The double. Run Rabbit Run 2013

A really hard double has peaked my interest for years and this year I dabbled with the idea months before UTMB. I thought it would be interesting and a fun experiment to see what I can handle both mentally and physically. I have dreams to partake in journeys that last much more than a 100 miles, this double was an opportunity to see how I would respond running on tired legs and already feeling mentally and physically defeated just 13 days prior. To say the least, this was a lot of fun and I’m glad I did it.

Run Rabbit Run was pretty much not going to happen. UTMB beat me up, leaving me mentally exhausted and with a battered gastrocnemius disabling my running. Then I went to the Dolomites with the super-friendly and fun North Face Europe team and my family to relax and do a photo shoot with my talented global teammate Fernanda Maciel. The Dolomites are breath taking! Being in these inspiring mountains, taking care of my body with the perfect dose of healthy food, Natura Health products and the added bonus of some amazing physio/bodywork on my legs, rejuvenated my running spirit and enabled my legs to heal allowing me to ponder the idea of Run Rabbit Run.

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Photo by Krista Olson

Awesome TNF employee Alessia and Global athlete Fernada along with my family and I all traveled to Cortina and made our way to the Refugio Gli Scoiattoli sitting adjacent to the iconic Cinque Torri walls. I had an incredible time running back n forth – once my leg was healed – with Fernada, hanging out with Chiara and the TNF Europe team and relaxing with the family while continuously being blown away by the beauty of the Italian Dolomites. Pretty much one of the best places on earth.

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Photo by Damiano Levati

After a couple nights in Venezia with my family we made the long-painful trip back to the states and eventually landed in Denver. My wife and son made one more flight to join Krista’s family in Kansas for a wedding. I however continued on with a really good friend from high-school, Britt Dick who rescued me from the airport, driving us to Steamboat Springs where I foolishly was going to run another 100 and she was going to crush her first 50 miler. It was great to catch up with her and eventually make it to Steamboat. After being up for 26 straight hours I was ready to crawl into bed after a really long day.

After a few hours of sleep I woke up and after a few hours of restlessly rolling around I got a few more zzzz’s, but not even close to enough to recover from the jet lag. This next day I spent good and dizzy, got in an hour run, ate some yummy food, jumped in a sauna for 20 minutes and checked in for another 100 mile adventure. I was excited to be apart of this great event again and catch up with so many good friends. After eating a little chicken and sweet potatoes I had a new friend Jay OHare who lives in Steamboat stop by so I could give him a few items to help crew the next day; we got that dialed in and talked for a bit before another nights rest. I got to bed that night at a reasonable hour and did get a little more sleep than the previous days, so figured I would be somewhat ready to try another 100 out.

I shared a hotel with JB and Jen Benna, so when we got up the next morning we were able to catch up and talk about our adventures and the fun race that we would be off and running at the high-noon start. We went over details with Roch Horton and eventually made our way down to the start. Jen was super focused, had a hard run, but persevered to probably one of her proudest runs to date. I was ecstatic to watch her cross the finish and complete her long day.

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Fun start. Photo: irunfar

The start was just a tad more relaxed than the emotion and excitement of UTMB, both starts were equally fun, however this one was a little more chill. I hopped out front with Jason who showed he belonged out front all day. I let him go about a mile up the course not to be seen again until he was showered and shaved and 10k’s richer; so happy for this guy and his amazing run! I however wanted to play it conservatively, so I hiked up the first big climb at a pretty casual pace.

By the time we reached the top of Mt Warner and onto scenic single track at 10k, I settled into a nice groove with some runners and played it mellow as to hopefully have the body warm up and shake out the jet lag. It took somewhere around 50 miles for the dizziness to stop, but somewhat expected after UTMB and the travels home. I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen once I started, I felt like I was on a boat and the waves were tittering me back n forth; a little unsettling since I was on somewhat dry land and to the best of my knowledge at the time, not on a boat as well.

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Crusing with a view. Photo: Matt Trapp

My goal for the race was to finish and have a blast doing it, this didn’t prepare me well for racing but I really enjoyed my run and time spent in Steamboat Springs. The miles clicked off pretty effortlessly, the legs felt somewhat strong; a little wobbly but not as sore as I imagined. We flew down Fish Creek Falls – which to me is the highlight of the course – enjoying the technical sections, crashing water falls and the calming sound of the creek floating by.

