Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Prepping my Active at Altitude Camp

This past weekend I spent a glorious time in Estes Park, CO with Terry Chilpin, the owner of Active at Altitude camps.  As I mentioned in a posting in December, Terry and I are teaming together on a number of ventures this upcoming year and the first will be a camp in May in Estes Park.  With the camper list already half full, we felt it was time for me to get out to Estes Park and check out what we will be ding first-hand.  There is only so much a phone call and email can convey after all.

Lake Estes
I had last been in Estes Park over 5.5 years ago running the Estes Park Marathon as one of my 52 for the year.  Little had changed and all the beauty of this town remained. Terry and I spent the better part of the day checking out the trails which were runnable and scoping out where exactly our camper would be running. I immediately remembered Lake Estes and how just a few short steps away from the finish of the marathon I was grateful to be surrounded by such a glorious spectacle.

Boulder Reservoir
On Saturday we spent some time in Boulder on what turned out to be a day about 20 degrees warmer than we expected it to be.  Running around the Boulder Reservoir, I was reminding of running a marathon here in 2009 and how I had come across Naoko Takahasi- the first female marathoner to even break 2:20.  As we headed back to Estes Park, we saw none other than Scott Jurek and his friend Walt on what was probably some random 50 miler they decided to do that day.  after a small chat, We were back to Terry's lodging to hash out even more details.

Lily Lake
With Anita Ortiz already joining us to be a guest speaker, it was wonderful to confirm that Melody Fairchild would also be joining us as well.  both women would be on-hand to give their own rendition of what it is like to Refuse to Settle - the them of the camp. Those attending the camp are in for a real treat as both of these women have faced some amazing obstacles on their way to pushing themselves past their limits.   Having them at the camp will only go to sow what we all can do with out own talents, regardless of what they might be.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Outdoor Retailer Recap

This may be a little stale of a recap as the Outdoor Retailer shoe was a month ago but I have been itching to write an account of some of the products I encountered there.  Plus, as time has passed since i received the products I did at the show I have been able to give them more than a peripheral run-through.  as such, I am able to give a bit more of feedback than usual and be more accurate.  So, yeah, I planned this perfectly, thank you very much.

I was at the show as a guest of my sunglasses sponsor, Julbo. I rarely got to speak with my host because their booth was so swamped. At one point, there was quite a line to talk with and get pictures signed with Glen Plake, the very recognizable skier know for not only his talent but his outrageous hair. Nevertheless, it was an honor to be there with such an innovative and forward-thinking company and I cannot wait to see where we go together.

While some of my show-going was cut short because of unforeseebale events, I was able to get around to many of the booths and see the up and coming products of well-known brands.  What I have enjoyed the most at these shows are the smaller companies who are just trying to edge their way into the business or may not have the big market share of other companies.  The following are four of those companies from four distinctly different areas of product.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Outside the Ice Half Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 7; 2nd Edition 
26.2 miles raced in 2012
Race: Outside the Ice Half Marathon
Place: Kearns, UT
Miles from home:  15 miles
Weather: Indoor

I had originally scheduled a 10k race put on by part of my track club in SLC for this Saturday months ago. However, as plans changed, I realized that I needed a longer run for my training much more than I needed to test whatever speed I do not have right now in a short race. Almost assured of a less than stellar time in the 10k simply because of the amount of long miles I have put in while preparing for a 100 miler in March and eventually my 350 mile run in April, I ended up running the Outside the Ice Half Marathon in Kearns. Site of my 4 hour run on New Year's Eve, the course was quite simple: 47.75 laps of a 442 meter track. The only question which remained was how fast was I going to run.

I only knew about the race because I was hanging out with my friend Chris a few days before catching up on some man time.  Chris then told me he was doing the aforementioned half-marathon and an idea popped up.  I asked him if he thought he had a new half PR attempt in him. He thought about it and realized he would be running a 5k the night before.  He said he would let me know on Saturday morning.

When race morning came about, I was not feeling too spry.  Running 13.1 miles would give me over 75 miles for the week after a 90+mile week 7 days prior. However, when Chris bounced in and said "Let's go for that PR!" I perked right up.

It was a simple format for us. Forty-seven and a third laps where we needed to average a 2:04 per lap in order to get  a new personal best for him. With a 1:39:16 PR, Chris has a much faster time in him.  He mostly does triathlons so has a much more balanced training approach, even possible leaning toward biking more than anything. Bang went the gun and away we went.

With the first 3 miles gone, right on pace, I had a feeling that Chris was going to set a new PR easily. When I say "easily" I do not mean without effort but rather it would not be one set by a few seconds. Half of my time running was spent slowing Chris down and keeping him on pace.  He was revving his engine and wanting to run.  But I refused to let him go too fast in just the first three miles.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Upcoming Marathons

It is hard to believe I do not have a marathon planned until May.  Then again, when you are training for different events and actually wish to "train", your schedule changes.  That said, I am looking forward to being part of a new marathon, a well-known marathon and one I have run before. In addition, at all of these races, I will be working to help further educate people about the benefits of eating lean beef with the Beef council in each one of those states.  Having been working in conjunction with the State Beef Council for about two years now, I know that education in regards to how healthy lean beef is for people, especially endurance athlete, is still necessary. In addition, myths and rumors about beef production still hold tight even in the face of completely contrary evidence.

