Monday, August 22, 2011

Changing gears and getting back to my core at the Leadville 100 2011

(Reaching out for Strength at Treeline)

When I set out to run my second Leadville 100 I really wanted to go back and run my race and run it in under 24 hours. Why not? This would be my 4th 100 its time to step up and go for the time goal, but what happen was a humbling experience in wanting to run an A race and then having to figure out at mile 54 how to go from that A I was on pace for to trying not to black out on the side of the trail.

It's never happen to me before, maybe I've just gotten lucky but my stomach has never been the issue in a 100. I've dealt with blisters, bum knees, lack of experience...etc. I was eating, drinking, and running great the whole race until right below the switchbacks on the inbound side of Hope Pass. I went for my trusty powerbar vanilla gel and the second I took it I rejected it in the most violent manner along with everything else I had in my stomach. The A race (my A race!) went down to F-town in a blink of an eye. It started drizzling at that point and I knew I had to get over the pass which was a mile away but it felt something like Frodo leaving the Shire for Mordor. Once at the Hopeless aid station which is just below the pass I went into save my race mode which consisted of trying to get back into my body everything I left on the other side of the mountain. I had two cups of potato soup and some flat coke, not wanting to spend a minute more feeling sorry for myself I stood up to bomb down Hope and into Twin Lake, and that's where " The darkness washed over the dude." Next thing I knew I was in a clearing surrounded by the lamas of Hopeless Pass ejecting the very nutrient's that were to get me to Twin Lakes and onto the red carpet finish. In the matter of 2 very short miles I puked 15 plus times and saw my race slipping away.

Running has giving me so much in such a short time, and one omnipresent thought in that moment of darkness was my family and the power of commitment. I could use any number excuses this year to quit this race, we became proud parents for the second time in April which lead to very little training, I started an awesome new job in May, yada yada and so it goes... But up there in the clearing of Hopeless aid station my A race was shot, but the lifelong lessons that I would be passing on to Emma, and Harper as they grow up began to well up in me (crazy how running a race for a whole day can bring this out). No my stomach never got better, but as I was hunched over getting sick again I just happen to see the saying my wife Eron put on my road ID "Keep Moving Forward" and in that second I wiped my mouth with my sleeve and I did! It wasn't until Halfmoon II aid station that I was finally able to hold food down, but I didn't care I knew that if I could stay in the moment get from aid station to aid station some way some how I could claw my way out of this hole I was in. One hundred miles later I was reborn and stronger then ever, I came in 25 hours and 57 minutes, not my goal time but I was able to rally around the most important things in my life to get me to the finish.

The take away on all this for me is what we hold most dear in life will ultimately test our core beliefs at some point. To me for some crazy reason I just want to have my kids running to keep up with me when I'm 50 and be able to say to them that there are no limits in life unless you put them there yourself. 620 brave people toed the line on Saturday only 340 made it to the red carpet...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Coyote Two Moons 2011