(Two weeks later…I’m finally continuing this race report. I’ve spent the last couple weeks putting on the Enchanted Forest Wine Run and then traveling again to Southern California camping with the family and spending time with good SoCal friends! Sorry for the delay.)

After the beautiful trip down Fish Creek falls we all run a few road miles through town in route to the rolling Emerald mountains. Last year I suffered much through this section, this time I took it easy and really enjoyed my run. Thinking back on this race, I recall my mantra for the day was “peace like a river”, I wanted to float, peacefully and enjoy the trails. I knew I shouldn’t/couldn’t run this race all out; I wanted to test myself, but I also really wanted to relax through a long run and let in unfold in its own momentum. I’m very happy and content with my run. I might have taken it too easy, but I came in with the mindset to have fun and not worry about racing.

Olypian Hall. Photo Chris vargo

Olympian Hall 2nd time. Photo: Chris Vargo

I could go on and on about this run, but to be honest I’m done with this post and am moving on to what is next; I went for a run today and it was equally satisfying. The more I do different forms of motion the more I’m internally grateful to move and be free. Some-days it’s in beautiful mountains on rugged terrain, some days it’s on smooth trail with not much vertical and even some days I find myself pushing my son in his BOB stroller at a casual pace; they are all good and I appreciate each day I get up and enjoy life in whatever form it’s presented to me on that day. I don’t always feel this way and struggle with being present, I’m happy to be aware of all my moods and emotions, not labeling them but learning, growing and being grateful in each moment.

To continue on with the run, I ran it, I felt relatively good and have recovered nicely afterwards. My energy levels have been super low and I have tried to take time and let the body reset. Honestly these last three weeks have been really hard. I didn’t run almost anything, for me this has been difficult; running everyday is just what I do and when I took it away from myself I had a difficult time adjusting and embracing life. It’s been a long year of running and all the things that come with that have worn me down, but that is apart of my life and I embrace the struggles that come with balancing a running career and family life. I’m moving forward stronger with intent to be the best I am in everything I do, I will fail, but I’ll keep coming back for more.

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The finish with RD bunny Fred! Photo: Run Rabbit Run FB

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UTMB Video

I had a wonderful time in the alps. Here’s some great footage thanks to Bob & Debbie Loomis. Happy to be able to share my experience with you.

Looking forward to sharing more with you soon about our travels. Hopefully my Run Rabbit Run report will also be done soon. Life has been busy with good times at the Enchanted Forest Wine Run and now we’re travelling to Los Angeles area to check out the mountain scene. My body has been worn down over this last year of running and I thought it was best to regroup so I haven’t been running since Run Rabbit Run. I’ve been feeling funky & ungrounded and am working on being present and healthy even while taking a break from running. Looking forward to some peace and quiet, relaxing in the mountains and on the beach. Peace.

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Enchanted Forest Wine Run

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Photo by LongRun Picture Company

If you’ve been following my blog lately, you know I’ve been running lots all over the world. The traveling has been amazing, seeing the world on my own two feet, but after all the running around it sure feels nice to be back in Ashland. My RRR 100 blog will be up soon, but as my muscles recover from that last long slog, I’m gearing up for a race of a completely different kind: The 2nd Annual Enchanted Forest Wine Run, a race that I put on with my wife Krista, our friend Marge and Krista’s folks Deb and Bob.

I loved designing the course. Let’s just say that my love of hills really came out during course construction and last year’s runners are still talking about it! We never wanted to have an easy route as all of the race directors are runners who love chugging up hills and we happily accept the reputation of being a strenuous run! Its awesome to see people emailing us with questions about their first trail race and it feels like we are doing what we set out to do: inspire people to get out in the woods and play on the trails. I can’t wait for race day when I get to don the infamous mad hatter outfit and run all over helping dial things in.

Enchanted Forest Wine Run Half Marathon & 5K 2012

Photo by LongRun Picture Company

Our race focuses on giving out awards for having fun like our “Best Fairy” costume contest and for finding “Magic Mushrooms” hidden out on the course. We encourage all levels and ages with a half marathon, 5K, and 1/4M kids run. To even get your littlest ones started out on the trails, the most “Spirited Active Family” will win a Bob Running Stroller. Be ready to be awarded for having a good time with more awesome prizes & swag from The North Face, Natura, Ashland Springs Hotel, UtrAspire, Rogue Valley Runners, and Injinji.

