Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Wine Wednesday: 1000 Stories

1000 Stories Zinfandel
ABV: 15.2%

On the nose, you pick up dark fruit and higher alcohol. The first sip is filled with dark fruit - plumb, raspberry, black cherry. The middle of the wine is smooth, full bodied, and starts to dry out. The wine finishes with a slightly spicy, soft lingering finish. The bourbon barrel aging helps make this a full bodied Zinfandel. It would pair well with steak and/or cheese.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Beer of the Week: Steeped Emperor's Lemon Saison

Steeped Emperor's Lemon Saison
Moody Tongue Brewing Company
Chicago, IL

ABV: 6.3%

The initial appearance is golden/amber with a foamy white head. On the nose there is a citrus scent - particularly lemon. The first sip gives off a mild lemon taste and distinct tartness. The lemon carries throughout the beer as the tartness fades. On the finish, there is a hit of toasted nut or pepper/spice.

Overall this is a nice spin on a saison. It is an easy drinker, and could pair well with fish or pasta and white sauce.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Start of 2016

2016 has been quite an exciting year so far. I haven't updated this in a bit, so here is the rundown of early 2016.

The first event was the Herb Paraons Trail Half Marathon in Collierville, TN. We were on our way to New Orleans, so I figured I may as well find a race. I was happy to set the course record that day.


After race/vacation, I was back in IL for the F^3 Lakefront Half Marathon. I actually forgot that I wanted to race Miami or Austin, so I stayed local. I was thrilled to walk away with a new half marathon PR of may have only been a 3 second PR, but a PR is a PR!

From there, it was time to focus on the Mercedes Marathon in Birmingham, Alabama. I was thrilled to be able to lay down a big PR. It was 28 degrees in Birmingham on race day - luckily I had been training in cold weather. 

Shoutout to this crazy one for running around and letting me know the gap to different runners through the day. He covered 7 hilly miles of Birmingham running back and forth. Happy Valentines Day!

I had planned on running the USATF Road 50k National Championship on March 6, but recovery issues and a cold kept me out of the race. So, I went over to Ohio for the Buzzard Day 50k. I wanted to use it as a last long effort before American River. I ended up setting the course record on a sloppy, and fun course.

Buzzard Day was a great tune up for the American River 50 - Folsom to Auburn, CA. I mean, it's really not hard to convince me that a CA trip is needed. I ended up finishing 4th at American River, behind Chris Denucci, Chris Wehan, and Ian Sharman. I went to run an aggressive race, and was leading until mile 42...and then the wheels fell off. However, I have no regrets, and I'm definitely excited about future races.

We then got to see Seattle...

And, Vancouver...
And meet an Instagram friend..,

I finally made the decision to move "home base" back to IL, so I flew out west to get my stuff and drive it back. I drove from Las Vegas to Ottawa...solo, without stopping. 25:02. I can honestly say I will never do that again.

Shortly after, I was in Southern IL for the River to River Relay. It was a great time seeing old friends and making new friends. Our team finished 2nd OA.

And then the following weekend, I was in FL for the Down to Run Endurance Challenge 50k. I am lucky to be sponsored by such a great company. South Florida has a great trail community and I was happy to get to experience it. Thank you all for a great weekend.

So now what? I have a track 1500m, 5k, and 10k coming up in May. I will tempo the Starved Rock Country Marathon, and race Dam to Dam Half Marathon in June. After that we will begin the build for the Chicago Marathon, I'm getting married in July, and I will target a November/December ultra after Chicago. It's been a crazy year, and it doesn't look like things will be slowing down.

Thanks for reading, and I hope to see y'all at some races. What races do you have planned? What has the the highlight of your year so far?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

F^3 Lake Front Half Marathon Race Report

A great morning in Chicago!

Made it to the front.

And...we're off!

Home stretch!

1:13:02 - A new PR!

The Crew!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

2015 Malibu Canyon 50k Race Report

This happened to be a hard race report for me to write. I am physically, emotionally, and mentally tired. My Grandpa passed away the week of Xterra Trail World Championship. Instead of Hawaii, I ended up back in Chicago. Then, my flight from Chicago to LA was cancelled, due to a crack in the windshield, so I had a 24 hour layover in the Windy City. By the time I made it to CA, I was drained and didn’t know if I really wanted to race 50k.

My plan for Malibu Canyon 50k was pretty simple. Run the flats hard, don’t give up too much time while climbing, and bomb the downhill sections. I raced MC as my first ultra in 2014, so I was pretty familiar with the course. I felt that if I could hold the leaders to less than a 3 minute gap to the top of the 2nd climb (mile 23), I would have time to still run them down on the descents and flat section.

