Sunday, February 28, 2010

More Airline Humour. Not.

When traveling abroad it's usually a good idea to have this with you...



Less than 24hrs after getting back from the week in LA/Las Vegas, I was back at the airport, flying to Dublin via Amsterdam. For once I was not rushing - which means I got to the airport almost 2 hours ahead of departure time. The line through security was nice and short so I figured I'd have time to have a coffee, check some emails etc. As I approach the check-in kiosk I see the guy in front of me take out his passport to swipe it. PASSPORT. Shit! I couldn't believe it. It took me at least 30 seconds to recover from the shock and scramble for my phone. The check-in staff were all busy and anyway I knew they could do nothing for me so I tried to think who to call. Who has keys to my house? Who has keys to my house and is actually in town? Valeria - Birkie this weekend - and had a great race!, Pam - on her way back from San Diego, Eric - not even sure if he still has a key, he kindly cut my grass a few times when I was out of town - before I gave up altogether and started paying for a lawn service. But anyway, he's in Nepal! Does Bronwyn still have a key? And she lives close to me - so I call her and she finds the key almost right away and very kindly offered to get it and drive to the airport - even though she was about to leave her house for dinner with friends. It was 6:15 at this point and I ask the check-in guy if it's worth it - that it will be close to 7 when I get my passport... he actually seems quite positive and says something like, well it doesn't leave until 7:45. He could see my huge bag that had to be checked in and all. So Bronwyn goes to my house, gets the passport and drives to the airport - I raced back over to the desk with it and the same dude who appeared to be the supervisor said "Sorry, the gate won't allow me to check you in after 6:45". Well, THANKS A BUNCH YOU ASS**** Oh I was so annoyed. I mean, mostly annoyed with myself but if he'd just told me that 6:45 was the absolute cut off it would have saved Bronwyn the journey and delay to her plans.

I wouldn't mind but I'd actually started to feel quite sorry for the check-in staff. They are completely understaffed and have to deal with no end of complaints and arrogant travellers. One guys in particular was a total ass - I don't know where he was from but I am going to guess northern Europe... he was trying to use the kiosk but was having problems so one of the staff took his passport to scan it and as she started to flatten it out the guy grabs it off her and starts shouting about how she is going to damage his passport. A few minutes later another lady starts to help him, same thing, then a guy come over to check him in from the desk rather than the kiosk - he hands over his passport and the guy still needed to open it and scan it and again the German dude (I've decided by now that he is German) grabs it back and starts shouting about how it's an official document and they are treating it like a scrap of paper! I was stunned at how rude he was. And I was jealous he had his damn passport. I don't know if he ever did check in as he was still walking around - cooling off - an hour later as I was leaving.

I was bummed not to make the flight as I had made plans to visit friends this evening and tomorrow before getting to Galway for work Tuesday. With limited time over there I won't get a chance to see them this trip. But at least it's a business trip and the ticket was booked through our work travel desk so I was able to re-book for tonight with no fee. And I got to see Susan and Pam who landed back from San Diego just as my flight was taking off without me. Susan kindly gave me a ride home so it was great to catch up with the girls and hear about their 'spring training camp' - running trails in Torrey Pines State Reserve (Susan ran her first trail - YAY!), swimming in an open air 50M pool... and meeting a rather eclectic group of Minnesotans who were there to swim a qualifier for the Channel Swim. I guess if you can do a few hours in the 50 degree Pacific Ocean you are heading in the right direction for the frigid English Channel!

And since I was in town... I made it out to Lebanon Hills this morning for a nice long run. After the week of pavements in LA and along the Strip in Las Vegas (6AM is definitely a better time than 6PM to try that!), it was so good to be out in the woods. And what a beautiful morning. Better still great company for the few hours. I started out at 7AM with Bill and Steve who had both ran long there yesterday so were just doing 1 loop. I headed back out for more and ran into Sonya, Kurt, Tony, Paul, Adam and Rick! It was great to meet up with the gang, doubled back as they finished that loop - some were done then and the rest of us did another 2 loops so I ended up with 23 which takes me over 60 for the week. I'm guessing next week will be an easier one. Hoping to hit a yoga class in Galway as I can definitely feel having missed it all week - found a studio in Las Vegas but couldn't make it having to do the work-dinner thing more often than I would have liked...