With my second child set to arrive in April, my wife and her friends planned a baby shower, and I planned one as well, only it involved just me and a trail, the friends I would find as the journey unfolded. Coyote Two Moons is an Alice and Wonderland meets ultrarunning event. Sure, there is a time for testing your training and those races have their day, but the Two Moons was asking its participants to take a ride like Morpheus asking Neo to make a simple choice, “Take the blue pill and it will have you wake up as if nothing ever happened, but the red pill, the red pill will let you see just how far down the rabbit hole you can go.” The red pill is not the choice for everyone, as the race director Chris Scott spells out quite clearly on his website for the C2M. I was feeling like Hunter S. Thompson, without the fear or loathing, but there were questions, and I wanted the answers to them. Taking the red pill seemed only logical…
Ojai, from my 10,000 foot view, is a sleepy little pomological enclave surrounded by the Los Padres National Forest, and only 13 miles or so from the Ventura shore line. You can get breathtaking views of the coast with any hike or run up the many trails that give you access to the Ojai ridge. I got really excited upon seeing this because C2M boast 28,000 feet of climbing, and it really looked like the type of mountains trails I run in Lakewood, Golden, and Boulder back home. However, I had no idea what laid before me as I’m so new to this sport, and the other two endurance events I completed (Leadville, and Hardrock) were run in the summer. By the time summer rolled around I would have run multipliable spring races to build up to a race with tens of thousand of feet of climbing and not to mention a distance of 100 miles. The Two Moons is run in mid March on the date of the full moon, giving all the coyotes out there plenty of light in which to howl, and hunt.
Upon taking my red pill on Thursday and waking, I found myself at Ventura Bowling Center with oddly dressed folks, and a man with a pizza on his head! Strangely enough though I didn’t feel like a man on an island because all these folks were so friendly and greeted myself and my brother, and wanted to know everything about us. I can’t say we represented our Mountin’ Moonies that night on the lanes with scores just north of 100, but we had a lot of fun trying. Our team did walk away with brand new Black Diamond headlamps for our effort so I can’t say the night was a total lose. Friday was a group picnic at Boccali’s where we ate like kings and queens, and were entertained with live music and sing alongs. Immediately following lunch we headed to the start area to drop off my drop bags and pick up my race bib. While there, we got to see the first group start, and I remember thinking how sweet this was going to be as the weather was perfect and the back drop for the race looked grand.
My alarm went off at 1:45am on Saturday morning, and then my phone rang!
“Don you ready?”
“Jim what the F@$k, where are you…”
“dude, I’ll be right there to drive you up…” click
I had to fall asleep early to accommodate my 3am start time, and my brother, who was supposed to be in the bed beside mine, was instead at the local honky tonk sponging up the local culture…
By the time I was ready, Jim was there to take me up to the start, but that perfect weather was no longer perfect because it had been raining most of the night. At the start of the race we got our first crack at Bonus minutes. I should start by saying this isn’t your normal race but I already said that, Bonus/Boner minute are one of the highlights of this race, do something in the Chief Idiot’s favor and your racking up bonus time, do something that will have you fall out of favor and your getting racked with boner minutes! There was a legacy Mooner that pasted away recently (Vicki Devita) and the crew built a memorial on top of topa topa (which is the high point on the course). Our mission, upon our choosing, was to carry a rock to the top of topa topa and place it on her memorial, let the adventure begin!! And with that we were off and climbing in the still of the night. At the picnic I had a conversation with Karl Meltzer about what to expect, and he said you’re starting with Roch Horton who is a 32 hour Hardrocker, be smart and follow him! Karl has never led me astray so I did as I was told and parked myself right behind Roch on the first climb of the day, which happened to be a very nice 4 mile climb to the ridge. At the top of the ridge, Roch pulled off and said he was going to wait for his friend Betsy Nye who was also in our start group, so as Forrest says, “I just kept runnin”. With the plan busted 4 miles in I was on my own and really ok with it! Nothing of note really happened for me during the first 19 miles which got me to the top of topa topa where I placed my rock by a picture of Vicki and snapped a few pictures of all the clouds that were nestled beautifully in against the mountains. On my descent down to Lion Canyon aid station I was feeling great, so I came in to grab a breakfast burrito the crew had prepared and made my way down to Rose Valley which was seven miles down. I guess I should also mention the race is a series of out and backs