Last month I went to the largest feedlot in Idaho in Grand View. Spanning some 750 acres and protected by a natural rimrock, the feedlot also benefits from minimal rainfall and moderate temperatures year round. I went there to have further first-hand and up-to-date knowledge of these feedlots. Even though from previous experience I already knew how cattle were handled (humanely) and had seen it on smaller scale feedlots, I was a little nervous at what I might see. The problem with misinformation is that even when you know it is incorrect, it seeps into your mind.  So when I saw this massive expanse of land, with thousands of cattle simply enjoying the day, I was a little surprised (even though I should not have been).  On an unnaturally warm day in early January, the cattle were sunbathing, eating and simply milling around in this mass space of land. There was no overcrowding, there was plenty of area for the cattle to move and far as anyone could tell these were some very happy cattle. Again, I should not have been surprised how humanely the animals were treated.  However, the fact I was reminded me how much education still is necessary to those who have not had first-hand experience and rely on word of mouth or stories that are told from a biased viewpoint.

So throughout this year I will be continuing to be the first official SpokesRunner for the Beef Checkoff which will entail me working with various states at a variety of events and races to spread the knowledge. Spreading correct information is what the mission is about: not telling people what to eat but to simply educate them to how healthy eating lean beef is and how unbelievably beneficial it is to the body.

Bob on the left, me, and will Wise of the OR Beef Council
This past Labor Day, I was in Oregon to run a half marathon.  I happened to meet up with Bob Anderson, the creator of Runner's World magazine. Bob and I had a lengthy discussion about how beef helps improve performance and make one a better runner.  He told me about how he had made a switch, a few years back, to a diet that consisted of either no beef or very little amounts.  His race times dipped and he assumed that was just the process of aging.  When he happened to add lean beef to his diet, his race times improved. Ever since then as he continued to eat beef, his times continued to drop.  His health improved and he felt like the runner he had once been.  Now, he is a huge proponent of beef. On this particularly challenging course where we met, Bob ended up running a 1:35:52.  Bob is 63 years old!  In one of his most recent races, the Kaiser Half Marathon, he ran a 1:30:52. It is so heartwarming to see how beef is helping someone who once thought it might not be good for him.  It is an honor to spend time with Bob and I love getting his emails about his unbelievable times.  Check out his UjENA Fit Club here and read more about all he is doing.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Partnership with Julbo

My relationship with Julbo came, as most things do in life, serendipitously after the fall Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City a few years ago. Asked by my friend Bryon Powell, who is the creator of iRunfar.com (one of the preeminent ultrarunning sites out there) to join him and some friends for a post-show run, I was excited about the idea. It is always nice to go for a run with new people.  I wasn't aware that the caliber of people on this run was going to be beyond reproach!  Young phenoms, course record holders, legendary names and just flat-out awesome runners were on hand. By the end of the 20 mile run through some of the very trail that the Wasatch 100 run crosses, we were all quite whipped.  Me probably more than anyone.

During that run, however, I met a representative for Julbo sunglasses and inquired about what he was wearing. I was able to test run a pair and immediately fell in love. Soon thereafter, I was wearing them exclusively.  And I am very pleased  to say I am a Julbo Athlete.  I have been wearing different types of sunglasses in different disciplines of racing to test them all out and have found them to be lightweight, comfortable and (important to many people) stylish as heck. People really seem to love the Dust model I have worn in races lately and are always asking where I get them.  I am more than happy to let them know that Julbo is the brand and there glasses are by some of the top names in all types of sports. 

All told, I am honored to be a Julbo athlete and look forward to seeing the world through their lenses. Some of the models I have thoroughly enjoyed for racing include the Dust, Trail and Ultra.  The Alagna and Hike are quite sporty for just kickin' around and I cannot wait to have an opportunity to test even more.  Check out Julbo's full line and get your own pair soon!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

PowerBar Team Elite

After easily one of the worst months of my life, February is rolling in like a lion with tons of good news. As I was nearly two years ago, I am once again very happy to announce I have been chosen to be part of the PowerBar Team Elite for the next two years.

As I take on the Graveyard 100 in a little over a month (and they really need to either change the name or shorten it from the proposed 102 miles), the Oregon Coast 350 mile run I have in April and every little training run in between, I am happy to have my PowerBar products for just the right boost at just the right time.   And seriously, if they ever even think about discontinuing the Strawberry Banana Gel Blasts, there might be a full-scale mutiny going on lead by me.  I will even wear the Braveheart blue face paint.

