Spring Racing and San Diego 100 Training

Early spring training at Smith Rock. Photo by Ian Sharman.

This is a long but overdue post. I’ve been SO slammed this spring with work and family obligations (and training) that when I finally take a deep breath, usually near midnight or after, I don’t have a lot of time or energy to post anything. I’ve somehow managed to squeeze in four 50Ks and a 50 miler in 4 states in 4 months this spring and coached a 5-week session of Little Foot Running Club, been a husband and father to 3 kids and a beautiful wife. How I get to the start line of a 100 miler well-trained sometimes is a miracle. But, by the grace of God (and a very supportive wife and kids), I somehow pulled it off again.

April Training
This was a solid month of training where I built cycling into the training volume. After the bike commuting incident in November, I traded up the cyclocross commuter for a Marin Nail Trail 29er mountain bike with Old Man Mountain rack and pannier packs. It’s bad to the bone. Totally dig the set up, can’t believe I didn’t do this years ago.

I now steer clear of the “scene of the crime” roundabout where I tried to punch a SUV out of a roundabout and only got a broken hand with 3 pins and a cracked rib for my effort. I now take a more scenic route consisting of back roads and the Deschutes River Trail — a much more relaxing commute and only 6/10s of a mile longer than my old 8-mile bike commute in traffic.

Ultraspire Training Camp
First week of April I got the true influenza and the upper respiratory illness that stuck with me for a good 4 weeks with junk in the lungs that had me sounding like a 3 pack a day Morboro Reds smoker. After a weekend in bed, I healed up just enough to take a trip a few days later to St. George, Utah for a 4-day training camp with Ultraspire. It was great to hook up with a good group of other ultrarunners for a few days of geeking out on hydration systems. We culminated the camp with a point-to-point run through Zion National Park on the Zion Rim Trail. Awesome. Meltzer and I opted on the “shorter” option of 24 miles since he was just off another 100 Mile win at Antelope Island and I was a week from running Sonoma 50. And, of course, I was still hardcore hacking my head off during this trip. But, always good to hang with speedgoat. The Goat and Billy Show. Good laughs over my coughing fits. He’d look at me like, “you alright buddy?” Uh, I think…is that my lung, can you dust it off, yeah thanks — I kinda need it for the next climb. Giddyup Goat.

Lake Sonoma 50 Miler
The Ultraspire camp made me semi-train through Lake Sonoma 50 Miler, as I ran it a week after my 24 miler with Karl. It was a beautiful course with a deep field. I attempted to race with a hydration pack. I always, always use handhelds. And, in hindsight, should have at Sonoma. I ran well through the high 30s, but then my race unraveled at the seams. It was hot (coming from chilly Central Oregon…we’re still in winter mode in April). I just didn’t drink enough and got behind on my hydration. Once behind, I just wasn’t used to the pack and couldn’t catch back up. I ended up walking the last climb and coupled with the fact that I was still hacking my head off (Had some coughing/gagging and two pukes) — respiratory thing lingered.

Silver lining…good to get the miles on my legs for San Diego 100, but overall, disappointing performance-wise in 7:40ish. Net — I like handheld bottles. Simple as that. I’ve come to terms with it after a good ole “smack ya in the face” reminder. After 60+ ultras, the bottles work for me. I went home and settled on staying close to home to coach Little Foot Running Club for the next 5 weeks and training hard for the final peak for San Diego.

Silver State 50K — Last Minute Entry
Biendip and Ken Sinclair were heading down to Reno (3 weeks out from San Diego) to run Silver State 50 Miler. Rod asked me if I wanted to go down — actually had been bugging me to come. I didn’t even ask my better half after such a full spring of racing, but somehow Rod talked my wife into it. I never even asked. I think he’s a good salesman.

Rod and I train together and started running around the same time. He has to juggle 2 businesses and 3 kids — we are in a similar headspace in life. His plan was to make the 7-hour trip down to Reno Friday and make it back by 9am on Sunday (with an overnight camping on the return trip 2 hours from home at Summer Lake Hot Springs in SE Oregon). We both had to be back, as our oldest boys were on Kid Pole Peddle Paddle teams on Sunday at midday. He somehow sold my wife on the trip and she gave me the hall pass to go jump in the 50K as my last big training run before San Diego. I had just run a 102-mile week with an additional 4 hours of cycling. So, I jumped in the race 4 days before with the idea of a 3 day mini-taper (not sure 3 days can be considered a “taper”).

The 50K is a low-key event, as the 50 Miler is always the main event, so, I thought it a perfect mellow, race-specific training run. Plus, they were supposed to have a little hotter weather, so good SD100 simulator. At the start, I went out in 2nd, as this dude took off at 6-minute pace and lead on the first climb about a minute ahead of me the whole climb up Peavine Peak. I took it at a comfortable pace and I reeled him in off the backside of Peavine summit at about mile 13 and he was already looking not so smooth. I cruised by him and laid down a couple of 6:30s on a dirt road section and looked back and couldn’t see him. So, I then just settled in and ran a nice steady training pace for the win by 20 minutes in 4:13. Biendip was right — great trainer.

Last 3 Weeks
I came back after Silver State and took a few easy days and hit another 102 mile week and started to taper for SD100. Good trail running gear to check out at Patagonia offsite in Bend.  Patagonia has some cool stuff coming out Spring 13, stay tuned. It’s been a busy but solid spring. I’m currently writing while on my final flight leg to San Diego on Thursday. I’m psyched. I love 100 milers, especially technical, hard ones. They’re so unpredictable and hard and crazy and epic. Good mirror of life. I can’t wait to toe the line on Saturday at 7am for my 61st ultramarathon. Giddyup.

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