Tuesday, June 30, 2009


So I think it is going to be Teton. The logistics are the big pull. Also, I've been reading a lot of reports, and everyone has good things to say about it, so I'm pretty tempted. Finally, I really enjoyed Yellowstone, so it would be fun to grab a race in that area again. I'm 90 percent certain. I'll let it percolate for week or so.

Well, coming back to this post a day letter, so much for percolating. I'm all signed up for the Teton 100 on the Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend. I have the hotel reserved, the flights booked, the car rented and the plan in motion.

Teton is 4 25 mile laps, with 4, 975 feet of climbing on each lap. The lap starts with an up and back, 1900 feet in 2.8 miles then back down. This is, obviously, the hardest part of the race. After that is a 14.5 mile section called Mill Creek which has a quick steep up followed by a long descent, mostly on a mix of double track and gravel road, followed by a 3.3 mile uphill on pavement, then onto singletrack for 6 miles or so back to the start area. The final lap is a 5.5 mile loop called Rick's Basin which is mostly rolling single track. Then repeat. Three times.

I'm pretty psyched to do this run. I think it will be challenging, but doable. There's a little less than 20,000 feet of climbing, which is 7,000 less than Wasatch, which I was able to finish in under 36 hours. So, the goal is to be to train like I did for Wasatch, maybe a little harder, and see if I can't come in under 34 hours. I want to do a race and not worry about the cutoffs. From everything I have read about, this race is super supported (longest distance between stations is 4 miles) and the race directors do everything possible to see you across the finish line.

The plan is to take a vacation around the race, get there a few days early and relax, drive through the tetons and Yellowstone, go up Fred's Mountain once or twice just to see it . . .

So, now that the race is picked, on to the training . . .

Choices, choices, choices

No run today in order to get in a little rest. Didn't even bike into work or swim or play ball. Felt good to be lazy for a day. The big question now is what ultra to sign up for? I was going to do Angeles Crest, but I did not realize that it filled up or had a limit. It does. It did. Crap.

So I spent a good part of the evening trying to figure out what 100 miler to do next? And then what races can I fit in the schedule around it? I wanted to do something in September to give me enough time to do a summer training push, but could do something as early as August. Looked briefly at doing one of the "easier" 100's, like Lean Horse, which only has about 7000 feet of climbing, but I want to do races that keep my eligibility for Hardrock and extend it for a year or at least are of that quality. I also want enough time to feel strong for the race and properly train for it. I think my base is good, but I want to get stronger and faster and work more to make sure I don't have a repeat of my recent flameout at North Face.

So, I've narrowed it down to 3 choices: Headlands Hundred, Teton 100, or the Bear. Pros and cons of each:

Headlands Hundred Pros: Easy to get to, can do a training weekend on the trails, run on famous ultra trails like Dipsea and Miwok without the hassle of trying to sign up early enough to get in, beautiful views, good amount of climbing, generous cut offs

Headlands Hundred Cons: Not a hardrock qualifier, comes early for me (August 8) giving me about 2 weeks of training before I have to taper, not one of the "name" races, not in a location I haven't seen before, 50 miles of out and back, then 2 25 mile loops on the same trail (this can be a pro and a con - more on that some other time)

Teton 100 Pros: Hardrock qualifier, beautiful area with beautiful views, great start line and time (at ski resort - would be nice to roll out of bed and onto the start - and to duplicate that for the finish), area of the country I haven't seen much, reasonable amount of climbing (20,000 ft.), generous cutoffs, should be relatively cool, first week of September date still gives 6 weeks for hard training

Teton 100 Cons: 4 loops of a 3 clover leaf course, including one out and back leaf, a total of about 14 miles on a paved road (3.3 miles per loop), lots of cars allegedly on the dirt road portions, dusty, very cold at night, difficult to get to (15 hour car ride or flight plus 1 hour car ride, meaning flight home on 100 mile legs . . . ), race between 7 and 9 thousand feet so lots of altitude training which can be difficult in San Diego in summer