that connect to the ridge, hence why you have all this climbing, all the trails that shot of the ridge were awesome! I found myself saying, “Damn this is some sweet single track here, wait this one is even better!” As the miles passed, I felt really well and was basically alone until about mile 35 where Weezer Geezer Jim from Albuquerque, New Mexico and I linked up and started chatting. Jim works for Intel and was here doing his thirtieth 100 mile ultra, pretty much from this point on Jim and I were never more than five minutes apart. He was good company and I was glad to have gotten to know him. Mile 48 put me back in Rose Valley for a second and last time, and it would be the last time I would stay dry! Leaving Rose, you have a very steep two mile climb and right before the top it starting nuking fat flakes of the white stuff which was cool at the time because there was no wind, so I continued on to Howard Creek where Blake Wood, who I believe is a 15x Hardrock finisher, was there to fill my bottle as well as my brother Jim and my friend Preston to cheer me on, it was a real boost seeing them out. This stop was quick as I was still feeling great, and I wanted to keep moving because I heard the weather was only going to get worse. From Howard Creek you make your way back up to the ridge and down to Gridley Top where aid station captain, Luis Escobar, had everyone dressed up in animal costumes. Even RD Chris was in on the fun in a pink pig outfit that made me laugh out loud. The weather wasn’t awful here but I wasn’t going to wait around either, so I was out and made my 8 mile descent down to Cozy Dell where I was treated to pulled pork and tater tots. I sat down and ate here as I was about done eating gels and at mile 68 I figured this would be my 5 minute pit stop for the day. After checking out, I made it 4 miles back up before I lost all daylight and I made it another mile after that before the down pour started. When it came, it came pretty hard and not to my surprise, at about 3700 feet, that rain switched to blinding sleet snow. The 8 miles back up to Gridley top was actually my great struggle or low point of the race and really the only one, thankfully. Rolling into Gridley for the second time seemed to be more ominous as RD Chris had a clip board and was working it over with a pretty worried look. It was cold and snowing and my thought at this point was I have got to keep going. I told the radio operator I was leaving and made my way down to Gridley bottom. About a mile down the trail that snow switched back over to a very driving soaking rain, so much so that sections of the trail were already flooded and washed out. When I got down to the bottom this run was turning into a contest of man versus wild, as I was getting my drop bag Chris radioed down and said no one is to come back up on the ridge unless they are fully outfitted with winter gear. I went into scrabble mode asking everyone for extra gear as I had no pants to make a return trip up, and then it dawned on me that I had an extra pair of winter running pants in my hotel room about a mile and half down the road. I told the aid station crew I would like to carry on with finishing the race and the only way to do it was to get those pants! A gentleman walked up to me and said “do you really want to finish the race?”
” I said damn straight I do!”
“Ok come with me quickly.” He took me to his car and we raced down to Casa Ojai where I was staying, I busted down the door to the shock of my brother and Preston who were sleeping, grabbed the pants and was back on the trail before I had time to even really think about it. I was now 81 or so miles in at this point and making my way back up the 6 miles to Gridley top. About 4 miles in I noticed the wind come in at this point, the rain wasn’t coming straight down, it was blowing in sideways! Another mile up I started seeing a trail of headlamps coming at me, Jim was the first guy I had seen and he said it was over, they had the canceled the race! I was on the course for 21 hours and made it 87 or so miles and just like that, it was over. I had plenty of time to think about how bad it was really getting so I was not surprised when Jim told me the news. It was the right decision because I can tell you that ridge where you were completely exposed to 70mph winds and snow would have taken someone who was soaked to the bone from rain and out in the elements all day and turned them frozen if not hypothermic. While sad that things came to such an abrupt end so close to the finish line, this is the price we pay sometimes for pursuing our pleasures outdoors in the places we want to explore…
This event is a true gathering of individuals who have great passion for adventure, and a true love for trail running. My hope is to keep seeking out trail gatherings like this one so that I can continue to learn from my peers and progress to whatever my next level is as a runner. I will certainly be back to the Two Moons as I have some unfinished business to attend to on the ridge (hopefully under better weather), but most of all I can’t think of a better way to kick of another year of running then to be howling at the springs full moon with some the best runners and volunteers in the business!