Last of the Winter Olympics today - watching the Mens Classic 50K - I can't imagine that repeat motion for 50K! The Womens race yesterday was awesome. 0.3 seconds between gold and silver! I was thrilled to see the Polish girl win - I think it was their first gold medal at the Winter Games - or possibly their first in skiing. The hockey game starts in an hour - should be a good one.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Flight Attendant Humour

It's not too often you remember the flight attendants for their humour these days. But in the past two weeks I've been on two flights where they really did keep us entertained. Flying MSP to Boston on Presidents Day the flight attendant announced he had bottles of wine to give away and started a quiz on US Presidents - press the flight attendant button if you know the correct answer. It was hilarious - most of the questions took people a minute to solve (e.g. how many presidents died in office)... and then the board up front would light up and the attendants would figure out who answered first and if they are correct - and here's a bottle of wine!

The flight attendant button took on new meaning on a flight from Burbank, CA to Las Vegas earlier this week. Flying Southwest for the first time I have to say the service is as good and efficient as I expected. As we were taxi-ing (how do you spell that word?) the usual announcement came on - "We will be dimming the cabin lights for take-off. There is a reading light located in the panel above your head." And then... "Please note that if you press the flight attendant button it will not turn us on."

Monday, February 22, 2010

Training to Race, Racing to Train

This blog title sounds familiar. I think I might have used it last year. Or stolen it from someone. Sorry, Steve if I plagiarized again!

[Plagiarized - that is a great word - no matter how often I use it I can never spell it correctly, that first "i" just looks odd...]

Anyway, I guess I am planning to do a bit of both this year. OK, make that a lot of both.

I am not sure when (though I log my miles so I suppose I could find out), but at some point last year I changed from swearing by the “run less, cross-train more” to the “run more, cross-train as much as you can” school of thought. Not that I actually put much thought into it, I just started to run more miles and of course as any of you mileage-obsessed ultra runners know, it’s a slippery slope... 50 last week? Better do 60 this week. I can’t understand how she fits in 70 miles a week? If I run twice tomorrow I can make it to 80.

When I posted a few weeks back on goals for 2010 I meant to also include a mileage goal. 2010 miles would be an easy one I suppose but given that last year I was at 2060 I’m going to go with 201 miles per month on average - expecting that the summer/fall months will be the higher mileage ones. So that would be 201 x 12 = 2414 miles. I ran 226 in January and will probably be over 200 for February so maybe I should aim higher. But then again, I’ll likely overdo it and have to take a month off at some point. We use a tool at work called “Risk Based Planning”. I’m all about it.

Specifically, I would like to hit a few 90-100 mile alternate weeks during the summer. Even though I will race all of the races, no point trying to suggest otherwise, many of them I won’t taper for and will therefore consider them “training runs”. Way Too Cool next month being one of them. I will ease back a bit the week before but still try to hit 50 miles for the week. My main goal at that race is to have fun running in California and get a sense for the trails out there ahead of Miwok in May. That’s much more of a “goal race” for me. It’s a different location but from what I can tell a lot of the terrain - as in trail surface - is similar. But more climbs at Miwok.

I also thought I’d set a yoga goal. Here again I was messing around with the 2010 numerals and since I do a mix of Hot Yoga (usually the 90 minute class but sometimes an ‘express’ version that is 60 minutes) and Vinyasa (60 or 75 minute classes), I thought I’d set a time goal rather than number of classes... so for the sake of originality I came up with 201 hours. That’s close to an average of 4 hours a week. Some weeks I can easily fit in 5-6 hours but with a bunch of work travel this year there may be periods where it’s much less. Though one of my first Google searches for a new destination is always for a hot yoga studio - found a nice one in Boston last week and this week I’m going to try one in Vegas.

Speaking of yoga, one of these days I am going to write a lengthy post about the benefits of hot yoga for runners (not facts, just my point of view). I am sure I regularly bore people to tears talking about it but in the past few months a few friends have taken it up and I think they would agree it’s been a good addition to their training schedule. Of course, it’s more time, more money and depending where you live not always that accessible. For many people it’s a question of whether or not it’s worth the trade off vs another work-out.

