Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sept. 22nd to Sept. 28th

Monday, 9/22--Night Run up MOZ, down Fire Road

653', 24 minutes

An easy run with a loaded pack, just past sunset.  Still testing out stuff, and just trying to keep the legs moving until race day.  Not much time to run.

Tuesday, 9/23--Off

Wednesday, 9/24--Up MOZ, down Fire Road

671', 23 minutes

Same route as Monday, without a pack, in warm weather.  I was only slightly faster with the same level of effort, which means a pack it is for this race.

Thursday, 9/25--Off

Friday/Saturday--The Bear 100, 15th place

19,580', 23:34

Still processing this race.  It was in the 80s without shade for a good stretch, and after running for a few hours in that I started to fall apart, and never quite got back.  This was a rough day, highlighted by slipping around in mud towards the end of the run, but I'm glad to have held it together enough to still finish in under a day.

Race report to come.

Sunday, 9/28--OFF!

20,904', 24:21

This week was pretty much just The Bear 100.  Such a good race, just a tough year with the weather.  I learned a lot (pack extra batteries for headlamps!), but was in okay enough shape throughout the run to still enjoy it.  Still in a phase of intermittent napping.

Most pictures are from last week

           I spotted a kitten near The Bear 100 pre-race meeting.  This was not a sign of things to come.

Setting up Mountain West

Night running!

Shadow interplay in Crooked Canyon

Mountain West getting started down below

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sept. 15th to Sept. 21st

Monday, 9/15--Off

Tuesday, 9/16--Mile Time Trial w/Run Wild Missoula

Warm up, mile, cool down, ~50 minutes

I woke up feeling pretty alright, so decided I could see how recovery was going, and see if maybe I hadn't put enough out on the course.  I ran a PR of 5:14, which was nice but helped to confirm my doubt that I had given my all at The Rut.  I may have pulled it off just because I'm fit, but I was really surprised to get under 5:30.  It was still a horrible mile, with a first lap in 72 seconds and then 80ish second laps thereafter.  And it still hurt to run that fast.  Next year I better be running a 7 minute mile.

Wednesday, 9/17--Off

Thursday, 9/18--South Sentinel/Sentinel Loop via Fire Road

2,096', 1:13

An easy run in some rain and through the first hint of fall colors (brilliant orange bushes on the backside of South Sentinel).  Legs felt okay, but the downhills felt pretty slow.  I hit the summit of S. Sentinel in just under 35 minutes--not too slow, but definitely slower than normal after a rest day.

Friday, 9/19--Night Run, University Mt.

3,112', 1:50

An easy run testing out some lighting systems and my pack for next week's big run.  I had a high power headlamp on my forehead, and a medium power light on my waist.  This definitely worked pretty well.  Running on some steep stuff let me get used to switching pivots on my forehead headlamp (low pivot for downhill, high pivot for uphill).  The run felt a little slower on more rocky terrain, but other than that splits were pretty normal.  The run started just after sunrise, so I got to experience the whole transition to darkness.

Saturday, 9/20--Sapphire Loop (Crooked Canyon, Pattee Canyon, University, South Sentinel)

3,407', 2:08

Another easy run with a pack on, including water.  I hit the end of the run just to watch part of the Mountain West track meet.  After stopping a bit to take pictures, all the cheering even had me running faster.  Despite not being fully recovered yet, I'm getting pretty excited to do another 100 miler.

Sunday, 9/21--Off (packing, studying)

I was hoping to run today, but ran out of time.  If I want to fit in any short runs this next week, I basically need to pack today for Friday's race.  Busy!

8,615', 6:01

A super light week, even lighter than expected, but it's better to err on the side of too little than too much.  Legs are feeling good, I just don't have much time to run because everything's getting squeezed into these next few days so that I can get my drop bags to Utah by 5:30 on Thursday.  Busy busy busy!  This weeks photos will go in next week's post.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Of Cinnamon Rolls, The Krar Factor, and European Attire: The Rut Report

