serious running: trail running, races, shoe reviews
 

Posts Tagged ‘ultramarathon’

Destin Beach 50k and 50 mile Ultramarathon Race Recap Part 3

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

This is the last installment of Sean Run Bum Blanton’s race recap of the Destin Beach 50k and 50 mile ultramarthon.  Will he make it?  Build up the suspense, start at the beginning with Part 1.

destin-beach-50-mile-ultramarathonWe passed some more race people checking our numbers and I saw one drinking a beer.  My eyes lit up.  I asked the guy if I could grab a beer.  He looked puzzled and laughed.  I told him I was serious and he tossed me an ice cold beer.  I chugged it.  Beer has never tasted so good.  I later motioned for a toss from some Frisbee players.  The guy overthrew me by 10 feet so I went into the ocean to retrieve it.  The ocean was like Andre 3000, ice cold.

The next aid station was at mile 36.  It was a restaurant that I was told we could order anything we wanted.  I had in my mind from the beginning of the race that I wanted oysters so I came into the aid station screaming, “Oysters, Oysters, I need half a dozen on the half shell!”  Apparently this wasn’t a normal request because the aid station workers were laughing at me and I had to go speak with the owner about my special order.  He said he’d have them ready when I came back around after the turn, at mile 42.

Those next 2 miles to the turn around point were tough.  I saw some ladies playing beach volleyball, baywatch style.  My jaw dropped and my head moved; then my whole body dropped.  I stepped in a hole that some kid had dug, probably attempting to reach China.  Splat.  Right in front of the girls.  Smooth.  I walked it off like nothing happened.  I made the turn, passed the girls again, and reached my oyster eating aid station.  I threw down the sweet ocean goodness in no time and took off for the final 8 miles.

I decided to cut all my food and just hammer water for the last 8 miles of the race.  I don’t recommend anyone else doing this, it’s a gamble.  With about 3 miles to go I saw a familiar face, my boy Wayne D, aka LIL WEEZY.  He was shouting, “Blanton, Blanton pick it up!”  He really got my spirits up and told me to try to catch the guy in front of me to finish 3rd.  At this point I was more concerned about conserving my body, I still had to run a road marathon in 16 hours!

I closed a mile gap into 400m gap with 800m left to go in the race, but decided to slow it down and ease into the finish, I was here to complete the race, not race it.  I moved off of the hard sand onto the soft sand to finish line where I was greeted with a sweet custom finishers medal.  Final time:  8 hours, 32 minutes in 4th place overall!

I pounded some food and treated myself to an amazing post race massage.  I now stood in the wake of determination.  Or rather the wake of 50 miles, 3 beers, 6 oysters on the half shell, and a whole heck of a lot of fun.  Sun kissed and forever changed.  Humbled, yet happy.  I had found one hell of a good time and I will definitely be back again for more fun in the sun, only next year I’m going to make sure I don’t forget my sunblock!

Now you’ve read about it, watch it.  The book is always better than the movie…

Destin Beach 50k and 50 mile Ultramarathon Race Recap Part 2

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

This is a continued race recap Sean Run Bum Blanton’s Destin Beach 50k and 50 mile ultramarthon:

Check our Part 1 if you missed it.

destin-beach-50k-ultramarathonWhen the sun was rising and pushing me forward I was at mile 10.  I was in about 13th or 14th place and all of a sudden a guy comes rocking past me going the other way.  I said, “Hey, great job man, keep it up!”  He had his head down and was in the zone.  Too far in the zone to respond.  As I grew closer to the turn around I saw more runners coming the other way.  My smile elicited high fives.  The bond you share with people on ultramarthons is almost as epic as the race itself.  It was like we were all in the same Platoon, fighting the same way, enduring the same hardships together.

At the turn around I could see the the high rise hotels at Destin Beach way away.  They looked close but I knew from earlier in the race, objects appear closer than they really are!  I thought it must be 15 or 20 miles away.  Then I thought for a second, no, it was exactly 25 miles away!  The exact distance I still had to run!  The sight made my stomach sink.  Like opening the mail box expecting to see your new iPod but instead you see a jury duty summons.