Magic Mushroom Winners w. Timothy Olson by Eric Shranz Photo by LongRun Picture Company

Out on the course, our aid stations are each sponsored by delicious local food & drinks. You’ll find Noble Coffee Roasting cold brew, Wooldridge Creek wine, and Zorba Chocolate. And on top of that, VFuel gels will keep you going strong. At the finish line, you’ll ease into recovery with Therapeutic Associates Physical Therapy and Natura Health Products.

New this year, there will be camping the night before the race at Wooldridge Creek Winery. The winery will stay open until 7p and Fulcrum Dining will be there to have Friday dinner & Saturday breakfast available for purchase. I’ll be there with Krista & Marjorie – it’s sure to be a good time.

If you want to run, volunteer or just show up and cheer for the runners coming in, check out our website for more details : thewinerun.com . I hope you find yourself out our way, with local food, bluegrass, wine, and trails…it’s a race not to be missed! Peace, 1love and don’t forget that little T$ is going to be dressed to impress!

Enchanted Forest Wine Run Half Marathon & 5K 2012

Photo by LongRun Picture Company

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UTMB 2013

Darkness deserves gratitude. It is the alleluia point at which we learn to understand that all growth does not take place in the sunlight.
~Joan Chittister

UTMB 2013

Climb up too Col de la Seigne. Photo: Damiano Levati

I’ve never wanted to quit a race so bad, not because of injury – even though my left calf could not function for 3/4 of the race – but because I was so mentally and emotionally broken. During the death march from La Fouly (108k) to Champex-Lac (140k) I questioned everything. I hurt immensely, I cried, I had a conversation with a cow, I was broken beyond repair. I kept telling myself, the alleluia point would come, transcendence would ascend my crippled spirit and I would start to fly; it never came to be, but the perseverance to continue on, made the journey and finish very special.

Having the race play out smoothly and feel strong would have been ideal, but what fun is that. The experience I had soldiering around the UTMB trail was incredible; I learned more about myself, I fell more in love with my family and became even more grateful for my body and life. Winning could have been fun, but everyone who made the trip around the mountain, achieved all they needed out there. I’m very content and satisfied with the effort it took to circle Mont Blanc, climb 33000ft and end up back in beautiful Chamonix to celebrate the journey.

 

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Starting in Chamonix at 4:30pm, the town was electric, I wandered down from my home at four trying to stay calm as the crowds and runners vibrated with excitement. We took off as the town roared with cheers from every corner, the streets were lined with spectators high-fiving and encouraging us on. We passed a bar where a guy was handing out cups of beer, I passed this aid station, but appreciated the joy and ambiance of the town. I was already in about 25th place and comfortable with a nice mellow start to start the journey, I knew there’d be plenty of time to race as the day and night progressed.

We were in Les Houches (8k) lickedy-split and heading up the first climb of the day. I was stoked with my legs as the climb felt effortless and in no time a crew of us reached the top and we’re bombing down hill. I took the descents easy as I wanted to save my quads and also be cautious of a bum ankle I sprained on a Mont Blanc trip the week before.

We ticked off kilometers quickly as we continued down. I eventually felt someone running extremely close to my side and some kids shouting in french to me. I thought to myself that the person to my right was almost going to trip me; I turned to my right and started to move out of the way, when I realized that the close “runners” were not people but 3 goats grinding out 5min k’s. These goats meant business and apparently train in the Alps a lot. Their bellies weighed and jiggled more than our packs and their feet were quicker too as they passed myself, Vagin Armstrong and Miguel Heras who eventually had an amazing 2nd place finish. I laughed out loud as thee others were startled by the goats, it looked as if the goats might beat us all!

The goat race was heating up; I thought they would tire, but then 20 minutes passed by, with them still side by side. Arriving on 30 minutes they were looking worn, they stopped to regain their composure at a bridge blocking my way. I encouraged and scooted them on and they found a second wind! I passed them just a moment before we entered the streets of Saint-Gervais (21k) to a generous applause from the crowds; the goats got a standing ovation! I however pulled away and they were the last goats I would race with on this trip.

