Shoes of a Finisher
By Mark Vincent February 2014
The longest journey begins with a single step. Little did Mark Vincent, General Manager of Timberline Lodge, know when he blurted out his goal to improve his health at an executive retreat in 2008 that his journey would end by crossing the finish line of the Antarctica Marathon last March.
Mark is now a member of the “7 Continent Finishers Club,” one of the elite athletes who completed seven marathons on each of the world’s seven continents. “Antarctica was always the prize,” said Vincent, “but I knew I had to work up to it.”
“Working up” meant adding marathons in Rome, Marrakesh, Buenos Aires, Tokyo, and Sydney to the NYC Marathon he’d completed in 2007. Antarctica was by far the most grueling, its steep, muddy terrain laced with ice and snow even in summer. The shoes on his feet? Montrail’s Mountain Masochist II. Vincent first tried Montrails while training on Mount Hood. “You’re running over patches of snow and through streams from the glacial run off. The shoes gripped in the snow and were waterproof in the wet areas. I thought they would be perfect for the varied conditions in Antarctica.”
And perfect they were, helping Mark to endure mile after punishing mile. “I was getting a little rummy toward the end,” he said, “but I said to myself, there’s no way I’m not going to finish this thing—not after eight years of work and waiting.” As for his shoes: “After I got them cleaned up they were still pretty new—I’m still running in them. I’m not that into shoes, but they were great. Lightweight, waterproof—I didn’t get one blister!”
We think Mark and his shoes are pretty amazing.
Ice Age Trail 50 Preview
By Ice Age Race Director Jeff Mallach – May 8th 2014
The Ice Age Trail 50 has been held on the second Saturday in May every year since 1982, making it one of the longest running 50-mile races in the country. The event was founded by Badgerland Striders running club members Glenn Wargolet and ultrarunner Tom Ulik. At the time, there were very few ultras to model the race after, so Glenn’s vision – formulated over a few beers at a Milwaukee tavern – was to mark a one-mile loop in a nearby county park and have participants run the course 50 times.
Tom had a better idea. He invited Glenn for a run on the single-track trails of the Southern Kettle Moraine Forest, about an hour southwest of Milwaukee. Captivated by the difficulty and beauty of the trail system there, Glenn dropped the idea for a park run and the stage was set for the Midwest’s first ever 50-mile trail race.
The course followed the National Scenic Ice Age Trail, so the event was named in its honor.
The first IAT50 attracted 99 runners. The race grew quickly in the ensuing years, attracting ultrarunners from around the country interested in testing themselves against each other, the twisting and technical single-track and relentless hills of the Kettle Moraine Forest and Wisconsin’s unpredictable Spring weather. By the late 1980s, Ice Age was the third largest ultra of any distance in the United States – and Andy Jones, one of the early stars of ultrarunning, drew even more attention to the race when he ran the course in a blazing fast 5:53:21 on a hot day in 1987. His record still stands today.
The Ice Age course has been tweaked over the years and is generally more runnable than it was 30 years ago, due to changes to the Nordic trail made by the park service and Ice Age Alliance volunteers, who have straightened, added steps to and often plucked rocks out of the Ice Age Trail (shame on them!). Still, the course features about 7,000 feet of elevation change and has been described as “deceptively difficult” by more than a few ultrarunners.
The wider Nordic loop – the first nine mile section of the course — tempts runners to accelerate their pace early on. It also gives spectators something to watch as the leaders re-enter the Start area about an hour after the race start. Runners then merge with the Ice Age Trail and run two out-and-backs on largely single-track trail, finishing a short time later in the Start/Finish area, where friends and family, a BBQ lunch, local microbrews and a live band are waiting for them.
In 2000, Ice Age added a 50k race – and a Half Marathon in 2011.
Ice Age became part of the Montrail Ultra Cup Series in 2010. The series has bolstered the race’s reputation as a competitive event, helping to draw runners from around the country and the world. The 2014 edition of the IAT50 will include runners from 31 states, two Canadian provinces and three foreign countries.
Last year was arguably the fastest field in the history of the 50-mile race. David Riddle became only the fifth runner in 32 years to finish under six hours, coming within two minutes of Andy Jones’ CR. And Cassie Scallon – whose ran her first 50k and 50 mile races at Ice Age – shattered the 18-year old women’s course record by more than 18 minutes, earning her the “best CR-breaking” performance of 2013, according to Ultrarunning magazine.
