Friday, August 27, 2010

TRR Day 6 - FINI!

Stage 6: Vail To Beaver Creek
Stats: 20.6 miles / 4,780 ft climbing

After a rough night of interrupted sleep Chad and I were only motivated by the fact that the day meant the final day of running. I had been telling myself just 16 miles of running and I was going to be done, but then my bubble was burst when I was informed that it was 21 miles of running with significant climbs.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

TRR Day 5 - Roller Coast Ride

Stage 5: Red Cliff To Vail
Stats: 22.8 (okay lets be honest it was 23.98 miles)/5,500 ft climbing

Chad and I woke up and chatted about how hard it was becoming to get out of the tent even though the sleeping wasn’t uncomfortable. Another challenging day of running awaited us and our muscles were starting to feel like they were ready for a rest day. The temperatures were again sub-40 so I opted to start in arm warmers and mittens. Our goal today was to keep our competitors in sight during the 10 mile climb up Shrine Pass. We quickly lost sight of the Canadian duo of Mark Nelson and Care Wakely, but had Bryon and Krissy in sight as we climbed the dirt road. As the course veered off the dirt road and onto single track Chad and I were in front of Krissy and Bryon but we allowed them to pass. I was struggling, my stomach wasn’t cooperating and every time I ate I got sharp pains in my abdomen. I continued to do what I could so we wouldn’t lose too much time. We would run and then walk and then run some more. As we began to plateau everything for me began to crumble and become painful. Chad was running in front of me and I threw up. I dropped to all fours while grabbing my stomach and threw up again. Chad finally stopped and looked at me and started walking back towards me. He admittingly didn’t know what to do nor did I. I think telepathically we both knew the options which were to get up and walk or to get up and run. We were in the middle of no mans land with nothing or no one around. I got up while complaining about my frustration and pain. As we walked around the next corner Chad spotted a camera man and told me I should at least run till we passed him, I agreed and we took off running. As we continued to press on we noticed that we weren’t far behind Chris and Brian and this proved as motivation for both Chad and I. My stomach was empty and painful, but I tried to eat one shot block at a time. That plan back fired as it came back up faster then it went down. I kept running while focusing on not losing ground on the team in front of us. As we finally made it to the top of Vail Pass we pulled into the aid station to restock on GU, electrolytes and water. Now for the fun part, 3,000 ft of downhill running on service dirt roads and single track. Despite not feeling well I was in heaven. I opened up my stride and took off eager to catch Chris and Brian. About 2 miles into the decent Chad and I had them in our sights and overtook them. We continued to push the pace and as the miles ticked away I got more and more eager to be done. A few miles from the finish I attempted to eat a GU and thought it was going to stay put but without warning projectile vomited while running. As disgusting as it was I think all I could do was laugh. Chad and I crossed the finish line and were pleased with our 3rd place finish given the trying times that we had encountered during the stage.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

TRR Day 4 - An Early Resolution

Stage 4: Camp Hale To Red Cliff
Stats: 13.4 Miles/3,009 ft climbing

Having three days under our belt our energy on the morning of day three had decreased. We awoke in the morning to find ice on our tent and temperatures in the low 30’s. We both struggled to motivate to put on our running shorts and short sleeve tops, although we knew the game continued. The night before we had studied the map and heard returning runners relive the agony of the short but steep stage. The climb was going to be steep and without switch backs. To help assist with our climb Chad gladly traded one of his stage prizes for the usage of a pair of poles. In the starting chute I was nervous and chilled to the bone. I didn’t want to layer knowing that after the two mile gravel road we would go directly into the climb up what our map had labeled “Resolution Hill”. We started to run up the climb, but it quickly became too steep to run efficiently. The fun began and up we went as I clipped the tow line to my pack. Chad made good use of the poles, but either way the climb hurt. Again on this stage we hoped to keep a consistent (Photo By Kevin Arnold Courtsey of GORE-TEX TRR)but modest pace on the uphill so not to overextend ourselves and then try to make up time on the downhill. We emerged out of the trees on top of Hornsilver Mountain and were treated to views of Mt. Elbert, Mt. Massive and Mt. Holy Cross. We worked our way across the ridge and down the single track. Eventually we came to several creek crossings, which we had planned to plow right through. The first crossings were brief enough that I was fine. Eventually we came to a section where we had to run a half of mile in the stream and the cold water settled in my shoes. I slowed and Chad passed me and I felt like I was going to be sick. As we hit dry ground again I sounded like a Clydesdale and Chad asked me what was wrong, what was wrong was the fact that I couldn’t feel my feet which made running difficult. Thankfully my Inov-8’s expelled the water quickly and I was back in business in no time.

