Monday, July 29, 2013

Noolies, new shoes, and an update from the woods

Since moving to Bradbury Mountain State Park for the summer I've gotten some great runs in. I've also made some incredible memories, both on and off the trails. A few weeks ago though, I got my butt kicked by a tick and had to reshape my training around some serious joint pain thats slowed me down to permanent late stage ultra-pace.

Since the last post my long runs have been 4-5 hour exercises in patience. I've had to walk/hike at least a quarter of the time and could barely manage 13:00 minute miles when I was able to run. Still, I figured it was better than sitting in my camp chair reading Trail Runner. I'm happy to say that I got in 17 miles of pure running yesterday afternoon and am starting to feel like my old self again. I've got a birthday 50k planned for next week and the forced slow-down led me to reevaluate my race plans for 2013. I've got something exciting to add to my calendar and I'll post the details later this week. In the meantime, here are some quick highlights from the past couple of weeks at the 'Brad.

1. Noolies- On the fourth of July I ran twenty miles from my campsite to Portland to visit Jes. It was a crazy hot day and I wrapped a bandana soaked in cold water around my neck to stay cool. Later that evening Jes and I started talking about ways to keep core temperature down during long runs and she had an amazing idea. Being the awesome, fire breathing, go-getting lady that she is Jes put this idea into action and Noolies-"Coolies for your Neck" were born. Jes has been working hard to get these fun and innovative bandanas on the market. They have sewn in pockets for ice and are just an awesome addition to anyone's gear box. As a runner I'm really excited to see this happening. They're incredibly effective and the prototype model has helped me through several hot long runs. The ice cubes stay cold and solid for a long time and when they melt, they send a cold stream of water through the bandana and onto your neck. Just awesome. As her partner I'm so proud and impressed with what she's done. Check them out at and order a Noolie asap!
Noolies prototype

2. Perspective-While on one of my slow-mo jaunts around Bradbury over the past month I had a sudden realization. And a renewed sense of perspective. I was running at a painfully slow pace around the Island Loop trail and, in the midst of self-pity and frustration, I realized how much worse things could be. And how lucky I was. I spent several week over the course of the winter on crutches and would have killed to be able to run a mile on these trails. With Lyme disease, the suspected diagnosis surrounding my symptoms, being such a sketchy devil I could have been immobilized and in a hospital bed right now. Instead, I was able to run for twenty miles at a time, albeit at a slower pace than I would have liked, and that was something to be truly grateful for.

Roclite 315's straight out of the box
3. Last remaining pair of Roclite 315's on the planet-I've been scouring the web for a over a month, trying to locate my favorite pair of running shoes. The Inov-8 Roclite 315's served me more than well for my first 50 and 100 mile races and hundreds of trail miles in between. After a tireless search I found them in my size at a Peter Glenn Sport and Ski, in Florida. Score! (I wish that I could still buy them directly from my friend Ian instead of shopping online and ordering from Florida but unfortunately, that's not the case.) My first run in them reminded me of what an exceptional shoe they are-and how well they're going to perform at my new goal race of 2013. Again, stay tuned for details...

4. Running with Rob-I had a chance to run with a pretty incredible dude yesterday. Most people who run ultra-marathons are some kind of incredible anyway, and I feel very fortunate to be in such amazing company. But, this guy was on another plain entirely and I wanted to share the experience. Rob is my friend Nancy's son who lives out in Moab, UT. A few months ago Nancy mentioned that Rob was running his first 100 miler, the notorious Wasatch Front, in September, She also mentioned that he would be in town for a week in July and that we should run together. I was disappointed to find out that his visit coincided with my illness from last months tick bite and the joint pain that left me running in slow motion, but I was excited to meet the guy. I didn't plan for us to run together for fear of holding him back but we set up a time to meet and talk ultra's. That time came yesterday afternoon when Rob showed up at my site around 1pm. An exceptionally nice guy with a midwest mellowness, Rob emerged from a van with Alaska plates. He was a little sweaty, and clued me in to the fact that he'd run 17 miles already this morning. It turns out that he hooked up with the Trail Monster crew on the Saturday group run and had been running ever since. I explained my situation and he still seemed willing to hit the trails together, slow motion miles or not. With the understanding that he had license to leave me behind in order to get a good training run in we headed straight up the summit trail and into a truly fun run where I got to know a little bit him. It turns out that Rob is a mountain guide and spends a lot of his time taking clients up to the highest heights that they're willing and able to scale. Aside from designing courses for adventure races and collaborating with Montrail on some new racing vests/hydration packs, he apparently spends the rest of his time running trails. Without a trace of ego he told me about 40, 50, and 60+ mile mountain runs that he's done, all of which led him to the line of his first 100 miler in a few weeks.  We ran into my friend Jordan mid run, who, like a true bad-ass, promptly turned around and ran back the way that he'd come to share a few miles with us. We ended up out on the power lines with the Pineland Farms trails in sight but were met with an electric fence at the second of two major road crossings. This forced us to turn around or bushwack even further into the woods. With Jordan needing to get back and a good hour of running between us and the park we filed bottles at an abandoned house with a hose and moved on. It was great to see J and talk details about a planned Pemi Loop and a trek across the Wapack and Back course planned for early fall. Always great to share the trails with Jordan and looking forward to some serious adventures right around the corner.

Rob and I got in a solid 10 miles together (27 total for him). I tacked on an additional 7 after he and Jordan hit the road for the best 17 miler since the tick attack. Grateful to have shared some trail with Rob and my thoughts will be with him and his mom (who's pacing for the last few miles) at Wasatch this September. Go get that buckle brother!

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