This year’s field will be even deeper – led by Zach Bitter, 2012 IAT50 champion, recent winner of the US 100K championship and North American record holder in the 100-mile and 200k distances, Matt Flaherty, who won the American River 50 and Tussey Mountainback in 2013, finished fourth at Ice Age and just ran a 2:22 at the Boston Marathon. Montrail-runner Max King is coming off a 7th place finish at Lake Sonoma 50 miler and doesn’t want one of those Western States spot to elude him again. Madison runner Brian Condon is also looking to finish high, after spending a lot of time on the Ice Age Trail since his second place finish at last year’s IAT50. Joe Uhan, 16th at the 2012 Western States and sixth overall at last year’s Where’s Waldo, Iain Ridgway from the UK, who finished 4th at JFK and won the Flatrock 50k. Matthew Laye, who ran a 13:17 at this year’s Rocky Raccoon 100 will also be running to capture one of the three automatic entries into this year’s WS100, as will Michael Owen (2nd at Burning River 100 and recent champion of the Terrapin Mountain 50k), 2011 IAT50 winner Shaun Pope, Kalib Wilkinson (6th Mad City, 1st Sean O’Brien 50k and 4th place finisher at last year’s White River 50M) and Jason Wolfe. Veteran runner Ian Torrence will be at Ice Age this year, as will ultra-newcomer Michael Borst, who, at age 20, has already won five of the eight ultras he’s entered and placed second in the other three. Michael will be pushed by 17-year old wunderkind Ford Smith from Texas, who ran Bandera in 9:21. Others to watch include C. Fred Josyln, a 2:18 marathoner who is making his ultra debut at Ice Age, Christopher Wehan, Brian Tinder, Adam Condit and Kelly Agnew. The women’s field is also stacked. At the top is Kaci Lickteig, who has never finished below third in any of the ultras she’s run and who took #7 overall at this year’s Rocky Raccoon 100M, Larisa Dannis (1st LBL, 4th at Rocky, 1st at Vermont 100M and 2nd at Zion 100M), Stephanie Weigel, winner of six ultras (1st Zion 100K & 2nd Ray Miller 50M) and runners Caroline Boller, Maddy Hirbit and Kerrie Wlad.
In the 50k race, Scott Gall will be returning to break the 3:14 CR (he came within four minutes two years ago) — and 2010 IAT 50M winner Meghan Arbogast will be running to top her 4:04 third-place overall 50K performance in 2013.
The 2014 50-mile field will also include seven runners who have completed more than 20 IAT50 races.
Lake Sonoma 50 Miler
By John Medinger – April 11th 2014
Several years ago when Lisa and I moved from the Bay Area up to Sonoma County’s wine country, several of our running pals started pressing us to organize a local ultra. At this point I had previously been Race Director of the Miwok 100K, was still directing the Quad Dipsea, and had been on the Western States Board of Trustees for nearly 20 years.
Greg Carter and I started measuring the various trails at Lake Sonoma with this in mind. There were a couple of decent staging areas, though they both lacked any facilities. We figured out a route that was almost exactly 25 miles and so laid out nicely for an out-and-back 50 miler. The problem we couldn’t get past was one rugged 12-mile stretch of trail with no vehicular access. I just couldn’t in good conscience ask runners to go that far at the end of 50 miles in potentially hot weather without aid.
We were a bit flummoxed until another long-time ultra veteran, Phil Penna, suggested bringing in aid by boat. Even boat access is limited, but we found a boat-in campsite that was only about 1/4 mile detour off the main trail. There might possibly be another race somewhere that boats in an aid station, but this was certainly a new concept to me! And so, in 2008, a race was born.
We started out modestly, holding the number of entrants to 100 that first year. Our weather fears were realized as a spring heat wave hit and temperatures climbed into the low 90s, about 20 degrees warmer than normal. Even in California, nobody is really prepared for racing in that kind of heat in April.
Despite the tough conditions, runners seemed to enjoy the route, which is almost all single-track and persistently hilly. Word of mouth is the best source of advertising, and the word was out.
In 2012, Lake Sonoma became part of the Montrail Ultra Cup series and we switched the first 2.4 miles to a backcountry road so we could take more runners. (The previous route was single track after about 100 yards of fire road, which created a bit of a bottleneck even with only 150 runners.)
Prior to being part of the Ultra Cup, Lake Sonoma had attracted several elite athletes each year, but now it was becoming the place to be. Top runners like to compete, and once a critical mass was reached, it seemed like everyone wanted to run. The course, with more than 10,000 feet of climbing, is fairly difficult but also pretty runnable with only three significant climbs and very little technical trail. “It’s just about the right amount of hard,” Dave Mackey said after last year’s race.
Combined with a pre-race dinner, a day-after wine tasting and the opportunity for a few days in wine country in the spring, the race has evolved into a bit of a destination event.
The race at the front has astounding depth and will possibly be even more intense this year. On the men’s side, defending champion Sage Canaday will be tested by the likes of 2013 Ultra Runner of the Year Rob Krar, two-time Western States champ Timothy Olson, Chuckanut winner Max King, JFK 50 champ Zach Miller, Way Too Cool winner Chris Vargo, Grand Slam record holder Ian Sharman, Bandera 100K winner Jorge Maravilla, veteran aces like Nick Clark, Jason Schlarb, Galen Burrell, Gary Gellin, Ian Torrence, and Joe Uhan, and relative newcomers like Alex Varner, David Laney, Ryan Ghelfi, Dan Kraft, Jacob Rydman and Mario Mendoza.