Rob Krar had just won his 3rd top tier 100 of the year that morning, and several hundred miles north, I may have been having a Krar hallucination.  20-some miles into The Rut 50k, it looked like Rob Krar was now chasing me, and not only had he made excellent time on the drive, but he’d shaven too, and gotten a haircut.  Maybe aged a few years, as well.  He was gaining ground on a flat section, and I said, “Hey, man, what’s your name?” as he caught up to me.  I had to find out who this guy was.
“That’s my name, too.  I’m Jeff Rome.”
“I’m Jeff Krar, Rob’s older brother.”
  And that was precisely when the running started to hurt.
This was going to be a hard finish.  This was The Rut weekend, and I was getting what I came for (namely, unresponsive legs, heated competition, a bruised shin, GI distress and sleep deprivation).  It’s worth noting that “rut,” besides referring to mammalian reproduction, can also mean getting stuck, and being unable to change one’s ways to something more productive.  Both seem appropriate.  After the race, I certainly felt near bed ridden for a day, unable to do much more than watch 90s B-movies and eat ice cream.

                                                                Apt recovery

                                              The VK (aka the Hunchback 5k)

Friday—Europeans dress (and race) well—Almost Staying with a (recovering) pro—the Lone Peak VK:

On Friday morning, I carpooled down to Big Sky with a couple other folks (Alex Nichols, notably), and found the scene to be much more calm than expected.  Things only began to have a serious impression when I noticed some guys running fast hill repeats on the first section of the Vertical K course.  I really didn’t want to run yet, but I decided to check out the first part of the course anyhow—time to kill, and maybe a chance to see some of my heroes.  In retrospect, despite not spotting Kilian and proclaiming my complete admiration for everything he does, it was good to see the beginning of the course.  It was totally runnable, and much flatter than expected, perfect for a crazy fast start for all the guys wanting to be in Kilian’s sphere of greatness, if only for a little while.  I would not be one of them.

               When the race started, then, I let a few guys run their legs out on the first part, knowing that I could make up ground when the course got steep.  I felt relaxed, and settled into a comfortable pace behind Brendan Halpin for a while.  Partway up, one guy passed us both, cutting a switchback, and I was glad to see no one else follow suit.  In fact, Brendan yelled, “That’s too Euro!”  I’m not sure if the runner was a Euro or not (he wasn’t color coordinated, so was likely an American).


                I’m not sure when I started passing folks, but I think it was around when I saw a contingent of Missoula spectators cheering me on.  There were so many amazing people out on the course!  Kevin Twidwell, Kristina and Drew Pattison, John Hart, Allison Onstad, Seth Swanson (not to mention other elite runners Geoff Roes, Anna Frost, Greg Vollet)—I know there are others I’m missing, but it felt like Missoula’s trail runners were out en masse, and it pushed me on.  I left Brendan behind, passed Mr. Switchback cutter, and charged ahead with Craig Hertz, who would go on to win Saturday’s 12k, following.  He had a very bright orange shirt, helpful for keeping track of his distance in my peripherals. 
                Then I heard breathing getting closer, and while on a divergent path scrambling up the rocks, I noticed that I wasn’t being hunted by Craig, but by someone I’d only seen on the interweb.  Philipp Reiter, of Salomon, was making a move.  I tried to stick with him, but lost ground definitively in the last couple hundred feet, and had to relent.  Kilian and Emelie were cheering Philipp on, and he seemed to carry their spirit with him, not only putting a gap on me but nearly catching Utah’s John Tribbia, the current leader in the US VK Skyrunning series.  Pursuing him, however, allowed me to put a comfortable gap on Craig and have a no pressure finish for 9th place.

                                 Chasing Philipp, more like watching him slowly catch the next guy
                                                              (Credit: Myke Hermsmeyer)

                Tim Brooker greeted me at the finish line, and confirmed that yes, I was the top Montanan.  I was out of breath, and a little cold, but glad that I was able to represent Montana well in the VK, finishing ninth, and less than a minute behind the current Skyrunning VK World Series leader, Nadir Maguet.  On the way down from the mountain, I was lucky enough to share a tram with Kilian Jornet, Emelie Forsberg, Rickey Gates, Philipp Reiter, and top Missoulian masters runner John Fiore, among others.  This was a dream!