I was running the same 15 miles now I had just covered; however, everything looked different because it was daylight.  Running through Grayton Beach I encountered what appeared to be “THE RED TIDE.”  Thank god I thought.  Being the terrible fisherman that I am, the fish would to flock to me and boom, free sushi!  Well, not so much.  It was just where the swamp water cut its path through the dunes and sand as it makes its escape to the ocean.  Brackish water its called.  The mix of fresh and salt water.  See, you learn something everyday.  Frankly though, it looked like blood.  Like some one had stabbed the earth and she was bleeding.  There were about 5 of these along the course.  I saw other runners tip toeing and trying to not get their feet wet.  I pushed right through them, not breaking stride; not only was I too tired to expend energy running around them, but my neoprene socks were working like a charm!

As I was chowing down on some Chia Chargers around mile 25, a guy passed me running with his dog.  No way!  Well, I guess the dog does have 4 legs to run on.  It didn’t matter though, I went from walk to Chuck Norris speed in the blink of an eye.  That’s right, faster than you can say delta force!  I paced off this guy for about 2 miles before he turned around.  I guess he wasn’t part of the race…

Less than a mile away from the resort I could see the tents at the start/finish.  I hurdled a dead jellyfish and downed the last of my water.  I was in 5th place.  I had a huge smile on my face and said to the race director, “Man, this is a great race.  I love it!”  He laughed and said tell me that again in 20 miles.  I laughed and got a nice picture taken.  I took off but soon realized I had forgotten my drop bag of goodies.  Oops!  I lost about 2 minutes going back to get it.  But worse yet, I forgot to put on my sunblock!  If you’ve ever seen me before you know that I’m part albino, part Irish.

I took off screaming and running with new confidence.  I had finished 30 miles and I hadn’t even started to tap the tank.  People along the beach just looked on most likely wondering, “What the hell is this pale weirdo doing?  Oh, he must be drunk.  Oh well.  Honey, shield the kids’ eyes.”  The first 30 miles were secluded beaches, the last 20 miles I was face to face with people enjoying the beach.  If I wasn’t a run bum, I’d be a beach bum.  The next 8 miles would be spent running with some good buddies I met, the couple from Vermont, Serena Wilcox and Patrick, I believe….Read Part 3.

Destin Beach 50k and 50 mile Ultramarathon Race Recap Part 1

Monday, March 7th, 2011

This is an entry from my friend Sean who owns RunBum.com.  He calls himself Run Bum because that’s what he does.  He travels the world, bumming lodging, food, and race entries in exotic locales.  His latest expedition took him to exotic Destin Beach, Florida to run the Destin 50 Beach Ultra.  Here’s what he had to say:

destin-50-beach-ultraAs a runner who loves to run as many races as I can and who loves adventure and new challenges, I stood under the full moon that reflected across the water onto the beach.  It was just moments before the Destin Beach 50 Mile Ultra Marathon and I was about to encounter a race like no other I had run before, 50 miles of sand.  The race had caught my eye months ago.  It sounded like hell, and it sounded like something I wanted to be a part of.  That’s what being a Run Bum is all about, I find delight in the unknown.  Where my comfort zone ends is where I have found the most joy in my life.

My game plan for this race was to run a smart race and really save myself for the marathon I was going to run the next day.  I also put on some neoprene socks, no telling what running in the sand for 50 miles would do.  I also knew that I wanted to run close to the water where the sand was the hardest.  Another fear was the extreme slant of the beach.  The beach we were running on has about 50 feet of soft sand and then hits a big slope down to the waters edge for any where from 2-8 feet depending on the tide.

It was 5 am when the race started.  Surrounded by darkness that was illuminated by the moon, I started running.  I started my easy jog and then walk from the get go.  I knew I wasn’t in shape to run 50 miles non stop that day.  I didn’t have to use my headlamp because the moon was so bright.  About 20 people took off in front of me and another 20 behind me.  I was amazed by the sheer beautify of the race.  Here’s what my camera captured that morning:

I was surrounded by ocean and sand; massive dunes lined the shore, not houses. I would run toward scattering crabs, shine my light toward movement just a couple of feet ahead to see a group of birds scatter out of the ocean. It was like an explosion of nature. I was running directly at the sunrise, but the moon was still shinning bright enough to give you a sunburn. It was almost like they were competing, but we all knew the sun would eventually win this battle.  The air was a perfect temperature, 60 degrees with a light breeze. The air had a hint of ocean saltiness. It was the prefect moment to be running…Read Part 2!

