Sunday, December 25, 2011

New Year .... New Adventures...New Goals

The goals

  1. Six Ultra Races
  2. Mile in under 4:50
  3. Set two new PRs
  4. Pace/crew in two events
  5. Volunteer at one event

Closing time...recap of 2011

Hope Pass 12000' with a Llama
The goals:
3 100 Mile Races
Completed Leadville & Haliburton; DNF at 81.5 Miles in the Ozark
3000 Miles of Running
Estimated 2400+ miles. Found better results on less miles
2 PRs
5K 19:09, 8K 31:19, 30K 2:41:55 & 50K 4:44:33
Run a mile in under 5:20 (PR)
Ran 4:54 in a one mile race
Finish 6 ultra marathon races
4 races: Cowtown 50K, Twin Peaks 50M++, Leadville & Haliburton
Crew/Pace another in an ultra
Paced Dustin Smith at Burning River 100M for 47 Miles
Overall hit 50% on my goals. I learned more about myself this year in how I train

The year started with a bit of tendonitis in February that took me out of running for about three weeks.  Coming off the injury I broke my first PR of the year the following week at the Cowtown 50K. Building my base over the next several months I was focused on being strong for Leadville. In May I entered the Northville Road Runners 5K. With a 19:09 I was the overall race winner; second PR of the year. Then came the Maybury 8K Classic in July setting my third PR of the year and grabbing a 2nd place in my age group. With more of an emphasis on speedwork I entered a local one mile race. Thus, setting a new mile PR with a time of 4:54. Second time this year being the overall winner of a race. With a crew and pacers I then landed in Colorado for the Leadville 100M. Completed the race and moved on to the Milford 30K shortly after. Then setting my fourth & final PR for the year. The following weekend I impromptu headed into Canada to run the Haliburton Forest 100M. Ran strong in the first 75 miles then slowed down from exhaustion and finished in 25 hours. Then in October I jumped a flight to Southern California for the Twin Peaks 50M. This race has a ton of elevation climb . This race became one of my all time favorite races of the year. Completing that race gave me enough finishes for the year to enter UTMB. Then in November I headed to the Mark Twain National Forest for the Ozark 100M. Got tripped up around mile 26 and eventually surrendered to unbendable leg at mile 81.5. Then taking another 3 weeks off to recover from that mishap. First week of December I jumped in a local 5K race and placed first in my age group and 31st overall with a time of 19:26.  The year

Now for the awards:

Unstoppable Award
Kai "Kai-Borg" Keliikuli
Entered race after race after race and nothing seemed to stop him. He is planning to accomplish 12 100 Mile Races in 2012.

Designer Award
Keith "Milkman" Kohler
Put together all the artwork for the "BIG" races. Giving each race more of an adventure and a personal feel. Below are two of his 2011 designs. The left one is the club design and the right was the group design for Leadville 100. He also designed the 2012 Massanutten "40 year Pilgrimage."

Comeback Award
Ken "The Green Hornet" Arble
Let's just say 2010 was not his year and in 2011 he came back and completed the Vermont 150M, Leadville 100M, The Bear 100M & more!! He is setting the bar high for 2012 & more.

Sidekick Award
Kenyon Waugh
Colorado Native who gave up a weekend with his family to assist me in the Leadville 100M. Arrived Friday night to have dinner and camped out in the woods. Saturday spent the day watching the race until 9:00 pm then paced me through the next two sections of the course. In race reports it warns people not pace these areas and he got me through them. On top of that he beat the planned splits!!

Sherpa Award
Tiffany Guerra
A SoCal local who picked me and transported me to the Twin Peaks 50M++. Then she set the course record at the event. After the event was finished she then took me back to LAX to fly home the same night.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Putting the Pilgrimage to Design

     A good friend of mine Keith Kohler has been putting designs on shirts and hoodies for our group of ultra-runners. As we sign up for a race he tries to capture a message/theme behind the significance of the race. The upcoming Massanutten for me is his latest design and in my opinion the best one yet!! Hopefully, all the other runners at the race are able to get a design as sweet as this; if not they can order a limited edition Kohler Design from Blue Cotton. Of course, it comes with my picture on the back of it.

     I personally try to pick each race based around how my life is going and places I want to see. Massanutten will be my last race in the under Master's division. Not that I will win my division ever, but it is more a passage into the next portion of my life. Recently, I decided to change my "Bucket List" to more than just 100 Mile races. There are a lot of ultras I want to run. In the process my dropping one 100 mile race I can afford to pick up 3 smaller ultras, in some cases. If you know of some "must-do" races I have not listed please email me the race and why at  The list is work in progress.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Pilgrimage from Age 39 to 40

I am now in the Massanutten 100 mile endurance run this May 2012.

This is one of the several must-do races for me. I am not the fastest on the trails of all the runners. I am there just running for the views and doing the best I can based upon my abilities. It is a tough course with lots of rocks which will make it a challenge in looking up to see the beauty around me. So slowing down a bit to take in a view will be worth it. As always there is not too much to see in the dark so that gives me a solid 8 hours to focus on running and getting through the night. 
 Summary: (excerpt from MMT website)

"The MMT is a challenging 100 mile trail ultra over a demanding, rocky course in the Massanutten Mountains of Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. The course includes short but rugged mountain climbs that total over 16,000 feet. While the May date usually avoids Virginia's brutal summer weather, we have had rain and violent storms in prior years. The event is noted for its well-stocked, friendly aid stations and good course marking."

MMT Profile


    To get into the race was a bit of luck. As most ultra runners know getting into some of these races is based a lot on luck. MMT is a lottery process with a bit of a twist of the Dow Jones. Everyone who wants to run is assigned a number 1-999. Then based on the performance of the Dow Jones. Based on the closing on the Dow, that determines the starting point of the entry list. If the Dow closes up or down from the opening, that determines the direction the list goes. The close of the Dow was 11997.70. So the starting bib was then 770 and since the Dow was down, they went down the list 204 spots. Lucky for me I was 194 spots down the list.     

      One of the significant things about Massanutten is that it is on my birthday weekend. The race starts on Saturday May 12th, I will be 39 years old. By the time I cross the finish line, I will be 40 years old, which is the starting of a new decade of running for me. I will be running in the solo division, which means no headphones, no garmin, no pacer, and no crew assistance. Massanutten is one of the only races that provides an additional award for this sort of division.

The Run: (excerpt from MMT website)
"Start Time and Place: The run starts at 4 a.m. on Saturday, May 12, 2012 at Caroline Furnace Lutheran Camp in Fort Valley, Virginia (near Luray). The finish line is at the same location as the start. The course closes 36 hours later at 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 13."

     Completing the race in under 36 hours you get a pewter belt buckle. If the stars align just right and a miracle occurs for me to complete it in under 24 hours I will get the silver belt buckle.

     You could call this a birthday present!! Not sure when the next time my birthday will fall on a weekend like this. So I need to stay focused for the next six months to ensure it happens. I think I might go out to Virginia for the spring training run to see the course and establish some goals.

      Here is a snapshot of how my mind sees the finish line and me celebrating my birthday. Not too sure this realization will play out like this.....