Which brings me back to the higher mileage goal and necessary time that will take, given that I don’t really want to cut back on cross-training either. I am not sure if my lifestyle is conducive to my training goals or if my training goals are conducive to my lifestyle. I suppose in the end they are so integrated it doesn’t matter. I was asked, once again, by my chiropractor on Monday morning, where I find the time to run so much. This was after he asked how long I’d run at the weekend and I mumbled something about 20 miles or so on Saturday. I figured 25 would have been too close to the marathon distance for him to fathom as a training run, not to mention the Friday and Sunday runs. Or the 50K race the previous week. This was followed by “Don’t you ever, just, go to the movies with friends or something?” Movies? I watch them on the plane flying back and forth to Ireland a few times a year. I don’t mind this line of questioning. It wasn’t too many years ago that I would have rather do anything than work out. But I do get a bit pissed when the tone of the question assumes that I neglect the important things in life - family and friends - for the sake of training. Granted, the fact that I am single and my family is spread across the globe means that I don’t have some of the same constraints/obligations that others do. And I don’t mean that in a negative way even though those words make it sound that way. I am just blessed to have a wonderful circle - or more accurately circles, random groupings, ever-expanding gaggles - of friends that love to do what I do. Whether it’s on the trails, in the yoga studio, or on the bike - these people are my family. And spending time with them brings me as much joy as the activities we’re undertaking. I know I don’t need to explain this to anyone who reads my wanderings. But it feels good to put it into words...

I should finish by saying that despite his crappy insights, I think I am continuing to benefit from my weekly visits to the chiropractor. Or at least my body is :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Psycho Wyco 50K Race Report

Design by Jason Crosby Illustration

I'd read about this race a few times and was sort of thinking it might be a nice way to kick of the season early. Previous February races had been Moab in 2007 and Orcas Island in 2008. This time last year I was in Argentina attempting to climb Aconcagua. With a California race next month I didn't want to travel too far, so it helped that Kansas City is both within driving distance and right up there on the list of exotic destinations. An email from race director Bad Ben informing us of the "Mud Stud Challenge" sealed the deal - I may finally be able to answer yes when asked - So, do you, like, win money for doing this?

We headed off from the TCRC (
Twin Cities Running Company) store in Eden Praire, travelling in style...


Adam, owner of TCRC, a speedy runner with a great driving iTunes playlist, who happened to be extremely mistrusting of other's RV-driving ability, was running the 10 miler (1 loop), while the rest of us were in the 50K. Yes, we did give Adam a hard time for taking the 'easy' option. Much discussion on the way down regarding goals and times. And of course the prize money! $75 for guys under 5 and gals under 6. $250 for going an hour faster but I don't think any of us were seriously aiming for that. I'd gathered together some of the previous year's times but without knowing many of the runners it was hard to tell what was a 'good time'. And of course, every year the conditions can vary quite a bit in terms of ice-to-mud ratio. Regardless, I knew I wanted to run sub-6 and felt like it should be doable. I'd taken a look at the registered runners list to check out 'the competition' (can't help myself) and didn't recognize any of the names. But I was more concerned about my own time, and the added bonus of some cash, than wondering if I could win. As it turns out there was an additional $75 for winning. I need to do better research!

We got down to Kansas City around 6pm Friday evening and headed for Gary Gribble's running store to pick up our numbers. Very nice technical race shirts and a cool mug. Backtracked to the hotel which was only a mile from Wyandotte County Lake Park (the WyCo in Psycho Wyco, the Psycho will become clear). The gang went for dinner but I decided to chill out in the room. I vary between wanting a steak dinner the night before a race to just eating a few snacks. I wasn't feeling great, not sure if it was nerves but wanted some time to sort out race gear and needed to do a bit of work also. Watched some of the Olympics opening ceremony - very cool. We were in bed by 10pm with the race not starting until 8am.

Nic met us downstairs for breakfast and rode over to race start with us. He was looking fit and in shape despite being six months pregnant. Got sorted out with drop bags, everyone milling around the start area. We chatted with John Gustafson, fellow MN runner. And got ready to rock and roll. It seems TCRC's yellow shirt is setting a trend...


The first few hundred yards was wide open as the field started to spread out. About 20-30 guys ahead, as we headed up the first hill, onto a short section of road and then into the woods. The terrain was a mix of rocks, dirt trails with room for passing. Some snow, but overall pretty decent footing as we meandered through the woods for a few miles until we hit the first aid station and entered...


