26 November 2017

pacing Lucca at the Seattle Marathon

Five times! I have run all or part of the Seattle Marathon with Lucca five times. How cool.


I've said it before and I'll say it again; it's so nice to have common interests that bring you and your family closer together. For my sister and I, this interest has been running. In addition to this Marathon, we have also run a couple of ultra trail races together, started two more together, gone on a running "vacation" and I suspect there will be many more. Especially if I can convince her to enter TransRockies with me...

Lucca always seems to have a goal, even if she won't admit it. Today it was to PR on this course and to run sub 3:45. Long story short, we came up short. Looking back, we were due as every previous run here has been a PR and my head was starting to swell from my (self-attributed) pacing skillz. To her credit, once it was obvious the time goal was out of reach, she didn't waste energy dwelling on it and she didn't throw out the anchor either; she just continued at a manageable pace and still got 3rd in her age group. Damn.

I think I was the only participant wearing a running vest. My excuse is that I was carrying all of our nutrition and a camera. Not having to stop at aid stations is huge when you are gunning for a good time. And it paid off in other ways, the weather was unexpectedly nice and as we shed clothing I had a place to stow everything.

Here are some highlights, from my perspective anyway.

Dropping off our bags of clothing at the start. It is VERY nice to have whatever you want at the finish. Kudos to the Boy Scouts for showing up to help with these drop bags.


My personal favorite, the pre-start raingear shot.


In the BRIGHT sun starting to round Seward Park.


Coming up the Lake WA Blvd switchbacks. I suspect this was not Lucca's favorite section but it sure is a pretty section of road.


Entering Interlaken Blvd with less than six miles to go.


Turning into the headwind after crossing I-5.


Special thanks to Lucca's friend Robert (running next to Lucca above) for showing up to share pacing and photographer duties the last six miles. And congratulations Lucca for toughing this one out! You are an inspiration. Here's to a few more events together.


Here are my takeaways from this new course.
  • It's' harder. Be ready for more hills in the first half and that out-and-back in the Arboretum felt like it was all uphill on the way back.
  • I like this course! Climbing the switchbacks on Lake WA Blvd and coming back in the Arboretum isn't easy but it sure is beautiful. And I was never a huge fan of that concrete stretch on I-90...
Here are all my pictures and videos.

Lucca's results
Nutrition (before)

  • water
  • Lucca had some coffee
  • we both had a Hammer Gel 10 minutes before the start
Nutrition (during)
  • Topo Athletic Ultrafly shoes
  • Stance crew length socks
  • long sleeve Craft undershirt
  • long sleeve Topo Athletic shirt
  • Topo Athletic running hat
  • long finger gloves (that came off)
  • wind vest (that came off)
  • Ultimate Direction PB Adventure Vest 3.0

14 October 2017

White Pass to Chinook Pass on the Pacific Crest Trail

How do you turn a six-hour run into an eight-hour run? Add 2' of snow.


Two new friends and I went for a "run" from White Pass to Chinook Pass and guess what, the seasons have changed in the mountains.

Friday I posted in the Seattle Mountain Running Group that I was looking for a group to tag along with for a run Saturday and within minutes Ghislain Devouthon invited me on this adventure. I love community. We met his friend Christophe Fiessinger and hit the road.

This piece of the PCT is the beginning of "Section I" and under normal/summer conditions would be very runnable. On this day we had to walk/hike/posthole for roughly 10 miles. Let's just say it's a good thing I have gotten into the habit of carrying extra food/water/clothing. And that the day turned out perfect. Nasty weather would have made this a horrible death march. As it was, the worst we had to deal with was some mild dehydration and muscle cramps. Not because there wasn't enough water, just because we didn't drink enough...

We started out all smiles and full of enthusiasm.


And we were able to run (slowly) the first 10 or so miles. Then we hit a big climb. And then the snow got deep. 16 miles in our pace was about 25:00/mile and we joked lightheartedly about what time we were going ot finish. By mile 23, and realizing that our pace had not sped up appreciably, the jokes got a little dryer.

