Saturday, April 8, 2017

Race Report - 2017 Yamacraw 50K

View of the beautiful Big South Fork Cumberland River, our race location.
Yamcraw 50K, what a cool name for a race. I wondered what that name stood for. I had never been to Kentucky for an ultra before, but this race came highly recommended (thanks Doug Daniel), so I signed up. On Friday, Rick Rawls picked me up at my house and we started our 4 1/2 hour road trip to Stearns, KY near the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Race Report - 2017 Oak Mountain 50K

It's runnable, they said...not much climbing, they said...yeah, right!
I knew I was pushing my luck by toeing the starting line of my third trail marathon and ultra event in as many weeks, but this was just going to be training anyway, so what could go wrong, right? Even though I had been running ultras and may other events for better part of the past 7 years, I had never run the Oak Mountain 50K in Birmingham, Alabama. It was only a 2 hour drive from my house, but other local events always seemed to take priority. Either another event took place on the same day or it was just too close to something I had already done or was about to do. This year was no different. In fact, my good buddy Cary Long (RD for the McKay Hollow Madness 25K in Huntsville, AL) tried until the day before the race to sway me to run his event, instead:-) However, never having run Oak Mountain, I really wanted to get a finish at that race. My goal this year, with a couple of exceptions, is to see new and different races in new and different places. I don't really have any race streaks other than Mountain Mist 50K, so this would be one more race off my list.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Race Report - 2017 Savage Gulf Trail Marathon

Pre-race photo opp with the Huntsville area crew.
I had run the race for the first and last time in 2014, just after starting to run again after a year off from all physical activity due to injury and health issues. This year it worked out were I could fit this race into my busy training and racing schedule again. I wanted to treat it as a training race (which I did), but I still figured I could get a course PR vs. my initial finish time of 5:58. I guess my memories of that race were a little foggy, because for some reason I was sure I should be able to run this race much faster than I did that year. After all, it's just a marathon. Haha, selective memory I guess.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Race Report - 2017 CRUX Winter Ultra 54K

Making new friends before the race, Bruno and Thibaut
I really wasn't sure until the morning of whether I would actually try to make my way to the starting line of this event. After all, I had never done a running event in Switzerland before and this one was a Swiss version of a Fat Ass, so I was a little outside my comfort zone. However, the email I received from RD Peter Ackermann just a couple of days prior to the event sounded as promising as the info I had found on his event website. A record number of 70 runners had registered (for the steep registration fee of 10 Swiss Franc or Euro to pay for the permits and the drop bag shuttle to the finish:-). The weather promised to be the warmest on record for this event, which actually was kind of a bummer for me as I was hoping for ridiculous amounts of snow, but it did promise faster finishing times. And the information on the event website was intriguing to say the least as well. This event was fully self-supported, including water and food. There would be one refueling stop (a restaurant at the halfway point at kilometer 27), but other than that we would be on our own. To make a long story short, on Saturday morning I left my hotel at 6AM, trotted over to the train station in St. Gallen, purchased a cup of coffee and a fresh warm pretzel and jumped on the train to Kollbrunn via Winterthur. 65 minutes later, I got off the train and was looking at the starting line (see station wagon in picture).

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Race Report - 2017 Black Warrior 50K

Coming into AS#2 early on in the race.

The Black Warrior 50K is a low key trail race (and that's a good thing) about 75 minutes from my house at beautiful Bankhead National Forest near Moulton, Alabama. Folks will tell you that it's a flat and fast course, but I disagree. It's always rolling (even though there aren't any serious climbs) and the terrain can be difficult depending on weather conditions. The race is run on horseback riding trails. One year, it rained for a couple of weeks prior to the race followed by a sudden freeze, turning the entire trail into terrain that was covered with frozen potholes and postholes from the horse tracks, making turned ankles extremely likely. This year, thankfully the trails were mostly dry, but it was a rather balmy day making hydration a priority to avoid muscle cramping.