Friday, June 22, 2012

Big "DNF" Horn

It has taken me much longer to sit down and write this as I would have liked. Truth of the matter is, I've been spending the last week swallowing hard, reflecting, and trying to figure out what the hell happened myself. The gist of it is that I ran 68 miles last weekend at the Big Horn 100 Mile Endurance Run. For the first time in my 100 mile running "career", I made it through the entire night without stopping for a nap. I was doing great, having reached the 50 mile turn-around at 12:40am (13:40 Run Time). But then something happened out there.. and I'm still uncertain as to what that is.

The 16 mile downhill from the 50 Mile turn-around to Mile 68 took me about 7 hours to complete. Most of it wasn't pretty. My feet were hamburger thanks to 2 and 3' snow drifts still present up high and the melting snow ceasing a quagmire of soupy mud. I could feel the "skin fold" starting to flare up and a whole lot more. A sizable blister formed on the ball of my right foot beneath my big toe. I was urinating uncontrollably it seemed. Like clockwork, every 20 minutes for 4 hours, I was stopping to pee. At one point, when I stopped to do "the other" I peed on myself.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Race Preview: Big Horn 100 Miler

Courtesy Rick Gaston
This weekend I'll stand on the starting line of my 15th Official 100-Mile Ultramarathon. I'll be going for my 11th 100-Mile finish at the Big Horn 100 Mile Endurance run in the Big Horn Mountains of Wyoming. This will be my 39th Official Ultra.

I've been running ultra marathons for quite awhile now. My first ultra was held in July of 2005, my first 100 in April of 2007. I've really run quite a gauntlet of races in these short seven years, and in the last 5, I've managed to stretch myself beyond limits I ever thought conceivable when I ran my first miles back in 2004. Which brings me to the other milestone I'll achieve this weekend. During the Big Horn 100, I'll run my 10,000th mile since I first started running back in the fall of 2004.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Dear Race Director

Dear Race Director,

I hope this letter finds you well. I wanted to take a moment to share a few thoughts and feelings with you in the hopes that you can continue to foster our sport in the right direction. I’m sure you can understand an ultra-runner like myself, finding great need in attempting to protect something I hold so dear to my heart. It’s just natural seeing as I’ve noticed some changes you’ve made since I started running these things back in 2005. Please hear me out, I beg of you, so that together we can maintain a community that is fair, just, and which protects the valued sanctity and history of our sport.

If you’re going to advertise yourself as a runner-friendly event, please follow through: I showed up for your “runner friendly” race and wasn’t allowed a crew. I didn’t mind this so much except that your aid stations were terrible. I wasn’t even allowed a drop bag out there for the hours and hours that I paid to run on your dirt circle. To top it all off, your cut-offs were tight and tough for a mid-pack runner to meet, such as myself. What is “runner friendly” about any of this? If you’re going to advertise a runner friendly race without crew access or drop bags, please at least have immaculate aid stations and cut-off times even the slowest runner can manage.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Video: Running Is Fun 2

As originally posted on

It's always great to remind each other that this running thing that we do is supposed to be FUN. No doubt about it. I have a motto with everything that I do.. "if you're not having fun, then why are you doing it?" I've asked myself the very same question during 100 Mile races... where once the fun was gone, I decided to go home early..

This past weekend I worked on a video that was the brain child of Jerry Armstrong. If you don't know who Jerry is.. he's one of those top 5 or top 10 runner types who actually hangs out with mediocre runners like myself.. even while training for big races. In the year that I've known Jerry... I know for a fact that this dude... "GETS IT."

Jerry came up with an idea for a video a month or two ago called Running is Fun. It was a huge hit.. and inspired many folks to reach out and say thanks. "Thanks for the reminder.." that all of this is supposed to be fun. Sometimes we get caught up in the goal, or the watch, or the stretching and hopping about at the starting line, that we forget what this journey is supposed to be all about..

Ever watched a child run?? Ever notice the smile on their face and how simple it really is? NO special shoes, or gadgets or anything.. just fun.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The Trekking Pole Advantage

As I struggled up the back side of Hope Pass in 2011's Leadville 100 Mile Ultra, I was incredibly grateful to have my poles in hand. Or was I? In all the years I've been running Ultramarathons, The 2011 Leadville 100 is the only official ultra run where I've run any length of the race with a pair of poles in my hand. Over the years, I've lurked as the long discussion about poles has played out. Purists are totally against them and many others assert that they offer an unfair advantage to those using them. Not only have I now used them in at least one event, but I recently just used them on my trek across the Grand Canyon. In this post, I'd like to offer up my thoughts on the trekking pole discussion.

Also Available On:

Races Don't Allow Them

This is correct. Many of the races don't allow trekking poles out on the course, but the reason has nothing to do with if the poles are an advantage for some runners or not. The reason is simply from a risk management perspective. When I guide here in Colorado's Front Range, we actually discourage the use of poles by our clients. Mostly because if the client is to fall, the poles pose a serious safety threat to the hiker as well as those whom are hiking around them. The same is true for poles during an ultra. Most races ban the use of poles in their race because their use poses a serious threat to the safety of the runner and other runners.