                 If you look closely at the reflection, I bet you can make out Kilian's giant calves
                                                               (picture taken in tram)

                I didn’t stick around for long, however, and drove back to Bozeman to spend less time at altitude, and grab a bunch of cinnamon rolls (5, of which three were eaten that day, each fist sized).  I stayed at fellow mountain runner Minde Erickson’s place (Thank you Minde!  And thanks for being out at the race!), which allowed me to get away from the race scene for a bit, relax, catch up with Minde (who was signed up for The Rut but didn’t race due to an upcoming muscle biopsy), and follow Run Rabbit Run 100 as Nikki Kimball slowly moved up the field, overcoming a 20+ minute deficit to put over an hour on the rest of the women’s field. 

Recovery food

  Saturday—On Being Conservative vs. Slow—Chased by a Krar—The Rut 50k:

3 AM never feels not-ungodly early.  I tried to get up early so that my body would be awake by the 6 AM start, and had a full breakfast of bacon, eggs, pancakes, a banana and a croissant, which may well be the most I’ve eaten before any race.  This was it, this was the big day, and I was yawning every few minutes, listening to Beck on the way down.  I never really felt awake before the race, despite having a cup of coffee, but figured I didn’t need to be awake until the racing actually started a few hours later, when I got to the talus field.
The start was a rush.  Runners were amped, and just like yesterday I let a lot of folks go out ahead of me, starting somewhere between 30th and 60th place (I have no idea, but it wasn’t near the front).  I started passing people, trying to find a rhythm that felt good, and pretty soon heard Frosty’s New Zealand accent, saying she couldn’t feel her nose (it was 26 degrees), and recognized Emelie’s voice in the mix as well.  I figured that, even if these women were slower than me, it wasn’t by much, and they were far more experienced racers, so I should go with experience over speed for the first part of the race (and who wouldn’t want to run with Emelie and Anna?). 
                                     Sunrise with Emelie.  Pretty damn great.

This patience served me well for the next few hours.  I tried not to think of racing, but rather just enjoyed the morning, even chatting with other runners a bit before I passed them.  I was making decent time, but kept my pace at a level I could enjoy, and still I was passing folks every few minutes.  As I moved up the field, runners became a little harder to pass, and became a little more spread out, but I told myself to hold my energy and not to worry about making any passes definitive, but rather to slowly and firmly go from one runner to the next, never pushing or surging. 
About an hour after I had last heard Emelie chit chatting behind me, I came upon a group of four at the beginning of the first talus field and started to wake up a bit and feel really good.  We hiked up to Headwaters Ridge at an easy pace, and I just focused on not wasting energy.  Some of the runners ahead of me were placing their feet poorly, and sliding down a bit, or stepping on loose rocks, so I used this climb as a recovery.  There would be plenty of racing later on, I figured. 

                                                            In the fun stuff!
                                                  (credit Myke Hermsmeyer)

The group slowly spread out, and on the service road below Challenger I found myself unable to pass someone for the first time, but we were gaining ground on other runners.  I found out later that I was running with Adam Campbell, who had a great surge in the second half, moving up to 12th place.  Pursuing Adam soon had me catching up to Oscar Casal Mir, who seemed to be having a rough patch.  Shortly after, on the out and back up to the Tram Dock, other runners with rough patches came into view, just as some of the top contenders were flying down.  It seems I had already missed the top 5 go through but saw Matty Shryock in 6th, pursued by Jason Delaney, Dan Kraft, Nick Elson, Catlow Shipek, Fulvio Dapit, Rickey Gates and Jeremy Wolfe. 

                                          Approaching the bottom of Bonecrusher!

I came upon Luke Nelson and Jimmy Grant them just before Tram Dock, a little surprised to see them so early in the race.  They ended up running the end of the course together, and I’m sure they were putting much less pressure on each other than the push I got from the next runner I passed, Jeff Krar.  Halfway up Bonecrusher, I passed Jeff and felt that I could probably put a good gap on him since I do well on steep.  Right as I left the Lone Peak aid station, he was already there.  “Okay,” I thought, “he can’t be that great on talus, I’ll put a gap on him on the descent.”  And when I got to the bottom of the hill and started traversing the first boulder field, I still heard him not far behind, skirting down the rocks.  And at the next service road, with a short and steep climb at the beginning, I hustled to get atop the first hill before he popped out of the trees, maybe tricking him into thinking I had made a large gap.  And right before the crest, there he was down below, still just a minute behind. 