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Les Contamines. Photo: Irunfar

It was fairly flat as I cruised the 10k over to Les Contamines (31k 1170m) to see my crew for the first time. I did have a tiny low patch in this stretch as I felt a little dehydrated from the quickish start. So I tried to hydrate more when I arrived to my crew. I came into the aid station calm and focused on getting all I needed as I would not see my crew again till Courmayer 77k in.

I slammed some kombucha green tea, it was delicious, I drank some other green tea, I drank some coke, I wanted to be good and caffeinated as I started my run through the night. I felt solid and ready to take on the night, I kissed my wife and was out remembering everything I needed but my extra 400ml of Coke; crap I thought as I could not turn back now.

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Photo: Christophe Aubonnet

I continued on in my own rhythm moving at a decent pace as the night started to creep in. The next few aid stations you could smell a ways away with the smoke from their fires glowing and drawing me in and through Notre Dame de la Gorge (35k 1215m). The crowds cheered as the fires blazed, I was focused as I hiked upwards to our first real climb of the day to the top of Croix du Bonhomme at 2443 meters high and 44k into the race. I moved well to this spot, but was already starting to feel the creeping feeling of stiffness in my calf that would progress throughout the night.

I crested Croix du Bonhomme and started my sluggish decent down, it was full on dark, I was not very trusting of my bum ankle and it was fairly technical for me on this section. It went from grassy slopes with ankle busting divots and meandering washed out out animal trails everywhere. Other sections had wet slick rock that was always slanted in a manor that would not gift an actual foot placement and push off, leaving me timid and embarrassingly slow as I wanted to keep my ankle happy for at least the first half of the race. I was passed quickly by Anton – who had a great race and might of won without the achilles and hamstring issue – I wished him good luck and to keep flying and that I was hoping to see him again down the road. Jonah Budd also sped by as they both could navigate the trail much quicker. They easily gapped me, leaving me to embrace the night running my own race which I was very content with.

UTMB 2013

Crossing river from Les Chapieux. Photo: Damiano Levati

I entered Les Chapieux (49k 1549m) to our first gear check of the night. They showed me pictures of the gear and I pulled out my tightly wrapped and never used gear to prove I had the mandatory accessories. I briefly saw Anton as he moved out and I took a moment to drink some coke and put on another head torch, feeling good but wanting to not have the leaders gap me too much.

The next section was way more douche-grade road than I anticipated. I tried to run this section at a decent clip, trying to keep the leaders lights in sight and before the higher altitude and steepness decreased my running to a hike. As we finally retreated from the road and started moving the switch backs up to Col de la Seigne (60k and 2516meters), I could see some head torches cruzing up the hill and after I neared the top I turned around to see the zig-zags of lights swerving below for as far as I could see. It was insane to look at the string of head torches behind, very cool to race with so many like-minded people.

Hiking hard up the climbs I was grasping for a solid breath. My lamp would catch many a cows eyes; I stopped to absorb the moment, the Big Dipper lit up the sky to my left, the stars were luminous and glorious. Night running under star-light is the bomb! Mentally I was in a good spot, but I was not moving as fast as I would have liked, I told myself this was good as there was plenty of running left.

Descending to Lac Combal (64k) came and went, I did not see a lake. I grunted up to Arête du Mont-Favre (68k 2435m) tired and sore, but excited to push on. Nothing spectacular but the stars, the mountains were hiding, getting their beauty sleep to give us strength in the morning. For me there was not much sleep, I’d lost my beauty and had many kilometers to go. Uff da.

It was a steep decent into Courmayeur (77k 1200m) and I took it down hard. The altitude and calf were cramping my style in the ups so I tried to do my best to catch up on the downs. Not very successful as I was 30 minutes back from the leaders and was feeling worn from the first half of the day. I tried to regroup, get inspiration from seeing my wife, fuel up properly and restock supplies for the rest of the night. I drank more kombucha, green tea, and some more coke while my wife changed the batteries in my head lamp. I tried to prepare myself for the battle ahead but not sure how I was going to gain that much ground on them.

