Wednesday, June 8, 2011

On Track and Doing What I Need to Do / Western States 100 Prediction

I'm back from a four-day trip to Atlanta, Georgia, where Noah and I visited my mom and dad and my brother and his family. We had a great time, but was it ever hot! The temperature hit the mid to high 90s and the humidity was crazy. Needless to say, my runs on Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings along the Chattahoochee River in Roswell (which is north of Atlanta) were quite uncomfortable. My clothes were super-soaked and even my shoes were wet from all the sweat flying everywhere. I lost a lot of fluid but was able to rehydrate after every run. However, I did fall short of my 90-mile goal for the week, getting to "only" 82 miles. The heat simply took a toll on me.

If there's one rule I've learned in the last year, it's this:

Listen to your body, keep the needle just below the red and understand that some days are for fighting and others are for chilling.
As I was pounding the hot pavement in sweltering conditions in "Hot-Lanta," I realized that blindly chasing my 90-mile goal in these conditions, which I'm no longer used to since Denver is so dry, was misguided, so I adjusted my goal and still managed a decent week.

Monday, 5/30: 14.25 miles at Mount Falcon. 3007/2975
Tuesday, 5/31: 10 miles in the Parker hills. 603/593
Wednesday, 6/1: 10 miles in the Parker hills. 578/573
Thursday, 6/2: 9 miles on the trails in Parker. 668/676
Friday, 6/3: 11 miles in Hot-Lanta along the Chattahoochee River. Incredibly hot. 629/674.
Saturday, 6/4: 14 miles in Hot-Lanta along the river. Even hotter! 803/863
Sunday, 6/5: 13.05 miles total, 8 at tempo pace in Hot-Lanta. Ridiculously hot once again (only 6:40 pace due to the heat).
  • Total miles for the week: 81.3
  • Yoga stretches and core strengthening
  • Total time: 11 hours, 18 minutes
  • Mileage for year: 1487
With a slow start to the year due to my foot injury, my aggregate mileage is down a little compared to previous years. I'd still love to make a run at 4,000 miles, but what I want even more is to stay healthy! As of right now I'm comfortable saying my foot is 80%. Three months ago it was 50%. Six months ago I wasn't able to run....

Goals for next week (6/6-6/12): 90-95 miles. 2-3 mountain runs. One quality tempo run.


In the wake of the Jemez 50-mile race, I've really stepped up my mountain training and made it a priority for the next 2.5 months. Yesterday (Tuesday), which was my first full day back home from Atlanta, I did a 15-miler at Mount Herman in Monument. Mount Herman reaches 9,300 feet. Unfortunately, I was unable to find the summit trailhead from Mount Herman Road, so I got to "only" 8,700 feet but still managed 2,100 feet of nice vertical and 2,100 feet of fast descent. The last 6 miles alone I lost 1,600 feet and was cruising. I've found that increasing my cadence on the downs really makes a difference. I've always had issues with my stride being too long--a long stride on long descents is a killer and it's no wonder I've sprained my right ankle so much in the past year. So I'm really working on my downhill running form and seeing results.

This week I'm planning two more mountain outings--Roxborough State Park on Friday evening and something really adventurous on Sunday morning (maybe Pikes Peak, Mount Evans or something else). My goal for the week is 90 miles. I'm planning a tempo run on Thursday morning--gotta keep the turnover going well.

The Mount Evans Ascent is June 18. The run starts at 10,600 feet and tops out at the summit of Evans, which is over 14,200 feet in the sky. It's a 14.5-mile road run that is going to hurt (while offering beautiful views everywhere)! Since this isn't a goal race, I'll be happy with a time under 2:15 or 2:20. This will be a high-altitude training run, and I also wanted to do Evans since it's a legendary race and 14'er I really want to summit. I might run back down to my car for ~29 miles on the day. We'll see. If not, then I'll run around Echo Lake when I get back to my car.


We recently learned that Anne's work schedule is changing. For the past year she's worked every other Saturday morning. As far as running (and in many other regards that I won't go into), this has been a challenge. For one thing, most ultras are held on Saturdays. Also, when she's working, I can't run long since Noah is so young and needs one of us with him. As of July 1, she'll no longer work Saturdays. Runningwise, this means a lot more flexibility (but, best of all, it means more time together as a family). There is now a chance I may now go down to the Hardrock Hundred on July 8-9 and make myself available as a pacer. I think July is going to be a big training month for me, as in 410+ miles. The key is to stay healthy!