The first mile or so of the race is flat. Perfect. I got out quick and used the flat sections to put a gap between Dean and Mario. I remembered them from the previous year, and they are strong climbers. There was another dude a few meters in front of me, and he looked strong. I wasn’t sure if he was running the 25k or 50k, but I was afraid to ask. a bit over a mile into the race, right before the first water crossing I asked, “Are you doing the 25k or 50k?” Luckily he said he was running 25k, and then mumbled something about me going out quick for the 50k. Turns out he had just finished 3rd at Xterra Trail Worlds the previous weekend.

Going out quick? i know something about that. Last year I came through 25k around 1:52…3-4 minutes under the 25k course record and still had another lap to run. oops! I ended up finishing broken in 4:35…absolutely hating the 50k, but in love with the challenge. I was determined to not make the same mistake this year.

When the climbing started, I decided to back off the effort. I have had a few blowups from trying to climb too aggressive, so I used this time to focus on hydration and nutrition. I don’t run all of the climbs, I actually power hike a lot of it. I was having issues with both achilles going into the first climb, and I was seriously considering dropping out. I didn’t think I would be able to climb to the top of the canyon, let alone do a second loop. But, I thought about it, and convinced myself that if I could climb for a little less than 2 more miles, I would finally get to start descending and could drop out at 25k.

As I was climbing, I saw Dean gaining on me. I wasn’t sure that I could hold him off on loop 1, but I figured I may as well put some more energy into holding him off to get a bigger gap into loop 2. Somehow I made it to the top of the climb before him, and was able to start the descent — alone! My first 3 miles on the descent were 5:33, 5:53, and 5:53. Somewhere during the 5:53, I blew out my knee and tweked my IT Band. My worst nightmare. Luckily I had KT Tape on my ITB so I felt like I had some support, but definitely not enough. I was only 20k in, could I run for another 30k in pain?

I arrived that the 25k mark around 1:52. F**K!! Been there before. I knew it was going to be a rough second loop, but the bright side was my achilles were finally feeling better. About half a mile into my 2nd loop, I saw 2nd and 3rd coming up the stairs on loop 1. At that point I realized I had ~6 minutes on the chase pack. I had hoped to arrive at 25k <2 minutes behind the leaders, so to be up was great. At that point I realized I had a legit shot at possibly winning the race.

I pushed hard through the flat section, and pushed even harder trying to make it up the climb. I remember getting passed at mile 21.3 and 22.8 last year, but I made it to those marks without being passed. I looked back and still didn’t see anyone coming up behind me. I was relieved. There was just one more nasty climb, and then its downhill or flat. Leaving the aid station I looked back and still didn’t see anybody. Starting the climb to the climb to the descent I was scared. I knew these dudes are strong, and I was not going to be able to descend as quickly due to my knee.

The descent and flat section to the MASH aid station is kind of one big blur. I just tried to find the most direct route down the switchback and really had to hold back. I was super happy to finally get to flat land again. With 5k to go, I was just hoping there wasn’t a storm brewing behind me, but I wasn’t going to look back!

There is about a half mile section of road to finish the race. I made it up the stairs and onto the pavement and realized I was going o be a couple minutes under the course record. At that point I just told myself the faster I finished, the faster I could get off my legs. I crossed the finish line completely shattered and so alive. I was just so relieved to actually have things work out. I was 29 minutes faster this year compared to last year. This race has been in the back of my mind since crossing the finish line last year.

I’m not afraid to race on courses with a lot of climbing, I just know that my strength is not in the hills. 2015 has been a year of exploring and challenges, but I have been learning so much. I still am not sure how I managed to win a 50 miler and 50k in less than a month, but I am extremely grateful and excited. I have such an awesome support crew and I am glad that I have been able to race well for them.


Hydration - 30oz water
Nutrition - 5 Maple Bacon VFuel
Electrolytes - 5 Salt Stick
UltraSpire 1L Hydration Vest
Hoka Challenger
Darn Tough Socks
Colorundies/LRCo Singlet

Also, it was great to meet Seth, Paul, and Alex. We’ve been following each other in Instagram for over a year, and it was great to finally put a face with a profile. I am definitely going to need to do some more CA training when I get settled back into Vegas. Also, Alex ran a big 50k PR on that nasty course! Also, thanks to Rylan and Nikki for letting me stay with them. It's always fun to catch up with old college teammates/friends.

So what is next? I am not sure. I will be back in IL for the holidays, and then it is kind of up in the air. I have considered running Austin 3M Half Marathon, or Carlsbad Half Marathon, or a fun trail race in January. I would like to get in a road marathon, trail 50 mile, and a 10k on the track this spring also. Should be fun.

Thanks for reading and have a great holiday season.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Tunnel Hill 50 Mile Pre Pace

The last couple months have been full of racing, training, and moving. I seem embrace change and handle it well, but I would definitely say there has been a lot going on.