I was finally on the part of the course I was familiar with from reconning this section with my wife and Joe weeks ago. I knew the rest of the course well and knew I needed to run a bit on the road before a steep hike up to Refuge Bertone (82k 1989m). I was feeling ok at first, but just destroyed within minutes of starting the climb. I was mentally exhausted at the idea of trying to catch up, I was disappointed with myself, I was frustrated with my calf; so I took a poop. This was the start of a low patch that continued on for much of the race.

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Recon above Grand Col Ferret. Photo: Joe Grant

I entered Bertone defeated, delirious, deflated and destroyed. I laughed out load as I sat on the table as a bench, shaking my head and not knowing my next move. I thanked the volunteers for their support, I carried on figuring I was out of the race but could at least enjoy running in the Alps. So that’s what I did, I ate a tasty Justin’s nut butter and contemplated life, I took a VFuel gel in for good measure. I swayed with the wind and marched like a drunken sailor. I told myself, this is what I came here for, to be broken, to not know the way out, but to have faith that this was just a low moment with good times soon to follow. Oh the humor.

It finally leveled out and I started to run ever so slowly. I could see head torches closing in on me from behind. I think I ran a little faster. I entered Refuge Bonatti (89k 2010m) with a guy from Spain, I looked up and saw Lizzy Hawker, I told her I was broken with a smile; she laughed and told me to keep going. The aid station guy told me that I couldn’t take coke out of the aid station, I told him that was not true, I took a sip and some to go. I’m dying here, damnit, let me have some bloody coke, is what I wanted to say, but I just smiled and went on my way, coke in toe. Then I continued to climb.

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The night fog. Photo: Ian Corless

The next part of the trail went decently smooth, just some sweet single track that I could run fairly well and enjoy the night. Arnuva (94k 1769m) came pretty quick after a few descending switch backs, I could see the leaders on the next big climb, figuring they had about an hour on me, and so it goes. I took my time trough the aid station and started the big climb that would bring me to the highest part of the day and into Switzerland.

I hiked with intention, but could just not push off well; I was perturbed with my calf issues but tried to just focus on the next ribbon ahead. It’s all I could do, 20 meters, ribbon, 20 more, ribbon, like a treasure hunt to the top. As I progressed to the top it started getting foggier and windy, I thought of putting on my verto jacket to block the chill, but was basically just too lazy to get it out. I pushed on, munched on some gel and eventually reached the top of Grand Col Ferret (99k 2537m), I said hi to volunteers, had my bib scanned and with cold joints creaked my way down.

By this point of the night I was pretty much done, I didn’t see much need to continue on, I was almost positive my gastrocnemius was going to explode out of its sheath; it didn’t but it was pretty pissed off. All I wanted to do was stumble my way to my crew and go back to Chamonix and drink some vin. That was the plan which seamed reasonable, I just needed to get off the mean-ass mountain.

With nothing better to do I continued to run down, down and down. Out of the fog and many a switch backs, finally hitting the pavement leading to La Fouly (108k 1598m). I stopped in the middle of the road to pee, at least I was hydrated. I came to the aid hoping to see someone I knew and drop out. Man was this place packed with good people, friendly volunteers to deliver coke, Killian and Emile were there to encourage, so were Bryon (Irunfar) and Ian (TalkUltra) to snap some shots. Lots of my North Face family were there too, one of the sweetest people in the world, Lisa was there to encourage me and tell me my family was excited and ready to see me at Champe-Lac; it was all enormously encouraging but I still wanted to quit.

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Photo: Christophe Aubonnet

I couldn’t form the words, “I quit”, so I marched on; figured I would suffer and contemplate life just a little more. This next section of the course was one of the longest stretches of my life, to be honest it’s a little foggy; I was doubly blocking it out and also just bumbling around mumbling to myself. In the mist of my gloom I somehow rolled through Praz de Fort (117k 1151m) and was on my way through the mushroom forest trail climbing to Champex-Lac (122k 1477m), to see my crew and end the day and go home.

My blurry eyes could not focus much, I remember a TV crew following me up the climb and asking how I felt, I had other words to tell the camera but I responded with “I was crushed but enjoying the beauty”, I was mostly just crushed. Saying that out-loud hit a nerve and I finally hit the final wall. I made it maybe another kilometer before I rested my head against a tree and cried for a moment, my mind was shattered and my will broken. After a good moment with the tree I proceeded to laugh at my weak self and stumbled on.