In a nutshell? WE COULDN'T STOP TAKING PICTURES! There were so many amazing sights. Here are a few highlights.

I need to come back here in the summer!

I'll say this, we got lucky. This is not a short run and had the weather not cooperated, this would have been much, MUCH less fun. Dangerous even. As it was, the sun was out all day and in spite of the ambient temperature being cold, as long as you were in the sunlight you were quite warm.

There is plenty of water on this route but you need a filter or something to purify the water.

For most of the run we were making first tracks in the snow. The exceptions were when we met a group of equestrian campers and as we got closer to Chinook Pass, it seems lots of people start to hike from there and do an out-and-back to their cars.

If you look at my Strava track below, you will see there is a significant climb about halfway into this run. Because of the steepness of the trail and the snow, this was pretty much one, long hike. Plan on slowing down here.

The Pacific Crest Trail is well marked and even in the snow we did not have a problem finding our way.

My Sealskinz socks saved my feet! I usually get very cold hands and feet and when they are wet it's terrible. My feet were in the snow all day long and were fine. So great!

Here are all my pictures.

Nutrition (during)

07 October 2017

Oregon Coast 50 km

Perfect weather. It was not what I was expecting. Friends have told me the Rainshadow Running Oregon Coast 50k is usually wet and windy, I was okay with this anomaly.


These days you have to register for events so far in advance (because they sell out) that when they finally show up, I have little confidence my preparation has gone like I hoped it would. Shit happens. Sometimes you've just finished a great training block, sometimes you break your leg and have to pull out. This time I was coming off of a freak infection that I got trail running with my sister and some friends three weeks ago. I nicked my shin on a rock and it seems some bacteria got under the skin and I couldn't even walk until we got this diagnosed and I started taking antibiotics. Thank goodness it cleared up quick once I did. At least I was showing up well rested. Which I have learned is not to be underrated.

James Varner puts on great events. Part of his formula for success is really good venues for the finish. This race finishes at The Adobe Resort in Yachats, OR. The start is six miles north of here on the beach. To get there we took a 'field trip' in yellow school buses.


I had blissfully forgotten how little leg room there is on these things...


James gave his pre-race announcements in shorts and a t-shirt! I was starting to feel a little silly with my undershirt and sleeves and gloves but these days I do run a bit cold. Plus, why carry an awesome running pack if you are not going to put anything inside, right?


Walking down to the beach the field trip feeling continued. If we had all been holding onto a knotted rope or if someone had been a dragging big, plastic cooler it would have been for real.


This is with about one or two minutes to go. Race? What race? Who brought a Frisbee and where is the beer!


Finally, people moved closer to the start line.


And we were off!


Beach running can be a blast or it can suck. Today it was most definitely the former. There was ZERO wind. It was warm. The sand was firm. We kept passing groups of locals and tourists that cheered us on and within maybe one mile my gloves came off.

At the start, there were two guys who showed up in sandals and if you look closely at the video above, you will see one of them. He took his sandals off for the beach run. Barefoot on the beach, it was that kind of morning. There was also the occasional off-leash dog that would dart in and out of all the runners. It helped to pay attention.

At times we had to jump over/hop through some streams that flowed into the ocean.

Photo credit Glenn Tachiyama

At the end of the sandy beach you climb up a few steps into the outskirts of Yachats, ran south through town right along the water and a mile or two later you cross Hwy 101 and head up into the woods.

The trails were awesome! The surface was damp but not slick, it was soft and it was real singletrack meaning narrow, twisty and FUN. I also pretty much stopped taking pictures at this point. :( I guess I was concentrating on where to put my feet and I was pushing myself. Since my training these days has been incredibly erratic my pacing strategy was to go easy for the first 10 miles (it was nine miles until we turned into the woods) and then try to ramp up the pace or at least put in a solid effort. As much as my current fitness allowed anyway. I also wanted to be very efficient at aid stations, even more so than usual. I figured if I had a great day I could run sub-five hours but I was not going to be upset with 5:30.

