Run fast ... fall down

Run fast ... fall down

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pololu Valley - Big Island Hawaii

After a day of conferencing, I hopped in the car and booked it around the northern point of the Big Island to Hawi and continued on to Polulu. The trail was mega sloppy and muddy going down but the views made up for it.

 At the bottom of the valley floor I headed up the valley at first looking for a better place to cross this water inlet. Again super sloppy but ended up just walking through it. Then I found an evil frog.

I followed some trails, grunting back up another 500 foot steep climb shown in the second photo.  I had about 1.5 hours until dark so was carefully watching the clock to not get caught in the dark - although I did have a flashlight JIC.

It was just as it should be, sweat pouring off my face, but plenty of energy on the climbs. I kept running to a minimum to not aggravate my kneecap. After a somewhat unexciting section, I popped out on top of the second hill with this as the view.

 Looking back, I can see my car 2 miles away as well as the nearest Island (Maui) off in the distance.
After turning around, I wanted to push the pace to be sure to be back at the car during daylight. I had passed a few other hikers, but pretty much no one else ventured past the first half mile.
Some of the trail was in dense jungle. I saw few shoe prints, and many more hoof marks. On the way back, I heard something in the woods honking at me. It was a pretty big animal, not sure what it was as I didn't get a good view of him. Here are some footprints on the trail right after I heard him. Could have been a pig or a donkey.
Another 4 miles with 1300 ft elevation. Link to Garmin data

Monday, December 12, 2011

Kiholo Bay - Big Island Hawaii

I'm in Hawaii for a conference this week. Arrived at the airport at 2 pm, got my rental, drove to the hotel and changed into some running clothes for a short jaunt out to Kiholo Bay - a lagoon with no road within a mile or so, keeping crowds at a minimum.

Last time I was here, we parked at milemarker 81 of the highway, this time I turned down a road between 82 and 83, parked my car at the first lot and headed down the road. Found a more direct trail to the lagoon. Difficult running into a STRONG headwind on loose sand.

The lava meets the water.

I scurried around the lagoon snapping photos of lavatubes and sea turtles swimming in the lagoon.

Ended up with about 4 miles with a little annoyance from my right kneecap still. - First run after a week off after tNF50. Garmin watch data

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Race

The North Face 50 - San Francisco was this last weekend. The idea to run this race came from an impromptu gchat with Alex who mentioned wanting to do Miwok again. I pointed him to this race as it shares much of the same course and he signed up. I gladly joined in as I thought it would be good fun to get outta Colorado in December.

I coincided a work related event at Berkeley the day before the race and ended up walking far too much around town and campus. My feet and legs hurt, but other than that I felt as good as I have in a long time, well trained and well rested for this 50 miles.

We woke up at 3, left the city at 3:45 and were dropped off right near the start for a 5AM start. We had a packed drop bag and decided to place it at Cardiac aid station (mile 18 and 31) and it worked well.
We took off in the dark on some mellow and wide trails. In the first few miles, we decided on a few goals. A) Finish in 10 hrs, B) finish better than 10 percent, C) finish better than 10 people, D) set a PR for 50 miles (better than 12:34), E) finish. In my other successful ultras, I've finished in the last 10 people... Hoped to change that today.

I aimed to go out at a 5 mi/hr pace and see how long I could hold that on the hills. Turns out, about 3 hrs. We started losing some time on the biggest of the climbs starting at mile 14. We dumped a lot of excess gear at our dropbag at Cardiac and waited a minute to see the leaders Mike Wolfe and Dakota Jones fighting it out for the $10K prize (they were at mile 31, when we were at 18).

We eventually made it out to a turnaround at mile 22 (watch read 23.6) at the 5 hr mark where 2-way traffic on a super narrow trail was difficult. I was closely monitoring my fuel intake by eating a gel every 30-45 mins along with salty treats at the aid stations and drinking a full 20 oz bottle every hour. After leaving each aid station, I had brief stomach troubles which went away if I backed off the pace and drank as much as I could. I spent some extra time at the 22 mile aid station eating probably a bit too much.