I came upon some cows grazing in a field with the backdrop of glowing, newly sunrise lit mountains; three of the cows turned their heads and I believed to have asked me “what the hell was I doing”? I agreed, I did not know, but I sure as hell wasn’t quitting. I finished the climb and entered the aid station focusing on no one, but my loving wife.

I sat down to drink some random things and complain to her about my night. She listened and told me it wasn’t much farther. She suggested meeting up 10 miles down the road at the next crew point and I agreed. As we were restocking my pack and getting a seconds rest, my North Face teammate and friend Mike Foote entered the station looking tired from the night as well. I believe we were in 6th and 7th respectively and I was stoked to see a familiar face.

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Champex-Lac. Photo: Irunfar

I left the station a little early than him knowing the next section was flat and rolling before a steep climb up to Bovine 132k (1987m). I moved with purpose, knowing each minute was closer to finishing this exhausting task, I still doubted I would finish, but I was considering the notion; this was a good sign.

After the rolling section I retreated to power-hike mode and climbed one of the last three big climbs to Chamonix. Reaching the top I had the duty of navigating a handful of huge horned bull-like cows blocking the trail. I asked politely if they’d move, yelling and gingerly maneuvering around hoping to not get kicked, they obliged and let me through with Mike clipping at my heals and finally a vision of another runner 10 minutes in the distance.

We all moved at about the same speed to Trient 139k (1300m), not really getting glimpses of each other, but aware we were all close. At Trient aid station I believed to have seen a bunch of people but not really sure; I tried to move somewhat quick, drink kombucha, green tea and some coke. To my surprise Anton was in there sitting down, I encouraged him, but unfortunately his legs were more than bothersome at that time and he’d have to call it a day. Huge bummer as he was really having a strong race, I’m sure he’ll be back to finish what he started next year.

This next section I’ve run twice before and the last time being the Saturday before the race. I knew it well, was dreading the final climb and decent but excited to be so close to making the finish a reality. I said hi to my crew, got some updates of the leaders from my good buddy Martin Gaffuri and took off. The climb came quick and I powered up at a reasonable clip, Foote was catching up quick and by the top of Catogne (144k 2027m) he had caught up and we were able to chit-chat about our time in the mountains. It felt so good to run with someone.

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Velocrine. Photo: iRunFar

We talked some and also both mentioned there might not be much talking but a lot of grunting as we painfully started the long down hill into Vallocrine (149k 1260m), we laughed some too. I was enjoying running with someone, but as the real decent started and down was the only chance my calf felt good I decided to push the last few kilometers. I bounced down good and upon entering Vallorcine, Martin let me know I was only a few minutes back of Julien and 4th place. I ran through the aid making sure I had every last item needed and a good luck hug and kiss from my inspiration to finish, Krista and Tristan. I told them I would see them soon and took off like rocket, a slow broken rocket, but non-the-less moving.

I tried to move quick and block out the pain and as I came close to Col des Montets (153k 1451m) I saw Julien. Tired and not being able to say much, I said good job and kept running with anything I had left. It was getting warm out and there was one hard climb left. Knowing two really good climbers – Julien and Foote – were on my tail, I pushed the last climb up to La Tete aux Vent (157k 2130m) with all I had. I was completely in my own world and struggling with every step. I vaguely remember seeing Killian and Emilie again enjoying the sunshine and cheering for me to keep moving. It was good to see all the smiling faces, but the steep grunt took every last drop of courage left.

I reached La Flegere (160k 1860m) and only had 8k of decent to the finish. I painfully tumbled my way down just wishing and hoping for the end to be near. Finally popping out to the road I was cheered in by Guillaume filming the finish and enjoyed the last kilometer to relax and soak in the fact I was actually going to finish. I never thought I was going to accomplish this one, not for over half the race; I’ve never had so much doubt in myself as I struggled again and again to make peace with how the day was unfolding. I’m extremely happy to have finished, end up in 4th and overcome adversity to cross the line in beautiful Chamonix. It was a satisfying run to say the least and one amazing trip for my first time in Europe.