Friday, February 18, 2011

To the moon! Pre Red Hot 55k

When I lived in Sun Valley, ID there was a place not to far down the road called Craters of the Moon. It got its name because it was used as a training ground for astronauts preparing to make there way to the real moon. My trip isn't to the moon, but when I'm running in Moab I'm reminded of my trips to Craters to soak in all the natural hot springs. This will be my third trip to the Red Hot 55k, the only goal I have for myself is a 5 hours time, if I hit 5 or a sub 5 target that should be in the top 15 somewhere. I'll be sporting the Hokas, now its time to fly!!

Monday, January 31, 2011

January Totals

262 miles with 33,500 in elevation climbed, total time 36 hours

This was a great month to be running on the Colorado Front Range trails, and an even better month for skiing in the high country! I'm looking forward to Moab on the 19th of February, but it's all about the 100 in March at Coyote two Moons. Eron had a Doctors appointment today, and all vitals for Baby McBean are where they should be. The countdown is on only 11 weeks away from our new editon joining the Haubert clan!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hoka trail shoes review

I know the Hoka shoes have been out for a little bit, and from time to time this year I've seen people racing in them. When I ran Hardrock this pass summer, Diana Finkel almost blew up the race in these shoes, which got me thinking about trying them, but the sticker price held me back. At the stout sticker price of $169.00 they do deserve some pause, but I did some research and at the end of the day it comes down to China of course. What I mean is, when it comes to making shoes and large order of said shoes, companies like Nike, Asics, Brooks, and so on and so forth are ordering and buying uber inventory, where a start up like Hoka has to hit the trail and prove it's mettle so that it can be the player like the other stalwarts that have come before them.

Getting all that out of the way, I rolled into my local Boulder Running Company, where I do shoe pick ups for a non-profit called "One World Running". I noticed they starting carry the Hoka model and I was even more curious because Dave Mackey just signed on along side Karl Meltzer to represent the brand, and if you don't know about these guys you need to hit google after reading this. So, BRC hooked up a nice discount for the non-profit work and I was out the door to get in a run before night fall.

As a guy who just runs, I can't break down all the technicals for you, but what I can tell you is these shoes are fun and they're ninja fast for their size. I live in between Bear Creek and Green Mountain in Lakewood, Colorado, so I have a sweet 3 mile run to the top of Green Mountain and then endless trails from Matthew Winters to Mount Falcon from there. These shoes were made for people who like to climb and people who like to bomb to the bottom, period! The Hokas will engage your quads and glutes, as well as the muscles in the shins, but I think this sensation will not be long lived once those muscles are built up. These are shoes that need to be in your arsenal if you're a mountain runner. I know we are living in a world of minimalism right now and the Hokas look very different, but I would argue you need both types of shoes in your closest. Both shoes, when combined, can work very different muscles making us a more complete runners. The Hokas will be my longer gnarly mountain run shoes, and my minimal 8oz'ers will round out the gaps of shorter evening weekday runs. If I can express any point in this, it would be sometimes new is strange to us as humans, but the Hokas will have a place in the future of trail running that is for sure, it is most definitely not a gimmick. I look forward to writing more on this shoe as I gain even more knowledge from running in it.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

2011 plans

February 19th Red Hot 33k (registered)
March 19th Coyote two Moons 100 (registered)
April 25th Baby 2.0
June 4th Golden Gate Dirty Thirty (registered)
July 17th Leadville Silver Rush 50
August TBD
September 9th Wasatch Front 100 (lottery)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Run Rabbit Run

This Saturday Eron, Emma, and I are headed up to Steamboat for the RRR! With a dry summer this year the leaves are turning this week, and for the groves of aspen trees that dot the high country landscape there isn't a long window in which to view this fall splendor. With that said I plan to spend a good 8.5 or 9 hours soaking up this special time of year. This race has it all, great single track, aid stations, sponsors, scenery, and best of all it ends right in the middle of Steamboat's Oktoberfest where I will see long time friends Tony, and Scott to hoist a few pints to another great mountain weekend and hopefully and job well done.