?

I didn’t think so either. Possible tweak suggestion for the third edition, maybe.

The more interesting aspects of the book, if not the most useful, are the stories and tips related by other runners. Kami Semick writes a piece about ultra training, in which she recommends matching the training terrain on long runs to the terrain of the goal race. It’s always nice to read how the great ones do it. Jim Garcia, who turned in an impressive 14:35:27 performance at the Rocky Raccoon 100-mile Trail Run is reported to have eaten Boston Market mashed potatoes and gravy during the race. He stored his power food in a squeeze tube that he kept on ice in his drop bag.

What makes this book stand out from other trail running guidebooks is its final chapter on directing a race. Generously included are a pre- and post-race timeline, a sample race budget, and a sample press release. The authors have also provided a list of trail running organizing bodies, like the USA Track & Field and the American Trail Running Association. These inclusions are much appreciated. They serve to remind us just how varied the topic of trail running can really be. Ultrarunning is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s also skyrunning (high-altitude running), snowshoe running, and burro racing. Ever heard of hashing? Google it. Doesn’t it sound fun?

And you thought there wasn’t much to write about trail running.

It really is a magical sport and more needs to be written about it. It is not a new sport (trail races dates back to as early as 1068 in Scotland). Still there is much to write about. Advances in sports science and medicine are often being made. New running products come out all the time. More people are taking to the trails every year. We trail runners need books like these to help expand and develop the sport.

Rules of Ultrarunning, Rule #5

Don't be a slave to your training program. Running is one aspect of your life that should not control you. It should be a source of joy, and not an obligation. Take a day off now and then and don't feel guilty about it. This may be difficult, but it is important in preventing burnout, avoiding injury, and rebuilding muscle tissue. This also ties into Rule #6: have fun.

Rules of Ultrarunning, Rule #4

Adventure is more probable when you wear a silly hat on your training run. For instance, I wore a scarecrow hat on my long run today. Oh, the attention it drew!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Rules of Ultrarunning, Rule #3

Stop saying you like pain. You don't. Since Dean Karnazes' book came out, it's become quite fashionable to say "I like pain," even though no one in their right mind likes pain. Rather than dwell on the negative, focus on the positive.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Rules of Ultrarunning, Rule #2

Rule #2: limit the complaints. Our little endurance feats are voluntary. If you don't like it, don't do it. Unless you're complaining to show off. In that case, see rule #1.

Rules of Ultrarunning, Rule #1

"Don't get high on your own supply." Humility may be an ultrarunner's best asset. My new motto: be humble. Too often, ultrarunners get big heads. This is no surprise; it is a wonderful feeling to finish a 50 or 100-miler. But, don't get too cocky. There is always someone better, faster, stronger. And there is always more to learn about the sport.