Just relatively recently my fueling has gotten pretty dialed in and it lets me be just that - very efficient. I now carry my powder in pre-mixed ziplock bags so I can pull one out as I'm approaching an aid station and can hopefully just hand a bag and bottle to a volunteer and ask them to fill the bottle with the powder and water while I adjust my clothing or suck down a gel. And since I carry two bottles (each one lasts me roughly one hour), I was able to bypass the first aid station altogether. Nice.

At the second aid station, all I needed was that bottle of water for my powder. Ditto for the third. I stopped at the fourth and last aid station but when I pulled out my bottles and saw that each one was still about half full I realized I didn't even need to stop. But I felt a little foolish having pulled over and a volunteer was holding a pitcher at the ready so I let them top off one bottle and then I scooted out of there.

Volunteers make races! One standout at this event was Yassine Diboun. Yassine was working aid station 2/4 and the first time I saw him I had to do a double take. Who was this weirdo, err... Viking that was calling my name?


Thanks for the speedy bottle refill Wy'East Wolfpack Viking!

Another thing that makes races is seeing friends and having them cheer you on. At the top of the first climb, Just when I ran past Glenn Tachiyama, I heard my name being called. Being so "focused" and "in the zone" it took me a few seconds to figure out who this was and by the time I realized it was Mitchell Burbick I was already past the crest of the hill and heading back into the woods. Sorry Mitch! I really did appreciate the cheer!

Photo credit Glenn Tachiyama

ASIDE - even though I am pretty darn fun to cheer on, Mitch was mostly here to encourage Meredith Heestand who schooled me by almost 10 minutes and was the 2nd woman finisher!

When I left the shore and entered the woods it seemed like there must have been at least 100 people in front of me. But I don't recall passing 80 runners on the trails. Thinking back I must have passed many of them at aid stations because I really was zipping through those today. I don't think I used to spend a lot of time at aid stations but now I'm spending even less. And when you look at the results, there were six people that finished within about 120 seconds of me. That's the difference between top 20 and top 30. Eek.

I used to fret over gear. Especially shoes. These days I just choose between two pairs for trail runs and I can't go wrong with either choice really. I wore my MT-2s today and it was paying off on the descents. These shoes hug my foot so I don't slide forward and with the soft surface I was moving just fine thankyouverymuch and much of the passing I did was while going downhill. I love going downhill!

That's not to say it was a walk in the park. Around mile 19 or 20 I had a low. Suddenly I realized I was walking on a flat section and it snapped me back to attention. And a few miles past the last aid station when I was descending back to the road I had to stop and get a rock out of my shoe. I sat down, pulled my foot close to me to untie the laces and every muscle in my leg cramped up. Oops. Obviously my pace was exceeding my fitness today but luckily when I stood back up and tried to move the cramps went away. Close call for sure.

One of my concerns was the flat run back into town and to the finish. I'm not fast on the flats. [Some might argue that I'm not fast anywhere...] I have vivid memories of running the Chuckanut 50k (my first ultra) and going out too hard for the first 10k on the Interurban Trail. I DIED coming back on that darn trail and it was the longest 10k I have ever run. Today I wanted to go slow enough on the beach that I could at least run the same speed coming into town, hopefully a tiny bit faster.

And I did it. Once I hit the pavement I tried to relax and gradually increase my cadence. It happened. Slowly. But in those last three miles I was able to pass another four runners. Absolutely nothing against them but it was a nice confidence booster for me.

Every once in a while I would look back to see if anyone was gaining on me and I didn't see anyone. Until they passed me with less than .25 miles to go. I was just thinking, "the finish has got to be coming up soon..." when this guy sprinted past. And sure enough, as I rounded The Adobe Resort (I didn't know that's what this building was until after the race), there was the finish shoot. Turns out this guy was a local and lives in Yachats. Home course advantage for sure and good for him, that was a nice kick.

