Sunday, December 22, 2013

5 Weeks - A Road Trip and Three Races

It all started back at Bootlegger 50k and ended just in time for Christmas.  Ian and I left Las Vegas and proceeded to cover 21 states from east coast to west coast (driving of course!) over 5 weeks.  We saw -23 degree temps, ice and snow.  Needless to say, there was no camping on this trip.  Oh, and there was some racing along the way!

Ian's Beer Mile at the cinder pit.  Everyone is all smiles beforehand.

Next....back to Vegas for the Rock 'N Roll Las Vegas Marathon Expo to help out adiultra teammate Josh Brimhall.

Helping out Red Rock Running Company at the 2xu
compression booth.  Lots of product to learn!

To the east coast!!

After Bootlegger 50k (race report here), it was off to the 51st Annual JFK 50 Mile.  While my time was off my PR from last year, I was very happy to come away with the win this year.  I wouldn't say race conditions were bad, but they were less than ideal with increasing winds and dropping temperatures as the day went on.

Thanks to my grandparents and parents for being there to crew for us.  It's always nice to see familiar faces along the lonely stretches of the C&O Canal and for being able to witness my Dad blowing by the traffic jam.  After all, he "had runners to meet!"

Navigating the Appalachian Trail.

Finish in 1st and 6:35.

Ian finishes his 19th JFK!

Congratulations from RD Mike Spinnler.

Top Ten Women.

A few days later, it was time to defend my title at the Pie and Glove 5k.  It's becoming tradition to be here, so hopefully we'll be back in 2014!

Bee and Z helping show off my pie.

We had to travel from New York to Oregon to hit up the next race of the trip.  Here were some of the sights along the way.

Who would have thought we'd get to see Uncle Eddie's RV from
National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation?

Driving by the Bonneville Salt Flats.  Maybe one day I can
witness a land speed record attempt here.

Last race of the trip....USATF National Club XC Championships in Bend, Oregon.  This was another location on the map that I got to see for the first time.  I was honored to race for Team Run Flagstaff with Amy Val Alstine (2nd place!), Kellyn Johnson (5th place), Trina Painter, Leah Rosenfeld, and Hillary Hayes.  We came away with a 6th place team finish.

On the starting line moments before the gun went off.

After a couple more says in Oregon, it was time to head back to Flagstaff.

Along the way, we went to the top of Black Butte near Mount Shasta.
Photo by John Soares

California sunset!

Thank you to all of our family and friends who let us stay with them on this trip!

At least through all of the travels, Bee was able
to get her beauty rest.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Last Minute Racing: Stagecoach Line 100 Mile and Bootlegger 50k

I had to take more time off than originally planned after Western States this summer, which put a kink in racing plans.  After weekly visits to Dr. AJ Gregg for Graston work and time off, I was finally able to  get out the door again.  I was worried about fitness not being there, but after a few weeks I was starting to feel like a runner again.

In October, I got to be part of the race management crew headed by Ian Torrence for the inaugural Flagstaff to Grand Canyon Stagecoach Line 100 Mile and Relay.  On Friday before the race I got a call from Vince, owner of Run Flagstaff, asking if I'd like to be on their relay team.  I couldn't pass up on the chance to race, so after my post-race duties were done I got ready to 9pm.

Photos by Kristin Wilson.

A tailgate pre-race briefing by Race Director Ian Torrence and
AZ Trail's Matt Nelson.

Early leaders running as a pack.

Night falls for solo and relay runners alike.

The Race Management Team

US 50k Trail Championships - Bootlegger 50k

On the Tuesday before the race, the question of running Bootlegger came up.  We had already decided not to race, so it was another last minute decision to ponder.  With JFK two weeks away, I wanted to make sure I made the correct decision.  While at packet pick-up on Friday, I went ahead and registered to run the next day.

I ended up 2nd place in 4:22 to Winner Michelle Yates (4:19).

Photos by Kristin Wilson.

In an early pack climbing the canyon.

I ran much of the race solo.

Finishing in 2nd place with a time of 4:22.

Champion Michelle Yates in 4:19.

Men's Champion Alex Varner.

Wearing our medals on the grandstand.

adiultra teammate Brian Tinder wins the 25k race.

adidas footwear making a presence in the desert!

Flagstaff runners hanging out post-race.

adiultra teammates Josh Brimhall and Ian Torrence celebrating
a successful day of RD duties.

Bootlegger mason jars!
JFK 50 Mile race report coming soon!!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

2013 Western States 100 Mile - Lining Up For the Unknown

Less than one year before the start of the 2013 Western States 100 Mile, I had never done an ultra, was playing with the idea, but distinctly told some friends that even if I did do an ultra, it would be a long time before I’d be signing up for a 100 miler.  And how wrong I was!

When I lined up at JFK 50 Mile this past November, I was so focused on racing my first ultra successfully that I didn’t even realize the top 2 finishers earned an entry into Western States.  Needless to say, I would never have overlooked something so pertinent in a road marathon, but this was unfamiliar territory, so immediately after the race when people asked if I’d take my Montrail spot at Western, I was a little speechless. 

While I was still trying to let the reality of JFK settle in, I had to make a decision about committing to WS.  Next thing I knew, I was setting up an account with ultrasignup and clicking on the button to register. 

