Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Run With The Horses 10k Race Report

Audrey and I ran the Run With The Horses 10k last Saturday, a week after my ultramarathon. The race was in Green River - only about an hour from our home town, and the price was right for the 10k at least, $15.00. The half marathon and marathon were another story though price wise - $70.00 for the half and at least $90.00 for the full. Way to overpriced if you ask me!
Anyway, on to the run itself. All three races started at the same time, 6:30 a.m., so you really didn't know who you were actually racing against. There was maybe 75 total people there for all three races. We toed the start line and took off. There were about 4 to 5 people in front of us and we were holding a pretty steady pace.
The entire first half of the race is uphill, and on this morning into the wind. We grinded away the first three miles passing a couple of people who took off too fast.
When we hit the turnaround point there were only 2 people in front of us. This was the best part of the race because we got to bomb back down for the last three miles with the wind at our backs. It was really fun to be running with Audrey after last weekend running alone for so long in the mountains. And the fact that the race was over in 45 minutes was really nice too.
Well, the two guys in front of us held on to their positions and we held on to ours. Audrey was 3rd place overall and first female (by 6 minutes!!!) and I came in 4th overall and 3rd male. As soon as we crossed the finish line they handed us our finisher medals and then our awards for coming in in the top 3 (a metal horse looking thing with two hooks) which was funny because you usually get top awards after everyone has come in. But it meant that we could leave earlier!
All in all this was a fun race and it felt good to run the whole way rather than hike for hours... My legs were a little bit stiff, but I had worked most of the soreness out by the middle of week. Always fun to go to a race and win. Proud of my trophy wife!!!

 Race Results:
name bib age time place
Jerrid Washburn 472 34 39:53:00 1
Cameron Ross 459 18 44:03:00 2
Audrey Ross 470 28 45:14:00 3
Jadon Ross 471 28 45:16:00 4

Thursday, August 18, 2011

El Vaquero Loco Race Report

I've had a few days to think about my first ultra experience, and since this was my first one, I figure that I'll write a pretty long report about it. I'm guessing that I won't finish this all in one sitting because 1. I'm not that patient,  and 2. I don't have a big enough chunk of time. 
Audrey and I headed up to Afton, Wyoming on Friday afternoon. We checked into our motel, the Lazy B, which was a decent motel. After we put our stuff away we went for a little swim and then relaxed by the pool. Then we walked around their downtown, got some supper - I had a foot long grilled chicken on wheat from Subway. This was also my pre-race meal before the Utah Valley Marathon and it worked out pretty well. 
I tried to go to bed early, but it really didn't work out so well. Probably fell asleep by 11:30 and woke up at 4:00 a.m.
When I got up, I took a hot shower, made some coffee and ate my breakfast of cereal and a banana. The bus that took the 50k runners up to the start left from Star Valley High School at 5:00 a.m. and Audrey took me at about 4:45 a.m. We said goodbye and she headed back to the motel, but she was going to meet me at the halfway point, so I would see her again in about 4 hours.    - Break from report #1. 