Running on Faith Book Review

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

jason-lester-running-on-faithI was sent the book Running on Faith, written by Jason Lester and Tim Vandehey, so I gave it a read.  It’s a good book whether you are a trail runner, road runner, or participate in triathlons, it is always motivating to read a story of someone who has overcome worldly obstacles to reach their fitness goals.  We all push our bodies and minds, but sometimes you want to quit.  You won’t want to quit again after reading this book.  As I sat in jury duty I got so inspired reading this book that I went on a quick run during our hour break.  Maybe the fact that I was dripping in sweat was the reason I wasn’t selected to be on the jury….

Jason Lester is a physically challenged extreme athlete.  When he was twelve years old, a speeding car ran a red light, sending him into the hospital with twenty broken bones and paralyzed arm.  Jason and his father had always planned on him becoming a professional baseball player, now that dream was gone.  But Jason refused to let his injury impede his goal of becoming a professional athlete.  He went through more trials and tribulations in his life and always found solace in sports.  He began running and participating in duathlons in High School.  After college he moved to Los Angeles and fell into the typical partying Hollywood lifestyle.

After more negative life experiences, Jason started decided to start training for the Ironman in 2004, and has since competed in numerous extreme races.  In 2008, Jason became the first disabled athlete to complete the Ultraman (320 miles of biking, swimming, and running), and in 2009, he won an ESPY award for Best Disabled Male Athlete.  He is the founder of the Never Stop Foundation, and organization dedicated to bettering the lives of children and adults through athletics.

One thing interesting about Jason is that he calls his condo “the lab” and gives instructions on how to build your own lab.  The lab is your custom-created training environment.  It’s your lifestyle while training.  However, Jason takes this to the extreme, putting his complete focus, twenty-four hours a day on getting himself physically and mentally ready for the race.  He says, “it’s the environment where your needs come first.”  At some points in the book I felt that Jason sounded a bit selfish in his training; only participating in activities and hanging out with people who were helping him achieve his goal.  He even admits he missed out on time he could have spent with his daughter instead of training.  Training can become addictive.

I think we all need to keep focus on our work-life-training balance.  While most of us don’t need this type of intensity in training to achieve our race goals, the idea is the same, you do have to give up some things in order to be successful, but don’t let your goals get in the way of helping others.  While Jason is very appreciative of all the people who helped him during his journey, he may have missed out on helping those who needed him during that time.  Other than being an inspiring and exciting story, I think the book is really about helping others being like giving to God.

Maybe Running on Faith will inspire you to do something great, like helping others.  There is a study guide for you to share the story with your groups for discussion.  If you want to be inspired for your race goals there are some helpful appendices to help in your training for how to cook tasty organic food and a sample training schedule.  Overall, good book to get you inspired for your next endurance goal.

Leadville Trail 100 Race Experience

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Ultra runner Hawaiian Shirt Ray shared his experiences with us about the Leadville Trail 100 Training Camp about a month ago and now he’s here to tell us about his race.  Check out his awesome website helping ordinary people do extraordinary things.

hawaiian-shirt-ray-leadville-trail-100-11Raising the Bar

Its Hawaiian Shirt Ray again and I am “fresh” off running the Leadville Trail 100 for a third year in a row.  I would like to share my experience running the race, but I am not going to bore you with a play-by-play of running aid station to aid station. I would like to share my experiences during the race and my previous races and hopefully be able to inspire you to dig deep when you are in a race and things are not going as planned, and help you realize; as Ken Chlouber (President of the Leadville Trail 100) says, “you are better than you think you are and can do more than you think you can.”  For me this was my third time running Leadville Trail 100 and I decided to raise the bar a bit higher than just to finish in under the 30 hour cutoff; I set my goal to run the Leadville Trail 100 in under 25 hours!

