Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween from Ultra Man

Happy Halloween from Ultra Man!  
(the coast seems to be clear)

(Stay safe on the trails my friends)

Todd J., Amy S., and Ultra Man ran 18 miles through Forest Park on a picture perfect Pacific Northwest autumn day.  I would say that 95% of the people were receptive to the costume, laughed, and/or commented.  The other 5% stepped aside and/or gave a look that said, "you fricken idiot!"

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Garlic Oregano Yam Fries

This has been one of my all-time favorite recipes that I thought I would share with you.  I wish I could say it was mine but I can't.  I got this recipe (along with many others) out of Brendan Brazier's book "Thrive".  You can see the full recipe by clicking HERE.  You can also watch me go Martha Stewart-style on the video below!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Should Ultra Runners Be Drug Tested?

Unless you have been cut off from society and headline news lately you probably have heard about scandals in the world of pro cycling involving illegally using performance enhancing drugs.  It's a pretty hot topic right now and there has been cases of athletes we look up to as role models in various different sports getting busted for cheating that pop up into the news every now and then.

Ultra running is a sport that has mushroomed by leaps and bounds especially in the last ten years. Some races are now offering substantial prizes and/or cash purses.  Recently I was talking with a person who is not familiar with the sport of ultra running and I had mentioned that I was planning on heading down to San Francisco for The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-miler this December.  I also mentioned that this was not a typical race and one of the reasons for that was because of the large prize money dished out.  First prize is $10,000 and two and three for male and female take home a nice chunk as well.  So the person then asked me if the winners are tested for performance enhancing drugs.  I said, "uhhh...ummm....I don't know....I don't think so."

For me I have always felt that the sport of ultra running goes much deeper than collecting some prize or money for winning.  In fact I have a bunch of very comical memorabilia at home from different ultras in my career that I wouldn't trade or get rid of. I always thought it was kind of cool that it's a sport where the spectator gets in free and the participants pay!  Anyway, one of the things that drew me to the sport was it's simplicity, purity, camaraderie amongst  competitors, volunteers/crew, etc., and detachment from the modern world.

So my question for the blogosphere and people involved in ultra running is this:

Now that substantial money has trickled it's way into the sport of ultra running do we need to be testing the top runners who take home thousands of dollars for illegal use of performance enhancing drugs?

I know that one of the most popular 100-mile races in the world (Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc) sponsored by The North Face does test the top runners for certain illegal substances.  Do we need to follow suit for races here and at what point do we test (i.e. if prizes exceed $1,000)???

Just to be clear I don't suspect that anyone is using performance enhancing drugs nor do I necessarily think that the testing should be done.  It is also not my intention to offend anyone with this blog post and sorry if I did.

What do you think?

Please at the very least vote for what you think in the poll in the column up on the right.   Peace....

Friday, October 15, 2010

Portland Marathon 10-10-10

It has been a couple years since I have run a road marathon (Philly 2008), but this would be the first "big city marathon" that I didn't have to travel to and learn about the course online.  The Portland Marathon scheduled for 10-10-10 makes its way right through familiar neighborhoods and areas of Portland, Oregon that I have accustomed myself to lately and over the past 15 months.  Even though I didn't feel specifically trained for this event I knew that I had a super solid base and I felt that I could run decently fast for my hometown debut 26.2

Coming off of The Flagline 50k just two weeks prior to this race gave me a little time to taper down, but also left me feeling a little apprehensive about the ever demanding final 10k of a hard-run road marathon.  I decided to just suit up and show up, have fun, and to see what happens.  I had a bunch of friends running and some runners that I've coached in the months leading up to the race.

The great thing about living so close to the start line was that I slept in my own bed, woke up and ate breakfast in my home, and walked to the line.  The not-so-great thing was that it was pouring rain the entire walk to the start and continued throughout the whole race!  I wore my bright blue Inov-8 F-lite 230's after some debate and felt that they did me right for the road race and turned some heads in the process.

I got right up there to the front with a bunch of  fast guys and just as the countdown was being yelled over the microphone we were sent off by some really hard driving rain.  We all took off and the crowd was awesome!  My adrenal glands squeezed and the first half mile felt effortless through the dark, soggy streets of downtown Portland. :-)

Mile 1:  5:52

Miles 2-6 I knocked it back a little as we had a little climb and then back down Naito Parkway.  I heard some yells from people that recognized me on the out and back sections as the sun was coming up.  Ok...20 miles to go...stay under control.

The next 5 miles I ran methodically knowing that I would see Erica at mile 12 and she would hand me a bottle of my secret formula fuel ;-)  Before that I see would-be winner Kami Semick looking strong,  Joe Kleffner, and then Nathan Blair.  As I approached Erica in our neighborhood I see my buddy Nick Triolo and he gives me a high five and some words of encouragement.  I grab the bottle, tell Erica I love her, and give Farah a quick pat and transition into the next section of the race.

Miles 12-16 I have done tempo workouts on leading up to the race so I knew the terrain and what to expect in regards to how to calibrate my exertion levels leading up to the St. John's Bridge.  I moved into the top 20 at this point as I was told by some spectators.

When we hit the bridge/hill I "down-shifted" and clocked off a 6:40 for that mile and we crossed the colossal suspension bridge into the neighborhoods leading up to University of Portland.  In this section around mile 18 I was starting to feel some fatigue settle in but was able to stick with a pack of two other guys and hammer away.  I heard some comments from spectators like, "Oh cool...Team Inov-8...Come on guys work together", and then I got a yell from a triathlete who was in my Exercise Physiology class last year.

Around mile 21 I hit the mile descent towards the finish and just as it was starting to level out I see my buddy Leigh running up towards me shouting and rooting me onwards.  The next two miles I slowed down a little but upon crossing the Broadway Bridge at mile 24 my buddy Trevor Hostetler unexpectedly jumped out and gave me a much needed high-five and boost to finish up.  As I passed him and a few others I heard someone say, "catch that guy".  I don't know who said it but I went for it and crossed the bridge hammering past him and down the other side.

OK now I'm getting close and definitely feeling the pain and fatigue.  The crowds were getting thicker downtown and as I passed the 25 mile marker I started feeling a little something in my leg.  "Uh oh...come on...I'm so close" I told myself.  I could now see my neighbor Chris Schaeffer in front of me and I so wanted to go flying past him ;-)  Just after that I come upon a couple friends from Olympia Racheal Jamison and Craig Dickson and I simultaneously cramped in my calf and hamstring.  They were excited to see me but unfortunately I was in a totally different space.  I said, "I'm cramping up a little right now" and just motored on past them.  I slowed down a little bit, changed my stride, and turned the corner to the finish line.  

Seeing that finish line chute area was a sight for sore eyes and I came in with a time of 2:45:32.  17th place overall in nasty gusty wind and rainy is Portland, Oregon after all

Full results are HERE and you can see some pretty cool interactive data by clicking HERE

Portland Marathon was really fun and I feel good about how I ran all things considered.  It was really cool being a local and reaping all the rewards that has to offer.  

Now, if I could only figure out how to kick and finish like Sammy (seen in the video below) winner of the 2010 Chicago Marathon!!!!!!!