The Bear Pros: Hardrock qualifier, loved race in Wasatch last year, lots of great fall colors, should be cool, 100 miles point to point, haven't seen this part of country, can drive to it, is latest race I'm considering (last week of September) giving me a full 8 weeks of hard training before I have to taper, reasonable elevation gain (22,0000 compared to 27,000 for Wasatch), generous cut offs (35 hours for buckle, 36 to finish), driving means traditional post-race Vegas buffet visit (but see below!), could do Mt. Disappointment as good training gauge

The Bear Negatives: Done the drive before, conflicts with Chargers-Dolphins game (although the race starts on a Friday, so theoretically, I could get on a late Saturday/early Sunday flight and make the game), very cold at night, very hard climbs at end of the race, questions about organization and marking with higher chance of getting lost, probably lousy radio reception, so may not be able to listen to football, etc. during the race

So that's it. Looking it all over, I think it will probably be the Bear, especially if I can hook up a flight back for the Chargers game the next day. I'd have to skip the Vegas buffet, but I think I can find enough stuff at a tailgate to make up for it. It will be difficult walking to the stadium, etc., but maybe that will be half the fun. We'll see . . .

Oh, and all of this goes out the window if Scotty can somehow get me into Cascade Crest, which would be my first and easy choice over all of these

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Weekend wrap up

Had nice runs Saturday and Sunday and calculated some of the mileage and elevation, although I'm not sure how accurate it is. Friday was 7 miles and about 1,000 feet of gain in an hour 15 on mostly fire roads with about 25 percent technical single track. Saturday was 10 miles or so in an hour 45 min with about 500 feet elevation gain. Its one of my favorite runs from my front door with about 10 percent on the road and the rest on single track, although its not particularly technical. Took Gator who was outstanding.

Haven't gotten a chance to check today's mileage. Was going to do the same loop I did last week, but had to make a pit stop at the beginning which took me off that route. So I ran Oak Creek Canyon all the way through the Marine Corps base, filming location for Top Gun, easily the most offensive movie of all time. It always gives me pleasure to pseudo-tresspass on their trails. (It is unclear from the signage where the park leaves off and the base begins.)

I then ran up over the fire roads and down into Spring Canyon which I ran back to the park. Ended with a climb up Kwaay Paay peak, which is about an 850 foot climb in 1.1 miles. There wasn't a ton of climbing on this run, with a gradual climb up to the fire roads, then this climb up Kwaay Paay. Took about 3 hours 45 min. Have no idea what the mileage was. It was in the mid-90's at the start and cooled to 78 by the end of the run at 7:15. Was very careful to take in a Roctane gel every 1/2 hour except for the last one. Also had a 100 calorie brownie pack to mix it up a little. Went through a 24 oz. Gatorade and 3 20 oz. waters and was still a little dehydrated by the end according to the pee test.

Generally satisfied with the weekend. Nothing outstanding, but was encouraged by today where the only large period of walking I did was on the Kwaay Paay climb and to get to the fire road. On the way up the canyon, I walked one minute out of every 10. On the way down the canyon, I didn't walk. I took one 5 minute break after 2.5 hours to simulate an aid station. Ran for the first 3 or 4 minutes up the Kwaay Paay peak and on the very few flats on the trail. Legs are very tired so feel like I gave it a very good effort, although know I have a lot of room for improvement. Run was on 100 percent single track, most of it pretty technical. Also walked for an hour and half at dog park in the morning, so I think all in all pretty good. Fuel for the run was a subway six inch ham sandwich half hour before heading out. Entertainment was sports radio and a 2-0 Padres win with Chad Gaudin pitching a one hitter in Texas. Hope everyone had a good weekend!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Mission Trails Friday

Yesterday, did a nice training run at Mission Trails with my friend Andy. Up Quarry Hill, over to the Rim Trail, dropped into Suycott Wash the hard way, running the reverse of the Xterra 15k, then up where I usually drop in at the south side of the wash and back out to the car. About an hour and 15 min. Only walking was the top part of the drop in trail. Legs felt heavy but manageable. Wish I felt a little better on the climbs.

Right before we reached the construction area by the stacks, narrowly missed a little rattler, about 3 feet long. Andy hadn't seen a rattlesnake before in the wild. Not sure exactly where he's been to not see one in San Diego County, but he put on a good show, giving us a good rattle before heading off into the bushes.