The women’s field is equally impressive with defending champion Cassie Scallon, 2013 Ultra Runner of the Year Michele Yates, 2012 winner Joelle Vaught, UTMB winner Rory Bosio, JFK 50 winner Emily Harrison, and Speedgoat winner Stephanie Howe. Relative newcomers like Jodee Adams-Moore, Kaci Lickteig, and Alicia Shay have big speed and might push their way to the front. Tina Lewis, Angela Shartel, Sally McRae, Jen Pfeifer, Sandi Nypaver and Jenny Capel are all used to winning races and could well challenge too.
Runners in the middle and back of the pack get to see the leaders on the out-and-back course and enjoy watching the battle unfold. “It’s really amazing to see just how fast the leaders are going,” said Scott Laberge, “though it’s a bit depressing to have run 20 miles pretty well and find myself 10 miles behind.”
Rocky Raccoon Race Preview
By Sean O’Brien – January 30th 2014
When Jorge Maravilla crossed the line in first place at the first Montrail Ultra Cup race of 2014, he knew he had punched his ticket to Western States. He had travelled from the Marin Headlands with Squaw on his mind. The Ultra Cup has been affording top runners every year a way to get into Western States 100 despite its Forest Service mandated runner cap. This weekend alone, with both the Rocky Raccoon 100 mile and the Sean O’Brien 50 mile events, there could be up to 12 entries added to the list of runners headed to Squaw.
The Bandera 100k was the first event in the Ultra Cup and has been in the series for several years now. They’re close to reaching capacity at 1,000 total runners and Race Director Joe Prusaitis notes that Montrail has had a great influence on the increase in participants.
The second race in the series takes place in Texas as well. It also shares the same stellar Race Director. The Rocky Raccoon 100 miler takes place in Huntsville, Texas on February 1, 2014 and will host almost 600 runners! The race this year will also be the USA 100mi Trail Championship for 2014.
The third race of the 2014 Montrail Ultra Cup is a new race in Southern California called the Sean O’Brien 50 Miler. It will also start on February 1, 2014, but in the deceptively rugged Santa Monica Mountains. Over 200 runners will toe the line of the 50 mile event. Race Director Keira Henninger is not new to the racing scene; she previously hosted an Ultra Cup event at her Leona Divide Trail race near Lake Hughes, California. This picturesque yet difficult course in Malibu, California has over 11,000 total feet of elevation gain and is sure to challenge every runner out there!
Run Rabbit Run
Steamboat Springs, Colorado will be alive this weekend with TWO great races. This year marks the sixth running of the Run Rabbit Run 50 mile event and the first running of the 100 mile event. It also is the second race in the Montrail Ultra Cup series, which began with Waldo 100k in August (results and standings can be found here). With Race Director Fred Abramowitz at the helm (the official DH…Designated Hugger), these races are destined to be a fun and entertaining event, if you have any questions about the great humor and fun involved in this race, please visit the Runner Rules here. Some highlights –
- The clock runs until you hug the Designated Hugger (DH).
- MULING – HARES – FUHGETTABOUTIT. And, while we’re not setting any hard and fast rules about it for Hares, that includes receiving physical assistance from other runners. You are running as an individual – this is not bicycle racing.
- You must complete the course on foot, with no assistance from vehicles, bicycles or animals. No scooters, skateboards or roller skates either. Or hot air balloons.
- Generally, no cheating. If you wonder if what you are doing is cheating, it probably is.
What isn’t funny business is the prize money. A couple events are popping up around the country with the idea that ultrarunners deserve actual cash purses! While Run Rabbit Run didn’t quite reach its goal of a $100k prize purse this year, the $40k is not a shabby start. The following is a breakdown of the 100 mile prize purse –
1st Place Male $10000 2nd Place Male $3500 3rd Place Male $2000 4th Place Male $1500 5th Place Male $1000 Masters Premium (over 40) $1000 (min 4 starters)
1st Place Female $10000 2nd Place Female $3500 3rd Place Female $2000 4th Place Female $1500 5th Place Female $1000 Masters Premium (over 40) $1000 (minimum 4 starters)
1st Place Male $300 2nd Place Male $200 3rd Place Male $150 1st Place M/over 40 $150 1st Place M/over 50 $150 Fastest Flatlander /M $100
1st Place Female $300 2nd Place Female $200 3rd Place Female $150 1st Place F/over 40 $150 1st Place F/over 50 $150 Fastest Flatlander /F $100
Along with the prize money, 100 milers can compete for those coveted spots in Western States 100 in 2013. The top two 50 milers have Western States slots to run for as well! What Fred and the rest of the RRR team is doing is really pushing a sport that’s growing leaps and bounds right now and Montrail is proud to be a part of such an exciting time.