The Leadville Trail 100 is Bigger than Just Me

This race is bigger than just me.  It is a combination of all my friends and family who helped me get to the starting line.  This includes all the outings I missed because of a racing or training, having my friends take care of my great dog Simon and them have to rearrange their schedules around me. I think you get the point; training and racing takes a toll on our loved ones and without their understanding and constant support it would make it impossible for me to run the Leadville Trail 100.  So when I am running the race I keep this in mind.  If I quit I am failing all of those who helped me get to the starting line.  Sure, if I quit my friends would tell me that they were proud of how far I gone, and say something to the effect of “I would never be able to do what you have done”, blah, blah, blah; but for me the reality is that I failed all of them.

My Great Crew

My attempt at running the Leadville trail 100 in under 25 hours would have been impossible without my great crew. Being part of the crew is not an easy thing.  There is a lot of waiting around, planning, and preparation. For my first Leadville Trail 100 in 2008, it rained, hailed, sleeted, and snowed for 28 of the 30 hours of the race.  Talk about being miserable for the crew. For the third year in a row my sister Laura was my crew chief and a pacer.  After last year she looked me in the eyes and said that she will never do this again.  The next day she said she was sorry and would do it again.  For the crew it is just like running an ultra; it is a long day, none stop, and exhausting.  As a runner we cross the finish line and say “never again”.   Then the pain goes away and we sign up for our next event.  It is pretty much the same for the crews.
Also in my crew was Rick Mann.  He crewed with my sister for the entire race and was always upbeat and positive when I came through the aid stations.  My other pacers were Lina Kelso: paced from Winfield to Twin Lakes (miles 50 to 60.5), David Besnette: paced from Twin Lakes to the Fish Hatchery (miles 60.5 to 76.5), and Neeraj Engineer: paced from the Fish Hatchery around Turquoise Lake (miles 76.5 to about 93).

hawaiian-shirt-ray-leadville-trail-100-2Talking with my sister after the race she told me how nervous my crew was not to let me down, and that they hoped that they would really be able to help me with my goal.  She also told me about how excited they were to be part of the Leadville Trail 100.  Hearing this made me feel good because here are my friends sacrificing their weekend for my goal.  My hat is off to everyone on my crew, thank you so much!

My Goal of 100 miles in less than 25 Hours

The Leadville Trail 100 has a 30 hour cut off to finish and all the runners who finish in less than 30 hours receives an “Under 30 Hours” belt buckle.  For those runners who can finish the race in less than 25 hours, they receive a much larger “Under 25 Hours” belt buckle.  Well, after running the race for the last two years I wanted the big buckle.  You should know that my times for the last two years were: 29 hours 44 minutes 6 seconds, and 29 hour 12 minutes 26 seconds.  So I had to shave a mere 4 plus hours off my best time.

There is usually around a 55 percent attrition rate which means when you are at the start of the race looking at all the other runners; more than half of them will never see the finish line.  If you do not have the mindset that you are not going to be one of “them,” you will become one of “them.”  Standing at the starting line of the Leadville Trail 100 you must know that you are going to do whatever it takes to keep moving and get across the finish line.  You have to be prepared to dig deeper than ever before and keep my mantra of “you gotta keep moving,” running through your head.  I knew I was not going to be one of “them.”  I trained hard, had the best season of my life, and I was going to put it all out on the line to get that “Under 25 Hours” buckle!

Digging Deeper than I ever Have Before

To accomplish my sub 25 hour goal I had planned all my splits between aid stations which put me across the finish line in 24 hours 55 minutes.  This really did not leave me any breathing room, but it was the reality of getting the big buckle.  I have trained on the course many times this year and I was secretly hoping that I would actually run a bit faster than my splits and start “banking” some time.  I’m not talking a lot, but just a few minutes here and there.  The splits made the race different than my last two finishes since before my goal was to just finish.  In my previous two finishes there would be sections of “why bother running this, I have 30 hours.”  Well I did not have that luxury this year and I had to run sections of the race that I never have run in the past.

