Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Brief Recap

I had hoped to write a more in depth report from Chuckanut, but I've been really distracted this week with a an unhappy puppy. Kiwi is feeling under the weather, and I've been completely distracted by her illness. I'm taking her into the vet again today. She's been prescribed an antibiotic to clear up her bloody stool and diarrhea, and now she's become incredibly lethargic. Needless to say, I've been incredibly worried about her, and it is consuming my every moment. The vets don't seem to be too concerned, but it's so hard to see her under the weather.

So, as far as Chuckanut went, I was very happy with the time that I ran (4:13:06). It was about a minute faster than last year, but I was 3 places further down. That's alright though. I knew it was going to be a very competetive year. My hope going in was to run between 4:10-4:15, so I ran exactly what I thought I should run. As an early season fitness indicator, it made me feel like I'm on the right track for peak summer fitness.

Next up, I'm making my way over to the Methow Valley for the Rainshadow 50k.

Monday, March 16, 2009


It's hard to believe it's that time already, but Chuckanut is nearly here. It can't come soon enough, as far as I'm concerned. Training has been going really well. Now I just need to get some races under my belt. For me, I can't think of a better race to get on track with. Chuckanut was my first ultra, and over the years, I've run consistently well there. This year I'm going to have to run well just to crack the top ten by the looks of it. This year's race is absolutely stacked with plenty of well known names, and there's always someone who surprises as well. Last year that someone was Peter Ellis, running to a second place finish in his first ever ultra. He's back again along with last year's winner Bryan Dayton. I'm only going to mention those two, because if I try to run down the whole list I'll accidentally leave someone off and then they'll have an axe to grind with me on race day. Lord knows I don't need to give anyone a little extra motivation to run me down late in the race.

Yesterday capped off my biggest week of the year (87 miles), and I got a lot of trail mileage in there too. Friday marked my transition from Green Lake to Squak Mountain for my threshold workouts. That first one is always a bit of a shock to the system as I go from 7-8 miles flat at 5:50'ish pace to two 2000 foot ascents up Squak Mountain in just under 40 minutes each. On Saturday I was happy just to survive my 3 hour run on the Chuckanut course. The weather was hellacious and I finished soaked and frozen to the core. Sunday was another 2.5 hours in similar conditions, and again I was happy just to survive. With three days in the gym too, I felt like it was a pretty stellar week of training. I can't wait to get out and test my fitness next weekend.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Man Crush

C'mon, let's admit it guys. We all have a "man crush", right? I really can't speak for the ladies, but I'm sure they have a similar phenomenon. You know what I'm talking about. It's not a crush in a romantic kind of way as much as it is a great admiration for someone.

I was reminded of my man crush the other day while out on a group run. One of the runners mentioned to me that her fake boyfriend was going to be at Chuckanut. Not knowing who this fake boyfriend was, I inquired. Not surprisingly, her fake boyfriend was none other than the man, the myth, the legend, Hal Koerner. She doesn't actually even know Hal, but she thinks he's super dreamy. Well honestly I must concur. Hal is super dreamy. We spent 5 minutes or so talking about him, and I shared with her my infatuation with Hal.

So this is really my ode to Hal Koerner post. I mean let's face it, Hal's definitely got a lot going for him. First off, is there a nicer guy in the sport than Hal? Okay, maybe Phil Kochik, but Phil's like the nicest guy ever, so he hardly counts. Then there's Hal the athlete. The guy has won Angeles Crest twice and is the defending WS champ, not to mention the gazillions of other races he's won. Plus, he's not built like a waify little runner. Hal looks like an athletic person that could handle himself in just about any sports setting. Then there's the Hal style. Sorry Karno, I know you've tried hard, but nobody looks better than Hal Koerner. Did you see him when he broke the ribbon at States? I could swear he showered and coiffed his hair before entering the stadium. I don't think there could have been a more stark contrast to my ghastly finish in 2006 than Hal's hollywood-esque traipse through the tape in 2007. The guy oozes style, well mostly. There does seem to be some debate on that soul patch, but you've gotta' take a chance on something every now and then, right?

Well, all I know is that Hal's a great dude and a helluva' good lookin' guy. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I've got a man crush on Hal Koerner. How about you?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Gym

How does one know if they're becoming a gym rat? I mean what's the criteria? I ask only because I'm so enamored with my new gym that I'm worried I may turn into one of those creepy gym dudes. I'm definitely not there yet. Sure, I've started to shave my whole body, and I'm drinking creatine shakes on a daily basis. Oh, and I have put on 15 lbs of lean muscle while lowering my body fat %, but I'm definitely not becoming a gym rat, right? If I start looking unnaturally tan, please feel free to let me know that I look like a douche-y gym dweller.

In all seriousness, it has been great to have a brand new gym much closer to home. However, I have a love-hate relationship with the gym environment. First off, the gym is ridiculously crowded nearly all the time. Maybe it's just because it's brand new. Hopefully the excitement will wane a bit as the newness wears off. And the worst aspect of all, in my opinion, is the posturing that goes on around there. When I go work out, I have a set amount of time and a plan. I put my headphones on and get in and out as quickly and efficiently as I possibly can. But there are those folks, and lots of them, that are clearly there just to strut around checking themselves out and displaying their unnaturally tan bods. Ah, I thought I was done with my rant, but I have one final complaint about the gym. I can only speak for men, but can't we have just a little bit of humility in the locker room? I get the fact that people are changing in there and nudity is inevitable. That's fine. What gets me are the tactless acts of the nude. Can't they PLEASE put a towel down on the wooden bench before dumping a couple of fat cheeks and a wrinkly bean bag over it? These are probably the same people that have no problem sitting bare bunned on a public toilet. It's just gross.

As much as I may complain about some aspects of it, I feel like the pros out measure the cons of having a gym membership. Some may argue that time spent in the gym could be better spent just running more. Personally I feel like I benefit from a couple days of strength training per week. I've been more or less injury free since I began running and I think that's in part due to the 2-3 days I cross train in the gym. The other benefit I've found from having a gym membership is the access to a sauna. Since I first ran States in 2006, I've spent time leading up to the race heat training in the sauna. So, as much as I make fun of the gym atmosphere, I really do love it. You just have to know how to tune out the obnoxious aspects that come with that culture.