This year’s race will be covered by Ultralive.net. This includes all race distances and all classifications. Please visit the Run Rabbit Run website to follow all the action live – (http://runrabbitrunsteamboat.com/athlete-tracking)
Tahoe Rim Trail 100 Race Report – Aug 1st 2012
|The coolest belt buckle I’ve earned thus far|
The short version: I finally won a 100 miler.
The long version: When a monkey climbs down off your back he leaves a mark.
In learning about the race it was obvious the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 Miler is a race with top notch organization behind it. The only grip I have is trying to figure out how much vertical gain there was before-hand. Most people in the know landed on 20,000 – 24,000 feet of uphill. I haven’t run a 100 miler with this little vertical gain yet, and all accounts of the trail was that it was buttery smooth single-track. To be completely honest – this scared me. I don’t see myself as much of a leg speed guy and the proposition of actually running 100 miles was daunting.
Although I really tried not to, I did peruse the start list. I figured one time Montrail Ultra Cup winner Victor Ballesteros was the likely favorite, having obvious talent and having run the race before. Canadian, and 2009 Chuckanut 50km Champ Aaron Heidt – who has short distance speed I can only dream about – also made my short list. The week before the race my buddy Justin txt’s me to “Watch out for my buddy Jon Robinson. I’ve been running with him lately and he’s strong. He’ll be in the mix for sure”. And it’s always good measure to add a random four or five mental spots for California runners you’ve never heard.
|The Start Line at Spooner Lake – Photo: Travis Liles|
Saturday, July 21st we lined up in the dark at Sooner lake and were off. The course is a beautiful 50 mile route, that you run twice. It has three lollipop loops from the stem, which is the Tahoe Rim Trail. Although I had no idea who it was at the time, Seattle’s Jon Robinson shot off the front and quickly disappeared. I mean gone. I have learned a few things in my days of endurance racing, and one of them is to simply run your own race. I just put him out of my mind and figured if he has that kind of day more power to him. I’ll heartily congratulate him at the finish.
The front pack was a quick one, we introduced ourselves, chatted and moved at a good sustainable pace. I was surprised Aaron was missing from our numbers. I figured he was really trying to play it smart. Through the first aid station at mile six, Hobart, I was in 3rd having pulled a bit ahead of the pack on the climb up to it. At this point everything felt easy, I was climbing well, and my torn labrum was behaving. I had agravated this long standing hip injury on my last big week of training (120 miles of Wasatch-awesome). It was my biggest concern going into the race.
My last two 100 milers have been disasters, with cratering lows of epic proportions. So this race I was game to try a few new tactics. Chief among them was LESS caffeine.. yes, less. Can you believe it? I am genetically very sensitive to caffeine, and it’s something I just have to respect. It was a key factor in my suffering adrenal fatigue through the fall and winter. It’s taken a lot of research and working with some very smart people to figure it all out. I won’t lie, it’s been a long and disappointing road, but this race shows I’ve made some marked improvement.
Aaron caught up to me on the first climb out of the Red House loop. He said, “I couldn’t have run any slower.” I could have. We then ran out to the Diamond Peak loop together. Chatting like school girls made the 10 mile loop fly by. It felt so effortless and easy. To finish the loop the course goes straight up some sandy, loose black diamond slopes. Aaron pulled ahead as I stopped to take care of some business. As I caught him near the top of the steep 1,800 foot climb we could see Jon. I didn’t feel over taxed so this was all very promising.
|Aaron Heidt and I running into Diamond Peak the 1st time. Photo Travis Liles|
On our way back to the start/finish from Diamond Peak we passed back through the Tunnel Creek aid station for our third time of the race. With the time of day change and entering the aid station fast and from a new direction I was so confused as to where I was. I just completely didn’t recognize the aid station until I was a few miles out. Leaving that aid station I yelled, “let’s go Aaron!”. I wanted company for this climb, but he didn’t respond. I figured he might have already left, so I picked up the pace a bit to catch him. I was feeling very good and climbing well. I soon caught Seattle’s best, Jon Robinson. We ran together for a few minutes then he dropped back to run his own pace and let his stomach settle. This was probably mile 37 or so. I caught a glimpse of Aaron behind me in the switch backs and realized I was in first place.
Now I had to run with a bit of concern that I might get caught. I played mental games to prepare for this. I just figured at some point it would happen, and I didn’t want it to mentally deflate me when it did. But, I was up for the challenge of seeing if I could stay in front for the next 63 miles. I finished the first 50 mile loop in 8hours 38 minutes. The winner of the 50 mile race came up to me and told me that I had run just two minutes slower than his winning time.
