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.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Race Report - 2017 Mountain Mist 50K

Still cruising...at mile 1.
Once a year, Huntsville hosts not only the state's oldest and largest, but in my opinion also the most technically challenging ultra marathon in the Southeast. Yes, Mount Cheaha 50K has more elevation gain and yes, Stump Jump and Georgia Jewel have a "rock garden", but mile for mile, the Mist has them beat when it comes to gnarly technical terrain for almost the entire 31 miles except maybe the first 3 miles. Am I biased, hell yeah! This race is literally in my backyard and by that I mean it is less than a mile behind my house (as the crow flies) and I have run it a total of 7 times with my streak only broken for one year in 2013, when I had to take a year off due to a bit of an injury and a health scare. Alas, i have to run 3 more times to earn that coveted black jacket for finishing 10 editions of the Mountain Mist. It's our local version of the PGA's green jacket and I dare say it means more to most local ultra runners than that as well. That is to say, Mountain Mist is more than just another ultra. This race has more multi time finishers than any other race I've ever participated in. Folks keep coming back from near and far, year after year, to reconnect with friends and to toe the starting line and cross the finish line one more time, again and again.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Race Report - 2016 JFK 50 Mile

Sharing some miles with trail runner extraordinaire and team mate Dink Taylor.
After my DNF at Pinhoti, I had gone back and forth about running this race this year. While my hip injury had disappeared as fast as it had appeared during the race, I really wasn't trained to race JFK. My body still felt tired and I knew it would be a bad idea to toe the line, but I was going to travel to Maryland anyway, since my wife was running her first JFK and we had a whole Fleet Feet team going, so I figured I might as well slug it out for my third consecutive JFK finish. After all, it was already paid for:-)