On the bus ride up to the starting line it was pitch black outside and I thought maybe I should have brought my headlamp. It ended up being light enough by the start that I didn't so I was glad of that. Our kind Bus driver lady asked, "Soooo, what are you all doing today?" She was a driver for the school and apparently the race director didn't exactly tell her what was going on. One guy piped up and said, "We are going to run about 30 miles up in the mountains." Her first response was that we were all crazy, and then she said, "Are any of you packin'?" To which one guy replied, "You mean packin' heat?" Bus driver lady, "Yeah, it's mountain lion territory up there."
Always a pleasant thing to hear when you are going to be running. After that nobody really talked much until we got to the start. We unloaded off the bus and on our way out Bus driver lady says, "Well good, I'm not so worried now that their are some locals up here." As if mountain lions will stay away if the "locals" are around. 
I found the portapotties, made a quick pit stop, and then stood around trying not to freeze until we started. With about 5 minutes to go I took off my coat, put it in my drop bag, and made sure I had everything I needed for the first out and back. The course had to change this year because of snow and run off damage to another entry point. So the course became a double out and back, meaning that you run out 7.5 miles turn around to the start, and then go do it all over again. 
When I was thinking about it, I didn't think that would be mentally tough, but as the race went on it made it really hard to keep going. 
The race director gave us the go ahead and we started off. I settled into a very reserved pace and slowly made my way past a few people. The group spread out pretty quickly and after the first couple miles I found myself behind a guy who was from Jackson Hole, WY. I told him I was from Kemmerer, and he asked what I did for a living, so I got to tell him that I was a Pastor. 
We chatted for a few more minutes until he moved off to the side of the trail to let me by. The first aid station was 5.5 miles from the start line which sat at 7,000 ft. elevation. The first aid station roughly sat about 8,800 I think, if I remember right from my Garmin. The first few miles of the course ran kind of a long a river with trees to provide shade, and then it opened up into this huge meadow. The wildflowers were about waist high and it was gorgeous in the early morning light.
Mountains rose up on either side of the meadow and I kept running the parts of the trail that were flat or downhill and walking the uphills. I passed a couple of people through this meadow area, and there were also 4 stream crossings in this section of the race. Since it was a double out and back it meant that I crossed them 4 times = 16 crossings. My shoes were soaked after mile 4. 
Once you get through the meadow you make a pretty hefty climb to the first aid station. At this point I saw a guy who was decked out in Pearl Izumi (a running brand) clothing and shoes. I asked him if he was sponsored by them not knowing if they sponsored middle of the pack racers or not. I knew that they had some elite runners that they sponsored. He said no, but that he was the National Director for Sponsorship for this company. He oversaw the 7 elite athletes that they sponsored. I thought that was pretty cool, and I wanted his job. 
I came upon the first aid station, which had to be packed in by horses, feeling really good. They had a ton of food setting out on this massive fallen down tree. M & M's, Twizzlers, Pretzels, Bananas, PB & J, Jelly Beans, some Honey Stinger gels, and other stuff that I don't remember because I didn't eat it. I really like Peanut M & M's while running, at least I found that out on this race anyway. 
I refilled my waterbottle, grabbed some food and kept hiking on up the trail. It was a pretty steady climb from here up to the highest elevation point of 10,000 ft.     - Break #2.

From here there were a couple of big drops. The first one had a pretty large snow field that we had to traverse around. By this point it felt good to be running pretty fast after hiking uphill so much. I almost ate it once going down the first steep descent, but managed to hold it together. At the bottom of the first one there was a small lake which we skirted around the left side of, and then headed back up and down into a longer descent where the turn around point was. 
I reached the turn around point - roughly 7.5 miles - in 2 hours. Ate some more food, filled my waterbottle, and headed back up the 2 steep bowls that we just descended. I did some scrambling back up with the loose rocks and all, but eventually made it back to the top and headed down. The great part about this was that it was basically all runnable back to the start line. 
From here until the next aid station I ran with a guy named Brendan who flies wingsuits I found out. We were bombing downhill enjoying the chance to go down instead of up. The trail was pretty rocky, so you had to watch your footing pretty closely or else you were a gonner. 
This portion of the race wasn't bad. I felt pretty good and knowing that I was heading back to the start line felt good even though it only meant that I was halfway done. Nothing really spectacular happened from mile 10-16, just ran along. Oh, I guess all the 25k runners were coming from the start line. So I had to pass all of them on the trail - both of us trying to get to one side so we could keep going. And another one I just remembered, I wasn't paying attention, tripped on a rock and face planted right in the middle of the trail. It totally knocked the wind out of me, but that was the only damage.
At the start line/halfway point I came down to see Audrey waiting for me. What a wonderful sight that was! She was cheering me on and asking me what I needed and getting me all set to go back out. I took off the stocking hat I was wearing and changed into a ballcap knowing it was going to get hot. I also took 2 waterbottles with me instead of one knowing that I was going to consume more fluid because of the hot weather. 
Looking back now I wish that Audrey and I could have seen the future/planned better. She could have ran the whole second half with me - pretty sure I would have finished with her pushing me on. But we didn't. I was feeling okay at this point - not bad enough to quit and not good enough to be completely optimistic about my next out and back. Audrey ran about a half mile with me until the trail took a steep upward track. We said goodbye, kissed each other, and I told her I'd see her in roughly 4 hours. 4 hours! Ahhhh! I didn't really know what I was getting myself into. 
On the second out and back I listened to my ipod the entire time. In my head I was starting to get tired of being out there, basically all alone, and just hiking. The meadow that was so gorgeous in the morning now turned to a hot, muggy, horse fly infested nightmare. I was so sick of that meadow by the end of the race. Also, at this point I started to develop some serious pain in the back of my left knee along with some deep dull pain in my feet. I hiked along and ran when I could up to the first aid station again - roughly mile 21. 
I wasn't doing so hot. I stopped there for a while, ate some food, sat on the fallen tree and decided I would try and keep going. 
There is a book that came out this spring by ultraunner Bryon Powell called Relentless Forward Progress. I haven't read the book - maybe I should since I didn't finish my first ultramarathon - but the title became my mantra as I plodded up this mountain for the 2nd time in one day. 
For some reason I thought that I had grabbed a couple of extra gels at the last aid station only to find out that in my exercised induced brain retardation I didn't. I ran out of food and water about mile 23. I was still about a quarter of a mile and 400 ft. of elevation gain from the top. I really couldn't see how I was going to make the drop down those two steep descents to the turn around and then make it back out. I started feeling really sick and a little bit lightheaded as well. 
I sat down in some shade and tried to deduce what I should do. The entire race was already taking waaaay longer that I had anticipated - probably overzealous for my first one. I even asked a guy who was coming down how far it was to the top (stupid because I had already been there once, and I already knew how far it was, maybe I was just looking for some sympathy or someone to talk to?) anyway, he looked at me funny and said, not real far. 
Well, I finally decided to head back down and not make it to the turn around point. In my head I knew I made the right decision - my knee was hurting pretty badly and I didn't want to be stuck out there and have to get taken in on horseback. I worked my way back down to the aid station carefully, not wanting to trip and fall. Stopped there for a while to eat some more and refill my bottles.    - Break #3.