It was nice to see Ellen and her boyfriend Matt had come out to cheer and help crew. There was just so much good energy oozing out of that place I didn’t want to leave. I sat for a couple minutes and made sure I had everything I needed before departure.
The one disadvantage to this course being run twice, with 50km and 50 milers on course as well, is the dust factor. I have a bit of asthma, and as I headed out on loop two I started to notice the wheeze. I think I’ll spare you the blow by blow and say I ran paranoid the rest of the next 50 miles. I was able to avoid the depths of an energy crash, but my pace and motivation waned a bit more than I should have allowed. For the last 20 miles from Diamond Peak I employed 2004 Hardrock Champion Paul Sweeney to “safety run” me home. Paul’s perspective was great as I closed in on my first 100 mile victory. It was basically “soak it in, and enjoy it”. The unspoken understanding that winning a 100 miler is special, and they don’t come easy, or often (for most of us).
I was on course record pace through 50 miles, but with my lead growing I let off the gas a bit here and there. Something I’ll try to fix for my next 100. We are lucky to get to run these races. I mean, seriously – we run 100 miles in one shot. So my attitude from here on out has to be – leave the best damn time you can, every time.
Thank you Miriam, Darryl, Paul, Ellen and Matt for all your amazing support out there. I couldn’t have done it without you.
|Getting the coolest belt buckle ever. Photo: Travis Liles|
Dakota & Max Hope to Break Grand Canyon R2R2R Record – 4/21/2012
Monday April 23, Max King and Dakota Jones hope to break Dakota’s R2R2R Grand Canyon, AZ record of 6h53min38s. “The rim to rim to rim, double crossing, out-n-back, or simply r2r2r is a substantial overnight hike for most people, who must already possess a level of fitness the average American will likely never attain. To run the r2r2r in a day takes the adventure to a new level, a goal that has been plunked into most trail runners’ bucket lists.” Continue reading Nov 2011 article featuring Dakota’s first record on Inside Trail Racing
Dakota Jones reported on his Blog as follows: 1.) Nobody goes into it rested. Everybody just runs the Grand Canyon as a training run, or in between races, or when getting back into shape. Nobody trains and tapers specifically for the Grand Canyon. 2.) You’re going to blow up on the ascent back to the South Rim. Stop deluding yourself – it’s going to happen. You can’t avoid it. However, I will stick my neck out and say that a fit and rested runner who finds the Canyon in good condition could significantly lower the time. My prediction is that within five years the men’s record will be under six hours. Go ahead – call me out on that. It will happen.” Jones also reported the following splits: River(49m), North Rim(3h22m), River(5h12m), South Rim(6h53m38s). Read the full Nov 2011 Grand Canyon report here.
Dakota & Joelle Break Course Records at Lake Sonoma 50 – 4/16/2012
250 runners entered this year’s Lake Sonoma 50. In muddy conditions with 12+ ‘stream’ crossings (some waist deep!) Dakota Jones and Joelle Vaught conquered all. Dakota placed 1st with a Course Record by 50 minutes, 6h17min. Joelle Vaught also placed 1st female with a Course Record time of 7h52m. While Erik Skaden and VP of Montrail, Topher Gaylord both took 17th place.
On Saturday, seven men broke Hal Koerner’s course record at the Lake Sonoma 50 Mile; however, only one owns the new course record – Montrail’s Dakota Jones. Not only did Dakota set a new course record by more than 50 minutes, he won by nearly 20 minutes in a time of 6:17:27. In the interview, Dakota discusses his race, his transition to working with a coach, and what he’ll be focusing on in the next couple months… among many topics.
Joelle Vaught led from start to finish, seemingly smiling the entire way. She reported slowing late in the race, but that didn’t stop her from taking more than half an hour off the course record in finishing in 7:52:44 (Old record: Devon Crosby-Helms ’10 8:26:53). She ran away from an amazingly talented field of women’s ultrarunners and bested Devon Crosby-Helms’ course record by more than half an hour at the 2012 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile. She shares how her race played out, her ill-advised race nutrition plan, and what races she might be running this season.
Will Dakota Jones Break the Zion Traverse Record? – 3/29/2012
The Trans-Zion Trek (sometimes also called the “Zion Traverse”) is a 48-mile route across Zion National Park in Southwestern Utah. It runs from Lee Pass in the Kolob Canyons section of the park, to the East Entrance Trailhead, though stunning and diverse high desert landscape. The route is typically done as a 5-day backpacking trip.
Video showing parts of the Zion Traverse with Matt Hart’s Running Camp. Day 3 of Zion Vitamin D Camp we ran the across the whole park. 50 miles of awesome.
The 2012 running team consists of the top trail runners and ultrarunners from across North America. With nearly the entire athlete roster returning and a packed 2012 racing schedule, the team is looking to build on the successes of the 2011 season.