A mile of singletrack zig zagging through the woods. On any other day this would be my favourite type of trail to zip around but today I took the first loop pretty tentatively figuring it could be a bit icy. The second time through was much more fun as I let loose and apart from a few turns the trail wasn't too greasy. Yet. Loop 3 was misery.

Out of the loop and back on dirt trails. A bit of everything over the next few miles, plenty of up and down but all runnable. Some of the downhills were a bit tricky with the mud taking over already. Out onto some meadow and then a short uphill to the next AS at around mile 5. Starting out I was aiming for a 1:40-1:45 first loop. Got here with 50 mins on the clock so was happy with that. A few hundred yards uphill on the road and then back in the woods again. Just under 3 miles to the next aid station. Entering "Fester's Wander" (the dog-designed section of trail) wondering if we'd ever emerge... came out of the woods hoping it was the AS but knowing we hadn't run that far - through some meadow and back into the woods. A few nice uphills through here and eventually up a short hill and the park shelter and AS at the top. 2.5 miles to go. Plenty of hills here that killed me on loop 3 but the first time around I think I ran them all. I'd left the AS at 1:08 on the clock so was thinking about 1:45 for the loop but came through at exactly 1:40 so I'm thinking that last section is a bit shorter than 2.5 miles. In any case, it was 1 down, 2 to go.

Still clean...


Heading out on the second loop I was feeling pretty good. Figured I should aim for a 1:50 second and then a 2hr final loop. That would be 5:30 which I knew I'd be well pleased with. But it was still early and I had no idea how the legs would hold up as the mud piled up.

Paul passed me about a mile later and I kept him in sight through the triangle and for the rest of the loop. Took a spill in the second section at exactly the same spot I'd seen the guy in front of me fall on the first loop. Slammed down on my right hip and knee, scrapes and bruises, no lasting damage. I hit the 5 mile AS at exactly 2:35 so I was on track. Jogged up the hill happy for once to be on pavement. Then tried to keep it up a good momentum on the downhill singletrack through the woods. Got a wicked cramp that slowed me down for a few minutes - probably the result of drinking a few cups of coke too quickly at the AS. I should know better. The course was definitely much greasier but still a lot of very runnable sections. The worst of the mud started to hit towards the end of this section. There was a slightly downhill section around mile 7 and it was just impossible to get through without holding your breath and hoping for the best. It had already become a 1-foot wide channel of thick mud with trees on either side so no real option of 'taking the high road'.

Coming into the end of the second loop I saw 3:30 on the clock so was happy with that. Stopped at my drop bag, downed half a can of sf red bull. And off again. Great support through here, including
David from Kansas who I'd met up at Superior last fall. I could still see Paul up ahead but knew that wouldn't last for long. Called to Adam as I spotted the RV. Was beginning to think the 10 mile was indeed the smart option today.

There wasn't much of a break from the mud on Loop 3. Even the trails that seemed dry and packed in the first loop had dissolved into slop. The triangle was no fun at all. But surprisingly I managed to stay upright and made it through the first few sections without using my entire vocabulary of swear words. Not so much once I passed the mile 5 AS and got back in the woods. I am not sure if the uphills or downhills were worse. Passed quite a few people on this loop - mostly 20 milers as well as a few 50K'ers, some of whom were probably on their 2nd loop. It got a bit tricky passing people as it wasn't always a simple matter of stepping to the side but for the most part people were great. Though I did get a little impatient heading down a steep mudbath behind a guy who seemed quite content to tell me how muddy it was with no sign of thinking I might want by. At the bottom of this slide was a creek crossing which earlier had required some navigation but now I was stepping right in hoping to clear some of the mud. At least momentarily. I think I made a bad sock choice though as my feet were cold for most of the run. Back to the SmartWools next time.

I was so glad to reach that final AS on that last loop! The volunteers were great - coming out from the AS to grab water bottles to refill and making sure we had everything we needed. The spread at each AS was perfect for the event though I didn't need much with carrying 6 gels and
Nuun tabs. Took a few electrolytes early on but probably not necessary. I carried my iPod shuffle the entire way but never listened to it. I was just enjoying being out there in the woods. Even in the moments of mud misery it was still a blessing to be running on trails in pleasant weather conditions in February.