I slowly took off from the aid station with 5.5 miles to go until I was finished. Which meant I had to head back into the meadow of death. With about 4 miles to go I had a horrible cramp that started on the inside of my left knee and ran all the way up my leg. There was nothing that I could do to make it go away. I tried walking, I tried stopping, I tried stretching it. Nothing worked, and then as soon as it came on it went away. Glad that it did too, because there was no way I was going to finish with that much pain going on. On my way back down the guy from Jackson that I met earlier was on his way up, and he yelled, "Lookin' good Reverend!" It made me laugh on a few different levels - 1. I was not looking good. and 2. He called me Reverend. I don't think anyone else has ever called me that before.
The last two miles were probably the hardest of the entire race. Mentally I was so ready to be finished and physically the back of my left knee was throbbing with each step, my feet were killing me, and I was slowly running out of water. 
I felt like I was just surviving at this point. With about a mile and half to go I came up on two 25k runners who were going pretty slowly. They asked if I wanted to go around them, and I said, "No, I'm doing fine right behind you, I'm just surviving at this point." They were nice enough to ask if I needed anything and I had run out of water, so they offered me some of theirs. I stayed behind them until the finish. 
Audrey was there to greet me. It was so good to see her! I hurt everywhere and was happy to be finished. I hobbled over to the finisher's table and had to tell them that I didn't make it to the turn around and technically DNF'd (Did Not Finish). 
Even though I didn't complete the entire race I still ran farther than I ever have before, 29.25 miles, I still was out in the mountains for almost 8 hours, and I pushed myself harder than I had before. I had some mixed emotions because I didn't finish, but what I did far outweighs the fact that I didn't finish. 
After I reported my DNF Audrey and I sat in the river for a while, it was freezing! Then I went to get a hamburger and some cola. I also got my picture taken with Karl Meltzer. He's an ultrarunner who has won more 100 mile races than anyone else in the U.S. It was pretty cool to see him. 
So, that's my race report. It was a pretty wild ride. As of right now, I feel pretty good. I've gone out for a couple of runs this week, but I can tell that my body is still recovering. Audrey and I are running a 10k on Saturday in Green River, so I'm hoping that I'm completely ready to go by then. That's all for now!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Gearing Up For My First Ultramarathon

In the words of someone famous, "On to the next one". If you read my last blog post about the Burn Your Lungs Run, you know that it is now over and I finally feel free to pursue the next thing on my calendar. Which happens to be a vacation to Jackson Hole, Wyoming with Audrey's sister Amy and her family.

At the end of the vacation week, I will be doing my first ultra marathon. For you newbies out there, an ultra marathon is any distance over 26.2 miles (the official distance of every marathon). The lucky race that just so happens to be my first is called, "El Vaquero Loco" (not in Espanol - "The Crazy Cowboy"), and it is held in the Salt River Mountain Range in northern Lincoln County, Wyoming about 2 hours from home.