In 2011, Montrail athletes had several notable wins and achievements including:
- Ultrarunning Magazine’s Ultrarunner of the Year, Ellie Greenwood
- The Rim to Rim to Rim record at the Grand Canyon, Dakota Jones
- Twelve first places finishes and two second place finishes in 18 total started races including three course records, Max King
- Five major first place finishes with two course records at Chuckanut 50 miler and DRTE 100, Geoff Roes
- Three consecutive wins – Way Too Cool 50k, Silver State 50/50 and Pocatello 50, Joelle Vaught
- Three consecutive wins – Belmonte 25k, Bull Run 50 Miler and Bear Mountain 50 Miler, Annette Bednosky
For the 2012 season there are 17 athletes on the roster, competing in a total of 100 races in 23 states and 10 countries. Top runners King, Roes, Jones, Greenwood and Megan Lizotte are back and, along with the rest of the Montrail Team, are ready to dominate the race-packed 2012 season. Highlights already in the books for 2012 include King and Lizotte starting the year at the Olympic Marathon Trials (King with a new PR), Roes with a first place finish in the foot race of the Iditarod Trail Invitational in Alaska and first (with a course record) and third place finishes by Greenwood and Vaught in the Chuckanut 50k.
Follow the results as Team Montrail travels the world from the Canary Islands in Spain for the Transvulcania Marathon (Jones & Roes), to France for the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (Greenwood & Gary Robbins), to Durban South Africa for the Comrades Marathon (Greenwood & Amy Sproston), to Katowice, Poland for the IAU World 24 Hour Championships (Ryne Melcher) and to Malaysia for the Kinabalu Mountain Race (King).
The racing doesn’t just take place overseas, Montrail athletes will race across the U.S. in the Ultra Cup Series – Lake Sonoma 50 and Leona Divide in California, the Ice Age 50 in Wisconsin and then back to California for the Western States 100. In early April, Jones is going for a speed record of the Zion Traverse, King is racing the Speedgoat 50k this summer in Utah, and Vaught, Greenwood, King & Roes are racing the Ultra Race of Champions in Virginia and the TNF Endurance Challenge 50 Miler at the end of the year just to name a few.
In addition to the packed race schedule this season, Team Montrail will be working in collaboration with Mountain Hardwear product designers to develop a new race kit for seasons ahead. Having some of the best trail runners in the county share their needs and test new products and technologies results in feedback that is invaluable to new product development. 2012 Team Montrail
Amy Sproston – Portland, OR Annette Bednosky – Jefferson, NC Dakota Jones – Ft. Collins, CO Ellie Greenwood – Banff, AB Erik Skaden – Sacramento, CA Gary Robbins – Vancouver, BC Geoff Roes – Nederland, CO Jill Perry – Manlius, NY Joelle Vaught – Boise, ID Luanne Park – Redding, CA Luis Escobar – Santa Maria, CA Matt Hart – Salt Lake City, UT Max King – Bend, OR Megan Lizotte – Basalt, CO Ryan Burch – Ft. Collins, CO Ryne Melcher – Vancouver, BC Sean Meissner – Sisters, OR
As many of you already know, Chuckanut 50k this past weekend didn’t go quite as planned for me. It was unfortunate that a turn didn’t get marked in time for when I passed through and as much as I wish things like that didn’t happen, they do in trail races where course marking and coordination are a logistical nightmare for RD’s. They do their best to get it correct and I know they feel terrible when someone, anyone, goes off course in their race.
Up until that fateful misstep I was having a heck of a race though and that’s what I’m happy about. If there was one thing that I wished that I had had it would have been pants. Yup, I was freezing from the waist down. I could get a little warm going uphill but anything flat or when it was snowing or raining it was pretty miserable. I just needed some tights.
All the gear worked out perfectly though. I wore my Barn Red Rogue Racers which worked for everything but the muddiest sections of the course. I had my warm Swiftwick Armwarmers on under a long sleeve Wicked Lite shirt with my Way2Cool singlet on over the top. The new Race Vest has been working great for 50ks and training runs. It’s been the best way I’ve found to carry water, food, and anything else I’m going to need on the trail. Below is a little video with a review I did of the pack in Sierre-Zinal. I blew right through every aid station in the race just by carrying 40oz of water and the gels I would need.
Phenomenal race by Ellie and Joelle too. Nice work this weekend Ellie. When you passed me I might as well have been walking. She crushed the last 9 miles.
Coming up next is the Gorge Waterfalls 50k this weekend. I was kind of hoping for a nice easy long run but then guys like Ian Sharman, Erik Skaggs, and Yassine Diboun signed up. They’re going to make me run an honest race I feel like. I’m hoping to stay on course this time and if I learned anything from last weekend, I’m wearing pants. The Effusion Tights from Mountain Hardwear have been my go-to tights of choice lately, a little water and wind protection where I need it and very low movement restriction for going fast.