Next we dropped down to Stinson Beach and climbed back up the Steep Ravine part of the Dipsea trail masked with beautiful redwoods. Greatfully, the Cardiac aid station came a mile or 2 before we thought (31 rather than 33), grabbed fresh socks and headed out.

Everything continued well with high energy levels and the same slight stomach success. Coming back into Muir Beach (mile 42), I thought I had a chance at breaking 12 hrs. Alex was fighting gravity on the downhills and urged me to go ahead. I pushed hard on the steep climb out of Muir, picking off lots of runners in front of me. The climb went well, was over quickly and was followed by a steep descent into Tennessee Valley. This downhill was welcomed for me and I zipped by more and more people and was holding a sub-8 minute pace on the downhill.

Tennessee Valley aid station had a sign stating 44.5 miles - my watch read 43.8. I did some pace math in my head and thought I had the 12 hr goal in the bag. I had 1hr 8min to go 5.5 miles. After more steep climbing out of Tennessee Valley, I passed more people and reached the top of the last climb to arrive at the last aid station which said I had 1.8 miles to go. I was at 11.5 hrs. I bombed the steep downhill making mile 48 in 7m50s. I ran the 1.8 miles but knew the finish line was no where close and began to give up hope on my 12 hr goal. Someone shouted 1 mile to the finish, my watch read 11h48m. The last stretch was slightly uphill and my faster pace on the downhills was starting to catch up to me. I was pushing hard and was borderline overdoing it but my body did not feel like I already had run 48 miles this morning. However I was struggling to maintain a 10 min pace on this uphill. I was mentally wiped from thinking I only had 1.8 miles left when that sign was clearly wrong.
My watch battery died just as I caught first glance of the finish line and thus I didn't have a clock to watch. I pushed hard across the finish line and wasn't sure if I broke 12 hrs for another 20 mins! I found the results tent and learned my time was 11h58m. Pretty happy overall with this day. I ate a big bowl of soup, changed clothes and waited for Alex to finish strongly a little while later.

Garmin Data

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Dirty Bismark Loop

I got in 20 miles today on a beautiful autumn morning. I headed out just before sunrise for a loop I've wanted to run for a while. I scouted it on my mountain bike a few weeks ago and have lacked motivation all week so I thought it would be good to bump up my week's mileage with a longer weekend run.

The loop is mostly flat trails and may be a good indicator for the RR100 which I'm planning to run in Feb. Conveniently the loop is the same distance. I hoped to go no slower than 12 min/mi (goal pace at RR100 for the first 20) and was sluggish from the start. I felt heavy carrying 70 oz water, gels, phone, jacket and a pack, plus it was hard to get out of bed this morning.

After about an hour, I loosened up and felt very comfortable. Got to mile 10 before I saw anyone, let alone some longhorns and a coyote. No major complaints from my body and felt good with a gel every 30 minutes as my fuel.
3h40m for the 20 mile mark, 1200 ft gain, avg HR 154. Garmin data

I think this might have been my farthest solo training run ever.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Storm Pass - Granite Pass loop in RMNP

Sixteen national park miles with a couple climbs peaking at 12k feet seemed like a pretty good idea. Actually I wanted to run this little loop months ago but it kept slipping by, so what better time than early October when the Aspens will be orange and yellow? Probably should have done it last week, but Jimmy said he'd like to go but was restricted to Oct 8.

The forecast said snow above 8500, so with some trepidation we rethought the gear list and decided to go check it out. There was only 1 or 2 cars in the Longs Peak Trailhead at 6:30AM on a Saturday, so this was no typical summer weekend. We headed off veering right at the first trail junction to hit Storm Pass first, hoping Granite might warm up a little later in the day. The trails were in great shape with an inch or 2 of padding.

First views of Estes Cone as the sky cleared a little
Jimmy running up Storm Pass

We cruised the 3 mile downhill into Glacier Point Trailhead to hit the lowest point on the course and then immediately turned up Boulder Brook trail which seemed the steepest.
One of the log crossings
The snow continued to fall and our pace dropped quite a bit once we hit the North Longs Peak trail towards Granite Pass. The wind picked up too and my hands got super cold. The final mile up to Granite Pass was slow going but eased off near the top and we returned to a jog in a near white out.

