Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Promise Land 50K 2009 Race Report

As I was driving to Promise Land Friday afternoon I pondered how far I had come in a short period of time. One year prior I had only one ultra under my belt (2008 Holiday Lake) and was really wondering if I would be able to make the cutoff time and finish. The elevation profile had scared me and I had contemplated not running the race for fear of failure. Now I was not thinking about finishing, but how much time I could shave off last years time. My only concern was the weather forecast, HOT HOT and more HOT.

I pulled into the camp around six and set up my tent at the bottom of the field by the stream. What a great spot to camp. I went to check in, got some pizza, and talked to some friends that I have not seen since past races. After the pre-race brief I crawled into my tent, made final preparations for the morning, set my alarm, and was off to sleep. I slept pretty well and was up before the alarm went off at 4:40. I walked to the start while eating pop tarts and drinking mountain dew, ready for this adventure to begin.

We sang the national anthem and were off. I forgot how steep the road section was and after a mile or so was walking with a pack of runners. As we reached the first aid station and hit the trail I was warmed up and ready to go. I remember running a great deal more of this section than last year. I hit the turn at the top of the mountain in 1:06 and was off down the hill. I ran pretty hard on this section, including running some of the moderate hills. I heard the water rushing below and knew that I was near needed aid. I had only brought one bottle on the course and wished I had two as I found the bottle dry numerous times during the day.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Week of Running April 13 - 19 - pre Promise Land 50K

Back on track! I ran 65 miles this week, including a tempo interval session and a interval speed session. The highlight of my training was a  great 23 mile run at First Landing State park. It was a great day to run and I put forth a worthy effort, taking a few short walk breaks not because I had to, but to ensure I slowed down and not burn my legs out one week before a race. My original plan was 80 miles this week, but sometimes commitments get in the way of training. Not hitting my mile goal was not because I was tired.

Next Saturday I will compete in the Promise Land 50k. I have run 4 different ultras (5 total) in my short career, but regard this one as a favorite, maybe only second to Masochist. Here are some reasons for running promise land:
  • Location - Everyone camps in a big field at a youth camp - with a bond fire Friday night who could ask for anything better
  • Food -  Runners pitch in for Pizza Friday Night and Race Director David Horton and his family put on a huge cookout after the finish (fruit salad, burger and hotdogs with Mountain Dew!)
  • Terrain - Nice mix of it here - a little dirt road running, a lot of grassy fire road running, some single track, and of course some river crossings
  • Elevation - Tons of climb and descent - better warn your quads they are in for a nasty day
  • Scenery - Good all around, apple orchard falls is as beautiful as the trail is steep
  • Ending - A 2 mile run down the steepest gravel road you will ever encounter (you run up this bad boy to start the race)

  • Weekly Mileage: 65
  • Month To Date: 125
  • 3 week average: 52

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Week Of Running April 6 - 12 2009

Tired week....  I had 2 exams this week and was up late studying most nights. This left me tired and not mentally or physically prepaired to run like I wanted too. This was all topped off on Saturday when I slept through my alarm and managed a meager 13 miles at First Landing before running out of time. The first 5 was horrible as I walked a bunch. I had some caffeine and felt much better and ran pretty hard the last 8 back to the car. At least I salvaged it a little bit.

Speaking of caffeine, there was an interesting article in the New York Times about its performance enhancing abilities. I have been tracking my caffeine input prior to some key workouts (long runs, tempo intervals, and speed intervals) to determine how it effects my pace and level of effort. I have also been tracking the weather, time of day, and monitoring my heart during the interval workouts. I have turned my training into a science report. Once I gather some data I will discuss how caffeine MAY effect my performance and level of effort.


  • Weekly Mileage: 46

  • Month To Date: 60

  • 3 week average: 45

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Montrail Claims Prestigious Awards

Montrail has just received two highly coveted awards from prominent outdoor publications. The Mountain Masochist shoe has received Gear of the Year Award from Outside magazine in the trail running category, and the Hardrock 09 was given the Best Run/Hike Crossover in Backpacker’s annual Gear Guide. Here is a link to the press release.

As you may know Montrail was purchased by Columbia. There has been a lot written and commented about how Columbia has ruined the Montrail brand of shoes. After testing the Hardrocks and looking at the new Mountain Masochist along wiht the above stated awards Montrail has addressed these concerns. I believe that Columbia has brought Montrail into the present with well designed shoes that meet the needs of the average trail runner. Once again this is my opinion and time will tell if I am correct. I believe that a large company like Columbia understands marketing and competition very well and based on competion from companies including Inov-8, Pearl Izuma, and Stumptown, has made the necessary changes to stay relevent and hold market share. I know that the trail runner does not care about market share, but a good product will lead to higher market share, especially in this market. I have no brand loyality when it comes to shoes, if It feels good I wear it. Most of us probalby feel the same way. So do not judge Montrail until you check out the new line of shoes and give them a try.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Week of Running March 30 - April 5 2009

Disappointing Lazy Slacker Tired Injured Un-Motivated - These words and more can all be used to describe this week of running. First off I was really hoping to just run an easy 40 miles this week. It had been a planned easy week to allow my body to recover some before I make the final push to MMT. I should be fully recovered after this week where I ran a total of 17 miles and walked 1 mile. 4 of those miles were very slow recovery runs early in the week. Then I just bonked and did not run for 3 days in a row. I have not taken 3 days off since after Mountain Masochist last November. The rest of the miles were done on a spirited 12 miler Sunday afternoon. I ran hard in the middle 10 miles and was pretty sore the next day.

The race is now less than 6 weeks away and I have 4 big mile weeks planned up until the taper 2 weeks out. Wish me luck, not only in running but getting my mind wrapped around training and the challenge of mmt.


  • Weekly Mileage: 18

  • Month To Date: 14

  • 3 week average: 51

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Week of Running March 23 - 29 2009

We are now less than 7 weeks away from MMT and I am excited. Running has been great and this week was highlited by a 38+ mile run on the MMT course on Saturday. I also enjoyed a great hike on Sunday in Shenandoah National Park with my friends. I covered around 70 miles this week, the most miles I have run any week except for Laurel Highlands Week last year. My foot was sore after the run and hike, but it is now feeling better. I wore the new Montrail 09 Hardrock for the run and they worked out great. I will be posting a full review on this shoe soon.

  • Weekly Mileage: 70

  • Month To Date: ~250

  • 3 week average: 49