                                                        Summit of Lone Peak
                                                   (credit Myke Hermsmeyer)

This guy would not let go.  At the time, I had no idea who he was.  When he caught up to me on a flat section, we chatted a bit, and I learned that he was Rob Krar’s brother.  I was running with one of the closest genetically related people to the best ultrarunner in the states.  The weather was getting warm, the technical sections were done, and I had a Krar on my heels.  These last eight miles were going to be a little less fun, with a little more hurt.  If he had had a beard, I’m sure I’d have given up right there.
When was Jeff Krar going to start running 5 minute pace and drop me?  For a while on downhill sections I would try to run at a slightly slower pace, waiting for him to make a move and ready to kick it into a higher gear, but he just stayed steady with me.  I let myself run a little easier, afraid that I’d need an extra reserve of energy for the last few miles, just waiting for Krar to give a kick.

                                     Climbing up Andesite, Jeff Krar behind

Rounding the last turn to the Andesite Aid Station, I spotted Jeremy Wolfe just as he darted away, less than 3 minutes ahead.  Yet, with less than 5 miles to go, it seemed a hard gap to close.  And arriving at Andesite, I saw no one but the relentless Krar behind me—this was just a two man race for us.  I tried surging a bit, hoping that he wouldn’t follow suit, but each surge was met step for step or built only a marginable gap that Krar then closed within minutes.  Sure enough, Krar kept the pursuit going well past the last aid, no more than 5 seconds behind after I pushed hard up the last hill of the course.
We had been within a minute of each other for over two hours, and with less than a mile to go, we decided to just finish together, stride for stride.  I was relieved to not have to try and outkick Krar, and happy to have had him as motivation for the last 12 miles or so, but mentally exhausted from being pursued for so long.  His brother, Rob, had been doing the same thing for the first several hours of RRR100 just the day before—pursuing, waiting, just wearing down his opponents for a chance to make a dominant move.  I was sure for the longest time that the same would happen to me, until the last mile when we decided to finish together. 
Tuesday: Mile time trial—Overanalyzing the race

                Eric Hoberg was several strides ahead of me, building a gap, and I was pushing hard for a mile PR (which was an unashamedly poor 5:19 for me).  If I could get a PR, I figured, then I could have run Saturday’s race faster.  Courtney was calling out the time as I crossed the line.  “5:12”.  Even adding on two seconds for the extra distance of a real mile, this still left me 5 seconds below my PR.  Shit.  I had never been so unhappy about a personal best.  Had I left too much on the race course? 

                Going out slow was smart, but it may have been too safe of a race for me to reach my absolute best on the Rut 50k course.  This means I’m coming back next year, intent on finding that perfect line between pushing my limits and staying in control.  I’ll be ready to push harder, not afraid to have solid runners behind me, shooting for 5:xx.  This year’s race was really fun, but it was almost too controlled and safe, and I definitely spent too much time chit chatting in the first half for it to feel like a solid effort.  I’m happy with my time, since it seems like the course was a bit over 30 minutes slower, yet I only slowed down 18 minutes from last year.  And I’m already looking forward to next year, where I’ll hopefully be able to fine tune this race some more and cut off another good chunk of time.  

And next year, this will happen.  Post race GI issues prevented it this year.  
Not a great suit for GI distress.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sept. 8th to Sept. 14th

Monday, 9/8--Mt. Sentinel

1,970', 33:12

I blew away my old best on this hill, from April, by over 5 minutes today, during the heat of the day (5-5:30, 75 degrees).  Things went very well.  My goal was to break 24 minutes up and 12 down, but splits were 22:46 up and 10:26 down, for a climb rate of about 5,200 ft./hr., and a descent rate of about 11,300 ft./hr.  I was pushing, but I could definitely run this faster, especially in cooler weather.  Someone really good at hills could break 30 minutes round trip on Sentinel.  This makes me both feel ready for The Rut and excited for the Sentinel Hill Climb next month.

Tuesday, 9/9--Off

Wednesday, 9/10--Crooked Canyon

841', 42 minutes

An easy out and back just past the cabin, turning around at the single track.  Legs felt good, weather was cold and rainy despite being midday.