Zach and I trudging through the freshies near Granite Pass at 12,000 ft.
We regrouped at the pass and headed down the familiar Longs Peak trail with freezing hands and feet, trying not to trip on the hidden surface below 6 inches of fresh snow. Once down in the trees we saw 2 other parties for the first time today heading up. I'd say the loop would have been nicer in warmer weather, but I got one nice parting shot of fall Aspen colors near the parking lot.

Garmin Data

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mafate WP vs other Hokas

Grabbed some Hoka One One Mafate WPs on sale and took them out for a jaunt up Bear. Came home not so happy. I fired off an email to customer support at Hoka regarding how un-cushy they are. They seem to teeter over rocks rather than swallowing them up leading to sore ankles, sore feet and feeling like I had a pair of bricks on my feet.

Hi Joey,

Thanks for your email.  The Mafate WP has the exact same dimensions as the regular Mafate, however the die used in the EVA does seem to cause it to be a bit firmer, the WP layer in the upper does play into this as well.  The shoe will break in and get softer, but it will take some time.  The Stinson B, the 2nd shoe you bought also has the dampest EVA of any used in our shoes, this was by design as its purpose is as a rehab/recovery shoe and therefore absorbing more energy is beneficial.

Hope this helps.  Feel free to contact me with any other questions.


-----Original Message-----
From: Jackie Oleksyn
Sent: Tue 9/20/2011 12:17 PM
Subject: FW: Mafate WP

Hi Steve:

Can you respond to this guy as I am not sure if all his issues are because of the waterproofing or not.
Please cc Cyrus and I so we know how you respond.
He more than likely bought them at The Clymb sale and I would ask that if he has an issue that he needs to return them though The Clymb.


It's a little interesting how the website doesn't mention any difference between the soles. I didn't notice any difference from my Mafates and Stinsons 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

2011 - Rattlesnake Ramble race report

It's better to be lucky than to be fast, at least so for me at the Rattlesnake Ramble. Had I finished more than 8 minutes faster on this course, I still wouldn't have guaranteed myself as good of a prize as I did by being lucky.

The Rattlesnake Ramble is an annual 4.25 mi technical trail race put on to raise money for the Action Committee for Eldorado (ACE). They raise money to replace the "oh thank god" rap bolts that I've used on occasion while climbing in Eldo. For $32, I was awarded a rugged trail race (albeit a bit short, but pretty much the only one in boulder due to open space rules) with over 800 feet of gain amongst the beautiful climbing walls less than 5 minutes from my house and a sweet La Sportiva shirt made from bamboo with this logo on the front.

How could ya go wrong?! On top of all that, the prize list is amazing. There were down jackets, 15 pairs of microspikes, backpacks galore, running bottles, Sportiva shoes, climbing gym memberships, the list goes on.

As a token of appreciation for offering to pace me at Leadville, I signed Abe up to run with me. We arrived at the start at 7:30, checked in, and headed up the road for a warm up. Cloudy, breezy and 55 degrees, almost perfect conditions. At 8:00, a pack of ~80 runners took off up the road into the park. I settled in to be about 3/4 of the way back but wanted to be up front as downhillers have the right-of-way and it matters in a few sections. The videographer pulled up next to me for an interview and asked me my strategy. I jokingly told him I was trying to draft off the leaders as we were uphilling into a headwind. I knew I was in trouble though because Lisa Goldsmith (winner of PPA) was right beside me.

I hit the turn up Fowler trail, thankful for the reprieve from the uphill. My heart rate was 180 and would average that for the rest of the race. We followed Fowler out to the park boundary, swung around and headed to the west side of the park to climb the uber steep Eldo trail. I walked most of this climb with my HR still in the 180s. I was able to pass a few people here and had Dan Mottinger in my sights. At the boundary, we swung around another traffic cone and had a 1.5 mile descent to the finish line. I held my place here but lost Dan and had no chance of catching him. I ran shoulder to shoulder with another runner and almost relented but then saw Heidi and Hannah and sprinted to the finish in sub 5:30 min/mi pace for the last half mile. 11 seconds faster than my time at the inaugural year.

