Thursday, July 24, 2008
To quote the About Us page "Ultra Signup was a grass roots idea to bring information as well as a valued service closer to both the beginning trail enthusiast as well as top notch athletes. It was designed by people who have a huge passion for the outdoors and trail running. Bringing the ability to search for events using a variety of variables such as distance, altitude and elevation, will enable people to find the optimal race.
Not only are we trying to bring you race information in one centralized location, we would also like to encourage race directors to add back to the sport of Ultra Runnning by hosting their online registration with us."
Check it out: http://ultrasignup.com/
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
As always, there were lots of familiar faces at the start:
- Turi, who clocked a great time in his first 50K
- Gretchen, who was running her first 100
- Fellow speedgoats Jim and Kelly
- Thomas Reiss, who smoked the 50-mile course record (I knew he would do it)
- Sean Meissner, who flew by between Tunnel Creek and Mount Rose
- Joe Palubeski from Red Bluff, who ran an awesome 50-miler
- Rajeev, training for the Lean Horse 100-miler
- 12 Hours at Cool RD, Nancy Warren, who also ran a great race
- Jessica, who was running her first 50-miler
Since the 100-mile race started an hour earlier on the same loop course, we were able to watch the 100-mile championship unfold with Jon Olsen, Eric Skaden, and Mike Wolfe up front. The last two would eventually share the win after running together the last 24 miles, which reminded me of last year's TRT100 in which I teamed up with Alan to run those memorable last miles.
After the race, I gave Mark Tanaka a ride to the place he was staying, where I met his whole family and was treated to some dinner and a glass of the Tanaka Family Winery's finest red wine--delicious!
Despite the slow time, I really had no issues to speak off, so I just chalked it up as a good training run. After all, even this slow pace was ahead of the record pace (provided I can keep it up, of course). My feet felt great and I've been already been logging some great (mountain and heat) training runs, so I am sure I will be acclimatized a lot better by August 15th.
Thanks to all the volunteers for making this such a succesful run and congratulations to all the 100-mile runners who had to run two loops on the course!
Next up: 12 Hours at Cool, one of my favorite races, which I will use as a final night-running tune-up.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Meeting the Man with the Hammer -- literally (This is a Dutch way of saying you've completely blown up)
On the second day, I took the lead again after a few miles—My increased early tempo in large part thanks to the “Walking Express” song being stuck in my head. Each day would take us to another part of the beautiful forests surrounding the city of Apeldoorn. I spent some times walking the last few miles of day 2 with Ari, a speedwalker, who was part of the centurion association, a club of mostly English and Dutch speedwalkers that have completed 100 miles of speedwalking in less than 24 hours. Ari shared lots of details about the Dutch speedwalking scene with me, including a story about his wife’s 360K speedwalk in France—whoa! I finished day 2 (52K) in 6:24.Day three was going to be fast, because it was only 48K, but after only 12 Km, I ran into two guys on bicycles who were still putting up the yellow course-marking arrows. Apparently they had gotten lost in the forest while putting up the markers. I had just built up a 15-minute lead, but now I had to wait at each turn for these guys to put up signs. Oh well, time to look around a bit more and pick some delicious blueberries. Soon there was a group of six of us, walking slowly behind the sign guys. Many of the walkers up front were doing this Vierdaagse for the 5th, 10th, or even 25th time. A lot of them would also walk the Vierdaagse Nijmegen the following week, which is the largest four-day event in Holland, with about 40,000 walkers. After we merged with the 40K, the signs were up again and I pulled away again to finish in 6:24 again.
An added incentive for finishing quickly was that we could do fun things in the area. We visited the great Kroller-Muller museum, which has a huge Van Gogh collection, and on the second day we visited the monkey zoo Apenheul, which was a blast, because it had free-roaming monkeys. We also had many nice dinners and lunches in the area, including pancakes at one of Holland’s best pancake houses “’Het Vergulden Hert” (The Golden Deer).
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