Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Off to The Big Dance

Tonight the kids and I watched the documentary 'Unbreakable' about the 2010 Western States battle between Roes, Krupicka, Jornet and Koerner (if you're not into ultrarunning then these names mean nothing to you).  This year they'll be filming 'Unbreakable 2' with the epic matchup of  Meltzer, Koerner, Mackey and Schick... Ok maybe not, but don't tell my kids.  They were on the edge of their seats waiting to see who won, they're super excited for me to go.  They want to come and crew for me, I'll have to bring them out for a race a little closer to home sometime.

So here we are.  Seems like just yesterday I got accepted into the race, what happened to the last 6 months?  Training has had it's ups and downs, and more downs, but I'm good to go.  As always, I wish I got more mileage in.  Groin problems almost derailed everything, but in the end it just hampered training.

Here's a few tidbits on various items:

It was a lazy winter, followed by a slow start in the spring due to groin problems, leading to a crammed 8 weeks or so at the end.  Not ideal training by any means, but it is what it is.  My 8 week crash course included Sulpher Springs 100 mile (pretty much by accident, see below), along with some so-so mileage.  I dropped my winter weight; 8 weeks ago I was 178, as of yesterday I'm down to 168.  That will do just fine.

Strained Groin:
Still sore,  it just won't heal.  When I go for a hard run, it's always sore the rest of the day.  Still can't sidestep, that's the worst pain.  Running straight and at a decent pace is ok (the course is straight, isn't it?).  I've learned to run with it.

Sulpher Springs 100 mile was almost 5 weeks ago.  I had planned to run 50 miles and drop then or shortly after that, but I felt ok so kept going.  I'm glad I did,  as I really didn't know if my groin could handle 100 miles.  I didn't want to go into Western not knowing if my groin could take it.  The pain increased until 60 or 80k, then it remained constant which is great.  As long as I know it won't keep getting worse, I can handle it (along with some Advils).  Nothing I can do now, so I'll put it out of my mind.

I bought a wicked new vest on Saturday (yes, a new vest 1 week before a race), an Ultimate Direction SJ Signature Series.

Ultimate Direction SJ Signature Series Ultra Vest

It's fantastic, but I've decided not to use it for this race.  What I hadn't thought of was what it would feel like to have the weight of the bottles on my front side.  I've always run with weight in the rear, either a hydration pack during training or 2 x 22oz bottles in the rear on a belt for races.  To suddenly switch the weight to the front without ever training like that would be a bad idea.  I'm quite confident my lower back would be on fire way before 100 miles.  I could start with it and switch later in the race if I feel it, but I'm probably better off to stick to the Nathan Elite belt I've used in every other 50 mile plus race for the last few years.  I'm used to the weight of the belt squishing my bladder, no biggie.  Looking forward to getting used to the UD SJ later though, it's super light and the bottle and gel access at the front is great.  Should have thought of getting this even a few weeks ago to get used to it, would have been fine.  Damn.

Crew (aka Lisa):
No pacer, I really didn't know if I was going for sure until Sulpher 5 weeks ago, so I never planned for a pacer to come along.  I've never used a pacer anyway, so no big deal.  Lisa will crew for me, but we ran into a little snag last week.  She was biking to work (downtown, great idea) and got cutoff by a car.  She went over the handlebars, resulting in a sprained wrist, small fracture in her elbow and a whole lot of bruising.  She's starting to get around without the sling now and drove for the first time the other day, so should be ok.  I'll try not to pack my gear too heavy!

Here's the current forecast for the finish line in Auburn, California:


Translation for Canadians: that rounds out to 38, 38, 39.  Well, at least it's not going to rain, although I might be praying for rain in the afternoon.  On the plus side, the start will be cooler up in the higher elevations, and the nights will drop back down.  It's just Saturday afternoon that will be nasty.  Apparently the sun reflects off the rocks bringing the heat even higher in the canyons (they don't call one of them 'Volcano Canyon' for nothing).  Won't be humid, so that's good.  The heat won't help my times though.

A few weeks ago, I had lunch with Eman to go over course details, he ran it in 2011.  This was great and very informative.  He showed me where he found he needed extra water and which stretches to make up time on.  We'll see how much I remember once the race starts...

It's starts at approx. 6000 feet, then climbs up to just under 9000 feet right away, then gradually back down.  I don't anticipate the same problems I had at Leadville, that started at 10,000 and went up to almost 13,000 feet.  It's been warm this year, so we may not have snow at the top either.

1 - Don't die.
2 - Finish in under 30hr cutoff.
3 - Finish in under 24hrs to get Silver Buckle award (groin, heat and the fact that I've never come close are kinda hinting that I'm dreaming here, can't hurt to put it in writing).

Time to Pack:
As the heading says, it's time to pack.  This will probably be the biggest race of my life.  Yikes, that's just setting in now.  I really wish I'd trained more!  I'm going to enjoy it and take it all in, things like this don't come around too often.  As in the words of Ferris Bueller, "Life moves pretty fast.  If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it."

If anyone is bored this weekend and wants to follow along, I'm bib #359.  Live link is:

Take care,



  1. Good Luck Morgan. Enjoy and take it all in!
    (We met at Sulphur)

    1. Thanks Heather, and great job at Sulpher!

  2. Great stuff Mo! Best of luck. U r crazy btw. Lol.

    Rob Rusnov