Sunday, May 18, 2008

Berryman Trail 50 Mile

Carey Smith

Paul Shoenlaub (shorty)
Me, Tony Clark, Stacey Amos at the start

mile 8
Me and Tony finish 1st loop in 3:33 only 25 miles to go
coming into Brazil Creek A.S. mile 40
Mile 44 Getting a bit warm
Tony finishes first place 7:37
2nd place 7:54
Adrian hanging out with Angel and Tony Clark at the finish

With the help of Tony Clark I set a 50 mile P.R. this weekend. This would be my 3rd year at this race. I finished in 9:20 in 2005 and 10:11 in 2006. My goal for this race was just to get a final fitness test in for Western States 100. I've run a 50 miler about every 3 weeks for the last 9 weeks. At the start I met up with Tony. He had never run this course before so we agreed to run together for a little while. The race director said go and we were off, 80 runners in the 50 mile and 120 in the marathon. Tony and I set a relaxed pace and were somehow in the lead. The plan was to fill up at every other aid station to help get in easy miles while the temps were still cool. We stopped for water at mile 8.33, 1:09 wondering where all the fast marathoners were at. No one had passed us yet and I was worried that the pace was a little to fast. We continued on and were finally passed by 2 marathoners at mile 12. Ran into Brazil Creek A.S. 15.55 in just over 2 hrs. Once you reach Brazil Creek you have 2 miles of hills that seem to take forever then just 8 more miles to the start/finish area. I finished the first loop in 3:33 and told Tony to go ahead while I changed shoes to prevent a blister problem. Took off for the second loop at a consistent pace still running all the hills and taking a GU every half hour. By the time I hit Brazil Creek mile 40 6:05 I was getting a bit soft in the head, it was warming up real good now. Prospects of finishing under 8 hrs were fading fast. I tried explaining this to my wife Kristi but she would have none of it, basically she told me to shut up and run! The next few miles were mostly hills so I would pick out a tree in the distance run to it, and then walk to the next tree and repeat. There are some excellent down hill sections that are fun to charge down and you can make up time for walking the hills. Finally I got to the last aid station only 2.3 miles to go and 25 min to do it in. I knew the last mile was pretty much flat so I jogged the hills and attacked the downhills. Crossed the finish line and pretty much collapsed, the heat and exhaustion I'd been trying to ignore caught up to me. It felt so good to be done.

SLUGS put on quality races. Thank you David and Victoria!! I'll be back next year I'm sure. It was good seeing old friends and making new ones. Thanks for pushing me on that first loop Tony.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Rockin K

Me and Adrian on the course Friday before the race

The start

one of the many water crossings, this is about 1.5 mi from the finish

parts of this course resemble Utah
Beautiful course

2008 Rockin K 50 mile finish 9:21

2005 Rockin K 50 mile finish 12:46:55

At the start with a few members of team Salomon/G.P.R.C.
Deanna Stoppler, Willie Lambert, Stuart Johnson, me

KC Trail Nerd Kyle Amos at 13.2 mi Gate #6 A.S.

Nerd Gary Henry at 13.2 mi

Starting Big Bluff Loop 13.2

Adrian 13.2 mi

Me and Paul Schoenlaub at the finish

Had blast at this year's Rockin K 50. The weather was near perfect, upper 30s at the start and about 70 degrees in the afternoon with wind gusts up to 30 mph (that was fun). I am using this race, along with Free State and Berryman 50 to sharpen up for Western States 100 in June. I tried a simple calorie intake plan that worked really well: basically an s-cap and gu 30 min before the start, 1 gu and 1 serving of clif bloks at each half-hour interval, and an s-cap every 90 minutes, plus accelerade drink mix. All that added up to roughly 450 cal/hr. I didn't have any stomach issues and never bonked.

The first loop is a full marathon distance. My goal was to finish it in about 4 hours. About mile twenty I was feeling really good—so good, in fact, I completely missed an obvious right-hand turn at one of the gates. Fifteen minutes later I figured out that something was amiss: "Damn, I'm going the wrong way." Turned back around, picked up the right trail, and screamed and cursed all the way to the start/finish area with 2 extra miles in. Got to the start/finish mile 26.4 (28.6 for me)4:33 fired up and pissed off. Filled up my hydration pack, slammed a red bull, strapped on my ipod, and took off for the final loop.

I ran the next six miles in under an hour. I was trying to make up time. It was getting warm and the wind was picking up. Ran the Big Bluff Loop (42.63/44.62) while out of paranoia kept looking back over my shoulder to the last course marker to make sure I stayed on course. After Big Bluff Loop its only 8 miles to the finish with a few water crossings mixed in. I checked my garmin it read 8:59 , 51.2 mi but still, I had 2 miles to go to the finish line. Two stream crossings and a lot of sand, finally uphill finish 9:20 53.19 miles.