Photo credit Glenn Tachiyama



I'll have you know that I took this picture after finishing, after checking into my second hotel, after showering and after having my recovery drink and a piece of pizza. Not only was it warm today it was also very humid and my camera lens was constantly smeared with water and I didn't have anything dry to wipe it with since about mile 10.

Here is James doing what he does so well, greeting EVERY SINGLE RUNNER THAT FINISHES.


And here I am doing what I do well(?). Using hair products. Ha!


I am so excited that I was able to do the following.

  • Fuel pretty darn perfectly. The only thing I could have changed to go faster would have been to be fitter.
  • Be efficient, both at aid stations and while moving. I never stopped going forward, I just slowed down a little a couple of times.
  • Close strong. Flat running is my Achilles heel and this time my pace at the end was faster than my first nine miles.
  • Choose the right gear. My shoes, clothes and even my arm sleeves (it was my first time wearing them) were perfect. Yes.
  • Finish with a smile on my face. Some people smile all the time no matter how hard they are working, I am not one of them. :)
The last thing I'll say is this is a VERY cool use of event shirts. #quiltingforgood


Here are all my pictures and videos.

Nutrition (before)
  • Water
  • Hammer Gel 10 minutes before start
Nutrition (during)
Nutrition (after)

16 September 2017

Icicle Creek, Icicle Ridge, Chatter Creek

Alpine lakes, spectacular views, good friends and great weather; what more could you ask from a weekend? The Icicle Ridge just outside of Leavenworth, WA delivers. Here I am standing by Lake Edna with a zero horizon shot in the background.


Lucca, Thomas Frizelle, Brett Rawson and I have been looking for an opportunity to get out and today our calendars cooperated.

We started at the end of Icicle Rd where the Icicle Creek Trail begins. For the first few miles it's a mixed use trail that rolls along and there was ample sign of horse traffic. One common sight in the Pacific Northwest is the nurse log.


We ran over bridges, through trees and crossed streams.


After a couple of miles the trail starts to climb and eventually you get out of the trees and start crossing alpine meadows.



I saw something that I thought was a Pika but when I got closer and realized how big it was (at least one foot long plus the tail) I realized I must be mistaken.


Up on the ridge it gets pretty barren but on a nice day, barren is beautiful.



As I was sitting quietly taking pictures a mountain goat walked into view. This is the first time I have seen one this close, it wasn't more than 30' away and seemed very casual. These animals are not small!


The last descent from the ridge to the Chatter Creek trailhead is pretty steep and rocky at the top and it isn't until the last 1.5 miles or so that you can really let loose and run fast. I was so looking forward to this section but somewhere up on the ridge, I banged my shin against a rock. It looked like nothing but it really hurt and put a major governor on my running speed. Shoot.

Today it was 38 degrees at the start! I have not experienced that temperature in perhaps six months. Seattle is so temperate compared to anything east of the Cascades. But it was a "warm"
 38 (no wind, rain, etc.) and once the sun came out and we started climbing I was in my sleeveless shirt for the remainder of the day. Gotta like that.

As we were running I realized that I have done this route once before with the Seattle Running Club. On that day we had hoped to run the Enchantments loop but got turned away because of a forest fire and had to find an alternative. This run was our Plan B on that day. Interestingly there was some smoke in the air today, luckily it was not bad at all. I have yet to make it over to the Enchantments, maybe next year.

There were still two small patches of snow up on the ridge in north facing hollows. I'm guessing they won't melt away this year.

Here are all my pictures and videos.



09 September 2017

Hut Run Hut - running in the Colorado Rockies

Holy cow! Hut Run Hut has been on my bucket list for a couple of years now (ever since I heard about it) and not only did I get to check the box, I got to check it with my sister Lucca.


This was a one-week (September 4-9) guided run from one 10th Mountain Division Hut Association hut to another. The guides were Aspen Alpine Guides and the guy that put it all together was Rickey Gates. Rickey always gets a "celebrity" runner to accompany the clients and on this trip, that celebrity was Jenn Shelton.