I'll have to use map my run to see what the mileage and climb was on the run. It was an interesting link of some of the eastern trails that I had not done before. Next week it will be back to my usual Friday test. On tap today will be a couple of hours in the heat followed by a giant steak dinner at Donovan's courtesy of Greg.

Main victory for the day yesterday? Fending off my desire for fried ice cream at Casa de Pico. I'd guess I'm down about about 5 pounds so far. So far, so good.

Oh, and the mystery around Rubio continues. It wouldn't be the worst thing if he stayed in Spain for a few years to work on a shot . . .

Friday, June 26, 2009

Where goest thou, Rubio?

That seems to be the big question after the draft today. Rubio's people are making a lot of noise that Ricky might be staying in Spain. I might too given what I can see from the TimberPups. Look, I don't think Rubio is going to be all that. He's great in transation, but he's skinny as a rail, has the usual Euro defensive liabilities (with apologies to Mickeal Pietrus), and doesn't function that well in the half court. He's Steve Nash before the haircut.

But, in this draft, he is one of the 3 or 4 guys who has a great shot at being a long time starter in the NBA, so he does have some value. And already teams like the Knicks are circling the Pups for a chance to clean up their leavings. What superstar free agent wouldn't want to play with a flashy passer who wants to get them the ball in transition? Oh, Pups. You amuse me. Oh, and apparently, the Knicks could have had the number 5 pick which turned into Rubio for Wilson Chandler and Larry Hughes. Really? Hmmmm. Lets see what they are willing to give up now. Something tells me the Wolves aren't going to do this deal for expiring contracts . . .

So, lets talk about the pre-draft trades to see what went down.

Vinsanity and Ryan Anderson to the Majerks for Courtney Lee and some salary cap throw-ins - OK, I get that New Jersey wants cap room, but what is their plan B? I mean who are they going to build around? Devin Harris and who? Its a shame because I really like Devin Harris. As for the Majerks, while I generally hate Vinsanity, I think this deal works for them. Orlando has the best offensive rebounder in the game who has very little skill at creating his own shot. Why not let him chase Vinsanity's crazy shots and throw them down for easy points. Consider them alley-oops! Howard doesn't need the ball to be successful. Jameer Nelson doesn't need the ball to be successful. Rashard Lewis is happy fading back to the perimeter and hucking them up from there. What the didn't have was a guy who could create his own shot and finish. Now they do.

Shaq to Cleveland for a few more bucks in Robert Sarver's wallet. Why is Phoenix always doing this? You want to know the picks Phoenix has literally given away in the last few years to stay below the luxury tax? They have given away picks that have turned into Rajon Rondo, Rudy Fernandez and Luol Deng (who also could have been Andre Igoudala). And worse still, the ex-Sonics still have Phoenix's unprotected first rounder next year which they dumped to shed Kurt Thomas. What a joke. Someone needs to save that team. The Suns fans are good fans and don't deserve that. For the Cavs, why not? You gave up Ben Wallace and Sasha Pavlovic? What, they didn't want a box of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame towels as well? This won't fix Cleveland that needs athletic wing players to throw down LeBron feeds and actually defend to protect Mo Williams and the rest of that group. But those guys fall off trees in the NBA, so I expect Cleveland to land a few.

Richard Jefferson to Spurs for Fabricio Beef Jerky, Bruce Bowen, and Gymkata. How do they do it? Think of the Spurs starting 5 now, assuming Pop will let Manu's bald spot into the starting lineup: Manu, Mr. Longoria, Tim Duncan, Richard Jefferson, and fill-in-the-blank token white American, probably my man Bonner (former Gator). Your bench still might need help, but Finley is good for a few minutes, both George Hill and Roger Mason proved capable for stretches, and they got the steal of the draft in Dejuan Blair who I think is going to be a beast. They need a little size on the bench, but who is not going to want to come there to play with that lineup? I don't know if they have their mid-level exception, but could they bring Sheed and would he accept a role on that team? He would be a great 6th man. Regardless, there is enough there that they put themselves up in the list of contenders again.