Smiling, happy to reach the final AS...


My shoes, however, were not so happy...


The final few miles passed pretty quickly. I'd left the aid station at 5:11 so I knew that a 5:30 finish was out the window but figured maybe 5:32... that was soon revised upon hitting The Three Hills section for the final time. Navigating that final downhill mudslide, a reprive on grass, and then down towards the finish... felt so good to be done! And I have to say there's nothing like a race director with a check book to greet you at the finish line :)

5:34 - 1st F, 15th overall. A $150 check, a $50 gift cert for Gary Gribble's running store and a free entry to next year's race! And if that were not enough I later picked up a pair of Mizuno trail shoes. Not bad for a day's work.


Caught up with the guys, all of whom had great runs - Brian went sub-5 (4:58) to take 3rd place. Tony was 10th in 5:20 and Paul next in 5:26. I think Paul's lap-to-lap ratio was the smallest by far! Nic ran a great race to take 6th place with 5:16. Sorry
Matt, I think you'll know better how to stack the odds in future! The race was won by Andy Henshaw who'd taken 4th at Leadville last year. He set a new course record in 4:15. And possibly another record for most stylish finish line dive...


Valeria, who's name rhymes with Malaria (it may have been easier just to teach the guys Spanish), came in second and also went sub-6 (5:55). Nice one!


And Kami came through a bit later, with an impressive amount of mud. And still smiling - as she was early on while still clean...


We got cleaned up. And felt (and looked) so much better...


After all, Adam wasn't letting anyone back in the RV until we were clean...


Speaking of Adam, he ran a strong 10 miler to take 4th. But we still gave him a hard time - after all, he was beaten by a 16yr old. This kid meant business...


Time for a group photo before we headed for home...


And then the party started...


Champagne in plastic cups. Ah, we're a classy bunch indeed.

Thanks to Bad Ben and Sophia (and Congratulations!) - and to all of the volunteers and supporters. Despite my lack of love for mud, it was a very well organized, fun event that I would definitely recommend to people. Also, thanks to the busy photographers (Dick Ross and Kristi & Rick Mayo) - most of the photos above are downloaded from the links on the race website.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

2010 - Train, Race, Repeat

I started this post about the middle of December - right after Hellgate I think - but soon fell out of racing (and training) mode and have been pretty side-tracked recently. I need to retire!

Last year I said I would ease back on racing and train more. Didn't quite work out. So this year I am throwing that out the window and just planning to race as much as I can!

As you see from the updated sidebar it is quite a list. I have no doubt I'll 'put it all out there' in most if not all events but certainly many will be more like training runs. I have a few 'key' races that I want to be well trained for - Miwok 100K, Afton 50K, Superior 50M and Hellgate 100K. But I'm putting goal times down for all events. I'm sure I'll change my mind several times between now and race day as I start to research a few of the races new to me. But I'm usually a bit coy about goal times and figure it's time for a new approach: put it on the blog and try to stick with it!

So here goes...

Psycho Wyco 50K (KS) - sub 6
I know that sounds like sand-bagging for a 50K but check out the past results. And this year will be no different in terms of challenging terrain - mud is the new snow. I am not confident of beating
Dr. Nic despite the favourable odds being quoted by Matt though it would be sweet given that he'll soon be slow and fat (upon arrival of Lil' G) and it wouldn't be fair to gloat about beating him then.

Way Too Cool 50K (CA) - 4:45
I have no idea how this stacks up against others but I read in UR that the course is rated 2-3 in terms of difficulty so I figure for an early spring race on a relatively kind course it's a decent goal.

Bull Run 50M (VA) - 8:30
This is probably pushing it a bit but I'd like to get in a very solid run ahead of Miwok. The course looks interesting - a real mix of terrain. Some out-and-back and loops sections. Not my typical course but I do like to race in Virgina and it's organized by the
Virginia Happy Trails Running Club so it has to be a good race!

Miwok 100K (CA) - 11:00 10:30 (
Olga is keeping me honest...)

And a top 10 finish while I'm at it. I don't ask for much. Kami Semick won this race the past 2 years. 2008 was the muddy year and I can't recall what her time was but last year she was just over 9 hours. Incredible. But then she is in a different class. Representing the US on the 100K team and running some amazing times at 42 years of age no less.