My splits kept me honest and made me start digging deep early in the race.  By the time I made it to the 50 mile turn-around at Winfield I had 20 minutes in the bank.  I left Winfield feeling pretty good about where I was at time-wise and the three mile stretch to the Sheep Gulch Trailhead went good.  Then I started the climb back up and over Hope Pass and my legs had nothing in them.  I hit my lowest point of my race climbing back up over Hope Pass and it took everything I had to make it to the Hopeless aid station on the other side of Hope Pass.  I sat at the aid station while Lina tried her best to get me moving again.  I had to regroup and get some food in me.  It was so hard for me to stand up and leave that aid station and I had to dig deep to keep moving.  Once I started headed downhill my legs loosened up and I was able to run again and I was on fire all the way back to Twin Lakes.

Unfortunately the time I had in the bank was now down to two minutes.  My secret desire of banking time and not having to push from aid station to aid station was gone.  If I wanted that buckle I would have to push through to the next aid station, and then the next and the next.  I kept pushing and digging deep and when I finally got to the May Queen Aid Station (the final aid station) at mile 86.5 I had 3 hours 4 minutes and 4 seconds to get to the finish line in less than 25 hours.  Here is the kicker, the last two years through this 13.5 mile section my times were: 4 hours 1 minute, and 3 hours 42 minutes.hawaiian-shirt-ray-leadville-trail-100-3

I left the May Queen Aid Station running.  I mean running!  Neeraj was pacing me and could not believe the effort I was giving especially after running 86.5 miles.  I knew that I had to give it all I had; I mean EVERYTHING!  I ran that last 13.5 miles faster than I ever have before.  I did it in 3 hours 10 minutes.  Do the math, I did not make sub 25 hours.

The Finish was in Sight

I pushed that last section so hard and left nothing on the trail.  I even dropped my pacer when with about 25 minutes left I picked up the pace.  It hurt so bad to be running that last section into town which is all up hill.  I could see the finish line when 25 hours expired, but I kept running all the way in.  I was going to give it my all and I did!  Although I missed my goal words can’t describe how great I feel about my 25 hour 7 minute 29 second finish.  I can’t look back at any part of the race and say “if only I pushed harder”.  I pushed the entire race.  I guess the point of all off this is that in life if you are true to yourself and give whatever goal you are working toward your all, I mean really your all, everything; although you may walk away short you can still stand tall and be proud of what you have accomplished.  You must also learn and grow from your experience and become a better person for it.

hawaiian-shirt-ray-leadville-trail-100-41

Celebrate National Trail Running Day at Where’s Waldo 100K Ultramarathon

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

How are you going to celebrate National Trail Running Day this Saturday, August 21st?  One way could be to run an ultra.  What, you haven’t trained?  Well, if you don’t want to run an ultra then maybe you should try being a spectator at one.

wheres-waldo-100k-ultra-trail-running-raceA good ultramarathon is the Where’s Waldo 100k which is set to have a loaded field this weekend.  The men’s lineup includes Colorado’s Scott Jaime and 2009 Montrail Ultra Cup winner Victor Ballesteros; women’s race features Big Horn 100 winner Ashley Nordell and 2010 Montrail Ultra Cup Champion Meghan Arbogast, both of Oregon.

Some of the nation’s fastest ultrarunners are headed to Willamette Pass Ski Area on Saturday, Aug. 21, 2010, for Where’s Waldo 100k, a challenging 62-mile race that takes place mostly on single-track trails southeast of Eugene, Ore. The event kicks off the 2010-2011 Montrail Ultra Cup race series, and the top two male and female finishers will earn automatic entry spots into the 2011 Western States 100.

“We have a great field of runners, hailing from the Northwest and beyond,” said co-founder and co-race director Craig Thornley, “The race continues to draw both competitive athletes and recreational ultrarunners, not to mention a dedicated army of 150 volunteers who help make the event a reality.”

