Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The North Face

So what's the deal with the North Face Endurance Challenge? I mean is it asking too much to know course details a month and a half before a race. Because if that's the case, I may be out of line here. To me it seems that the vast majority of folks running any distance, especially an ultra, like to plan their schedule in advance. Most people, and I know there are some exceptions, probably aren't going to jump into a 50 mile race on a whim.

That's why it's absolutely shocking to me that the May 10th North Face Endurance Challenge hasn't nailed down a course yet. The race had originally been set for May 10th in Seattle, and now Seattle has come to mean Bellingham, 3 counties and an hour and a half from Seattle. Having a bit of an inside look at their race organization, I can speak to what a complete cluster f#!k the whole thing is. I know for a fact that the Seattle race was originally slated to take place at Cougar Mountain, and now since that fell through, Bellingham has become the new location. I'm fine with the race taking place in Bellingham, in fact that's why I'm tempted to run, but it's frustrating to see such poor planning.

You shouldn't feel like you're gambling when signing up to run any distance, let alone 5o friggin' miles. You need only read Uli Steidl's race report of the championship race in December 2007 to realize how poorly the course was marked, and this with $10,000 on the line for the winner. I just don't think that it's too much to ask, especially for a race that you're shelling out 70 or 80 bucks for, to have a course map and elevation profile at least a few months before the race. Last time I checked this wasn't the North Face Endurance Fat Ass. This series has the potential to be something huge. There are some big name sponsors and prize money, but poor management is really killing it.

That said, I'm willing to roll the dice on this one. Why? Well for a few reasons really 1) It's only a tune-up race in my case. 2) I do love the trails on and around Chuckanut Mountain. 3) There's a pretty good chance to win some prize money. Talk about selling out, huh?

Friday, March 21, 2008

PJ Update

Well it turns out that yesterday Pearl Jam announced a ten day east coast tour. Not exactly what I was hoping for, but I'm excited for those fans living back east. I was really hoping to see a Seattle date or two pop up. For now I'll have to be content going to Vancouver April 2nd to see Eddie Vedder solo. I can't wait! And I'll keep my fingers crossed that the east coast dates may just be the first leg of a U.S. tour.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The waiting drove me mad...

This entry will probably take me an hour to write, because every 15 seconds or so, I'm compelled to jump over to Pearl Jam's website. Why? As anyone who actually reads this blog knows (maybe 2 or 3 people), I'm an enormous Pearl Jam fan. When Pearl jam makes a big announcement, the band's staff issues some vague hint about a *tweet* from a little birdy. That's fine until the *tweet*, that was supposed to be announced Wednesday, gets pushed back to Thursday. This after alluding to the *tweet* over the weekend. So, since Saturday, I've been going crazy waiting for this dang bird chirp. I know it sounds crazy, and I don't expect anyone else to understand. It makes sense in my crazy little world, but I swear, if that frickin' duck doesn't start quacking, I'm gonna' lose it.

For the 2 or 3 of you that read this blog, I'll pretend that you care about my Pearl Jam news, and I'll share with you the announcement when I know.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Chuckanut Recap

Saturday morning began with rain and cold temps, but that didn't stop 300 hearty runners from lining up at the start of the Chuckanut 50k. Nobody looked all that motivated to run, myself included, but as soon as the race got underway, the rain let off. Amazingly the weather steadily improved throughout the day, and although the course was muddy, the overall conditions were pretty good.

Having decided to train through the race, I knew that I probably wouldn't be in contention to win this year, especially with Bryan Dayton, Scott Jurek and the Alabama Hamma' toeing the line. Still, I felt that I should be able to put forth a strong effort based on where my training has been.

I ended up 4th overall in a time of 4:14. It wasn't my fastest time there, but having trained right up to the race, it's a good indicator of where my overall fitness is. It's especially satisfying to have been able to run so well at the end of the race. My final split of 1:05:29 was the fastest of the field.

Team Inov 8 had a great showing at the race with Devon Crosby Helms and Bryan Dayton each winning.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Inov 8

I'm excited to announce that I have a new shoe sponsor for the 2008 season. After two seasons with Brooks, I have opted to go a different direction for 2008. I am very thankful for what Brooks was able to provide me for a couple of seasons and I'll continue to run in their road shoes. However, when it comes to dirt, I'll be running for the Inov 8 ultra team. I'm very excited to team up with a company that is dedicated to trail ultra running.
Inov 8 shoes fall right in line with my less is more philosophy of trail running shoes. They are incredibly light, low to the ground, and have great traction. I have been running in the Roclite 297 and the Roclite 315. They both feel great and fit well. This weekend I'll be running in the lighter of the two, the Roclite 297.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Chuck a what?

Can it really be the middle of March already? Where does the time go? This is always an exciting time for me since it means a return to the trails where it all began for me. While going to school at Western Washington University, I began trail running in the fall of 2001. In March 2002, I ran my very first ultra, the Chuckanut Mountain 50k.
Since I was sick last year and missed the race, I'm looking forward to a return to Chuckanut. Having finished 2nd, 4th, and 3rd overall, I'm determined to win this thing one of these years. That being said, this may not be the year. Because my "A" race is Western States, and it's not until the end of June, I really need to be smart about using these early season races as training runs. Scott Jurek once told me, and it really stuck, that you have to be willing to get your ass kicked early on if you want to win Western States. Oh, it's soooo hard though.
Regardless of how the race turns out, I'll be refueling at one my favorite college joints, Casa Que Pasa. The potato burritos really hit the spot after a taxing effort. Believe me, I too was once skeptical about a potato burrito, but they're pretty darn delicious.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Subject drought

Well after what I felt was a pretty solid start to my blogging career, I've hit a wall. You'd think that as an endurance athlete I would have been smarter about my pacing. Initially, I had more blog topics in my head than I could put to paper and now nothing. My well of thought seems to have dried up.
I think I may have made a huge mistake by blogging about the best training run ever. That was such a rookie move, because now I've reached a high point that will be hard, if not impossible, to match. And really, between you and me, that run wasn't even THAT great. I mean sure my legs felt like finely tuned rockets, and I was able to offer some solid encouragement to Ryan Hall and Meb, as I passed them going up Cleator Road, and to top it off, Pearl Jam just happened to be rehearsing right next to my parked car. It was ok at best. But I just had to boast about it, and now look at me, I've got nothing. NOTHING!