The plan was to come to Las Vegas and spend my last four weeks heading into the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon on November 7. I had a few different sea level options, but Vegas was the best deal. After a summer of training at 10,200ft, I really just felt like my leg speed was a little behind where it needs to be for Indianapolis. The idea of warm weather and endless training options was nice. I really enjoyed the week I spent here earlier this year -- training in Valley of Fire, Lake Mead, Red Rock Canyon, Bootleg Canyon, and Death Valley. After being here for a few weeks, I have decided that I am going to stay until May, before returning to CO. This opens up quite a few racing opportunities for the earlier months in the year. CA, AZ, and UT are all a short drive, and have many great races.

So, here we are a couple days after Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, and I was a DNS. I really wanted to race, but I just did not feel my leg speed was where it needed to be. I felt stuck. But, the good news is I am racing the Tunnel Hill 50 Mile this weekend. I didn’t have the gears I needed for the marathon, but the strength and fitness is there to use it on a flat/fast 50 miler. I am pretty excited to be racing this weekend. They are offering $500 for a new course record, so I am going for it. The current record is 6:20.

Here is what I will be using for this race this weekend.

-Raspberry Buzz Tailwind
-Salt Tab
-Maple Bacon VFuel

-Ultraspire 1L Hydration Pack
-Colorado Buff
-Brooks t7, and possibly Hoka Clifton
-Darn Tough UltraLite
-Light Gloves
        -Hand warmers (maybe)
-KT Tape
-Garmin 310XT
-ColoRundies and Leadville Outdoors Singlet

Drop bags
-Candy (Snickers, peach rings, and Skittles)
-extra socks
-A shot of Fireball
-KT Tape
-probably a beer of some sort

-Be aggressive the first 25, but controlled
-Miles 26-39 are a slight uphill. Pay attention to hydration/nutrition during this stretch
-Open it up the last 11 miles. If feeling good, pick up pace — If not, just get it done

This is only my second attempt at racing 50 miles, so I still have plenty to learn. I really am not sure how my body is going to react while racing a flat, sea level 50 miler. Racing a flat even is quite a bit different than Silver Rush (10,200 ft up to 12,000ft, with 7,000ft of elevation gain). In the mountains, you can get away with power hiking some of the steeper uphill sections. On flat races like this, it’s all running, and it’s just you against the clock.

I can’t wait.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

June 2015 Training Update

We are now looking at a little less than six weeks until the Leadville Trail 100. I am still working on the Leadville Trail Marathon race report, but I wanted to throw in a training update. It is not that I cannot write the race report, but I keep learning/figuring out new things about the race, so I have more information to add. This will be the past four weeks. I will include total mileage, long run distance, and my favorite workout of the week (doesn't necessarily mean intervals).

May 31-June 6
*64 miles (7 runs)
17 mile long run
Favorite workout: Fish Hatchery wasn't pretty, but it was fun.
I had to walk during a 5k for the first time in my life. I had only been back at altitude for a few days and wanted to run well on the trails. However, I was well over that red line during the first 3/4 of a mile and ended up walking a nice uphill section of the course. Welcome back to Leadville!

 June 7-13
*64 miles (7 runs)
18 mile long run
Favorite workout: 2x[10x400m on :60 recovery]
This week was the second Leadville Running Company group run of the summer. Josh Arthur was there for the VFuel demo, and stuck around for the workout. We had a nice turnout and a fun group.

June 14-20
*73.2 miles (6 runs)
20 and 26 mile long run
Favorite workout: Leadville Trail Marathon
I did not have a great showing at the marathon, but it was a much needed learning experience. I will post more about that in my next blog. I also took a spot into the Leadville 100, so that was exciting. I cannot say I had plans to run a 100 this year, but it should be interesting.

June 21-27
*55.5 miles (6 runs)
No long run
This was my first "down week" in a while, and it was much needed. But really, the main difference was just the lack of long run. I just focused on getting in some easy trail miles.

June 28-July 4
*84 miles (7 runs)18 mile long run
Favorite workout: Tuesday in Boulder with the HTS crew. I ran my fastest altitude mile, so that was exciting.
This week was the highest mileage week of my life. It beat my previous high of 82 miles from 2009. This time I actually feel healthy and happy.

What have I learned?
Since training for the 100, I have learned that it really is the small details that make a big difference. I now pay way more attention to daily hydration, foam rolling, eating soon after workouts, sleeping, and stretching. So far I have been able to stay healthy through the stretch of higher mileage, and hope to continue the streak.

What's new?
The job at Leadville Outdoors/Leadville Running Company has been going well. I get to work with a really fun group of people, and have a very flexible schedule. Being able to walk to work is great! I can run in the morning, work during the day, and then have a few hours of sunlight after work.

 Also, I went to Montana for the first time over the 4th of July. Billings was flat and hot. It was fun though.
I am starting to put my crew/pacers together for the Leadville 100, so I will be introducing them over the next few blog posts.

Thanks for reading. Happy Training!