Now in its ninth year, Where’s Waldo is a fundraiser for the Willamette Pass Ski Patrol and is named after nearby Waldo Lake and the ski run that shares its name. The race is funded in part with room tax funds from the city of Oakridge, Oakridge/Westfir Area Chamber of Commerce and Lane County. Race sponsor Sunsweet Growers is providing 100 percent of the prize money, which is awarded to first and second place finishers in the open and masters categories. The first place male and female finishers will each earn $500.

All told, 125 runners will toe the line starting at 5 a.m. (3 a.m. for early starters) at Willamette Pass. Their journey will take them over three major climbs of more than 2,000 feet each for a total of 11,000 feet of elevation gain and an equal amount of loss.

This year’s men’s field features Scott Jaime, 40, winner of this year’s Zane Grey 50 mile race and Pocatello 50 mile race; Victor Ballesteros, 40, winner of the 2009 Montrail Ultra Cup; Aaron Heidt, 34, 2009 Chuckanut 50k champion; Mark Lantz, 45, 2009 Where’s Waldo masters winner; and Dan Olmstead, 38, winner of the 2008 MacDonald Forest 50k. John Robertson, 36, a 13-time Ironman finisher, will also be taking on the challenge.

The women’s race includes Ashley Nordell, 30, winner of this year’s Big Horn 100; Meghan Arbogast, 2010 Montrail Ultra Cup champion and recent White River 50 winner; Jenny Capel, 2009 Montrail Ultra Cup winner; and Amy Sproston, 2010 S.O.B. 50k winner.

The Where’s Waldo 100K Ultramarathon is a challenging 100K loop-type course starting at Willamette Pass Ski Area (70 miles east of Eugene, Oregon) at elevation 5,120 feet, climbing up several mountains including Fuji, The Twins, and Maiden Peak before returning to the ski area. The route is 97% single-track trails with some fairly remote sections and has many incredible views of pristine Waldo Lake.

Check it out and watch some serious trail running on National Trail Running Day!  What a great way to celebrate!

What makes Dean Karnazas a Trail Runner

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

dean-karnazas-trail-running

Since our transition at SeriousRunning.com to provide information on everything trail running, we decided it was time to revisit one of our inspirations, Dean Karnazas, by watching the movie, Ultramarathon Man.  After watching the movie I began to think about what makes Dean Karnazas tick.  I noticed that the movie speaks a lot to Dean’s personality and not just his running prowess.  In case you didn’t already know, Dean Karnazas started his amazing long distance running career by running an impromptu run on his 30th birthday, for 30 miles.  He hasn’t always been the ultramarthon man, but he may have had the right personality for those long runs.  So what makes Dean Karnazas want to be a trail runner?

In the movie Dean Karnazas mentions that after taking the Miles Briggs personality test he realized how much of an introvert he really is.  You would never be able to tell with all of the appearances, movies, and blogs that he does.  Dean admits that he does all of these appearances and meet and greets not because he enjoys them, but because it allows him to do his passion for a job; long distance running.

So what makes trail runners like Dean Karnazas really tick?  Well, running in general is an individual sport and trail running seems to be an even more individual sport than road running.  Rarely do you ever see a group of more than two trail runners on the trail; however, there are thousands of road running clubs and group runs across the nation.  Although roads are more abundant and are wider than singletrack trails, I believe that the reason trail runners don’t often run in groups is because trail runners are typically more of introverts than most road runners and enjoy the individualism of the trail.

2

Trail Runners often point to the commune with nature as a reason for trail running.  In order to obtain the Runner’s High from surrounding nature you must be aware of your environment, which is difficult to do when you are running with others.  Trail runners are more about the experience of the run, not necessarily their distance, time, or calories burned.  They are often pursuing the intrinsic feeling they get from being one with the environment and their run, not setting a new PR.

Although all types of runners have similar personalities, trail runners seem to be a bread of their own, much like Dean Karnazas is.  Dean says, “When you stop moving forward you stagnate and die.”  We’ll keep running trails and improving SeriousRunning.com.  Domi Arigato Dean.

If you are new to trail running and want to try a trail run by yourself, please take the necessary precautions to avoid any dangerous situations.  Here are some tips on avoiding dehydration, avoiding injuries, or finding your way back if you become lost while trail running.  Happy Trails!