Thursday, 9/11--Off

Friday, 9/12--Lone Peak Vertical K, 9th place

3,635', 54:08 (ascent only)

This went well!  I started off a little conservatively, and passed a few guys between the top of Swiftcurrent and the summit, but Salomon athlete Philip Reiter passed me in the last 1,000' of climbing, and put about 20 seconds on me by the summit.  Trying to chase Philip down helped me to speed up a bit, and I was able to put a gap on a guy from Minnesota who had been breathing down my neck.  The race was a little longer than I thought it would be, just over 5k, with the first half actually being quite runnable.  Kilian won in 46:14, which is kind of ridiculous on that course.  Splits were about 25 minutes to the top of Swiftcurrent, and about 29 minutes going up Bonecrusher.  Calves were a little tight, but other than that things went well.  Got to chat a bit with Kilian, Emelie, Rickey Gates.  Excited for tomorrow!

Saturday, 9/13--Rut 50k, 15th place

10,868', 6:20:44

Such a fun and tough race!  This went well, but I know I could do better if I went back.  I started off pretty conservatively, running with the lead women for the first hour or so, in around 30-somethingth place, and then gradually moving up the field for the next couple hours.  When I caught Jeff Krar (Rob Krar's brother) on Bonecrusher, he pushed me the whole second half of the race and we finished together.  I'm pretty happy with my performance, and my goal was top 20, but I feel like it's possible to go under 6 hours on this course eventually, and finish top 10.  Maybe not next year, but it's a race I'll definitely want to focus on again.

Race report to come.

Sunday, 9/14--Off (recovering)

17,314', 8:30

I feel exhausted.  This wasn't a big week except for the race, but The Rut took it out of me.  It's several notches above any other race I've done in terms of grit.  I feel okay, but I've got a nice bruise on my shin from a fall in the race, and am mentally out of it.  My muscles aren't too sore, but I want to make sure to recover well for The Bear 100 in 12 days.  A short hiatus is called for.

Jamil Coury finishing the VK

Rickey Gates cheering runners on

It's tough to stay ahead of these women!

Some of the best mountain runners in the world

A link to a Salomon video of athletes training on my favorite section of the course:

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Sept. 1st to Sept. 7th

Monday, 9/1--Wrangle Creek Loop w/Mosquito Peak Counterclockwise

5,095', 6:08

After a late morning start (10 AM), I set off for 15 miles of flat before getting to the basin below Mosquito Peak.  I started off well, hitting Franklin Bridge at 1:04, and the Wrangle Creek/Lake Creek junction at 2:04, but all that flat running killed my energy, and I took the rest of the run pretty leisurely, stopping to look at the map just out of curiosity and taking a lot of pictures.  I missed Mosquito Peak and had to double back to tag it, but it didn't add on much extra time.

Tuesday, 9/2--Intervals w/Run Wild Missoula

5 x 1k @ 5k pace + 400 @ mile pace, 2 minute rests, ~50 minutes

This workout went pretty well.  It felt a little slow, but it was consistent.  I ran 3:36s (18 minute 5k pace) for the first 4, and 3:31 for the last 1k, with a 75 second quarter at the end.  A little slow might have just meant I was actually running the splits I should be running, since I've never done a 5k in under 18 minutes.

Wednesday, 9/3--Off

Thursday, 9/4--Smokejumper Loop w/Jimmy and John

1,978', 1:23

A casual, conversational run with some of the Flying J's (my term for the surprising number of fast Missoulian runners with a first name that starts with J).  It was good to see John out again, and good just to run with people.  I think this was my first non-solo run in over a month.

Friday, 9/5--Off

Saturday, 9/6--South Sentinel

1,883', 41:28

I didn't start running until past ten, which seemed a little late for a PR attempt, but it worked out.  From my apartment door, I hit the summit via Sentinel Fire Road and Pengelly in 27:32, and ran down in 13:56.  While I marginally shaved time off of my old ascent record (27:45), I took almost a minute off my old descent record (14:50).  This was a huge confidence builder for my downhilling, since I ran down almost as fast as my descent via the shortcut that's since been blocked off (13:38).  If I ascend Lone Peak at the same rate of vertical as I did South Sentinel, I should break 50 minutes (for the 3400' ascent).  It's higher altitude, but a steeper, faster climb with heavy competition.  48 minutes seems like a good goal.  A downhill race on that route would probably be too dangerous, but I might fare better against the competition.