Regardless, with so many fantastic athletes representing PowerBar, it is an honor and privilege to be part of their Team Elite. Now time to go tackle the world.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Partnership with BodyGlide

Those who follow my blog have seen how in a few races I have really struggled with chafing in a very bad way in some of my races.  One of the worst was at the Boise 70.3 last June where I tore up my underarm so bad, I walked around like a bodybuilder for a week with my arms sticking way out to the sides.

I had tried some different lubricant methods for this race thinking perhaps the water portion of the triathlon would need something different.  When I obviously found out those products didn't work, I went back to using a product I had always used and should not have differentiated from - BodyGlide.  The very next weekend, I participated in a sprint distance triathlon in Park City and went back to using BodyGlide (as well as a homemade remedy of packing tape - don't ask.) As you can see, no chafing and a third place overall finish.

That is why I am more than happy to announce my partnership with BodyGlide and how they will be the official sports lubricant of all my upcoming races.  With a 100 miler coming up at the Graveyard 100 in March and my 350 miler on the Oregon Coast in April, I am going to need to think about chafing as little as possible.  With so many other tiny aspects to worry about, I do not wish to even spend a moment of time wondering whether I am going to be bleeding from unseemly places again. I will be able to race with peace of mind knowing that BodyGlide has me covered - literally!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Miami Half Marathon Recap

A Runner's Ramblings: Volume 7; 1st Edition 
13.1 miles raced in 2012
Race: Miami Half Marathon
Place: Miami, FL
Miles from home:  2532 miles
Weather: 70s; cloudy; humid

This past weekend was the 10th anniversary of the Miami Marathon.  I can’t believe it has only been ten years. I also cannot believe, given how much I have worked with those involved with the race that I haven’t been at every single one.  That is what this race does to you – makes you feel like family.
Life changes things on you.  It doesn’t care much what your plans are when it comes down to brass tacks. My original plan was to run the marathon and set a new personal best in Florida.  Then I decided a new PR in the half-marathon distance itself would be my goal.  Finally, when tons of “Life” got in the way, I decided I would simply turn the half-marathon into one of a long day of running in and around Miami.

A VERY late arriving flight had me on fumes when I hit the expo on Friday morning.  However, as expos always do, I was invigorated by all the action. The people I met with their own goals for 2012 and those who didn’t have any goal other than finishing whatever distance race they were taking on always fill me with such warmth. I gave two talks to runners at the expo and as usual, I meet people who themselves are on their own journey, many doing things that have been deemed impossible.  I have told them when they meet naysayers to simple nod and smile and continue on. The best answer to anyone who says you cannot do something is by simply going out and doing it.

Come race morning, I actually felt the best I had in a week.  As I type this I am still, almost a week later, trying to shake a head cold that simply will not go away.  But as I trotted the four plus miles from my hotel to the start of the race I felt just fine. I saw crews setting up aid stations and my friends at 82go were getting their water bods ready to be given to runners on the course.  Here, some 4 miles from the start of the race, they simply laughed when they saw me running.  I told them I had nearly 30 miles to run today and I had to get it in where I could.

Arriving with plenty of time before the race started I mingled with the crowd.  The energy was palpable. I knew that after the event, I would be assisting Ryan Hall, Andy Baldwin, and Mrs. USA Shannon Ford in helping with the Run For Something Better program. I was probably more excited about working with these kids than I was for my own race. I learned that Ryan hadn't run much of anything since his awesome showing at the Olympic Trials a few weeks prior.  He looked like a man who had really given his all and was basically spent. Andy was joing the 35 yar old club a week later and was running to raise money for charity by doing 35 miles on his birthday.  Shannon and I talked about which cuts of lean beef we liked the best and promised to go grab some steak on my next trip to Miami (with her husband, natch!)
With fireworks shooting off into the still-black morning, we were underway. The only real hill to speak of was over and done with after less than a mile as we headed onto the MacArthur Causeway.  Having done this race on four separate occasions (two half and two marathons), I am quite familiar with the layout. Enjoying the morning was all I had in mind.  However, as the first three miles went by way faster than I planned, and I was using minimum effort to do so, I thought maybe I will just sit here at this speed until the body says “no”.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Oregon Coast 350

For quite some time, I have been deep in the planning of the next test of my long-distance mettle. With the official go-ahead being received today, I am excited to announce that two months from today I will be running the entire length of the Oregon coast (mostly along U.S. Route 101), all 350 miles of it, in one week's time.

Averaging 50 miles a day, I will break during the middle of the afternoon to meet with various schools and other facilities to speak with children about the importance of not only exercising daily but fueling oneself properly. I will be working in conjunction with the Oregon, Washington and California Beef Councils to show children what can be accomplished when you not only ignore the impossible but do so with a healthful balanced diet.

There are so many details to be planned, routes to be mapped and schools to contact but I am beyond ecstatic to take on this endeavor through one of the most gorgeous areas of the United States. Please stay tuned while the entire adventure continues to develop.  There will be so much to share and we want all of you to be taking this trek with me!