As we ran down the road with just over a mile of downhill left I wasn’t too worried as I thought we were running in 3rd place. We increased our pace and were running under six minute miles as we crossed the finish line. As I congratulated Chad I looked up and noticed three teams in our division and I was disappointed in myself. We had finished in a solid time, but I had felt like I had let myself and Chad down.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

TT Day 3 -Which Way to Sea Level?

“24 MILES AT 10,000 FEET”
Stage 3: Leadville to Camp Hale
Stats: 24.3 miles/2,930 ft climbing

Before we knew it or before we were willing to accept reality the starting gun fired setting us off down Leadville’s historic Main Street. We headed towards Cooper and the Colorado Trail where we were treated to buffed out single track, alpine meadows and of course climbing.

The leaders set a strong pace as we headed up a slight paved incline before being treated to a mile of downhill on a quiet open road. Once bending off the road we treated to somewhat shaded paths and 4WD track. We found our groove and caught up to Chris and Brian and we all chatted as we ticked off the miles. After hitting check point 2 I received a major gift from the course Gods. Today we did some climbing, but even more so we did some descending. With a total elevation gain of 2,767 ft and a total elevation lose of 3,662 ft I could relax and enjoy. I really enjoy downhill running whether it is buffed out or technical terrain. As we started to descend to a finishing elevation of 9,203 ft we began putting a gap between us and Chris and Brian.

After we turned off the single track trail we hit an exposed dirt road that would bring us all the way to Nova Guides where the finish was. I found myself eager to be finished and opened up my stride and increased my turnover rate. I guess I have a habit of pushing the end because Chad compared me to an animal headed to the barn at feeding time. I couldn’t be distracted as I only had one thing on my mind and that was to finish. We sprinted across the finish line in a time of 3:47:29 which put us back up on the podium with a third place victory for the stage.

Monday, August 23, 2010

TRR- Day 2 "What Have I Gotten Myself Into Now?"

Stage 2: Vicksburg To Twin Lakes Dam (Hope Pass)
Stats: 13.5 miles/3,617 ft climbing “

After our first night of camping we woke up to cooler temperatures and partially cloudy skies. The news of possible severe weather excited Chad and I as we see nasty conditions as an advantage for us. Due to the variable conditions we were required to carry mandatory gear which included our OR Helium jackets, Exos hats, Flurry Mitts, 1st aid kits and emergency blankets. Once again the energy was intense in the start area and when the music stopped and the gun sounded the leaders set a fast pace as we headed up a dirt road for approximately two miles before starting the 3 mile climb up Hope Pass.

Chad and I had planned to speed hike the trail and run little segments as our energy levels permitted. Since Chad had a longer stride and is a faster/stronger hiker we set up a tow line of the back of his hydration pack which I could easily access and clip to the front of my pack. We quickly warmed up and found a pace that was “comfortable”. We noted that we falling behind our competitors as we could keep track of them on the switch backs that had yet to come for us. We both reassured each other that we could make up ground on the downhill as we are both comfortable with descending technical terrain. At the top of the pass I unclipped the tow, hopped in front of Chad and took a quick look around to take in the astonishing views. We had completed the 3,500 ft climb up above tree line to the summit and we were ready to rock the downhill, but wait I found myself very lightheaded. We had planned on me running in front on the down hills and I warned Chad that I had to easy back on the pace to try and regain my equilibrium. As we worked our way down the rocky switch backs my speed and confidence increased. We dropped back into the woods and I felt like we were running down the Long Trail in Vermont. Still no teams in sight, but we continued to push the pace as much as we could. As we reached the bottom of the pass we caught a glimpse of Twin Lakes and knew that we had three miles to the finish.

As our feet struck flat and uphill terrain it felt like we had concrete pillars for legs. The skies had now cleared and the sun was back out in full force.