As hard as running at altitude is (especially when you live at sea level like I do), we were SO not roughing it. Every day we were provided with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and unlimited Clif Bar snacks while we ran (but of course I still brought along my supply of Hammer Nutrition - go with what works!). Each participant also got the S-Lab version of the Salomon Skin pack. Did I mention that we never ran out of beer? Or that Rickey got Sombra Mezcal to donate a CASE of their spirits? Which lasted exactly five days by the way. We also all got a pair of Stance socks which are the bomb.

The huts are also an exercise in luxury. The beds have comfy foam mattresses, flannel sheets (although we slept in our own sleeping bags - duh!) and they are also fully stocked with firewood and toilet paper. The kitchens are fully equipped with pots, pans, plates, and utensils and there is gas for cooking. Aspen Alpine Guides drove our gear from hut to hut and all we had to do was run/have fun!

The route is essentially Aspen to Vail. There were a couple of short re-routes this year, part of the route crosses over private land and this time a permit wasn't granted at the last minute. Whatever, we had a blast!

How do I adequately retell a week-long run? I can't. It would have required daily updates and I was blissfully unplugged/offline all week long. But here are some highlights and (personal) lowlights.

Day 1
Aspen - Margy's Hut (11,300')
19 miles

We carried our duffel bags to the start and started running right from downtown Aspen. Which, by the way, is a beautiful town! And it has more private jets in the local airport than I have ever seen in my life.


The run started by winding up and through a residential neighborhood until we got high enough that we were on public land. We ran through fields, aspens, through forests, and over bridges.


A few minutes after starting I asked Rickey how he was recovering from his TransAmerican effort, he said he was still recovering and that today was his first run since finishing! "At least I've gained back the 15 lb. that I lost." Dang.

When I arrived at Margy's Hut there were some day hikers enjoying the sun and the instant I stepped on the deck they offered me a beer. And blueberries. And cheese. Thanks super nice people!


Of course, I didn't know we were going to get this right after we finished running EVERY SINGLE DAY.


Then I pulled a classic n00b/wannabe (as in I wanna be able to process alcohol like when I was 25 years old) move. One of the things in this picture is great for recovery, the other two not so much. Can you tell which is which?


Hint - the first is a bottle that used to contain Hammer Nutrition Recoverite. The second is a glass of Mezcal. The third is a PBR. You make the call. I made the wrong call, I figured if one was good, all three would be better. Toss in some dehydration, direct sun all day, being at 11,000' and Martin suffered. That night and at least half of the next day. Unfortunately, my hut mates suffered too, I guess I snored like mad. Lesson learned? Here's hoping...

Day 2
Margy's Hut - Betty Bear Hut (11,100')
19 miles

What day is this? Where am I? My head hurts, a lot.

Usually, when I have a hangover, a good sweat really helps. The problem is when you're at 11k, it's hard to get moving fast enough to sweat much. Luckily we arrived here just before lunch. Which is about as long as it took my head to feel normal.


I was learning other lessons too. I never eat for three hours before a run so missing breakfast wasn't hard for me. A few minutes after we left the hut, I would just start sipping my HEED. But lunch was a different story. When I stop moving I was to refuel! On day one I had WAY too much lunch... Day two was a little better but still more then I could assimilate and I left feeling like I had swallowed a giant lump of cookie dough or something. Obviously, there was still room for improvement.

The trail we ran after lunch was fantastic! It was an old, rarely used trail and we had to pay close attention not to lose our way. We actually did lose our way a couple of times but were able to find the trail again in short order. Here are Carlos and I making a wardrobe adjustment along this trail.


"Running" (we were really climbing over and ducking under trees most of the afternoon) was a blast! We finally popped out into the open, crossed a river and then went up a brute of a climb to the hut. Turns out our guide Pete Wallstrom is the world's biggest Taylor Swift fan so I got to hear Shake It Off three times up this climb.