I average 9:27 min/mi but ran as hard as I could go the whole time. HR avg was 180 although I saw 189 at the finish. 39min 33sec. garmin data

After the race, Bill Wright gave out prizes to the top 18 finishers. Of course I wasn't one of them. They were granted first dibs at the prize table. Down jackets went first, then some Verve clothing, shoes and microspikes. My name was the first drawn in the raffle. I had lots of amazing choices. I grabbed Abe a pair of Katoola Microspikes (mostly to lock him in as my winter training partner again) and when his name was called 3 or 4 after mine, he grabbed me a sweet $100 Deuter pack, we traded prizes and headed to breakfast.

Fun fun fun.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Mt Toll and Pawnee Peak

Mt Toll (12,979 ft) and Pawnee Peak (12,943 ft) are 2 prominent peaks in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area. Heidi and I had Gramma babysit Hannah and we took off at 6 AM. We parked at Mitchell Lake TH and took our time hiking up the easy trail toward Blue Lake. Mt Toll came into view and we saw our first target.

We continued up to Blue Lake.

Mt Toll from Blue Lake

The left facing face of this peak is often skied. The snowfield is still in tact late in the season.

We weren't exactly sure what route we'd take up through the snowfields and slabs above Blue Lake so we just continued up climbing up and around the first snowfield

Climbing over boulders above Blue Lake

Eventually we got up above Upper Blue Lake and it seemed like a great hike so far, so I gave Heidi the option of turning around now. She said she had plenty of energy left and convinced me to continue up asking "who are you? where's my husband?"
I wasn't sure exactly how to get up above the snowfields without getting in over our heads. The snow was rock solid, too solid to kick steps with my Hokas, now equipped with patented banana skin soles.
We found a channel between a snowfield and a rock wall that required us to crawl up. I headed up ahead to see that it would get us around and confirmed down to Heidi to give it a try. Here's her squeezing her way up.

Heidi - between a glacier and rock wall

Up above we topped out on a big snowfield. Pretty impressive for mid-September. Heidi used both poles and I looked for level undulations in the snow to keep balance. We were both wishing we had crampons or microspikes for this section.

Much steeper than it looks in this photo

We climbed up above these rocks to the left, up to the ridge between Toll and Pawnee. At this point I realized it might be a whole lot easier to climb over Pawnee and descent Pawnee Pass rather than going back down this route. Heidi agreed and waited at the saddle while I scurried up to the summit of Toll. 

The final slope up Mt Toll. We skirted the snowfield on the left.

Amazing views from the top of Mt Toll, looking toward the Lone Eagle Cirque.

Mt Toll - summit shot
Once I was on the top. Heidi left the saddle and started heading up Pawnee Peak. If you look really closely in the photo below, you can see her starting to pick her way up. 

Pawnee Peak from Mt Toll. 4 climbers are on the summit and Heidi is somewhere in the center of the photo.

We climbed up Pawnee and topped out together.

Scrambling up Pawnee Peak

Toll (left) from Pawnee Peak

Summit self portrait
We cruised down the south face of Pawnee to the Pawnee Pass trail and knew we had about 4.5 miles down. Then we had to go get the car which was parked at a different trailhead (0.6 miles away). This was a long haul out but Heidi held strong and we enjoyed the crazy late season wildflowers.  We were home by 3 PM. Perfect weather!

Garmin Data

Monday, September 5, 2011

Shoshoni Peak

Abe and I made a quick trip up to the Indian Peaks Wilderness Area to climb Shoshoni peak. This peak possesses a fantastic perch with a equally fantastic view. We made slow work up the Pawnee Pass trail due to all of the amazing photo ops and late season wildflowers.

Niwot Ridge and Navajo Peak reflecting off of Long Lake

Early morning fog rising from Long Lake

Shoshoni is the far right overhanging summit perch. Lots of other Indians up there (Navajo, Apache, etc)

Once at the pass, we left the easy trail and scrambled south along the continental divide to the summit of Shoshoni Peak.
Abe on the summit

Isabelle Glacier at the bottom of Queens Way couloir on Apache Peak.
The holiday weekend was quickly reminded to us with all of the throngs of hikers we passed as heading back down. We saw 1 person on the whole way up, but lots on the way down. However we were able to get in a few miles of solid running towards the end.
Link to Garmin Data