We continued to traverse our way around the lake and then realized that we were about a minute back from Chris Purslow and Brian Tinder. Since we were running on single track I knew we could quietly make up ground on them without them realizing it. We slowly hunted them down and honestly took them by surprise as we passed them about a mile from the finish. (During the week we learned that the two of them had a great sense of humor. I also tried to clip into the towline along with Chris, but Brian wasn't having it) After passing them we increased our pace and popped out on a gravel dirt road. We had a small climb up the road before making a sweeping left hand turn downhill to the finish. Chad and I both opened up our stride eager to secure our 4th place finish for the day.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

TRR - Day 1 "It's Go Time"

Stage 1: Buena Vista To Railroad Bridge Campground

Stats: 20.6 miles/2721 feet of climbing

The energy was high as all the runners packed into the corral for the start of the Transrockies Run. I was very nervous not knowing where we would fit into the mix of those around us. Chad remained calm and excited to explore everything that the course had to offer. With not a cloud to be spotted in the sky we knew that the 20.6 mile route through high desert would be hot. Going into the day of running we were naive to the conditions we would face along with the terrain. We found ourselves running on converted railbed, sandy moto trails, tight single track and dirt road all of which were really exposed to the sun.

The gun sounded and the pace was solid from the start, in retrospect we started the day at a blistering pace. After reaching the top of the first climb we worked to find a pace that was obtainable for the conditions and the course. We were getting passed by other teams and this was frustrating to me. I had to remain calm and patient and understand that due to the elevation I wouldn’t be able to run at the same pace/intensity that I do at sea level. As the miles ticked away I found myself struggling to find my stride and to settle in. Chad remained solid and confident as we continued to work together. As we got closer to the finish we were very exposed on open dirt road. We could see what we thought was the finish so pushed, although within a few minutes we realized that we had sighted a bridge and not the finish area. Mentally I was shot, my Vermont skin was sunburned and my spirits and energy fading. Looking ahead Chad spotted the team of Krissy Moehl and Bryon Dayton in front of us. This was reassuring that we were hanging in there as they are both phenomenal runners. As we increased our intensity they responded and continued to maintain their lead, without warning Krissy pulled over and we took the opportunity to pass and to our surprise we finished the day in 2nd place for the Mixed Open division.

After congratulating those competitors around us we darted down to the creek to soak our legs and begin the recovery process.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Day 1-From Sea Level to Altitude

After meeting up with my TRR partner Chad Denning at the Denver airport we hopped into our sweet rental car (Chevy Colt) and headed towards Carbondale. On the way we stopped at a health food store and I ate what was called a "wicked awesome burrito." Soon we arrived at Mushroom Rock where we would put in a few miles. As we started to climb my "wicked awesome burrito" turned into a "wicked brick burrito" in my belly. We climbed and climbed for what felt like an eternity, but in actuality it was 1.5 miles.

After summiting we took some glammor shots and then continued to put in some miles.

 Day 2-Independence Pass
The plan of the day was to get up high. We ventured to Lost Man off of Independence Pass and started down the nice single track. Within 25 minutes the boys (Scott & Chad) were looking to get off trail and find "Scott Lake." We headed up the steep slope like mountain goats. Chad seemed to have the "redline" approach whereas I was zigzagging and keeping my heartrate at a comfortable rate. We eventually had Scott Lake in our sights, but I decided that I wanted to climb to a peak that was directly in front of us to take in a view. After a while I realized the peak in front of me was a false summit. My determination remained and I climbed the next peak and finally got the view I was looking for along with some snow.
From the top we decided to try hiking the ridgeline which worked for a while before the rock became too unstable. We hiked down trying not to plummet before venturing over to a few of the lakes. After playing around near the water we decided to start heading back. I took the boys word and we climbed another peak as they thought it would put us back in the approperiate valley to connect back with Lost Man. As we discovered we weren't exactly where they had thought. We eventually found our way through some thick forest and then intersected with the trail!

We headed back out on Lost Man and to the car after spending about 5 hours playing around. It was a great start to our trip.

Day 3-Government Trail
Good bye blue sky hello rain. Great time taking the Government trail across four ski areas as we ventured from Snowmass to Aspen. Expierenced a new form of cakey mud which was a new form of fun.

Day 4-Cathedral Lake
Today was all about doing a short run and then hanging out at high altitude. We enjoyed the beautiful single track and views up to the lake and then did some exploring up top before running back down. The weather was perfect and calming.

Day 5- Leadville 100

What a great opportunity to see the Leadville 100 play out and cheer on friends from New England. We arrived in Leadville bright and early and ran into friend Glen Redpath. He showed Chad and I all the secret spots to watch and entertained us throughout the day. He and I both also got to do a bit of pacing which was an added bonus.