That night I tried to watch the sunset but I got too hungry and had to go back to hut when they rang the dinner bell.


Day 3
Betty Bear Hut - Point Breeze Cabin (a private hut, 10,500')
21 miles (with an option for six more)

Today we saw and ran everything. First, we checked out an abandoned mining tunnel that was filled with water!


Then we went cross country and eventually climbed up and over Hagerman Pass (11,900').


Where we did burpees!


ASIDE - Pete was a nut. Every morning he would lead some "warm up" burpees. We would also do burpees every time we crossed a pass and of course another set when we arrived at our hut. One burpee for every thousand feet of elevation - rounded up of course. Let me tell you, nothing will jack your heart rate up like calisthenics at elevation. And yes, he did all the burpees, he didn't just lead them.

From here we ran down. And down. And DOWN. The first six miles were on a dirt road and then it was another four miles on pavement. It was fun to actually be running but it also reminded me why I like running on trails so much. It's the "trails" part... I had to walk three times on this descent, even running downhill at elevation is hard. At least we had a beautiful lake to look at while on the paved section.


Lunch was a windy affair by this lake. By this time I was hardly eating anything at lunch just so I could get moving again in the afternoon.

After lunch, because our permit for this day had been denied and we were forced to run to these private huts instead, we ran along train tracks. More accurately, we ran IN the train tracks. For miles.


I felt like we all should have put our fancy running packs on a stick, thrown the stick over our shoulder and gone full-on hobo style.


Today was 20 miles and everyone was pretty quiet when we arrived at the hut.

Day 4
Point Breeze Cabin - Jackal Hut (11,600')
15 miles

Glorious singletrack! We had a lot of it today and I loved it. First we ran down a ski trail and then we ran down the Colorado Trail.


This wound around and went in and out of the trees was just a ton of fun.


Just before lunch, the Colorado Trail dumped us out into Camp Hale. We had been told that there might still be live munitions lying around so if we saw anything, we were not to touch it. I suspect the last live round was cleaned up years ago but it was still exciting to see this sign when we arrived.


This is all that is left of Camp Hale.



What goes down must also go up and after all that blissful singletrack descending we had to climb a stout hill. But my strategy of eating less and less at lunch was starting to pay off and I felt pretty darn good after we started moving. Finally. And getting the chance to cool off just before the trail got really steep wasn't hurting me either.


At this point my camera battery died and since I was not carrying my phone there is a bit of a lapse in pictures. Darn. I guess all the movies I was shooting were using more juice than I thought.

The climb started out on a trail and then we suddenly took a left straight up this grassy slope. It was full on cross country/fell running except we were still on a ski trail meaning we were following these blue triangles that were nailed to trees. You could just see the next one every time you arrived at a marker. Trekking poles would have been nice on this section.

By now I had sufficiently recovered from my Day 1 debauchery that I played along with the "carry an awful tasting drink to the top of the ridge and consume it when you get there" game. On this day that drink was Lime-A-Rita. And in case you were wondering, it isn't any better tasting when it's warm.


At the top of the ridge we ran along the spine in and out of trees to our next hut.

The views from up here were off the charts! We could see three 14,000' peaks and the clouds were forming too which made for some threatening looking showers in the distance. But it was still warm at the hut.


Although I might have needed several days to recover from my day 1 binge, everyone else was obviously way better at pacing themselves and tonight that resulted in yet another round of drinking games.

ASIDE - you know you are old when your first response to the words "drinking game" is not, "I'm in!" and is instead, "Again...?!"

Speaking of consumption, I may have been limiting my intake at breakfast and lunch but once I arrived at the hut each day there was no holding back. I would feast on salmon, avocado, salami, veggies, cheese, fruit, nuts; repeat. And then two to three hours later I would have a giant dinner. Usually with two desserts. Did I mention I lost 5 lb. on this trip? And every day I was telling anyone that would listen how much of a pig I was being and that I was gaining weight. #foodissues

And speaking of issues, no sooner did we arrive than almost everyone started drinking again. Which led to this.