For the second year in a row, Ellie Greenwood set a women’s course record en route to winning the Chuckanut 50k. In the following interview, find out how she was pushed by Jodee Adams-Moore this year, how she approached poor footing, and what it took to run a course record in less than ideal conditions. For more about Ellie’s 2011 race and her training this winter watch our pre-race interview with her.
Ellie Greenwood’s Race Report The week prior to Chuckanut I was definitely keen to shoot for a new CR. I was somewhat confident my training had gone well as I had managed to get in decent mileage and was only lacking back-to-back long runs due to a new work schedule, but then back-to-back long runs really aren’t needed for a ‘fast’ 50km like Chuckanut. I had also worked well on my hill running and was excited to see if that 15% on the treadmill had paid off! However, a few days prior to the race the weather report sounded a lot like I was bringing the Alberta weather with me – snow up high and more forecast, this was slightly disappointing as I figured it would slow the course and thus a CR would not be in the cards. No matter, all runners would be in the same situation and as ultra trail runners we all know you just have to take what the weather throws at you. Read Ellie’s full race report Knuckling Down, Sucking It Up.
Joelle Vaught’s Race Report The course starts with 10k of quite flat paved and gravel trail which means it is going to be fast. I rarely run flat so I knew this would be a challenge for me. I settled in to a nice pace with Jenn Shelton and Toshi also chatting with Brett Rivers and Pam Smith for a bit. I was thankful for the trail to start climbing but unfortunately my legs were feeling as strong as I had hoped. Continue reading the Chuckanut race report on Joelle’s blog, Pigtails and Montrails.
Bellingham Herald photo gallery.
Congrats to Geoff Roes who finished the 2012 Iditarod Trail Invitational, a 350-mile race across the Alaska backcountry, placing first in the foot division and fourth overall. Roes posted a full race report on Monday with photos and detailed daily reports that convey the both the extremity and the sense of accomplishment of this undertaking.
Going into the Iditarod Trail Invitational, my primary focus was on savoring and embracing whatever experience the trail threw my way. My secondary focus was to do whatever it took to make it the full 350 miles to the finish in McGrath. In two previous attempts (‘ 08 and ‘09), I had dropped out, not having made it beyond mile 150. This time around I really wanted to start much slower, and speed up only if I was feeling good later in the race. Therefore, I was actually relieved the day before the race when looking at a weather forecast brought up statements like, “blizzard warning” and “10 to 15 inches of new snow.” I figured it couldn’t be that bad, and anything that helped me stick to my plan of starting slow would be a good thing.
Continue reading Geoff’s Iditarod Trail Invitational Race report starting with Day 1.
I went into Orcas not having any expectations. I thought I could have a solid run, or I could be tired, but didn’t think at all about goals or strategy. The gun went off and I set out with the intention to run hard, but about a mile into it on Saturday, I pulled back for reasons that are kind of hard to explain. I just had zero desire to have a stressful day, and opted for a long hard effort rather than race. It took me about a third of the race to really get out of my “I would rather extract my toenails than race today” funk as I trudged up hills I would typically run in training, but really did enjoy most of the middle miles and end. Continue reading.
I’m glad that’s over. Every four years I go through a long stressful buildup to what I consider to be the most important race I’ll have on the calendar. The Olympic Trials is just like every other race, only it’s not. No one treats it the same, and as hard as I try, my mind just won’t let me treat it the same as every other race. I’ll try to keep this a short report but there was so much that I could tell you about leading to the Olympic Trials this January that I could write much more than you would ever care to read. No matter what people want to believe or perceive from my year of training and racing, this year and everything I did during the year and beyond have been about maximizing my potential at the Trials. I took things a little differently, sure (see my article in Running Times for more on this), but for me it was the way I needed to do it. Multiple races in a weekend for strength and durability, hills and mountains for endurance and strength, core work (pretty obvious), keeping busy with work to keep my mind occupied, etc. Training went very well this year as evidenced by other race results, including a World Championship win. I stayed healthy too. I told myself going into this year that I wouldn’t be one of those guys that just trains like mad because it’s an Olympic year and fry myself. I felt like I was doing pretty well with that and had a plan leading up to the Trials to prevent that. But then just as I was putting that plan into action I had a small set back just after Thanksgiving. My Achilles flared up out of the blue. It was just a really tight gastroc muscle and really didn’t interrupt training for more than a couple days but that felt like it was enough to derail me or send me over that edge where I never really felt quite like I did leading up to November. I’d been training in three week blocks of about 120-140 miles through the year with a down week between. My plan leading up to Jan 14 was a block of 100-120 miles followed by a block of 80-90 miles, then a two week taper. That would give my body a chance to really absorb all that training and rest a bit. That whole period felt awful. I’m speculating now that I might have been a bit over trained. As