Superior 50K (MN) - 4:45
And a complimentary goal of beating
Steve. He started it! Check out the poll on his blog. I'm assuming he'll come up with a prize for the winner of this battle also. Though I may have to wait until the Fall races to collect on it. Confident aren't I? One battle I won't be winning is the CR one. Eve ran 4:32 on this course in 2007. Even if it wasn't 2 weeks after Miwok I can't see myself doing that kind of time on this course. Maybe sub-4:40.

Bighorn 50M (WY) - 10:00
It's ambitious - by at least 30 minutes - Kim Holak ran 10:40 there last year and she was in good shape, getting ready for Hardrock. But I figure 10 hours in a nice round number... I won't be too disappointed if I don't make it. Darcy Africa is running it - she holds the record of 9:04! Would be awesome to see her go for sub-9. I guess another way of looking at my goal is to be within an hour of the winner. Speaking of records, the men's is 7:43 set by Charles Hubbard back in the day. No one has gone close. Sort of like Scott Jurek's record at Voyageur. Though I imagine Big Horn draws a lot more competition from around the country.

Afton 50K - 4:30 (MN)
I'm doing it this year! Enough said.

Where's Waldo 100K (OR) - 12:00
I haven't registered for this race yet (opens March 1) but I hear it is not too difficult to get into and I've been wanting to run again in the Pacific NW AND my good friend Carrie moved to Portland last year... I have to do it! Carrie - in case you are reading this, heads up on a visitor :) The 2009 times are quite a bit slower than Miwok (by the same women) so I'll go with a 12hr goal - and if I fail miserably in CA perhaps I'll rethink this one...

Superior 50M (MN) - 10:00
A half hour behind Duke's 2009 time. Yeah, this is one of those goals that will get revised upwards closer to the time. But it's only February so I'm feeling ever so confident that I'll do so much brilliant training (in between all this racing) and will be in extremly good shape for this race.

Twin Cities 26.2M (MN) - 3:12
I am still sort of in shock that I signed up for this. But I did. So I may aswell try to PR. I will have to take some of whatever Brian P was on last Fall - after running sub-10 at Superior he ran a sub-3hr marathon (big PR) 3 weeks later. Nice! And/or I'll ask Joe Z to pace me :)

Wild Duluth 100K (MN) - 12:00
This seems like a reasonable goal on a tough course. But again, makes me think 11 hours is awfully ambitious for Miwok. Never mind 10:30...

Hellgate 100K (VA) - 13:10
I ran 13:25 in December - feels like another lifetime not just 2 months ago! I think the CR is 13:01 or something like that. I suppose really that might be my goal. But come race day I will be more like - I just want to run 1 second faster than last year! Of course, with this race, more so than many others, the course and weather conditions are a huge factor. Also, as well as the midnight start, it's worth noting that it's 4 miles longer than the other 100K races.

Apart from a lot of racing, that's a lot of traveling too. No, I haven't come into an inheritance lately. But I figure, I love to travel and meet new runners, there are no college funds to plan for... and I can put off the, ahem, retirement planning, for at least another year. Or ten.

First race of the year is days away... bring it on!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Well said!

Went to 2hr spin class this morning and we watched the final stages of the 2005 Tour de France. Giuseppe Guerini won the 19th stage and was interviewed afterwards:

Reporter: "You're 35 so you're a senior citizen in this race. Was this a victory for your legs or your head?"

"Both. You need the legs to get to the front. And when you're in front, you need the head to stay there"

You may remember Guerini from the 1999 Tour. He won the Alpe d'Huez stage - one of the hardest and most famous climbs. When he was in the lead, a German photographer in the middle of the road jumped to the side just as Guerini tried to go around him... only a few hundred metres before the finish line. He hit the photographer and fell, but he managed to get back on his bike and win the stage.

Watch it!

Kurt posted the link to a really great film that I watched last night - this is a 90 min movie (not a short You-tube clip!) but definitely worth the time.

http://danceswithdirt.blogspot.com/2010/02/what-makes-us-believe.html


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Quinquennial Anniversary

Quinquennial - now, there's a word I don't use often! I am happy to say that today I am 5 years living in Minnesota. It seems so much longer when I think of the actual move over here. But so much less when I think of how quick those years have passed. But heck, a lot has happened. 95% good, 5% not so good. That is a pretty decent ratio.