From what I can tell this will be a tough mountain race. It boasts over 9,000 ft. of elevation gain for the 50k (31 miles) and lots of single track trails past high alpine lakes, with the race starting around 7,000 ft. and getting up to 10,000. It's an out and back course. This year is a little bit different because of all the snow and late summer rain the road into the original starting point (Cottonwood Lake) is washed out. So, I along with all the other 50k runners will start at Intermittent Spring and run the course backwards.

I have been training for this race in Brooks Cascadia 6's that I purchased back in March. I haven't really fell in love with these shoes like I wanted to. They have hurt my feet in different places, and feel really heavy after running about 6 miles in them. On Friday, Audrey and I went down to Salt Lake Running Co. and I picked up a pair of Pearl Izumi Peak II's.

I actually have already ran a race in these shoes. The Park City Mini Trail Series 5k. Click here for my race report. I liked them then, and liked them again in the store. I will be trying them for the first time tomorrow, only 6 days before my ultra. I will decide if I am going to wear the Peak II's or my Cascadia's for the race probably on Saturday morning. Right now I am leaning towards the Peak's and hopefully putting my Cascadia's in a drop bag somewhere along the course if I get blisters from the newness. We'll see. I'm just ready to run in the mountains.

The 2011 Burn Your Lungs Run Is Officially Over!

I have successfully completed directing my 2nd race ever. On Saturday, July 31, the 2nd Annual Burn Your Lungs Run was held at the South Lincoln Training and Events Center. Since this is my personal blog, I will tell about my day for the race, and give some behind the scenes looks into what it takes to direct a race.

Quick recap of the week: Tuesday night - Volunteer Meeting, Thursday morning - Ran Half Marathon Course marking it with spray paint, Thursday evening - Stuffed Race Bags, Friday morning - Ran 5k Course marking it with spray paint, Friday evening - Registration and Packet Pickup at the Triangle.

My Saturday started around 4:30 a.m. Showered, had breakfast, and rounded up everything at the house that I needed to take down to the race start. At 6:00 a.m. I met Nelson at the Church to load up all the tables, chairs, and trash cans for the aid stations. 6:15 a.m. I was as the Events Center unloading the rest of the Race Bags and other stuff out of the Tahoe. Lincoln County Search and Rescue came to help out and I directed them to fill up all the coolers with ice and then take them out to all the aid stations.

About 6:30 a.m. all of my other volunteers showed up, huge thanks to them! We had all the race bags, shirts, registration forms, and everything else all ready to go. The timing system we used this year was technically for Cross Country Meets, but it worked good to have it all on the computer. Only 2 problems with it. 1 - I had to have a different computer for each race (for the built in timer) since all three races started at different times. and 2 - The timer froze up after an hour of use. Good thing I planned for something like that to happen and brought back up stop watches for each race.

7:00 a.m. we had people start showing up to get their bags and register. We set up a small tent and table by the start/finish line for the computers. I was also directing other volunteers out to their aid stations with food and GU's. That hour flew by in a hurry making sure everything was in place and answering lots of questions about the course, etc...

At 8:00 a.m. the half marathoners took off. I felt a little bit of relief here. Then I started gathering the 10k runners to the line. Gave them their instructions and sent them off. Next, the 5k'ers. This is was the largest group by far - upwards of 90 runners. Once they all left, I felt really good.

From there it was making sure the timing systems were working, that we had volunteers in place for the bib numbers, stickers, and water bottles. I took some pictures as the finishers were coming in. Once the races were over it was time to move everyone inside for the awards and our small little raffle. Hopefully next year we can have a bunch of stuff to raffle off, but I think everyone got some good free stuff in their race bags.

After all the awards and everyone left it was clean up time. Had some great helpers there too!

Overall I feel like it was a very successful event, and looking forward to next year!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Carte Blanche Book Review

I just finished up reading the new James Bond novel by Jeffery Deaver. I have loved watching the James Bond movies since I was a kid, but this is the first book that I have read. It was a good read, and followed in the James Bond theme of things. Which, I am glad that the author didn't go changing a lot of what makes James Bond, James Bond.
One of the things that can happen with a novel as opposed to a movie is there can be more internal thought and feelings produced by the characters. I liked that aspect of this book, because with the Bond movies you don't really get a look into what Bond is thinking or feeling. The book had a good plot and a few good twists to keep you guessing as to what is really going on.
Overall, I enjoyed it, and can't wait until they make the next Bond movie out of it.