Things I learned:
2. I don't stay mad for very long.
3. Salomon makes excellent trail shoes . The XA COMP 3 was perfect for this course lots of mesh in the upper for water drainage.
4. I have the ability to push myself even after a major screw up. It was kind of enjoyable in a sick way.
5. Rockin' K is a tough course in 2005 it was my very first 50 mile it broke me at about mile 39
and I walked most of the last 10 miles in the dark with coyotes yipping at me. This year I ran a bit faster but it's never easy, wouldn't be worth it.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Finding peace on the trail

Not much to write about, here's some pics we took last Sunday after running Red Bridge Ramble. This is at Martha Lafite Thompson Nature Sanctuary in Liberty, Mo. We hiked for about 90 min , the trails there offer a good mix hills, flats and a nice stream crossing, not very long though maybe 5 miles total. Kyle thanks for the carrier Adrian loves it.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Rocky Raccoon 100 Pacer Report

Gabe's Pacer Mark Stovall. His first time pacing a 100 he did a great job!
KC Trail Nerd A.S. Stacey Amos and Tiff with S.L.U.G. Carey Smith
3rd loop 174 A.S. mile 57 John looking unbreakable
yet another self portrait mile 70ish
4th loop around mile 70
John King 100 Miles 20:48
Nice Brim!!!
Bad Ben
(sleeping off Chafe Fest 2008)

The Big Guy
(the morning after)
Gabe's crew chief and wife Tiff
(the morning after)
Gary Henry
Race Director Joe Prusitis at the awards ceremony
John and his wife Stacey

John and Gabe both had excellent races at RR100 throwing down some fast times. Gabe has come a long way in a short time. His fitness and nutrition discipline was rewarded with an amazing 19:33 PR finish. Mark Stovall and I flew to Dallas then drove 3 hrs to Huntsville State Park. This was Mark's first time pacing a 100 and he was a little nervous. As soon as we got there we quickly changed into running gear and met up with the KC Trail Nerds who had set up their own aid station at the start/finish in support of runners Bad Ben, Kyle Amos, Tony Clark, Gary Henry, Gabe Bevan, and John King.

It turned out that John and Gabe were way ahead of schedule. From the start/finish area we walked about .5 mile to the site 174 aid station (mile 57) to get some pics and see our runners, but Gabe had already gone through so Mark had to sprint back to the start/finish to catch him . John was feeling great at the start of his 4th loop (mile 60) so we set off at a comfortable pace. I have run this race twice and this would be my third time pacing at 100-mile race. I felt confident that if anything went wrong, John and I could manage it. Most of the time I would be in the lead. For most of the fourth loop we would run 20 min and then walk for about 60 seconds. I wanted to keep John somewhat fresh for his final 5th loop. Since John was on a great pace I was anxious to try and catch up with Gabe. When we would get to an aid station I would look up Gabe's time and see if he was slowing down. He never slowed down! Then I saw him on the out-and-back section to Far Side A.S. looking mean and bombproof. "Sorry John were not gonna catch The Big Guy," I said.


Quick shirt and shoe change and we were off on the final loop. John was starting to feel the miles, but he was still running good. As soon as we would get within sight of an aid station I'd ask John what he needed. When we would get to A.S., I'd grab food, fill his water bottle, and we would take off in seconds. Once I got caught up helping the overloaded volunteers and had to sprint to catch up with John. We were doing 1-mile intervals with about 90 sec of walking mixed in, until we got to the Dam Road A.S., mile 92.7. I looked at him and said "John a 21-hr finish would be a great time , but 20-hr finish is even better. We gotta run hard and we gotta run everything including the hills." I made sure John went through an awesome experience that last 7 miles. We hit the last A.S. Site 174 (97.1) with a marginal cushion of time John was getting more and more fatigued and had an IT band that was acting up. We made the final turn to the long straightaway to the finish line and John took off for a sprint finish 20:48. Outstanding! I'm pretty sure John's got some sled dog in his genetics because he can run his legs off and never complain--and do it all with a smile on his face!

TRAINING-principles of progressive (agressive) overload

As a fitness trainer I know running is about obtaining the necessary skills, stress, recovery, adaption, and building muscle memory through repetition blah, blah... All this is great if you're planning to do a 10k. A 100 challenges you beyond that physiology. Before the race, John and I discussed various goals and strategies. He said he just wanted to finish, but I knew better and said I would push him to a sub-24. His training consisted of many long runs and other "prep" ultras races. Our favorite trainer is the infamous Psycho course--typically 2-3 10-mile loops anywhere from 4-7 hours, depending on how deep the mud and or snow is. Often we would have "push-up day": this run involved completing 50 pushups as fast as possible at each mile interval for 15 miles. This is one of Gabe's favorites, too! This exercise does nothing to increase running ability, but it beats the hell out of you and mimics the upper body fatigue you would feel in the latter stages of a 100 (more of a mental trainer). Many of these runs were in sub-freezing temperatures (Cameron Fat Ass 50k) which was excellent 100 prep.

At the awards ceremony I told John it was luck that helped him through this race, but that was wrong. Luck is just a residual of preparation.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Kyle Amos pushing me up a hill
My daughter Adrian this is her 4th ultra and she's only 8 months!
John King, me and Gabe Bevan
mud is my favorite color

I'll put up some pics soon . I was telling Gabe that you can't compare a 50k to a 100 miler, but as far as exertion per mile goes this was the hardest race I have run. Guess you can call that progress. First loop was great, second loop not too bad, third loop was something special . How do you train for a kick to the nuts ,the simple answer is , you don't you take it on board and suck it up , I had great support from my wife Kristi and daughter Adrian, the Amos aid station Caleb Chatfield, John King and Gabe Bevan , and many others .