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Photo: iRunFar

I’m so grateful for all the love showered over me from family (Tristan, Krista, Debbie and Bob), friends (Martin and Anna), and everyone else cheering me on all day and night long. But more than anything, I’m grateful for the selfless love of my wife who spent our 5 year wedding anniversary crewing me all night, when she should have been taken out to a nice restaurant and given diamonds to let her know how much she means to me. Instead she spent the day and night sleep deprived, taking care of me and our son and smiling and loving being in the mountains and catching glimpses of me around the way. Thank you so much for all you are.

photo (3)Photo: iRunFar



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Photo: Fabrice Van De Cauter

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Posted in running, ultra, new year, | 76 Comments

Speedgoat 50k 2013

Speedgoat 50k

The Wasatch Mountains are breathtaking; in more ways than one. There is one point in the course, around mile 23 where you basically climb right up a dirt wall on your way to Mt Baldy, it was awesome! Climbing the wall I stopped to catch my breath and almost went tumbling backwards, all I could do was keep pushing despite my burning legs and lugs. These Mountains were so much fun, the more I run mountains the more I want to find more, good thing that’s what I’m off to do.

Start

Photo: Matt Trappe

The speed of the top men and women was amazing, I tried to stick with them boyz for a bit in the morning, but felt pretty blah for most the day. My legs were flat and not efficient on any climbs and the altitude was a huge sock to the gut. I’m looking forward to running this one again in the next years and having a solid effort.  Overall it was a great run with good people and some strong UTMB training as I prepare for our trip to Europe in just a few shorts weeks. I’m feeling good post-race thanks to Natura Health Products and ready to have some intense training sessions in the weeks ahead.

Sucking wind way too early in the race, I dropped from 5th to around 20th in the first 8.5 miles on our way to Hidden Peak. I was hoping to have a better push to the top, but after my legs and ego battled it out for a bit I came to the conclusion to let it rest and give the ego a proper bashing. It’s hard mentally to win a race a month ago and then in your next race, find yourself not in the mix. It’s just what I needed, a little humility to remember why I run and race and enjoy the moment no matter the circumstances.

Down climb

Photo: Matt Trappe

Reaching Hidden Peak, I had the pleasure of seeing my wife and many friends cheering me on. Also my amazing family, who rode the gondola up to cheer had drove all the way from Wisconsin to come see the race, crew and spend the next week with us as we’re still in Salt Lake for Outdoor Retail. I’ll be hanging out at the Injinji booth talking socks and doing a demo for The North Face on their new program called Mountain Athletics which is a plethora of intense exercises designed specifically for mountain running or other programs for your specific mountain endeavors.

Realizing it wasn’t my day, racing wise; I remained content in my beautiful surroundings and continued on. Karl zigged and zagged us all over the place. To be honest, I never really knew where I was on the course. One moment we would be running up a service road and next thing I knew the blue flags would lead on through the wilderness on a scavenger hunt to the next aid. It made for a fun day and I left with somewhat a better understanding of this part of the Wasatch Mountain range.

beauty

Photo: Matt Trappe

After the initial climb we went free falling down to Larry’s hole where he’s stuck for the better part of the year. ;-)  It was some good quad pounding before we hit the wild section of loose rock to the half-way point. I was feeling pretty smooth on this techy section until I got a little too confident and went flopping over my feet and into the rocks. I tucked and rolled pretty well with only a few scraps and was back on my way a little more conscious of each step.

My bread and butter is climbing, but not this past Saturday and definitely not a race when the half-point is 15.5 miles; my legs weren’t even oiled up yet till around 20 miles. I ran 30 miles up to Mt Ashland the prior Monday and felt much smoother, Saturday’s race altitude was crippling to me and even if I wanted to run faster my lungs wouldn’t let me breathe. Looks like I need to do more running at altitude, which means getting up to higher mountains; I’m thinking with our new vagabond lifestyle, the family and I will be checking out some high places.

The 2nd time through Larry’s Hole I was ready for some running/hiking! I started catching more and more people on and after the “dirt wall” and was finally getting into a groove.  I caught up to another fast runner right before the Tunnel Aid Station (mile23.5) and we bombed down the next section eventually crossing back over and to our final climb of the day.

