I’m traveling today and finally getting a deep breath to post. All in all, working on the new house, getting garden beds built and making a house a home. Working full time, coaching, parenting 3 kids with my hardworking wife and training my rear off to get ready for San Diego 100. 34 hours to the start. Here’s a little look back at my spring.
March: Gorge Waterfalls 50k
After recovering and building mileage back up after Bandera 100k in January, I decided to stay close to home the beginning half of the spring and run local. A return to Rainshadow Running’s Gorge Waterfalls 50k was in order. This is such a beautiful race James puts on. Not only do you get a awesome sampling of the heart of the waterfalls that the Columbia River Gorge has to offer, it also boasts a deep field for a “low-key” race, great micro brews, bluegrass, and handmade pizzas at the finish line. Not to mention the weather was off-the-hook-stellar. 70s and bluebird skies. Unheard of this time of the year in the Gorge.
I went out easy with Patagonia teammate Ty Draney, who was coming from only snowshoeing and running in sub 20 degree snowy weather since the fall in Wyoming. 70s was feeling mighty hot for Ty and he slowed around 10 miles in, so I took it as an opportunity to pick up the pace a bit.
When we got to the out and back road section toward the turnaround, I had pretty good legs and picked a couple of guys off. I could see Hal Koerner ahead of me a minute or so and at the turnaround as I met Hal, he jokingly said, “What’d you do, turn into some kind of road runner?!” Ha. I yelled over my shoulder, “I’m coming to get you Koerner!” I grabbed my poker ship out of the bucket at the turnaround and soon popped off the trail, dropped my chip to a volunteer and took off down the road with the short term goal of reeling in GQ (aka Hal).
Hal doesn’t go down easy, so I put my head down and tried to hold a sub 6:30 pace. I had been doing some good long tempo workout and was even able to throw a 5:58 mile split in on the road. I gained ground, but he was still 30 seconds up when we hit the singletrack again. After a few short climbs and windy turns I finally caught him. Usually I can’t keep up with GQ in a 50k, but he’d been fighting a foot thing again. I feel for him, I hate when you’re fighting little stuff. I’ve had both PF and Morton’s Neuroma over the years. Not a fun thing to be dealing with. After catching Hal, I just kept rolling and soon picked off another guy. I ended up moving from 12th to 6th by the finish and taking the Master’s win. Great trainer and good to hang out at the finish with Stephanie Howe, Zach, Hal, Ty, and Ian Sharman — whom I’ve trained quite a few long runs this spring with before he moved back to the Bay Area.
Capped the Easter weekend off by staying at the Hood River Hotel with the family and hanging with my wife and kids in Hood River. Such a cool town and a gorgeous weekend to be enjoying the shorts weather.
April: Patagonia Design Offsite, Rolled Ankle and Ultraspire Retreat
The week after Gorge, I headed to Portland for a design offsite with Patagonia to check out the Spring ‘14 line and talk design ideas for the future. It was a great 2-day session at the Ace Hotel geeking out on gear and hanging with the Patagonia design team and some of the Ultrarunning Team. Awesome and productive. I truly love supporting this responsible company.
After the design offsite, the plan was to train right up to Peterson Ridge Rumble 40 Miler in Sisters, OR and do a mini 4 or 5 day taper and use it as a build up for Ice Age 50 in May in Wisconsin. 2-days before the race, I was cruising in my neighborhood park and was cruising on a buff section of trail while scouting a 1 mile trail loop for my kids to run (complete with quarter miles markers), when BAM stepped on the only rock on the trail while gawking and rolled my right ankle all the way to the side. I immediately hopped on one foot and knew it was a bad one — one that makes you sit down until your foot stops trembling. Sucked. I walked on it for about 10 minutes and it was ballooning. So, ice-backward treadmill hiking rehab regimen immediately, no Rumble 40. So it goes.