Oh, and no way Amar'e goes to the Warriors for Curry and Biedrins and Brendan Wright (who has potential) without Amar'e agreeing to an extension. Otherwise you give up a legit big man (Biedrins) and a fan favorite with lots of potential in a run and gun system like Nellie's (or the Suns) for one year of a superstar who promptly bolts. Not even the Warriors can be that dumb, can they?

Something actually about running and ultras next post, I promise. Still suffering from NBA post-draft-itis.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

T-wolves have their guard up?

So, the NBA draft was tonight. Frankly, the NFL could take a few lessons. Two rounds knocked out in about 3 hours. I can't think that picking which fat guy will better protect a quarterback's blind side is that much more difficult that deciding which 6 foot 9 inch athlete will sit on the end of the bench.

Be that as it may, while the draft was fairly predictable, the Twolves draft doesn't make any sense to me. I get that there could still be stuff in the works, but the Wolves GM insists that he thinks Rubio and Flynn can play together. Neither has a great 3 point shot. Nor can either one really create his own shot other than getting to the rim. My thought is that they don't think Rubio is ready yet, so they took Flynn for now, thinking they can trade him down the road. But that's a high price for a short term solution. I have to think they could have gotten a veteran backup for the number 6 pick. And then they trade Lawson for the Nuggets first round pick next year? With that team, it is likely they converted the 18 pick this year for a pick in the 20's next year. That just doesn't make sense. Why not take a guy in Europe and let him develop for a while off your salary cap if you are concerned about finances? It was a haphazard draft by a team that has seemed to lose its direction.

The most annoying thing about GM's in the NBA is they rarely have a plan. They just draft the best talent available and hope it works for the best. Terrible. Look at San Anotonio. They know they needed athleticism and toughness, especially on the glass. What did they come away with? Dejuan Blair (highest rebound per acl ratio!), who is a beast inside and on the glass, Jack McClinton, who is a lights out shooter for Duncan to pass to and can run up and down the floor, and Richard Jefferson, for whom they gave up an over-the-hill one dimensional Bruce Bowen and Fabricio Beef Jerky (both of whom will likely be bought out and may resign for the minimum back in San Antonio).

It takes a plan people. Know what style of team you want and go get the guys to fit the bill. Don't draft Shaq and play half-court if you are the Suns and geared to run. Don't go get over the hill star names whose games don't mesh at all. Don't take a guy because of a name or just because you think he's the best talent there. If there is someone who is close who is going to fit your system or improve your chemistry, use your brain and get this guy, no matter what the pundits say. Its your team. make it yours, not theirs.

More thoughts on the draft and trades tomorrow

On the workout side, lifted weights in the AM, did my bike commute to work (25 miles and 45 minutes each way) then went for an hour run before dinner in the canyon. A pretty good day if I could have only put down the cheese fries before dinner . . .


So, what's this all about? Well, its pretty simple. I've been an ultra runner for a few years now. I have 1 50k, 3 50 mile races, and 2 100 mile races to my credit. In most of these, I feel like I've been battling the cutoffs, and 2 most recent performances (last at Wasatch 100, missed time cut at North Face Endurance Challenge Bellingham) have convinced me that I want to do more than just finish ultras. I'm not looking to win my age group or anything. I'm just looking for respectability.

So, given that, I came up with 3 times that are progressively harder, but that, I think, put you at least in the mid-pack somewhere. Just like "real" marathoners go under 4 hours, these times are my mental equivilent of what "real"ultra runners do. Simply put, I want to do under 6 hours for the 50K, under 12 hours for the 50 miler, and under 24 hours for the 100 miler.

Of course, you can't cheat and get your time on a road course or something like that. It has to be a real ultra, with hills and rocks and sticky gu packets and bee stings and lots and lots of hard work.

So that's it. I'll post some more about my race history coming up and start using this as my training diary, and if you find it interesting at all, come along on the ride with me . . .
Oh, and as you can guess from my picture, I'm pretty into my dog, too. Her name is Gator, and she has been my training companion for years, although she's starting to slow up now that she's 9! So this blog is going to have a lot about her, and about the NBA, and about sports in general, and who knows what else will come to mind. Thanks for looking!