I probably won't make it to my Semisesquicentennial (also known as Demisesquicentennial or Hemisesquicentennial) anniversary but I'd be okay with Semicentennial (also known as Quinquagenary). And, that's a bit easier to spell...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New Foot Record at Arrowhead 135

Zach Gingerich crossed the finish line at 9:02PM. 38 hours and 2 minutes after leaving International Falls. Incredible!

About 2.5hrs under the previous course record set by John Storkamp in 2008. Conditions appear to be pretty favourable this year. Well, if you call not too far below zero favourable :)

Looks like last year's winner Eric Johnson is in second place and I think John is in third. But no recent updates. Several locals still going strong out there as they head into a second night.

Wednesday morning...

Eric Johnson finished 2nd on foot at 5:25AM - 46h25
John Storkamp & Matt Long next at 6:39AM - 47h39

As we were all waking up from a second night's sleep since this race began :)

Scott Myers, Daryl Saari, John Taylor, Tim Roe (ski) and Pat Susnik (finished! - sorry, "at finish" = dropped; bummer - after getting past 100 miles, but I guess that goes to show how much is still left to go at that point...) among the folks still moving - from the 5:30AM update they are all north of the Tipi checkpoint - so they should finish over the next several hours if things go OK...


Wednesday evening...

Scott and Daryl finished around 2pm, Tim also finished this afternoon, and John rolled in a little before 7pm - awesome job to make that finish line after close to 60 hours on the trail. Hard to fathom. They are all winners, everyone who set out at 7AM Monday morning.

Would I ever consider it? I don't know. I think it's a little too close to serious danger for my liking!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Arrowhead 135

It will never be a post title for an actual race report of my own... but check out the race blog to get the live report from the 100+ souls brave enough to try it.

Also, check out the piece on NPR yesterday - very cool that the race is getting so much attention this year - as well as the support of the town of International Falls.

Lots of locals running, as well as a few bikers and skiers. Pierre himself is skiing this year - I think his first time to ski it? Zach Gingerich of IL, an awesome ultrarunner, is upping the competition as he goes after the record. From what I can tell he was the first runner out of Gateway (35 miles) at 15:03, John Storkamp left there at 17:15 and close after him was Matt Long, Pat Susnik, Jason Boon and Scott Myers - all veterans of this race. John Taylor had not yet arrived at the time of that update. Tim Roe is skiing and was in around the same time, as well as Pierre. Daryl Saari is biking and was doing super well but I don't see his name on the list of bikers through Melgeorges which is the next checkpoint at 69 miles. Alicia Huddelson, who ran the Superior 100 last year, and also ran the entire SHT last spring, came in to Gateway at 17:37 but it didn't have her out time. I am assuming she's running. The blog identifes the skiers but not bikers vs runners so I'm going off times and names I recognize so there could well be other runners in the mix at the front. In any case, from Gateway there is still 100 miles to go. Hard to comprehend. But it is awesome to just think of all those people out there on the Arrowhead Trail at this moment!

Tuesday AM update -

Zach Gingerich arrived at Melgeorges (mile 69 - just past half way!) at 01:22AM - 18h22m in. The record (John Storkamp) is right around 40 hours so he is definitely going after it! Several bikers finished - the first 3 were all within seconds of each other at 23:20PM. Looks like first female biker finished this morning at 6:31AM.

Funny - I cannot get into the blog from work - "Reason: The Websense category "Malicious Web Sites" is filtered"

Love it!

What would I do without the iPhone?

Cheryl is doing an awesome job keeping the blog updated.

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More updates...

A few drops at or before halfway including Alicia H and Jason Boon. John (~7:30AM), Matt Long (~8:00AM) and a few others back out on the trail. Others in at halfway but not out yet.


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Tuesday PM update -

Zach G is definitely going after the record! He was through Tipi at 16:15 today with ~25 miles to go. I think he needs to finish by 11:30pm to break John's record of 40h30m. Last year's winner is in 2nd place, coming into Tipi at 7pm. If he got out of there quickly he'll likely beat his time from last year of just under 47hrs. Still, heading out into a second night I guess anything can happen. No reports of any runners through there yet. Lots of bikers finished.