It was another good grunt up to Hidden Peak for the last time. By now I had saw much of the area, with my breath taken away by 11k peaks and valleys of unending blue, purple and yellow wild flowers. It was a glorious day on the mountain and I’m happy to have completed such a burly 50k.

Tim Olson. Photo. Derrick lytle

Photo: Derrick Lytle

With 5 miles to go, I caught a few more and busted loose down the valley to the finish. I was hitting 5ish minute miles and impressed with my quads taking the pounding in stride.  Luke Nelson was just down the way a bit; I kept getting closer and then my shoe came untied. I laced up quick with a double not and just a mile down it came untied again, I laughed as I tried to find a mellower grade to stop and re-tie once more.

I caught up too Luke, looked behind to see if anyone was close and decided to enjoy the next little section with him as we buzzed a few switch backs and brought the race to a close together as we crossed under the Speedgoat arches. Karl high-fived us and we joined the others who had been patiently waiting to congratulate us. It was a fantastic day, just another day of running and living the good life.

Finish

Photo: Matt Trappe

After Outdoor Retailer our travels will take us onward. We’ll be heading to Europe for my first time seeing the Alps and Dolomites. I’ll spend some time with my wife running the UTMB course and enjoying the holiday as we discover new cultures and new friends. I can’t wait to see those mountains!

cheers

Products used before and after race

The North Face

Injinji

Smith Optics

Natura

Pre-race Breakfast

Race food

 

Tim Olson n Krista Photo. Derrick Lytle

Photo: Derrick Lytle

Top. Photo, Derrick Lytle

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The Next Chapter

Why do I love to run every day? It is relatively simple, I run for peace and joy and to be free. You can be free wherever you are; I always try to keep that in my heart. But sometimes it helps to rent out your house and hit the open road.

A couple weeks ago, I was running on my Ashland trails and passed the phrase “Let go” carved into a wall. I feel that was sound advice and sometimes you need to just let go, maybe have a few less possessions, less responsibilities, less money, less cares, giving you space to go deeper in yourself and to discover just a little bit more. I can do that through running but that doesn’t always include my family. My family means everything to me and so we’re exploring the opportunities of life together.

On our drive back from Western States two weeks ago, the idea formed. Three days later my wife gave notice at work. The next day we put our home up for rent on craigslist. Within hours we connected with an awesome ultrarunner moving to Ashland who is now taking good care of our home! Since then we have spent every last minute packing up our home, many a car load to goodwill, several bags of extra running clothes accumulated over the years to a local cross country team, de-cluttering our house and life as we begin the next chapter.

photo (72)

Checking out our trusty The North Face tent!

We are looking forward to camping and being in the silence and sounds of nature. Waking up when the sun shines and going to bed more on Tristan’s schedule or when the sun goes down. A little less TV, a few more books. Some good conversations. Contemplation. Watching my boy grow who is soon going to be a year old and learning from him; living simple and enjoying each moment. Lots of time on the trails – solo long runs, mountain hikes with Tristan on my back, and a sprinkle of family running with all three of us and the BOB stroller to balance it all out.

photo (71)

Ashland is our home and community filled with good friends and my backyard trails. It will be our home base between our travels but it is always fun to explore other places. We’re not sure where this might take us. I have plenty of races and travels to keep us busy over the next months. In between travels, we will be winging it, camping, with everything we need in our car, allowing us to visit towns, trails, and friends all over.

So as we hit the open road, energy courses through me. I’m not sure what is to come but I have my family by my side so life can only get better.

I look forward to meeting old and new friends along the way – maybe I’ll see you out there.

Cheers,
Timothy

“Oh, the places you’ll go…
You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So… get on your way!”
― Dr. Seuss

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2013 Western States Video

I am super stoked to share this video of Western States 2013. My amazing Parent in-laws filmed and edited, spending many hours! Bob spent all day filming at Western, getting the perfect shots before, during and after. Debbie spent countless nights editing and putting this together. I’m blessed to have such a loving and caring family who enjoys the sport just as much as I do. Thank you both for all you do, I’m beyond grateful!

I hope you all enjoy the video!

cheers!

Tim Olson WS100 Win 2013 from Timothy Olson on YouTube.

Tim Olson WS100 Win 2013 from Timothy Olson on Vimeo.

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