Based on stuff I've seen and heard from people I trust, I'm really thinking seriously about getting some Hoka Bondis or Mafates for the Leadville Marathon and Leadville 100. Bondis are road shoes and Mafates are for trails. These are very hot shoes right (and hard to find, too). They look like tanks but they're actually pretty light and very supportive. I'm leaning toward the Bondis, which I believe are under 10 ounces (Mafates are slightly heavier) and I think would work quite well on the Leadville 100 course. Leadville is actually a very runnable course that I think would favor a lighter shoe. Unfortunately, Hokas are $170 a pair. Yikes!


I always get excited about the Western States 100. Last year's race was epic, with Geoff Roes overtaking Anton Krupicka for the win and Kilian Jornet not far behind. This year's race is going to once again feature a stacked field. Interestingly, the region has gotten hammered with snow, creating some questions about the course. Will it be re-routed like last year? We'll see. I plan to enter the 2012 WS100 lottery and hope to experience it all firsthand!

Here's a list of some of the super-stars who'll be toeing the line at the 2011 race (apologies to those not included--I'm sure I missed some names so please let me know if I did):
  • Todd Braje (2010 USATF 100-mile national champ at Burning River)
  • Jez Bragg (3rd in 2009)
  • Nick Clark (4th in 2010)
  • Graham Cooper (2006 champ)
  • Scott Jaime (2nd at Hardrock in 2008 and a fast guy from Colorado)
  • Kilian Jornet (3rd in 2010)
  • Hal Koener (2007 and 2009 champ)
  • Dave Mackey (previously 2nd at WS)
  • Geoff Roes (reigning champ)
  • Ian Sharman (8th in 2010; scorching fast, record-breaking time at the 2011 Rocky Raccoon 100-miler)
  • Andy Jones-Wilkins (many times a top-10 finisher)
  • Mike Wolfe (WS rookie)
  • Tsuyoshi Kaburaki (2nd in 2009)
Anton would be on the list and a top contender but he's injured from what I've heard. I think it's going to be a very close race, with probably three guys in the hunt late in the race. My prediction for top 5:
  1. Roes - WS history shows that it's a race for repeat champs. Who is better than Roes? The guy has never lost a 100-miler! But I do think he's raced a lot this year. I wonder how fresh his legs are. The safe bet is that Geoff will show up primed for an ass-kicking. I also think that if the course is snowy, Roes, who is from Juneau, Alaska (and lives in snowy Nederland, Colorado during the academic year), will totally be in his element, along with Kilian, and will also run strong in the hot canyons and beyond.
  2. Mackey - Undefeated in 2011 with three big wins at the 50-mile to 100K distances. Parenthetically, Mackey paced Roes in for the win last year, so imagine the drama if the two are in a chase with the track in sight, which wouldn't surprise me at all. Mackey is a grizzled WS veteran and, from what I've heard, one tough dude. He's had some stomach issues at WS in the past, so we'll see what happens.
  3. Clark - Is in incredible shape right now. He's fresh off a record-setting performance at the Jemez 50-miler and will be duking it out with Roes and Mackey late in the race. But he's raced a lot this year, with an aggressive effort at Jemez, so we'll see how fresh he is. I am still astonished by his Jemez performance. FYI, he's doing Hardrock right after Western States. He'll obviously be a top contender at Hardrock, too.
  4. Jornet - A big part of me says the Spaniard is going to win since he now has a year under his belt and his mountain-running and snow-running skills are off the charts. He's also so young. This is a tough one. I would not be at all surprised if Kilian wins. Again, a snowy course would favor Kilian and Geoff.
  5. Koerner - The wily two-time champ who is healthy and running very well could sneak up on everyone and win. I've always admired Hal's toughness and he seems like a super good guy, too. Never, ever count out Hal Koerner.
Any of those five guys along with a few others, such as Jaime (who is very hungry for a big performance), Bragg, Braje, Kaburaki and Sharmin, could win (who else am I missing?). I'll be watching rookie Shaun Pope from Cleveland, a hotbed of ultrarunning with folks like Mark Godale and Connie Gardner. Shaun's a fast, fast guy (probably similar to Ian Sharmin) who qualified in with a win at Ice Age. Shaun is a big-time up and comer but unfortunately doesn't live in the mountains. He's young and has a great future in the sport and is the best talent out of Cleveland since Godale.

On the women's side, here are my predictions for top three:
  1. Meghan Arbogast
  2. Tracy Garneau (women's winner in 2010)
  3. Kami Semick
If I left anyone off, let me know!


  1. Shaun is out in Colorado training for Western States right now

  2. That's great news about Shaun. With his speed and abilities in hot weather, and now with his training in the mountains, he may surprise a lot of people who don't have him on their radar. I wish he'd look me up while he's in Colorado--we could maybe meet for a run!

  3. Hi Wyatt,
    Nice blog.. just found it. Get your Bondi Bs for Leadville.. you won't regret it! See you out there..

  4. Thanks, Dave! That means a lot coming from you. Good luck at Western States!