And then this.


I seem to recall a bet being made? Something along the lines of, "If you wear these cut-off cotton shorts during tomorrow's run I'll buy you a new pair of shorts every year." Hilarity ensued.

By this time I was finally back up to two beers in the evening so I opted just to be entertained.

Day 5
Jackal Hut - Fowler-Hilliard Hut (11,500')
11 miles

Gotta love the bonus summit! And when we arrived at our hut today that is just what waited for us. I chose not to waste any time and simply confirmed the direction we needed to go and headed out. Note the tiny loop at the end of the day.

But getting to the hut...? OMG.

Today is what I imagined this run was going to be like and it did not disappoint. We started out by climbing up to a ridge and then we ran along the ridge most of the day. All at 12,000'+. As a bonus, the weather was threatening and we got spit on but it was just enough to make it that much more exciting and we never got cold or wet. But there was a time today when I put on every bit of clothing I had been carrying with me so far... There's a takeaway buried in there somewhere, I'll figure it out someday.

On this day we ran along ridges.


We could see for MILES.


We climbed shale hills.


We traversed some spines.


We cruised down alpine meadows.


We climbed fences.


We carried our own lunch and had it on the go.


I didn't want it to stop...


Day 6
Fowler -Hilliard Hut - Red Cliff (a town just outside of Vail, 8,700')
11 miles

This is us hanging out, not wanting to start running on the last day...


But it sure was fun once we started.

After a bit of climbing over some rollers, it was DOWN a jeep road. For miles. I guess I didn't want it to end because I started doing descending intervals on this road. I would run down until I met the first person, turn around and hike back up to the last person. Repeat. I think I managed to get in about five of these by which time the road had turned into a creek. For real. It turns out this creek had expanded past its usual bed and the jeep road was the path of least resistance.


We had to run (or hop in my case) down this creek for about 1.5 miles. And I loved it.


The water was pretty darn cold but the sun was out and it was just 1.5 miles. Plus it cleaned our shoes really well.

At the end of the creek we all regrouped and ran in the last bit of road together.


Once we got to Red Cliff we went straight to a bar for burgers and beer.

What did I learn running at elevation and during this trip?

  • You don't do that much actual running at 12,000' when you are coming from sea level. Or 11,000' for that matter.
  • Extra clothing, bring it. Perhaps because my body was getting run down I was chilly every evening and super thankful for my puffy jacket, long pants, and a knit hat.
  • Aspen Alpine Guides are awesome. They know how to run a smooth operation.
  • Pete and Jenn were tireless! Not only did they babysit the clients, they also drank the most and were always smiling. Kudos to Nate (thet organizer), Ian (our chef) and Rickey too!
  • Rickey wears some crazy shorts. Picture a pair of longjohns that are cut off, too short. And have split sides.
  • Having someone prepare your meals is heaven.
  • Lucca brought her sun shower along. Had it not been for this there would have been no showers. Let that sink in. Thank you Lucca!
  • You can't always do laundry, get used to it.
  • Shorty short running socks are not that awesome in the dust and gravel. Crew length is my new favorite.
  • Coming back down to sea level I was hoping I would feel like Superman. Instead, I was just tired for an entire week.
  • If you love some particular product/nutrition/piece of gear, bring it. This is no time to risk chafing, blisters or bonking.
  • My shoes rock. They were SO comfortable the entire time.
  • We got SO lucky and our group was incredibly compatible both in terms of personalities and ability and fitness. No one got angry and no one had to wait for more than a few minutes when we regrouped.
  • Being able to do this run with Lucca was a real treat. I hope I didn't embarrass her too much during my night of excess after Day 1.
Here are all my pictures and videos. Which of course only begin to capture what we saw and experienced. What can you do.

Besides eating everything that was put in front of my face each evening I also relied on the following each day during the runs.

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