For many, every step they take is to prepare for the big dance.  At that time, I had (and still do) big road marathon goals, so I really had to shift gears in March after a stint of marathon-specific work and start hitting the trails hard.  Ian Torrence did a great job of preparing me and at no time during the race did I feel that my fitness or training was lacking to get me to the finish line.  I will be the first to admit that the training was challenging for me.  I wasn’t used to running on fatigued legs and getting dropped on runs.  Welcome to a crash course in ultra training!  I had several internal battles with myself, but ultimately on race day I was prepared both mentally and physically for what would come my way.

Race day!  I knew I was prepared, but I’m still a rookie.  Did I have nutrition dialed in?  Drop bags?  How is this going to feel?  Will I be able to handle the heat?  Oh, how about running in the dark?  So many much time.

Goal 1: Get to the finish line
Goal 2: Top 10

Super Bee is listening intently to the
mandatory pre-race meeting (or maybe to the kids with sticks!).
Photo by Cheryl Harrison.

The calm before the storm.  The start line of WS.
Photo by Erin Strout.

Overall, I’m happy with my race.  I went out very conservative and never saw the top women as soon as we crested the first climb, but I wanted to play it safe instead of blowing up halfway through.  My goal was to focus on running my own race and to take care of myself early on.  This seemed to pay off, as I handled the heat well (2nd hottest year on record), a surprise to me, and I feel a lot of this was because I was smart early on and didn't run out of my comfort zone. 

Moving along.
Photo by Gary Wang.

One of the tricks of Western is all the downhill running to be had.  This happens to be my weakest aspect, whether it be on a road course or a trail, so I was most nervous about this.  Leaving Robinson Flat my quads were already in trouble.  I welcomed climbs and flats with open arms all the way to the finish. 

Crews had great views at Robinson Flat.
Photo by Cheryl Harrison.

My support crew of Ian Torrence and my Mom really got me through.  My Mom, Cheryl Harrison, was key to making the whole operation work.  Once Ian met me at Forest Hill, she continued on to meet us and to take care of the pups (I’m pretty sure they know the course better than I do!)  Ian was essential to getting me to the finish line, especially in the later miles when running downhill was almost a joke. 

Ian Torrence meeting me at Forest Hill, ready to pace me to the finish.  

Crossing the river.
Photo by Luis Escobar.

Still eating solid food at Highway 49.
Photo by irunfar.

I met my goals for the race, and I’m sure I will be finding myself clicking on that register button once again and lining up for the 2014 WS100 Mile.

Ian and I are both still smiling.  A good sign!
Photo by Larry Gassan.

A big thank you to my Mom, Ian Torrence, adidas, injinji, and Brent Hallowell of Nathan Sports for all of their support.

Next up, Transrockies Run with Ian…another new experience for me!

Bee had a long day, too.  She's too tired to eat oatmeal!
Photo by Cheryl Harrison.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

2013 Moab's Red Hot 55k

Not only was this my Red Hot 55k debut, but it was also my first race representing the adidas adiUltra Team and Injinji.  

Going into Red Hot, I wasn't really sure what the end result would be.  I did know that realistically I wanted to aim for the win, ideally break the course record.  The reason I wasn't sure if this was feasible, was that I haven't been doing a lot of training.  Sure, I've been going out for runs, but mileage was iffy and workouts were almost non-existent.  On top of that, I'm still working through some nagging hip issues.  

It turns out, I was able to pull off both of my goals.  I came away with a win (8th overall) and a new course record of 4:24.02.  I can pick apart the race, but at the end of they day, I'm pleased with the end result.  

It was a record setting day in the men's race as well.  Robbie Krar of Flagstaff, Az handedly took the win and shattered the course record by 14 minutes.  

Heading into the race, I was nervous about making a wrong turn on the course.  I'd heard some stories about the slick rock, but Race Director Chris Martinez did a wonderful job of marking the course.  

A snowy, uphill first mile.  Luckily this was the snowiest
section of the race.  Photo by Jo Agnew.

The first half of the course was quite fast.  After leaving the halfway aid station, my spirits were high.  This would quickly changed once we merged onto the 33k course, where we were quickly faced with the infamous slick rock of Moab.  This would prove to be the hardest section for me.  

Some beautiful scenery in the background.  Of course, I
loved turning the wheels on these road sections.
Photo by Jo Agnew.

After a hectic weekend of activities, the solitude of the race was a welcome site.  The only task at hand was pushing yourself to the finish line as quickly as possible.

Ah, the slick rock....
Photo by Kristin Wilson.

Well after mile 21, I was able to catch up to adiUltra team member Brian Tinder.  Contrasting my last statement, late in the race it was welcome company to run with a familiar face for several miles.

Fighting illnesses and tight race schedules, a rare occasion occurred where the entire adiUltra Team convened in Moab.  

A great backdrop for a team photo.  Believe it or not, I'm
tucked in behind those guys.
Photo by Brianna Torres.

adiUltra Team Results:


Brian Tinder - 9th, 4:25:42
Ian Torrence - 4:43:57
Paulette Zillmer - 6:09:19


Trent Briney - 3rd, 2:16:30
Josh Brimhall - 5th, 2:17:16
James Bonnett - 6th, 2:17:57 

Post-race interview.  Photo by Ian Torrence.

With Alicia Shay, women's winner of the Red Hot 33k.
Photo by Erin Strout.

Because I like this pic...the weekend before, adiUltra Team Members (myself, James Bonnett, and Ian Torrence)
at the Pemberton 50k aid station.  I thought Fountain Hills was supposed to be warm?!
Photo by Ian Torrence.

Now it's back to the roads before rolling into Western States training.  More than likely not the conventional preparation for WS, but I don't always play by the rules....