messed up mentally as I already am, that did not help. But, the Wednesday before the trials I finally had that workout I’d been looking for. It was one of those rare workouts where it just feels like you could float to a 2:10 marathon. You’re running effortlessly, with your HR down, legs churning. It was a beautiful, perfect weather, sunny, 50 degrees with no wind. Ryan Bak and I cruised through a 10:00 two mile, then cranked out 4 X 800 at 2:20-2:23 nice and relaxed. I was excited because I knew doing that workout in Bend, it would be about 5 sec/mile faster at sea level in Houston. That was reassuring and a confidence builder. I was back. Feeling like I had the fitness back and ready for a good race. I did not foresee what would happen in the race. I assumed the lead pack would go out at about 2:10 pace or slower, at least for a couple miles. I knew a fast honest race would be the best scenario for me but I didn’t mean for that honest pace to be 2:06 for the leaders and 2:08 for the second group. Honestly, that caught me a bit off guard even knowing that I had to be ready for anything. I can say “what if” all I want but 2:08 pace through the early part of the race then 2:09 pace halfway was too fast for me and unfortunately I knew it. I had to go with it though. You don’t enter the trials just trying to get in the money or make top ten, you go to get First, Second, or Third. And had I had enough strength to finish an even race I would have captured one of the three coveted spots on the team. It’s always a long shot whether you can have the race of your life on that day but if you’re ever going to have that day you’ve got to put yourself in a position even early in the race to have that once-in-a-lifetime race. So, anyway, the perfect race eluded me and I suffered the last four miles for it. I was picking up the pieces of that second group falling apart along with people coming up from behind and swallowing me up. I allowed the group to get away from me around mile 10 to back off the pace a bit because I knew better than to expect to run a 2:08. I went through half at 1:04:27. I race that pace to about 21 miles then it was all downhill after that. I wasn’t alone in my misery either. The rest of the field had obviously gone out too fast as well and were all falling apart. Guys that were more conservative were moving in to make the kill and they moved through the field without much resistance. To keep going I had to audibly tell myself to keep it up, just a couple miles, keep moving. You can check my splits here for an accurate race history and here you can see my HR profile and GPS data from my Polar RCX5. Analyzing the race, I can look at it and figure out that I would have placed a lot higher by going out more conservative and I can also speculate that I might have run a 2:11 if I had, but that’s a “what if”. So now I just have to run another one.
But first though I have some other business back on the trail and the mountains before hopping on the road again. And maybe even an appearance in the steeplechase this spring. My non-sub 8:30 PR still isn’t where I think it should be, so we’ll see. The big question is can I do that while working on my 50 mile endurance at the same time. Has that ever been done before? My guess is that I’ll get a lot of odd looks and some inane comments on Letsrun.com message boards about how I can’t do it and it won’t work. And that’s fine cus that’s just fuel for the fire. I might fail but at least I tried and I’ll prove something to myself in the process. I’ve got to throw out some well deserved thanks to my family, Dory and Micah, for putting up with travel, training, and everything that goes along with athletics. And to my sponsors Mountain Hardwear, Montrail, Hammer Nutrition, Swiftwick Socks, Polar Monitors, and Reco-Fit recovery. And good work to my teammate Megan Lund-Lizotte, and my other Mountain Running compatriots.
Now I’m in Kauai…
Becoming the first American woman to win the Sierre Zinal mountain race in Switzerland made Megan Lund-Lizotte a household name in the trail world. She is no slouch on the roads though. She is a 2x Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier and recently added 2011 USA Trail Marathon Champion to the list of her accomplishments. Runners Feed: Take us through a typical day of your life Megan Lund-Lizotte: In the summer, I usually run first thing in the morning, but Colorado winters are cold so I mostly run in the middle of the day when it’s warmer. I get up, drink a few cups of coffee, eat some toast and check my email. I then usually work on training plans for my clients (I’m an online running coach). However, if I’m meeting with clients on-site, I will do my workout beforehand so I can utilize my energy wisely and take advantage of my client’s workout as a shake-out or recovery run. Continue reading.
From the Trails to the Trials: Max King talks about his curious path to the 2012 Olympic trials marathon Just as all of the other Olympic trials marathon qualifiers started their run up to this week’s race, mine started four years ago.
It’s the path I took that could be considered somewhat out of the ordinary for many of the other elite racers in the field. My first race after the last Olympic trials in 2008 was a 50K … a week later. I was in great steeplechase shape even though my race at Hayward Field didn’t reflect that. I was not in 50K shape, nor did I know how to run one “correctly”, knew nothing about ultra race nutrition, and did not know how my body would react to running 31 miles. But it was that race that shaped the next four years of training.
I’ve always like trails and mountains, and the idea that a person can run incredible distances across land that hasn’t been touched by the mechanized world. Continue reading. Left: Max King, en route to finishing 39th at last year’s world cross country championships in Spain.