Sunday, 9/7--St. Mary Peak Exploring

3,313', 2:08

I took this run pretty casual, just going for time rather than vertical.  After hitting the summit, I was about ready to go back down and do some repeats when I noticed a really fun looking ridgeline to the west, with a short techy section traversing over.  I ran along the ridge until it got back below treeline, then scouted out the long cross country traverse over to the Heavenly Twins a bit.  It looks doable, but slow.  I talked to the guy manning the fire lookout, and learned that people sometimes go from St. Mary all the way down to the Kootenai Creek trail.  That could be a fun long run with a shuttle, if the trees weren't too bad.

12,269', 11:11

Another easy week, with the less gain I've done in months.  I feel pretty good, but don't really want to build any expectations for The Rut.  The Vertical K is pretty easy to set a goal for, 48 minutes, but the 50k is radically different from last year.  My hope is just to represent Montana well.  There are way too many fast guys in the race (Kilian, Sage, Alex Nichols, Paul Hamilton, Adam Campbell, Rickey Gates, Jason Delaney, Luke Nelson, Nick Elson, Team Nike, etc., plus the fast women--Ellie Greenwood, Anna Frost, Emelie Forsberg, etc.) that I can't reliably predict what position I might be in.  Top 20 would be nice, but even that's out there.  Besides Montana Cup, this will be the most competitive race I've ever been in.  Exciting for sure!

Rattlesnake Canyon

Glacier Lake

Rattlesnake Wilderness

The ridgeline from St. Mary Peak summit

The big traverse over to the Heavenly Twins

Looking back at St. Mary


Not a bad place to live for awhile

Bummed I miss these folks when they were in town a few months ago:

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Aug. 25th to Aug. 31st

Monday, 8/25--Off

Tuesday, 8/26--Intervals w/Run Wild Missoula

2 x 600, 400, 300, 200 with short rests and a 5 min. rest between sets @ mile pace, 50 minutes

The legs still felt kind of heavy from last weekend's outing to Big Sky, but I was able to stay between 4:35 and 5:05 pace, setting some PRs for short distances (69 second lap!).  I was surprised to be able to pull off those kind of laps, but there were some fast guys to chase and I feel like I had a better capacity to dig deep than in previous workouts.  I'll need to make sure not to get overeager to gauge my fitness throughout this taper, and plan to just have 1-2 quality days per week, even when the legs start feeling pep again.

Wednesday, 8/27--Up South Sentinel, Down Sentinel and Back

4,020', 1:59

A slow hill climbing run in the midday heat.  I felt sore from yesterday, so I just took it easy.  I'd never run more than maybe half a mile at sub 5 minute pace, and yesterday was nearly two miles total at sub 5 pace.  It's a different kind of sore than I've been used to, which is good.  I need to keep it hard easy hard easy.

Thursday, 8/28--South Sentinel + North Ridge

3,023', 1:28

Up South Sentinel, down the North Ridge a ways and back.  Legs felt okay, but not great, so I just took it easy.  My quads have been feeling really heavy when I start climbing immediately after descending, but it goes away after a few hundred feet of up.

Friday, 8/29--South Sentinel + a bit of gratuitous vert.

2,011', 1:01

Another easy run, up to the top of South Sentinel + a bit extra up to get over 2,000 vert.  This may have been my slowest ascent to the summit (~37 minutes), but I need an easy day.

Saturday, 8/30--South Sentinel, North Ridge, Sentinel Gulch + 1,000' on Sentinel

5,096', 2:20

The legs had some pep!  I hit the summit in 34 minutes at what felt like an easy pace, went down the North Ridge, up Sentinel Gulch, and descended Sentinel for 1,000' before turning back around.  The temps were a little cooler than what I've been running in, but I think taking it easy has finally paid off, and I'm finally showing signs of recovery from two big weeks.  Now I just need to make sure not to overdo it (the massive load of schoolwork is helping).

Sunday, 8/31--South Sentinel, North Ridge, Sentinel Gulch, Sentinel

5,968', 2:37

Getting some steep in quick felt pretty good.  This was an early afternoon run, so it was a bit of a sweat fest.  Everything was a bit faster than yesterday, and I think I set a PR running down Sentinel (not sure of the exact time, 12:something).  I could have worked on the uphills more, but overall the run was fast enough to be considered a quality workout.  Windy.

