Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Recovery, Inside Trail and the Get 'er Done Award

First, the interesting stuff.

One of the things ultrarunning has lacked for so long is really good commentary on all that's going on in the sport. Ultrarunning Magazine is a wonderful resource for following race results, etc., but it really doesn't provide much hard-hitting analysis of what's happening in the sport, such as the current dominance of Team Salomon, which has pulled off huge wins in the biggest 100-milers in the world this year: Western States (Kilian Jornet), Hardrock 100 (Julien Chorier), Leadville 100 (Ryan Sandes), and most recently Mont Blanc (Kilian, once again). The domination from Team Salomon has been breath-taking and it's introduced a new model the sport's never seen--team-based racing kind of like what you'd see in professional cycling with domestiques.

Anyway, I don't want to get off track here. The point is that you can read about all of this and much more on a new website called Inside Trail. If you love ultrarunning and are looking for thoughtful but hard-hitting analysis, cool interviews with some of the sport's biggest stars, and wrap-ups of the premier races, then Inside Trail is required reading. Check it out now by clicking here. It's daily reading for me. Maybe for you, too?

Props to Tim and Matt for putting blood, sweat and tears into this labor of love, which, for ultrarunning junkies like me, is really good stuff.

Now for the sizzling-hot stuff. Regarding my last post on quitting, I'm thinking about creating the "Get 'er Done Award" for tough-ass "elite" runners who grind it out in 100s-gone-bad and really show passion and courage in the process. In other words, elite runners who refuse to take the easy way out and DNF when races get hard. If this award comes to fruition, I'm thinking Hal Koerner, the two-time champion of the Western States 100 who grinded out a nearly 40-hour time at Mont Blanc (which had to be tough for a guy who usually scorches courses), would be the first recipient. Hal is now one of my ultrarunning heroes. His Mont Blanc performance shows that he's about more than gunning for the win and then bailing when stuff goes bad. Good job, Hal! You picked up a lot of new fans last weekend!

Hal ripping off a 16:24 at the 2009 Western States 100.
Get 'er done.


Now for the boring, ho-hum stuff. My recovery from the Leadville 100 is going pretty well. Last week I was as tired as I've ever been in my entire life. By tired I mean barely able to stay awake at my desk tired. I honestly don't remember a whole lot about last week. Yes, it was that bad.

My legs are feeling pretty good. Last week I had the classic post-100 mile dull ache in my legs. My hips were a little sore, too. I didn't go on my first run until Thursday, and it was then that I discovered I have a little case of runner's knee in my right knee. I've had runner's knee before and I'm not too worried. The inflammation just needs to settle down and then I'll be good to go. I'm actually still running, but have backed off the mileage a bit (5-7 every morning) and am using ice and arnica to accelerate healing in my knee. I haven't done any long runs since Leadville and won't resume those until my knee is close to 100%. If I feel the need to go long, I'll get on my bike, like I did last Saturday, and ride 30 or 40 or more miles. This is just a game of patience. It's all textbook stuff.

I'm thinking about what I want to do for the rest of the year. Options include the Moab Marathon, a trail race, in November and/or the Las Vegas or California International (Sacarmento) marathons in early December. The next time I step foot on a road marathon course, it will be to once again try to lower my PR, which is 2:58. I simply cannot at this point in my Leadville recovery, while I'm nursing a sore knee, know whether or not I can put in what it takes to PR in early December (lots of track work, etc.). Which means the Moab Marathon and maybe a few other trail races look promising.

Actually, part of me wants to do the Bear 100 in September, but I have a huge scheduling conflict that weekend, which means Bear isn't possible. Probably for the better. But Bear is on my radar, as is Wasatch.

I'm also thinking about 2012. A spring marathon PR effort is definitely in the cards--maybe a return to to the Eisenhower Marathon in April. I'm also definitely returning to the Leadville 100 in August to once again gun for a sub-20-hour time. I'll also do the Leadville Trail Marathon (June 30 or July 7?), as always. It looks like the Jemez 50-mile course was pretty much destroyed by wildfires earlier this summer, which profoundly saddens me because it's such a beautiful area. That means a return to Jemez in 2012 may not happen at all, or, best-case scenario, the course will be different. So Jemez is doubtful for me. Which means I might enter the San Juan Solstice (6/23), said to be the toughest 50-miler in the nation, though many give that honor to Jemez. San Juan might be a little too close timing-wise to Leadville. We'll see.

The wildcard in all of this is whether or not I get into the Western States 100. I plan to enter the lottery and realize the odds are stacked against me. I think the chances of getting selected for the 2011 race were around 10%. If by some miracle I do get into Western States, my schedule will likely focus on three big races in 2012: Marathon PR in the spring, Western States in June, and Leadville in August.

It's all very fluid right now.


  1. I like the way you think and fully support the Get 'er done award.
    I would also add the female award.

    Time to recognize the "Grit and Determination!" on both sides of the isle.

    Male- Hal

  2. Mark: Yes, Lizzy for sure. Scott Jaime also grinded out a nice Mont Blanc. I respect all ultrarunners, including the guys and gals who DNF'd at Mont Blanc (most especially Nick Clark, who I greatly admire). I think DNF'ing when races go bad has just become the thing to do for elites. That mentality needs to change, though obviously a DNF is necessary when you're injured (e.g., Karl Meltzer at Hardrock this year). But staying in the game when things go bad and getting a race done, as Kilian did at the 2010 Western States 100 (for him, a 3rd place finish there had to be a disaster, but he never quit!), definitely can be beneficial in the long run and make you stronger and tougher.


  3. Exactly Wyatt,

    Alot of tough, never quit,suck-it-up ol' birds out there. They all get a pat on the back from yours truly..

    Killian is quiet amazing and continues to set the bar and example! He really is an inspiration and quickly becoming an international hero in my opinion,if not fact?

    I realize that I pay no airfares, provide no equipment,lodging or other support for these athletes but I love a hard fought win or loss that defies common motivation and logic.

    Everyone loves a winner; but sometimes the fight in the dog and the last dog standing makes the history books much more interesting and entertaining.

    "Pain is good, extreme pain is extremely good." ;)


  4. Thanks much for the kind words and link, Wyatt. We'll keep working hard as long as folks like you appreciate it.