I have a pretty good rolled ankle rehab program, so I got to work on my ice-treadmill routine and had Mark DeJohn do some light work on it. 2 days after I walked 4 miles with no pain (gently), biked 5 days in a row, so no “endurance” days off and by 6 days, I was lightly jogging on a taped and still swollen ankle.
That Thursday (day 5) I was flying to St. George, UT for a design and testing retreat for Ultraspire in Zion National Park. I spent Friday hiking and jogging 8 miles, super mellow, and exploring a dome and a canyon with Speedgoat Karl. He’d just come off racing Lake Sonoma 50 miler Saturday before. Good to hang with the old goat as usual. We always have good times. Ankle was still visually swollen and purple below the ankle bone.
Day 2 I was able to run 3 times (morning, noon, and evening) — all 4 milers for 12 miles total. Ankle was coming around. I kept compression on it when not running and by Sunday Karl, Ashley Nordell, Scott Jaime and I ran an easy 15 miler to check out an arch. Ankle was fine on everything. Still had to go gentle on the downs, but swelling was lots better after all the running on it to flush out the fluid and bruising was gone.
After getting back, I kept training hard at Smith Rock to get ready for Ice Age 50.
May: Ice Age 50 Miler, The EVERlong, and Every Day May
May was a big month: peak training month, Ice Age 50 Miler, Patagonia Footwear meetings and my self-imposed training regimen of no running days off in may…”Every Day May.”
Second weekend in May I flew to Wisconsin with teammate Denise Bourassa and her husband Ken. Fun to hang with them for the race weekend. We had a cloudy and rainy weekend, but got a good couple of last shakeout runs in before the race.
The race went well. Super fast field this year. The race director, Jeff, mentioned it was the fastest top 10 race in the race’s 30+ year history. I had been doing some good, long tempo workouts all spring and they came into play on race day. The first 9 miles I was hitting 6:45-7:15 pace on the rolling XC ski trails in Kettle Moraine Forest and was in 14th place. I settled in and just concentrated on nutrition and turnover and good form. This course consists of a loop, then two out and backs (turnarounds at 26 miles and 40 miles). A great place to see competition and see how your doing in the pack.
At the first turn I was in 12th and the guys up front were running well (Josh Brimhall, Zach Bitter, and David Riddle). They looked strong when we passed on the trail. I picked off a few more guys on my way out to the next turnaround and by the turnaround at 40 miles, I had moved up to 9th place. About 2 minutes out of the turnaround, I met the first place woman, Cassie Scallon (on course record pace). I was kind of in a funky headspace here and that snapped me out of it. Funny how a little assault on the male ego can light a fire. I was quickly running a minute a mile faster and picking off a guy in front of me. I hammered it in and finished 8th place in 6:36 and good enough for the Master’s win. (Cassie ended smashing the 15 year old women’s course record by 18 minutes! A stellar 6:46…watch out for her.)
After the race, I jumped a plane to Grand Rapids, MI for the annual Patagonia Footwear meetings. It was an awesome week of geeky running shoe talk and trail running with The Dirty Herd and West Michigan Trail Runners, as well as Gazelle Sports. Highly recommend stopping in their shop if you’re in town. Met some great folks in Michigan and ran some great trails.
It was also a chance to show the Sales Reps the shoe I’ve been helping Patagonia develop the past 8 months. The EVERlong — a stellar trail shoe coming from Patagonia in Spring ‘14. It’s good. I’m stoked. It’s been my only shoe since last fall. I’ve run in NOTHING else. And anyone that knows me (yep, you know what I mean FootZone folks), this is not normal.
So, now I’m tapered and ready to roll at San Diego inside of 48 hours. Every Day May is complete (35 straight running days, capping off my final week of peak training with 96 miles and almost 15,000 feet of climbing). I feel ready — mentally, physically, and spiritually. I’m stoked to come back to this race. Great course, great volunteers and a great event. Love supporting it. Looks like it’s gonna be sunny and hot in the mountains on race day. I’ve done 5 sauna sessions the past 2 weeks. Let’s do this. Giddyup.