20,118', 10:15

A relatively low volume, low time commitment week, with the legs feeling more energetic every day.  This was also a week without travel, every run being done from my apartment.  Part of this is due to a heavy load of schoolwork, and partly due to some financial constraints after buying several hundred dollars of textbooks.  Travel will be pretty restricted for the rest of the year, except for races.

No Pictures (You all know what Sentinel looks like)

I've been waiting for this--Strand of Oaks Live on KEXP:

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Aug. 18th to Aug. 24th

Monday, 8/18--Off

Tuesday, 8/19--Up South Sentinel, Down to Evans St. and Back

4,025', 1:58

A morning run just to test the legs after some long days on Lone Mountain.  Pengelly used to seem difficult, but after a couple days going up and down piles of loose rock in Big Sky this trail seems almost laughable.  It's still decent training for The Rut 50k, though.

Wednesday, 8/20--Pengelly, North Ridge South Sentinel, Sentinel Gulch, Down Sentinel--Reverse

6,046', 2:56

Same route as last Monday, same effort, 4 minutes faster.  I still feel like anything two hours or under allows me to keep recovering.  I'm still feeling a little lag from last week, but I'm ready to keep pushing a little longer.  Cloudy cool weather, running through dew.  I was drenched up to my thighs.

Thursday, 8/21--Over Sentinel and Up University, plus some Gratuitous Up

4,270', 2:02

A cloudy but warm run, feeling a little slow.  This was right after a roughish day at work--still, my time up University was about average for a below average effort.  I followed this immediately after with 35 minutes of strength and conditioning, and was very fatigued at the end.  35 minutes is normal, but usually I give myself a break between workouts.

Friday, 8/22--Rut 50k Scouting

7,240, 4:50

Up Bonecrusher, around the base of Deadgoat Ridge, up to the ridge, down by Challenger, then up a bit more and back down.  The new climb to Deadgoat Ridge is tough!  I ran into Mike Wolfe and crew up there making a bit of trail and putting in bolts for a fixed line, which definitely isn't a bad idea considering the terrain.  It was really foggy on parts of this run (visibility 150'), causing me to lose track of the right route coming down from Challenger.  A day well spent.

Saturday, 8/23--Andesite Mt. Repeats

5,151', 2:49

Ran up to the summit via ski slopes, then took service roads down to the Moose Tracks trail.  From the bottom of Moose Tracks, I ran 4 repeats back up to the summit sticking to the 50k course.  It's a tricky transition in this section, going from super steep to totally runnable.  On the steepest section, I slid back down the hill a couple times with all the rain and muck, but figured out a good way up past this section--going straight up when it's muddy doesn't work.

Sunday, 8/24--Rut 50k Scouting

8,322', 6:18

I woke up to windows covered with snow, and spent the entire morning running around in snow and mud.  From Moonlight Lodge, I went up the very gradual Elkhorn Trail, took service roads over to the moraine, and slowly and carefully climbed the snow covered talus field leading to Deadgoat Ridge.  From here, I followed the course all the way to Cowflats (summiting Lone Peak), and ran back to Moonlight with only a slight detour.  It took me awhile to find the trail going from the first talus field after the descent off Lone Peak to Dakota Lift, but I managed to find it via following some deer tracks, and finally spotting the trail again.  The descent off Lone Peak seemed like it could possibly be faster in snow, but most everything else was a good bit slower.  This course is doable (and still within confines of safety) if snow covered, but it changes the mountain section of the course drastically.

35,054', 20:53

The bulk of the time and gain this week was on the Rut 50k course, just getting to know more of the terrain and spend time at altitude.  Sunday's run was one of my favorites so far this year, and a real awakener to just how difficult the course could be with unfavorable weather.  I feel pretty comfortable on the mountain section of the course, but still need to check out the mellow sections if possible next weekend.  Fall semester starts tomorrow, which really should hep with this taper business.

This seemed familiar

The Prow

Wolfepaw working on the trail

Don't look down

The steepest section on the course

Looking back down

The last steep uphill of the course ... 

From here on the course is totally runnable

The climb to Deadgoat Ridge

The steep gully runner's will go down (where the fixed rope will be), a little sketchy

On Deadgoat Ridge


The techy section on Bonecrusher

Nearing the summit

A short and choppy video of some snowy trail (descending Lone Peak), just to give an idea of how runnable this section actually is:


Broken Bells, October--it's already feeling Fall: